Brotherly and Sisterly Love

Hey, Brothers and Sisters!

Today is National Siblings Day. Like it or not, your siblings are some of the closest people to you. They’re right there with you as you BOTH grow up. There are often times lots of laughs, lots of fights, lots of tattling, and lots of secrets shared. May as well make the best of it. Super Siblings

Just as we have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, today we have Siblings Day and spending the day with your sibling/s is a great way to celebrate it. What’s the point in National Siblings Day? I mean, our siblings don’t necessarily take care of us (some might, but in that scenario, only one of the siblings is doing the care-giving). AND not everyone even HAS a sibling!

So why have a day dedicated entirely to them? Well, because, unlike your friends, you can’t pick your siblings—not that there isn’t a World Friendship Day. But you’re stuck with the family to which you’re born and nothing can ever really change that. Even if you secede from your family, your siblings will still have been your siblings. You just won’t be joining them for family get-togethers anymore.

Remember these goofball siblings from the Acme Tower?Almost all siblings are going to fight once in a while, unless you’re extremely like-minded twins who are always on the same page or something like that. I’m very close to all four of my siblings and, despite that, I can say, with absolute confidence, that at some point or another I’ve fought with them all.

But just because you might fight with your younger or older brother or sister, doesn’t mean that you don’t share a deep connection with each other. Celebrate National Siblings Day today by spending some quality time with your brothers or sisters. Go for a walk. Ride your bikes. Play a game. Watch a movie. Whatever you do, you’ll be happy to be doing it together.

Happy National Siblings Day and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John


Do you know what today is?

“I’m not superstitious, but…I’m a little stitious.”
-Michael Scott

Hey, Scaredy-Cats!

It’s Friday. And, while I’d typically be a little more excited about that fact, I’m not so sure today is really the typical, TGIF-type of Friday. After all, not only is this Friday the 13th, but it’s the first one of 2015. Of course, a highly educated member of society—such as myself—doesn’t really believe in the superstition that Friday the 13th bFriday?!! 13?!!! BLACK CATS??!!!! Oh no!rings bad luck.

…But even so, I’ll definitely be avoiding black cats and broken mirrors today. Better safe than sorry, right?

But why? Why is everyone so afraid of this particular date landing on this particular day? Though the reason is mysterious and debatable, people have associated Friday with a day of bad luck for centuries. And, for about as long as Friday has been thought to bring bad luck, 13 has been a decidedly UNlucky number as well.

It was in the late 1800’s when it was first documented that putting this day together with this date formed a superpower of one, unrivaled day of BAD luck. Some will put off grocery shopping till the next day, others won’t go outside at all, and SOME people refuse to even get out of bed.

My rationale is that bad luck will track you down one way or another if today is fated to be unlucky. However, if you are the type to hang out in your bedroom, hiding from the day, you certainly aren’t alone in your concerns—an estimated 19 million people (in the U.S. alone) admittedly dread the date of Friday the 13th.

And it’s not just the U.S. either. Friday the 13th (more-or-less) exists all throughout the world. In Spanish-speaking countries, it’s actually Tuesday the 13th—not Friday. In Italy, however, it’s Friday the 17th. Superstition over these unlucky days is so widespread that there’s been a scientific name designated for the fear of Friday the 13th. It’s called ‘friggatriskaidekaphobia’. Betcha can’t say that five times fast!
Along with avoiding black cats and stepping on cracks, steer clear of walking under ladders too!
Anyway, today is just the first of three Friday the 13th’s we’ll have this year, so make sure to steer clear of walking underneath ladders or stepping on cracks in the sidewalk. And, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Did someone say ‘vacuum’?

Hey, Science Students!

Today is Create a Vacuum Day. This task is extremely involved and challenging. And, despite the fact that I wouldn’t expect or even encourage anyone to try creating their own homemade vacuum chamber, I DO believe it’s a subject that, at least, warrants a Blog post’s worth of discussion. With the proper know-how and hook ups, you can turn any glass jar into a vacuum chamber.

However, before we move on to what a vacuum chamber is, I want to quickly define what ‘space’ is. I’m not talking about space as in the final frontier, but more so, space, like the stuff that you take up (which isn’t really any different than outer space). Space is something that stuff inhabits—or DOESN’T inhabit.

I inhabit space. You inhabit space. My sister’s Chihuahua inhabits a considerably smaller amount of space. And when you travel from point A to point B, you’re traveling THROUGH space.

Okay, now let’s ask, what is a vacuum chamber?

No, it’s not some accessory on your Hoover or Dirt Devil (though this is where ‘vacuum’ cleaners get their name). A vacuum chamber is typically a jar of some sort that has been sealed up with nothing inside of it. And when I say ‘nothing’ I mean NOT a THING!
An empty jar of pickles can quickly become a vacuum chamber.
If I ask you to imagine a jar of nothing, what do you think of? A jar that’s been emptied of all the pickles and pickle juice (or whatever else) that was previously stored inside the jar? Yeah, some people might consider this an empty jar. But a vacuum chamber takes it one step further and empties the jar of AIR! It may seems excessive, but air, while invisible and virtually weightless, certainly is SOMEthing.

A vacuum chamber holds truly EMPTY space. Now that I’ve explained what a vacuum chamber is, you might ask what’s the point in creating one? Well, the fact is things behave differently in a vacuum than they do in the atmospheric world that we know and love. Among other strange phenomena, sound doesn’t exist!

In the video below, Bill Nye doesn’t create a perfect vacuum, but demonstrates what happens when you play around with the atmospheric pressures inside a sealed chamber. Check it out! Happy Create a Vacuum Day and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Leave a message!

Hey, Phone Fans!

John isn’t in right now, but if you leave your name and number at the beep, he’ll be sure to get back to you. *BEEP*
Though slightly outdated, answering machine messages are still  alive and well today.
Seriously though, today is a good day to record a funny, pranking, or absurd answering machine message since it’s National Inane Answering Machine Message Day. Depending on what generation you’re from, you may be more familiar with the (more-or-less) synonymous term, ‘voicemail message’ since cell phones no longer require answering machines that are separate from the phone.

While cell/smartphones certainly seem to be phasing out the landline home phone, many families still own landline telephones and use an answering machine as the phone’s trusty sidekick. Answering machine messages can be as simple as,

“Leave a message and we’ll return your call as soon as we can,”

or as elaborate as,

“Hello! You’ve reached the Wattersons. We’re sorry none of us were able to come to the phone right now, but leave a message for Sharon and David, Michael, Bobby, Sarah, or Sue—*Woof Woof* Haha! OR Spot—and we’ll be sure to return your call as soon as possible.” Leave a message at the tone. *BEEP*A good prank—and one that’s gotten me more than a couple times—is ‘answering the phone’ within the voicemail message. For instance, you record for your message, “Hello?….Who is this?….How did you get this number?” The idea is that, if it’s done well, the caller will start talking to the voicemail message. I know I’VE responded to these messages more than once!

I’ve creatively crafted my own voicemail message to lead people to think that I’m much more important than I actually am. It goes something like this: “John knows what devastating disappointment it must cause you to learn that he is unavailable to come to the phone right now. But if you leave your name and number, he will know that you have called.”

Maybe you ought to rerecord your voicemail or answering machine message today to give it a little flare! Happy Inane Answering Machine Message Day! As always, thanks for reading!

- John

What to do in winter wonderland…?

Hey, Outdoors Boys and Girls!

It may be the dead of winter, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t venture outside! In fact, I encourage it. You’ll find that outdoor exercise is even more advantageous and invigorating in this cold, winter season. Today I’m going to give you some good ideas for wintertime activities so you can get your body going in the fresh, wintry air.

There are excellent options of things to do outside when the world is covered in a blanket of snow and the temperature drops until water turns into ice. With the fun you’re sure to have during these activities, you’ll warm up from the inside out in no time.
Calvin is one kid who knew what fun sledding can be!
1.) Sledding. Sledding is a great thrill in winter. Feel the cold air rush past your face as you race down a hill of white. You can head out to a hill on your own or with a group of friends—so long as you bring a sled along, it’s sure to be a blast! And, of course, hauling your sled all the way back up a hill in the snow is taxing and is what gets you your exercise.

2.) Snowshoeing. Get your blood pumping with a brisk constitutional through a wintry landscape. Snowshoeing is great for keeping your feet—and thus, you—comfortable when trekking through a stretch of freshly fallen snow. By increasing the surface area that your feet cover, snowshoes will allow you to stay above the snow and walk on top of it. I recently posted about the health benefits of hiking, as well.
Ice skating is some fun! Just ask everyone's favorite Beagle, Snoopy.
3.) Ice Skating. Sure, you can always go to an indoor rink, but, for maximum enjoyment, I would recommend taking your skating trip outside. This is a great way to spend a winter afternoon and can deliver some great exercise. Just ask the Peanuts crew!
So don’t let cabin fever settle in at your house this winter. Get out there in the great, white outdoors and get your body movin’! And, as always, thanks for reading!

- John

Have fun with snow without going outside!

Hey, Winter Fans!

Snow. Snow. Snow. It’s cold, wet, white, and we LOVE the stuff! What other type of what kind of snowflake will you make today?precipitation allows you to throw it at one another, mold it into a man, or make angelic impressions in it? Snow is, indeed, one unique, white wonder of our wintry world. It only makes sense that we have a day inspired by this soft, white stuff.

what kind of snowflake will you make today?Today is Cutout Snowflakes Day! You know what’s amazing about snowflakes is that, despite the fact that there are billions upon billions of them that fall every year (a ‘septillion’ to be more-or-less specific—which, written out, would look like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), no two are ever exactly identical!what kind of snowflake will you make today?Cutting snowflakes from paper is more than just something you do for decoration or a what kind of snowflake will you make today?quick, craft time activity. To cut out a beautiful design that imitates the creations of Nature herself, that’s an art! It takes skill, coordination, and reliable know-how in order to make something as beautifully crafted as the freshly fallen snow.

what kind of snowflake will you make today?While the activity is referred to as making ‘snowflake cutouts’, the actual cutting is a surprisingly minimal part of the job. What’s even more important than the cutting is the FOLDING. It’s nothing overly fancy like some kind of complicated origami swan—it’s just folding in halves and thirds. Despite its simplicity, even just folding in thirds and halves can be a little confusing. Cut out paper snowflakes for wintry decoration around your house!

That’s why I’m including some helpful instructions with today’s Blog post to give you some guidance in your snowflake craft endeavors.

Once you’ve made a bunch of your snowflake cutouts, you can decorate your home. Hang them from the ceiling above your bed or tape them to the window so you can watch a blizzard falling every time you look outside. Have fun with this craft project today and, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Go ahead! Cover it…

Hey, Chocolate Chasers!

If you’re really THAT crazy about chocolate, then there’s a good chance that you already know what tomorrow is: Cover Anything in Chocolate Day. And when I say, ‘anything’, I mean ANYthing! Because chocolate, you see, is a surprisingly versatile food.Orange slices are a delectable choice in things to cover in chocolate.

For those of you who are able to boast a matured palette, you may have already experienced the explosive spiciness of a salsa that bears one surprising ingredient which is the most intensely desired superfood of them all…you got that right, chocolate.

I’ve talked a lot about chocolate on this Blog in the past. I’ve talked about Hot Chocolate Day and the history of Chocolate, I’ve talked about Chocolate Ice Cream Day, Chocolate Cake Day, Chocolate CUPcake Day, S’mores Day, Chocolate Mint Day, and I’m positive that I’ve, at least casually, mentioned Chocolate in other posts. Well, I’m not about to stop now!

If Cover Anything in Chocolate Day is tomorrow, then why am I posting about it today? Why, to give you some time to prepare your chocolate-covered treats, of course. It takes a little time to go through such a process. Here’s how you do it.

Once you make the chocolateGrasshoppers actually don't taste bad at all and I bet that if they're covered in chocolate, you'd LOVE them!, you’re ready to cover your snacks. What you’ll be covering in chocolate is completely up to you. My advice is to not be afraid of the unknown. You can find that, just like the chocolate in salsa, chocolate and many other flavors pair up nicely. Get wild and wacky with the things you choclify today. Some people cover GRASSHOPPERS in chocolate!

Here are some weird and extraordinarily intriguing ideas:
•    Cheddar Cheese
•    Saltines
•    LicoriceI've never had it, but I know I like chocolate and I know I like
•    Grapes
•    Dried Apple
•    Gummy Worms
•    Popcorn
•    Banana Chips
•    Orange Slices
•    (And the one I find most interesting) Bacon

You never know until you try it, folks. So melt some tasty chocolate and wrap it around some of your favorite snacks for a world you’ve yet to discover! And, as always, thanks for reading.

- John

Send your season’s greetings in a card!

Hey, Holidayers!

Last week, I talked a lot about all of the different holidays that people celebrate throughout the month of December. There’s a bunch! Today is yet another one (a holiday of a much smaller scale, but still, a holiday nonetheless): National Christmas Card Day. This is the day for getting your cards in the mail so they reach their destination on time.

The name of this day may make a point to specify ‘CHRISTMAS’ cards, but really, ySend your season's greetings in the form of a greeting cardou can send any card for any holiday that you want. Anyway, what I want to talk about today isn’t which holiday your greeting card refers to; what I want to talk about is the importance of sending a physical card in the first place and why it’s different than sending an E-card or some social media exchange.

As I had mentioned on this Sunday’s Blog post for Letter Writing Day, “In a world where communication is dominated by phone conversations, electronic messages, and social media posts, receiving an actual, handwritten letter sent through the United States Postal Service means more than ever!”

I think a similar sentiment can be applied to holiday greeting cards. When people receive a real, tangible item in the mail, it means so much more to them than some flashy, digital animation that dances and scrolls across the screen.

Most people have spots in their homes where they keep greeting cards that they’ve Warm the spirits of those dear to you with a nice greeting card.received in the mail—this time of year especially. They keep them on the mantel, on a mail counter in the kitchen, on a desk in the home office. Holiday greeting cards aren’t just received, read over, and pitched. They’re put on display where they deliver holiday joy, not just for the moment of arrival and a quick read, but joy that lasts the season!

From Everything Summer Camp, Happy Holidays to one and all!

- John

Why don’t you WRITE me?

Dear Writers,

Today is Letter Writing Day! In a world where communication is dominated by phone conversations, electronic messages, and social media posts, receiving an actual, handwritten letter sent through the United States Postal Service means more than ever! Nowadays, the key into people’s hearts…would seem to be through their mThe depopularization of mailing letters only makes them that much cooler.ailbox.

Whether you write to a pen-pal, an old friend, a nice relative, or some jolly, ol’ elf in the North Pole, there’s no better day than today to put your pen to paper, stamp that envelope, and reach out to someone through your own written words.

It’s fun, exchanging little slices of our lives this way. Unlike social media sites and text messages, a letter gives you an amount of space that allows you more freedom in your writing since you don’t have to choose your words as wisely as you would in, say, a text message or a Tweet. Writing a letter gives you the space to open up and really share your thoughts with someone.

It’s extremely easy. Here’s what you’ll need:It's great practice for kids to write letters to family and friends.
•    Loose leaf paper or whatever paper you have around (preferably not napkins)
•    Pen or pencil—your choice, but keep in mind that pen will not fade, nor will it erase
•    Envelopes
•    Stamps
•    The address of the person you’re mailing

Families tend to stick together this time of year, but, Parents, should your kids be away visiting relatives—PERFECT! Write to them! Just the same as spending time away from home is good practice for every camper’s summer camp stay, writing letters is good practice as well since that will certainly be your main (and likely only) form of communication during their camp stays to come.Put your pen to paper, stamp that envelope, and get your letter in the mail today!

Go ahead, folks. Write those people who mean the most to you and tell them how important they are to you. It’s much easier to say in written words what you may never say out loud. So write those words down today and, as always, thanks for reading.


How KIND of you!

Hey, Kind Kids!

Today we revel in the good will of humanity as it is World Kindness Day. What better reason to celebrate something about ourselves than the boundless expansion of human compassion. Appreciated by everyone, kindness never grows weary, never dies out. It fights the good fight and always remains, standing victorious over the likes of carelessness and greed.Being kind is cool, not just for the person who's benefiting, but to you too!

It’s good to be kind. Kind acts spread kindness. But it doesn’t only benefit others. No, siree! Committing random acts of kindness is certainly advantageous to you as well. How can treating others nicely benefit me? you wonder. Well, simple—it makes you feel like a good person! After all, being mean STINKS! It’s no fun to be mean. Much better to see the good in yourself and everyone else whose lives you touch.

In order to help the kindness chain to spread beyond you, I compiled a list of ideas you can use to help make someone’s day by delivering a random act of kindness. If you can put one of these ideas to good use (or an act of kindness you thought of on your own), then you’ll have had a successful Kindness Day!Random acts of kindness are a great way to make somebody's day!

  • Rake your neighbor’s yard along with them. Your neighbor will really appreciate you cutting their work in half!
  • Pick up trash. Taking care of litter in your yard or around your neighborhood is a wonderful way to keep your area looking nice. Your neighbors will appreciate it as well.
  • Help out around the house. Making dinner or doing the dishes afterward is a great way to pitch in and keep your home a happy one.
  • Help keep your classroom clean at school. Your custodian will really appreciate that.
  • Bring your teacher a little token of appreciation. It doesn’t have to be an apple, but your teacher would probably love it if it was.

I hope you find these ideas helpful! And don’t forget, while it’s important to squeeze in some kindness today, especially, it’s important to keep kindness alive every day. Thanks for reading.

- John