Bonne année! Shana Tova! Feliz año nuevo! Felice Anno Nuovo or Buon anno! Happy New Year!


World of Liberty is excited to say hello to 2017 and start January off with a bang! That expression comes from the way several countries ring in the new year. Literally with a bang. The bang of a pan. The bang of a pistol. The bang of a firecracker. Why such
Bangloud noises? Ancient cultures used gunfire and fire power to ward off bad spirits that might hinder their fresh start. It’s thought that the loud noise would scare off the demons or send them on a different route, allowing people to enter the new year free of evil. Gives a whole new meaning to banging pots and pans in the street right? And you just thought it was for fun. You can also try ringing a bell like they do in Italy, beating a drum like they do in Switzerland, or party horns like they do in North America. Whatever you can find to make a loud noise, use it to join in the tradition of centuries ago. Leave the bad behind, and let the goodness and wealth pour in!

Not only do we like to fill the air with noise to celebrate the new year but many countries also have food traditions to help them start the year off right. In Spain,  people eat 12 grapes, one for every stroke of the clock at midnight and for good luck in each month of the new year. Armenia has a special bread that has luck and good wishes kneaded into the dough before it’s baked. Talk about made with love. While in Ireland, they throw the bread at the wall to ward off evil spirits rather than eating it. The PrintSwiss also have a funny food tradition where they drop cream or ice cream on the floor to bring good luck in the new year. Other countries believe in eating round foods like doughnuts to signify coming “full circle” and bring good fortune in the new year. There’s so many ways to begin the new year. All in all, it’s about getting rid of any negativity of the previous year and putting your best foot forward. So make some noise and eat up. Try adopting some fun new traditions this year to spice things up in 2017. 

One day this month that will surely bring a smile to your face is Winnie the Pooh Day. January 18th is the birthday of A. A. Milne, Winnie The Poohthe creator of Winnie the Pooh and his friends, a day in which fans can celebrate their love of Pooh Bear. People all over the world can celebrate this most cuddly of days by putting together a teddy bear picnic and venturing out into a park or nearby woods. A menu of honey, nuts, and fruit would surely settle a rumbly in your tumbly as Pooh might say. Bring your favorite A. A. Milne storybook about the adventures in the 100 Acre Wood and read it with your favorite teddy bear and friends. You can talk about the traits of your favorite characters whether it’s Tigger’s ability to have fun, fun, fun, fun, fun or Eeyore’s constantly disappearing tail. It might even be fun to draw a picture of what your house would look like if you lived in the 100 Acre Wood. Whatever you decide to do remember…34527-Youre-Braver-Than-You-Believe

That Winnie the Pooh was a wise bear.

 

If Winnie the Pooh day didn’t meet your love quota for the month, fear not for Hug Day is here. Mark your calendar for January 21st to get your hug on. Rev. Kevin Zaborney Hug Dayfounded National Hug Day in 1986 in Michigan. He chose this day between Christmas and Valentine’s Day as a time when he felt people might need their spirits lifted. Number one rule on
Hug Day, ask before you hug, as not everyone is so inclined to be touchy feely. That’s exactly why this day was created though, Kevin Zaborney felt that Americans needed an opportunity to show their emotions and not keep it all inside as our society tends to do. Hugs have been scientifically known to reduce stress by increasing the hormone oxytocin in your blood. Hugs also lower the risk of depression as well as lower your blood pressure. There are so many benefits that come with such a simple hug. So embrace this day, pun intended. Go hug your parents, your friends, your teachers, your neighbor, if they are ok with the gesture, and spread that love. 

 

There’s no better way to kick off 2017 than with hugs and Winnie the Pooh. This year already sounds like it’s World of Liberty Logostarting off on the right foot. World of Liberty wishes you the best in achieving all of your goals. Let’s make this world a more loving place filled with happy people. 

 

 

Tis the season to be thankful here at World of Liberty. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, you can just feel a change of spirit among us. To prepare us for the biggest holiday of the year, November brings us a few days that remind us to be thankful. World of Liberty loves how Veterans Day and Thanksgiving seemingly go hand in hand. Thanks to the soldiers that protect our great country, we can gather with our family and friends to celebrate all of the wonderful things we are so blessed to have in our lives.

Depositphotos_34510217_s-2015We ease into the grateful mood with Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, which is always observed on the 11th day of the 11th month for a very cool reason. At 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I was officially declared “over.” That was the original intention behind Veterans Day, to honor the dedication and sacrifice of the living soldiers that fought for our freedom in WWI. But then as more wars were fought, legislation changed this legal holiday’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, so that ALL of the soldiers from ALL of the wars are celebrated for their service to our country. In efforts to bring more recognition to this very significant day, World of Liberty would like to help clear up the confusion people have with Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They are often thought of as the same type of day. However, Memorial Day is to remember those that lost their lives fighting for our country, while Veterans Day is to honor the living soldiers among us that have contributed in times of not only war, but also in times of peace. Here’s a great website that offers ideas to show your appreciation for Veterans on this special day of recognition. Our favorites include writing thank you cards to veterans and asking your teacher to honor them by having a veteran come to class for a visit. We don’t need to wait for November to honor our veterans though, World of Liberty encourages you to do it all year long!

Thanksgiving is another great time to show Turkeyyour gratitude. The “first” Thanksgiving took place in 1621 in celebration of a successful corn harvest. Planting corn was a new skill the Native Americans taught the settlers and the bountiful crop called for a harvest festival that took place over 3 days. Three days of Thanksgiving…that sounds like our kind of party! The menu back in these times wasn’t what we have at our Thanksgiving tables today. No mashed potatoes or green bean casseroles or even delicious pumpkin pie, it was only what they were able to harvest that year. So there was definitely lots of corn dishes and most likely lots of fish since they lived on the New England coast. Probably even some lobster. Yum! The menu wasn’t the only thing different from the traditional Girl IndianThanksgiving we know and love today. In fact, the 2nd Thanksgiving wasn’t even the following year due to a drought. Actually, Thanksgiving wasn’t just a once a year event, it could happen several times throughout the year depending on how many harvests they had. If they didn’t have a harvest at all they would have to fast, which is probably why when they did have a great harvest, they feasted for days. Remember, they didn’t have refrigerators back then to keep perishable items from rotting. So you had to eat up! Feast or famine as they say. Yet, another thing to be thankful for when you gather with your family and friends this year.

FoodAs you know, Thanksgiving is an American
holiday, but the idea of a harvest festival to give thanks for the crops and abundance of blessings is a worldwide notion. Tet Trung Thu, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, is an ancient festival in Vietnam that celebrates the children. The festival was a way for parents to make up for the time they lost with their children while they worked on the crops and produced the harvest. They would have parades for the children to dance and sing in and the kids would carry lanterns of all shapes and sizes such as fish, stars and butterflies. Moon cakes were the treat of choice to be given out during the festivities. You can find these festivals being held across America where the spirit of Vietnamese culture thrives. It might even be something you want to do in your own community. Perhaps this PilgrimThanksgiving when you are gathered with your friends and family you can make your own lanterns and parade about singing and dancing. There is so much to celebrate this time of year. Be grateful for this season of plenty and share the goodness with those who need it.

It’s back to school and end of summer time! September

Did you have a good summer? Here at World of Liberty we certainly did! We spent some time in New York visiting Lady Liberty and the World Trade Center, did some camping on the California coast and even traveled all the way to Australia. We’rliberty one hand raisede ready to get back to school and back to the fun of learning!
This past weekend we celebrated Labor Day. We all look forward to Labor Day as the last barbecue day and the unofficial end of summer celebration. Do you know what Labor Day is actually for?

The first Labor Day took place in 1882. A group of workers in New York came together to protest the long hours and unsafe conditions of the factories. After that first Labor Day states all over the country started to host Labor Days in honor of the American worker. Finally, in 1894 Congress passed a law to make the first Monday in September a national holiday.

Labor Day is unique among national holidays. It doesn’t celebrate one person nor does it celebrate the end of a war nor does it commemorate a single event. Labor Day is the only national holiday that celebrates the average American. It celebrates all of us! This is our day to realize that all of the hard work we put in day-to-day has grown this great nation. When we come together we accomplish amazing things.

Never forget2On Friday, September 11th, we hope everyone takes a moment to remember the events we now know as  “9/11.” Many American’s find it hard to relive the tragedy of 9/11/2001, but we feel it’s important to honor those who lost their lives on that fateful day. Not only did American citizens die that day, but citizens from 90 different countries perished as well. We honor the memory of all who died that day, with special thought and prayers to the many heroes who rushed in to save as many as they could, but lost their own lives in their selfless efforts. We will never forget.

Here’s a great video  from Brain Pop. It’s a good one to share with your kids because it talks about why September 11th happened and what it means to us here in America. It also gives some thoughtful questions to talk to your kids about.

Don’t worry, September isn’t all seriousness. On September 18th  we all get to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day! We’ll be heading to Umami to have one of the best cheeseburgers ever.

Are you up for a cheeseburger challenge? Submit your recipe to us for the Best Cheeseburger Ever and include the hashtag #BestCheeseburgerEver. Do you put a special ingredient in your patties? Or is it the condiments that make your cheeseburger perfect? We want to know! Tweet us, email us or Facebook us your thoughts.World of Liberty Logo

Have a wonderful September. We look forward to hearing from you!

It’s June! School’s out and the wonderful promise of summer lies ahead of us. It's June

We know that sometimes this enticingly empty stretch of unstructured time can seem daunting to fill. Here are some activities and suggestions for summer. As always, we’ve looked a little bit into the history of things because we can’t help but be passionate about American history. Buckle your seat belts because here comes summer!

Major Days in June

D-Day, June 6

June 6, 1944 was D-Day and the beginning of the end of World War II. On D-Day American, Canadian, British and French troops all joined forces to reclaim the beaches of Normandy. This day was a turning point in the war. If your kids are looking to learn more about D-Day they can check out the article on Ducksters.com This great article goes over the how, what, when, where and why of D-Day and explores our country connections with our Allied Forces; Canada, Great Britain and France.

Flag Day, June 14th

This June 14th America will be celebrating it’s 99th Flag Day! President Woodrow Wilson scheduled the first Flag Day in 1916. Flag Day never became a national holiday but just the same Americans love to celebrate our flag. Here are some fun facts we found about Old Glory. Check out Kids Konnect to learn even more!

14th of June - American Flag Day greeting card
14th of June – American Flag Day greeting card
  • The American flag’s nickname is “stars and stripes” also referred to as “Old Glory”
  • The flag’s design has changed 27 times over it’s history and was last changed in 1960 to include our 50th state, Hawaii
  • The 13 stripes on the flag represent the 13 colonies
  • There is a star for each of the 50 states, go ahead and count them!
  • The design of our current 50 star flag was designed by a high school student for a class project and he only got a B- as his final grade (mentalfloss.com)

Fathers Day, June 19th

Did you know that Father’s Day was actually protested in the 1920’s and 30’s?

The first Fathers Day is attributed to Sonora Smart Dodd. She was one of six children raised by a single father and in 1910 decided that her dad deserved a celebration. President Coolridge tried to get the states to celebrate Fathers Day but most fathers “scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving”(History.com). The 1920’s and 30’s saw such a backlash on Fathers Day that there were even rallies in Central Park in New York! World War II put a stop to all the controversy and in 1972 the day became a national holiday in America.

Mom, I’m Bored!

Bored kids
Bored kids

Well, if your kids have already downloaded both World of Liberty apps, “It’s Raining Pumpkins in Delaware” and “Chicago’s Green River Leads to the Emerald Isle”, we recommend you let them…stay bored! That’s right. It turns out that boredom is actually a state of mind that breeds creativity and helps children with problem solving skills. Several studies have recently been released showing the positive outcome of being bored. Aha! Parenting has a great article about it (read here).

Unstructured time gives your kids the opportunity to, “respond to the stirrings of their own hearts” (Aha!). So, boredom is actually good for you. Who knew?

The word boredom was first used in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House which was published in 1852. Of course, the state of mind has existed throughout human history. According to Simthsonian.com it turns out that even ancient Romans experienced boredom!

So, go ahead!Be bored this summer, you never know where it may lead you.