What We’re Cookin’ Up

Hey, Pilgrims!

We’re getting ourselves prepared for the Thanksgiving Feast in advance this year. And we thought, while we’re at it, we may as well help all of you get prepared as well. After all, there’s always so much to do come early Spatchcock for your turkey this year!Thanksgiving morning: there’s the turkey—the star of the show, you have stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and so much more.

I went around the office today, asking people to share their personal recipes for all the basic food groups that are presented in the typical Thanksgiving dinner (pretty much everything I listed above).

Mark’s Turkey
Mark, vice president of Everything Summer Camp, takes a different approach to his turkey preparation with a cooking method called spatchcocking. Check out what he does for Thanksgiving right here.

Matt’s StuffingMake yourself some delicous stuffing this holiday!
Matt, our Sales Director, makes a mean stuffing dish. Take a look at the recipe he uses every year.

Nate’s Gravy
What’s a Thanksgiving meal without any gravy on your turkey, potatoes, or stuffing?! When you make it this good, you’ll want it on everything. See what the manager of our graphics department, Nate, does for his Thanksgiving dinners.

Anita’s Mashed Potatoes
Our Call Center Supervisor, Anita has her Creamy Mashed Potatoes down to a science. Here’s how she gets them perfect every year!

Missy’s Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries? Apples? Marshmallows? This sauce didn’t come from any can. Make cranberry sauce like our Missy does for a delicious Thanksgiving treat! Get her recipe right here.

Mellina’s Pumpkin PieThis traditional pie belongs on your table this upcoming holiday!
Leave room for pie! This traditional pie is a favorite for most families at Thanksgiving. Get Mellina’s recipe for her delectable pumpkin pie recipe right here.

Tim’s Layered Jell-o
Crazy about the Jell-o his mom makes every year, Tim wanted to share this recipe for Layered Jell-o, made using cream cheese. See the recipe right here.

Art’s Stuffed Dried Fruit
This last recipe sounds like a refreshing, light, bite-sized treat after a fantastic feast! Get the recipe from our Maintenance guy, Art, right here. This one has been in his family for over 80 years!

Stick with these tried and true recipes and your Thanksgiving feast is bound to be a smash-hit among your friends and family. Enjoy the holiday and, as always, thanks for reading!Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

- John

Who’s got Halloween Fever?

Hey, Halloween Enthusiasts!

The time has come once again to parade ourselves in costumes to pretend we are who we are not. I love it. You love it. Everyone I know loves it! It’s Halloween. From Trick-or-Treating to haunted houses, you can’t go wrong with this holiday! Lots of people like to do it up for Halloween. And some of them do it up in a frighteningly fantastic way!

Take a look at three towns across the country that do Halloween BIG each year:

Park City, UtahThese streets get packed in Utah around Halloweentime!
Talk about ‘parading’ around—streets of Park City (or should I say ‘Bark’ City) in Utah actually look like a parade during their Howl-o-Ween street party. Packed with costumed travelers, Park City’s streets get a treat of a rather old tradition. Annual ghost tours are held as well in which spooky sites are visited and tales of the dead are told.

St. Helen, Oregon
After the small town of St. Helen in Oregon got a heavy dosage of decking the halls for Halloween when The Disney CThese guys got real into Halloween. Thanks, Disney Channel!hannel used their town to film their Halloween classic, ‘Halloweentown’ in 1998, the townsfolk got addicted to the all-out Halloween spirit. Because they loved it so much, they go to incredible lengths to recreate the setup each year! The town holds tours and costume contests every weekend throughout October!

Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Last, but not least, is the small town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. Not very long ago, a documentary called, ‘The American Scream’ was filmed there to focus on three families who all coincidentally live in the same neighborhood and each one as just as obsessed with Halloween as the next. Going as far as to create legitimate haunted houses in their backyards, you can check out a preview to the documentary below.

Enjoy all of your Halloween scares and treats this spooky season and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Of Comics and Summer Camp

Hey, Comic Book Fans!

A very popular piece of reading material to pack along for a fun-filled summer camp stay, comic books are ever-present in the kingdom of kids. From superheroes to graphic novels all the way across the map to the Sunday Funnies, comic books are a wonderful way to lose yourself in a world of art and imagination presented in panels and gutters!

Today is National Comic Book Day.

What better day to brush up on thwock and thud are all great exclamationsyour own collection or trade issues with a friend to check out one you haven’t seen yet? Whether you’re into the classics like the members from the Justice League or superheroes of the newer generation such as Spiderman or X-Men, get lost in the worlds that you love the most today.

Perhaps you like to do more than just READ comic books but you like conceiving of your own too. If that’s the case, you’re bound to find THIS summer camp up your alley: Randy Emberlin’s Summer Comic Book Art Camp. Look into it for yourself for next summer.

Randy Emberlin is an artist who makes comic books. Best knoWhammo! Words really can hurt you in the comic book world.wn for his work inking the Spider-Man comic books, Randy has also put his magical touch to series like Dark Horse’s ‘Ghost’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Origin Series’, the ‘Left Behind’ series, ‘Star Wars Tales’—issues 12 and 15, and more. He’s been expanding his creative work for the last 30 years!

Go for this four-day camp session open to comic enthusiasts from third grade to first-year high schoolers. Learn from Randy Emberlin himself as he gives great instruction for perspective drawing, layout, penciling, inking, coloring, and more!

Sticks and stones cann break your bones and words can give superheroes black eyes.Check out their website for yourself and enjoy National Comic Book Day by reading your favorite comic or maybe even designing your own! As always, thanks for reading!

- John

12 hour days; 12 hour nights

Hey, Summer Fans!

We’ve had a wonderful season this year and hope the summer fun was just as fantastic for you too. We say goodbye to the summer season today as its cycle has once again run its course for this year. We’ll miss you until next year, summer. But in the meanFall is here today! Learn about the Autumnal Equinox.time, let’s get excited about the fall season. Summer may be old news now, but fall is as fresh as it can be today.

Today is the Autumnal Equinox.

What in the world is an equinox? you might be asking yourself. It’s a fair enough question. After all, we only hear mention of them a couple times a year. Well, that’s because they occur twice a year! Much like the more popularly known Summer and Winter Solstice, there is an equinox for both the spring and fall seasons.

Opposite to the solstices which mark the longest (in summer) and shortest (in winter) days of the year, the Autumnal and Vernal Equinoxes hang in a fragile balance to mark equal day and night at 12 hours apiece all across the entire planet! The word ‘equinox’ is Latin in origin: ‘aequus’, which means ‘equal’ and ‘nox’, which means ‘night’.

It’s not an exact science. Due to refracted light coming through our atmosphere and because people have trouble settling on when sunrise and sunset really are, equinoxes almost never land on the actual day of observance, but always within a few days it.

The Northern Lights are one of the greatest phenomenon we're aware of.People from all around the world celebrate with feasts and festivals, marking the arrival of the holiday. Dependent on your location on the globe, you may even be able to see the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. These are beautiful colors that always appear in the sky this time of year. The phenomenon is actually radiation from the sun interfering with the earth’s magnetic field!

The further north you are, the better chance you have of seeing the Auroras! Enjoy your observance and celebration of the Autumnal Equinox and keep your eyes on the skies! As always, thanks for reading.

- John

A Very Tooth Fairy Day

Hey, Kiddies!

Today is Tooth Fairy Day. Has there been some awkward wiggling and dangling going on inside your mouth lately? Sounds like you’ve got a visit from the Tooth Fairy coming up. Get ready for a little extra coin in exchange for your tooth once it finally comes loose. That’s how it works: you take your tooth and place it under your pillow; that night, This benevolent pixie is just crazy about collecting teeth. She'll even give you a little change when you lose your tooth.the Tooth Fairy comes and pockets the tooth while leaving you a little something for your troubles.

It hasn’t always been this way, though. The tale of the Tooth Fairy and the traditions associated with children losing their teeth have gone through some changes throughout the years and the cultures that celebrated them. Here are a few different things people would do:

Bury Teeth
Europeans in the 1400s were in the habit of burying children’s baby teeth when they fell out. It’s quite possible that this is what led to placing teeth under the pillow. And when a kid’s sixth tooth came out, it was customary for parents to slip a small gift in place of the tooth where it had been buried as a sort of ‘tooth fee’.

Burn Teeth
While the customs of burying teeth bear a similar resemblance to today’s customs, this one is completely unlike anything we do today. Kids, however, in England during the middle ages were instructed to burn their teeth to avoid hardship and suffering in the afterlife. I, however, on behalf of the Everything Summer Camp Blog do not recommend this.

Wear Teeth
Possibly where the concept for a ‘tooth fee’ came from, the Vikings of Norse culture thought children’s teeth to have good luck tied to them and would pay children for their loose teeth. Some warriors would wear the teeth they purchased for protection in battle.
See if this post makes you show your white smile.
Who knows where all these traditions and notions came from, but in any case, the tradition lives on as losing baby teeth is a rite of passage worth celebration. If baby teeth are so lucky, though, maybe you should hold onto those little gems! What does the Tooth Fairy need them for anyway? As always, thanks for reading.

- John

We want you to really REALLY relax today!

Hey, Hectic High Fliers!

Summer is a demanding season. There’s so much that we want to fit in that we run ourselves ragged in our attempt and may forget to actually enjoy any of it. After all, too much of a good thing quickly transforms into a bad thing. Take today for a great lesson in making yourself take a break—especially those of you who are always moving and always occupying your minds. Make sure you relax. That's what today's intended for.It’s Relaxation Day and, believe it or not, it can feel like hard work to actually allow yourself to relax—especially when we’re prone to constantly exercising our bodies and our brains. Often times, we choose to simply stay in the mode of motion as opposed to switching gears and giving ourselves a break.

Even when we consider ourselves to be relaxing, we’re usually still being active in some way or another (reading a book, watching TV, playing video games, talking on the phone, and surfing the Internet all demand a good amount of work from your brain, despite how relaxed your body may be through the duration of these activities. No matter how relaxing they may seem, they’re still ACTIVities nonetheless).

Of course, we give our bodies and minds a break every night when we go to bed, but we need that time for recuperating from the day—it’s a deeper kind of rest. Wakeful relaxation is important too. Allow your mind’s rampant activity to dissolve, focusing on just one thing. Creating visual art can be a means of therapeutic relaxation, but even this can become too active.

Take a break from life's complexity once in a while and enjoy life for its simplicity.Really try giving yourself a break today. Take a relaxing bath, sit in a comfy chair, or go lay in the grass and try not to let your mind wander too much. Just focus on enjoying the moment without any demands or problems to contemplate. It’s not always so easy, but it’s incredibly refreshing when you can make it happen. Go ahead—REALLY relax today and, as always, thanks for l                                                                                    reading!

- JohnHave a relaxing day, like a frog in a bog!

This Giant Light of Mine…

Hey, Lighthouse Lovers!

Not only picturesque buildings, but symbols of hope, lighthouses are beautiful towers designed to emit light great distances with the purpose of helping pilots at sea navigate their ships through dangerous waters in the blanket of night. With radio, GPS, and other means of modern communication, lighthouses are now more-Beautiful giants create epic landscapes.or-less poetic relics of our technology preceding the digital age, but still they stand like gentle giants peering out to the distant horizon.

Today we celebrate Lighthouse Day. Trips to visit a local lighthouse are a popular family activity in the summertime—not to mention a great way to observe Lighthouse Day! I recall a handful of trips my family made to check out lighthouses in our surrounding area. It was an awesome experience each time.

To celebrate on the Blog today, let’s explore the past for a little history lesson on lighthouses. As is the case with many things, the history of the lighthouse goes back farther than you likely expect. The very first lighthouse was built around 280 B.C. in ancient Egypt. An enormous bonfire was lit each night at the very top of the tower which stood taller than 450 feet! The beacon was visible from over 30 miles away!

This Egyptian Lighthouse was so big that it was included as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was toppled by an earthquake in 1303 A.D.

Since ancient times, people have experimented with the materials to use in lighthouse construction. Early American lighthouses were short for towers and made out of wood or stone. The bulk of the towers built before 1800 have either fallen or caught fire. It was understood that lighthouses would have to be made sturdier and the 17th Century started building tall towers like they had in ancient times.

Gentle giants of the coast, they were made of brick and cut stone. It became customary for a lighthouse to include living quarters for the keeper of a lighthouse—after all, somebody had to be there day after day to light the lantern and perform all the general maintenance duties to keep the lighthouse in operation!
Accurate.
Eventually, lighthouse towers were constructed from iron and concrete and automated signals have done away with the need for a keeper or those quiet days they used to live along the shore.

Lots of lighthouses still remain in operation as the only tangible and reliable means of navigation—whereas radio or GPS signals can be lost—but a growing number of towers are being decommissioned and their lights are going out.

Lack of funds has led to lack of maintenance and lighthouse structures have been left to weather the elements without the help of human hands. Rough weather over time has already toppled abandoned lighthouses and these towers will continue to fall as time wears on their neglected foundations.

In short, lighthouses will certainly span your lifetime, but they won’t be around forever. Appreciate the opportunity to explore these interesting towers of our history and, as always, thanks for reading!
Beautiful beacons in the night.
- John

Happy WHAT-ermelon Day!

Hey, Watermelon Lovers!

Does your mouth start watering at the mention of this melon—the juiciest of all other melons? It’s no surprise if your answer is yes. Few people would argue that watermThis is one healthy slice despite it basic makeup of sugar-water!elon is one of the most refreshing summertime treats known to the human palette. That’s why we have today: National Watermelon Day to celebrate our love! And in our celebration on this Blog, today’s post offers up three rather surprising facts about watermelons!

Enjoy!

1.) Did you know that the stuff that gives watermelon its red tint is the same stuff that makes tomatoes that radiant red hue? It’s called lycopene—an essential nutrient for human consumption and very higJust as Strawberries are related to roses, so tomatoes share some traits with watermelons.h in antioxidant activity. And there’s a lot more of packed away in every bite of watermelon that what tomatoes deliver.

2.) The rules get pretty funky when we venture into the realm of classifying melons. A watermelon is sweet with seeds on the inside—that’s a fruit. However, watermelon is of the same family as cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash. It’s actually part vegetable and part fruit. When it comes to classifying identifying our fruits and veggies, we haven’t got a clue! Did you know strawberries aren’t even berries?!

3.) The parts you spit out and throw away are not only edible, Slice of ripe watermelon with scattered seeds over white backgroundbut actually the healthiest part of the watermelon! That’s right. Contrary to what I was always told as I child, the black seeds are actually very healthy for you, containing iron, zinc, protein, and fiber. They will not start growing a watermelon inside your stomach. And the watermelon rind—a great source of citrulline—is apparently a delicious treat when you put it in a blender with a little lime.

I have one last bonus fact about watermelons for you, but it’s not very surprising. Still, it’s fun to know—watermelons are comprised of more than 91% water! No wonder it makes such a refreshing treat! Enjoy some watermelon for yourself today and, as always, thanks for reading!
Watermelons are amazing!

- John

The lighter side of chocolate…

Hey, Chocolate Aficionados!

Today is National Milk Chocolate Day. Everybody and their mothers like the taste of chocolate (unless you’re just some kind of weirdo—no offense)! Responsible for such heavenly treats like chocolate frosting, chocolate bars, chocolate candy, hot chocolate, and much more, milk chocolate has transformed the world of chocolate forever!Delicious, creamy, intoxicating CHOCOLATE........It accounts for more than 85% of the chocolate that gets eaten in the United States. While dark chocolate is a less altered dessert, milk chocolate, on the other hand, is made of a mixture using cocoa solids along with dry or condensed milk. There are folks out there who enjoy a bar of dark chocolate (yours truly being one of them), but most people indulge in the milkier treat.

People didn’t start eating chocolate until we noticed our less-evolved predecessors doing it. That’s right! We saw monkeys eating the white pulp wiBeautiful, unvarnished chocolatethin the cocoa pods and…well—monkey see, monkey do! And we’ve been hooked from our first taste! But our first taste was nothing like the typical Hershey’s bar that most people think of when they think of chocolate.

No, the first tastes of chocolate were bitter-sweet and probably wouldn’t be very tasty in today’s sugar-obsessed opinion. But something about its intoxicating richness held our taste buds spellbound for nearly 4000 years until, in 1875, a conAnd now we enjoy Hershey's Barsfectioner named Daniel Peter mastered a recipe eight years in the making that resulted in milk chocolate.

Bringing an unprecedented level of sweetness to this once bitter treat, Mr. Daniel Peter created a treat that’s dominated the dessert world for almost 150 years! The many health benefits of chocolate dissipate when undergoing the process to make milk chocolate, but it’s still proven to make us feel better.

In fact, you don’t even have to eat it. Science says that even just the smell of chocolate increases specific brainwaves which are known to trigger relaxation. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more relaxed already! Enjoy a milk chocolate treat for your relaxation as well as enjoyment today and, as always, thanks for reading!
Fall into hypnotic heaven with this fun gif.

- John

Hot…Dogs?

Hey, Frank Fans!

Tomorrow is National Hot Dog Day. Standing tall alongside hamburgers, hot dogs are one of the most iconic of fun, summertime foods. From the privacy of your own backyard to the crowded stadium park at the ol’ ballgame—hot dogs are enjoyable everywhere! Wieners, Franks, Foot Longs, Dogs—no matter what you call them, they’re delicious! But they sure have collected a lot of names throughout the years.

Pork sausages (the hotdogs’ predecessor) were first made in Frankfurt, Germany which is what led to the name Frankfurters and, of course, ‘Franks’ for short. Foot Longs are pretty self explanatory and ‘Wiener’, in German, translates to ‘little sausage’. So how did the incredibly common name of Hot Dogs come about?

Well, as it does today, sausage came in all different shapes. The thin, long ones were noted for their likeness to the shape of dachshund dogs and so they adopted the name dachshund sausages for a very long time. Following the rise of Frankfurter popularity in the United States around the 1850s, butchers from Germany found a new home in America and introduced these dachshund dogs. Getcher hot dog on today!They were a big hit for street vendors as well as a fan favorite at baseball games. Our story takes place at a New York baseball game in 1901. Introducing a sports cartoonist named Tad Dorgan who, from his press box seats, overheard the vendors yelling out to the crowd, ‘Get your hot dachshund sausages here!’

Tad went home that night with the idea to depict the scene of the vendors among the crowd. He drew up the scene, but when he was writing the vendor’s word bubble, he realized he had no idea how to spell ‘dachshund’, so he just wrote ‘hot dogs’ down and coined the term overnight! Unfortunately the comic has never resurfaced.

Get prepared to celebrate Hot Dog Day tomorrow with hot dog bars so you can make your dogs up Chicago style, bacon-wrapped with blue cheese, with chili, or anything else you can think of. Happy Hot Dog Day and, as always, thanks for reading!

- John