October 2008

When the early settlers from European immigrated to America, they brought along their various Halloween customs and traditions. Halloween in colonial times was limited in the second half of the 19th Century. Some of the new immigrants coming to America included millions people from Ireland fleeing the devastating potato famine of 1846. These Irish immigrants helped popularize the celebration of Halloween. The early Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money. This practice we know today as “trick-or-treat”.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Halloween parties for children as well as adults became a common way to celebrate Halloween. Indicative of the Halloween parties was the celebration of the season with games, foods of the season, and many festive costumes. By the 1920’s and 1930’s, Halloween had become a secular, community-oriented holiday complete with parades, parties and entertainment.

By the 1950’s, Halloween had evolved primarily as a holiday for the young. The large number of baby boomers in the late 40’s and early 50’s caused a huge demand for Halloween parties to be held in the home, in schools and even the office place.

Today, it is estimated that Americans spend an over $6 billion dollars annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday in America.
==> Halloween Costumes

We had a terrific time today. I had planned a wonderful day out in nature. We all got in the car and drove to the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. We are not your dedicated hard core hikers but we do enjoy a good hike into nature. You must try the hike to the famous North Lookout to observe raptor migration as part of this ritual of autumn. The bald eagles, kestrels, and ospreys are among the first migrants. There was a modest trail fee.

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is located along the Appalachian Flyway in east-central Pennsylvania, and offers visitors an outstanding, year-round nature experience with its mountaintop vistas, 8 miles of hiking trails, and thrilling autumnal raptor migration.

The Hours of operation are:

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary trails are open year round, 365 days a year, dawn to dusk. The Visitor Center, which includes a bookstore, birdfeeder observation window and Wings of Wonder gallery, is open 8 am. to 5 pm. September through November and 9 am. to 5 pm. all other months.

The Visitor Center is closed only on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

You really should get out in the fresh air and enjoy nature and head on out to:
Hawk Mountain Sanctuary
1700 Hawk Mountain Road
Kempton, PA 19529-9379

Heating Tips
Winter Energy Savings Tips

• Try to minimize the number of times that you open your doors to the outside weather.

• When not using the chimney, remember to shut the flue.

• Insulate walls and attic areas properly. Batts of insulation added to your attic is an easy do-it yourself project.

• Lowering your thermostat by 1 degree F. will reduce your heating bill by 2%. Maintaining 68 degrees is an average daily temperature, with lower temperatures at nighttime. Also, lower the thermostat if you will not be home during the daytime hours.

• Use ceiling fans set at slow speed to push the warm air away from the ceiling and move it around your rooms. Everyone will feel the warmth and be more comfortable!

• Try to use the sun when it is out! Open windows on southern and eastern exposures throughout the daytime hours. Remember to close shades before sun sets to keep the heat in the house.

Opinion Corner – Self esteem overload is running amuck.

Recent research suggests that “more” may not be better when it comes to children and there self-esteem. In the 1990’s self-esteem was a big buzzword in parenting books and educational environments. School districts stressed the importance of “high self esteem” in order to become a successful well balanced individual. They likewise believed that “low self esteem” would lead to problems, poor performance and even crime.

Today, far too many parents are devoted to the idea that children need high self-esteem. These high esteem goals plus over parenting have lead too a generation of kids whose sense of entitlement far exceeds their actual abilities.

Self-esteem certainly is important but we have developed a misguided notion that we as parents must continually reward and praise our kids.
The current research supports the premise that high-self esteem can lead to narcissism, bullying, more drug and alcohol abuse.

Parents, keep it simple and don’t go overboard. Help your kids with everyday tasks as they grow up. Complement them when necessary. Only reward and applaud true accomplishments, Do not praise ever little thing that they do. Set limits and stick to them – don’t cave in when they fall short and remind them that there are consequences for all our actions.