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JULY IS…

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History of the Fourth of July

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On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, also known as Independence Day, Americans celebrate this historic event.
Conflict between the colonies and England was already a year old when the colonies convened a Continental Congress in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. In a June 7 session in the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented a resolution with the famous words: “Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

Lee’s words were the impetus for the drafting of a formal Declaration of Independence, although the resolution was not followed up on immediately. On June 11, consideration of the resolution was postponed by a vote of seven colonies to five, with New York abstaining. However, a Committee of Five was appointed to draft a statement presenting to the world the colonies’ case for independence. Members of the Committee included John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. The task of drafting the actual document fell on Jefferson.
On July 1, 1776, the Continental Congress reconvened, and on the following day, the Lee Resolution for independence was adopted by 12 of the 13 colonies, New York not voting. Discussions of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence resulted in some minor changes, but the spirit of the document was unchanged. The process of revision continued through all of July 3 and into the late afternoon of July 4, when the Declaration was officially adopted. Of the 13 colonies, nine voted in favor of the Declaration, two — Pennsylvania and South Carolina — voted No, Delaware was undecided and New York abstained. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence. It is said that John Hancock’s signed his name “with a great flourish” so England’s “King George can read that without spectacles!”
Today, the original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and July 4 has been designated a national holiday to commemorate the day the United States laid down its claim to be a free and independent nation.

Declaration of Independence 
To many in the Continental Congress, war was unthinkable.

So why did they finally create this revolutionary document?

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Bet You Didn’t Know: Independence Day

Did you know New York City has the biggest fireworks display in the United States…

and that three U.S. presidents died on July 4?

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Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.

THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
When the initial battles in the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical. By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments such as those expressed in Thomas Paine’s bestselling pamphlet “Common Sense,” published in early 1776. On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence. Amid heated debate, Congress postponed the vote on Lee’s resolution, but appointed a five-man committee–including Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and Robert R. Livingston of New York–to draft a formal statement justifying the break with Great Britain.

Did You Know?
John Adams believed that July 2nd was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence, and would reportedly turn down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826–the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” On July 4th, the Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

EARLY FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS
In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty. Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption. Philadelphia held the first annual commemoration of independence on July 4, 1777, while Congress was still occupied with the ongoing war. George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778, and in 1781, several months before the key American victory at Yorktown, Massachusetts became the first state to make July 4th an official state holiday.

After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity. By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties–Federalists and Democratic-Republicans–that had arisen began holding separate Independence Day celebrations in many large cities.

JULY 4TH BECOMES A NATIONAL HOLIDAY
The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more widespread after the War of 1812, in which the United States again faced Great Britain. In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to all federal employees. Over the years, the political importance of the holiday would decline, but Independence Day remained an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism.

Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has since the late 19th century become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 10.52.12 PM

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HAVE A HAPPY 4TH!…

and don’t forget to visit our What’s For Dinner page

for OUR FAVORITE JULY 4TH RECIPES!

NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY

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National Ice Cream Day is celebrated each year on the 3rd Sunday in July and is a part of National Ice Cream Month. This day is a fun celebration enjoyed with a bowl, cup or cone filled with your favorite flavor of ice cream.

Thousands of years ago, people in the Persian Empire would put snow in a bowl, pour grape-juice concentrate over it and ate it as a treat. They did this when the weather was hot and used the snow saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as “yakhchal”, or taken from the snowfall that still remained at the stop of mountains by the summer capital.

It is believed that ice cream was first introduced into the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Their ice cream was sold at shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.

Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were known to have been regular eaters of ice cream.
First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the Inaugural Ball in 1813.
1832 – African American confectioner, Augustus Jackson created multiple ice cream recipes as well as a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.
1843 – Philadelphian, Nancy Johnson, was issued the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer.
It is said that today there are over 1,000 ice cream flavors.
Enjoy National Ice Cream Day with your family and friends!

NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY HISTORY

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed July as National Ice Cream Month and established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month of July.

 

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“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream”! The familiar childhood rhyme still rings true (for children and adults). Especially when the weather gets warmer. And by the way, here’s a little trivia tidbit for your next ice cream social: the rhyme is actually part of a 1920s song by American jazz band Waring’s Pennsylvanians. It involves eskimos, spumoni and all sorts of awesomeness. So with ice cream on our minds, and imaginary jazz eskimos singing in our ears, we rounded up 20 crave-worthy ice cream shake recipes. Even better, you probably won’t need to make a shopping list. Odds are most of the ingredients are already in your kitchen. And of course, you should make them while singing the ice cream song.

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THESE GREAT RECIPES BROUGHT TO YOU BY…

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About NRPA

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation. Our work draws national focus to the far-reaching impact of successes generated at the local level. Leveraging their role in conservation, health and wellness, and social equity to improve their communities NRPA’s members of park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates are 50,000 strong and represent public spaces in urban communities, rural settings and everything in between.

NRPA brings strength to our message by partnering with like-minded organizations including those in the federal government, nonprofits, and commercial enterprises. Funded through dues, grants, registrations, and charitable contributions, NRPA produces research, education and policy initiatives for our members that ultimately enrich the communities they serve. NRPA is a strong supporter of state side Land and Water Conservation Fund. (LWCF) and introduced legislation to fund urban parks.

Our Mission

To advance parks, recreation and environmental conservation efforts that enhance the quality of life for all people.

Our Vision

Everyone will have easy access to park and recreation opportunities in sustainable communities.

Our Beginnings

NRPA’s heritage and philosophy are an outgrowth of pioneering work by its predecessors. The history of NRPA is a history of parks and scenic open spaces. It is the story of children and people of all ages seeking self-expression and fulfillment in an urbanized and industrial society. It is the story of visionary men and women who believed in the importance of recreation to the growth and development of the individual and the nation. It is the story of providing sustainable programs and environments for generations to come.

NRPA was formed on August 14, 1965, when five organizations, and in the National Recreation Association (NRA), American Institute of Park Executives (AIPE), American Recreation Society (ARS), the National Conference on State Parks (NCSP), and the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (an affiliate of AIPE) each involved in the support of park and recreation services in the public sector, merged to form a single entity.

 

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FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE

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