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Your Good Life Guide to the Hudson Valley. It's Fun Here!
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    Click on image for list of Events & Festivities

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Beyond the Fireworks: Fourth of July History for Kids

kidsBy: ParentingSquad.com

For a lot of Americans, the Fourth of July is all about fireworks, barbecues, and red, white, and blue. Many children (and adults) don’t truly understand why we celebrate this uniquely American holiday.

After all, how much do you really remember from your high school history class?

Why Do We Celebrate the Fourth of July?

Historically speaking, the Fourth of July is a big deal. It was on this date in 1776 that the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted. This is why the Fourth of July is also known as “Independence Day.” July 4, 1776 was the day our country’s founders officially declared their separation from the country that ruled over them.

Remember that thing known as the American Revolution, when the colonists fought Great Britain for the right to govern themselves? It was because the American colonists wanted to form their own government that they declared their independence from British rule, and fought and won the American Revolution.

Now, over 200 years later, we celebrate the Fourth of July because it stands as a symbol of the day long ago when we ceased being British and became true Americans.

5 Fun 4th of July Facts:

What animal did Benjamin Franklin supposedly prefer as the official national bird over the bald eagle?
Benjamin Franklin is said to have wanted the wild turkey to be the national bird but was outvoted by both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who chose the bald eagle, a bird of prey native only to North America, as the official bird of the United States of America.

How many hot dogs are consumed, on average, at barbecues on the Fourth?
The 4th of July and barbecues go hand-in-hand, so it’s probably no surprise that over an estimated 150 million hot dogs are consumed in the United States each Independence Day. Break that down, and that’s roughly one hot dog for every two people in the U.S.

What year was the 4th of July first celebrated at the White House?
The first recorded 4th of July celebrations were in 1777 on the one-year anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The first 4th of July party held at the White House, however, wasn’t until 1801, when it was held by President Thomas Jefferson.

Why were the stars on the original American flag arranged in a circle?
The 13 stars on the American flag were arranged in a circle to represent equality between the original thirteen colonies. Although there were several versions of the early flag, including one with the stars arranged in vertical lines, the “Betsy Ross flag,” which depicts the stars in a circle, was the most popular.

When was the 4th of July declared a national holiday?
Although the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence has been celebrated since 1777, the 4th of July was not declared a national holiday until 1941. The 4th of July wasn’t referred to as Independence Day until 1791.

Have a Happy and Safe 4th: July 4th Events

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Not Enough Time? How to Stop The Illusion

no timeBy Anastasiya Goers

How to Overcome the Not Enough Time Illusion

The illusion that there isn’t enough time can be conquered only by living in the present. Thinking about now. Simplifying life. I have been following a few strategies lately that helped me better control my time and take productive steps toward overcoming the pressure to chase the next moment caused by the ‘Not Enough Time’ illusion. I list them as follows:

1. Treasure Your Time – Time is a valuable resource that we do not have to spend all at once. Let’s imagine that you inherited a huge amount of money. Would you go out and spend every bit of it immediately? Sure, you can do it but a wiser decision would be to spend some, invest some, save some. Our time is much more valuable than money (because once it’s gone you can never earn it back); then why do we constantly waste it? If you have extra 5 or 10 minutes during the day, just enjoy them. There is no need to water the plants, file your nails or call to schedule an appointment just to become more efficient and productive. These extra few minutes have a wonderful purpose in your life—they are to be savored and enjoyed in silence, in deep thoughts or with your loved ones.

2. Stop Getting Things Done – There is nothing wrong with being productive but it is unhealthy to make productivity the sole purpose of your life. There might be times during the day when you need to be efficient (at work, while running errands, doing housework etc.) but there are also times when you need to relax. Be as diligent about your rest time as you are about your work hours.

3. Leave Your Job at Work – Job takes a big part of our lives and sometimes it is difficult to turn off your work mode. It gets even more difficult if you work from home because technically you are always in your work place. While I am not a big fan of the term “work life balance” I think that work rest balance definitely deserves your attention. I can talk for hours about why it is important to forget about your work while you are resting, but deep down you do not need any convincing. You are the person who will benefit the most from this change and only you are able to make this decision your personal priority.

4. Simplify Your Commitments – Frequently enough we take on too many responsibilities that completely clutter our day. Distinguish between tasks that are truly important to you (because they are a necessity or because you truly enjoy these activities) and get rid of all the clutter. Do you really have to go to your colleague’s party? Do you really enjoy this TV show that much? You get the idea.

5. Discover Who You Are – A lot of times we stay busy because of fear. We are afraid of down time because we are afraid to discover who we are. Instead of really getting to know ourselves, discovering our passions, developing our potential we hide behind a busy schedule. Sometimes we stay busy to cover up some painful memories or emotions that we feel we can’t deal with. This no-conflict strategy is emptying your inner well; it drains your energy and robs you of happy and joyful living. Schedule some time for yourself: meditate, pray, write in a journal or just dive deeply into your thoughts.

6. Simplify Your Information Streams – How many books are you reading right now? Chances are that you are reading a few regular books, following regular updates on a few blogs and reading an eBook or two all at the same time. I am not even mentioning news, TV shows, magazines and newspapers that are a staple in almost every house. There is too much information available to us right now. This information takes time and energy; in fact it takes over our lives. We can be watching TV, looking through a magazine and trying to play with our kids at the same time. As a result you get a headache from the noise, you get no value from the magazine and you get upset at your kids because they start whining and complaining. Instead try to read fewer books and follow fewer blogs. Look through the news headlines on the Internet and read only what is relevant to you. Spend your time only on the information that truly benefits you and enriches your life.

7. Gift Yourself A Day – If you are a religious person you can use this time for spiritual matters. If you are not religious you can spend time with your family, read all day, go on a hike, goof off, try new recipes or enjoy any other hobby. It does not matter what you are doing. Just don’t work. It will be the biggest nourishment for your starving mind and even body.

The illusion that there is not enough time is just that: an illusion. You can overcome this idea and this internal drive towards chasing the next moment under the excuse of “I’m busy” by slowing down.

While you cannot control everything in this world you definitely can control your time and how you spend it. Enjoy it. Treasure it. Spend it on what really matters and be happy.

**If you had all the time in the world, what would you be doing? :)