Tomorrow is the first official day of summer! Say goodbye to long school days and hello to nights full of laughter, love, and thankfulness. With warm weather and more hours of daylight, you and your family can enjoy having cookouts on the back deck or watching the sunset as you roast marshmallows by the fire. As spring draws to a close, however, this means that we are approaching the summer solstice— also known as the longest day of the year. Although every day has the same 24 hours, June 21st will have more ‘day’ time, as the sun will be visible for more hours than any other occasion of the year. Here are some interesting facts about the summer solstice, and the science behind why it happens:
- The summer solstice is also referred to as the estival solstice, or midsummer. Perhaps this was the night to which Shakespeare was referring when he wrote one of his famous plays!
- This natural phenomenon occurs when a planet’s rotational axis or geographical pole is most inclined toward the star that it orbits, which in our case, is the sun.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, this solstice occurs somewhere between the dates of June 20th and June 22nd.
- However, in the Southern Hemisphere, it happens between December 20th and December 23rd, since it is on the opposite side of the globe and thus not as inclined toward the sun as is its partner hemisphere.
- It is during this time that the sun reaches its highest altitude in reference to the earth’s geographical poles.
- In some polar regions, there are periods of time when the sun is shining 24 hours a day for a period of a few days to six months surrounding the summer solstice.
- The word “solstice” comes from the Latin language. Sol means “sun” and sistere is translated “to stand still.” Therefore, the name basically means, “The sun stands still.”
As you enjoy the longest day of the year, don’t forget to tell those around you about how “the sun stands still.”
To read more about the summer solstice, visit:
Father’s Day, celebrated on the third Sunday of June, is a special day to honor those men who have invested priceless time and energy into our physical, emotional, and spiritual well-beings. For many, this is a day to honor parents, grandparents, or even special mentors who took on fatherly roles. As you celebrate the companionship and protection that your father – earthly or Heavenly — gave you, remember the years of lessons taught and laughter shared. Below is a list of verses that you can think about as you celebrate this Father’s Day.
- Proverbs 20:7 – The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
- Proverbs 4:1 – Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
- Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
- Psalms 103:13 – Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.
- Ephesians 6:4 – And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
- 3 John 1:4 – I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Happy Father’s Day!
Around this time of year, there are many historical dates and holidays that bring us to remembrance of the many brave men and women who fought courageously for our beloved country and its flag. Today, June 6th, is the anniversary of the Allies clandestinely sending troops onto the beaches at Normandy, otherwise known as D-Day. Memorial Day was observed with parades and services a little over a week ago, and next Thursday, June 14th, is Flag Day. With this in mind, along with the long-awaited paradise of summer ahead of us, here is a way that you can create an opportunity to incorporate learning about our nation’s history into summer fun by making a flag cake. By making this cake together with your children, you will be able to teach history and home economics at the same time!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A cake recipe – whatever flavor you desire
- White frosting – the flavor does not matter, as long as it is white
- Strawberries (or raspberries, if desired)
- A knife
Here’s what to do:
- First of all, bake the cake. For the purpose of this dessert, put the batter into a rectangle baking dish or pan when cooking. After the cake is done, let it cool completely.
- While the cake is in the oven, start slicing the strawberries. The best way to cut them for this particular cake is to remove the white, hard middle and the green leaves out of the strawberry from the top, and then slice the strawberry in half lengthwise.
- Next, frost the cake. Using the white frosting, cover the entire cake.
- After this is done, start by placing blueberries onto the upper left-hand corner of the cake. If possible, put exactly fifty blueberries on the dessert.
- Then, take the strawberries and make horizontal lines across the cake with them, starting at the very top with a red stripe and ending at the very bottom with another red stripe. You can place the strawberry stripes close together, as the white frosting will show through and appear as stripes.
- Explain the history of the United States Flag to your children. The basics include the 50 stars representing the 50 states, and the 13 stripes representing the 13 original colonies.
- Eat and enjoy!
With summer just around the corner, the temperatures, and the energy levels of your children, will rise. As school draws to a close, kids will be out playing in the warm sunshine. As a result, your next task to deal with might be thirst. Sometimes, water just doesn’t cut it, and you might hear requests for ice cream, popsicles, or lemonade. Most likely, you will not drop everything and run to the store to buy a carton of Hood or Breyer’s. On the other hand, since you read this article, you will reach into your freezer and pull out the handy-dandy popsicles that you made just last night. Not only are homemade popsicles cheaper, but they also are healthier and contain less sugar than store-bought desserts. Here’s how to put together these pops in less than five minutes:
- What you’ll need:
– Paper or plastic cups (or an ice cube tray)
– Popsicle sticks or any kind of wooden stick (even a spoon would work)
– Juice, cider, lemonade, or any other fruity beverage
– A freezer
To get started, line up some cups on the counter and prepare some freezer space.
Next, pour the juice, lemonade, or cider into the cups and freeze for about fifteen minutes, or until the top of the beverage begins to solidify.
Then, take the popsicle sticks or spoons and thrust them through the frozen layer of the drink so that they stand upright.
Lastly, put the cups back into the freezer, and wait for them to harden completely. (This may take a few hours.)
Make your own pinwheel just in time for your local Memorial Day parade! In just a few easy steps, you and your children can have an enjoyable time creating this spinning decoration. In order to add some variety, you may use multicolored paper or have your children draw whatever they like on their paper before turning it into a pinwheel. Paper with red or white on one side and blue on the other would be a perfect choice for a patriotic pinwheel. Here’s how to get started:
- First of all, gather your supplies. You’ll need:
- Pins. They must be at least an inch in length and have a decently large head.
- Square sheets of paper. Origami paper works wonderfully, but any old paper cut into squares will work just fine.
- Beads. You will need plastic beads whose hole is smaller than the head of your pin so that they will not come off.
- Sticks. Any type of stick will do, as long as you are able to stick a pin through it without too much difficulty. If you use a pencil, you can stick the pin through the eraser quite easily.
- Fold the paper. You will need to fold each paper exactly in half into the shape of a triangle. Then, unfold the paper, and fold it into a triangle again. This time, you will need to take the two edges that made up the first triangle when folded and bring those together and fold. This way, when you unfold the paper again, you should see an “X” mark throughout the square from the folds.
- Make pencil marks. On each fold line, make a mark with a pencil or other light writing utensil about 2/3 of the way in, towards the center. When finished with this step, if you were to connect the four marks you made, you should be able to see a square about 1/3 the size of your original paper.