Have a Ball for National Tennis Day!

Hey, Tennis Fanatics!

If you love nothing more than swatting your racket through the air to send a fuzzy, little, lime-green  ball speeding to a focused target with intentions to score on your opponent, then you’ll find today’s Blog post right up your alley! In celebration of National Tennis Day, we’re talking about this popular sport played on the court!

Tennis has come a long way. Prestigious tennis organizations such as the US Open July 26, 2011 Photographs from Western Racquet Club in Elm Grove where they are unveiling tennis courts with smaller dimensions that are made for kids 10 and under.  United States Tennis Association is making changes that also include the sizes of racquets and balls.  Here Jodi Keller of Wauwatosa (center) plays tennis  on one of the reduced size courts with sons Charlie Keller, age 5 (red shirt at left) and Jack Keller age 9 (right in yellow). (which boasts 137 years of operation since it was first founded in 1881), have brought tennis competitions to the world over for years upon years. But the sport of Tennis certainly goes back much longer than any of these organizations do.

First mentioned in Middle Ages literature, tennis is the sport that Sir Gawain—the knight from King Arthur’s round table—plays against a group of giants in ‘The Turke and Gawain’. Here’s a couplet taken from the Old English poem written by Bishop Thomas Percy:

The King said, “Gawaine, faire mot then fall!
Goe feitch me forth my tennisse ball”

You’ll notice the king says to fetch his tennis ball, but makes no mention of a racquet. Mr. Percy probably just couldn’t find a rhyme, right?

Well, actually, tennis has evolved over the course of hundreds of years from its initial invention in which players used their bare hands to hit the ball. It wasn’t until some time between the 1200s and the 1400s that the predecessor to the racquet came onto the courts; it was a glove. And, by the 16th Century, the glove had been replaced with the wire racquet closely resembling what we know today.

If you’re an aficionado of this court sport, check out the modern equipment you can pick up at the Everything Summer Camp website by clicking right here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Chopstick Etiquette

Hey, Silverware Users!

Along with the majority of the world, you’ve likely grown accustomed to the handheld utensils we have for eating like the always-handy fork, the aiding knife, and the ever-helpful spoon. But today, I’m talking about the alternative to silverware—a much older method oDo you know how to use chopsticks?f handling food without one’s hands. I’m talking about chopsticks, of course, as it only seems appropriate on National Chopsticks Day!

A much older means of eating utensils, chopsticks have cutlery beat by many a millennium. It’s hard to say just how long since chopsticks have their roots in all the way back in ancient times. We can say with absolute certainty that they’ve been around for about the last 3500 years. But chances are they go back much further than that.

Using chopsticks as opposed to traditional silverware is quite a foreign experience if you’ve never done it before. But even for those of you who are rather handy with a pair of chopsticks, I’ve put together a short list of chopstick etiquette with which you may not be familiar.

Left or Right?
We all know (or were taught anyway) that your dinner fork is set on the left of your plate, but where do you put your chopsticks? Turns out they go in the same spot as the fork (though, below the plate is also acceptable in Chinese table setting).

Don’t Knock It
If you want to show your level of class, you’ll definitely resist your urges to knock on bowls or other dishes with your chopsticks. This act is associated in China as beggar behavior.

No Digging 
It’s considered impolite to “dig” for a preferred ingredient. This notion comes from the regular practice of taking food from a common dish—the idea being that the people with whom you are dining will be made to feel like they’re eating the food you rejected.

Straight Up
It’s not a good idea to stick your chopsticks so they stand up in a bowl of rice. It’s considered offensive since it is a traditional Chinese practice to stick burning incense in rice when honoring their dead.

Don’t Cross Me!
Much the same here in the States that the √ symbol signifies approval while an × means denial, this notion lands on the Chinese dinner table; laying your chopsticks down so they are crossing one another could be taken as an offense to your dining company so it’s best to avoid it.

So, now that you have some guidance on the etiquette, try putting down the fork and your other eating utensils today and pick up a pair of timeless chopsticks! You may find you prefer them to the silverware you’ve always known. Happy Chopsticks Day and, as always, thanks for reading, everybody!

- John

Australia Trivia!

G’day, Mates!

We may not have any folks working at Everything Summer Camp who are from Australia. We may not even know anybody who knows anybody who IS AustralianCroichey! Today's post is about a whole continent!. But we still wanted to observe National Australia Day because of what a cool continent it is. And so, to recognize and honor this holiday, I compiled a small list of several interesting facts about this unique continent. Check it out.

Smaller Than The U.S.
By far the smallest of the seven continents, Australia is actually even smaller than the United States! Compare the land size of Australia up against the land size of the Australia is actually just about the same size as The United States.contiguous 48 states of the U.S. and you’ll discover that Australia is a mere seven square kilometers smaller than the States.

Exclusive Ecosystem
Over 80% of plants and animals are unique only to the continent of Australia. Some of the most well-known species of native animals include the koala, kangaroo (which is on the menu in Australia, believe it or not), dingo, echidna, Imagine running into one of these guys out on the Aussie streets.platypus, wallaby, and wombat. But, aside from zoos, these creatures don’t live anywhere else on the planet.

Penal Colony
Australia was a giant penal colony back in the day. A penal colony is a remote area of land used to exile prisoners in ultimate separation from the outside world. When building its first police force, Australian government decided to hire the best behaved convicts. And though this may seem like unusual practice, this method continues to this day.

Put another shrimp on the barbie and enjoy welcoming the Australian spirit into your very beginning. We appreciate you joining us today in saluting this very interesting land—smallest of the seven continents on the planet, across the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy celebrating National Australia Day and learning mBeautiful views of Australian lands.ore about this country-sized island. And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Winnie the WHO?

Hey, Fans of Pooh Bear!

Deep in the hundred-acre woods where Christopher Robin Milne played is where the inspiration came for everybody’s favorite honey-loving bear—Winnie the Pooh! Okay, so maybe it wasn’t in the Hundred-Acre Woods. It was more like the Ashdown Forest which currently covers ten square miles or roughly 6000 acres (a bit bigger than its fictionalized likeness).Happy Birthday, A. A. Milne!

Lucky for today’s birthday boy—A. A. Milne, the author who brought us Winnie-the-Pooh—he lived on the northern edge of Ashdown Forest where he would take frequent walks with his young son, Christopher Robin.

But his son and the Ashdown Forest weren’t the only means of inspiration for Mr. Milne, however. The character of Pooh Bear himself was actually his son’s favorite stuffed teddy along with a plush piglet, a tiger, a couple kangaroos, and a donkey who had seen better days (all of whom can still be seen at the New York Public Library except for Every one of Christopher Robin's old toys (except for Roo who was lost in the 30's).Roo who was lost in the 30’s as well as Owl and Rabbit who were imagined solely for the books).

A. A. Milne was born 136 years ago in 1882. In his younger years, he was taught by the great British author H.G. Wells—writer of many timeless classics such as ‘The Time Machine’ and ‘War of the Worlds’. Milne also played on an amateur ‘Cricket’ team alongside the celebrated author who created Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle. By the time his education had ended, time soon came for Milne to join the British Army and fight in the first World War.

When he returned home from the war, Milne was married to his wife, Dorothy and they had their son, Christopher. But as history would have it, he was called away yet again when World War II began in 1939. After the war, his life saw a number of unfortunate changes. A stroke, for one instance, left him in a wheelchair until the day he died at the age of 74.

But this celebrated author once commented that “A writer wants something more than money for his work: he wants permanence.” Mr. A. A. Milne certainly has been granted the permanence of which he spoke through the lasting love people have for “Winnie the Pooh” and the adventures he penned in the Hundred-Acre Woods. Happy Birthday, A. A.

If you’re ever lucky enough to see Ashdown Forest near London, you can check out this site for tourism information and, as always, thanks for reading!

- JohnWinnie the Pooh after his Disney-fication.

The New Year is Here!

Happy New Year!

Today it’s time to wring out the old and ring in the new! Here we are in 2018, leaving the good and the bad of the previous year behind us and eager to build on an entire, fresh year that’s rolling out before our feet! From everyone here at Everything SummWring out the old and ring in the new!er Camp, we hope your New Year’s Eve celebration gave a warm welcome to 2018 and that you’re having a wonderful start to this new year!

While there are no real set traditions for the “common” festivities that we typically partake in on New Year’s Day, we all tend to celebrate in a similar fashion. Families are likely to get together and might have a nice meal. The day is usually taken in a laidback approach with lots of snacks indoor games or televised football events. After all, lots of folks are tired from the midnight celebration from the night before as it’s tradition to countdown at 11:59pm.

It’s no surprise that New Years Day ends up more or less of a lazy day. In fact, a good number of people do absolutely nothing! And that means literally, NOT a THING! It can be nice, enjoying a day that way.

For many folks, New Year’s Day is a holiday in which it’s perfectly acceptable to stay in your bathrobe until the afternoon, when everyone in your house takes a nap, and snacking on treats and junk food goes on throughout your waking hours. In other words, New Year’s Day is a giant break from the previously hectic season!

It may not have the thematic qualities of other holidays, but it’s typically one of the most relaxed ones. Be sure you enjoy yourself this new year and enjoy the last of your days off before your winter break comes to an end. Happy New Year once again and, as always, thanks for reading.

 

- John

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Everything Summer Camp!

People have been celebrating the Christmas holiday for a very long time and carried out some of its most well-known traditions for even longer. Rituals like caroling and exchanging gifts date back at least to the1600s while bringing trees into our homes is a literally ancient custom. These traditions have come to mean a lot to folks who love this day of the year, as they should.Merry Christmas from Everything Summer Camp.

There’s certainly nobody working today at Everything Summer Camp! Everyone from our business family will be spending the day with our families at home, enjoying all the traditional gift-exchanging, feasting, and all-around merrymaking. That’s what I do every year anyway!

Each season provides us with its own specific mood and this particular season was made to be spent in the jolly, warm company of those whom we hold dearest. This season may contain the coldest, darkest day of the year, but we do all we can to brighten it with our cheerfulness, our good will, quality time together.

Unlike previous years, my family from Southern Wisconsin is coming up to visit me and my other siblings in Northern Wisconsin. We always tend to really immerse ourselves in the holiday spirit, so there are lots of smiles, laughs, and merriment whenever we’re all together.Christmas trees are essential.

As I previously mentioned, so many of our holiday traditions such as giving gifts, caroling, 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 a very long time 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. Merry Christmas!

- John

Is it just me or is it getting dark out?

Hey, Northerners!

North of the equator, that is…today is the Winter Solstice—a magical day of the year. This day is a reminder from Mother Nature of just how harsh and unforgiving she can be. That’s especially so this time of year the further north you go. We’re located in Northern Wisconsin here at Everything Summer Camp, where Winter Solstices are always cold, dark, and typically covered in ice and snow. But we only scratch the surface of winter brutality!

Some theorize that Stonehenge was built to establish when the Solstices occurred.

Some theorize that Stonehenge was built to establish when exactly the Solstices would occur.

This year, we’ll see just under nine hours of daylight in Boyd, Wisconsin (roughly the same amount as New York City). If you travel to Helsinki, Finland, you’ll be getting something shy of six hours of daylight! That’s less than a typical school or workday. And, even worse than that, if you go to Barrow, Alaska, you won’t even see a sunrise!

As you can imagine this cycle made our ancient ancestors pretty nervous with the concern that the sun would continue to grow more and more distant until one day it simply blipped out of sight completely. Without a better scientific understanding of the natural cycles of the planet, this seemed like a perfectly reasonable concern. What they didn’t realize is that the sun was just on the other end of the planet

While the North Pole hadn’t seen a sunrise since October,the South Pole is being showered in nightly sunrays until March. Which is when things here in Northern Wisconsin will start to warm up; it’s time for the planet’s second winter solstice.

It’s easy to be“hemisphere-o-centric”—after all, the vast majority of people on the planet live in the northern hemisphere—but the other side of the planet certainly gets a winter solstice as well. Since Earth’s orbit is tilted on its axis the hemispheres trade off over the course of a year on which one sees direct sun. So,while we’re celebrating our Winter Solstice on December 21, folks south of the equator are seeing their Summer Solstice. They’ll get their Winter Solstice around June 21—when we get our Summer Solstice.

It can be hard to visualize just from reading about it, so I’ve included the most helpful visual I could find.Enjoy as many hours of daylighThe axis of the planet creates alternating seasons.t as you can today and stay nice and warm during the dark! As always, thanks for reading!

- John

The Right Tree

Hey, Tree People!

At Everything Summer Camp, we certainly Tree Christmastime as much as we Tree Camp! And when it comes to Treeing things, there’s no better kind of tree to Tree than the Evergreen Tree! And there’s no better day than today to appreciate your love for Evergreen Trees. Today is Look for an Evergreen Day, so if you don’t already have in your home, get out and find yourself a nice tree.Find out what ESC folks are doing for Christmas.

Evergreens merit our admiration and awe with their unchanging green needles and their incredible resilience to harsh winters. Not only do they deserve our respect, but they GET it as well! We bring them into our homes for the holidays. We dress them up in lights and hang shiny objects on them. We write odes about them (O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree), and soon…

When it comes to finding a tree for your home this time of year, tradition has it that you simply must. But tradition is nonspecific as to when exactly you should. Some folks can hardly wait—and don’t wait—for Thanksgiving to pass. Others stick to the month of December while others don’t bother until just a few days before Christmas. Those who stick to real trees are more likely to wait a little while as they’re working with a time frame.

My entire life, I’ve never decorated a real tree. Every tree I’ve ever put up in my home has been an artificial one—much easier to manage and you decide how long you have it out for. These are found in any department store and come inside a corrugated box with All lit up.assembly required. Packing this rectangular cube into your backseat in some store parking lot isn’t the same tradition of tying a real tree to the top of your vehicle, but you can’t beat the convenience!

Though I didn’t buy anything, I took my first walk through a Christmas Tree Lot this year. Creating such a pretty, serene setting, I can understand why folks prefer to go shopping for a real tree in these atmospheric lots.

However, if you really want to embrace the spirit of ‘Look for an Evergreen Day’, then I suggest you forage your own path through the wilderness to find the perfect tree which is still in the ground—just like they used to do in olden times and in the Griswold family. Whatever you end up doing, be sure to appreciate the tree you put in your home and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Time to Celebrate Hannukah

Happy Hannukah!

Sunset tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah this year! What ensues of this tradition will be eight days and nights in which its observers celebrate with latkes, dreidels, and lighting the Hanukkiah (which is the traditional candleholder that is often mistakenly called a menorah). Just what is this celebration about? Read on to delve into the subject to take a deeper look.Are you ready to celebrate the miracle?Unlike Christmas, which arrives on Dec. 25 every year, Hannukah’s date jumps around from year to year on the Gregorian calendar. It arrives consistently on the 25 of Kislev—a month of the Hebrew calendar. Unlike the Gregorian calendar which considers just the earth and the sun, the Hebrew calendar which is lunisolar because it’s based on the sun and the moon as well.

We go back to 165 B.C. to understand the history of Hanukkah, when a Jewish rebel army known as the Maccabees defeated the Syrians and rededicated their holy temple in Jerusalem. This eight-day holiday celebrates a seven-day miracle in which the Maccabees only had enough oil to light the temple’s eternal flame for a single day, but even so the lamp kept on burning for eight!

The lighting of the nine-branched candleholder—often times incorrectly referred to as a menorah—is actually called a Hanukkiah. A menorah, on the other hand, has only seven candleholders—like the lamp that was used by the Maccabees in the ancient holy temple in Jerusalem.

Hanukkiahs have nine candleholders, which designates a candle for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah as well as one more for lighting the others. If you celebrate Hanukkah, you now can educate your friends and family on the holiday you’re about to celebrate! Enjoy your traditional tasty treats, fun games and toys, and the time you spend to honor the miracle. Happy Hanukkah and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Thankful for Good Deals

Hey, Thankful Folks!

Our Thanksgiving celebration has come a long way since the Pilgrims first made their arrival to the New World in 1620. They celebrated a day of thanksgiving (a much more common day of celebration before the official holiday came alThe menu was pretty different from the one we know and love today.ong) with a menu consisting of deer, various types of fowl (like turkey and duck), fish (like cod and bass), and flint corn. Also, there was no Macy’s Day Parade or Detroit Lions matchup.

Days of thanksgiving were once held rather frequently throughout the year as a European custom that the Pilgrims brought along with them when they came to the New World. What were they so thankful for all the time? Anything! It might have been a crop that came in really well that year, the end of a drought, or simply making it through a harsh winter.

These eats are pretty different from the first celebration!But it was Ms. Sarah Josepha Hale who eventually proposed our current feast. She also campaigned for this holiday for 20 years—she was 75 by the time she finally succeeded! She convinced Lincoln by mail that this would be a good holiday to help unify the country after the Civil War (sort of the ultimate Thanksgiving Day).

And on top of our revamped feast as well as our traditional parade and football game, Thanksgiving has been taking on a new tradition as Black Friday continues to push stores’ opening hours earlier and earlier. The shopping experience now overlaps with the Thanksgiving evening, creating what some refer to as ‘Grey Thursday’.

Lazy Thanksgiving evenings areCheck out deals going all week long at Everything Summer Camp! now designated time to prepare yourself: peruse those ads and map out your route so you’ll be ready to embark on a carefully strategized night of shopping. We know you probably have lots of plotting and planning for this night, so we like to make things easy on our customers by giving them the entire week of Black Friday sales. Check out the most amazing of our deals this year by clicking here and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John