facts!

December 11, 2008 by

Here are some cool facts about Christmas!  Did you know any of these facts?

Christmas Holiday Trivia

*The word Christmas is Old English, a contraction of Christ’s Mass.

*The first president to decorate the white house Christmas tree in the United States was Franklin Pierce, 1853 to 1857.

franklinpierce21

 *Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.

 *The first Christmas cards were  invented in 1843, the Victorian Era.

*”It’s a Wonderful Life” appears on TV more often than any other holiday movie.sjff_01_img02411

 *The Montgomery Ward company, the Chicago-based retail operator, had purchased and distributed children’s coloring books as Christmas gifts for their customers for several years. In 1939, Montgomery Ward used one of their own employees to create a book for them, thus saving money. Robert L. May, a 34-year old copywriter, wrote the story of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer in 1939, and 2.4 million copies were handed out that year. Despite the wartime, when paper was at a premium, over 6 million copies were distributed by 1946.rudolph

 *”The Nutcracker” is the most famous Christmas ballet.

 *”Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving and then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.

 *If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, you would receive 364 presents.

*The poinsettia plant was brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800’s.

 *Holly berries are poisonous.

 *In 1843, “A Christmas Carol” was written by Charles Dickens in just six weeks.

 *The first state to recognize the Christmas holiday officially was Alabama

 *Christmas became a national holiday in America on June, 26, 1870.

 *Coca Cola was the first beverage company to use Santa for a winter promotion.lg_santa_1931

 *Clearing up a common misconception, in Greek, X means Christ. That is where the word “X-Mas” comes from. Not because someone took the “Christ” out of Christmas.

 *Traditionally, Christmas trees are taken down after Epiphany (January 6th).

 * More diamonds are sold around Christmas than any other time of the year.

How did you do?  Did you know any of that stuff?  What is your favorite part of Christmas?  Write in the comments section!

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expensive

December 10, 2008 by

I thought this was funny!

The complete catalog of gifts in the old Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” today would cost you a total of $15,231.72.

J. Patrick Bradle, chief economist at Provident National Bank in Philidelphia, figures the breakdown of prices for the 12 days as follows:

*One partridge in a pear tree – $27.48 (partridge, $15; pear tree, $12.48)

         * Two turtle doves – $50

* Three French hens – $15

* Four calling birds – $280

* Five golden rings – $600

* Six geese-a-laying – $150

* Seven swans-a-swimming – $7,000

* Eight maids-a-milking – $30.40

* Nine ladies dancing – $2,417.90

* Ten lords-a-leaping – $2,686.56

* Eleven pipers piping – $947.70

* Twelve drummers drumming – $1,026.68

Whoa!

Dessert Club

December 9, 2008 by

 novdec-2008-0571In the house of Mrs. Crow is a group of kids are learning bible studies in the most funnest and exciting way, they are reading the book called The Tales Of The Kingdom and it’s a book totally relating to God and what He does for us. Each chapter is a different message from God but still connects the story. But one of the best parts is that you get dessert while learning about God.

Thanksgiving

November 17, 2008 by

In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. This harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonists and Native Americans. Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.

Food preparation

Historians have also recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Berkeley Plantation, Virginia. At this site near the Charles River in December of 1619, a group of British settlers led by Captain John Woodlief knelt in prayer and pledged “Thanksgiving” to God for their healthy arrival after a long voyage across the Atlantic. This event has been acknowledged by some scholars and writers as the official first Thanksgiving among European settlers on record. Whether at Plymouth, Berkeley Plantation, or throughout the Americas, celebrations of thanks have held great meaning and importance over time. The legacy of thanks, and particularly of the feast, have survived the centuries as people throughout the United States gather family, friends, and enormous amounts of food for their yearly Thanksgiving meal.

What Was Actually on the Menu?

What foods topped the table at the first harvest feast? Historians aren’t completely certain about the full bounty, but it’s safe to say the pilgrims weren’t gobbling up pumpkin pie or playing with their mashed potatoes. Following is a list of the foods that were available to the colonists at the time of the 1621 feast. However, the only two items that historians know for sure were on the menu are venison and wild fowl, which are mentioned in primary sources. The most detailed description of the “First Thanksgiving” comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakersof our plenty.

Foods That May Have Been on the Menu

Seafood: Cod, Eel, Clams, Lobster
Wild Fowl: Wild Turkey, Goose, Duck, Crane, Swan, Partridge, Eagles
Meat: Venison, Seal
Grain: Wheat Flour, Indian Corn
Vegetables: Pumpkin, Peas, Beans, Onions, Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots
Fruit: Plums, Grapes
Nuts: Walnuts, Chestnuts, Acorns
Herbs and Seasonings: Olive Oil, Liverwort, Leeks, Dried Currants, Parsnips

What Was Not on the Menu
Surprisingly, the following foods, all considered staples of the modern Thanksgiving meal, didn’t appear on the pilgrims’s first feast table:

Ham: There is no evidence that the colonists had butchered a pig by this time, though they had brought pigs with them from England.
Sweet Potatoes/Potatoes: These were not common.
Corn on the Cob: Corn was kept dried out at this time of year.
Cranberry Sauce: The colonists had cranberries but no sugar at this time.

Pumpkin Pie: It’s not a recipe that exists at this point, though the pilgrims had recipes for stewed pumpkin.
Chicken/Eggs: We know that the colonists brought hens with them from England, but it’s unknown how many they had left at this point or whether the hens were still laying.
Milk: No cows had been aboard the Mayflower, though it’s possible that the colonists used goat milk to make cheese.

Seventeenth Century Table Manners:
The pilgrims didn’t use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. They wiped their hands on large cloth napkins which they also used to pick up hot morsels of food. Salt would have been on the table at the harvest feast, and people would have sprinkled it on their food. Pepper, however, was something that they used for cooking but wasn’t available on the table.

In the seventeenth century, a person’s social standing determined what he or she ate. The best food was placed next to the most important people. People didn’t tend to sample everything that was on the table (as we do today), they just ate what was closest to them.

Serving in the seventeenth century was very different from serving today. People weren’t served their meals individually. Foods were served onto the table and then people took the food from the table and ate it. All the servers had to do was move the food from the place where it was cooked onto the table.

Pilgrims didn’t eat in courses as we do today. All of the different types of foods were placed on the table at the same time and people ate in any order they chose. Sometimes there were two courses, but each of them would contain both meat dishes, puddings, and sweets.

More Meat, Less Vegetables
Our modern Thanksgiving repast is centered around the turkey, but that certainly wasn’t the case at the pilgrims’s feasts. Their meals included many different meats. Vegetable dishes, one of the main components of our modern celebration, didn’t really play a large part in the feast mentality of the seventeenth century. Depending on the time of year, many vegetables weren’t available to the colonists.

The pilgrims probably didn’t have pies or anything sweet at the harvest feast. They had brought some sugar with them on the Mayflower but by the time of the feast, the supply had dwindled. Also, they didn’t have an oven so pies and cakes and breads were not possible at all. The food that was eaten at the harvest feast would have seemed fatty by 1990’s standards, but it was probably more healthy for the pilgrims than it would be for people today. The colonists were more active and needed more protein. Heart attack was the least of their worries. They were more concerned about the plague and pox.

Surprisingly Spicy Cooking
People tend to think of English food at bland, but, in fact, the pilgrims used many spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and dried fruit, in sauces for meats. In the seventeenth century, cooks did not use proportions or talk about teaspoons and tablespoons. Instead, they just improvised. The best way to cook things in the seventeenth century was to roast them. Among the pilgrims, someone was assigned to sit for hours at a time and turn the spit to make sure the meat was evenly done.

Since the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians had no refrigeration in the seventeenth century, they tended to dry a lot of their foods to preserve them. They dried Indian corn, hams, fish, and herbs.

Dinner for Breakfast: Pilgrim Meals:
The biggest meal of the day for the colonists was eaten at noon and it was called noonmeat or dinner. The housewives would spend part of their morning cooking that meal. Supper was a smaller meal that they had at the end of the day. Breakfast tended to be leftovers from the previous day’s noonmeat.

In a pilgrim household, the adults sat down to eat and the children and servants waited on them. The foods that the colonists and Wampanoag Indians ate were very similar, but their eating patterns were different. While the colonists had set eating patterns–breakfast, dinner, and supper–the Wampanoags tended to eat when they were hungry and to have pots cooking throughout the day.

Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation

peanut butter

November 12, 2008 by

November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month! How much do you know about peanut butter?

1. On an annual basis, approximately how much of the U.S. peanut crop is used to make peanut butter?

a. 10%     b. 90%      c. 50%     d. 1%

2. It’s one of the most recognizable labels in the United States. Which one of these depicts the true Jif logo?

jiffy                                                                                                                  

3.  True or False: Peanut butter was invented in 1903 by George Washington Carver.

4. Reese’s Pieces peanut butter-flavored candies appeared prominently in which of these 1980s motion pictures?

a.  The Breakfast Club     b.  Back To The Future     c. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial     d. Ghostbusters

5. True or False: Elvis Presley once spent more than $5000 to fly 21 of his friends to Colorado to enjoy a peanut butter, jelly, and bacon sandwich.

6. Jimmy Carter was the second U.S. president who worked as a peanut farmer before (and after) taking office. Who was the first?

a. Thomas Jefferson     b. Harry Truman     c. Warren Harding     d. Ulysses Grant

7. True or False: The United States grows about two-thirds of the world’s peanut crop each year.

8. A 2005 survey by the folks at Smuckers revealed that grape jelly is the top choice for peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. What flavor jelly ranked second on the list?

a. apple     b.  orange marmelade     c. strawberry     d. blackberry

How do you think you did?  I’ll put the answers in the comments section.  Thanks to Mental Floss for the quiz.

myths

November 10, 2008 by

The reason that we have so many myths associated with Thanksgiving is that it is an invented tradition. It doesn’t originate in any one event. It is based on the New England puritan Thanksgiving, which is a religious Thanksgiving, and the traditional harvest celebrations of England and New England and maybe other ideas like commemorating the pilgrims. All of these have been gathered together and transformed into something different from the original parts.

– James W. Baker, Senior Historian at Plimoth Plantation

 

Myth: The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and the pilgrims celebrated it every year thereafter.

 

Fact: The first feast wasn’t repeated, so it wasn’t the beginning of a tradition. In fact, the colonists didn’t even call the day Thanksgiving. To them, a thanksgiving was a religious holiday in which they would go to church and thank God for a specific event, such as the winning of a battle. On such a religious day, the types of recreational activities that the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians participated in during the 1621 harvest feast–dancing, singing secular songs, playing games–wouldn’t have been allowed. The feast was a secular celebration, so it never would have been considered a thanksgiving in the pilgrims minds.

Myth: The original Thanksgiving feast took place on the fourth Thursday of November.

Fact: The original feast in 1621 occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11. Unlike our modern holiday, it was three days long. The event was based on English harvest festivals, which traditionally occurred around the 29th of September. After that first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists, Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Indians. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating thanksgiving after the harvest.

During the American Revolution a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November, which he may have correlated it with the November 21, 1621, anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod. Since then, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941).

 

Myth: The pilgrims wore only black and white clothing. They had buckles on their hats, garments, and shoes.

 

Fact: Buckles did not come into fashion until later in the seventeenth century and black and white were commonly worn only on Sunday and formal occasions. Women typically dressed in red, earthy green, brown, blue, violet, and gray, while men wore clothing in white, beige, black, earthy green, and brown.

Myth: The pilgrims brought furniture with them on the Mayflower.

Fact: The only furniture that the pilgrims brought on the Mayflower was chests and boxes. They constructed wooden furniture once they settled in Plymouth.

Myth: The Mayflower was headed for Virginia, but due to a navigational mistake it ended up in Cape Cod Massachusetts.

Fact: The Pilgrims were in fact planning to settle in Virginia, but not the modern-day state of Virginia. They were part of the Virginia Company, which had the rights to most of the eastern seaboard of the U.S. The pilgrims had intended to go to the Hudson River region in New York State, which would have been considered “Northern Virginia,” but they landed in Cape Cod instead. Treacherous seas prevented them from venturing further south.

rainbows

October 27, 2008 by

The techical details of rainbow formation were first analyzed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1665. His brilliant optics work concerning reflection and refraction certainly does not detract from the beauty and promise of the rainbow. On the contrary, Newton’s scientific insights show the moarvelous complexity of creation. The rainbow is a gracious pledge God will not destroy the earth a second time with a worldwide flood (Genesis 9: 11-17).

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of a covenant between me and the earth… Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:13,15)

A rainbow occurs when raindrops and sunshine cross paths. Sunlight consists of all the colors of light, which add together to make white illumination. When sunlight enters water drops, it reflects off their inside surfaces. While passing through the droplets, he light also separates into its component colors, which is similar to the effect of a glass prism. Each falling water drop actually flashes its colors to the observer for just an instant, before another drop takes its place.

A rainbow is usually seen in the opposite direction in the sky from the sun. The rainbow light is reflected to the eye at an angle of 42° to the original ray of sunlight. The bow shape is actually part of a cone of light that is cut off by the horizon. If you travel toward the end of a rainbow, it will move ahead of you, maintaining its shape. Because the 42°  angle is measured form each individual’s eye, no two people see exactly the same rainbow.


The bright, primary rainbow has red on the outer edge and blue within. Higher in the sky there is always another, dimmer rainbow with the oder of colors reversed. This secondary rainbow results from additional sulight reflection through the raindrops. It is most visible when there are dark clouds behind it.

extremes

October 20, 2008 by

The earth has a vast surface area, nearly 200 million square miles. A great variation in weather covers this expanse. The following list describes just a few places with unusual distinctions:

Mt. Waialeale in Kauai, Hawaii
averages 460 inches of rain (38 feet) each year. At an altitude of nearly a mile, the cold temperatures squeeze the moisture from rising ocean air.
Northern Chile
is one of the driest places on earth. Cold ocean currents prevent the formation of clouds, and in places there is no recorded rain in over 400 years. Ground water and dew formation allow the growth of hardy grasses.
Central Uganda in Africa
averages 242 thunderstorm days a year.
Libya
had the highest air temperature ever recorded. In 1922, in the shade, the temperature was 136° F. Death Valley, California has recorded a temperature of 134° F.
Antarctica
has the lowest temperature ever recorded, which was -129° F in 1983.
Silver Lake, Colorado
recorded 6.3 feet of snowfall in a 24 hour period in 1921.
Holt, Missouri
experienced 12 inches of rain in just 42 minutes, in 1947.

People live near each of the above locations, in spite of the weather extremes. The Creator has given an abundance of plants and animals that thrive in seemingly impossible places. He is in control.

pennies

October 16, 2008 by

Next year, the design on the US penny will change for the first time in 50 years. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, the US Mint will replace the Lincoln Memorial on the back to four different scenes from Lincoln’s life. The first pennies will be released on February 12th, 2009 (Licoln’s actual birthday) and feature the log cabin where he was born in Kentucky. The other designs will be introduced in three-month intervals

friendship

September 10, 2008 by

The following fable is by Aesop:

Two Travelers were on the road together, when a Bear suddenly appeared on the scene.  Before he observed them, one made for a tree at the side of the road, and climbed up into the branches and hid there.  The other was not so nimble as his companion; and, as he could not escape, he threw himself on the ground and pretended to be dead.  The Bear came up and sniffed all around him, but he kept perfectly still and held his breath; for they say that a bear will not touch a dead body.  The Bear took him for a corpse, and went  away.  When the coast was clear, the Traveler in the tree came down, and asked the other what it was the Bear had whispered to him when he put his mouth to his ear.  The other replied, “He told me never again to travel with a friend who deserts you at the first sign of danger.”

How are you a good friend?  How do you show friendship?