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Jump into July with 7 Sweet and Savory Month-Long Food Holidays

What’s the most festive culinary celebration of July?

The year’s seventh month contains plenty of reasons for foodies and revelers to bring on their best bounty. In the United States, the Fourth of the July is a coast-to-coast extravaganza of picnics, parties, and parades of provisions.

What other food holidays take place in July?

Daily culinary celebrations occur throughout the coming weeks. Month-long July food holidays include these seven hearty highlights – all considered nationwide festivities in America. (The boss may not close up shop for these foodie events, but these are all-American holidays, just the same.)

  • National Baked Bean Month
  • National Bison Month
  • National Culinary Arts Month
  • National Grilling Month
  • National Hot Dog Month
  • National Ice Cream Month
  • National July Belongs to Blueberries Month

Does July offer other month-long holidays?

This midsummer month boasts many intriguing celebrations. Check out these festivities, just for fun.

  • National Anti-Boredom Month
  • National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
  • Unlucky Month for Weddings
  • and more.

Watch for helpful holiday hints, favorite recipes and other tips for July celebrations. Why not follow Practically at Home (see sidebar at right), so you don’t miss a single post!

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Adapted from Public Domain Artwork

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Go Nutty for Pralines on June 24

Smack those lips, and pass the pralines! It’s National Praline Day on June 24.

Ice cream shops feature pralines and cream as daily specials. Confectioners offer specials on crunchy praline candies. It’s a sugar-laden celebration all day long.

What are pralines?
These sweet little morsels consist of almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, or pistachios that are covered in sugary coatings. Pralines recipes vary. They may contain brown sugar, caramel, chocolate, coconut, maple syrup, or other favorites.

According to candy lore, the first pralines were created by the chef of Marshall Cesar du Plessis-Praslin, a 17th Century French diplomat and businessman. The treats later became popular in Louisiana, where cooks went positively nutty with pralines.

Why not sample these yummy pralines recipes from a host of writers?

Chocolate Pecan Praline Cake – Daniel Dedmon
This is a cake that has an interesting and humorous history as to how it has become known as "a cake that's been hauled everywhere". The cake is indeed wonderful. It's a moist cake with a mild chocolate flavor. Since it's baked in a 9x13 inch pan, it's very easy to transport to wherever you plan to take it.

Here are some easy cookie recipes that require only four ingredients each: Easy Praline Cookies, Easy M&M Cookies, Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls and Easy Fudge Crinkles.

This pecan brittle is a great treat to serve guests if you are planning an office party, picnic, or any holiday occasion. Tasty and simple, it's sure to be a hit. Homemade Pecan Praline Brittle also makes for a wonderful gift for that hard-to-shop-for fellow in your life.

Pecan Praline Cake – Aimee Plesa
Pralines are a popular treat in my home, but they must be homemade. No store bought or pre-made pralines will grace my family members' lips. Candy snobs? You betcha! This cake doesn't capture the true essence of a praline, but it certainly comes close!

Praline Popcorn – Jeri McBryde
Sporting events are ideal times for parties and snacking.  Here’s a recipe the kids will also enjoy. It’s like grown-up Cracker Jack and a super comfort food too.

Praline-Topped Brie – Caradwyne Cooper
Made with orange marmalade, this is a great topper for baguettes, fresh fruit, or your favorite crusty bread. Serve Praline-Topped Brie at a festive gathering.


Pralines may be crunchy or chewy, but they are a perennial pick, particularly on June 24th – National Praline Day in the U.S.

Praline Maker by Infrogmation of New Orleans
Creative Commons Licensing/Wikipedia CommonsPhotos
Sweet Pralines by Gren
Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons Photos


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Flag Day Fun and Fundamentals

June 14th is Flag Day in the United States. On this date, we fly Old Glory proudly, showing our true American colors.

This patriotic celebration marks the date of the adoption of the U.S. flag, which took place on June 14, 1777, in the Second Continental Congress. Delegates from all 13 colonies met in Philadelphia, adopting the First Flag Resolution on this date.

The first Flag Day observance was held at Stony Hill School in Waubeka, Wisconsin, in 1885. Schoolteacher Bernard J. Cigrand placed a small flag on his classroom desk before assigning his students to write essays on the American flag.

In 1949, U.S. President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress, making June 14th the nation’s official Flag Day.

Check out these helpful Flag Day articles, penned by a variety of web writers.

What does Flag Day mean?

The meaning of Flag Day and basic flag etiquette can be a little confusing, but taking a few minutes to learn the meaning of the day and how to fly Old Glory properly is always a great idea.

This article discusses the holiday of Flag Day, including its originals and how its currently celebrated across the US.

Here’s a look at three interesting books about Flag Day that were specifically written for kids.

What are the proper rules of American flag etiquette?

In Honor of Flag Day – Linda StCyr
There are an abundance of rules to follow when dealing with the flag, this article lets you know which days to sail the flag at half staff. Here are several.

In Honor of Flag Day – Harriet Steinberg
We shall always honor our flag. We shall give special honor every year on June 14. Read up on more Flag Day facts.

Helpful hints for the proper and respectful display of the American flag. The arrival of summer marks the season for flag-flying - especially as Memorial Day, Flag Day and the Fourth of July roll around. Here are some important things to remember as you get out your American flag and proudly fly it this year.

Looking for more Flag Day fun?

Flag Day Coloring Pages – Michelle M. Guilbeau
Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 in the United States, the day is a celebration of the adoption of the American Flag. An excellent and easy way to celebrate this monumental event with children is by offering free printable Flag Day coloring pages.

This American flag Popsicle stick craft is a terrific project for children and the hot days of summer are perfect opportunities for getting your kids involved in arts and crafts.

The free, printable Flag Day coloring pages can be used in conjunction with the proclamation President Wilson established in 1916 as a lesson in history.

Are you in the mood for Americana? Decorate your home, parade float or lawn chair with this crafty American flag banner, made from felt.

Easy Flag Day Craft for Kids – Donna Daniels
Flag Day is celebrated the first week of June, and it is a time when we should honor our United States of America flag. You can make a star mobile to help you celebrate Flag Day.

Happy Flag Day on June 14th!
1917 American Flag Day Poster
Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons

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Wave of Glory - a Poetic Manner on the American Banner – Hands upon our hearts, we stand, As you fly, so bold and grand, What a lovely sight, on view, America's red, white and blue.

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Kreativ Bloggers and Kool Kids

Awards are awesome, particularly creative compliments coming from colleagues. Thank you, Amy Brantley at Freelancin’ for $1,000 a Week for presenting me with the Kreativ Blog Award. She even used these kind words to describe me: “giving,” “helpful,” and “useful.” How sweet. Thanks, Amy!

By the way, Amy’s one of my favorite foodies! Check out her online content, and you’ll see why.

Now it’s my turn.
In true blog-networking tradition, I’m supposed to pass the Kreativ Blog Award on to seven fellow bloggers. Here they are:

  1. ShawnTe at SJP’s fashion Updates – Fashionable. Frugal. Fun
  2. Jaipi at Healthy Reflections – Smart. Sassy. Simply hilarious.
  3. Jacob at The 100 Novel Challenge – Lively. Literate. Laconic.
  4. Joan at My Quality Day – Daily. Determined. Delightful.
  5. Mike at Miller Vents – Candid. Clear. Comical.
  6. Mad at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog – Witty. Winsome. Whimsical.
  7. Elizabeth at Word Nerd Speaks – Open. Original. Optimistic.

Just for fun.

Here’s the second part of accepting the Kreativ Blog Award, answering 10 questions and offering 10 random facts about myself.

10 questions about me:

  1. What is your favorite song? I love “That’s Why God Made the Moon,” by John Elefante.
  2. What is your favorite dessert? I adore mint chip ice cream.
  3. What ticks you off? Slow drivers in the passing lane bug me a bit.
  4. What do you do when you’re upset? I take a walk around the block to cool off. (Look out, neighbors!)
  5. What is/was your favorite pet? Ashley, my first horse, was in a class of her own.
  6. Which do you prefer, black or white? How about streaks of grey? (I have plenty of those. No, wait! Those are blonde now, just like the grey streaks of every other woman over 40.)
  7. What is your biggest fear? Not sure, really.
  8. What is your attitude mostly? Hopeful.
  9. What is perfection? Nothing human.
  10. What is your guilty pleasure? Does TV count?

10 random facts about me:

  1. I’m a salty-crunchy craver.
  2. I am addicted to wordplay.
  3. I love horses. (Bet you knew that, if you’ve visited The Mane Point, my horsey blog.)
  4. My favorite fashion colors are basic and bold.
  5. I sing in the shower, but only when no one is home.
  6. I sing in the car, but only on the open road.
  7. I love gardening, but not bugs.
  8. I once pierced my own ear – on purpose.
  9. I prefer silver over gold.
  10. I’d love to become a vegetarian, but I only like three or four vegetables.

Thanks again, Amy, for the award. Readers: Check out Amy’s blog and the Kreativ Blogger Award winners I selected. Leave comments with links to your blogs. Who knows? Someone might tag you with the Kreativ Blogger Award.

Kreative Blogger Award logo – Fair Use

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Migraine madness amid the joys of June

June brings the Summer Solstice. Mild, pleasant temperatures and the longest day of the year arrive in the Northern Hemisphere during this lovely month. Brides are wed, and dads and grads are honored.

Why would anyone have a headache in June?

“What is so rare as a day in June?” asked American poet James Russell Lowell (1819-1891). “Then, if ever, come perfect days.”

Perhaps Lowell was right. June is marked by bright, sunny days. School ends, and folks of every age skip outdoors to enjoy summer fun in June. We plan picnics and pick teams for softball and Frisbee tournaments.

But June has a darker side.
As the pollen flies, the mercury climbs, and the sun’s rays seem to grow ever brighter this month. Thus,   headache sufferers may groan in June.

This month, creeping up on the year’s halfway point, is Migraine Awareness Month. The National Headache Foundation presents educational events and programs. Locally, hospitals and health-related organizations offer seminars and workshops on migraine prevention and treatment.

Migraines make any month miserable.

Trust me. I’ve had migraines for decades. OK, individual headaches haven’t lasted that long, but their looming possibilities and frequent offsets might as well have.

Do you have migraine headaches, or do you know someone who does?

Check out these helpful articles on migraines, penned by a host of headache-savvy writers.

Since the onset of several autoimmune illnesses, I've noticed recurring, sudden headaches. The headaches have occurred for months, and I've figured out my top three triggers--and how to avoid them.

Many people do not realize the effects that salt has on their bodies. After I had my heart attacks in October of 2009, I had to go on a low salt diet. Within months, I realized that the migraines that plagued me since I was five were gone.

8 Traits of Life with Migraines. Migraines are a pain in the neck, a pain in the brain and often a pain from head to toe. Ask any survivor of migraines, the dreaded chronic vascular headaches. What is it like to live with migraine headaches?

It's a chronic type of headache shrouded in mystery. New daily persistent deadache is one of the rarest forms of headaches and is often misdiagnosed.

We have all had a headache at some point. Some of us get them often and would just rather treat them naturally. Here is a detailed list of foods that are purported to be effective for headaches.

Headache Helpers – Linda Ann Nickerson
Anyone who's had a migraine headache knows exactly what no one else can ever understand. Your head throbs. Your neck and back ache. Your stomach is queasy, and your body thermostat has gone haywire. What can you do?

Migraines are no laughing matter. They can destroy a person's life if left untreated.

Is it possible that exercise can work better at relieving the pain of a migraine headache, than a prescription drug?
10 Natural Migraine Cures – Jennifer Twardowski
Find yourself subject to an agonzing migraine? Look no further! We have 10 natural ways to prevent and cure a migraine.

Are you looking for a natural way to relieve the pain of headaches and migraines? Continue reading for information on how acupuncture may deliver the feeling of well-being and quell the pain.

Migraine headaches are misery, during June’s Migraine Awareness Month or anytime. Don’t you wish we could simply wipe migraines off the map?

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  • Neurologists Link Migraines and Multiple Sclerosis – The American Academy of Neurology revealed a link between migraine headaches and multiple sclerosis. Migraines may be more prevalent among women with MS. This announcement affirms what MS patients have known from personal experience.

Headache by Shanghai Killer Whale
Creative Commons Licensing/Wikipedia Commons Photos

Excedrin Users:
A recent recall has wiped Excedrin products off store shelves. But you can obtain store-brand equivalents, containing the same ingredients and dosages (aspirin, acetaminophen and caffeine). Here's one to try:

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Who needs a holiday to bake peanut butter cookie recipes?

National Peanut Butter Cookie Day is June 12th. At least, in the United States, it’s Peanut Butter Cookie Day.

What? Are they kidding?

Peanut butter lovers, we ought to assemble and occupy. Do we really need an official holiday, just to bake our favorite peanut butter cookie recipes.

Think about it. Can you almost smell that sweet peanut butter aroma? Are you already imagining the delight of bending and breaking a gooey, chewy fresh-baked peanut butter cookie?
Don’t fight those cravings.

Sample and splurge. Why not try one of these delicious peanut butter cookie recipes? On June 12th, it’s practically a patriotic duty – at least, in America.

Warm from the oven, peanut butter cookies can't be beat. – if you like peanut butter that is, or if you or your family are not allergic. The smell brings kids running in my house.

Peanut butter blossoms are a wonderful treat anytime.  Anyone who enjoys a mouth-watering blend of chocolate and peanut butter will go crazy over these cookies.  They are simple to make, and kids will look forward to placing chocolate kisses on the cookies before eating them. 

Hamburger Cookies – Emma Salk
Try some delicious hamburger cookies for a special occasion or tonight’s dessert. They don't sound all that appetizing? You'll think differently when you taste them. You can make the hamburger cookies from scratch or you can cheat and make them from store-bought cookies.

With just a few ingredients, this recipe is super yummy and happens to be gluten-free for those of you out there with wheat or gluten issues. These peanut butter cookies are sure to bring two thumbs up from your family and friends.

The following no-bake cookie recipe is just as easy to make as any bake oatmeal cookies. This recipe is one my mother made when we were kids.

Peanut Butter Cookies – Rachelle de Bretagne
Peanuts are wonderfully healthy, and it is little wonder that they are used in so many recipes. Not only can you enjoy serving these cookies, but you can rest assured that you are offering your guests a healthy alternative which is delicious.

Eating healthy doesn't mean never enjoying dessert. Here is a great recipe for no sugar peanut butter bacon cookies that you can grab without guilt.

Peanut Butter Drops – Christine Pirello
If these cookies got any easier — or any yummier — then they would make themselves. Cookie cravers have no excuses for not baking healthy treats now!

I'm always coming up with new ideas for my favorite kinds of candy. If you love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, you may want to try the following ideas.
Gee, maybe every day should be Peanut Butter Cookie Day.

Of course, bakers must beware of peanut allergies, as those who are affected may react dangerously to peanuts or peanut oils. But for those free of such concerns, peanut butter cookies are a tasty, tempting treat indeed.

Make ‘em with chocolate chips, M&Ms, raisins or chopped peanuts. Choose crunchy or creamy peanut butter. However you bake them, these mighty morsels top the menu on Peanut Butter Cookie Day.

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  • Sugar Cookie Recipes - the Simple and Super-Simple Way Cut it out! Holiday cookies are fun to make and bake, alone or in a crowd. Here are a few oh-so-easy recipes for these perennial favorites, that taste just like Grandma used to make!
Peanut Butter Cookies by LuisFi
Creative Commons Licensing/Wikipedia Commons Photos

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Dive in: Summer jobs offer real-life work experience for teens

Teens are pounding the pavement, so to speak, seeking summer jobs. High school final exams are wrapping up, so young adults are looking for gainful employment.

My own teen is filling out job applications in a frenzy, hoping to score a slot with a local employer soon. She’s a great kid and a hard worker, but it’s still a challenge this year.

Seasonal work brings pocket change, gas money, college savings, and funds for many other needs. From lifeguards to lawnmowers, from cashiers to camp counselors, and from busboys to babysitters, working teens can rack up real earnings in the summer months.

But who’s hiring?

Do you need help in finding a summer job?

Check out these helpful online articles by several successful writers.

Teens: Finding Good Jobs – Todd Pheifer
Teenage employment is a desirable state for some people, particularly for those who want to make a little money, gain some experience, or explore particular vocational fields. Here are a few thoughts on finding good jobs for teens.     

Best Summer Jobs for Teens – Dawn Hawkins
Even if you won't allow you teen to work during the school year, there is a lot to be said for him/her working in the summer time. Here are the best summer jobs for teens.

If your teenager wants to work this summer, consider yourself lucky. Now consider some ways in which you can help your teenager land this summer job.

Summer Jobs and Career Choices – Linda Ann Nickerson
Full-time or part-time, summer jobs offer young adults the opportunity to dabble in various careers. Because summer break begins and ends with clearly defined dates, this time period is ideal for experimenting with different job opportunities.

Even if you're out of a job, it doesn't mean you're out of work. Here are 5 great ideas to help kick start a summer of bringing in some much needed cash as long as you're not afraid of hard work.

How I Earned Money Without a Summer Job – R. Elizabeth Kitchen
When I was younger and wanted to earn money during the summer without a traditional job, I discovered a variety of ways to do it. Read on to learn how I earned money without a summer job.

Teens can shine and beat the competition for finding a summer job by doing these 5 things in the job interview.

During the last part of my junior high school years, I started mowing lawns with my older brother who had already started this business a couple of years earlier. I continued to mow the lawns the two of us had picked up in the last two years he was going to school.

Before my 16-year-old twins selected summer jobs, they had to come up with a summer budget.
As parents, it's our responsibility to instruct our kids about money and how to manage it. This summer brought an entirely new set of budgeting rules and regulations for financial management as my kids opted to take on summer jobs.

Now … who wants to hire my teen for the summer?

Related Items:

Teen Driver by Radek Z. Brna
Lifeguards by Charlie Brewer
Creative Commons Licensing/Wikipedia Commons Photos

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Hair hygiene: 5 easy steps for cleaning hairbrushes

Gunky and gross brushes are bad for your hair’s health.

Dust, mold, natural oils, dead hair and hair products can build up on hair grooming tools. The longer you use your brushes and combs between cleaning, the more troublesome these additions can become.

Think about it. Do you really want to shampoo and condition your hair, and then run stale hair products, dirt and other junk back through your fresh locks?

It’s easy to clean your hairbrushes, once you know how.

Don’t toss those dirty hairbrushes. You can wash them, and reuse them. Just follow these five simple steps.

1. First, remove all of the dead hairs from your hairbrush. Do not try to scrub two brushes together, as this can damage the bristles.

Here’s a better idea that even works with round brushes or large paddle brushes. Grab a pair of manicure scissors, and cut the tangled strands between all of the bristled rows on the brush. Then pick out all of the hair, and discard it. Try to hold the brush over a trash bin, as you do this.

2. Fill the bathroom sink (or a large bucket) with fresh hot water. Add about 1/4 of a box of baking soda to approximately two quarts of water. Do not try to clean hairbrushes with shampoo, as many suggest. This only leads to more product buildup.

Stir the water with your hairbrush. Submerge your brushes in the sink, and let them soak for about 15 minutes. Toss your combs, barrettes and gripper clips into the drink as well.

3. If brushes or combs are particularly sticky or dirty, scrub them with an old toothbrush and a bit more baking soda before soaking them some more. Be extra gentle with brushes containing natural bristles.

4. Rinse all items thoroughly in clean, warm water.

5. Lay brushes and combs out on a soft, clean towel to dry.

How often should you clean your hairbrushes?

If you use them daily, it’s a good idea to wash brushes and combs at least twice a month. Shared hair care tools should be cleaned more often.

Clean hairbrushes and combs are much healthier and considerably more useful as hairstyling tools than sticky, goopy, hair-filled ones. Maintain them regularly, and they will serve you well for a long time.



Hairbrush by Bhailu7 - MorgueFile

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Spring allergy alert: 12 ways to prevent pollen problems

Achoo! Allergies are alarming during peak pollen season. Sniffles, snorts, stuffy noses and sometimes subsequent sinus infections can make the warm weather hardly a picnic for those affected by seasonal allergies.

Are you allergic to grass, hay, trees or other pollen producers? If the entire blooming season sets you to sneezing, check out these 12 practical pointers for minimizing the problems of pollen.

1. Check pollen counts daily.

Several organizations offer allergy forecasts for specific regions. Look up your own area on AAAAI’s National Allergy Bureau,, , and other informative sites. If the allergy counts skyrocket on a given day, consider making indoor plans for your health and comfort.

2. Close the windows at home.

Sure, it can be costly to run the air conditioning all spring and summer, but open windows issue invitations to airborne allergens.

3. Replace air conditioning and furnace filters.

Find hypoallergenic filters for your home heating and air conditioning units. An indoor air quality attachment may be a worthy investment, if you or family members have allergies. Some attachments even add moisture to the air inside the home, which can help with congestion and other allergy-related respiratory symptoms.

Consider using a humidifier, at least overnight, if allergies cause sinus congestion or a cough.

4. Cover pillows and mattresses.

Anti-allergen pillow and mattress covers are bonuses to those who need them. Dust, mites, and mold can build up inside bedding. The extra layer offers protection.

5. Banish pets from beds.

Even those without pet or pet dander allergies may want to keep animals off beds and upholstered furniture during allergy season. Think about it. Have furry friends been rolling around outside?

6. Take an antihistamine.

Over-the-counter allergy medications can prevent flare-ups. In severe cases, prescription allergy drugs or even allergy shots may be needed. Beware of overuse of allergy drops, which can cause rebound symptoms.

7. Put hair up.
Airborne pollen, dust and other allergens are likely to collect in long, free-flowing locks. Prevent this by tying hair up, pinning it back, or wearing a scarf or hat outdoors.

8. Sport sunglasses.

Shades are super for stopping pollen and particles from entering the eyes. Also, direct sunlight tends to be uncomfortable to allergy sufferers’ eyes. Protective sunglasses are great.

9. Cover your face for outdoor exercise.

Allergies may rile runners, trip up joggers, and harass horticulturalists. A simple cotton bandanna or kerchief can keep pollen and dust from entering the nose and mouth. Some folks prefer to retain and use disposable medical masks, such as those offered freely in hospital lobbies and hallways.

10. Enjoy outdoor activity when weather cooperates with allergies.

Strong winds send allergens flying all around, but a fresh rain brings them down. Allergy sufferers tend to prefer bicycling, power walking, running, gardening, or even picnicking after a rainstorm. The air is fresh and clean at such times.

11. Run the air conditioning on the road.

It’s fun to drive fast with the car windows down and the music cranked in warm weather. However, any allergic person may cry foul. When pollen counts run high, it’s safer to roll up those windows and enjoy the recirculation of  cool air instead.

12. Shower before bed.

This may be the single most important problem prevention pointer of all. Even non-allergy sufferers swear by the bedtime shower as a way of removing dust, mold, pollen, or other bothersome particles. Why take a full day’s worth of contaminants to bed, where they may be spread to the pillow, sheets and covers?

A few simple steps can make a huge difference in improving the entire season by reducing allergies’ effects.

And that’s nothing to sneeze at, so to speak.

Related Items:

Pollen in Flower
Public Domain/Wikipedia Commons Photos
Sneeze by McFarlandMo
Creative Commons Licensing/Wikipedia Commons Photos
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