NATIONAL CRAYON DAY – Another tough choice today; do I celebrate the stationery staple of all children or the birthday of chemist Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen? With a name like that, I definitely have to acknowledge the inventor of the laboratory staple for all chemists.
NATIONAL BUNSEN BURNER DAY celebrates the open flame heater that is used throughout the world for sterilization, combustion and heating. I had many great times with the Bunsen Burner; oh, the smell of natural gas and the sound of the lighter sparking the flame. Happy Birthday Robert Bunsen!
But crayons are having a big event this year. One colour is retiring from the standard pack of Crayola 24 crayons. Yes, yellowy Dandelion is heading out to the pasture after 27 years in the box. The replacement colour will officially be named in May following their Name the New Color Contest. I thought they might have retired that weird green-yellow crayon that I never knew what to do with.
NATIONAL PENCIL DAY – I never thought a pencil should be celebrated but now that it is Pencil Day, I am going through some of my memories of great times using pencils.
As a kid, we used a pencil in school until we got a pen license. Like riding a tricycle, the pencil taught us the basics but it ultimately ‘lead’ us (hahaha get it?) to the bicycle of script … the pen.
My dad always kept fat pencils in his workbench and I used to be fascinated by his ability to sharpen them with his penknife. I especially liked the ones that had the piece of paper that unraveled at the tip.
I discovered the mechanical pencil in high school. It was a dream come true … no sharpening with constant clicking options. Good times. I also discovered that I prefer the 0.7mm lead.
When I studied engineering, we were required to learn drafting. We used a number of pencils, including the HB, 2B, 2H, and 4H. We had to know which pencil was used for which part of the drawing and we kept them very sharp. Pencils were our best friends in drafting … and calculus!
I use pencils constantly in my artwork and have a whole container that belonged to my dad. I love those pencils.
I have a few unsharpened pencils in my kitchen container right now and always seem to grab them first. It is time to sharpen them and respect their long history in my life.
Happy Pencil Day Everyone!
NATIONAL LITTLE RED WAGON DAY – the iconic red Radio Flyer, the centre of many kid’s imaginative journeys, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Based in Chicago, this family owned and run company has won awards and have kept their products simple yet current.
The original wagon was wooden but changed to steel in the 1920s. Today, there are wooden, steel and plastic varieties. Canopies, fold-down padded seats, storage areas and cup holders are possible options on the modern wagon.
Visit this link to read the interesting history of the Radio Flyer:
I would, however, like to celebrate all wagons today. When my girls were little, we spent time outdoors everyday. Many hours were spent on the driveway with a wagon, toys and other children. There were countless trips around the block with wagons and, later, tricycles. Children who had paper routes would put their dailies in wagons. My girls are still friends with many of their playmates from those days.
I have new neighbours who have children … I think. I never see the kids outside playing on the driveway, pulling a wagon with stuffed animals or anything else for that matter. I wonder, what do they do inside all day? They are missing so much. The outside world is a social world with children, dog walkers and friendly neighbours. Maybe they need a Little Red Wagon to get started.
NATIONAL BLACK FOREST CAKE DAY and NATIONAL SOMETHING ON A STICK DAY – rather than write about these two events, I decided to make a video. Things did not go as planned. But we ended up with yummy dessert-like foods. Even great things come from epic failure 🙂
NATIONAL SPANISH PAELLA DAY – My mother was from a small town and spent summers when she was young on her uncle’s farm. With many farmers in her family, we had a lifetime of down-home staples: meat, potato and vegetable dinners. But very occasionally my mom would make something she called Spanish rice. It was basically ground beef, cooked white rice and ketchup. I loved it. I can almost hear the horrified gasps of the Spanish Paella aficionados.
Spanish Paella is a savory dish including three different types of protein: chicken, seafood, and chorizo. Spices, rice, tomatoes, vegetables and saffron give paella it’s iconic taste. Recipes on the internet abound so choose your favourite and serve your delicious version of Spanish rice tonight (not my mom’s).
Happy March 27th!
NATIONAL SPINACH DAY – For most of my life, I have preferred vegetables raw rather than cooked. When I was young, my mother would put raw cauliflower or broccoli on my plate even though she cooked the vegetables for everyone else. My grandmother thought my mom was too lenient with me but as my mom pointed out … I always ate those veggies happily.
I feel the same way about spinach. I love raw spinach in a salad but not so much cooked. In it’s natural state, it is crunchy and has a nice flavour. Spinach is a fantastic food as it is full of iron, calcium, assorted vitamins and anti-oxidants.
Popularized to kids in North America by Popeye, spinach actually hails from southwestern Asia. It is believed that it was introduced to China by Nepal. There are a myriad of ways to celebrate spinach. Choose your favourite!
TOLKIEN READING DAY – in honour of Tolkien Reading Day, I learned a new word. The word is philologist. J.R.R Tolkien was an English writer, poet, professor and yes, a philologist.
Philology is the study of language from historical sources such as written records and historical texts. It is used specifically to determine authenticity and meaning from historical writings.
Tolkien Reading Day was designated by The Tolkien Society as a day to gather and share favourite passages from any of Tolkien’s works. The 25th of March is the date of the downfall of the Lord of the Rings (Sauron) and the fall of Barad-dûr.
My favourite Tolkien book was my first, the Hobbit. However, my favourite poem is from the Lord of the RIngs:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
Enjoy reading Tolkien classics today!
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED RAISIN DAY – Oddly, today has only one celebration : the Chocolate Covered Raisin.
Raisinets or Glosettes (brand names for chocolate covered raisins) are the third largest selling candy in the US. They used to remind me of movie snacks. Now they remind me of the time that I ate WAY too many and felt very sick. I did not eat this snack for a long time.
But I will happily take one for the team and pick up some dark chocolate covered raisins for an afternoon snack.
This also begs the question: what can we do with chocolate covered raisins?
- Bake them in your favourite Oatmeal cookie recipe
- Add them to a vanilla muffin mix
- Top your morning yogurt/granola mix with the dark chocolate variety
- Sprinkle on ice cream
- Toss through the air for friends or family to catch with their mouth
- Leave a handful for a friend as a treat
Enjoy! Happy March 24th!
NATIONAL CHIP AND DIP DAY – It was a difficult choice for today’s post. National Chia Day (healthy) …. National Melba Toast Day (crunchy) …. National Puppy Day (adorable). Puppies are so cute! But puppy time is fleeting. Chips and Dip, however, are an integral part of my life.
We always have the standard snacks in our house: plain wavy chips with onion dip and sour cream and onion chips. Artichoke and Asiago dip with tortillia chips are an occasional treat. But salsa, especially fresh, is my fave. I love the new bean chips and /or veggie chips with a cold, tomato dip.
But it wasn’t always like this for me. My mother did not like junk food and therefore never bought anything other than cookies. When I would visit my friend Beth (her mother bought chips), I would pray silently that she would offer me snacks. Of course, she always had them so they weren’t something she thought much about so I was rarely indulged. Maybe that is why I love them so much now.
This is making me hungry so I must go enjoy chips and dip. But first, for those of you who prefer puppies, here is a picture for National Puppy Day!
NATIONAL GOOF OFF DAY – Goofing off is intentionally avoiding work … at all costs. Do not look like you are working today, do not feel like you are working and, above all, do not tell anyone you are working today.
But let’s say, for your family’s well being and job security, that you do have to work today. Take a few moments, any moments during the day, and play. No, I do not mean Candy Crush or Trivia Crack. I mean PLAY. Unscripted, impromptu, and laugh-inducing silliness.
When my kids were younger, I used to occasionally take them to Lowes. While we there we would, without discussion, break into a game of hide and seek. The kids would be at one end of the long aisles and I would be at the other. The game was to spot someone as they were crossing the aisles or to hide from them but still keeping moving along the store. Occasionally a staff member would figure us out and start helping us. We would laugh and giggle and we still talk about this game, many years later. That is play.
If you are an employer, imagine how surprised and happy your staff would be if you suddenly started blowing bubbles with them or something equally as fun and easy. If you are a parent, the dishes can wait. Kitchen dancing is way more fun!