History Spotlight

The origins of Valentine’s Day

It’s not yet Valentine’s Day, but in every gift store, flower shop or Hallmark aisle you’ll see reminders. On Etsy, where handmade items are king, you’ll find heart motifs being featured everywhere (and in this post, too). Valentine’s Day is an international holiday when couples celebrate romance with candy, flowers, cards, candlelit dinners and other …

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Paradise is a wooden book

The past couple of weeks have been extraordinarily busy as the 2013-14 season of Destination Imagination begins, the organization for which I volunteer as a member of Iowa’s state Board. In concrete terms, that means I’ve been updating our Web site, writing blog posts, updating documents such as Frequently Asked Questions and Official Participation Costs, …

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Fir, feathers and the festive Federbaum

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum wie treu sind deine Blätter! Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit, Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit. O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum, wie treu sind deine Blätter! O Christmas Tree, O Christmas tree, How lovely are your branches! In beauty green will always grow Through summer sun and winter snow. O …

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A garland of silver, anyone?

“You’re getting up there,” read the card we received this month from my mother-in-law, who sent us a congratulatory card to honor our 30th wedding anniversary. Although my husband and I tend to celebrate special occasions in a fairly low-key manner—usually by dining out at a nice local restaurant—many other couples celebrate wedding anniversaries with …

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