Today is April 21
Things to get kids ready for kindergarten
›Work with your child on recognizing letters of the alphabet, numbers and colors in things that they see everyday
› Provide paper, pencils and crayons for your child to draw and write
› Ask your child to “read” a favorite book to you
› Read books that are interesting to your child daily
› Help your child learn to write his/her own first name
› Talk with your child and listen carefully to your child; this will encourage your child to talk and develop verbal skills
› Work with your child to understand why things are the same and different
› Help your child count objects while he/she is playing or helping with household chores
› Sing and play rhyming games; this will encourage language development
› Allow your child to perform tasks on his/her own, such as pouring juice or milk, buttoning and zipping his/her own clothes, toileting and washing hands, etc.
› Limit the amount of time your child watches television, plays video games, uses the computer, etc.
› Help your child identify body parts
› Teach your child his/her full name, address and telephone/cell phone number
› Allow your child to play outside in the yard or a park where he/ she can run, jump, hop, climb, throw and catch a ball
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Less than two months after the siege of the Alamo, the Texas War for Independence took a turn towards triumph; on April 21, 1836, Sam Houston overwhelmed the unvigilant army of Mexican General, Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto. Houston and his volunteers flogged the Mexican army and imprisoned their leader.
Houston agreed to release Santa Anna—a former Mexican president eleven times–only if he endorsed a treaty that acknowledged their independence and ended Mexico’s aggressive machinations.
In the meantime, the Republic of Texas was formed in 1836, and Houston was elected president–twice.
On December 29, 1845, Texas became America’s 28th state, but maneuvers with Mexico persisted another two year; according to History.com, it “helped to fulfill America’s ‘manifest destiny’ to expand its territory across the entire North American continent.”
For more information about Sam Houston, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends The Mexican American War by John DiConsiglio
National Tea Day
When in need of a beverage to warm them up, billions of people across the globe routinely look to tea. That choice has been made since ancient times, as various historians trace the habitual consumption of tea to ancient China.
Anything that has survived since ancient times no doubt has some good qualities, and tea is no exception. According to Penn Medicine, various types of tea each provide their own unique health benefits, some of which may surprise even the most devoted tea drinkers.
- White tea: A 2010 study published in the Journal of Food Science found that antioxidant-rich white tea boasts anti-carcinogenic properties. Penn Medicine also notes that white tea is a significant source of fluoride, catechins and tannins, ingredients that can strengthen teeth, improve their resistance to acid and sugar and fight plaque.
- Chamomile tea: Many people like drinking this herbal tea before bedtime because they feel it helps them fall asleep, and one study published in Molecular Medicine Reports in 2010 notes that chamomile tea is widely regarded as a mild tranquilizer and sleep-inducer. Chamomile tea also has been shown to improve heart health. A 2015 study of 64 patients with diabetes published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation found that those who consumed chamomile tea with meals had improved triglyceride and “bad” cholesterol levels compared to patients who drank water.
- Peppermint tea: The Mount Sinai Health System notes that peppermint calms the muscles of the stomach and improves the flow of bile. Made from dried leaves of the peppermint plant, peppermint tea can help to soothe an upset stomach and help people overcome conditions like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and motion sickness.
- Green tea: Green tea is loaded with flavonoids, which Penn Medicine notes improve heart health by lowering bad cholesterol and reducing blood clotting. In addition, the National Cancer Institute notes that the polyphenols in green tea may protect people against the damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation. One study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association also associated green tea consumption with a reduced risk of stroke.
Tea has been consumed for millenia. Though many people drink tea simply for its taste, those same people may drink even more after learning about the effects this beloved beverage can have on their overall health.
The aroma of homemade bread baking in the oven is enough to compel many people to get in the kitchen and bake. That aroma is even more welcoming when hosting friends and family overnight, as there’s nothing quite like waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread coming from the kitchen. Hosts who want to treat their guests to such aromatic mornings can try the following recipe for “Banana and Coconut Loaf” from Linda Collister’s “Quick Breads” (Ryland, Peters & Small).
Banana and Coconut Loaf
Makes 1 medium loaf
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
Grated peel of 1 unwaxed lime
2 extra-large eggs, beaten
3 medium bananas, very ripe (about 1 cup peeled)
3 tablespoons plain yogurt (not fat-free)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
A good pinch of sea salt
1 8 x 4 x 21/2-inch loaf pan, greased and base-lined with parchment paper
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Put the coconut in an ovenproof dish and toast in the heated oven for about 3 minutes until a light gold color. Let cool until needed.
Put the butter into a large bowl, add the sugar and the grated lime peel. Beat well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Gradually beat in the eggs.
Using a fork, mash the bananas fairly roughly so they keep a bit of texture. Add to the bowl together with the coconut. Halve the lime and squeeze out the juice, then add 1 tablespoon of the juice to the bowl with the yogurt. Mix in gently.
Set a strainer over the bowl and sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt onto the mixture. Mix in well, then scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Bake for about 1 hour until golden and a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Carefully remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack. Serve thickly sliced. Best eaten within 3 days. Can be frozen for up to 1 month.