National Make a Difference Day

By Laurie Elmore, Dietetic Intern

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never really thought of myself as someone that can change a life. I mean doesn’t that require some kind of miraculous task; something that would require saving someone’s life or for that matter being a super hero? Throughout my life I have done several things to help someone or a group of people. I’ve volunteered at food banks, helped rake leaves, and made dinner for a sick family friend. While it does not seem like much, I have made a difference in someone’s life. When was the last time you smiled at the elderly man walking around the mall? You never know when you can make a difference in someone else’s day!

National Make a Difference day is celebrated every fourth Saturday in October. I’m sure if you are like me you think what could I really do? I heard Matt Lauer talk about it, but how can I be involved. Well it can be as simple as helping your neighbor in the yard, smiling at that man walking around the mall, or volunteering at a local organization. This special day was created by USA WEEKEND Magazine and no matter what level you participate; you CAN change someone’s live.

Need some help getting your brain thinking? Here are some ideas:

• Stock a food pantry

• Organize a neighborhood “Trash Clean-Up”

• Paint classrooms, playrooms, kitchens

• Fix, sand, and paint picnic tables and benches

• Build and decorate recycling containers

• Construct bird feeders or houses

• Build bee boxes

• Remove weeds from cracks in sidewalks and flowerbeds

• Build a compost

• Build a playground

• Clean-up/restore a playground

• Clean up the river

• Pull weeds from a plot in a natural area

Sweetest Day

By Jenni Purcell

Of course you have heard about Valentine’s Day and anniversaries but did you know about Sweetest Day?  I first learned about this day when my friends were planning to get married on Sweetest Day-on purpose. (You are either rolling your eyes or saying “awww.'”)  It is observed on the 3rd Saturday in October and originated Cleveland in 1922, during the Great Depression. (Read more about Sweetest Day History)  It is celebrated this year – October 20.

Some critics might say, “Oh great, another commercial holiday where I am pressured into buying a card.”  And others might think of it as a great day to let your ‘sweetie’ know how much you care about them.  You don’t have to have a sweetheart to do something thoughtful for someone.  One idea is to visit your nearby nursing home. They are full of residents who would love a kind word, flower or just time from someone else.

If you do have a ‘sweetie,’ you can give each other candy, flowers and cards on Sweetest Day. I Googled ‘Sweetest Day Gift Ideas,’ and I stumbled upon a Pinterest Page devoted just to that very topic.  I found lots of fun hot cocoa recipes, a toasted marshmallow milkshake (yum) and a FROZEN hot chocolate recipe.  I thought these were simple, creative ways to celebrate the day.

Is there anyone in your life who is important to you and who you would like to show you care? I know today we are busier than ever, and our schedules are hectic. But what a perfect day to carve out some time to thank those who are near and dear to your heart.

Whether you’re giving, receiving, or just watching from afar, nothing brightens up your day like a token of affection, or seeing people treat each other with kindness. Happy Sweetest Day!

A Day Gone to the Dogs- National Dog Day


August 26th – A day that has gone to the dogs! It is National Dog Day! This is a special day for dogs and dog lovers that is celebrated annually in the United States. I am an animal lover and especially love dogs. Gunther, my dog who should have his own reality show, has provided me with so much happiness.

He also causes me a little stress. He likes to get into the trash, ignores me when I say ‘Gunther come!’, eats whatever he can get is grubby little paws on, and the list goes on and on. He also will only eat his dog food if it is mixed with cottage cheese. I don’t blame him, because I do love cottage cheese plus it’s high in protein and calcium. (But he doesn’t know that- he is just being difficult.)

This little brown 30 pound ball of fur is a handful. This is one of the many reasons why I have an immense respect for dairy farmers. Not only does the average Indiana dairy farmer take care of  100 + cows that weigh about 1400 pounds a piece, they help produce a wholesome product for the Hoosier state! A dairy cow helps feed the world. Gunther eats my shoes.

What he does provide is great companionship and happens to be a great motivator to go for a run or walk. After all, dogs are man’s best friend, right? If you need a couple more reasons to have a dog let me rattle off some for you:

  • If you drop food on the floor- they will clean it right up!
  • They are always happy to see you.
  • They listen and provide unconditional love.
  • They help teach responsibility.

If you have always wanted to adopt a dog but just never found the right time to do so – today is the day!

Panini Anyone?

By DeDe Hausmann

August is National Panini Month and if you haven’t tried a PANINI, you are missing out! Get out of the sandwich rut and try a PANINI.  It can be very healthy if you make it with whole grain bread or rolls, a lean protein such as cooked beef, pork, poultry or fish, veggies and fruits (yes I said fruits), low-fat cheese, and whatever other goodies you choose to add.  Do note that nutrient-rich cheese in a Panini is very important for as the cheese melts, the flavors of the other ingredients come alive!!!

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Are You a Vexillologist?

By Mary Nicholson

Are you a Vexillologist?  No, it’s not a new kind of extreme diet.  You could be one without even knowing it.  Here’s a clue:  June 14.  Still not sure?  Well, a vexillologist is one who likes to study flags, and June 14 is officially Flag Day.  And for that, we have to be thankful. In 1885, he was a 19 year old teacher at Stony Hill school in Fredonia, Wisconsin and on June 14th of that year, he placed a 10 inch, 38-star flag in a bottle on his desk. The date commemorated the adoption by Congress of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States in 1777. He then assigned his students to write essays on the flag and its significance. Cigrand spent much time and effort to bring about national observance of Flag Day.  Many years later, his efforts were recognized when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation on May 30, 1916, calling for a nationwide observance of Flag Day.  In 1949, President Harry Truman signed an Act of Congress which designated the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day.  More recently, on June 14th 2004, Congress voted unanimously on HR 662 that Flag Day originated in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin.

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Tips for Family Comfort & Fun at the Indy 500

Start your engines!

The city of Indianapolis is living and breathing the Indy 500 right now!  You are going to bring your family to the track for the first time and you have a few questions….well I might be able to help! I will keep it simple and if you don’t find what you need here check out or

Tips for family comfort and fun at the Indy 500:

  • First and foremost there are plenty of bathrooms and ATM’s sprinkled throughout the Speedway. So if you need extra money for souvenirs or if you hear “I have to go to the bathroom,” you need not worry! Speaking of souvenirs, the kids will want something to remember their fun experience at the race. There are plenty of low priced items you can purchase.
  • Keep cool. Race day will be HOT! So drink lots of liquids and use lots of sunscreen. Bring your own sunscreen because you will end up spending too much money for a little travel size if you buy it at the track. Bring bottled water and make half of the bottles frozen. Throughout the day they will melt and will be quite refreshing. Plus, you will not need to pack ice! Another idea to keep cool is to put some wet towels in your cooler so that you can put them around your child’s neck when they get hot. Buy a few ‘misters’ before the race so you can mist yourself to cool down.
  • Pack your lunch and snacks. You will save money. A variety of sandwiches, fruit, pretzels, cheese sticks, granola bars and peanuts are just some easy ideas.
  • Other items to bring:
    • Earplugs – the little ones will need these.
    • Moist wipes – you can leave home without those!
    • Strollers (and lawn chairs) are allowed but you can’t bring them in the stands.
    • Bags are permitted but cannot exceed the size of 14” by 14”

Remember to have fun and make memories. Take the camera to capture the moments. After the race you can refuel your body the same way the winning driver does and drink an ice cold bottle of MILK!!

Make Mother’s Day Special

By Diane Ruyack

How do you know what to get your mom for her big day? The typical gifts are cards, flowers and/or candy!  Let’s be creative this year! So what to get?  Start planning now!

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