National Cupcake Day

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The past few weeks, we’ve taken a more in-depth look at several December holidays.

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Photo Credit to Bakerella

Two weeks, ago, we learned more about the Celebration of Lights, and just last week, we met St. Nicholas of Myre. This week, we’ll again look at an event that is a little more light-hearted in nature – National Cupcake Day. Unlike Hanukkah and St. Nick’s Day, National Cupcake Day, which is taking place on Saturday, December 15, is an unofficial national holiday, but we thought it’d be fun to celebrate everyone’s favorite portable dessert with a brief history and less-known facts to impress all of your friends.

Although cakes have been around for centuries, the child dessert has much a “shorter” history. The idea of the cupcake arrived in the United States in 1796 after making its debut in Amelia Simmons’ cookbook. At that point, it did not have a unique name
but was sometimes known as the 1-2-3-4 cake. One of the most significant advantages of this recipe was it was easy to remember; it merely called for 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour and 4 eggs (plus 1 cup of milk and 1 spoonful of baking soda.)

The word, “cupcake” did not come to be until the recipe was first documented by Eliza Leslie in her 1828 called “Receipts.” Of course, the rest is history. Today, there seems to be a cupcake available in every theme, color and flavor. But did you also know?

  • The first cupcakes were not frosted, but instead flavored with dried fruits and spices.
  • The cupcake industry first started gaining popularity when Hostess began mass-producing their famous cream-filled “Cupcake” in 1919.
  • The world’s largest cupcake weighed over 1200 pounds and contained more than two million calories.
  • The Food Network has a show dedicated exclusively to cupcakes called “Cupcake Wars,” and has over 1.6 million viewers.

There’s just no denying that people love cupcakes. The best way to observe this unofficial holiday is to bake a batch and share them with people you care about. It’s just one more way to make life a little sweeter.

Happy National Cupcake from Lions Pride!

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A Short History of Saint Nicholas Day

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Today marks the beginning of another December holiday known as Saint Nicholas Day, aSaint Nicholas gift- giving holiday that stems from ancient Greece. Will you and your family be celebrating?

St. Nick’s Day is a big holiday in Europe but is not nearly as common here in the United States. It all started back in 4th century Greece. Nicholas’ parents died in an epidemic when he was a young boy but left him with a large sum of money. With his inheritance, he decided to use his wealth to help the sick, the needy and the suffering. His most popular act was to leaving gold coins in people’s shoes around the city. He became known across the land for his generosity. After dedicating his life of service to others, Nicholas of Myra was officiated as a bishop.

European immigrants brought their beliefs and associations around Saint Nicholas Day. The earliest records observe the holiday in big cities such as New York City in the early 1800s. Of course, the tradition has since evolved since making its way to North America. Today, children hang their stockings on the fireplace mantel and awake to small gifts of candy, games and other fun trinkets. However, there is always the chance that naughty children will wake to a sad lump of coal.

If you’ve been through a checkout line in a superstore anytime in the recent future, you know there are all sorts of stocking stuffer ideas out there. Kids of all ages will love stickers, candy, cookies, jewelry, toy cars, fruit, building blocks and bottles of nail polish. But we have an idea for another extra special gift to add to the list.

In addition to small knickknacks, consider teaching your children the value of charity by giving a donation in his or her name. Print off the certificate and add it to their stocking. Then you can explain to them how their special gift helps others. For example, with a donation to Lions Pride, they are helping children with special needs have fun at a week of summer camp, meeting new friends and building life-changing skills – an experience that he or she will treasure for a lifetime.

This holiday season, embody the spirit of Saint Nicholas with a gift that gives back. After all, isn’t it the reason behind season?

Happy Saint Nicholas Day from Lions Pride!

 

The Story of Hanukkah

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Thanksgiving has come and gone, then without skipping a single beat, it seems that Jewish holiday hanukkah celebration with vintage menorahChristmas has arrived. Now, we are being bombarded with TV commercials, online ads and emails letting us know that December 25 will be here soon. While there’s no denying Christmas is one of the most popular holidays celebrated in the United States, it’s important to remember that there are several other celebrations also taking place in December. In the next series, we will explore a handful of the holidays – starting with Hanukkah.

Hanukkah, also known as Chanukah, is an eight-day celebration of light takes place this year from December 2 to December 10. The story dates back thousands of years ago to 200 BC. At that time, the land of Israel was under the control of Antiochus III and the Syrian Greeks. During his reign, Antiochus allowed Jewish people to continue practicing their religion, but when his son, Antiochus IV assumed power, he outlawed Judaism and forced the Judeans to worship Greek gods.

In 168 BC, soldiers of Anthiochus III invaded Jerusaleum where they killed thousands of people and destroyed the city’s sacred Second Temple. Within the temple’s holy walls, soldiers slaughtered pigs and erected a statue of Zeus. After the desecration, a Jewish priest named Mattathias started the Maccabean Revolt. Immediately following his death in 166 BC, his son Judah took charge of the rebellion. Finally, after three long years of battle, the war came to an end, and the Judeans successfully drove the Syrians out of Israel.

Following the victory, Judeans wanted to light the menorah to rededicate the Second Temple but discovered that they only had enough oil to keep the candles burning for one day. They decided to take a chance and light the candles. Then a miracle happened. The candles continued to flicker for the following eight days, leaving them plenty of time to find a fresh supply of oil. Jewish sages then proclaimed an annual eight-day festival.

Today, the Hanukkah celebration is centered on the lighting of the menorah. After sundown each night, another candle is lit. The menorah is then displayed in the window to remind others of the original miracle.

A common question that many people ask is whether or not Chanukkah is a gift-giving holiday. You may be surprised to learn that there are no biblical or Talmudic roots connected to the idea of giving gifts during the Hanukkah season, but there is a timeworn tradition of instilling the value of charity. Many families have adopted the tradition of giving gelt (or money) to their children each weeknight of Hanukkah. Children then give a portion of their gift to charity. What an inspiring concept!

This year, let’s make an effort to remember all of the December celebrations, not just Christmas. We may not have the same beliefs or traditions as our neighbors, but it’s our differences that make our world all the more interesting.

Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!

 

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

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Today is a special day – Thanksgiving, a day where we gather with friends and family to STACKED_0.pngreflect on life’s greatest blessings. We love the message behind the holiday, but isn’t it ironic that less than 24 hours from now, many of us will be stampeding through retail stores to find this year’s newest tech gadget or a larger flat-screen TV? Why do we only get the one day to appreciate all that life has to offer, but multiple days dedicated to buying gifts?

The team at the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact must have had similar questions because, in 2012, they introduced America to Giving Tuesday. The idea is simple. On the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (this year, it’s November 27) we take the day off from holiday shopping and instead give back.

On Thanksgiving, we give thanks.

On Black Friday, we get deals.

On Cyber Monday, we get online.

On Giving Tuesday, we give back.

How can you give back? That’s the beauty behind this holiday because the answer is any way you wish. You can choose to give time by helping a neighbor in need, give kindness by complimenting a stranger, give hope with a donation to your favorite nonprofit organization, or give knowledge to others with the power of your voice.

Regardless of whether you have $5 or $50, 10 minutes or 10 hours; all that matters is that you give. By finding a way to help your family, friends, community or organization of your choosing, you’ve done more than your part. Let’s join together to start a movement celebrating generosity and giving back.

The Lions Pride Office will be closed today and tomorrow in observance of the holiday but are excited to hear how you will be celebrating Giving Tuesday. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!

 

How to Support Your Favorite Organization with Holiday Shopping

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The holiday shopping season is here. If you’re like us, you’ve already seen the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from several major retailers. We know, we know, it seems like the shopping window increases each year, but you can take advantage of its early arrival with extra preparation time, sizable savings and an opportunity to support your favorite nonprofit organization – without spending anything more. Learn how to become an even smarter shopper with these free online tools:45749783_1042895462557318_4769862938020282368_o.png

AmazonSmile

AmazonSmile is the same Amazon website that you know and love but allows you to an easy and automatic way to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you.

To get started you need to visit smile.amazon.com and select “Lions Pride Endowment Fund,” then start shopping. Every time you make a purchase, Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% back to Lions Pride. Consider creating a bookmark or installing the Amazon Assistant to get in the habit.

GoodSearch and GoodShop

GoodSearch is a search engine powered by Yahoo that supports nonprofit organizations in every search. Every time you choose to use GoodSearch when browsing the internet, the search engine will donate one penny to your favorite organization. One penny may not sound like a lot but imagine this: If 1000 Lions Pride supporters were to use GoodSearch twice a day for a year, they could raise a total of $7300. Wow!

Similar to AmazonSmile, GoodShop is an online shopping portal that allows you to donate to your charity of choice with every purchase you make. The site helps you find online coupons and deals with businesses all over the web. Not only are you raising money for your favorite charity, but you are also saving money. Most importantly, the operating costs to manage the site come from advertisers, so there is no fee to sign up.

Getting started with GoodShop is simple. Just visit http://www.goodsearch.com/choosecause and search for “Lions Pride.” Next, select “Lions Pride Endowment Fund.” Then, you can choose your favorite stores, and Goodshop will alert you each time there is a new coupon or sale. Who doesn’t love easy shopping?

It may be hard to believe, but the holidays will be here within the blink of an eye. If you prefer to do your shopping online, consider using one of these free tools to save money and contribute to Lions Pride when you check items off your list. With your continued support, we can work together to preserve, protect and provide for the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all WLF statewide projects.

Happy shopping!

 

 

Diabetes Awareness Month

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We have arrived at the eleventh month of the year. If we were to ask you, “What is the Strides Lions for Diabetes Awarenessfirst topic that comes to mind when you think about November?”; what would you say? More than likely, your response would include something related to Thanksgiving, football or fall, but there is one other topic that should come to mind – diabetes. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and we think it’s time to spread the word about the growing epidemic.

Diabetes is a long-lasting disease that impacts how your body turns food into energy. According to the CDC, approximately 30.3 million American adults have diabetes, and 1 in 4 don’t even know that they have the disease. People with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes are at higher risk for other serious health complications including blindness, kidney problems, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, nerve damage and more. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for diabetes at this time, but it is treatable with healthy lifestyle changes.

Lions Club International adopted diabetes awareness at a long-term commitment back in 1984. The primary object was to reduce the number of new cases of blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy. Wisconsin Lions are always on a mission to actively support LCI’s efforts, but November is an excellent opportunity to reach an even larger audience. If you and your club are looking to make a difference in the world of diabetes awareness, here are a few project ideas, courtesy of Lions Club International:

  • Conduct a local diabetes screening – Partner with healthcare professionals to carry out the event. Organizations such as government health departments, universities, hospitals and private physicians will often agree to perform free of low-cost public screenings. Learn more about getting started.
  • Organize a Strides event in your community – A Strides event is a highly visible, family-oriented activity that combines fun with exercise. Events can include walking, dancing, cycling or running. Find out more about organizing one today.
  • Start planning a school or community garden – Spring may not be top of mind this time of year, but it’s never too early to start thinking about next season gardening. Having fruits and vegetables readily available is always a great way to encourage others to make healthy meal choices.
  • Provide your local library with an annual diabetes magazine subscription – You can find industry publications with subscriptions as low as $10 a year. Talk about an affordable way to reach all curious library visitors!
  • Create a support group for those affected with diabetes – A support group will give you a chance to educate and inform others while creating a safe space for families suffering.

World Diabetes Day is Friday, November 15. There’s never been a better time to start planning a project to increase diabetes awareness. Already working on a large service project, or don’t think there’s enough time to get one started this month? You and your club can still help spread the word. When you support Lions Pride, you can designate your gift specifically for the WLF’s Diabetes Project – ensuring funding in perpetuity. Diabetes is no match to the power of Lions. Together, we can all work to inform and educate others to help prevent and control diabetes.

 

Get Ready to Vote on November 6

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If you have a TV, are active on social media or are particularly observant on your daily Voting Buttonscommute, you know that an election is upon us. You’re right! The congregational midterm election is taking place on Tuesday, November 6. Will you vote?

This election will determine who represents the state in Congress, the branch of government that creates laws. The following positions will be seen on the ballot:

  • All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives
  • One-third of all US senators
  • Thirty-six governors and three US territory governors

In the state of Wisconsin, we are also voting for:

  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of State
  • County Sheriff
  • Clerk of Circuit Court
  • Other local representatives, in addition to local referenda

Click to preview your ballot here.

Voting fluctuates dramatically when comparing presidential and midterm elections. According to Fairvote.org, about 60 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot during presidential elections, but only 40 percent participate in midterm elections.

It’s important for us all to remember that a robust voter turnout is imperative to a healthy democracy. If you are on the fence about participating in the midterm elections, we encourage you to spend the next few days researching candidates and make a plan to vote. Here are a few other items that you will be helpful to know before election day:

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “this is the important election in history” before each election, but it’s always true. This Tuesday, be sure to fulfill your civic duty. Get out and vote!

Happy Voting from Lions Pride.

Fun Facts About Cats

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Did you know that estimates show approximately Red kittenfour million cats are entering animal shelters each year with one to two million being euthanized? The folks behind National Cat Day are on a mission to lower that number by helping more cats find forever homes on October 29.

In the shelters, cats are often overlooked when compared to dogs because they don’t carry titles like walking companion, travel buddy or guardian. But cats have several other redeeming qualities. They help lower blood pressure, decrease stress levels and provide unconditional love. Learn about all of the benefits of owning a cat.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, we thought we’d celebrate with some fun facts that you might not already know about our favorite feline friends:

  • Cats make about 100 different sounds while dogs only make about ten.
  • Cats sleep a lot! In an average day, a cat spends about two-thirds of it sleeping.
  • Similar to a human fingerprint, each cat’s nose print is unique.
  • A total of 32 muscles control a cat’s outer ear. (Humans only have six!)
  • A cat can jump up to five times its height in one leap.
  • Cats only meow at humans. They will typically hiss, purr and spit at other cats.
  • A cat uses its whiskers to judge the size of spaces.
  • Scientists don’t know exactly how cats purr.
  • A cat’s jaw cannot move sideways, so they are unable to chew large chunks of food.
  • House cats share approximately 96 percent of DNA with tigers.
  • Abraham Lincoln was an extreme cat lover. He shared the white house with his wife and four cats. When asked about his hobbies, Mary Todd replied, “cats.”
  • A group of cats is called a “clowder.”

We are all encouraged to spoil our fur babies in honor of National Cat Day. Think about purchasing a new toy, giving them an extra tasty treat and providing additional pets and cuddling. Of course, the best way to celebrate is to save a life. If you have the ability, adopt from your local animal shelter. Let’s work together to decrease the number of homeless animals currently housed in local shelters.

Happy National Cat Day from Lions Pride!

Ways to Celebrate Sweetest Day

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ThereHappy Sweetest Day.png are plenty of holidays to observe in October. Bosses’ Day falls on October 16, Make a Difference Day is celebrated on October 27 and, of course, Halloween shows up each year on October 31, but there is one more holiday that we want to make sure you add to your calendar – Sweetest Day on Saturday, October 20.

We know what you’re thinking, “Great, another card-giving holiday,” however, there is truly charming reason behind this occasion.

According to Hallmark, Sweetest Day was developed by a candy store employee who lived in Cleveland, Ohio by the name of Herbert Birch Kingston. In 1922, he decided to bring happiness to those who were feeling forgotten. Together with a team, Kingston brought candy and small gifts to orphans, shut-ins and others to show their care.

By the early 1930s, celebrities started getting involved in the event. Ann Pennington handed out candy to over 2200 newspaper carriers, and Theda Bara passed out candy to theater attendees and hospital patients. The original holiday expanded to include loved ones, coworkers, acquaintances and friends. Today, Sweetest Day is still most prevalent in the Great Lakes region due to its origination.

So, how should you observe this weekend’s holiday? You could send a card or surprise someone with a box of their favorite candy, but here are a few more thoughtful approaches:

  1. Bake a batch of cookies

Who doesn’t love the taste of homemade cookies? There’s nothing like the taste of a chocolate chip cookie to brighten up even the darkest day, but it turns out that baking for others can also have a positive effect on the baker. Baking, especially when done for others, can have a whole slew of psychological benefits. If you’re in a baking mood, thinking about spreading the love by preparing a plate of cookies with someone who might need a pick-me-up. (Additionally, baking is always an incredible way to warm up the house!)

  1. Write a heartfelt letter

With the increase in technology, it seems that we have lost of the art of letter writing. Show a loved one that you’ve been thinking about them with a short, heartfelt letter. You can always send an email if you’re looking to save a stamp or send your message faster, but we can bet that a handwritten note will put a smile on your recipients’ face.

  1. Send flowers

Did you know that in addition to creating a beautiful focal point, flowers have several health benefits? Flowers can promote feelings of happiness and in people all ages. They are also believed to help balance emotions and prevent mood swings. If you know someone who is in need of an instant mood boost, flowers may be the perfect gift.

  1. Donate in his or her honor

Nonprofit organizations thrive with the gifts of their loyal supporters. Funds are the lifeblood of any nonprofit as it helps them spread their message and make a difference in their communities. When celebrating Sweetest Day, consider donating to your recipient’s favorite organization in their name. When you make an honorarium/memorial donation to Lions Pride, we’ll gladly mail an acknowledgment card to your loved one or their family to let them know about the lasting legacy that you are creating for future generations at the Wisconsin Lions Camp and in other WLF projects.

Sweetest Day may have originated with candy and sweets in mind, but we believe that the message has evolved as a day to do small things for others with great love. How do you plan to celebrate the occasion?

Happy Sweetest Day fromLions Pride!

 

 

 

 

 

National Estate Planning Week

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Did you know that next week is National Estate Planning Week? We may not exchange Estate-Plangifts, share a large family meal or decorate lamp posts, but here at Lions Pride, we think it’s still an important holiday worth celebrating. Let us tell you why!

You may be surprised to learn that estate planning is one of the most overlooked elements of personal financial wellness. An estimated 56 percent of Americans don’t have an updated estate plan. It’s not uncommon to hear these phrases associated with the practice:

“I’m too young for an estate plan.”

“Estate planning is only important for the ultra-rich.”

“My spouse and I created our wills when we first married (35 years ago,) so there’s no need for further planning.”

“Won’t my property just go to my spouse?”

“Estate planning is too complicated and expensive.”

The truth of the matter is estate planning is for everyone because it protects you, your family and your assets.

There are several advantages to estate planning, including:

  • Saving you (and your loved ones) money in the future.
  • Passing on your assets the way you want.
  • Having the opportunity to support a cause or organization that you care about, even after your passing.
  • Providing financial direction, if you are physically or mentally unable.
  • Bestowing peace of mind to you and your family.

See more estate planning benefits from The Balance.

We understand that the idea of estate planning can be scary. Similar to life insurance, estate planning will seemingly bring up the shadow of the death. It may be difficult to hear, but postponing estate planning will not postpone death. One of the most significant reasons for an estate plan is to prepare for the unexpected.

Next week, National Estate Planning Week is the ideal time to plan for the future and ensure that your affairs are in order. If you do not currently have an estate planner, you can find an Accredited Estate Planner Designee by following this link. If you already have a plan in place, it may be an excellent time to review and make necessary adjustments. That might include naming Lions Pride or your favorite charity in your plans, living a lasting legacy.

Happy National Estate Planning Week!