Celebrate Earth Day With These Eco-Friendly Activities

Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22, and celebrating this worldwide holiday means doing some good for our planet. Here are a few fun ideas for ways to celebrate Earth Day near Dahlgren.

  • Forget the car! Instead, take public transportation, ride your bike or even walk to get where you need to go.
  • Volunteer your time picking up trash on a local highway, plant trees with a nature conservancy, or plan a clothing drive to help the community while putting those old garments to good use.
  • If you don't already recycle, be sure to go over the building's recycling plan in honor of Earth Day. It's easier than you might think to separate your glass, plastic and paper!
  • Switch your bills to e-bills in order to cut down on paper waste. You might even find that it makes your monthly bill pay easier.
  • Invest in a reuseable water bottle so that you can stop purchasing plastic disposable bottles.
  • Update your lightbulbs with eco-friendly LED bulbs. These lightbulbs last longer and cut down on your energy use.
  • Enjoy some time outdoors. One of the best ways to celebrate Earth Day is by going for a hike, talking a walk in the neighborhood or riding your bike to enjoy the green spaces in the area.

Public Domain/Pixabay/Larisa-K

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Dahlgren! Whether you like to drink green beer at your favorite Irish bar or make a traditional dinner of corned beef and soda bread, there are a number of ways to celebrate this beloved Irish holiday.

We'd love to hear how our residents like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. If you have a special holiday tradition (or if you're starting a new one this year), share your St. Paddy's plans in the comment section!

What Would Your Perfect Day Look Like?

There's so much to do in the Dahlgren area, it's not hard to plan a day of fun and excitement. What would your perfect day look like? Whether you'd start with brunch and spend the rest of the day shopping or hit the trails on your mountain bike, let us know in the comments what you'd do on your perfect day!

Here’s How Valentine’s Day Came to Be

Happy Valentine's Day, Dahlgren! If you've always wondered how this unique holiday came to be, here's a look at the history behind the festivities.

  • While many believe that Valentine's Day celebrates Saint Valentine, there were actually a number of Christian martyrs named Valentine. Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were just two of them.
  • The likely origins of Valentine's Day as a celebration come from the Roman fertility festival Lupercalia. During this event, Roman men and women danced, drank wine and hoped to find a husband or wife. Like the modern Valentine's Day, it was celebrated in mid-February.
  • Since Lupercalia came to be when Romans were Pagan, the festival changed once Christianity came to Rome. After that, the festival honored Saint Valentine and became a bit less wild.
  • Alternatively, some scholars believe that Valentine's Day was actually constructed by 14th Century poet Geoffrey Chaucer. These historians say that before Chaucer wrote about springtime being a time of romance, no one linked Saint Valentine to anything at all romantic.
  • Today, studies show that Americans spend an average of $18.2 billion, or $136.57 per person, on gifts for Valentine's Day. Whatever its origins, the holiday has become synonymous with love, romance and gift-giving in modern culture!

Valentine’s Day: Did It Start as a Roman Party or to Celebrate an Execution? [The New York Times]

Learn About the History of Inauguration Day From These Fun Facts!

Today is Inauguration Day, and while this is a day of pomp and circumstance in American history, it hasn't always been quite so celebratory. Here are some fun facts about the history of Inaugruation Day, its many traditions and the few ceremonies that were a bit more out of the ordinary.

  • The first Inauguration Day was on April 30, 1789 when George Washington was sworn in as our first President. The organizers forgot to bring a Bible for the swearing-in ceremony, so Washington borrowed one from a nearby Masonic lodge.
  • The shortest inaugural address was on March 4, 1793, when George Washington was sworn in for a second term. It was only 135 words.
  • John Adams was the first President sworn in by a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on March 4, 1797.
  • On March 5, 1805, Thomas Jefferson had an impromptu parade when he rode from the Capitol to the White House for his inauguration.
  • The first Inaugural Ball was on March 4, 1809 when James Madison was elected president.
  • John Quincy Adams chose to be sworn in on a legal book instead of a Bible at his inauguration on March 4, 1825.
  • The first time there were multuple Inaugural Balls was during Andrew Jackson's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1833.
  • William Henry Harrison died just 32 days after his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1841, after he gave a long speech in frigid temperatures.
  • James K. Polk is credited as the first president to use "Hail to the Chief" at his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1845.
  • James Buchanan's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1857 was the first one to be photographed.
  • Benjamin Harrison's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1889 was the first time the outgoing president's family invited the new First Family to a lunch before the parade.
  • Warren G. Harding was the first president to arrive by car to his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1921.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1937 was the first held in January.
  • Bill Clinton's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1997 was the first one broadcast online.

What to Know About Every Inauguration in American History [TIME]

Learn About New Year’s Eve Traditions Around the World!

In the US, you likely celebrate New Year's by watching the ball drop in Times Square, kissing your loved ones at midnight and maybe checking out a parade on New Year's Day. In countries around the world, however, there are a number of other fascinating New Year's Eve traditions. Here are just a few.

  • Brazil. In Brazil, people eat lentils to celebrate. The locals believe that lentil-based dishes represent wealth and prosperity in the new year.
  • Greece. In Greece, January 1 is known as Basil's Day. On this day, locals bake a special loaf of bread with a coin inside; whoever gets the piece of bread with the coin will have extra luck in the coming year!
  • Germany. The Germans love Christmas and New Year's, and they have many steadfast traditions for both holidays. On New Year's Eve, German people pour molten lava into cold water, and the shape that the lava takes represents what your upcoming year will look like. For example, a heart shape means that you'll find love, while an anchor shape means that you may face some troubles.
  • Austria. On New Year's Day, Austrians eat suckling pig, which represents good luck.
  • Puerto Rico. In Puerto Rico, people throw buckets of water out their windows and clean their homes top to bottom to rid their spaces of negative energy in the new year.
  • Wales. In Wales, people lock their back doors at the strike of midnight to "lock out" the previous year. Later, they open the door to "let in" in the new year.

Here’s How to Shovel Snow Without Hurting Yourself

While snow is beautiful around the holidays, it's a pain when you have to shovel it from your walkways. Before you bundle up to remove the snow from outside your home, use these smart safety tips for preventing injury while shoveling.

  • Take it slow. It may not seem like it, but shoveling snow is very grueling on the body, especially if you're not used to manual labor. Make sure to only lift as much as you can handle, and stop frequently to rest and drink some water.
  • Use the right shovel. Invest in an ergonomic shovel that isn't too big for your body type. Only lift small portions of snow at a time, and use swift, gentle motions.
  • Lift with your legs. Just like when you're moving furniture, you'll want to lift with your legs and thighs rather than your lower back to avoid strain.
  • Bundle up. Wear a wind-resistant coat and numerous layers to keep yourself warm while shoveling. Avoid slipping by wearing boots with a high tread, and be sure to wear waterproof gloves with a good grip.
  • Watch the temperature. If the temperature drops below freezing or the wind chill ramps up to dangerous levels, leave the snow there. It can wait until you're able to safely go outside without risking your health.

Celebrate National Hand Washing Awareness Week with These Easy Tips!

It's National Hand Washing Awareness Week, and that means that you should practice proper hand washing tips to avoid spreading germs this cold season! If you want to prevent yourself and your family from getting sick, learn these important rules for keeping your hands clean and free of germs.

  • Wash your hands before and after preparing foods, when caring for a sick or injured person, and every time you cough or sneeze to help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
  • Use warm or hot water to wash hands, as this helps to kill germs better than cold water.
  • Wet your hands first, and then lather with an antibacterial soap all over the front and back of your hands. Rub vigorously for at least 20 seconds, taking care to reach in between the fingers and on the fingernails.
  • Rinse your hands well to remove any soap residue and germs.
  • Dry your hands using a clean, sanitary towel or hand dryer. If you're in a public restroom that only has reuseable towels, give your hands a good shake to air dry instead of using the communal towel.
  • If possible, turn off any public faucets with your elbow or wrist to avoid re-contaminating your hands after washing.
  • Carry an antibacterial hand sanitizer or wipes with you any time you go out in public. Give your hands a quick cleaning after shaking hands, using door handles, or shopping in a store.

Here’s How to Teach Your Kids to Avoid Danger This Child Safety Protection Month

November is Child Safety Protection Month, and it's a perfect time to teach kids of all ages how to keep themselves safe against modern dangers and to help keep smaller children safe in your own home. From online threats for older kids to childproofing your home for baby, here are some helpful things that you can do to keep your kids free from harm.

  • Teach your older children about the dangers of the Internet. Make sure that they know not to talk to strangers online, never to meet up with anyone that they meet online, and to never post personal information on social media.
  • Baby-proof all of your furniture by securing it to the wall. Things like dressers, beds, and television units can topple over onto a crawling baby or toddler, so be sure to anchor them against the wall after assembly.
  • Only keep nontoxic plants in your home. Many plants are hazardous if ingested, and babies and small children can't tell the difference.
  • Show children how to properly cross the street, especially if they're approaching school age. Instruct them to look both ways, never walk in the street, and to never get into a car with a stranger.
  • Use age-appropriate child seats in your vehicle. This means baby seats for infants and larger carseats for toddlers and young children.

November Brings Child Safety & Prevention Month [Parent Guide News]

Check Out These Fascinating Halloween Traditions From Around the World

Here in America, we enjoy dressing up in silly costumes and going trick-or-treating on Halloween, but have you ever wondered how cultures around the world celebrate their own versions of Halloween? Here are a few fascinating Halloween festivities from countries near and far!

  • In Ireland, Halloween is observed in much the same way as it is in America: with fun costumes, trick-or-treating, and the addition of bonfires in the more rural areas.
  • In Austria, people welcome souls into their homes by leaving bread, water and a lit lamp on a table before going to bed for the night.
  • In Belgium, people honor their dead relatives by lighting candles on Halloween.
  • In China, Buddhist temples fashion "boats of the law" out of paper and burn them in the evening hours to free spirits and welcome them into Heaven.
  • In England, children used to carve designs into "punkies," or large beets, and parade them through the streets while singing the "Punkie Night Song" and marching door to door asking for money. Later, Halloween became Guy Fawkes Night and moved a few days later.

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