Monday, October 29, 2012

Devil eyes are watching you this Halloween.... Ooooooh

Deviled eggs are all the more devilish when given a Halloween look

Deviled Egg Eyeballs

  • 12 hard boiled eggs 
  • 1/2 C. mayonnaise 
  • 2 green onions, finely minced 
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley flakes 
  • 1/2 tsp. dry ground mustard 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika 
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder blue food coloring, as needed red paste food coloring, as needed 
  • 24 slices of black olives, green pimento olives or fresh red peppers

  1. Peel the hard boiled eggs and slice in half lengthwise. 
  2. Scoop the yolks out into a medium bowl and reserve the whites until needed. 
  3. With the back of a fork, mash the yolks until smooth. 
  4. Add mayo, onions, parsley, mustard, salt, paprika, and garlic powder. 
  5. Mix well. 
  6. Add a few drops of blue food coloring to turn the yellow mixture a soft green. Spoon green yolk mixture into the cavity in each white half. 
  7. On top of each yolk filling, place one black olive slice. 
  8. Add a small piece of pimento or red pepper for the pupil. 
  9. With a toothpick dipped in red food coloring paste, draw red veins on egg white's surface.
  10. Cover and chill until ready to serve. 

[source: adapted from Squidoo]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Orange ya glad you went trick or treating?

The tradition of trick-or-treating on Halloween is a candy-loving kid's dream come true.  But it needn't be a greedy, hoarding 'mine' experience.  Thanks to UNICEF's 'orange box' campaign, children have been collecting candy and cash for a cause for well over half a century.  Here's how it all started, straight from the UNICEF site
"For as long as we are kids (even at heart), we will be helping other children in need.What started out more than 60 years ago to help children abroad during World War II has evolved into a revolution driven by kids. Thanks to us, girls and boys all over the world receive the help they need for happy and healthy lives.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF gives us kids the chance to help others. We have raised more than $167 million so far and every donation, big or small, makes a difference. Let’s keep that ball rolling. Be a part of the past, present and future by continuing to participate in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF!"
  • 1950 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is born! Rev. Clyde and Mary Emma Allison design and organize a “kids helping kids” program where children throughout the country Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
  • 1951 Checks, big and small, pour into the UNICEF office from trick-or-treaters across the U.S.
  • 1959 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF's first TV appearance! Lassie carries an orange collection box on her show.
  • 1967 President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaims October 31st “National UNICEF Day” in perpetuity. First Ladies launch the campaign each year.
  • 1969 TV's Bewitched devotes a full episode to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
  • 1970s States and cities nationwide proclaim Halloween “UNICEF Day”.
  • 1975 The campaign's 25th anniversary: Beloved actor and UNICEF Ambassador Danny Kaye pilots his UNICEF One plane to 65 cities in 5 days — and breaks a Guinness World Record!
  • 1980s Characters like Kermit the Frog, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Hello Kitty, Paddington Bear, Scooby Doo, Spiderman, and ALF urge kids to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.
  • 1994 Key Club International high school students begin Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF. 2001 The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF network delivers mail, drawings and messages to kids affected by 9/11 and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF funds are dedicated to a specific program — helping Afghanistan's kids.
  • 2004 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF goes digital with online fundraising pages!
  • 2005 The Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina spur U.S. kids to raise a record-breaking $18.25 million through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF — five times 2004's amount — helping UNICEF aid victims of both disasters.
  • 2008 As the official Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Ambassador, Disney star Selena Gomez encourages kids to get involved!
  • 2010 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF's 60th anniversary! Nearly $160 million raised to date!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ghosts in the Graveyard. Boo... and Yum!

The ghastliest, ghostliest, sweet treats above ground 

  • 3 cups cold milk  
  • 2 pkgs Jello chocolate instant pudding 
  • 15 Oreo cookies 
  • 3 cups thawed Cool Whip 
  • 3 Vanilla cream cookies 
  • Red decorating gel 
  • 1/2 cup Cool Whip (for ghosts) 
  • Candy pumpkins and candy corn   

  1. Whisk the milk and Jello pudding mix together until smooth. 
  2. Set aside and let it set for 5 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, crush the Oreo cookies in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. 
  4. Once the pudding has set, fold in the Cool Whip topping. 
  5. Add 1/2 the bag of crushed cookies and mix in gently. 
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9" x 13" pan and sprinkle the remaining cookie crumbs over the top, covering the entire area. 
  7. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. 
  8. Use the red decorating gel to outline gravestones on the 3 vanilla cream cookies. 
  9. Take the chilled dessert out of the fridge and place your gravestone cookies into the dessert. 
  10. Add dollops of Cool Whip to resemble some ghosts and finish off with candy pumpkins and candy corn. 
  11. Keep chilled until ready to set out on the table at your ghost party.   

Watch the video to see how it's done.  

[source: KraftRecipes]

Monday, October 22, 2012

How they Halloweened in the 50's

Trick or Treat!  Halloween - Fifties Style

by Felice Prager

The excitement was uncontrollable. We had made our best attempts all day in school to focus on our arithmetic, geography, history, science, health, and spelling assignments, but it was difficult. In those days, our teachers allowed us to wear our costumes to school.

We even had a small parade on the blacktop before lunch. Mothers came to school with younger siblings who weren't old enough to go to school in carriages and strollers. In the late afternoon, our class mother and several volunteers visited us with a treats for a classroom Halloween party. Yet, we watched the clock tick slowly, knowing that once the clock hit 3 PM, we would be ready for the best night of the year.

In our neighborhood, we were permitted to go without parental supervision. The world was a quieter, less suspicious place, and as long as we stayed in the neighborhood, we were allowed to go without parents lagging behind us. In addition, there were enough older siblings among the group to keep an eye out for the younger children. The older brothers and sisters were given rules and boundaries where we were permitted to go. "As far as Abbott Boulevard," they were told. "Don't cross Route Five. Hold your sister's hand when you cross streets. And don't bother Mrs. Sinatra this year."

The rumor was that Frank Sinatra's mother lived a few blocks away from us in a small brick home, though we never saw Frank or his mother. We based our belief on a doormat that said, "Sinatra" in block letters on top with "Go Away!" written beneath it. Despite the fact that Sinatra wasn't an uncommon last name in the North Jersey town where we lived, we were convinced the home was occupied by Frank's mom. We figured Frank bought the doormat for his mother. We assumed he had an incredibly sophisticated sense of humor. "He must fly her out to Hollywood on his private jet in the middle of the night," we thought. It was all possible and very believable to us at the time though none of it was based on even an ounce of proof.

No one in my neighborhood bought costumes; I don't even remember if costumes were sold back then in the late 1950's and early 1960's. It would have been an extravagance my family couldn't afford. Some parents made costumes for their kids. In my case, I had planned my costume months in advance of Halloween. 

Each year I planned on being Miss America. I planned on wearing a bathing suit 

and flip flops - I didn't own high heels at the time and couldn't fit into my mother's size "8 double A with its triple A heel." I also had a hand-made sash that said "Miss America" draped over another sash that said "Miss New Jersey." I made a tiara out of tin foil, and when I tried the costume on, my father sang, "Here she comes - Miss America" as I walked down a pretend runway in our living room.

When the weather dipped into the forties, my mother finally convinced me that I would "catch my death of cold" wearing a bathing suit. I was unable to convince her that I could effectively ward off all germs with my winter jacket over my bathing suit. 

Each year, I wound up going as a hobo. Being a hobo was always a fallback costume for those who didn't prepare, weren't terribly creative, or just didn't want to put effort into a costume. I was always ready to be glamorous and disappointed that I was forced to be mundane. Being a hobo, however, made it easier to carry the candy --- on the end of our hobo's stick - a broom handle my mother unscrewed each year for me to sling over my shoulder. Among family photo albums my mom painstakingly prepared, each year there are pictures of me in a bathing suit with my Miss America sash draped across me in one photo. Then there is another photo of me - with the same face and a hint of tears - dressed as a hobo.

Decked out in our well-planned costumes for Halloween and excited that the weather was clear with no chance of rain and not too cool to go trick-or-treating, we carried old pillowcases or handled bags saved especially for candy collection in one hand and a box given to us by our teachers in the other to collect for UNICEF. We had it all planned. We would ring the doorbell, then in unison we'd sing, "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat." That was considered "fresh" back then. In reality, we planned on saying that, but when the door was answered, we just said, "Trick or treat!" We didn't want people to think we were delinquents.

We were never given a curfew. The neighborhood was small and if our parents wanted to find us, all they had to do was drive down a half dozen streets looking for a mob of miniature hobos. I was not the only child who started out in one unrealistic costume and ended up in another.

When we ran out of houses or the younger children started complaining about sore feet or that they were cold and tired, we went home. We emptied our bags onto the kitchen table and put our Unicef boxes where we wouldn't forget them to bring to school the next day. Our parents didn't have to inspect each item. Each year there was a homemade popcorn ball made by Mrs. Peck and a candied apple made by Mrs. Barth. There was gum, Hershey's kisses, and wrapped sourballs given to us by Mr. Stadler, a senior citizen who lived near us. 

Mr. Stadler never remembered to buy Halloween candy since his children were grown and he lived alone, but he always managed to find something to give us. I don't remember the other assorted items. It didn't matter. We sat around the kitchen table and shared our loot. Then, way past our normal bedtime, we climbed into bed and planned our costumes and antics for the next year.

[reblogged from Rewind the Fifties]

Friday, October 12, 2012

Genie-ology: the magic of family history

When beginning my research on 'amazing genealogy stories' I hoped to unearth a juicy nugget or two buried deep in the world wide web.  I was happily surprised to have immediately found a wealth of such anecdotes, far too many to share in a simple blog post.  These narratives from Squidoo represent a sample of the great stuff that’s out there:

Strange Coincidences are Commonplace When Researching Genealogy
A very unlikely meeting between unrelated people looking for the same information. Spinning microfilm stopping at the exact name being looked for out of thousands of other names. Pages falling out of a stack of papers with just the desired information.  These are just a few of the amazing stories people have to tell while researching their family tree.

Coincidental Meeting Holds Key to Important Information
Schedule Changes Help Make Connection

My (great) Aunt Maude was an avid genealogist and devoted one day a week for research at the genealogy library. One Tuesday a lady approached her for help. She had asked several librarians for a specific book and none could help her. Somehow she felt impressed to approach my aunt out of the hundreds of other visitors in the library that day.

She was looking for a book that had been referred to her from a letter she had in her hand. It was called Charles Smith's Diary. My aunt told her it was not in the library, but by coincidence she had it at home, as Charles Smith was her grandfather. This lady wanted information on her great grandfather, who was Captain Jacob Secrist, another captain of a wagon train in 1855. He had died on the trail and she wanted to go back along the trail to locate his grave.

My aunt invited her to her home, and they found in the diary that Charles Smith was the clerk of the very same wagon train and he had kept a day-to-day account, including the date of Captain Secrist's death and where he was buried. The lady went back and found the place of burial, located an historian and placed a marker at that spot. The historian then wrote about the event in the newspaper, and many more people made inquiries, were able to find more genealogical information, and add more markers along the trail.

To make this story even more amazing, Aunt Maude always went to the library on Mondays, never Tuesday, because she babysat on Tuesdays. The lady never went on Tuesday because that was the day she worked at the Children's Hospital. But on that particular week each had their plans changed and the only day they could go was on Tuesday.

Finding that One Little Paper in Reams
Leads to more reams. . .

My parents were researching my dad's Carman family line when my mother found the name of a woman who was the secretary of the Carman Family Organization. Coincidentally she lived in the same town as my mother's Aunt Maude, and my parents decided to look the woman up next time they visited.

Telling Aunt Maude of their current genealogy quest to find my dad's Carman family, she told them about a dear friend of hers who had written all over the United States trying to find related Carmans. Of course, this turned out to be the same woman.

My mom and dad went to the woman's home where she showed them literally reams and reams of genealogy charts and family history. She let them look through it all. But Carman is a common name and they could find no connections or even familiar names. They even took a second look in case they had missed something. This time my mom looked at each sheet carefully, one at a time, passed it to my dad, who did the same and then set each page carefully aside. No luck.

As they were preparing to leave, my mom was chatting about the coincidence of the woman's friendship with her aunt, and my dad was picking up the last pile of papers to return them to the larger pile. In doing so, some shorter sheets fell away that had been stapled to the back of the larger sheets, effectively becoming hidden from view. He caught the name of a familiar Carman. As he looked further, he found the name of his great grandfather listed as a child, along with parents, brothers and sisters, all information my dad didn't have. What a find!
But that wasn't all. The woman said, "Well, if that is your family, then this is yours, too." She then handed him over a hundred family sheets taking the family back to 700 A.D.

Microfilm as Roulette Wheel
This Woman Got Lucky!

A friend of my mother's was researching a Swedish family line, which was very intimidating because of the language. She somewhat reluctantly ordered a Swedish microfilm to be sent to her local library, not knowing how on earth she would read it, but hoping to at least recognize some names.

When the film arrived, she put it on the viewer and just stared at all the unfamiliar words. Only the names were readable to her. After several pages, and knowing she had miles more film to go through, she became frustrated and overwhelmed. She started spinning the film. Immediately knowing this would only bring a blur of passing pages and wouldn't help her at all, she stopped, intending to backtrack and start over. Right where the spinning film stopped appeared a grandfather's name and many other related names and dates she needed.

Who's Waiting to be Included on Your Family Tree?
It's really easy to start.

When you start researching your family history, many little side stories emerge that bring life to the names and dates you're collecting. It's easy to get started, if you haven't already.

If you just can’t get enough of a good genealogy story, visit either which is dedicated to that very thing  or the following site that is brimming over with tales of coincidental connections


Monday, October 1, 2012

The History of the American Family History

We all have a family history... but did you know that the family unit itself has its own history?  And it just may be different than what you would expect.  The following is excerpted from Digital History

Does the American Family Have a History?
A revolution has taken place in family life since the late 1960s. Today, two-thirds of all married women with children--and an even higher proportion of single mothers--work outside the home, compared to just 16 percent in 1950. Half of all marriages end in divorce--twice the rate in 1966 and three times the rate in 1950. Three children in ten are born out of wedlock. Over a quarter of all children now live with only one parent and fewer than half of live with both their biological mother and father. Meanwhile, the proportion of women who remain unmarried and childless has reached a record high; fully twenty percent of women between the ages of 30 and 34 have not married and over a quarter have had no children, compared to six and eight percent, respectively, in 1970.
These changes have produced alarm, anxiety, and apprehension. They have inspired family values crusaders to condemn careerist mothers, absent fathers, single parents, and unwed parents as the root cause of many of society's ills: persistent poverty, drug abuse, academic failure, and juvenile crime. This is a situation that begs for historical perspective.
Recent scholarship has demonstrated that diversity and change have been the only constants in the history of the American family. Far from signaling the family's imminent demise or an erosion of commitment to children, recent changes in family life are only the latest in a series of disjunctive transformations in family roles, functions, and dynamics that have occurred over the past three centuries.
In recent years, families have gone through many disconcerting and disruptive changes. But if family life today seems unsettled, so, too, was family life in the past. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States had the highest divorce rate in the western world, and one child in ten lived in a single-parent home. Hundreds of thousands of children spent part of their childhood in orphanages, not because their parents were dead, but because their mother and father could not support them. Infant mortality, orphanhood, and early widowhood affected a distressingly high proportion of families. Between 35 and 40 percent of all children lost a parent or a sibling before they reached their twenties.
Americans are prone to romanticizing the past and confusing historical fantasy and reality. This is especially true when Americans ponder our society's "bedrock" institution, the family. Among the most potent myths that pervade contemporary society are that divorce, domestic violence, and single parenthood are recent phenomena; that throughout American history, most families consisted of a breadwinner-husband and a homemaker-wife; and that in the past strong, stable families provided effective care for the elderly and other dependents. Only careful historical analysis can correct such myths.
In few areas has susceptibility to myth making been more detrimental than with the family. Highly romanticized images of the past have contributed to unrealistic expectations about family life. A historical thinking has also led Americans to downplay the genuine improvements that have taken place in family well-being: especially the fact that smaller families mean that parents can devote more time and resources to each child. Even worse, a lack of historical perspective has encouraged scapegoating of families that diverge from the dominant norms; and it has blinded Americans to the social, economic, demographic, and ideological pressures that have contributed to familial change--and made transformations in gender roles and family structures irreversible.

Twentieth-Century Families 
Over the past three centuries, Americans have gone through recurrent waves of moral panic over the family. During the late nineteenth century, panic gripped the country over family violence and child neglect, declining middle-class birthrates, divorce, and infant mortality. Eleven states made desertion and non-support of families a felony and three states instituted the whipping post where wife-beaters were punished with floggings. To combat the decline in middle-class birth rates, the Comstock Act restricted the interstate distribution of birth control information and contraceptive devices, while state laws criminalized abortion. In a failed attempt to reduce the divorce rate, many states reduced the grounds for divorce and extended waiting periods.
Mounting public anxiety led to increased government involvement in the family and the emergence of distinct groups offering expert advice about childrearing, parenting, and social policy. To combat the exploitation and improve the well-being of children, reformers pressed for compulsory school attendance laws, child labor restrictions, playgrounds, pure milk laws, and "widow's" pensions to permit poor children to remain with their mothers. There were also concerted efforts to eliminate male-only forms of recreation, campaigns that achieved success with the destruction of red-light districts during the 1910s and of saloons following adoption of Prohibition in 1918.
To strengthen and stabilize families, marriage counselors promoted a new ideal: the companionate family. It held that husbands and wives were to be "friends and lovers" and that parents and children should be "pals." This new ideal stressed the couple relationship and family togetherness as the primary source of emotional satisfaction and personal happiness. Privacy was a hallmark of the new family ideal. Unlike the nineteenth century family, which took in boarders, lodgers, or aging and unmarried relatives, the companionate family was envisioned as a more isolated, and more important, unit, the primary focus of emotional life.
During the Depression, unemployment, lower wages, and the demands of needy relatives tore at the fabric of family life. Many Americans were forced to share living quarter with relatives, delay marriage, and postpone having children. The divorce rate fell, since fewer people could afford one, but desertions soared. By 1940, 1.5 million married couples were living apart. Many families coped by returning to a cooperative family economy. Many children took part time jobs and many wives supplemented the family income by taking in sewing or laundry, setting up parlor groceries, or housing lodgers.
World War II also subjected families to severe strain. During the war, families faced a severe shortage of housing, a lack of schools and child-care facilities, and prolonged separation from loved ones. Five million "war widows" ran their homes and cared for children alone, while millions of older, married women went to work in war industries. The stresses of wartime contribute to an upsurge in the divorce rate. Tens of thousands of young people became latchkey children, and rates of juvenile delinquency, unwed pregnancy, and truancy all rose.
The late 1940s and 1950s witnessed a sharp reaction to the stresses of the Depression and war. If any decade has come to symbolize the traditional family, it is the 1950s. The average age of marriage for women dropped to twenty; divorce rates stabilized; and the birthrate doubled. Yet the images of family life that appeared on television were misleading; only sixty percent of children spent their childhood in a male-breadwinner, female homemaker household. The democratization of the family ideals reflected social and economic circumstances that are unlikely to be duplicated: a reaction against Depression hardships and the upheavals of World War II; the affordability of single-family track homes in the booming suburbs; and rapidly rising real incomes.
The post-war family was envisioned not simply a haven in a heartless world, like the Victorian family, but as an alternative world of satisfaction and intimacy. But this family, like its Victorian counterpart, had its own contradictions and latent tensions. Youthful marriages, especially among women who cut short their education, contributed to a rising divorce rate in the 1960s. The compression of childbearing into the first years of marriage meant that many wives were free of the most intense childrearing responsibilities by their early or mid-thirties. Combined with the ever rising costs of maintaining a middle-class standard of living, this encouraged a growing number of married women to enter the workplace; as early as 1960, a third of married middle-class women were working part- or full-time. The expansion of schooling, combined with growing affluence, contributed to the emergence of a separate youth culture, separate and apart from the family. The seeds of radical familial changes were planted in the 1950s.

Contemporary Families
Since the 1960s, families have grown smaller, less stable, and more diverse. At the same time, more adults live outside a family, as single young adults, divorced singles, or as older people who have lost a spouse. As recently as 1960, seventy percent of the households in the United States consisted of a breadwinner father, a homemaker mother, and two or more kids. Today, the male breadwinner, female homemaker family makes up only a small proportion of American households. More common are two-earner families, where both the husband and wife work; single-parent families, usually headed by a mother; reconstituted families, formed after a divorce; and empty-nest families, created after a children have left home. Declining birth and marriage rates, the rapid entry of married women into the work force, a rising divorce rate, and an aging population all contributed to this domestic revolution.
Despite the changes that have taken place, the family is not a dying institution. About ninety percent of Americans marry and bear children, and most Americans who divorce eventually remarry. In many respects, family life is actually stronger today than it was in the past. While divorce rates are higher than in the past, fewer families suffer from the death of a parent or a child. Infants were four times more likely to die in the 1950s than today and older children were three times more likely. Because of declining death rates, couples are more likely to grow into old age together than in the past and children are more likely to have living grandparents. Meanwhile, parents are making greater emotional and economic investment their children. Lower birth rates mean that parents can devote more attention and greater financial resources to each child. Fathers have become more actively involved in their childrearing.
Nevertheless, the profound changes--such as the integration of married women into the paid labor force--have taken place in the late twentieth century resulted in a "crisis of caregiving." As the proportion of single parent and two-worker families has increased, many parents have found it increasingly difficult to balance the demands of work and family life. Working parents not only had to care for their young children, but, because of increasing life spans, aging parents as well. In an attempt to deal with these needs, the United States adopted the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, entitling eligible employees to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a twelve-month period for specified family and medical reasons. Yet despite widespread rhetoric about promoting family values, many "reforms," such as welfare reform, weakened social supports for families. Whether the early twenty-first century will witness a wave of family-related reforms comparable to the Progressive Era remains to be seen.
What changes have you seen to the “family” structure in your own lifetime?  Do you have people in your life who you consider to be family although there is no direct relation?  We’d love to have you share your stories and experiences with us either here on our blog or on our interactive Facebook page.