Archive for June, 2010

Summer coolers – Bring a unique punch to the party

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Beverage DispenserHere are some great recipes for summer punches. You’ll be a hit at the next gathering with these cool recipes….

Raspberry-Lime Rickey
A refreshing, fruity spin on this lime-based cocktail. Add some gin, rum or vodka for the real deal.

You Will Need:
2 Cups unsweetened frozen raspberries
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 Cup sugar
16 oz seltzer

Combine frozen raspberries, lime juice, sugar and seltzer in a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Remove blender container from stand and shake it; blend again.
Serve immediately.

Copper Beverage TubHoneydew Punch
For the best taste, choose perfectly ripe melon.

You Will Need:
4 Cups cubed, seeded honeydew melon
1 Cup store-bought sugar-free lemonade
3 Kiwi fruits, peeled and chopped
1 1/3 Cups unsweetened white grape juice

Place the melon chunks and 1/2 cup lemonade in a large blender; cover and blend until smooth.
Pour through a strainer into a large pitcher to remove any pulp and solids.
Place the remaining 1/2 cup lemonade and chopped kiwis in the blender; cover and blend until smooth.
Again, pour through the strainer into a large pitcher*.
Add the white grape juice, stir well, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. Serve over ice.

*Note: Alternatively, you can place all the melon, lemonade and chopped kiwi in a very large food processor fitted with the chopping blade, and process until smooth. Pour through a strainer into a large pitcher, then proceed with step 3.

Galvanized Beverage TubPomegranate Cooler
Pomegranate juice may be the first and biggest food find of this century. And no wonder: It’s tart, full of vitamin C and loaded with antioxidants. Here, it becomes a refreshing summer drink, great after a bike ride or a workout.

You Will Need:
1 1/2 Cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 Cup lime juice
2 Tbsp grenadine syrup
1 Quart sugar-free raspberry-flavored seltzer

Combine the pomegranate juice, lime juice and grenadine in a large pitcher. (The cooler can be made ahead to this point up to 3 days in advance. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.)
Gently stir in the raspberry seltzer.
Serve over ice.

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Let Freedom Ring – Juneteenth

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Gettysburg Address PrintOn June 19, 1865, more than two years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Union troops landed at Galveston, Texas. With the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of the Union regiment, the Civil War was officially over.

One of the first orders of the Union general, Gordon Granger, for the people of Texas was to comply with General Order Number 3, which began:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

Thus began the tradition of celebrating June 19th, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, as an American holiday honoring African American heritage and celebrated by people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds. Recounting the memories of that day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered by African Americans in future years. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants. The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date.

In the early years, little interest existed outside the African American community to participate in the celebrations. Most of the festivities found themselves out in rural areas around rivers and creeks that could provide for additional activities such as fishing, horseback riding, and barbecues. Often a church was the site for such gatherings. Eventually, as African Americans became landowners, land was donated and dedicated for honoring June 19th. Rev. Jack Yates organized one of the earliest documented land purchases in the name of Juneteenth. This fund-raising effort yielded $1000 and the purchase of Emancipation Park in Houston, Texas.

The Road Home PrintDress was also an important element in early Juneteenth customs and is still taken seriously, particularly by direct descendants. During slavery there were laws in many areas that prohibited or limited the dressing of the enslaved. During the initial days of the emancipation celebrations, there are accounts of former slaves tossing their ragged garments into the creeks and rivers to adorn clothing belonging to their former ‘masters.’

Strawberry soda pop emerged as the popular beverage to serve at June 19th celebrations and subsequently became synonymous with Juneteenth. Traditions include an enunciated public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation as a reminder that the slaves have been proclaimed free. Celebrants often sing traditional songs as well such as Swing Low, Sweet Chariot; Lift Every Voice and Sing; and poetry from authors like Maya Angelou. Juneteenth celebrations also include a wide range of festivities to celebrate American heritage, such as parades, rodeos, street fairs, cookouts, family reunions, or park parties. Some of the events may include things such as historical reenactments, or Miss Juneteenth contests.

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official Texas state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition. Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America. Juneteenth is recognized as a state holiday in 36 states.

Today, Juneteenth is enjoying a phenomenal growth rate within communities and organizations throughout the country. Institutions such as the Smithsonian, the Henry Ford Museum and others have begun sponsoring Juneteenth-centered activities. In recent years, a number of local and national Juneteenth organizations have arisen to take their place along side older organizations – all with the mission to promote and cultivate knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.

As it takes on a more national, symbolic and even global perspective, the events of 1865 in Texas are not forgotten.

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What is a Dunlap Broadside?

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Any guessers? No, it’s not a famous football tackle. It’s a printing of a document. A very important document: The Declaration of Independence.

The Dunlap broadsides were the first published copies of the United States Declaration of Independence, printed on the night of July 4, 1776, by John Dunlap of Philadelphia. Dunlap was born in Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland. After moving to America and inheriting a printing business from his uncle, Dunlap began the publication of the Pennsylvania Packet, or General Advertiser, a weekly newspaper.

During the American Revolutionary War, Dunlap became an officer in the First Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry, and served under George Washington at the battles of Trenton and Princeton. He continued in the First City Troop after the war, rising to the rank of major.

In 1776, Dunlap secured a lucrative printing contract for the Continental Congress. In July 1776, fighting between the American colonists and the British forces had been going on for nearly a year. On July 2, the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence, and on July 4 they agreed to the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. Congress ordered the same committee charged with writing the document to “superintend and correct the press,” that is, supervise the printing. Dunlap was tasked with the job; he apparently spent much of the night of July 4 setting type, correcting it, and running off the broadside sheets. It is unknown exactly how many broadsides were originally printed, but the number is estimated at about 200. They became known as the Dunlap broadsides, which were the first published versions of the Declaration.

According to Ted Widmer, author of Ark of the Liberties: America and the World. “It is romantic to think that Benjamin Franklin, the greatest printer of his day, was there in Dunlap’s shop to supervise, and that Jefferson, the nervous author, was also close at hand.”

The Dunlap broadsides were sent across the colonies over the next two days, including to George Washington, who directed that the Declaration be read to the troops. Another copy was sent to England.

The original handwritten Declaration of July 4 that was sent from Congress to Dunlap, “Signed by Order and in Behalf of the Congress, JOHN HANCOCK, President. Attest, CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary,” (taken from bottom of a Dunlap broadside) has been lost.

Of the 27 surviving copies of the Dunlap broadside, 21 copies belong to universities, public libraries and a city hall. The remaining five are in private hands, although promised to public collections. While inspecting a tear in the lining behind a painting bought at a flea market, one owner discovered a folded Dunlap broadside. Sotheby’s and an independent expert authenticated this 25th copy of the Dunlap broadside. In June 2000, the document sold at an online Sotheby’s auction for $8.14 million.

The Declaration of Independence was not the only success for John Dunlap. In 1784, Dunlap’s newspaper became a daily with a new title: The North American and United States Gazette. It was not the first daily in the United States—but it became the first successful daily.

During the American Revolution, he prospered in real estate. After the war, he bought land in Kentucky. By 1795, when he was forty-eight, he was able to retire with a sizable estate. He died in Philadelphia in 1812.

Now exhibited at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The Declaration of Independence measures 29-3/4 inches by 24-1/2 inches. On the back, at the bottom, upside-down is simply written: “Original Declaration of Independence / dated 4th July 1776.”

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