Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rat


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Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on

Happy New Year! No, we’re not losing our minds. We know that the calendar says January 23, but Saturday is the start of Chinese New Year.

You may be interested in learning that Chinese New Year is celebrated by more than 20% of the world’s population. Also known as the Spring Festival, the celebration was originally created as a ceremonial day to pray to the gods for a successful harvest season. Today, people treat the holiday as one to welcome spring and new beginnings.

The Spring Festival is the longest Chinese holiday, taking place from January 25 to February 8. The dates vary each year as the holiday timeframe is based on the lunar calendar. On the day before the new year, families thoroughly sweep their homes to remove all of the bad luck and make space for the good. They then gather with loved ones for a reunion dinner. That evening, fireworks are set off to keep monsters and bad luck away. Learn more about the traditions.

Each year is represented by one of the 12 zodiac animals. 2020 is the Year of the Rat. Respective years include 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008 and 2020. Those of you who were born in these years are known for your “acute observation, positive attitude and flexible mind.” Learn more about the Rat’s personality and characteristics.

Generally, your zodiac year is seen as an unlucky one, but 2020 will unfold reasonably well for the Rat. Here is a list of lucky elements that may help keep your spirits high:

Lucky colors: blue, gold, green

Lucky numbers: 2, 3

Lucky flowers: lily, African violet

Believe it or not, this will not be the last New Year we will celebrate in 2020. As many of you already know, in just five short months, we will be preparing for the Lionistic New Year. Lions Pride would like to thank you for your dedication and service to the Lions organization and ask you to consider a donation/Gift in the New Year.

Will you plan to celebrate the Year of the Rat? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Celebrating Friendship with A.A. Milne


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 “We didn’t realize that we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.” -Winnie the Pooh

We know that some time may have passed since you’ve thought about Christopher Robin. However, if you are a parent or grandparent, there’s no doubt that you are familiar with the name.

Saturday, January 18, is fondly known as Winnie the Pooh Day, the anniversary of A.A. Milne’s birthday. The author was best known for creating a collection of stories surrounding his son, Christopher Robin, and his honey-loving teddy bear.

Within these stories, Milne sent Christopher on wonderful adventures with Pooh, Piglet and the other characters from the Hundred Acre Wood. Each story always brought a lot of fun, as well as an important life lesson. It should come as no wonder that over 50 million copies have been sold worldwide, over the last 90+ years.

All of this discussion about growth and adventure makes us think of another place where friendships are made, a little closer to home.

The Wisconsin Lions Camp provides an experience for children and adults with special needs to come together for a week of joy. The goals are to assist in the development of self-confidence, interdependence, social skills, outdoor recreational skills and environmental awareness, but most importantly, to have a fun, safe, memorable adventure – all at no cost to their families.

Do you know a child or adult that would benefit from this experience? Please encourage them to apply! As of today, online and paper applications are now available. See the complete 2020 schedule below: 

Block One


June 7 – June 12                     Adults who are Blind or Visually Impaired

June 14 – June 19                   Children with Type 1 & 11 Diabetes

June 21 – June 26                   Children with Type 1 & 11 Diabetes

June 28 – July 3                       Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism

July 5 – July 10                         Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism

July 12 – July 15                      Children with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism


Block Two

July 19 – July 24                      Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

July 25 – July 31                      Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

August 2 – August 7                Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired and Epilepsy

August 9 – August 13              Adults 18-25 with Intellectual Disabilities or Educational Autism (by invitation only)

August 17 – August 21            Adults who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing


There’s nothing more valuable in life than being in the company of friends. Consider celebrating the unofficial occasion finding a copy of one of A.A. Milne’s classics.

Happy Winnie the Pooh Day!

Ways to Support Wisconsin Farmers


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Photo by Jan Koetsier on

There’s no better way to start the weekend with a hearty breakfast. Whether you like to whip up a batch of flapjacks, throw in a quiche or prefer to stick with a bowl of cereal, you’ll notice that all of these meals have one ingredient in common – milk.

This Saturday is National Milk Day. Why was January 11 selected as the day to recognize one of America’s most nutritious beverages? Some believe this date was when the first milk deliveries in glass bottles first began in the United States.

In honor of the calcium-rich holiday, we thought now would be the perfect time to highlight the current struggles of Wisconsin dairy farmers. If you are an avid consumer of current events, you know that small family farms have faced several economic obstacles in the past few years. We’ll explain the challenges as well as ways for you to support these local farms.

In 2019, several stumbling blocks were thrown to our state’s farmers. Family farms struggled with extreme weather conditions, international tariffs, low prices, among other hardships. Some dealt with small profits, while others had to make life-changing decisions. According to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Wisconsin lost nearly 775 dairy farms in 2019, following significant losses in 2017 and 2018.

Fortunately, outlooks look promising in the new year, but if we want to maintain our status as “America’s Dairyland,” we should do all that we can to support our neighborhood farmers. Below you’ll find a list of ideas for inspiration:

  1. Take a dairy farm tour

    You may be surprised to learn that many farmers are happy give tours of their facilities, allowing many of us to see a world we might not usually see. And, providing tours may also the farmer a secondary source of income. The easiest way to learn if tours are available is to ask.

  2. Talk with area restaurants about using local dairy products

    Restaurant owners are always looking for new ways to provide delicious food to the customers they serve. If you love a dairy farm in your area, be sure to talk with the owner about stocking their products. After all, good food starts with quality ingredients.

  3. Encourage others to buy their foods locally

    There are dozens of benefits to shopping and buying local, including consuming healthier food, reducing your carbon footprint and keeping more money within your local economy. Learn about all of the advantages of buying local food products, and persuade others to do the same.

As you pour your milk while making breakfast on Saturday, don’t forget about the Wisconsin dairy farms that help you provide for your family. Let’s all work together to support some of our state’s hardest working individuals.

From the Lions Pride Board and Staff, we’d like to extend a special message of gratitude to our Wisconsin dairy farmers. We have the utmost appreciation for your hard work and dedication to our state’s agriculture. Thank you, farmers!

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National Spaghetti Day


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2020 has officially arrived! While the changing of the calendar reminds us that it’s time to better ourselves with new exercise routines and dieting tips, we have something else on our mind – carbohydrates.

Saturday, January 4 is National Spaghetti Day, and we’re celebrating the best we know how – with fun facts about spaghetti and meatballs:

  • If you were to travel to Italy, you would likely not see spaghetti and meatballs on the menu. Contrary to popular belief, spaghetti and meatballs is not an Italian dish. The European country may be well known for its pasta, but It is believed that Italian immigrants modified their version of the meatball (known as the polpette) to be more budget-friendly when they first came to America. (Smithsonian)
  • Spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word, spaghetto, which means “thin string” or “twine.” (Bon Appetit)
  • The third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, is often credited as the first person to introduce America to pasta. (History)
  • Spaghetti is only one of over 600 pasta shapes. There is short pasta, long pasta, pasta that can be used in soups and pasta that can be stuffed. Each kind has its own individual purpose. (Pasta Fits)
  • The average American eats about 20 pounds of pasta each year. We understand that this may sound like a lot, but it’s only a fraction of what an Italian person consumes. The average person in Italy eats more than 51 pounds annually. (Tastemade)
  • On April 1, 1957, BBC aired a false documentary featuring Swiss spaghetti crops. After its debut, the news station received mixed reviews. Hundreds of hopeful viewers were questioning where they could get plans of their own, while others failed to see the humor in the broadcast. To this day, this spoof is known as one of the most brilliant April Fools pranks in history. (BBC)

Will you be celebrating National Spaghetti Day with a big bowl of pasta, or will you be staying away from carbs in the immediate future? Let us know in the comments below.

No matter how you choose to celebrate this fun unofficial holiday, we hope you can use these fun facts to impress your family and friends. Happy National Spaghetti Day from Lions Pride!

Lions Pride Year in Review


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Lions Lake Totem PoleChristmas is officially behind us. Can you believe it? With Thanksgiving falling late in November, we all had less time to prepare for the busiest season of the year, but we all managed to survive! Now, with the year quickly winding down, we hope you have some time to reflect on the past 360 days.

In 2019, we were proud to accomplish the following milestones:

  • Helped send over 1200 Wisconsin children to Lions Camp, where they were able to learn lifelong skills that will serve them well beyond their childhoods. Campers were able to participate in several outdoor activities, build lasting friendships and enjoy being kids in a fun, safe environment.
  • Collected and recycled eyeglasses to share with people in need all around the world. Each year our Eyeglass Recycling Center receives an average of 800,000 pairs of used glasses each year.
  • Screened the eyes of thousands of children from all around the state from ages 6 months to teenage. With early detection, we’re able to help preserve and protect a child’s gift of sight.
  • Provided local communities with essential diabetes education. Did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 20 to 74, as well as a significant cause of other serious health complications? Our goal is to help reduce the number of blindness cases through education, early detection and treatment.

Of course, none of these accomplishments would be possible without the continued support of our gracious donors. We would not be “Today’s help, tomorrow’s hope” without you. We are incredibly thankful to have you by our side.

As we wrap up the year, we’d ask you to consider Lions Pride in your year-end giving plans. We are excited to announce our determined efforts to reach $10 million by the Wisconsin Lions State Convention in 2021. Attaining this goal will provide more than $300,000 in perpetuity to the Wisconsin Lions Foundation, promoting the Wisconsin Lions Camp and all statewide WLF projects. Let’s come together in support.

The Lions Pride Office will be closed for the remainder of the week. Happy Holidays to you and your family!

National Ugly Sweater Day


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Photo by Dominika Roseclay on

When you think about the holiday season, what comes to your mind? You might imagine twinkling lights, blankets of snow, lush evergreen trees, stacks of beautifully wrapped presents… or maybe obnoxious, ugly sweaters!

We can’t be the only ones who have noticed this unofficial holiday become part of the season. Friday, December 20, is National Ugly Sweater Day, but before you pull out that hideous sweater from the back of the closet, let’s find out where this obscure celebration got its start.

The original “ugly sweater” first made its appearance in the 1950s but was more fondly known as a “jingle bell sweater.” They were quite different from the sweaters we see nowadays; these pieces featured tasteful winter themes such as reindeer, snowflakes and other simple motifs. These sweaters were never intended to be ugly; rather they were creative and joyful. They remained modestly popular for the next three decades.

In the 1980s, Americans started seeing bold sweaters with outrageous patterns on TV. You may remember seeing examples of these sweaters on “The Cosby Show” and “Christmas Vacation.” This trend slowed down, but never completely disappeared. Many believe the sweaters’ turning point came when Colin Firth donned a tacky Rudolph sweater to a Christmas Party in his role as Mark Darcy in “Bridget Jones’ Diary” in 2001.

Then, one fateful night in Vancouver, Chris Boyd and Jordan Birch created the first Christmas Sweater Party. The idea caught on and spread across Canada, into the United States and eventually, around the world. Celebrities and politicians were being photographed out on the streets in their favorite Christmas sweaters. By 2010, designers started creating collections based on the ugly ones.

Today, it seems like everyone is hosting ugly sweater parties, which has encouraged retailers to sell sweaters of their own. Of course, with the increase in options comes an increase in competition at these parties. To win the title of the ugliest sweater, you need to get creative.

Will you be participating in Ugly Sweater Day tomorrow? If so, let us know where you found your creation in the comments below.

Whether you love or hate ugly Christmas sweaters, there’s no denying that they have made their mark on the holiday season. And it has certainly become another way to celebrate during the most wonderful time of the year.

Happy Holidays from Lions Pride!

The History of Gingerbread Houses


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This time of year, you may have noticed that it is much harder to resist the temptation of sweets. It seems like everywhere you go, you’ll find candy canes, sugar cookies, peppermint bark and, of course, gingerbread houses.

But, as we continue to make our way through the season, we are left wondering where these types of desserts came from, but we’re determined to find out. Today, December 12, is National Gingerbread House Day, and we’re putting on our detective hats to determine the origin behind this magical craft.

If you think back, can you remember the first time you heard about a gingerbread house? If you’re like many of us, it was when you were listening to the fairytales of Brothers Grimm. Perhaps you remember the one. The story of Hansel and Gretel, two young children got lost in the woods before stumbling across a gingerbread house, which is home to an old witch who tries to eat them? That one couldn’t possibly be the story associated with a Christmas tradition.

Although the story may not sound especially Christmas-like, it is the story that inspired a culture of people to start building these houses. German bakers took the description from the story and began crafting their own versions. Since gingersnap cookies were already commonplace during Christmas, the activity became part of families’ annual traditions.

As German families immigrated to the United States, their gingerbread house baking traditions followed closely behind. Nowadays, building gingerbread houses is not only a fun way to pass an afternoon but can also act as a powerful creative outlet.

Are gingerbread houses a part of your families’ holiday traditions? If so, do you build them from scratch or start with a kit? Let us know in the comments below.

If this activity has not been part of your usual preparations, remember that it’s never too late to start a new tradition. Celebrate this unofficial holiday and release your inner architect. Happy Gingerbread House Day from Lions Pride!

The Story of the First Christmas Card


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Photo by Brigitte Tohm on

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. People are genuinely joyful; the snow seems appropriate and no one seems to mind getting mail. That’s because it’s the season of holiday greeting cards, a time to observe what our friends have been up to in 2019.

Monday, December 9, is National Christmas Card Day. Let’s observe the celebration with a quick history lesson about the card that started it all.

The story dates back to the year 1843. A man by the name of Henry Cole had a problem; he had the misfortune of having too many friends. The British Postal System had recently expanded, and people could now send letters to anywhere in the country with a penny stamp.

Cole watched as a stack of letters began to form. Of course, it was considered rude not to respond, but he simply didn’t have the time to write to them all.

Then, he was struck by a brilliant idea. He asked his artistic friend J.C. Horsley if he could design something for him. Cole gave him an illustration of a three-paneled scene of a family enjoying a holiday dinner and others helping the poor. Horsley was able to print on the image a 5 1/8” x 3 ¼” piece of cardboard. At the top, there was a blank salutation so Cole could personalize his responses. The first Christmas card was born, but not without a little controversy.

Christmas cards also began appearing in the United States in the late 1840s, but they were relatively expensive. It wasn’t until 1875 when Louis Prang, a printer originally from Germany, began mass-producing the cards, so more people could afford to send them.

Nowadays, the possibilities for Christmas cards have become limitless. You can now find hundreds of blank cards with beautiful holiday scenes that you can customize like Henry Cole or create your own holiday card with favorite memories of the year. No matter which option you choose, there’s no better way to say, “Season’s Greetings!”

Do you and your family send out cards this time of year? IF so, how do you decide on your theme? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Happy National Christmas Card Day from Lions Pride!

Fun Facts About Cookies


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Is there anything better than the smell of fresh-baked cookies? If you’re looking for an excuse to warm up the house with a batch of your favorite cookies, you’re in luck!

National Cookie Day is taking place on Wednesday, December 4 – just in time for the holidays. In honor of this sweet holiday, we’ve put together some fun facts to celebrate:

  • The word “cookie” comes from the Dutch word “koekie,” which means “little cake.”
  • The animal cracker was the first commercial cookie sold in the United States in 1902.
  • Chocolate chip cookies were invented by Ruth Wakefield, co-owner of the Toll House Inn, in the 1930s.
  • Although fortune cookies are often associated with Chinese cuisine, they are actually an American sensation.
  • The most popular cookie in America is the chocolate chip – though some prefer their cookies with nuts and others without.
  • Early chocolate chip cookies were roughly the size of a quarter. (Can you imagine?)
  • The world’s largest chocolate chip cookie was made by Immaculate Baking Company in 2003 and weighed over 40,000 pounds. The entire project took about eight months to plan.
  • Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster eats painted rice cakes rather than real cookies. In David Borgenicht’s book Sesame Street Unpaved, we learn that chocolate and oil can be damaging to the muppets, so they instead paint rice cakes to look like chocolate chip cookies.
  • Americans eat about 2 billion cookies each year, which averages to about 300 cookies (25 dozen) per person.

We’re feeling a little hungry after putting together this list! What is your favorite kind of cookie? Leave us a comment below to let us know.

If you plan to celebrate this fun occasion, remember to pace yourself. After all, no one likes a stomachache. Happy National Cookie Day from Lions Pride!

Celebrate National Day of Listening


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How do you plan to spend next Friday? If you’re thinking about shopping, see if this scenario sounds familiar. Your alarm goes off at 3 am; you turn it off, try to rub the sleep out of your eyes and make your way out of bed. Then, you venture out into the winter tundra, only to stand in line with dozens of other adventurous souls. The doors finally open and the friendships you just formed have turned hostile. You’re all after the same sales and every man is for himself. As you try to grab the last doorbuster deal on the shelf, you ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?”

Rather than waking up before the dawn and freezing your buns waiting for stores to open, why not stay home and share memories with those you love? Consider starting a new after Thanksgiving tradition by celebrating National Day of Listening.

If you’re a long-time listener of National Public Radio, you are likely well acquainted with the concept of StoryCorps. Every week, the independent organization seeks to honor and celebrate the lives of everyday Americans by listening to their stories. They’re hoping you’ll follow suit by listening to the accounts of loved ones. In 2008, StoryCorps introduced National Day of Listening as a day dedicated to the history of family, friends and community.

On this day, they hope is that you sit down with a loved one and record the conversation. The device you use to complete the recording – a digital voice recorder, a smartphone or good old-fashioned pen and paper – is all up to you. The goal is to record family history in the making and preserve the story for generations to come.

We feel the best conversations happen organically, but we also realize that they may be challenging to get started. StoryCorps has compiled a list of great questions to get the discussion off the ground. Below are a few questions that you can ask just about anyone:

  • Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
  • What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
  • What are you proudest of?
  • How has your life been different than what you’d imagine?
  • Is there anything that you’ve never told me but want to tell me now?

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it can be easy to become inundated with all of the additional items added to your To-Do List and forget about what’s most important, being together. We promise that we won’t hold it against you if you choose to get your shopping done on Black Friday, but we’d encourage you to set aside time in the upcoming weeks to have a meaningful conversation with someone you hold dear. Don’t forget to record the moment – we know your future self will thank you.

Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving,
Lions Pride