Friday, April 6, 2012

Holding the Perfect Easter Brunch

After Easter morning church service, invite family and friends over for an Easter brunch. Brunch combines breakfast and lunch in a way that is fun and filling at the same time. Enjoy spring and Easter with this beginning-of-the-season get-together.
Set the time. Immediately after church service would be best time for brunch. On Easter Sunday, most people attend early services. Scheduling the brunch at eleven-thirty would be good. If everyone you are inviting is a member of your church then word of mouth or an informal invite in the church bulletin on the Sunday prior to Easter are okay. Otherwise, send out invitations a week before the brunch. Invitations can be created using a card program or Microsoft® Publisher.
In order to get everything done and make it easier on you, the hostess, delegate duties to your family and friends. These duties should include: decorations, food, entertainment, and paper supplies. The children can help with the decorations. Potted Easter plants can be used to decorate the living room. Kids can also draw and color paper eggs to be used as decorations. Make sure they use thumbtacks and not tape put decorations on the wall.
The entertainment can be as simple as a CD player. The mood on Easter is one of joyful remembrance. Choose CD’s that are upbeat instrumental or some of your favorite hymns. Keep the volume low so that the music provides a pleasant undercurrent to the food and fellowship going on.
Brunch should include a few breakfast items and a light lunch fare. You can handle the food yourself or let the guests each bring a dish. If you choose the latter let them pick what they want to bring from a menu that you make up. Popular items include: a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast casserole; cinnamon rolls; eggs benedict; and waffles or French toast for breakfast. For lunch, choose one meat and a variety of salads. Sliced breast of turkey or ham would do. I’d go with the sliced turkey if you are planning on eating ham for dinner. Chicken, shrimp, and/or macaroni salad would make great accompaniments.
Whatever you plan for the brunch, make it inviting and relaxed. You certainly don’t have to impress with an elaborate setup. Let your friends and family mingle and share memories of Easter holidays past.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Family Easter Meal Classics for a Busy Mom

After the Easter egg hunt, you may be too pooped to prepare a gourmet meal. Are you a mom who is long on things to do, but short on time to get it all done? Make dinner a breeze this year.
Let someone else cook the main dish. Who says that the honey glazed spiral ham has to be cooked in your oven? The Honeybaked® Ham Store is the busiest place on earth during the holidays and Easter is no exception. Let them offer you a good deal on a tender ham or turkey breast sized to fit your family. I would caution you to order early. Last minute orders could be met with disappointment or at least a very long line to wait in. Pick it up the day before or early Easter morning to avoid the crowds. Check the store hours in your area.
Pre - planning is a lifesaver. If you are making whipped potatoes or sweet potato casserole, why not prepare the potatoes ahead of time? White potatoes can be boiled and mashed a day early. Sweet potatoes can be baked a day early also and the ingredients put together and baked the next afternoon. Preparing as much of the meal the day before will put less pressure on you. If good old-fashioned yeast rolls are on your list, try using Parkerhouse rolls. Take them out the night before to let the dough rise.
So, what is on the menu this year? Here are a few classic choices. In the vegetable department, try collard greens or fresh green beans seasoned with garlic. If you choose turkey over ham, then stuffing is a must. To save time it can come from Stove Top® or ask your mother for her time honored recipe for sausage stuffing. Whenever I have ham for dinner, I have to have macaroni and cheese. And, the more cheese it has, the better. 
Dessert anyone? Making that chocolate cake or that pecan pie just right takes time that you don’t have. Know a good bakery in town? Pre-order your desserts. To make sure that you had some part to play in the dessert process, buy a gallon of ice cream to accompany the cake and pie.
Take a load off this year. You should be able to enjoy your Easter Sunday, too. Let others do the bulk of the cooking for you this year.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter Flowers: What To Do After Easter

I love to receive flowers at Easter. Freshly cut arrangements look so pretty in crystal vases. If you want to preserve Easter memories, there are a few things you can do with the flowers that you receive so that you can enjoy them for years to come.
Air drying. The flowers should not be fully opened when you start. Discovering which flowers dry the best will take trial and error. Out of the arrangements I’ve had, baby’s breath, daisies, roses, and carnations look well as dried flowers. Secure them at the end of the stems with a rubber band. Create a hook out of a paper clip and poke it through the rubber band. Hang the flower bunches on a piece of lattice work or the rungs of a plant stand wherever the sun hits your home. It will take several weeks for the flowers to completely dry. When the flowers feel crisp to the touch, they are ready.
Pressed flowers. Pressed flowers can be used as bookmarks or greeting card decorations. Flowers used for pressing should be healthy and not fully opened where it has begun to lose its petals. You want the flowers to hold together. You can press flowers in books. Make sure to arrange the flower the way that you want it to look after pressing. If this will be a regular hobby for you, dedicate a few books that you won’t need. Place the flower between two sheets of paper such as onion skin and then in the book. Once the flower has been pressed, put other books on top to weigh it down. Pressing takes about as long as air drying. 
Replanting flowers. Read the label information that comes with your plant. Indoor plants should be repotted in a bigger pot before they become root-bound. For outdoor plants, spring is a good time for planting. Use topsoil that is rich in nutrients. Be careful not to upset the root ball when you remove the plant from its original container. Keep the plant watered constantly as it incorporated itself into the soil. Perennial plants are the only ones that should be replanted. They will return every year and add color to your garden.
Make the most of your flower arrangements. There are many ways to preserve your flowers to be used over and over again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter Pet Gift Ideas: Bunnies

Every Easter, a child wants a rabbit. But, before you hop down that trail to rabbit ownership, check out a few facts first. Make sure that a rabbit is the best pet for you and your child.
What is it? If you are buying just one, then the sex can be either male or female. If you are buying several, consider purchasing rabbits of all one sex. If you want to mix them up, keep the males and females in separate pens to avoid breeding. Two rabbits are cute, but ten rabbits could be a nightmare.
Where will they live? Decide if your rabbit will live inside or outside of the home. Outdoor rabbits need a warm hutch to live in. Place the hutch in a part of the yard where it will be braced against the wind. Indoor rabbits will need a home as well which can be placed in a laundry room.
Doctor visits. Consider a rabbit like a kitten or a puppy—constant supervision is necessary especially if they are an indoor pet that can roam free about the house. Rabbits can acquire hairballs and fleas. They also get bacterial infections common to them that, left untreated, could cause their death. Regular checkups will be necessary.
Rabbits are just as delicate as baby chicks when it comes to their bone structure. Picking them up and walking around with them could be hazardous to the rabbit if they are dropped or jump down from the child’s arms. The shock of the landing could break their backs. If you must pick them up, use the scruff of the neck and avoid contact with their spines if at all possible.
Tender loving care. Rabbits need to be groomed weekly and their food and water changed daily. Creating an enclosed area around the hutch will allow the rabbits to be let out for exercise. Keep them near enough to the house that you can get to them quickly in an emergency. For indoor rabbits, let them roam while you refill their water and food. Keep an eye on them, though. Make sure you know where your rabbit is at all times to avoid any incidents.
Rabbits make good pets if you are willing to commit the time needed to care for them. Make sure that your children know that. If they do, then pet ownership will teach them responsibility, compassion, and dedication.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Three Fun Easter Crafts you can do with your Kids

Easter was a fun time at school. We made crafts to take home and display for the holiday season. Here are three ideas to enhance the festivities observed during Easter.

Egg maracas
You will need:
Plastic eggs
Rice, BB pellets, or marbles
Enamel craft paint
Paint brushes
Bowls of water

Clear a space on the table and cover with newspaper. Each person should have their own bowl of water, a paint brush, and plastic eggs.
1. Choose a filling for the egg.
2. Once the filler has been added, dribble a thin line of glue around the egg opening. Snap the egg shut. Wipe off any excess glue.
3. After the glue dries, let the children choose a paint color to decorate their eggs.
4. Let the eggs dry on the newspaper.

Tissue paper Easter bouquets
You will need:
Tissue paper in assorted colors
Green pipe cleaners (eight per child)
Styrofoam blocks (optional)
Plastic or glass vases
Ribbon in assorted colors

Clear a space on the kitchen table and give each child a vase, pipe cleaners, and a pair of scissors.
1. Pick the colors for the flowers from the tissue paper pile.
2. Have the children take several sheets of paper. Roll them up together. Wrap one end of a pipe cleaner around the center of the tissue paper and twist to secure it.
3. Separate each sheet of paper, creating folds. Pull the edges up so that they surround the end of the pipe cleaner. If the paper is too long, cut it down.
4. Continue making flowers until the bouquet is finished. Wrap a piece of ribbon around the flowers.
5. The flowers can now be placed in the vase. If you want to keep them from falling out of the vase, stick the free end of the pipe cleaner into a piece of Styrofoam. Cut the Styrofoam to fit the bottom of the vase.

Easter cards
You will need:
Card stock paper
Stickers (Easter themes)
Construction paper

1. Cut the paper to the size wanted for the Easter cards. Fold the paper in half. The children can also cut the paper into shapes like eggs or bunny rabbits.
2. Decorate the outside of the card with pictures and/or stickers.
3. Using a marker, have the children write their own special greeting on the inside of the cards.
4. The children can hand deliver the Easter cards to their favorite people in the whole world.
Craft making is doubly fun when shared with family. Make this a regular part of “together” time instead of keeping it just for special occasions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Creating a Healthy Easter Basket

With the rate of childhood obesity on the rise, try something new. This year, buy healthy snacks instead of candy. You don’t have to sacrifice flavor, either. Low-calorie or low-fat doesn’t mean it has to taste bad.
This is one time that toys are okay. According to my kids, you can never have too many toys. An Easter basket is about getting a special treat. No one said those treats had to be edible. Small hand-held electronic games are available at stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys ‘R Us for less than ten dollars. Card games like Yugioh and Dungeon Dice Monsters are winners with kids these days. For the younger set, try dolls or action figures.
Jelly beans versus dried fruit. Jelly beans would be great if it wasn’t for all of the sugar. You can never eat just one or five for that matter. Dried fruit offers nutrition and taste in the same bite-sized portion as jelly beans. Ocean Spray® makes a snack called Craisins®. They are dried sweet cranberry snacks in different flavors. Also, Sun-Maid®, best known for their raisins, makes dried fruit treats including yogurt- and chocolate-covered raisins. My favorite is chopped dates. Kids won’t believe they’re eating something that’s good for them.
Snack size versus regular size. If you add candy to your basket, smaller is better. Choose snack-sized morsels like Three Musketeers® or Peppermint Patties®. These candy treats are lower in calories than other choices. Just add three or four for a sweet treat instead of chocolate bunnies or cream eggs.
Store bought versus homemade treats. We all enjoy going to the store and getting bubble gum and cupcakes, but do you really know what’s in what you are eating? Most if not all marketable treats started in someone’s kitchen. That means they were homemade at one time. Let’s take Rice Krispy treats® for example. The recipe was on the cereal box before they became a pre-packaged item in the store. At home, low-fat ingredients can be substituted to create delicious treats for the Easter basket. When you know what’s inside your food, you feel better about serving it to your kids.
Easter baskets don’t have to be chock full of junk to be fun. Healthy additions make you a better parent without sacrificing taste. Teach children to eat right while they are young so that they develop a lifetime of good habits.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Accident Proof Your Egg Decorating

For kids, dunking plain white eggs into a bowl and watching them turn a different color is almost magical. Here are a few ideas to help minimize the mess this year.
1. Try stickers. If you are not attached to the traditional method of egg decorating, this is a way to minimize the muss and fuss during Easter. Stickers make easy decorations. They leave nothing to clean up afterwards. And, there’s nothing tricky about it. Just purchase ordinary Easter stickers and stick them onto the eggs. Presto!
2. Dye eggs at the stove. Avoid the mess that comes with sitting your children at the table with their own dipping cups. Mix the dye ingredients in a five quart Dutch oven. Wrap an apron around the child. Let the child take the dried boiled eggs and place them in the dye solution. When the eggs are ready, use a slotted spoon to lift the dyed eggs out of the pan. The slots leave less liquid on the spoon which means less liquid on the stove, the floor, you, and the kids. Spoon the eggs back into the carton. Place the cartons in the refrigerator until time to use them.
3. Work on the kitchen floor. The lower you are to the ground, the shorter the distance a boiled egg has to fall. Spread an old vinyl tablecloth on the floor. Give each child an apron and a pair of exam gloves. The gloves can be purchased from any medical supply store. Gloves allow the children to dip the eggs with their hands instead of a spoon. When they have finished, have them take their gloves off and throw them away.
4. Purchase a ready to use Easter egg kit. PAAS® has been making egg decorating materials for years. Each year they seem to come up with something that will make the egg decorating process easier and faster. They feature egg wrapping kits which create virtually no mess at all. The pre-formed pattern is ready for the decorator to transfer to the dried eggs. They also offer egg cups with their own dipper so you don’t need spoons at all. You can purchase PAAS® products wherever decorating items are sold, including most grocery stores and craft stores.
Egg decorating is great for everyone, but no one likes to clean up at the end. Make it easier on yourself this year, Mom and Dad. 
Try these tips for some good clean fun.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Easter History and Customs - Easter Symbols

On Easter weekend, those of the Christian faith celebrate the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, the observation of Easter did not originate with Christianity. Read on to learn about the true origin of the holiday. “Easter” was taken from “Eastre”. She was the goddess worshiped by the Saxon peoples of Northern Europe. They held festivals every year to celebrate the Spring Equinox - the one time during the spring when the day and the night are of equal length. The festivals were believed to ensure the fertility of both the land and its people.
In ancient times, those of the Jewish faith celebrated Passover around this same time of the year. The Passover feast commemorated the Israelite captivity in Egypt under the cruel hand of the pharaoh. The last plague that God sent on the land was that of the death of every firstborn. Blood on the doorposts of Israelite households spared them as the Angel of Death spread through the land.
Christians decided to celebrate what we now know as Easter at this time also. Early followers were persecuted even after Jesus’ crucifixion. As a result, they held their religious observances to coincide with the pagan holidays. They called their remembrance, Easter - a derivative of Eastre. The idea behind the two occasions is different, but they share common symbols and traditions that people still use today.
The Easter egg - The use of eggs in celebration existed long before our modern day observance. Eggs were given and received as symbols of rebirth. Today, eggs are decorated on Easter and hidden for children to find.
The Easter bunny - The rabbit was the symbol of Eastre, the Saxon goddess. The idea of the rabbit as a part of Christian tradition was introduced in colonial days by the Germans. Children are taught that the Easter Bunny brings treats on the night before Easter, much like Santa Claus during Christmas.
The Cross - The symbol of the cross has been associated with Christianity and Easter since the first centuries after Jesus’ death. The cross was a symbol of cruelty throughout the Roman Empire. Today, those who practice Christianity view it as a badge of courage and salvation.
Now you know the origins of the holiday of Easter. Will this knowledge change anything about your observance? Only you can decide if the history of the symbols is more important than the reason you celebrate it today.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Morgan - signalMorganGarrett Augustus Morgan (March 4, 1877 - August 27, 1963), was an African-American inventor and businessman. He was the first person to patent a traffic signal. He also developed the gas mask (and many other inventions).
Morgan was born in Paris, Kentucky, and was the son of former slaves (and the 7th of their 11 children). His formal education ended during elementary school.
As a a teenager (in 1895), Morgan moved north to Cincinnati, Ohio, looking for opportunity. His incredible ability to repair machinery led to many job offers from factories. In 1907, he started his own sewing equipment and repair shop. His business expanded in 1909; he employed 32 people, who used equipment that Morgan made (and invented) himself.
In 1920, Morgan went into the newspaper business, starting the "Cleveland Call." He was very successful, and eventually bought a car. While he was driving along the streets of Cleveland, he realized how unsafe intersections were, and was determined to make driving safer.
MorganMorgan patented a traffic signal on November 20, 1923 (U.S. patent No. 1,475,024, issued in 1923) - this was the first traffic signal patented, but not the first invented. His traffic signal was a T-shaped pole with arms (but with no lights) that has three signs, one or more of which popped out at a time: a red "stop," a green "go," and another red "stop in all directions." This last signal let pedestrians cross the street. It was controlled by an electric clock mechanism. This device became very popular, and was used all around the USA. Morgan sold his device to the General Electric Corporation for $40,000 (a huge sum at that time). His device was used until the three-light traffic light was developed.
Morgan developed many other inventions, including a safety hood and smoke protector for firefighters (patent No. 1,113,675, in 1912), a gas mask (patent No. 1,090,936, in 1914). He also developed a zig-zag sewing machine attachment, a hair straightener, hair dying lotions, de-curling hair combs (patent No. 2,763,281, in 1956), and other inventions.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Black History Month Elijah McCoy

Elijah McCoy (1843 or 1844-1929) was a mechanical engineer and inventor. McCoy's high-quality industrial inventions (especially his steam engine lubricator) were the basis for the expression "the real McCoy," meaning the real, authentic, or high-quality thing.
McCoy was born in Colchester, Ontario, Canada, to former slaves (George and Emillia McCoy), who had fled the USA. McCoy was educated as a mechanical engineer in Edinburgh, Scotland; he then moved to Detroit, Michigan, USA. Despite his education (and due to racism - he was of African descent), he could only get a job as a fireman and oilman on a steam-engine train, shoveling coal into a train's engine and periodically lubricating the engine.
McCoy's first invention (1872) was a revolutionary way of lubricating steam engines without having to shut them down - this automatic lubricator saved an enormous amount of time and effort in transportation and in industrial production. McCoy eventually had a total of 57 patents, and was known throughout the world for his inventions. In 1920, McCoy opened his own company, the Elijah McCoy Manufacturing Company. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Black History Month Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr., was a great man who worked for racial equality and civil rights in the United States of America. He was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. Martin had a brother, Alfred, and a sister, Christine. Both his father and grandfather were ministers. His mother was a schoolteacher who taught him how to read before he went to school.
Young Martin was an excellent student in school; he skipped grades in both elementary school and high school . He enjoyed reading books, singing, riding a bicycle, and playing football and baseball. Martin entered Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, when he was only 15 years old.
Martin experienced racism early in life. He decided to do to something to make the world a better and fairer place.
After graduating from college and getting married, Dr. King became a minister and moved to Alabama.
During the 1950's, Dr. King became active in the movement for civil rights and racial equality. He participated in the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott and many other peaceful demonstrations that protested the unfair treatment of African-Americans. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Dr. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Commemorating the life of a tremendously important leader, we celebrate Martin Luther King Day each year in January, the month in which he was born. August 28, the anniversary of Dr. King's 1963 I Have a Dream speech, is called "Dream Day."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Thurgood MarshallThurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 - January 24, 1993) was a prominent civil-rights lawyer and the first African-American justice of the US Supreme Court.
Thurgood Marshall was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His name was originally spelled Thoroughgood, but Marshall shortened it to Thurgood when he was in elementary school. Thurgood Marshall's parents were William and Norma Africa Marshall; William was the chief steward at a private club and Norma was an elementary school teacher.
In 1930, Marshall graduated with honors from Lincoln University in Chester, Pennsylvania; he got his law degree from Howard University (in Washington, DC) in 1933. He then began a law practice in Baltimore, and joined the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1936.
Marshall was the legal director of the NAACP from 1940 until 1961. He was on the team of lawyers in the historic Supreme Court trial concerning school desegregation, Brown v. Board of Education (1954). As a result of this trial, the "separate but equal" doctrine in public education was overthrown.

Thurgood Marshall stamp
The US Post Office issued a stamp honoring Thurgood Marshall on January 7, 2003 .
In 1961, after many successful years as a lawyer and judge fighting for civil rights and women's rights, Marshall was appointed to the Second Court of Appeals (by President John F. Kennedy). In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Marshall the U.S. solicitor general (the chief legal officer of the United States working under the Attorney General, in charge of appeals to the Supreme Court). In this position, Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases that he argued for the government.
Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court in June, 1967 (by President Johnson). He was the first African-American on the Supreme Court. In the high court, Marshall continued his fight for human rights until he retired on June 27, 1991; he served on the Supreme Court for 24 years.
Marshall died of heart failure at the age of 84. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetary (in Arlington, Va), near the graves of other Supreme Court Justices.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Black History Month Dr. Charles Richard Drew

Dr. Charles Richard DrewDr. Charles Richard Drew (June 3, 1904 - April 1, 1950) was an American medical doctor and surgeon who started the idea of a blood blank and a system for the long-term preservation of blood plasma (he found that plasma kept longer than whole blood). His ideas revolutionized the medical profession and have saved many, many lives.
Dr. Drew set up and operated the blood plasma bank at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, NY. Drew's project was the model for the Red Cross' system of blood banks, of which he became the first director. Drew resigned his position as director after the US War Department issued a directive stating that blood taken from white donors should not be mixed with blood taken from black donors. Dr. Drew strongly objected, and stated "the blood of individual human beings may differ by blood groupings, but there is absolutely no scientific basis to indicate any difference in human blood from race to race." Dr. Drew also formed Britain's blood bank system.
Dr. Drew died on April 1, 1950, after a car accident in in rural North Carolina. Although there is a legend that he died as a result of being denied a blood transfusion and medical care from a "whites-only" hospital, Dr. Drew got immediate medical attention, in part from the other doctors (his friends) who were in the car accident with him (but were less severely injured). Dr. Drew was admitted to a mixed-race hospital, but died after being treated for massive internal injuries. A U.S. postage stamp was issued in 1981 to honor Dr. Drew.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Black History Month - MAE C. JEMISON

Mae Carol Jemison (October 17, 1956 - ) was the first African-American woman in space. Dr. Jemison is a medical doctor and a surgeon, with engineering experience. She was accepted into NASA's astronaut program in 1987. She flew on the space shuttle Endeavor (STS-47, Spacelab-J) as the Mission Specialist; the mission lifted off on September 12, 1992, and landed on September 20, 1992.
Jemison was the youngest of three children; she was born in Decatur, Alabama, but was brought up in Chicago, Illinois. In 1977, she graduated from Stanford University with degrees in chemical engineering and Afro-American studies. She received a medical degree in 1981 from Cornell University. NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) selected Jemison for astronaut training in 1982.
In addition to her native English, Dr. Jemison speaks fluent Russian, Japanese, and Swahili. Jemison appeared on an episode of the TV show "Star Trek: The Next Generation" in 1993.
Dr. Jemison founded the International Science Camp in Chicago in 1994; it is a program designed to interest children in science and space. Jemison has practiced medicine in Western Africa and founded the Jemison Group to research an develop technology and the Jemison Institute for Advanced Technology in Developing Countries at Dartmouth College.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Black History Month - FREDERICK DOUGLAS

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey Douglass (Feb. 7, 1817-Feb. 20, 1895) was an abolitionist, orator and writer who fought against slavery and for women's rights. Douglass was the first African-American citizen appointed to offices of high rank in the U.S. government.
Douglass was born into slavery and was originally named Frederick Washington Bailey. His mother was a slave and his father was white. He never knew his father and left his mother at an early age. He was raised by his grandmother and was taught to read by the wife of the man he worked for.
In 1838, Douglass escaped slavery in Maryland and moved to New York and then to Massachussetts, where he soon became an international figure in the fight against slavery. Douglass lectured extensively against slavery in the US and in Great Britain. During the Civil War, Douglass met with U.S. President Abraham Lincoln many times, discussing Lincoln's efforts to abolish slavery and the arming of former slaves to fight the Confederacy.
In 1847, Douglass started an anti-slavery newspaper called the North Star (it was later called Frederick Douglass's Paper); it was published until 1860. Douglass served as the assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission (1871). He was later appointed marshal (1877-81) and recorder of deeds (1881-86) of Washington, D.C. His last government appointment was as the U.S. minister and consul general to Haiti (1889-91). Douglass' autobiography, "Life and Times of Frederick Douglass," was published in 1882.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Chisholm, Shirley
ChisholmShirley Chisholm (Nov. 30, 1924 - Jan. 1, 2005) was the first African-American woman elected to the US Congress. Shirley Anita St. Hill was born in Brooklyn, New York. After being a teacher and serving as a New York state assemblywoman, Chisolm was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives. She served in Congress for seven terms, from January 3, 1969, until January 3, 1983. In 1972, Chisholm was the first African-American woman to run for a major-party presidential nomination. During her long political career, she fought for the rights of women and minorities.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February is Black History Month GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER

Carver, George Washington
George Washington Carver (1865?-1943) was an American scientist, educator, humanitarian, and former slave. Carver developed hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, pecans, and soybeans; his discoveries greatly improved the agricultural output and the health of Southern farmers. Before this, the only main crop in the South was cotton. The products that Carver invented included a rubber substitute, adhesives, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments, and many other products.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February is Black History Month - JAMES BALDWIN

James Baldwin (Aug. 2, 1924-Dec. 1, 1987) was a very important American author who wrote about the struggle of being black in America. James was the oldest of nine children and was born into poverty in Harlem, New York. He spent much of his youth reading. James' mother was a domestic worker (a maid) and his strict, cruel stepfather was a factory worker and preacher (who died in a mental hospital in 1943). James was a preacher himself for three years when he was a teenager. The author Richard Wright was James' early writing mentor. Baldwin's first book, the semi-autobiographical Go Tell It On the Mountain, was published in 1953 and is considered to be a classic American novel. Baldwin lived in France for many years, distancing himself from American life in order to examine it; Baldwin wrote, "Once you find yourself in another civilization, you're forced to examine your own." A pacifist, Baldwin participated in the Southern school desegregation struggle of the 1960s and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. Baldwin wrote extensively about the Civil Rights Movement, including The Fire Next Time andNotes of a Native Son. Throughout his life, Baldwin used his enormous writing talent to work for racial equality. Baldwin wrote, "I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." and "Artists are here to disturb the peace." Baldwin died at the age of 63 at home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mistress Day, February 13th - The Holiday for Cheaters??

For restaurants and florists, the day before Valentine's Day is becoming just as popular as the actual holiday o' love. Why? Because February 13th is unofficially Mistress Day, the day when men pamper the women they're cheating with.
Yup, that's right.

Some restaurant owners have reported that men will make reservations for both February 13th
and February 14th, with the request that the staff pretend that the clever (albeit repetitive) cheater wasn't there two days in a row with different women.
As the NY Daily News says, "Most cheaters devote the day before Valentine's to keeping their mistresses happy, since waiting until the day after makes them seem like an afterthought." This quote is amazing, since a mistress is, in every sense of the word, an afterthought, but god forbid they feel neglected!

We here at Personally Packaged have issues with Valentine's Day for many reasons, mainly because it ends up making pretty much everyone, single or betrothed, feel not good enough.

It's like New Year's Eve for your heart, where you hope and pray that something terribly romantic will happen, but even when it does, it ends up feeling disingenuous. No matter
how hard you try, the result is usually eating somewhere weird, cursing your expectations, and swearing the holiday off completely.

Ladies and gents, if you're in a relationship and want to show your partner that you care, why wait for some randomly created holiday? Why not pick a day like January 29th, or
February 17th, or August 4th to be your own personal Valentine's Day? Buy some of the intoxicatingly irresistable pink and red accoutrement while it's on store shelves (maybe
even wait until February 15th so you can get it cheap!), and hide it away for a few weeks.

Then, when your partner least expects it, make it Valentine's Day! You can spend the actual holiday at home, doing whatever it is that you do when you are having a night in,
and enjoying yourselves. Love, to us, is about the small day-to-day things, not about big, shiny puffed-up gestures.

In our eyes, the only good that can come of Mistress Day is that you might get clued in to being the "other woman" if your boyfriend insists on making plans for February 13th.

Other than that, we're not fans. If a holiday intended for those in love has gotten so huge that it's now spawning sub-holidays for cheaters, it's officially time to jump ship.

Mistress sounds so much like mistrust for a reason, after all, how much faith can you have in someone who lives a lie daily, is knowingly deceptive and has so little self respect for themselves they are incapable of respecting others?

2nd class citizens, can you tell I'm married? lol

Happy Mistress Day!

At Personally Packaged-there should be no judgement but sorry, we don't do these!

So You'll Have to Have it Made, somewhere else-we stand on Principle!