Archive for the Category ◊ Uncategorized ◊

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• Friday, July 01st, 2011

Three years ago today, I was laying in bed at Darnall Army Medical Center in Ft. Hood, Texas, anxiously awaiting the arrival of our oldest daughter. We’d lost two pregnancies prior to her and lost her twin in the first trimester, so I’d said many times over that I wouldn’t rest easy until I held her in my arms.

Little did I realize that holding that sweet baby in my arms for the first time would open the door to a whole new set of worries … and sleepless nights … and emergency room visits. (In fact, my daredevil princess missed her own birthday party today as a result of one of those emergency room visits. …) But, oh, how much fuller this precious child has made our lives. She is indeed a priceless, precious gift from God. So it was only fitting that between the gifts and the cake, we take time to share one of our favorite books, God Gave Us You by Lisa Bergren.

God did give you to us, my precious Jessica Elizabeth, and I thank Him for the gift of you daily — even on the days some childhood mishap lands us in the ER.

Author:
• Friday, July 01st, 2011

As we move into the month of July, the month of summer fun and patriotic fervor, I plan to spend the next couple of weeks helping my preschooler learn more about the country in which she lives. Today, however, we’re focusing on our neighbors to the north.

For while America gears up to celebrate its 235th birthday, Canada is celebrating its 144th year of national sovereignty. Canada Day, observed July 1, marks the anniversary of the British North America Act of 1867, which merged the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Province of Canada into a single nation in its own right.

So far today, we’ve located Canada on the map, colored a Canadian flag, and enjoyed homemade pancakes complete with Canadian maple syrup. We’ve also read several books by one of our favorite Canadian authors, Robert Munsch whose book The Paper Bag Princesshas forever altered my daughter’s perception of princesses. (Forget sitting around waiting to be rescued by a knight in shining armor! My daughter would rather outsmart the dragon!)

My daughter is currently obsessed with alphabet books, so had I planned ahead, I would have ordered a copy of M Is For Maple: A Canadian Alphabet for us to share. Ah, well, there’s always next year …

Author:
• Friday, June 11th, 2010

Today marks the beginning of the 2010 World Cup games … which may not a lot to most North Americans. World Cup soccer, however, is a Big Deal here in South Korea. Games are broadcast on giant television screens at subway stations, stadiums, and other public locations all over the nation. In fact, it seems that half the country is wearing red and cheering Team Korea onto victory with the words “Dae Han Min Guk!”

While we’re not huge sports fans and won’t be joining the throngs who are standing out in the rain to watch the televised Korean games, I do plan to use the games as a springboard to help my students learn more about world geography. We’ll be locating each of the 32 countries participating in this year’s World Cup games on a map. We’ll match flags with their respective countries, and we’ll group countries according to continent. We’ll also sound out the names of the various countries participating in this year’s games and practice writing them in English.

If you’d like to bring World Cup fever into your classroom, you can download the World Cup 2010 word search and country-continent match I created for our elementary students by clicking here.

Author:
• Friday, June 04th, 2010

Some 2,600 years ago, according to tradition, there was born a slave child who would become known as the ancient world’s chief teller of fables. Truth be told, many of the fables commonly credited to him were composed by others long after his death. Still, the collection of stories known as “Aesop’s Fables” have stood the test of times. They’ve served as lessons to the young and not-so-young for centuries and have been translated into countless languages. A comprehensive collection of Aesop’s short, moralistic tales can be found at http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/greekliterature/a/aesopcontents.htm . My favorite print collection is the beautifully-illustrated Usborne volume Aesop’s Fables (Stories for Young Children). Why not sit down with your favorite child, a plate of Baklava (or a bowl of fruit and Greek yogurt ) and enjoy some of these timeless tales today?

Author:
• Thursday, June 03rd, 2010

After an international move and a long hiatus, I’m making an effort to resume blogging on a semi-regular basis. Offline, I’m a mom, a wife, and a kindergarten teacher, so free time is limited. I can’t guarantee daily posts, but will try to highlight minor holidays, special days, observances, and celebrations at least a couple of times a week.

If there’s an upcoming event that you’d like to see mentioned here, feel free to drop me a line at webmaster@theholidayzone.com .

Thanks, and happy reading!

Author:
• Friday, January 02nd, 2009

According to several sources, January 2nd is none other than Happy Mew Year for Cats day. Since our feline readership is limited, I’m not sure there’s a lot of value in highlighting this particular day. But cat lovers might want to greet their furry friends with extra cuddles today (or a can of tuna fish — most of the cats that have adopted me over the years would choose tuna over cuddles any day). That said, I’m not at all sure the average cat cares one whit about the start of a new year, be it on January 1st OR 2nd. But the neighborhood strays assure me that they DO care about cuddles and tunafish, regardless of the occasion.

Moving on to other matters, January is National Clean Up Your Computer Month, National Get Organized Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Volunteer Blood Donor Month, and Oatmeal Month.

Now, to get offline and get busy organizing. (Does packing away Christmas decorations count?)

Author:
• Thursday, December 04th, 2008

“and checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice …”

Yes, folks, December 4th is none other than Santa’s List Day. Rumor has it that the jolly old man wakes early on this day, pours himself a ginormous mug of peppermint hot chocolate, then begins scrutinizing conduct reports from the past year.

As for me, my Christmas list was finished well before December 4th. (And if Santa faced prospects of braving December mall traffic with a five-month-old, his probably would have been as well!) Now I’m just waiting to see whether my Christmas letter reached the North Pole in time for my *own* Christmas wish to get on Santa’s list: All the gifts currently occupying space in various closets beautifully wrapped beneath the tree. Well, that plus a new vacuum, Yankee candles, and perhaps a copy of Eat, Drink & Be Vegan: Great Vegan Food for Special and Everyday Celebrations

Author:
• Tuesday, December 02nd, 2008

Happy Special Edcation Day! And a special shout-out to all of the the teachers who go the extra mile to make a difference in the lives of their students.

It’s hard for me to believe that Special Education programs have been federally mandated for just 38 short years. Thankfully, some states and school districts had were making an effort to meet the educational needs of ALL children even before President Gerald Ford signed the Education for All Handicapped Children Act into law. But the passage of that crucial piece of legislation opened previously-closed school doors to an estimated one million children.

As any educator or parent can attest, America’s educational system is a work in progress. We still have miles to go in the quest to meet the educational needs of every child. But we’ve made great progress in a few short decades, and that’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.

Author:
• Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Yep, you read that correctly. November 19th is indeed a global celebration of the humble toilet.

I’ll admit that I’ve enountered a few memorable toilets over the years. First, there was the eccentric elderly neighbor who deemed certain bodily functions inappopriate for the great indoors and relegated them to a ramshackle old outhouse that had seen as many or more years than she herself had. Then there were the restrooms at a certain state park in Upstate South Carolina, made remarkable not by the fixtures but by the “natural” surroundings … complete with a six-foot long black snake that slowly began uncoiling itself from the base of “my” toilet about the time I — as a 10-year-old — became aware of its presence. A few years down the road came the pay toilets of Europe — particularly the lavatory outside Versailles. (After all, one would think the maintainers of one of the world’s most gilded palaces, situated in one of the wealthiest suberbs of Paris, could provide free “accomodations” for visitors!) Then came the squat toilets of Asia — odd at first, but arguably more hygenic than their seated counterparts if properly maintained.

But World Toilet Day isn’t about functional toilets, however strange or humble. It’s part of the World Toilet Organization’s efforts to create a healthier world by providing toilets to impoverished areas and improving sanitation worldwide. According to the World Toilet Organization, some 2.6 million people worldwide live without toilets. Your donation of even $1 can help improve sanitation in impoverished areas and reduce the spread of disease.

November 19th also marks the the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s delivering the Gettysburg Address, the death of the Ford Edsel, the first Cold War meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, and the beginning of the end for lip-syncing pop group Milli Vanilli.

Finally, November 19th was the birth date of Ruby Inez White. Can’t place that name in your memory of world events? That’s OK. The eldest of a sharecropper’s 13 children, Ruby White didn’t make the history books. But she did make her way all the way through school during the Great Depression and on through nurses’ training in an era when few higher education opportunities were available to women (especially poor women). Most important to me, however, she went on to marry a certain Parker Holliday, give birth to my mother, and become a beloved grandmother.

Grandmama Holliday passed away in 1989. But during the fourteen years she was a part of my life, she taught me to celebrate not just the holidays, but life itself. Thanks, Grandmama. I love you.

Author:
• Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Break out the party hats and turn up the music. America’s favorite rodent turns 80 today (and, no, we’re not talking about any of the rats on Capital Hill).

Although the November 18, 1928, release of Steamboat Willie actually marked Mickey Mouse’s third appearance on the silver screen, this is the date Disney Corporations has dubbed as Mickey Mouse’s “official” birthday. So why are we celebrating it? Well, because there’s not really much else of note that occurred on November 18th … unless you want to break out the William Tell Overture. Tradition suggests that this was the date on which Tell shot the apple off his son’s head.

I prefer the Mickey Mouse angle, though. I mean, you’ve got to have a certain regard for anyone (or anything) that’s managed to captivate four generations of children without developing a single gray hair in the process.