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March 1, 2017

Today we celebrate:

Ash Wednesday - The first day of the season of Lent, which is a time when Christians prepare for the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. It falls 46 days before Easter and is a day for fasting and avoiding meat.

National Sportsmanship Day - Celebrated on the first Tuesday of March, this day was created by the Institute of International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. It has been celebrated since 1990 and has spread to other countries as well. The purpose is to teach student athletes all over the world about sportsmanship and fair play, and to encourage them to stay away from drugs and avoid fighting.

Share A Smile Day - It is very easy to spread joy and happiness by simply sharing your smile.  Smile at everyone you meet today. You will lift spirits and put smiles on faces where there were no smiles before. Smile and the world will smile back at you.

National Pig Day – This day was begun in 1972 by sisters Ellen Stanley and Mary Lynne Rave. According to Rave, the purpose is to “accord the pig its rightful, though generally unrecognized, place as one of man's most intellectual and domesticated animals.” I have heard that pigs make great pets but while they certainly are cute, I'm not sure I would be willing to have one in the house.

National Peanut Butter Lover's Day – We all know about President Jimmy Carter, but did you know that President Thomas Jefferson was also a peanut farmer? Today you can be part of the 90 percent of households in the United States that eat peanut butter. Did you know that most women and children prefer creamy peanut butter and most men prefer chunky? I didn’t know that. I never asked my husband which he preferred. I just always buy creamy because that’s what I like and I do the shopping. For more fun facts about peanuts try this website.

National Fruit Compote Day – I know you're thinking what I was thinking, “What is compote?” Well, I have the answer for you. Compote is the French word for “mixture”. So fruit compote is a mixture of fruit and syrup. Sounds good to me, I think this is going to be dessert tonight.

Self-injury Awareness Day – There are quite a lot of people out there who choose to harm themselves in a variety of ways. This is a day to spread awareness of this issue, talk about it openly, educate everyone about the signs and symptoms, and break down common stereotypes. To celebrate, some people will wear an orange ribbon, write “LOVE” on their arms or draw butterflies on their wrists.

Asiatic Fleet Memorial Day – On this day in 1942, the American Cruiser Houston, the Australian Cruiser Perth and the British Cruiser Exeter were outnumbered and outgunned by the Japanese. But they fought bravely and went down with their guns blazing in the Sunda Strait. Memory of their courage and dedication encouraged the Navy to strive ever harder to win victory in WWII.

National Horse Protection Day – This majestic creature is my daughter's favorite animal. They are a faithful friend for many people. If you think about it, this country would not be where it is today without the hard work of horses before the invention of automobiles. They helped plow the fields that fed families, they carried people and supplies everywhere in this country for a long, long time and now, they even help children with a variety of disabilities. This day was created by Colleen Paige, a Pet Lifestyle Expert and Animal Behaviorist/Advocate. See more about this day and how to help thousands of mistreated and abused horses find help and loving homes here.

Peace Corp Day – On this day in 1961, President Kennedy established the Peace Corp. The purpose of which was to send trained American men and women into foreign nations to help develop them. President Kennedy wanted to get an American foothold into these developing countries in an effort to win over the hearts and minds of the people and keep them from becoming Cold War battlegrounds. Some celebrate this day on the first Tuesday of March.

Plan A Solo Vacation Day – Why wait until your family has time to go somewhere together. Get away by yourself and recharge for a few days. Sometimes it is more relaxing to get away by yourself and do only what you want instead of trying to keep the kids under control and cater to your spouse/significant other's agenda as well as your own.

Refired, Not Retired Day – Retirement isn't the end of an era, it's the beginning of a new one! The retired people I know are even busier than they were when they were employed for a living. But now they are busy with things they WANT to do instead of things they HAVE to do. So fire up your enthusiasm for a new life.

World Compliment Day – Begun in the Netherlands as National Compliment Day and celebrated on this day every year, this is a day to find a way to compliment everyone you meet. I know you can find something nice to say about absolutely everyone...even people you don't really like too much. Let's spread the positive feelings around the world today.

World Maths Day – This day is celebrated on the first Wednesday in March. This is a day for math lovers all over the world to do some math. If you look online, you can find math games in which you can compete against people all over the world.

February 28, 2017

Today we celebrate:

Car Keys and Small Change Day - This is a day that is not what it seems. It has nothing to do with car keys and small change, rather it is a day to celebrate the pockets that we put these items in. What would we do with all this little stuff if we didn’t have pockets? I have no idea.

National Science Day - This is a day to celebrate science in all of its’ forms. This isn’t an official day yet, but there is a petition circulating out there to ask President Obama to make it one.

Floral Design Day – This day was created by Governor Weld of Massachusetts as a way to celebrate Carl Rittner's birthday. Mr. Rittner founded The Rittners School of Floral Design in Boston and has spent years imparting his skills and knowledge of floral design to his students and fellow lovers of floral beauty. For thousands of years, people have used flowers to create beautiful works of art and to bring color and beauty to places where you don't usually find it naturally.

National Tooth Fairy Day – Once again we have a discrepancy here as some believe that the Tooth Fairy should be celebrated today and others believe that celebration should take place on August 22nd. Well, the Tooth Fairy works incredibly hard, if you think about it. Do you have any idea how many children lose teeth every day? Way too many for me to think about. So maybe she should have two days to celebrate. Let's all do her a favor today and not lose any teeth so maybe she can have a day of rest today.

National Public Sleeping Day – The general public is desperately sleep deprived. I talk to some of my friends who routinely get only three or four hours of sleep every night and I am amazed that they manage to remain vertical all day. But many of these sleep deprived individuals have learned to grab a few zzzz's wherever and whenever they can. Go into any train station or airport or bus depot and you are almost guaranteed to find someone sleeping. Park benches and public libraries are another good place to see some snoozers. This is a day to join the crowd, wherever you your desk, in a restaurant, in a parking lot (Please don't try to sleep while you're driving, but if you're parked, it's quite okay.), wherever you can find a place to rest your weary head, close your eyes and have a catnap.

National Chocolate Souffle Day – I have seen a reference to the possibility that the first souffle recipe appeared in 1742, in France. They were fairly common by the mid 1800's and could be found in most any cookbook. They do indeed have a tendency to collapse when removed from the oven so you have to be really, really careful. You can make them without chocolate, but I don't personally recommend it.

Paczki Day – This is a Polish dish that looks a lot like a doughnut without the hole in the middle. It is traditionally made on this day to use up ingredients that could not be eaten during Lent. You can find some delicious recipes here.

Mardi Gras – This is the last day of a celebration that seems to last for weeks. It is the last day because Lent starts tomorrow and I guess you can't have parties like this during Lent. The parades began last month, I believe, and as far as I know, New Orleans is the only place in the world where you can experience Mardi Gras the way it's supposed to be. I have never even heard of any other place celebrating it, but if you have, please let me know.

Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday or Fastnacht Day – This is the day before Ash Wednesday which is the beginning of Lent. This is a day to eat lots of food in preparation for the fasting of Lent. Hence the pancakes since they are rich in eggs, milk and sugar. The other purpose that I can think of is to use up ingredients that you won't be using during Lent which might go bad before Lent is over and they can be used again.

International Pancake Day – This day is tied into the Shrove Tuesday celebrations as I described above, but this day needs more explanation and a paragraph of its' own. Especially if you have never heard of or seen the pancake race. You can read about how the pancake race got started if you read the section entitled, “The Story,” at this website. You will also see why there has been a competition between Olney, England and Liberal, Kansas for the last 60+ years involving head scarfs, pancakes, aprons and skillets. It has apparently turned into an event lasting 4 days, of which this is the last so you better head over to Kansas now before it's over. You don't want to miss the pancakes, talent show, races, cooking contests and more.

World Spay Day – Always celebrated on the last Tuesday in February, this is a day to get the word out that it is a very good idea to spay or neuter your pets. Spaying and neutering keeps the cat and dog population from getting out of control resulting in mega quantities of feral cats and stray dogs running around in groups terrorizing the street gangs that are trying so hard to take over the cities. Seriously, there are enough animals in need of loving homes out there, you don't need your own home overrun by puppies or kittens because you can't find enough people who want to adopt them.

International Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness Day - Celebrated on the last day of February, this is a day to be aware of the danger of straining your body by doing the same movements over and over again either through work or in your personal life. If you type constantly, you can have problems with your wrists and fingers. If you are a deli meat slicer, you can have problems with your shoulder and elbow. Be aware of the movements you make and try to make sure that you adjust the way you move so that it causes less strain on your body, such as using an ergonomic keyboard, or using more of your body to move something instead of just your arms or back.

Rare Disease Day – Celebration is probably not the best term for what people do on this day. It is really a day that is more about raising awareness of rare diseases and trying to raise money for research to find cures for them. Unfortunately, since rare diseases affect only a small percentage of the population, there isn't the same level of financial support for research that you find with the diseases that affect more people such as breast cancer and heart disease. This means that progress on fighting these diseases is slow, which is heartbreaking for the families that are profoundly impacted. This day takes place on the last day of February.

February 27, 2017

Today we celebrate:

Shrove Monday - This is the Monday before Ash Wednesday and is also known as Collop Monday, Rose Monday, Merry Monday or Hall Monday. It is a part of the Carnival celebrations that many Christians participate in and even has links to Mardi Gras in America.

International Polar Bear Day – This is a day to celebrate the existence of this huge bear that can weigh up to 1400 pounds and be as tall as 9 feet. We should focus our attention on the dwindling habitat of the polar bears by doing what we can to conserve energy and reduce the emissions that many people believe are causing global warming which is shrinking the ice shelf the bears live on more every year.

National Kahlua Day – If you're over 21, feel free to have a Kahlua (that's coffee liqueur and rum if you're like me and didn't know.).

No Brainer Day – Don't work your brain too hard today. This is a day for doing things that don't require a lot of thought. Move on autopilot, do the little mindless things that we all have to do anyway and usually end up putting off. You know what I'm talking about, those things like folding laundry and or dusting. See if you can convince your boss that this is a holiday that the whole company should celebrate. Your co-workers will thank you.

National Strawberry Day – Seeds on the outside, sweet juiciness on the inside, it's just a little bit of heaven in a bite-sized morsel. It's even better if you pair it with something unhealthy like whipped cream or chocolate.

National Cupcake Day – This is a Canadian holiday for the purpose of raising money for SPCAs and Humane Societies. Make some cupcakes and have a National Cupcake Day party where you can serve your cupcakes and collect donations that will then go to the Ottawa Humane Society.

February 26, 2017

Today we celebrate:

Carnival Day - This is a day to celebrate the fun of carnivals. There are lots of different kinds of carnivals...some travel from place to place, others are created by local schools or businesses on a yearly basis. You can have carnivals in the winter, spring, summer or fall depending on what kinds of activities you have available. I wouldn’t do a dunking booth in the wintertime in Colorado, for example. See if you can find one today.

National Personal Chef's Day – According to the American Personal & Private Chef Association, this is a day to thank your personal chef, or to find one if you don't have one already. However, the United States Personal Chef Association also created a day with this name on July 16th. So I guess you can celebrate either day. I think it would be absolutely heavenly to have someone come to my home and make dinner for me. Fortunately, whenever he can be done with work early enough, my husband is my personal chef.

For Pete's Sake Day – An old expression used as a mild oath, I'm often guilty of saying it myself in a fit of annoyance. There is a lot of disagreement, but it seems to date back to somewhere around 1900 and “Pete” may be a shortened reference to St. Peter as in “For St. Peter's Sake, turn down that phonograph before you go deaf!”.

Thermos Bottle Day - Created in the 1950’s, these marvelous devices that kept your coffee or soup warm for a long time were an amazing innovation. They still work well in all the modern forms you can find today, but I find myself a little nostalgic for the old fashioned thermos with the red twist off top that doubled as a coffee mug or soup bowl.

Levi Strauss Day – Born on this day in 1829 in Bavaria, Levi Strauss was the father of the jeans we all wear today. He came to this country in 1847 to work for his brother, then he branched out for himself in 1853 when he went west and began his own dry goods and clothing store. In the 1870's he began making heavy duty work pants which we now call jeans and his company is still in operation today. Jacob Davis was a tailor who had the idea of using copper rivets to reinforce the jeans in specific spots like pocket corners and at the top of the button fly. But he didn't have the money to patent his idea so he asked Levi to join with him on the idea. They received the patent in 1873. They did well, but it wasn't until 1955 that jeans really came into fashion. That was when the movie Rebel Without A Cause was released with James Dean wearing jeans. After that, everyone wanted to wear them. I’m not surprised. James Dean looked very good in jeans after all, and everyone wanted to look just like him.

World Pistachio Day – We celebrated this back on January 26th as a national day but today the whole world gets to join in. Pistachios are so good that I think they should be celebrated every day so go ahead and get some more. Especially since they are good for you. They contain fiber, copper, manganese and Vitamin B6, all of which are healthy so have a handful right now.

Tell A Fairy Tale Day – When my kids were little, I used to read them fairy tales all the time. Now that they are bigger, I expect they will protest a little bit and tell me that they are too old for that, but I'll read to them anyway even if I have to sit on them to get them to listen. If you don't want to go that far with your older kids, just read a few to yourself. Don't forget to do all the voices. Stories are always better if you do the voices right.

February 25, 2017

Today we celebrate:

Let’s All Eat Right Day - Born on this day in 1904, Adelle Davis was a nutritionist who wrote a series of books about healthy living. She spoke out against processed foods and in favor of nutritional supplements as a way to avoid diseases or get healthy faster after being sick.

Quiet Day - This is a day to focus on the noise level around you. Turn down the volume on everything you can control and try to bring some quiet to your day. Maybe even turn the volume off and really bask in the quiet that you have the power to create. I think you will find it more restful than constantly being bombarded with sound waves.

National Clam Chowder Day – We had National New England Clam Chowder Day back in January, but today it doesn't matter if you like your clam chowder white or red. You can even have one for lunch and the other for dinner if you like both.

National Chocolate Covered Nuts Day – Assuming you don't have allergies to nuts or chocolate, this is a heavenly day for you. Any kind of nuts and any kind of chocolate will do. You can make your own or buy your favorites. A lot of people like the M&M chocolate covered nuts but those are definitely not the only kind out there.

National Pistol Patent Day – On this day in 1836, Samuel Colt (1814 – 1862) received his patent for a “revolving gun”. When he was a child, he would hear soldiers talking about their experiences with various firearms and how it was impossible for a gun to shoot five or six times without reloading. So at a young age he decided that he wanted to create the impossible gun. When he was 16, he got the idea for his revolver by watching a ship's wheel spinning.

World Sword Swallowers Day – Celebrated on the last Saturday of February, this day is the 9th annual World Sword Swallower's Day begun by the Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) and co-sponsored by Ripley's Entertainment. Celebrations will take place beginning at 1:45 pm this afternoon and will consist of demonstrations of sword swallowing as I'm sure you were able to guess. There will be a simultaneous Big Swallow at 2:25 pm because that time exactly matches the date.  Last year they had 55 sword swallowers who swallowed 145 swords at Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditoriums all over the country. Sword Swallowing has been practiced for more than 4,000 years, according to SSAI President Dan Meyer.

Open That Bottle Night –  Also celebrated on the last Saturday in February, this day was created by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher in the year 2000. It acknowledges that all wine drinkers save a special, favorite or very expensive wine, for a very special occasion but few people ever find an occasion special enough to warrant opening that bottle. So give it up and open it today. Get some friends together to enjoy it or save it all for yourselves.

February 24, 2017

Today we celebrate:

World Bartender Day - Bartenders are beverage creators and servers and sometimes therapists. They hear a lot of gripes from a lot of people, and have to deal with a lot of inebriated people, and have to remember how to make hundreds of different kinds of drinks, all while maintaining their cheerful, ready to serve, attitude. I think they deserve to have a day to themselves. I think they also deserve a little extra tip if you see one today.

National Tortilla Chip Day – A very yummy snack that goes really well with salsa and guacamole. And it's gluten free! So I can eat all I want.

Women in Blue Jeans DayThis day celebrates the women of rural America who wear jeans and work boots to work every day. There is a conference taking place today in South Dakota for women in blue jeans to come together to relax, learn and meet new people. It's too late to register for this year, but they do it every year so keep it in mind for next year.

International Stand Up To Bullying Day - This is a day that is celebrated on the last Friday of February and the third Friday of November in at least 25 countries around the world. To participate you must sign and wear a pink “pledge shirt”. It is a day to take a stand against bullying and show support for victims in a non-confrontational way. It was begun by Travis Price and David Shephard, two students who stood up in defense of a fellow student who was being bullied because he wore a pink shirt to school. I guess those bullies didn’t realize that red and pink used to be considered male colors because they represented fire and war. Blue used to be a female color because it represented nurturing and water.

February 23, 2017

Today we celebrate:

Digital Learning Day - This is a day to highlight the benefits of using digital technology in classrooms all around America. Digital technology is a broad term for an amazing assortment of tools, applications, and styles, from the tools used for research or note taking, to the tools used to actually take a class from a location hundreds or thousands of miles away from the teacher, and pretty much anything you can dream of in between.

World Understanding And Peace Day - On this day in 1905, the Rotary held its’ first meeting. So they have designated this special day on their anniversary. They ask all Rotary clubs to plan special activities that promote “understanding and goodwill as essential for world peace.”

Curling Is Cool Day – Believed to be one of the world's oldest team games, it became part of the Olympic Games in 1924. And if you didn't know that it was a cool sport, now you do. It is clearly cool enough to have it's own day. And, really, those pants they wear are the best of any other sport.

Diesel Engine Day – On this day in 1892, Rudolph Diesel, a German born in Paris in 1858, received patents in Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and filed a patent in the United States, for a “Method of and Apparatus for Converting Heat into Work”. In other words, the first diesel engine.

Iwo Jima Day – I know, I know, we just had Iwo Jima Day back on February 19th. I'm not repeating, but apparently, this is also Iwo Jima Day because on this day in 1945, the photograph “Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima” was taken. This photo has become, what some consider to be, the most reproduced photograph of all time. So there is disagreement on which day should be considered Iwo Jima Day.

National Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day – I can't find out who created this or when or even why, but who cares. If you have a dog, or you know someone who has a dog, give the dog a biscuit. They will certainly appreciate it.

National Banana Bread Day – This is a quick bread that doesn't use yeast so you don't have to wait for it to rise. Just mix it all together and bake for an hour and you have one of my kids' favorite treats. Some sort of banana breadish type food was made way back around 70 A.D., according to food historians. But the first recipe was published in 1933 by Pillsbury.

Play Tennis Day – I know, it's February, not exactly a great time for playing tennis, but if it's not actively snowing, clear off the court and get out your rackets for some great exercise. Once you get moving you won't be so cold.

The Great American Spit Out – This is a day to quit chewing tobacco. Some people think that as long as they don't smoke tobacco, they have less of a risk of cancer and emphysema. But the fact is that the risk of cancer is just as high with chewing tobacco and although you might not get emphysema, you are likely to get gum disease, cancer of the mouth or throat and heart disease among other things. Plus, it's just gross for those of us who happen to see you spit even if you try to do it discretely into a cup. This day is celebrated on Thursday of the third full week in February. Even though February starts on a Monday this year, I guess that must still count as a full week.

National Chili Day – Celebrated on the last Thursday in February, this is a day for chili. I don't think it matters if it's red chili or white chili. It's the perfect winter meal and can be made meatless, or beanless, spicy or not depending on your preferences. My husband makes a three bean venison chili that, in my personal opinion, is out of this world. Venison is not super popular so I’ll include a good recipe here but not a venison recipe. Although if you have some available, feel free to substitute.  

Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day – Today, on the last Thursday of February, is a day to introduce the girls in your life to the field of Engineering. We need to teach our girls that men are not the only ones who can be engineers. Women can be just as successful and innovative. Here's some ideas on how to start.

February 22, 2017

Today we celebrate:

European Day for Victims of Crime - This is a day to remind the European nations of the importance of supporting victims of crimes. Being a victim of violence can leave behind many physical, emotional, and psychological wounds. While prosecuting the criminals is extremely important, it is imperative that governments do not forget about providing helpful support to the victims as well.

Woolworth's Day – On this day in 1878, Frank Winfield Woolworth opened the first Woolworth's store in Utica, NY, pledging to sell nothing that cost more than a nickel. That first store failed so he closed it and looked for another location. In July of 1879, they opened a store in Lancaster. That one took off and eventually they expanded to 1000 stores in their peak but, sadly, finally closed their doors for good in 1997. I'm also pretty sure they also raised their prices at some point.

World Thinking Day – This is a Girl Scout celebration where girls all over the world honor their 'sisters' and strive to make life better for the poorest people in the world. Did you know that in some countries there are 90 students for every one teacher and globally, there are 33 million fewer girls in primary school than there are boys. The Girl Scouts are a global organization so this is a day for them to focus on their international counterparts.

George Washington's Birthday – This is the actual birthday of our first President of the United States. He was born in 1732 and died on December 14, 1799. Have a piece of cake for George today.

Walking The Dog Day – Well, if you own a dog, every day is walking the dog day, but make sure you give him an extra long one today. After all this winter weather, I'm sure he/she needs it. Just make sure that you cover any short haired dogs with a coat. And maybe some booties because those are really cute.

Be Humble Day – There is some dispute over when this day should be celebrated so you may hear about it on another day. The idea today is to be humble about your accomplishments, do not brag, make sure credit is passed to other deserving people, if necessary.

National Cook A Sweet Potato Day – Sweet potatoes are better than regular potatoes because they have so many more nutrients and vitamins than white potatoes. So cook a few of them with your dinner this evening and if you can't think of a recipe other than candied yams with marshmallows, try looking here for some delicious ideas.

Daytona 500 – This is the biggest race of the year and has been since it's creation in 1959. It's a race that pretty much takes all day and I, personally, cannot stand to see cars drive in circles for that long, but there are plenty of others who are avid supporters and could watch it if it was twice as long.

National Margarita Day – I'm not sure who invented these drinks or when, but I know they've been around for a while. Made from mixing tequila, triple sec and lime, they are tasty, but dangerous so please don't have too many.

Single Tasking Day – This is a day to focus on one thing at a time. Which makes it somewhat odd that I have seen internet references to celebrating this day anywhere from Feb. 17 to the 24th and every day in between. The powers that be obviously can’t make up their minds. I have trouble with making up my mind as well as I find my brain going in all different directions jumping from task to task and my body follows. While I make progress on many different things, it is difficult to force myself to complete something. Which is why I only wash half the dishes, put the laundry in the washing machine but not the dryer, vacuum one room and not the others....etc.

Inconvenience Yourself Day – Celebrated on the fourth Wednesday in February, this is a day to go out of your way to do something for others. There are a million opportunities that come up in the course of a normal day that you can take advantage of in order to put yourself out and help someone. You just have to pay attention. Is there someone in one of those motorized shopping cart things at the grocery store who needs help reaching something high? Ask if you can get it for them. Let someone go ahead of you in line or while you're driving. I know if you're thinking about it, you'll find a way to help someone even if it’s just simply holding the door for someone or giving someone a smile when it looks like they’re having a bad day.