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Published: Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 11:58 AM
— If the preschooler on your gift list already has the big ticket items that most kids twice their age only dream of − iPhones, luxury two-seater ride-on cars or even a big screen TV − take heart. There are wonderful alternatives for the toddler who already has too much stuff.
They emphasize creativity and bonding rather than money spent, and each is designed to keep the kid active but unplugged.
Here are five of our favorite gifts for the little one that can’t fit another toy in their room:
A picture manual for cooking together: “Fresh Made Simple” is a thoughtful picture book you can both read to the child at night and use picture by picture for simple cooking projects like veggie cream cheese or cashew butter. The pickiest eater will enjoy examining the colorful drawings while the mechanical tot will like the step-by-step drawings that serve as "recipes." Use it as a planner for several sessions with you and the toddler of your choice (use it for one-on-one time with your toddler since this doesn't make a great group gift). Write each session down on the calendar, so the book becomes the basis of bonding time, which is a swell gift in and of itself.
The ability to recharge: If the toddler in question is already relying on batteries for toys and remotes, a wonderful habit to encourage is rechargeable batteries. A related gift idea: a battery recharger that comes with a selection of AA and AAA rechargeable batteries, most affordable at a box store or shopping club. Most little 3- or 4-year-old homebodies also like to be independent but still do something valuable, and with an adult's supervision, they're usually able to take over charging up the family batteries. These utilitarian gifts aren't sentimental but they are alluring to the toddler: Power is power, after all.
Something squirmy: A kid with lots of expensive gadgets may not be getting enough outdoor time. If you're not too squeamish, consider helping her or him with, ah, a worm farm. You can find instructions on lots of earth-friendly sites.
Just make sure the soil you use isn't toxic in any way, and that you as the gift giver plan to do the bulk of the work with the tot. You can wrap the ingredients or perform a few of the steps ahead of time. In mere weeks, you'll have lots of nice squirmy worms ready for transplanting to the garden. And if you don't have a garden, now is a great time to introduce Junior to the wonders of the community garden, where you can donate the worms on an ongoing basis.
A class act together: If you just won't be comfortable without reaching a certain dollar amount on a toddler's gift, consider selecting one of the many toddler-adult classes available at numerous museums, zoos, nature centers and aquariums. You can either set a date to go with the child yourself or sponsor the kid and the parent. This is one of those gifts where you need to reach an agreement with the child's parent first. But it's a great way to finally follow through on an offer of an outing with a squirmy toddler that will delight you, the child and the parent who gets some free time out of the deal.
A mixtape from your era: For the kid who revels in stories about "when you were little," this is a gift that is ultrapersonal and very fun. Sure, it's a direct ripoff of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” but putting together a selection of songs you think the child would enjoy, in whatever format you both can grasp, is a great bonding tool and perfect for future rides in the car. You can start with an hour-long mix following online instructions. Be sure to include songs you liked when you were little (think "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night, Raffi tunes, Madonna's "Material Girl"). If you're a grandparent, remember back to what the child's parent used to dance to and if the lyrics are okay, load up the tunes.
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 4:24 AM
— Sunday is Earth Day 2018, and more than one billion people across the globe are expected to celebrate with environmentally friendly events.
But what exactly is Earth Day? Here's what you need to know:
1. When did Earth Day start?
The first Earth Day celebration took place 48 years ago, in 1970, after a devastating oil spill in America brought environmental issues to the forefront of public consciousness. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 22 million people across the country came out in support of environmental reform.
"That day left a permanent impact on the politics of America," Gaylord Nelson wrote in the April 1980 edition of the EPA Journal. "It forcibly thrust the issue of environmental quality and resources conservation into the political dialogue of the nation.
"It showed political and opinion leadership of the country that the people cared, that they were ready for political action, that the politicians had better get ready, too. In short, Earth Day launched the environmental decade with a bang."
Since then, celebrations have only grown. This year, organizers estimate more than one billion people in 192 countries will participate in events the world over. The day is celebrated each year on April 22.
2. Is there a theme for Earth Day 2018?
This year, organizers are focusing on curbing plastic pollution.
"Our goals include ending single-use plastics, promoting alternatives to fossil fuel-based materials, promoting 100 percent recycling of plastics, corporate and government accountability and changing human behavior concerning plastics," the Earth Day Network, which partners with tens of thousands of organizations in 192 countries to organize Earth Day events, said on its website.
The organization also said it "will educate millions of people about the health and other risks associated with the use and disposal of plastics, including pollution of our oceans, water, and wildlife, and about the growing body of evidence that decomposing plastics are creating serious global problems."
3. How are people celebrating?
In Tokyo, thousands of people will attend beach cleanups, concerts, art exhibits, classes and other events coordinated by the Green Room Festival, according to the Earth Day Network. In India's Karnataka state, a "no plastic" event will feature workshops led by "organizations that are champions of environmental sustainability in fields including electric vehicles, solar power and zero-waste living," the network said. Cleanups also were scheduled in Palm Beach, Florida; New York; New Jersey and other locations across the United States and worldwide.
4. What are businesses doing?
Google marked Earth Day with a "video doodle" featuring primatologist Jane Goodall.
“It is so important in the world today that we feel hopeful and do our part to protect life on Earth," Goodall said. "I am hopeful that this Earth Day Google Doodle will live as a reminder for people across the globe that there is still so much in the world worth fighting for. So much that is beautiful, so many wonderful people working to reverse the harm, to help protect species and their environments. And there are so, so many young people, like those in JGI’s Roots & Shoots program, dedicated to making this a better world. With all of us working together, I am hopeful that it is not too late to turn things around, if we all do our part for this beautiful planet.”
Apple also joined in on the celebrations, announcing on April 19 that "for every device received at Apple stores and apple.com through the Apple GiveBack program from now through April 30, the company will make a donation to the nonprofit Conservation International."
In addition, Apple "debuted Daisy, a robot that can more efficiently disassemble iPhone to recover valuable materials," according to a company press release.
“At Apple, we’re constantly working toward smart solutions to address climate change and conserve our planet’s precious resources,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social Initiatives, said in a statement. “In recognition of Earth Day, we are making it as simple as possible for our customers to recycle devices and do something good for the planet through Apple GiveBack. We’re also thrilled to introduce Daisy to the world, as she represents what’s possible when innovation and conservation meet.”
5. How can I get involved?
Urge your local elected officials or businesses to make a substantial tree planting commitment by starting a letter-writing campaign or online petition.
Lead a recycling drive to collect as much plastic, metal, and glass as possible.
Pick up trash at a local park or beach.
Set up a screening of an environmentally themed movie. Consider supplementing the screening with a speaker who can lead a Q&A following the film.
Published: Saturday, March 31, 2018 @ 12:25 PM
— This year, April Fools’ Day is sharing the spotlight with Easter, but there are still plenty of pranks to be found.
Along with Easter greetings, companies have been hard at work creating their April Fools’ Day pranks.
Here is a roundup of the best of them.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:50 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 10:50 PM
— Christians believe Jesus was mocked publicly and crucified on a solemn Friday more than two thousand years ago. Today, the calamitous day is celebrated as Good Friday.
But what’s so good about that?
One answer is that at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion, “good” may have referred to “holy” in Old English, a linguistic theory supported by many language experts.
According to Slate, the Oxford English Dictionary notes the Wednesday before Easter was once called “Good Wednesday.” Today, it’s more commonly known as Holy Wednesday.
And Anatoly Liberman, a University of Minnesota professor who studies the origins of English words, told Slate if we consider the alternative names for Good Friday, such as “Sacred Friday” (romance languages) or “Passion Friday” (Russian), this theory makes a lot of sense.
Another possible reason for its moniker — a theory supported by both linguists and historical evidence — refers to the holiday’s ties to Easter Sunday, which celebrates the resurrection of Christ.
Because Jesus couldn’t have been resurrected without dying, the day of his death is, in a sense, “good.”
“That terrible Friday has been called Good Friday because it led to the Resurrection of Jesus and his victory over death and sin and the celebration of Easter, the very pinnacle of Christian celebrations,” the Huffington Post reported.
A third answer, some believe, is that the “good” in Good Friday was derived from "God” or “God’s Friday” — the way the term “goodbye” comes from a contraction of the phrase “God Be With You.”
Still, not everyone refers to this day as Good Friday. For example,
The Catholic Encyclopedia mentions that, in the Greek Church, the holiday is known as "the Holy and Great Friday." In German, it's referred to as "Sorrowful Friday."
And as aforementioned, “Sacred Friday” and “Passion Friday” are also used.
In addition, because the holiday is also commemorated with a long fast, Good Friday was also referred to as “Long Friday” by the Anglo-Saxons.
Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 @ 12:40 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 @ 12:40 PM
Today marks the Ides of March, which may vaguely remind you of a high school English class. Here are some things to know about the 15th day of the month.
Day marks the assassination of Julius Caesar
Most famously on this date, some 2,060 years ago, Roman dictator Julius Caesar died in an assassination by senators at the Curia of Pompey.
Tensions had been simmering between senators and Caesar before his death, fueled by Caesar's continued consolidation of power. However, Caesar considered the senators his allies. Just a few years before his death, Caesar was named “dictator in perpetuity,” a move that further strained relations.
According to historians, sixty senators planned and participated in the conspiracy to kill Caesar in 44 B.C.
Death marked a turning point in Roman history
Caesar was popular with the lower class people of Rome, who saw his death as an unwelcome decision made by the aristocratic class. With Caesar no longer leading, potential leaders waged war to fill the power vacuum.
The civil wars eventually culminated in the end of the Roman Republic and beginning of the Roman Empire.
'Beware the Ides of March' made famous by Shakespeare
In case you really did forget your high school English class, it's worth noting the phrase “Beware the Ides of March” was immortalized by William Shakespeare in his tragic masterpiece “Julius Caesar.”
In the play, a soothsayer warns Caesar to be careful on March 15, although the ruler ignores the mystic with tragic consequences.
Famous line based on historical events
It may come as a surprise to know the well-known phrase was actually inspired by real events.
According to Greek historian Plutarch, a seer really did warn Caesar that he would be at the very least injured by the Ides of March.
Caesar did not heed the warning.
On the day of his death, he saw the oracle and joked that he had made it to the Ides of March, to which the seer responded the day had not yet ended.
So why is it called the "Ides of March?"
The Romans kept track of days on its calendar by dividing each month up into three separate points marking the beginning, middle and end of the month. You may have guessed it but the Ides fall in the middle of the month, on the 15th of March, May, July and October and the 13th for the rest of the year.
The Ides were sacred and marked a monthly sacrifice to the Roman god Jupiter. Various other religious observances also took place on the Ides of March.
Other famous events on this day
1972: Forty-four years ago (yes, that number is right) Francis Ford Coppola's three-hour crime epic "The Godfather" first played in theaters. Before "Jaws" came along in 1976, the film was the highest-grossing film ever made. It went on to win three Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.
1917: Czar Nicholas II was forced by the revolting Russian people to abdicate the throne after ruling the country for more than 20 years. The February Revolution -- so named because Russia used the Julian calendar at the time -- broke out just four days before the czar abdicated his throne.
1767: Our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, was born on this day somewhere between the Carolinas near the end of the colonial era. His exact place of birth is disputed.