Fr!day the ( )teenth of Oct.

Hey, Mystics!

I have some bad news for all of you. Today is Friday the 13th—a decidedly UNlucky day. It’s a day that twists the arms of many to avoid typical daily events like running errands or hanging out with friends. Some folks opt to avoid going outside entirely and, even further, a select few of those folks won’t even venture out of bedThis day of the week on this date of the month in this month of year is just all too much for this Blogger., save kitchen and bathroom trips. Under most circumstances, I’d say this reaction is ridiculous…

Today, however, I’m singing a different tune.

Friday the 13th is bad enough, but to make matters worse, today’s unlucky matchup of day and date falls in the spookiest of months: October. The month of harvest celebrations, All Hallow’s Eve, and candy corn (*gross*), October sets a beautiful, but somber tone as we enter the thick of the autumnal season and advance toward the end of the year.

Belief in the superstition of bad lucI can't take any chances on a day like today.k and other supernatural ideas lends the notion that today truly is a perfect storm of unlucky signs: an unlucky day of the week falling on an unlucky date of the month in the unluckiest month of the year. It’s so bad that you may just want to take such ridiculous precautions like not leaving your home. I say, if it means avoiding something…unlucky…sign me up.

I’m not typically one to believe in such superstitious hullabaloo, but when it gets to this point, I’d feel stupid if I didn’t take precautions. I’ve bolted my doors, turned off all phones, I even have my black cat locked up in the other room. He’ll forgive me tomorrow. Until then, I’ll be right here with my head underneath the pillows, avoiding the day as best I can. I wish the same to all of you. And, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Happy Father’s Day, Daddies!

Hey, Proud Papas!

Happy Father’s Day! Dads all around the world are honored on this day for the unconditional loving support they give to their children every day. Last month, Happy Father's Day, Fathers, from Everything Summer Camp.I posted gift ideas for mothers on Mother’s Day. Never mind that it’s already Father’s Day—doesn’t mean it’s too late to create a heartfelt gift to present to your dad.

As I prefaced in my Mother’s Day post, if a low budget (or lack of one) is what’s kept you from getting a gift for your dad, then this is the Blog post for you! These ideas are basic and require only materials that you likely already have in your house. And don’t feel bad about not buying your present; your dad will probably appreciate a homemade project more!

Greet Him with a Greeting CardMake your dad a card for Father's Day.
Make a card on your own for Father’s Day! It’s a thoughtful gift that gives you creativity so you can express to your dad exactly how you feel and not how a greeting card company assumes you do. You can go simple with an 8½” x 11” sheet of paper folded in half or get a little fancier if you’re feeling your “origami” skills and try to make this Tie and T-shirt greeting card.
Fingerpaint is a fun way to say Happy Father's Day.
Finger Paint is Handy
Sometimes creativity can be a little messy, but it’s all worth it for Father’s Day (as long as you don’t make him clean up). Have fun and get creative with your gift and see what you can do with your hands. And remember—the more fun you have, the more your father is sure to appreciate it!

Make a PictureSketch something nice for your dad today.
Maybe your dad loves to take you fishing. Maybe you two are always going golfing or playing a simple game of catch in the backyard. Whatever fun times you share with your father, show him what it means to you with a picture that makes him think of all your great times together.

Do-It-Yourself Decorations
Dads are notorious for having what’s come to be Does your dad rock with the puns too?known as ‘Dad Humor’. Their jokes are typically dripping with puns that make us cringe and moan. Give him a little bit back for Father’s Day with this punny ‘You Rock’ rock for display on a dresser top or office desk.

These are just some ideas that you’re more-than-likely able to make for your Father’s Day gift today. Or maybe these ideas have inspired a gift idea of your own. In any case, enjoy the fun in the artistic and creative process and make your father proud! Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Make your Mother Proud!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mothers are honored the world over on this day for the unconditional faith, hope, and love that they exhibit for their children every day. In a past Blog post, I discussed the history of this holiday. In another post, I disclosed what some of us at Everything Summer Camp had planned for our Mother’s Day celebrations. This year, I want to focus on gift ideas. It may already be Mother’s Day, but it’s not too late to create a heartfelt gift to present to your mother.Happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere!If a low budget (or lack of one) has kept you from preparing a Mother’s Day gift for your mom, then this is the Blog post for you! The following ideas are simple and require materials that you can likely find around-the-house. And you shouldn’t feel bad about not purchasing your Mother’s Day present; nothing says ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ quite like a homemade project!Greeting cards are a nice, simple way to say the things you want to say.

Make Your Mom a Card
Making your own card for Mother’s Day is a simple gesture that gives you the space to let your mother know exactly how you feel (not how a greeting card company supposes you do). An 8½” x 11” sheet of paper folded in half by its length transforms into a greeting card with a cover, an inside, and a back.

Get creative (and maybe a little messy too) with a message to your mother in visual art.Mother’s Day Message in Finger Paint
Creativity has the tendency to get a little messy from time to time. But, make no mistake about it, the more fun you have creating your Mother’s Day gift, the more your mother is sure to appreciate it (as long as you don’t leave a mess behind for her to clean up!). See what message you can send your mother through your own artistic expression!

Create a Picture
Tap into the visual artist inside yourself and create an image to express how your mother Do something like mixed-media artwork to show your mother your appreciation!makes you feel. You don’t have to be Michelangelo in order to create a work of art. The artist of the pictured example created a work of mixed-media art which uses a blend of techniques—in this case, a two-dimensional colored pencil sketch along with These pretty splashes of color trick the eye easily from a distance.the placement of actual flower heads.

Make Decorations
And last, you can make three-dimensional art for your mother to use as home décor. Plastic foam, straws, glue/double sided tape, ribbon, and buttons are a great means to mock flowers—an art project that’s growing in popularity. Arrange them so they ‘stand’ in a cloth within a vase and, if you’re good, your decorations might actual fool people from a distance. And your mother won’t have to worry about llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllwatering them!

These are just a few ideas that you’re more than likely to put to use for your own Mother’s Day gift. Otherwise, maybe they’ve inspired you to come up with a gift idea of your own. In any case, have fun in the creative process and make your mothers proud! Happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

The Savored Snap of Bubble Wrap

Hey, Bubbly Blog Buddies!

Today we celebrate something that we all know and love. It’s important to anyone who ever sent a package by mail, received a package by mail, or sought a therapeutic solution to boredom. Today is National Bubble Wrap Day. Let’s take a closer look at this packing material, turned cultural obsession and learn a little about it today.

Believe it or not, bubble wrap was originally invented to be used as wallpaper—not packing These rolls offer safe travel for mailed packages as well as hours upon hours of strange fun. material. In 1957, an engineer named Fielding and an inventor, Chavannes, put their minds together to create a textured wallpaper by sealing two shower curtains together, capturing air bubbles in-between.

Their ‘wallpaper’ flopped, but in the next three years, a member from Fielding and Chavannes’ marketing team, named Bowers, suggested using it for secure shipping of breakable items. By 1960, Fielding and Chavannes founded the Sealed Air Corporation to sell what they called ‘Bubble Wrap’.

A lot, actually! The same way that the popularized Kleenex brand name started being used to refer to facial tissues, Bubble Wrap is not a generic term for packing material, but actually the product name specific to Sealed Air’s invention. We just call it all ‘bubble wrap’ because of how catchy the name is. Other manufacturers of air bubble rolls, however, are OmniStar Creative, Alliance Rubber, RDH Packing Solutions, and many more.

lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllBUBBLE FUN
Of course we love This stuff is hypnotic when you stare at it for too long.Bubble Wrap for delivering all our breakables to us in one piece, but our love for it doesn’t stop there. Its practical use may be over, but, now that its job is done, who can resist releasing all those trapped little pockets of air? Denver Boy Scouts know how fun popping bubble wrap can be! Just two years ago, they set a world record for Most People Popping Bubble Wrap at once—2681 Scouts. Way to go, fellas!

Everyone is worried about sustainability nowadays—and rightly so. One thing we don’t have to worry about, however, is bubble wrap. It was a revolutionizing product in the first place, reducing package size, package weight, and using less protective material—not to mention reduced damage to shipments as well. And as for the product itself, most bubble wrap manufacturers (like Sealed Air and the others listed above) now make bubble wrap from 100% biodegradable material.

A favorite for many, popping bubble wrap is considered exciting (like when you jump on a sheet and burst a bunch all at once) as well as therapeutic (like methodically popping a whole sheet of bubble wrap one at a time). Bubble wrap popping has even inspired some creativity as you can see in the video below. Have fun popping your bubble wrap today and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Sanguine Penguins

Hey, Penguin People!

Penguins are a favorite for lots and lots of people and it’s no surprise since they’re one of the most unique and interesting birds on our planet. Their species developed in what we call the ‘Era of the Mammals’—around the same time as the first horses, whales, and monkeys of the world. However, while penguins may have arrived at the same time, they aren’t mammals…or are they?
How''d you like to spend Christmas on Penguin Island?There is much debate as to how penguins should be classified. Clearly, they’re one of the rare species of flightless birds like ostriches, emus, cassowaries, certain ducks, auks,   and a few others. But they also have blubber which is mainly a mammal thing. They also spend the vast majority of their life underwater like a fish, but they walk around on land too, as amphibians do.

How weird is that?! No wonder we have a day dedicated to this confusing bird! Celebrate Penguin Awareness Day with us and check out these facts that I put together about this amazingly bizarre bird!

They’re Not Slow.penguinos
Notorious for their upright posture and their waddling locomotion, penguins are typically depicted as slow-moving animals. This presumption, however, is completely inaccurate. In fact, there are some penguins out there, like the Adelie Penguin, that can actually move faster than most humans are able to run. And when they really need to cover some ground and FAST, they just hop on their bellies and move like toboggans!

They’re Not Fat! They’re…okay, well…they kind of are but they need that layer in order to survive..
As all marine mammals like seals, otters, orcas, and whales, penguins wear a layer of blubber under their skin too. The only bird with blubber, penguins are smart to have evolved with this trick of aquatic mammals—they would never survive the arctic temperatures without this special layer of fat.

They Drink Salt Water.
“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.”—such is the case when you’re lost at sea, but not if you’re a penguin. While salt water just won’t work with human bodies because of how salty it is, penguins can drink the stuff down all day. Thanks to a gland they have that actually filters the salt from the water, penguins will never die of dehydration by salt water.

They’re Not Afraid of Us.
Especially in comparison to other birds, penguins aren’t afraid of people. They don’t really have a reason to care much about us because penguins don’t typically have an abundance of land predators. What penguins need to watch out for are circling birds of prey overhead—that’s their biggest threat.

They Dress in Camo.
The black-and-white plumage of penguins—often associated with a white shirt and tailcoat—are actually camouflage. Camouflage from the water, that is. Their black backs are lost in the dark depths of the sea and their white stomachs are easily mistaken for the sunlight that reflects off the water’s surface. Of course, their black backs are easily seen against the snow, but I suppose it’s more important to be unseen in the water when you spend 75% of your life in the wet stuff!

It’s no wonder that we find these creatures so fascinating! Happy Penguin Awareness Day, Everyone! Learn more about our feathered friends here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Go Back to Sleep!

Hey, Sleepyheads!

Today is the Festival of Sleep—a day for loafin’ around the house and staying warm under the blankets amidst the dead of a chilly winter. In honor of the day, last year I posted about all the different benefits a good night of sleep brings to us as people—not just in the winter, but year-round. You can check out last year’s pHibernating dormouse {Muscardinus avellanarius} curled up asleep in nest, Sussex, UKost right here.

But this year, I’d like to focus more on sleeping in the winter season—or, more appropriately, THROUGH—the winter season. I’m talking about hibernation.

Unfortunately, we people don’t hibernate—much as we feel we may want to! Our bodies just aren’t biologically designed to do it. So who DOES hibernate? Oh, lots of creatures! You have bears and bats—they’re the most popularly-known—but there are also mice, chipmunks, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, snakes and a number of other reptiles, some amphibians, bees, and more.

Not all of these animals are true hibernators the way that bears and bats are. These guys fall asleep and will coast clear through winter and spring. Others, however, like raccoons and chipmunks, tend to wake up periodically to snack on some food that they have stored up. But even then, if they’ve run out of their food supply, they’ll go searching for more. Still, This guys ready for a long winter snooze.they sleep for much longer than you or I could ever dream.

What are these animals doing, you ask? Well, these creatures’ bodies have all adapted in one way or another to remain inactive as a means of conserving their energy. By slowing their metabolism and reducing their body temperature considerably, these creatures stay asleep for days, weeks, even months at a time.

Food gets to be hard to come by for some animals—especially bears, and so, instead of migrating or expanding their diet, these animals took the lazy route and make the bold move to sleep through this season of scarcity. The benefits of sleep for us—like boosting our mental, physical, and emotional well-being—are nothing compared to what sleep can do for these animals who essentially freeze time for themselves.

We may not be able to hibernate, but we can certainly pretend! Enjoy getting the most out of your Zzzz’s today and all winter long. And, as always, thanks for zzzz…
You dn't get cozier than this.

- John

Sing as Snowflakes Fall…

Merry Christmas to One and All!

The Christmas holiday has been celebrated for a long time and it’s come to mean a lot of things to the people who love this day of the year. Nobody’s working today at Everything Summer Camp! We’re all spending the holiday with our families, enjoying all the traditional gift-exchanging, feasting, and all-around merrymaking. I know that’s what I do every year!
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough, you guys.
Each season provides us with its own specific atmosphere and this particular season was made to be spent in the warm company of those who are dear to us. Despite the fact that it contains the coldest, darkest day of the year, we brighten the season up with our cheerfulness, our good will, and the company of our loved ones.

As did many of you, I’m sure, I traveled this year to be with my family. We always tend to really immerse ourselves in the holiday spirit, so there’s lots of smiles, laughs, and merriment here in my mom’s house. This will be the last Christmas for my mother and my siblings to gather in the home where we all grew up to celebrate our family Christmas so it means a lot to us all.

Many of our Christmas traditions like gift-giving, feasting, and bringing trees into our homes have been adopted from a varied past, originating from Pagan celebrations and re-popularized by none other than Charles Dickens with his still-famous Christmastime masterpiece, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

These traditions have been carried out for many, many a year and, as for me and my family, we’re all more-than-happy to carry on the age-old traditions and keep Christmas a warm day that unites us and brings us all joy. I wish togetherness, joy, and merriment to all of our summer camp families out there and, as always, Merry Christmas!
Keep the brightest star shining tonight.

- John

Happy Hanukkah from ESC!

Hey, Holidayers!

Sunset tonight begins the long-celebrated Jewish tradition of Hanukkah! Eight days and nights will follow in observance of this traditional Hebrew holiday which will take us right up to nightfall on New Year’s Day. Like any other holiday, Hanukkah is typically celebrated with a great assortment of festive foods, singing, playing games, and ritualistic traditions—like the lighting of the Hanukkiah (the traditional candleholder that is often confused for a menorah).

The eight days of Hanukkah don’t land consistently on the calendar the way Christmas does so steadily on December 25 every year. Instead, it jumps around seeHappy Hanukkah to our Jewish summer camp families!mingly with no rhyme or reason. But there is actually a method to the apparent madness. See, Hanukkah does abide by a consistent date on the calendar year after year—it’s just not the same calendar that we commonly use.

The Hebrews used a lunisolar calendar which is based on the sun and the moon whereas the traditional Gregorian calendar that we all know so well today only considers the sun and the time it takes the earth to move around it. While the date may jump around from year to year on the Gregorian calendar, Hanukkah consistently begins on the 25 of Kislev, a month of the Hebrew calendar.

When you and your family gather for your festivities this year and you enjoy your time together with song, games, and delicious Mandelbrot, we here at Everything Summer Camp wish you peace and warmth as you light your Hanukkiah in remembrance of the seven-day miracle that kept the Maccabees menorah burning for eight days, though they only had a day’s worth of oil.

Happy Hanukkah to all of our Jewish summer camp families. Keep warm in this wintry season with the love of your family and your faith and, as always, thanks for reading.

- JohnDreidels are traditional Hanukkah presents for fun games

The Longest Night of the Year

Hey, Winter Lovers!

The winter season is certainly in full swing at this point. In fact, today marks the middle of the season. Today is the Winter Solstice. Located on the opposite side of the year from the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the Winter Solstice is the day with the least amount of daylight.
The shortest day of the year.A magical day of the year, the Winter Solstice reminds us of how harsh and unforgiving mother nature can be. Especially in locations up north—like us at Everything Summer Camp in Northern Wisconsin—Winter Solstices are always cold, dark, and typically covered in ice and snow.

This day would strike fear into the hearts of our ancient ancestors and, without the science that we have today to explain the natural phenomenon of the Winter Solstice, they grew more and more worried in the days leading up to the Solstice that the sun would grow more and more distant until one day they would find that it disappeared completely!

Of course, today we understand this is simply the cycle of the seasons, but back then, it was something to really be scared about. And under such terrifying concern, people brought evergreens and palm trees (depending on their geographic location) into their homes—considering them good luck charms in this relentless season since they never lost their healthy, green color.

Christmas trees and the spirit of the holidays altogether mean gathering with those we hold closest to our hearts to prove that even through the thick of these long, cold, dark winter nights, we can make them feel like the warmest and the brightest of the year.

And when we all treat one another with peace and good will, the idea that these cold, dark nights can also be the warmest and the brightest becomes fact. It’s a beautiful thing that happens every year. Enjoy staying warm on this Winter SVery beautiful, this dim-lit day is always so pretty.olstice night and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

A Real Famous Cat all Dressed up in Red

Hey, all you good girls and boys!

Around this time of year, lots of folks start getting real excited about a magical visit that occurs on a special night from someone who goes by many names. He goes by Kris Kringle or Father Christmas, but he’s most commonly referred to as Santa. In the Netherlands, they call him Sinter Klaas.

But, of course, he initially went by just one name: Nicholas. Today is St. Nick’s Day—the perfect time to learn a little about how this little, old man got to be so world-famous!

The story begins a very long time ago (around the year 300) in a land called Lycia—which is present-day Turkey—across the Atlantic Ocean and sandwiched between the Black and Mediterranean Seas. Near the end of his childhood, poor Nicholas lost both of his parents to an epidemic that plagued the people of his home.
Who is the man behind the legend?
He went to go live with his uncle who was also named Nicholas and it was at this time that he began using his inheritance from his parents to help out the poor and sick people around his community. Back then, slavery wasn’t illegal and people could sell other people into ownership.

One of his most famous acts of kindness from his early days was inspired by Roman soldiers making a scene in the street. A poor woodcutter who had seen hard times met with even harder times when he told the soldiers that he was no longer going to be able to make his housing payments.

The soldiers told him that they would accept his three daughters in place of pay which was not acceptable to the woodcutter. The old man, however, had no real choice in the matter. Upon seeing the woodcutter in this desperate situation, Nicholas knew he had to help.

He had to keep his anonymity too—he didn’t want any attention from soldiers patrolling the streets. So Nicholas climbed his way to the rooftop of the woodcutter’s home and dropped enough bags of gold down the chimney that the woodcutter would be able to make his housing payment with a generous amount leftover!

Nicholas enjoyed helping people out so much, he made it his life’s purpose. Eventually he didn’t need to keep his anonymity for being so generous after he was appointed to be bishop, or so he thought. He did, however, end up imprisoned due to persecution against his faith for roughly 20 years!

When finally released, the Roman government had shifted its views on Christianity and Nicholas simply continued the life of goodwill he had started before his imprisonment. He was eventually made a saint for his boundless generosity.

Since he’s never stopped his tradition of giving, to this day, girls and boys find presents magically waiting for them on Christmas morning. Happy St. Nicholas Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

- JohnOh, Merry Christmas, Saint Nick