Unsung July Holidays

July is FULL of surprising and quirky holidays that you have probably never celebrated. Below is a list of some of my favorite. You’re welcome.

 

1. National Ice Cream Day- July 17th

Ice Cream DEFINES summer, especially as hot as this one has been. In my humble opinion, we have some of the best ice cream shops around. Take advantage of this day, whether you’re out getting ice cream with friends, or sobbing into a quart of your own watching your favorite chick flick.

2. Rat-Catcher’s Day- July 22nd

Yes, that’s right, July 22nd is a day to celebrate the real heroes of society: pest control. Inspire by the Pied Pier of Hamelin, this day is truly all about the rats. Even with the success of the Pixar Film Ratatouille, and the meme that swept the nation “Pizza Rat,” rats are still seen as the pest of all pests. We take this day to thank the brave men and women who wake up everyday to take care our pest problems.

3. Take Your Plants for a Walk Day- July 27th

Leash up- your plant’s going for a walk! On this day, people around the nation take their plants for a walk- really! If you’re too self conscious to provide your plant with all the benefits of being in the fresh air, maybe take it for a walk around your house. Move it from one room to another. The happier your plants, the happier your home.

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4. National Milk Chocolate Day- July 28th

Don’t be fooled- this isn’t chocolate milk day (that’s September 27th)- this is MILK. CHOCOLATE. DAY. Creamy, delicious, milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is far superior than dark chocolate (YES- I said it) in all of it’s forms and fashions. It’s dairy, it’s delicious, it’s worthy of a holiday.

5. National Cheesecake Day- July 30th

OKAY- no other July holiday is as important as this one (besides July 4th, duh). But in all honesty, cheesecake takes the cake in this competition. Use this day as an excuse to splurge on all things cheesecake, and if anyone asks you why you’re eating so much cheesecake, tell them you’re simply executing your right to celebrate the creamiest, sweetest, cheesecakiest holiday of the year.

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July is National Grilling Month and You’re Already Hungry

You read right: National. Grilling. Month.

It’s only fitting that this month-long celebration falls in the same month as July 4th, a time for fireworks,  s’mores, and grilled meat. While July 4th is already behind us, our grills are still burning and the sun is still shining. It’s summer, and that’s the only excuse you need to grill.

We all know the feeling: a sunny evening, warm breeze, back patio, food on the grill. Food is important to culture in so many ways, but grilled food is a part of the dictionary definition of summer (OKAY- maybe not, but you get my point).

I mean, JUST LOOK AT THAT MEAT BEING GRILLED. It’s screaming summer deliciousness.

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Not into meat? No worries, grilled veggies are equally as important in the formula for a perfect summer. Mm-mm-MM!

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Even though grilling is such a summer staple, grilling as we know it has barely been around for 60 years. In fact, the first Weber grill was designed and built in 1952. This design included features that we are familiar with now: a base for charcoal,  a grate for food, and a dome shaped lid to contain as well as release heat (science is cool!).

In the 1960s the Arkansas Louisiana Gas Company redesigned the grill to use gas instead of charcoal.  In no time at all this style of grilling was in the backyard of every American suburban home. This style of grilling was far superior to the open-fire style at the time, faster than charcoal, and it changed the way we consume food forever.

Celebrate National Grilling Month by throwing your favorite summer meal on the grill and sharing with friends and family. What do you plan on grilling this month? Start the conversation by commenting below!

 

5 Reasons Why Macaroni Is The Most Delicious Noodle

If you, like me, didn’t know that July 7th is National Macaroni Day, fear not; I am here to educate you on why this seemingly-simple food has its own day, and why it should definitely be celebrated. Look no further than this tasty gif for proof that Macaroni is delicious and deserves its time in the spotlight:

 

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If you do need convincing, keep reading for 5 reasons why macaroni is the most delicious noodle.

 

 

1. Cheese

Need I say more? If you see the word “macaroni” on a menu at any restaurant, chances are it’s smothered in cheese. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the average American eats 33 pounds of cheese per year. So basically, every state is the dairy state (Sorry Wisconsin).

 

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2. Underdog

Joseph B. Wirthlin once said, “The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us.” We all take for granted the things we’re most comfortable with. Let us never take for granted the food that most of us have been eating since we were old enough to eat solid food, the food that got us through the broke college years, and the food that has enough celebrity to have its own national holiday.

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3. History

Macaroni has been around for a long time. Although most people would assume that the Italians created this delicious pasta, it is commonly believed that this noodle is of an Arabic descent. The oldest record of Macaroni may date back as far as 1188 CE. Clifford A. Wright, a Macaroni Researcher, wrote an extensive article on the history of Macaroni that can be found here.

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4. Practicality

Macaroni dates back hundreds of years, long before refrigeration and preservatives. Since macaroni is hard before it is cooked, it is much more easily preserved  than meats and vegetables, therefore making it extremely practical for our noodle-eating ancestors to make and consume. Even now, Macaroni and Cheese is one of the first dishes that many of us learn to cook because of how easy it is to make.

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5. Diversity

Macaroni, and more broadly pasta, is so diverse! If you search for macaroni recipes on the internet, you will find hundreds of mouth-watering meals.  Macaroni salad, macaroni and cheese, goulash, casserole- this stuff is everywhere.

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Below is a list of cookbooks with especially tasty recipes, with and without Macaroni, all of which are available at the Aurora Public Library. The list is by no means all-inclusive, but it’s a great place to start your journey into the realm of delicious pasta. Enjoy.

Cookbooks at the Aurora Public Library

  • Deliciously Ella: 100+ Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Gluten-Free Recipes by Ella Woodward (Aurora)

  • V Is For Vegetables: Inspired Recipes and Techniques for Home Cooks From Artichokes to Zucchini by Michael Anthony (Aurora)

  • The World on a Plate: 40 Cuisines, 100 Recipes, and the Stories Behind Them by Mina Holland (Aurora)

  • Garden to Table: A Kid’s Guide to Planting, Growing, and Preparing Food by Katherine Hengel (Aurora)

100 Years of National Parks

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100 years is a pretty long time. In 100 years America has done some really cool things, but arguably the most beautiful thing we’ve done is create our National Park System, and grown it into the massive establishment it is today. The National Parks Service was signed into existence through what is commonly known as the “Organic Act” by President Woodrow Wilson in the year 1916. If you’re interested in what happened between 1916-2016, this would be a good read for you. If you know where this post is going and are currently saying “but the air conditioning feels so good right now,” or, more likely “parks have bugs and heat and are not the beach,” trust me, I’m with you. It’s easy to let the summer heat keep us indoors or by a pool at all times (hold the sunscreen, I’ll take the tanning oil). It’s not every day your country’s National Parks Service turns 100, though, and I’m here to give you some options for how to make the most of this historic year.

 

  1. Take your family and friends to Lesko Park, or one of the other nearby city parks. Sure, they’re no National Park, but each local park has it’s own original flavor, and gives you a different perspective on life in and around your city. Grab some ice cream, leash up the dog, and have some quality time with the people closest to you in a city park.
  2. Versailles State Park is the closest Indiana State Park to our area. With three hiking trails, six mountain biking trails, a lake, campgrounds and a pool, Versailles is like that friend who is talented at everything, but doesn’t brag about it so you’re not jealous of them, you’re really excited for them and you want to spend time with them. The library even has free admission passes available for checkout at each APLD branch. Check our catalog or give us a call to check their availability!
  3. Take care of your surroundings. Even though you may not visit a single park this summer, you can still contribute to a cleaner environment wherever you are. Pick up after yourself, pick up after others even though it’s not your job, and recycle as much as you can. These healthy practices ensure that we will still have our parks, national or not, for years to come.
  4. Invite a friend, or make friends as you go. Since this is a historic year for our national parks, parks all over Indiana will be busy with visitors all summer. Need a date idea? Have a picnic at the park! Haven’t seen a friend in a while? Go for a hike and catch up while you do it. Looking for new friends? Look no further than the people who are out enjoying our parks. Think of the NPS’ 100th birthday as a party that you don’t have to organize, you can just attend, bring friends, or make them while you’re there.
  5. Watch Parks and Recreation. This Emmy Award Nominated show takes place in the Hoosier State, dealing with the ups of down of a  small government parks departments. Educate yourself and have a laugh, all while still enjoying  our parks (however fictitious).

So what I’m saying is: get yourself out there. Our parks have come a long way in the past 100 years. Who knows, in another hundred years our parks may be a distant memory, or they may function as arenas for the hunger games (it could happen!). The future aside, our parks are beautiful, people work really hard to keep them that way, and we should all take advantage of the amazing state and country we live it. Still not convinced? Check out some cool facts about the Indiana Department of Natural Resources below, and celebrate 100 years of National Parks.

Happy camping.

DNR Facts

 

 

Meet Your Newest (Part-Part Time) Library Assistant

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Hi! Maybe you’ve met me, maybe you haven’t, but I’ll start with introducing myself just the same. My name is Paul Satchwill. I am a new hire at the Aurora Public Library, but  this is not my first time working here. I worked at the library last year during my student teaching and through the summer until I began my first year of teaching at Batesville High School. Now that summer is here, I’m back among the books.

One of my personal goals is to continue to grow as a writer, which is why working at the library is such a great fit since I will be a contributing writer for the library’s blog. In addition, I will also be spending time with Teen Programming, because a summer without teenagers is never what any high school teacher wishes for.  In my free time I write a newsletter, jog, go to concerts, and watch far too much television.  While I’m here I would love to get to know what your interests are, what books you’re reading, or what show you’re currently binge-watching (for me, it’s How To Get Away With Murder– omg). Email me at paul@eapld.org, comment below, or tweet me @paulsatchwill to start the conversation!

Yay libraries!

Paul

 

Oldenburg Summer Reading

Oldenburg Academy Summer Reading REAL

Watch out!

Did you know that the Aurora Public Library District carries two different books called This I Believe? That’s right, that means you have a 50/50 chance of picking up the wrong one for your summer reading. Imagine if you spent all summer reading a book, then when you get to school you find out that everyone else read a different book! Don’t be that person. So, if you’re an O.A. student looking for your summer reading, look for This I Believe: Life Lessons by Dan Gediman. Happy reading!