National Jewel Day is observed March 13th of every year. While this day may be a day to give or receive jewelry, it could also be a day to recognize jewelers. It may also be a day to wear those gems you may already have!
Jewelry is like finding the perfect dress. You know the one I’m talking about. It can be new or an older favorite. When you see yourself in the mirror it enlivens your spirit, gives your confidence a boost, and no matter what you have a day better than others.
Favorite jewelry is the same be it a lucky pair of earrings, your special necklace or a ring that reminds of happy times. These are often a tangible link to a memory you hold dear. This is why we both buy and receive jewelry.
I was born in October which makes my birthstone an Opal. Now I’m extremely fair-skinned with red hair. I feel better when I wear Blue Topaz that enhances my blue eyes. Indeed I often get more compliments on my blue eyes when I wear it.
My wedding ring reminds me of all the happiness my husband and I have shared. Sure it hasn’t always been rosy, but I wouldn’t choose anything different. We just celebrated another year together knowing that we are even stronger today than when we started. I kept my original, but I got an upgrade on our Anniversary! See below.
So find your favorites. Whether you receive it as a gift or buy it yourself, these are the nudges to our memories. Best of all they can be shared and passed on to the next generation. Hopefully, some of the memories and stories go with them. Before you know it you have heirlooms worth so much more than mere money.
One last tip I learned as a jeweler. A good piece of jewelry can last as long as the memories tied to them. The real thing with proper care can be passed on for better than hundreds of years. Make sure you consult a professional for cleanings, repair, and periodic checks. Some of the things I’ve heard used to clean for instance would make you cringe. I’ve also seen both gems and setting ruined from these practices.
Birthstones by Month
- January – Garnet
- February – Amethyst
- March – Aquamarine
- April – Diamond
- May – Emerald
- June – Pearl
- July – Ruby
- August – Peridot
- September – Sapphire
- October – Opal
- November – Yellow Topaz, Citrine
- December – Tanzanite, Zircon, Blue Topaz
HOW TO OBSERVE
Buy some jewelry, make some yourself or sign up for a class to learn the art of jewelry making. Freshen up your everyday attire with a little bling and use #NationalJewelDay to post on social media.
Valentine’s Day began as St. Valentine’s Day, a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. February 14th first became associated with romantic love during the High Middle Ages as the tradition of courtly love was then flourishing. During 18th century England, this day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery and sending Valentine cards.
Mixed opinions prevail regarding who or what was celebrated in mid-February. Some point to martyred saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus. The most popular story tells of the saint who defied a decree by Emperor Claudius II who outlawed marriage for young men because he believed single men made better soldiers. St. Valentine, preferring young lovers to be wed than have them sneaking around (or believing in the power of love), would marry them in secret. However, it may have been another Valentine who performed the marriages. Either way, at least two of them were beheaded for their actions.
Another possible origin for Valentine’s Day takes us back to a pagan festival called Lupercalia. As a way to discourage participation in the fertility festival, the Christian church placed St. Valentine’s Day in the middle of February.
Since the Renaissance, we’ve been exchanging Valentine’s cards. These handmade missives of romance grew into a more commercial venture by the Victorian era. Today, school children exchange Valentine greetings, too. They prepare for the day by making unique boxes to receive their many hearts, cupids, and pun-filled rhymes.
Chocolates and candy have also become a part of the celebration. While couples tend to be the focus of the day, singles celebrate being single, too. Friends take each other out or reject the overall notion of Valentine’s Day. Dinner and a movie, candlelight, and flowers also fit the bill for couples. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for florists.
HOW TO OBSERVE #ValentinesDay
You can surprise your special someone with flowers, chocolate or a card. Bring a smile to their face with an original poem or homemade meal.
Get Recipes that will impress without spending days in the kitchen. Many can be done at the last minute if needed.
Get something special for your Valentine and use #ValentinesDay to post on social media.International Book Giving Day
VALENTINE’S DAY HISTORY
Credit is traditionally given to Pope Gelasius for declaring February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day around the year 496 to separate the church from the Roman celebration of Lupercalia, an ancient pagan fertility festival which occurred on February 15th.
On February 7th, National Fettuccine Alfredo Day celebrates one of the world’s favorite ways to enjoy a plate of fettuccine.
Fettuccine alfredo enjoys a history as rich as its flavor. Created in 1908, fettuccine was made out of love and concern by an Italian restauranteur. Alfredo di Lelio’s concern for his pregnant wife’s lack of appetite caused him to put his talents to work. The birth of their first son depended on it. His recipe of noodles, cheese, and butter not only encouraged her to eat but she also inspired him to put it on the menu, too. Since then, the century-old dish has been satisfying pasta lovers around the world ever since.
Not only that but fettuccine alfredo lovers experiment with the dish in several ways. Add shrimp, mushrooms or spinach. The meal also pairs well with other vegetables and proteins, too. Cut the richness with a white wine and finish with a fruit dessert.
HOW TO OBSERVE #FettuccineAlfredoDay
Celebrate with a big dish of fettuccine Alfredo! Invite friends and family to join you, too. As you know, it’s not a celebration if you don’t. Make it yourself (see recipe below). Or, go to your favorite Italian restaurant. When you do, be sure to give them a shout out.
Jen’s Easy 1- Pan, Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo Caprese
While you’re celebrating, share your photos, recipes, and more using #FettuccineAlfredoDay to post on social media.
Want extra points? Surprise her with this dinner for Valentine’s Day. Just add a decadent dessert and you have a gift she will definitely remember. You get extra points for cooking for her!
NATIONAL FETTUCCINE ALFREDO DAY HISTORY
The earliest printed record of the observance we’ve found is a January 26, 2005, Akron Beacon Journal article listing upcoming February food holidays. Several newspapers across the nation follow suit, including the list in their food pages. But, none of them included their source or how long the day has been celebrated. However, the grandson of Alfredo Di Lelio contacted National Day Calendar in 2015 to provide the history behind the delicious pasta dish. We provide his letter below.
From Ines Di Lelio, grandson of Alfredo di Lelio
The following is the History of Alfredo di Lelio, who created in 1908 “Fettuccine All ‘Alfredo” (Fettuccine Alfredo). It’s now served by his nephew Ines Di Lelio, at the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo” – “Alfredo Di Roma” in Rome, Piazza Augusto Imperatore 30.
“With reference of your article (for which I thank you), I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of ‘Fettuccine all’Alfredo’ (‘Fettuccine Alfredo’) in 1908 in the ‘trattoria’ run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi).
This ‘trattoria’ of Piazza Rosa has become the ‘birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo’. More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the ‘fettuccine all’Alfredo’, this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908). Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.”
Staying in the Family
“In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 ‘Il Vero Alfredo’ (‘Alfredo di Roma’), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality). See also the website of ‘Il Vero Alfredo’.(with news also about franchising).
I celebrate every year (as this year) in my restaurant (founded by my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio) the USA Holiday of. fettuccine all’Alfredo (February 7). I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong to the family tradition of ‘Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma’ and I inform you that the restaurant ‘Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma’ is in the registry of ‘Historic Shops of Excellence’ of the City of Rome Capitale.
Best regards Ines Di Lelio”
Martin Luther King Jr Day, on the third Monday in January, honors the American clergyman, activist, Civil Rights Movement leader. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.(January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience. King has become a national icon in the history of American progressivism. Hundreds of streets in the U.S. have been renamed in his honor.
A gifted and friendly student, King attended Morehouse College, where he earned a BA in sociology. Combining a passion for racial equality with a rediscovered spirituality, King then attended Crozer Theological Seminary following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps earning a Bachelors of Divinity.
Shortly after he completed his Ph.D. in theology at Boston University in 1955, a 42-year-old Rosa Parks (See Rosa Parks Day, which is observed December 1) refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. The opportunity for the NAACP to bring their civil rights efforts to the forefront was before them, and they chose King to lead the successful city-wide boycott of the Montgomery transit system.
Young Civil Rights Movement
Just over a year later, King, along with over 60 other ministers and activists, founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Together they coordinated non-violent protests and gave a voice to the young civil rights movement.
Through the next twelve years, King would be influential in organizing marches, sit-ins, and political rallies for civil rights. During a 1963 March on Washington, D.C. for Jobs and Freedom, King spoke before more than 200,000 regarding the challenges African Americans face. His “I Have a Dream” speech has gone down in many history books as one of the greatest speeches ever given. Brutally honest, a call to action, and a vision of hope, King’s speech resonated throughout the nation.
In early 1964, during a march outside Selma, 1,500 men and women met a wall of state troopers. There, King led the marchers in prayer and successfully avoided any confrontation with authorities. On July 2, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. That same year, King became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for his unswerving work in the Civil Rights Movement.
In early 1965, Selma, Alabama, became the center of the Civil Rights movement. A new voting rights legislation was introduced in Congress. It proposed banning literacy tests and mandating federal oversight where tests were administered. Additionally, it gave the U.S. attorney general the duty of challenging the use of poll taxes for state and local elections. Televised violence in February of that year resulted in the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson. King’s presence and President Johnson’s support of the marchers helped bring peace. Throughout the next month, marchers continued between Selma and Montgomery. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in August of that year.
Author, speaker, father, theologian, activist. King died on April 4, 1968, when James Earl Ray assassinated him in Memphis, Tennessee. King arrived in Memphis with other SCLC members in support of a sanitation workers’ strike. They were staying at the Lorraine Motel when Ray’s bullet struck King on the balcony. Riots and violence would follow, and President Johnson would call for peace, referring to King as the “apostle of nonviolence.”
HOW TO OBSERVE #MartinLutherKingJrDay
Many schools, businesses, and government offices are closed during Martin Luther King Jr Day. Schools hold programs or teach curricula engaging students in Civil Rights history and lessons throughout the week. Learn more about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch one of the documentaries or read one of the books listed below:
Use #MartinLutherKingJrDay to post on social media.
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY HISTORY
While President Ronald Reagan signed the established observance into law in 1983, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was first observed as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.
Photo and clip art by: <p><a href=”https://www.fg-a.com”>Free Animations – Clipart – Animated Gifs</a></p>
National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day on January 3rd spotlights a favored treat during many holidays. The National Confectioners Association has even been noted to recognize the annual event.
It is almost impossible to eat just one of these chocolate covered cherry candies. The combination of two favorite flavors into one delicious treat turns into something irresistible. The candy often is made with a sweet liquid center and in some cases has a liquor filling.
Known to many as a mid-winter pick-me-up, chocolate-covered cherries, also called chocolate cordials, can be either store-bought or homemade. There are also many recipes that mimic the flavor of the long known and well-loved candy.
In the 1700s in England, cherries were enclosed in chocolate with a little kirsch (cordial) liqueur. After finding their way to the United States, Americans received them quite well, delighting in the little bit of alcoholic cordial surrounding the fruit dipped in chocolate. Although originally made with the liqueur, cordials/chocolate covered cherries are more commonly made with a sugar syrup flavored with cherries. The pitted cherries have been cooked in sugar syrup and jarred.
HOW TO OBSERVE #ChocolateCoveredCherryDay
Use #ChocolateCoveredCherryDay to post on social media.
Share your favorite chocolate cherry recipes for cake, cookies, candy and beverages like hot chocolate or a milkshake. Smoothies would be so good too.
NATIONAL CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY DAY HISTORY
While the National Confectioners Association recognizes this day honoring this tasty chocolate treat, National Day Calendar continues to seek the origins of the celebration.
Happy New Year! If your bleary eyed and looking for Asprin, that was an energetic whisper instead of a yell…
Well 2020 is officially here. Now if I can just train myself to write that year, on important things like billing, receipts and checks. If you haven’t adjusted your organizer, calendars, and yearly to-do lists, it’s a good day to spend quietly preparing to rejoin the world. (If you’re lucky enough to have time off to do so.)
First make it a point if you’re not totally digital to transfer any dates, notes, or important information to this tears planner. Sync the digital, worlds of desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile so you have your information handy. You should do a complete backup of your contacts, calendars, and any other vital information.
For digital media burn real back up disks. I know, it sounds old fashioned today, but that thumb drive, external hard drive, micro sd card can all be wiped out. The wrong delete command can undo all your hard work. What would you do if you lost all those irreplacable photos?
Ok, like most of us I have cloud storage. So why do I need to do anything physical like a real disk? Cloud storage has gotten better but, experts still agree if you go with this method, you need more than one. A physical disk also lets me keep my private files…Private!
Data breaches happen all the time. Google, Banks, Stores where we shop, they appear in the news all the time. Sensitive information like credit cards, financial records, taxes, contacts, and any photos, you don’t want out there don’t store it anywhere that has network access. Yes, it makes it easier for you to get to your files but internet security is really only good until the next hacker breaks it. Do you really want to learn through social media that “That” photo is out there. With identity theft rates going higher, do not want to take chances with your sensitive information?
Staying on Track
As a blogger, and in charge of the family finances, I safeguard this information. I use a variety of both physical and virtual tools to make my life easier. To keep my days on track and remember appointments I still use a paper planner. Everything from holidays, birthdays, and planning for both my family and my blog go here. I find it easier to stay focused, complete tasks in a timely manner and use things like alarms on my phone for special reminders.
Outside of that and a secret stash of sensitive login information I’m fully digital. We use app named Prism to keep track of paydays, bills, credit cards and so on. It let’s me track and make payments easily with an easy to understand interface that covers everything. It reminds me when the water payment is due. Keeps my bank balance, tells me the car insurance is next week and keeps up with my automatic payments. With bank-level security and automatic locking features even if I lose my phone no one else can get in.
While these do take a bit of work, you will be rewarded with each bite of these delicious Wellingtons. I usually do these as a labor of love on special occasions like New Year’s Eve or an Anniversary. They also work well for a special dinner for 2. Just add candlelight, and a salad. A great pairing is my Winter Arugula Pear Salad. It makes for a really good dinning experience. Add a decadent desert and anyone dinning will be very impressed. See Loaded Brownie recipe.
- 3 packages frozen puff pastry, Pepperidge Farm brand
- Flour for rolling
- 2 eggs Whisked with 2 Tbsp water
- 1 – 8oz pkg Baby Bellas chopped
- 6 Tbs. olive oil; more for cooking
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1/2 tsp. Rosemary
- Salt and Black pepper to taste
- 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3 medium onions thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- Salt and Black pepper
Spinach and Blue Cheese
- 2 – 10oz pkg fresh spinach blanched
- Pinch Black pepper (optional)
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- Crumbled Blue cheese about 6 oz
For the Steaks
- 4 – 7oz Ribeye or Eye of Round steaks
- Salt and Black pepper
- About 4 Tbsp butter, more as needed
- Roll out and cut the pastry—Roll out each pastry sheets to about 3/16-inch thick, with a sharp knife, cut out a 9-inch round. From the scraps, cut out leaves or other shapes to use as decoration. Layer the pastry rounds (and the decorations) between pieces of waxed paper or parchment, lay on baking sheet and store in freezer until ready to assemble.
- Cook the mushrooms—In a bowl, toss the chopped Baby Bellas with olive oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours overnight is better. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, add a thin film of oil, and sear mushrooms until they’ve softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer them to paper towels. When cool, set aside till ready to use.
- Caramelize the onions— Melt butter, add the onions, cooking over medium heat, slowly, stirring occasionally, until well browned, and soft, about 20 minutes. Add the wine and cook until the pan is dry. Set aside to cool. Put the cooled onions in a bowl; cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare the spinach and cheese
- Wash spinach well and remove any stems. Prepare an ice-water bath. Put half of the spinach in a large sauté pan with a touch of water, and 1 Tbs. of the butter. Cook over medium-high heat, until justbwilted and immediately put it in the water bath to shock the color and stop the cooking. Scoop it from the ice water and put it in a colander to drain. Squeeze the spinach, in a clean kitchen towel, as much as you can and set it aside on paper towels to continue draining. Repeat with the remaining spinach. Cover with plastic and refrigerate. Stir in blue cheese, salt and Black pepper.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Sear Steaks—Season each portion of meat with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning into the meat to keep it in place. Add butter and dash of olive oil to a heavy sauté pan. Sear the steaks over high heat for 2 minutes on each side until brown and crisp on the outside. Be sure your pan is very hot for searing the meat. Do not overcook it, or crowd the pan. It will cause the meat to steam instead of sear. (Check the sides to be sure the filets are still red in the middle.) Work in batches if needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 24 hours.
Searing the steaks makes for a nice crust but a still-red center—once wrapped in pastry and baked, they’ll cook to medium rare.
Some Assembly Required
- Arrange your mushrooms, onions, spinach, and steaks within easy reach. Divide mushrooms, onions into four portions. Spinach into 8 portions.
- Make sure the caramelized onions are well drained (they tend to collect liquid as they sit).
- Cover a large rimmed baking sheet (that fits in your freezer) with kitchen parchment or silicon baking mat.
- Have a ruler, a small sharp knife, a pastry brush, and the egg wash on hand. Lightly flour one area to lay pastry, (the cooler the area the better).
- Pull a pastry round from the freezer and lay on the floured surface. Working quickly lightly score a 4×3-inch rectangle in the center of the round; don’t cut through the pastry. Extend the lines of the rectangle and cut out the corners of the round created by the line extensions, leaving a cross of pastry with a 4×3-inch center.
Cut a cross shape out of the pastry round. Save the scraps to cut out decorations.
- Spread Spinach in thin layer on the rectangle of pastry. Follow with a layer of onions, the steak, a layer of mushrooms and second layer of spinach. Spread each layer as evenly as possible. Brush a light coating of the egg wash on each of the four panels of dough.
- Check to be sure that the pastry is now pliable enough to fold without breaking (wait a minute or two if necessary). Fold up the longer sides first and then the end Fold each side panel onto the top, stretching the dough a bit if necessary to make the ends meet, or slightly overlapping if necessary. Follow suit with the top and bottom panels. Seal the panels together by pressing in the top panel where it meets the bottom panel and by pinching each of the four sides together where the panels meet. It’s important that pastry iswell sealed so the juices don’t leak out.
- Hold upright in your hands, securing all the seals and smoothing any rough spots to make the package into a neat, rounded block. Set it seam side down and gently press the top and sides to make them as even all the way around as possible. Brush the top and all sides with egg wash. If desired puut decorations on top and brush with egg wash. Set the Wellingtons on the lined baking sheet. Set in freezer to set and chill the pastry. Repeat with the 5 remaining Wellingtons, adding each to the pan in the freezer as you go. Allow 1 hour in freezer.
Cook the Wellingtons:
- Heat the oven to 400°F. Make another egg wash. Remove the Wellingtons from the freezer (do not thaw) and brush them with a fresh coat of egg wash. Cook for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and cook another 35 to 40 minutes. Set them aside to rest for no longer than 10 minutes. Serve immediately.