Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's all in the icing!

Any day is okay for cake with the upcoming recipe too inviting not to share for enjoyment with friends and family any time. Look at it this way - cake is one thing, cake is good but cake cloaked in a caramel sauce is not just talking about cake any more! Add hazelnuts and ooh-la-la what a combination! Hazelnuts have a slightly bittersweet buttery flavor, a perfect accent for a totally delectable dessert.

June 1 is...

National Hazelnut Cake Day


A Bit of Hazelnut Trivia...
Worldwide there are over 100 varieties of hazelnuts with 70% coming from Turkey. In the United States, 99% of our hazelnuts are grown in the rich soil of Oregon's Williamette Valley. No imports needed here! Hazelnuts are rich in Vitamin E, protein and fiber. They are believed to be one of the highest natural sources of antioxidants. Bottom line: Eat more hazelnuts!
 Recipe of the Day...

 Make this Chocolate Hazelnut cake and delicious Nutella butter cream in these easy tutorials.

First the cake...

 Now for the butter cream icing!

 Is your mouth watering yet?

Goin' Barefootin'...again!

This is the second celebration for the little piggies (our toes, that is)! Earlier this month was Happy Feet Go Barefootin', aka No Socks Day. Without the confinement of socks, the tootsies were free to wriggle and wiggle, with or without the shoes. Of course, it was suggested to go all the way baring those feet naked to the sun. Now, kick off the shoes again. Watch out grass or beach sand, here we come! OR Just simply slip off those shoes under your desk!

June 1 is...
Go Barefoot Day

Whether you’re at work or not, the idea is to find a way to rebel against shoes, be a kid again! Don't you remember that feeling of freedom? Run barefoot through the park, kick up sand, pamper your feet, or toss your shoes under your desk at work [Be sure your boss isn’t looking!].

Have you ever danced barefoot?

Dancing is an art. Being Footloose: Dancing Barefoot is not always an easy task. For professionals, it takes patience and practice. For all the 'kids at heart', here is a question for you: Have you ever kicked off your shoes only to have your feet stick to the dance floor? Yep, it's from the sweat. (Um-m-m-m? Reminds me of Senior Prom. Geez!) OOPS! Not very graceful either! Yet, when dancing barefoot your feet get to 'feel' the floor. Different sensation. Different emotion. A lot of fun. Better yet, if it's a rainy day, dance in the rain...just remember to dance barefoot!

Get in the spirit of the day! Run. Jump. Skip. Play. Barefoot! Naturally with those bare feet will come dirty feet. Don't worry about it! That is all part of the celebration leading the way to pampering at the end of the day. That's right...Pamper Your Feet! And that's talking about more than just washing away the dirt. It's massaging that feels good...really, really good!

Go barefoot like no one is watching!

Moon, Croon, & Spoon...it's June!

Summertime is on the horizon!

School is out! It's time to be outside by the light of June's Strawberry Moon. It's a month when voices are filled with emotion, crooning, as "I love yous" lead to wedding planning. And spoons are constantly heavily laden with ice cold rich and flavorful ice cream. Summertime is when the living is easy, basking in the sun is a daily routine and partying down fills any empty nights. Summer makes its own kind of music. Which song best suits your summertime mood?

Slow & Easy...

Rockin' & Upbeat...

Being on the brink of summer means the temperatures are rising. As with any month, there is much to be celebrated so let's start with one to cool us down.

June is National Dairy Month. There is so much to enjoy on a hot summer day which results is some mighty fine chilling effects. The first on the list would indeed have to be ice cream! What is even more exciting is that this doesn't end with the month of June. Not far ahead is National Ice Cream Month - July. That provides us with two months back-to-back to enjoy those cold, creamy treats. Indeed, dairy goes way beyond just the scope of ice cream: yogurt (original, Greek, frozen), milk, eggs, cheese, as well as all the concoctions that can be created from any of these.
Not only do we celebrate dairy products all month long but we also will be celebrating colorfully, June is National Fresh Fruit & Vegetables Month! Color is nature’s way of telling us what nutrients are found in those delicious fruits and fresh veggies. Eating a variety of colors, from bright citrus fruits to darker, leafy greens, ensures the body gets the variety of vitamins and minerals it needs. Um-m-m-m? Fresh strawberries atop a bowl of vanilla ice cream...YUM! Don't forget the whipped topping!
It just keeps getting better and better, June is National Candy Month! Let's place a banana in the bottom of our dish topped with three scoops of ice cream. Lace that with strawberries and pineapple smothered with hot chocolate fudge. Then, to top it all of sprinkle with your favorite crushed candies! Oh, my!
We get to step away from the food for this celebration. Well, I guess we could enjoy some fruity, sugar roses or long-stemmed candy roses for a double, maybe triple, celebration. June is also National Rose Month in celebration of the rose's rich heritage and symbol of love that dates back thousands of years. A little trivia about roses...Since 1986 the rose has been the official National Floral Emblem of the United States. Roses are native plants to the United States and George Washington was the first rose breeder in the US. Why white roses are so special is no mystery - it's actually a myth perhaps starting with the Romans. Their belief was that white roses grew where the tears of Venus fell as she mourned the loss of her husband Adonis. 
Last, but not the end of June celebrations, is a zany one that accompanies Dairy Month. Are you ready for this? June is Fight the Filthy Fly Month!
"When April with it's showers soote, wets the flye and creates the root, mayhem ye shall see in June, when larvae hatch and payne goes BOOM." ~Geoffrey Chaucer, a new interpretation

Frogs, lizards and the great crested flycatcher maintain a steady diet of flies. But, humans do not fit any of these categories! Flies are the pesky little flying dentures, one of whose favorite buzzing places is a picnic. National Fight the Filthy Fly Month was founded also to battle the flies that overwhelm farm animals during this time of year. These include horse flies, midges, and the dangerous botfly. Remember, June is National Dairy Month so Are Flies Bugging Your Cattle? Create a dairy fly control plan!
OOPS! I know I said last, but one more must be mentioned. You just have to visit Awakenings sister site catnipoflife for more information!

 Stay tuned for many, many foodie celebrations are on June's calendar! You have a choice, which one(s) to celebrate, or not!

Floating on Air

Today's History Lesson

Throughout history, man has been intent on improving upon ideas of moving machines for purposes of transport. One of the most successful inventions of the 20th century emerged as a result of some very unusual testing.

This Day in History: May 31, 1959


Christopher Cockerell with the
proper hovercraft model
made in 1955 from balsa wood
(Source: Hovercraft Consultants Ltd)

The principle behind today's hovercraft was first demonstrated by Sir Christopher Cockerell in 1955 using an empty KiteKat cat food tin inside a coffee tin, an air blower (some sources cite a hairdryer) and a pair of kitchen scales. The first manned hovercraft flight took place on May 31, 1959 with the seven-ton SR.N1 developed by John Cockerell making its first test flight. It was capable of a speed of 60 knots.

The concept behind the hovercraft actually began centuries ago being traced back to the early 1700's, and ideas for flying machines date back to ancient Greece. Cockerel's idea allowed a vehicle to move over water's surface, floating on a layer of air, thus, reducing friction between the vehicle and the water.


World's first full-size hovercraft.
The prototype SR-N1 was used for research and development
(Source: Science & Society Picture Library)

For an extensive history of the hovercraft, click the links below.

1700 – 1900: The Genesis of Air Cushion Vehicles
1900 – 1950: The Evolution of Air Cushion Vehicles
1950 – 1964: The Birth of the Air Cushion Vehicle/Hovercraft Industry

An Illustrated History of the Hovercraft

The money Cockerell received for his hovercraft patent didn't cover his development costs. As with so many inventors and creative individuals, he remained bitter with lack of compensation and capitalization of such an inventive idea. It is interesting to note the US naval hovercraft is still in use today.
 A U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion,
an example of a military hovercraft
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org

You haven't seen a hovercraft, until you've seen the Zubr-class, a class of air-cushioned landing craft of Soviet design that's currently the world's largest. It's designed to sealift landing assault units (such as marines or tanks) from equipped/non-equipped vessels to non-equipped shore, as well as transport and plant mines. Read MORE...
Have you ever had your sunbathing interrupted at the beach by the landing of a hovercraft? It happens!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Macaroon vs. Macaron

Cookies have a place at the top of the food list for both dessert and snack time. Delicious with absolutely NO age limit as to their foodie friends! This day's celebration focuses on a rather confusing confection that may not actually be a cookie since the recipe calls for no flour. Another point of possible confusion might be its reference by two different names IF you do not know the difference for each has a base of egg whites and sugar.

May 31 is...
National Macaroon Day
 Not to be confused with the Macaron (top photo)

It's high time we set the record straight: the word "macaron" is not an alternate spelling of macaroon. In fact, the two terms refer to distinctly different things. Both macarons and macaroons are confections, and both names are derived from ammaccare, which is Italian for "to crush" — but that's where the similarities end. Read MORE...
Of course, the above article is just one source of explanation. As so often happens on the web, its intricate weaving reveals various results. For example, here's another: Although the exact origins have not been proven, it is widely believed that macaroons originated in an Italian monastery many centuries ago. The word macaroon comes from the Italian word, maccarone, which means “paste.” Read this entire article HERE...

Five Food Finds about Macaroons

As a child, I remember well the days of the macaroons...crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, unshapely little cookie bites quite often dipped in chocolate. Do you have fond 'macaroon' memories?

~Recipe Time~

 Coconut Macaroons Recipe
 Macaroons Recipe Round-up

 Carrot Cake Macaroons Recipe

Easy Coconut Macaroons Recipe
Plus recipe for Mexican Chocolate Macaroons

3 Tasty Macaroon Recipes
Traditional Almond Macaroons
Dark Chocolate Pistachio Macaroons
Coconut Raspberry Macaroons

A big hand of applause for the macaroon!

yum, yum, yum . . . yummy!


♫ Ringo with the tambourine...so, who's the drummer?♫

The most successful pop group of the 20th century changed popular culture forever. They impacted not only music but an entire generation. There was hardly a day within the decade from 1960 to 1970 without mention of this phenomenal group.They were legendary. They became icons.

Today in Music History: May 30

1964 The Beatles went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Love Me Do', the group's fourth US No.1 in five months. The version released in America had Andy White playing drums while Ringo played the tambourine. The British single was a take on which Ringo played the drums.
Andy White: He’s cool. Always was, still is.
Songfacts: The Beatles recorded versions of this with 3 different drummers. At their first Parlophone audition in June, 1962, Pete Best was still their drummer. When they recorded this on September 4, Ringo was their drummer, but when George Martin decided this would be the single, he had them record it again a week later. At this session, he used a session drummer named Andy White and stuck Ringo with the tambourine. The version with Ringo drumming was released as the single, but the version released on the album had Andy White's drumming. Ringo didn't pitch a fit when he got bumped at the session, but was very upset and felt real insecure, especially since The Beatles had just fired a drummer.
1968 The Beatles began recording what became known as the White Album. The double-LP whose official title was simply ‘The Beatles’ became the first Beatles album released with the Apple label. The first track they recorded was ‘Revolution’.
Songfacts: There are so many versions of this song because Paul McCartney didn't like it. Lennon really wanted this song to be the 'A' side of the single instead of "Hey Jude," and kept changing it around to come up with something that would make Paul see it his way. He basically wrote the song because he felt like he was being pulled in so many directions by different people, all of whom wanted his backing, politically. It was also him questioning his own belief in the revolution that was going on... whether he was "out" or "in." In truth, he was writing about a revolution of the mind rather than a physical "in the streets" revolution. He truly believed that revolution comes from inner change rather than social violence. (This is discussed in the DVD Composing the Beatles Songbook)
From the 60s into the early 70s emerged an American country and pop singer-songwriter and comedian Harry Ray Ragsdale, also known as...
1970 Ray Stevens went to No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Everything Is Beautiful'. The former DJ had a string of novelty hits, including 'Jeremiah Peabody's Poly Unsaturated Quick Dissolving Fast Acting Pleasant Tasting Green & Purple Pill'.
Songfacts: A very popular and family-friendly entertainer throughout the '60s, Ray Stevens was given his own TV variety show in 1970 called The Ray Stevens Show, which lasted just one season as a summer replacement. He wrote the uplifting "Everything Is Beautiful" as the theme for the show. Stevens explained to mybestyears.com, "I needed a very special song for the program. I went down in my basement for about three days. I had crumpled paper all over the place. And suddenly the idea for the song came to me. I wrote it in maybe 45 minutes. It was a very special song and one that a lot of people still remember and sing along when I do it in shows."
Today's Tidbit of Trivia...
 2007 Britney Spears said she "truly hit rock bottom" when she went to rehab earlier this year. In a message on her website, the singer wrote that she "genuinely did not know what to do with myself" following her split from husband Kevin Federline. The 25 year old singer entered a Malibu treatment facility in February after months of partying which ended with the singer shaving off all her hair.

Brittany Spears has sold over 100 million records worldwide.
In 2006, Spears was ranked sixth on Forbes list of the 100
Most Powerful and Influential celebrities in the world.
She is also the third most mentioned musician on the internet. 

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...


Rev Your Engines!

Today's History Lesson

All the excitement of competition we enjoy today had to begin somewhere, some time. The history behind most events is intriguing and most assuredly interesting. Whoever first said history is boring had no clue of anything in life except the breath of air being taken at any given moment to stay alive. Each of us has a connection...a person, a place or an event. Each connection has had an impact on what we know, experience and enjoy today.

This Day in History: May 30, 1911

The starting line-up at the first ever Indianapolis 500 motor race at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana, 1911.
Archive Photos/Getty Images
One of the world's most famous auto races began on this day, May 30, in 1911

The winner: Ray Harroun The car: a single-seater Marmon Wasp

#32 Ray Harroun was on the outside of row seven
in the 28th starting position.
Not only was Ray Harroun the winner of the 1st Indy 500 but the year prior to the race (1910) he accepted an offer from Howard C. Marmon to design AND build a racing car to be driven by him in the first big event at the new speedway at Indianapolis. Cool, huh? Designer, builder, winner!

The videos are great, especially viewed full screen!

The Indy 500 birthed many basic ideas that are standard parts on today's cars, not just race cars—your car, my car, the automobile driven back and forth to the grocery store, taking children to school and going to work. What ideas you might ask? Turbo charging, driver safety, rearview mirrors, seat belts, tires. Tires! Get real...of course the first automobile ever had tires so what impact did the Indy 500 have on tires? Interestingly enough Ray Harroun's Marmon Wasp (by the way it was bright yellow) was equipped with bicycle tires! No kidding! That is not your average run-of-the-mill tidbit of information. See why history is so fascinating? Got you hungering for more? Click HERE!

Harroun's winning Marmon-Nordyke "Wasp", on permanent display
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum.
[Notice the tires!]
$1.00 was paid for admission by 80,200 spectators in 1911 to watch the first Indy 500 race. Today, ticket prices range from $70 to $186 face value. The Indy 500 seats more than 250,000 people, giving it the title of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing".
On May 30, 1911, 40 cars lined up at the starting line for the first Indy 500. On the first day of time trials, May 17, 2014, the fastest 33 cars were locked into the starting field. 
The 1911 Indianapolis "500" purse amounted to $27,550, of which Harroun earned $14,250. The total purse for the 2014 Indianapolis 500 was $14.23 million of which the winner took home $2.49 million.

What are your thoughts on the Indy 500? Are you a race enthusiast?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Honoring Memorial Day

'Happy' routinely appears preceding the words Memorial Day. There is absolutely no way around it. BUT...is that the proper precedent to Memorial Day? We are happy to live in America. We happily enjoy all the freedoms America has to offer. Joyous are we getting prepared for time with family and friends: walking the beach, swimming, picnicking, bar-be-queuing, etc. In the midst of all the food, fun, fellowship associated with Memorial Day, let's not forget who are the true honorees!

May 30, 2016 is all about...

The happiness associated with Memorial Day has come at an immense sacrifice. With Memorial Day comes the importance of understanding Memorial Day vs. Veterans' Day.
Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime. In fact, Veterans Day is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge that their contributions to our national security are appreciated, and to underscore the fact that all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty. A complete history of Veterans Day, and why it is observed on November 11, can be found on the Veterans Day History Web page.
If you proudly fly the American flag at your home, be sure it is flown half mast tomorrow from sunrise 'til noon. If you have a family member or loved one who died as a result of serving our country, place a flag at the grave site. Wherever you go, whatever you do on Memorial Day, proudly carry and/or wave the American flag remembering those that are no longer with us, that is, among the land of the livingtheir spirit will always be with us in our hearts!

While this may be a time for beach blasts, bar-be-que cookouts, hot dogs with all the trimmings, hamburgers and fries, and scrumptious apple pie, it is more importantly a time of remembering. . .

The Fallen Soldiers


Like the bald eagle
Forever Watchful were we
Guiding, protecting
The land of the free
'Twas our place
To be brave, stay strong
Ready and willing
All the day long
Our eyes were keen
Often focused on pain
The fields were bloody
Amid storms and rain
Bodies of comrades
Strewn there and about
Never for a moment
Left room for any doubt
On home or foreign shores
Know ardently that we
Who gave up our lives
'Twas for country and thee


©2013 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

For each soldier who has fallen, there is someone at home mourning!

 Memorial Day 2015: The Real Story Behind the Holiday




Celebrate by honoring the True Meaning of Memorial Day!