It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season!

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We have to be honest. The winter weather has gotten us down this week. Although the temperatures have remained fair, the icy roads are making us feel as though the warm, summer months will arrive. That’s when we were to see a timely announcement – the return of Girl Scout Cookie Weekend.

Last month, Girl Scouts of the USA kicked off their 101st year of selling cookies. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is one of the most successful programs in any organization. Over 1 million Girls Scouts participate in selling cookies to benefit their troop. Scouts can show off their G.I.R.L. (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader) Spirit by selling cookies to help power amazing experiences all year-round. All of the net revenue stays within the local area to benefit the girls and their councils.

This year, troops were happy to welcome the return of the Girl Scout S’mores Cookie, the most popular flavor to launch in the past century. In 2017, GSUSA debuted two versions of the cookie – a crème covered crispy graham cracker cookie dipped in chocolate, and a chocolate marshmallow filled graham cracker sandwich cookie decorated with designs honoring Girl Scouts’ Outdoor Badges.

With the new cookie arrival, bakers have gotten creative in the kitchen by whipping up new delicious recipes. We’re excited to try the S’more Campfire Cupcakes, created by Little Brownie Bakers, which will help put us in the camping spirit – even if there is still snow on the ground. Of course, we’ve also craving old favorites like Thin Mints and Tagalongs.

Now to answer a question that is often asked this time of year, “How I can purchase Girl Scout Cookies if I don’t know any Girl Scouts?” This year, it’s easier than ever to stock up on your favorite do-good cookie. Simply visit the Cookie Locator to find a location near you. As we mentioned, this weekend (February 23 – 25) is National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend, so troops all over the country are hosting exciting events. If you’d rather than stay in, there is also an online portal available.

No matter how you choose to enjoy your cookies, dipping them in a glass of milk or using them as a key ingredient in a new recipe, you can rest easy knowing that your purchase is helping young girls develop lifetime, leadership skills.

Have you or will you purchase Girl Scouts some time in 2018? What cookie is your favorite? The Pride Staff favors the Thin Mints.

Happy Girl Scout Cookie Weekend!

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Celebrating Chinese New Year

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Happy New Year! Wait, didn’t we already do this? No, it’s not deja vu – it’s the Chinese Chinese red lanternNew Year. Unlike our traditional New Year on January 1, Chinese New Year is never on a fixed day because it is dictated by the lunar calendar, which can place anytime from January 21 and February 20.

Although the event will officially begin tomorrow (February 16), Chinese communities have been preparing for weeks. Typically, most families start by thoroughly cleaning their homes “sweeping the dust,” this process is representative of putting old things away and leaving the past behind.

Once all of the cleaning is complete, people decorate their homes with red lanterns and red posters with poetic verses. The color red is much loved because it symbolizes happiness and good fortune.

On the eve of the New Year, family events are extremely common. The festivities begin with a traditional dinner. Throughout the evening, fireworks and firecrackers are set off to get rid of bad luck and encourage good fortune. Other activities include beating drums, striking gongs and as well as Dragon and Lion Parades (we especially like the sound of the last event!)

Each year is given its name from the Chinese zodiac. This year’s zodiac animal is a dog. Years of the Dog include 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018 and 2030. If you were born in a Dog year, you’re a Dog, and the following elements are seen as lucky for you:

Lucky numbers: 3, 4, 9
Lucky color: red, green and purple
Lucky flowers: rose, cymbidium orchids

Unfortunately, it appears that people born in a year of the Dog are destined to have less good luck in 2018, but there are ways to make your own good luck.

Believe it or not, this is not the last New Year we will celebrate in 2018. It’s hard to believe, but in four short months, we will be getting ready to start the Lionistic New Year! We hope the time is going as quickly for you as it is for the rest of us. Lions Pride would like to thank you for your dedication to the Lions organization and appreciate your service.

Do you make plans to celebrate the Year of the Dog? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy Chinese New Year!

 

 

 

Get Ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics

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Looking for a way to display your American spirit? Tune in to the 2018 Winter Olympics, airing on NBC tomorrow night.Ice Skates

It seems like only yesterday we were cheering on our teams at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio. This year, the games are taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a city approximately 80 miles east of Seoul.

To get ready for the action, we’ve compiled a list of fun facts to commemorate this year’s competition:

  • The first Winter Games took place in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The 2018 Games will mark the 23rd Winter Olympics.
  • Four new events have been added to the competition. This year, viewers will be able to watch big air snowboarding, freestyle skiing, mass start speed skating and mixed doubles curling.
  • Lee Suk-Woo designed the 2018 medals that feature lively diagonal lines and 3D consonants from the Korean alphabet. The design was inspired by tree trunks that were made to symbolize the “the work that has gone into developing Korean culture and the Games themselves.”
  • The 2018 Mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang. The tiger is an animal that is highly regarded in Korean mythology and culture; the white tiger is seen as a symbol of trust, strength and protection.

    Here at Lions Pride, we like seeing Soohorang as the mascot, but Pride the Lion from the 2012 Summer Olympics will always hold a special place in our hearts!

South Korea may be 15 hours ahead of Chicago, but Americans will be able to stream all of the events in real time. The first figure skating competition will begin tonight at 6 pm.

Will you be watching the 2018 Winter Olympics? Which event do you enjoy watching most?

Enjoy the winter games!

Predicting the Weather Before Punxsutawney Phil

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Here we are again – another month has come and gone. Now that we’ve flipped themarmot in the alps calendar to the month of February, we are anxiously awaiting Phil’s prediction about the upcoming spring, but is there a way to beat him to the punch?

Yes! We think we know of a shortcut. Before we had Punxatawney Phil, we had the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which may be a better resource than our furry friend – but we’ll let you be the judge.

Robert B. Thomas started the Old Farmer’s Almanac back in 1792. The Almanac records and predicts astronomical events such as the rising and setting and setting of the sun, tides, weather and other unusual phenomena. According to the almanac, Thomas would use a complex series of natural cycles to devise a secret weather forecasting formula. (Today, the formula is housed in a locked black box in the Almanac offices in Dublin, New Hampshire.)

Traditionally, the almanac was said to be 80 percent accurate, but in press materials, the almanac claimed to 96.3% accuracy for its 2016 predictions of a “bleak and biting winter.” Meteorologists and weather experts don’t buy it, but we think it’s worth a look!

The 2018 Long Range Weather Report for the Midwest says,

Winter will be warmer than normal, with the coldest periods in late November, early and late December, early January, and early February. Precipitation and snowfall will be below normal, with the snowiest periods in mid- to late December and early to mid-February. April and May will be cooler than normal, with near-normal precipitation. 

From the sound of this report, we don’t anticipate an early spring, although the weather report doesn’t discuss March in any detail. Here at Lions Pride, we are guessing that Punxsutawney Phil will not see his shadow tomorrow, but we certainly hope that we’re wrong. Do you think we’ll see six more weeks of winter?

Wishing all of us an early spring!

The Super Blue Blood Moon Phenomenon

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The phrase, “once in a blue moon” will be taken to a whole new level next week. If you Full Moonrecall, we were just graced with the appearance of a full moon to help welcome a new year on January 1; however, next week, we will be revisited – this time with a couple of exciting additions.

On Wednesday, January 31, we’ll get to experience a Super Blue Blood Moon. The upcoming supermoon is of special interest to moon-gazers because it will mark the occasion of four separate lunar events all in one night – for the first time in 150 years. To prepare you for this spectacular night, let’s break down exactly what you can expect to see.

Blue Moon

Contrary to the expression, the moon will not actually turn blue on Wednesday. Astronomers use the term when two full moons appear in the same month. Although blue moons are rare, they aren’t as uncommon as you might imagine. According to NASA, Blue Moons take place every two and a half years (but we will see it again in March!)

Blood Moon

We may not see blue hues, but we will not be without out-of-this-world color. Many parts of the world will see the moon change into a reddish shade just before the lunar eclipse. The red light bends as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere and reflects on the moon’s surface causing the anticipated blood orange color.

Super Moon

A supermoon is a popular, non-scientific term describing the conditions in which the moon comes to the closest distance to the Earth. Because ‘supermoon’ is not an official astronomical term, there is no definition about how close the full moon has to be in order to be labeled as super, but astronomers estimate this particular moon will be 7 percent larger than usual.

Lunar Eclipse

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon aligns itself with Earth in a straight line, disappearing from sights because it no longer reflects light from the sun, which leaves us with a beautiful, shadow-free view.

Here at Lions Pride, we love all of the extraordinary astronomical events taking place in recent months! Remember, the solar eclipse that happened back in August? Well, between us, we may be a little more partial to the lunar eclipse as there is no serious risk of blindness from this observation.

Eclipse Times

Where do you plan to seek out the supermoon? According to Bob Bonadurer, director of the Milwaukee Public Museum’s Daniel M. Soref National Geographic Dome Theater & Planetarium, “… With lunar eclipses, it doesn’t matter where you are because the moon is so bright and visible,” so it sounds like location will not be an issue for this particular event.

Enjoy the Super Blue Blood Moon!

Fun Facts about Wisconsin Cheese

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When you first think about January, what are the first words that come to mind? 02J16331If you’re like many of us, most of those topics are related to the New Year – terms like resolutions, exercise and healthy diet. You may be surprised to know, however, that there are several other holidays taking place.

In addition to our official holidays like New Year’s Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, there are dozens of unofficial holidays on the calendar – Houseplant Appreciation Day, National Nothing Day and the upcoming National Cheese Lover’s Day. Cheese Lover’s Day takes place on Saturday, January 20, and we can’t think of a better holiday for our very own dairy state to celebrate.

Of course, you already know that Wisconsin produces a lot of cheese (it just comes with the territory, right?), but do you have any idea about just much “a lot” exactly is? We thought it’d be fun to celebrate the unofficial holiday with compelling facts about Wisconsin cheese.

  • Pioneering farm wives began making “kitchen” cheese from that of their herds in the 1830s, but the first official Wisconsin cheese wasn’t made until 1841 by Anne Pickett of Lake Mills when she added milk from her neighbor’s cow to that of her own small herd.
  • If Wisconsin were a country, it would come in 4th place in world cheese production, following the rest of the United States, France and Germany.
  • Wisconsin leads the rest of the country in the development of the following types of cheese: Limburger, Feta, Romano, Provolone, Parmesan, Muenster and Cheddar.
  • Wisconsin makes over 600 varieties, types and styles of cheeses (including more than 65 originals.)

Who knew cheese came in so many varieties and had such a rich history? It should come as no surprise for us to learn that there is a day dedicated to sharing their passion with others.

Don’t think one day is enough? You’re not alone! Cheese lovers will be happy to learn that there are 18 other cheese-related holidays that happen throughout the year, (but we’re not sure that they all count.)

Will you make plans to celebrate the day of cheese? Let us know in the comments below. Happy National Cheese Day from Lions Pride!

 

The 2018 Worldwide Week of Service

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Around the world, nearly 800 million people go to bed hungry each night. We Save the Date WWSunderstand that sometimes thinking globally can make it difficult to comprehend so let’s bring it a little closer to home. In Wisconsin alone, an estimated 633,170 people struggle with hunger – and of those individuals, 219,280 of them are children. This month, let’s join together to eliminate hunger around the globe, by starting in our own communities with the Worldwide Week of Service.

You may be thinking, ‘ how can we eliminate hunger in just a week’s span?’ That’s a good question. The truth is we can’t. While the official week of service only lasts until Sunday, January 14, Lions Club International has set a goal to serve 200 million people by the year 2021, which means now is the perfect time to start planning your next service project.

Here are some tips to get you start the planning process:

  1. Plan your project – choose a project that impacts hunger in your community. Many associate food pantries with hunger solutions; while they are a great resource, there are several other options out there. Consider a few of these ideas that complement food pantries:

    – Create the blueprints for a community garden
    – Distribute food baskets to those in need
    – Work with other organizations to organize a food drive
    – Start or support a weekend school backpack program
    – Raise funds to pay off overdue reduced lunch bills at your school

  2. Promote your project

The secret to a successful project is lots of promotions. Look to local news outlets, social media, banners, yard signs and other avenues to get the word out. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Often times, creativity is what makes events stand out from the crowd.

  1. Report your project

Be sure to submit your project to your MyLCI Service Activity Report when your project is complete. All service projects will help Lions Club International meet new levels of service in the Centennial Challenge.

Regardless of how you and your club choose to fight hunger, know that your efforts have a significant impact on your community. Together, we can all work to eliminate hunger, one project at a time.

Happy Planning from Lions Pride!

Worldwide Traditions of Epiphany

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Here we are again, the first week of a brand new year. It’s so hard to believe ChristmasGalette des Rois and New Year’s are already behind us. After much planning and preparation, the holiday season is almost over. Yes, you read that line correctly as we have one more holiday to get through before we say goodbye to the season.

Epiphany, or the Feast of the Three Kings, is observed 12 days after Christmas. The celebration is for Christians to remember the three wise men who visited Jesus, and for churches to remember when Jesus was baptized.

Epiphany means ‘revelation’ – appropriate since both of these occasions reveal that Jesus was an important figure in history. The holiday is primarily observed by Catholics and Orthodox Christians, but is celebrated all around the world:

  • In Spain, the Festival of the Three Kings is when children receive presents from their parents.
  • In France, observers might eat a flat, almond cake called “Galette des Rois.” Each cake is baked with a toy crown inside and a gold paper crown placed in the center.
  • Mexico has a celebration similar to that of France, but their cake is called “Rosca de Reyes.” In this special cake, a small figure of baby Jesus is hidden; whoever finds the figure in their cake is the ‘Godparent’ of Jesus for that year.
  • In Austria, some people create a special chalk sign as a reminder of the wise men. The inscription of the sign is made by splitting the year into two and writing the initials of the wise men (Casper, Melchior and Balthazar.) This year’s sign would read 20*C*M*B*18. This tradition is believed to protect the household for the next year.
  • In Belgium, children take part in activity similar to that of US trick-or-treating. Kids sometimes dress up as wise men and go door-to-door singing songs. In exchange for music, residents give the children money or candy.
  • In Ireland, Epiphany can be known as “Nollaig na mBean” or Women’s Christmas. On this day, women would take the day off, and men would tend to the housework and cooking. (We like the sound of this one!)

Click here to see more worldwide traditions from WhyChristmas.com.

For many of us who don’t celebrate the holiday, Epiphany is seen as the perfect day to take down decorations and settle back into the usual routine.

From all of us at Lions Pride, we hope you had an enjoyable, restful holiday season.

Keep Your New Year’s Resolution in 2018

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In less than 72 hours, we will be closing the chapter of 2017, and starting a new one. Are New Year 2018you ready to make it the best year ever? Today, we’re talking about New Year Resolutions – and although they might not be anyone’s favorite topic, they do get a lot of attention.

Believe it or not, nearly half of all Americans (approximately 40 percent) of American adults make one or more resolutions, but very few stick with them all year round. In fact, the odds are against us! According to U.S. News, approximately 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try at all. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you work to improve yourself in 2018:

  • Get your resolutions down on paper (or on a computer screen)

Go grab your notebook and write down your resolutions. Studies show that those who write down their goals are more likely to succeed when compared to those did not. The act of writing forces you to brainstorm a plan and motivate you to take action. Find out all of the reasons why you should commit your goals to writing.

  • Talk to family or friends

When we keep our resolutions to ourselves, we don’t have anyone to hold us accountable. Sit down and talk to your inner circle about your self-improvement goals, and ask them to be your accountability partners. There may even be someone who shares the same goal, allowing both to work as motivators. Change always seems easier when there’s available support.

  • Make only one change at a time

The New Year is a blank slate that allows us to become the people we’d like to be. Although it may sound counterintuitive, more resolutions will not make us more productive; it actually hinders performance. Rather than deciding to change too many bad habits all at once – like lose weight, save more money and stop smoking, start with just one, and work up to the others.

  • Take small steps

Resolutions are always challenging, and for a good reason – if it were easy, we probably wouldn’t have to make them in the first place. One of the most significant obstacles to a new goal is getting over the initial overwhelming feeling of a broad and seemingly impossible goal. After writing down your goal, put small steps into place that help you turn your goal into action.

Remember that all resolutions begin with a decision to make a change. If you want to make 2018 the year that you change your life for the better, start the New Year with a strategic plan. We know you can do it!

It’s always bittersweet moving on from one year to the next. There’s no question in our minds we’re have had an incredible 362 days, but we’re ready to see what the future has in store for us. The Lions Pride office will be closed for the remainder in observance of the New Year. We’re looking forward to seeing you in 2018!

P.S. Are you resolving to support Lions Pride or your favorite charity more in 2018? Find out how you can simplify your giving with automatic monthly donations.

Happy New Year!

Our Role as Santa

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Let’s play a game. Imagine you are six years old and it is December 21, 19XX (you fill in Magic Santathe blank), can you remember how you felt this time of year? Let’s see if our description matches your imagination: you knew that Christmas was only days away, so you were on your best behavior because Santa was watching. As December 25 crept closer and closer, you could hardly contain your excitement. Soon enough, Christmas Eve would arrive. You would put out some milk and cookies, brush your teeth and get to bed quickly – only to spend the night watching the clock. You just couldn’t wait for Christmas Day.

Sadly, as adults, the magic of Christmas seems to fade a little more each year. Santa no longer represents a symbol of joy and the celebration just becomes a season of more obligations. Fortunately, the magic does begin to reappear as we have children of our own, but then our roles change from excited child to excited parent. We also spend December 24 making preparations and barely sleeping because we are too anxious to watch our children eagerly open their gifts. We have come to discover a different kind of magic – the magic of giving. But again the cycle continues as our children grow, and the sense of wonder begins to disappear.

Luckily, as supporters of Lions Pride, we are in somewhat of a unique position. All supporters of Lions Pride get to play the part of Santa all year round. How? By giving children from all over the state of Wisconsin the gift of experience. In 2017, over 150 special children were given the opportunity to have the week of their lives out in the woods with kids just like them. They were able to sleep in cabins, roast marshmallows, learn archery, swim laps in Lions Lake and enjoy everything nature has to offer. Of course, they were also able to develop self-confidence, interdependence, social skills and outdoor recreational skills – all at no cost to their families.

The gift may not be beautifully wrapped under a bright, full tree, but we know in our hearts that it’s a gift that keeps on giving all year long. And none of these accomplishments would be possible without the help of you. Our donors are the lifeblood of our organization and we never tire of saying thank you for your support. Although our biological children may be grown, we look forward to playing Santa for many years to come. Thank you for helping us carry out our mission to preserve, provide and protect Lions Camp and all other WLF statewide projects.

The Lions Pride office will be closed the week of December 25, to celebrate Christmas with our families. Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas!