International Holocaust Remembrance Day

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on January 27, 2015, is an international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust. Holocaust is the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of six million European Jews as well as millions of others by the Nazi regime. The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on November 1, 2005.

The Resolution establishing January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day urges every member nation of the U.N. to honor the memory of Holocaust victims, and encourages the development of educational programs about Holocaust history to help prevent future acts of genocide. It rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an event and condemns all manifestations of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief.

January 27 is the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau), was liberated by Soviet troops. This camp was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the German concentration camps.

The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. The SS command sent orders on January 17, 1945 calling for the execution of all prisoners remaining in the camp, but in the chaos of the Nazi retreat the order was never carried out. On January 17, 1945, Nazi personnel started to evacuate the facility. (With material from: Wikipedia.)

Despite this terrible blight on the human condition, there is hope.  Hope was found in the diary of a young girl:  Anne Frank.

Anne Frank quote

This teenager’s diary is one of the most celebrated pieces of literature.


GroundHog Cookies Recipe

Groundhog Cookies Recipe

This recipe can be found on the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club website. These cookies are recommended for homo sapiens and to be used as groundhog food.

Shape this treat to look like Phil with this cookie-cutter from his official souvenir shopImage


2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg yolk
1 egg, slightly beaten
Currants or raisins

Directions:   Sift together first seven ingredients. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Blend in molasses and yolk. Stir in flour mixture and mix well. Form into a ball.

Wrap in plastic wrap. Chill overnight, several nights or freeze.

Place small amounts of dough on a sheet of plastic wrap, and cover with plastic wrap. Roll 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies with lightly floured cutter.  For this occasion, you might want to use a groundhog-shaped cookie cutter.

Place cookies on greased baking sheet. Brush with slightly beaten egg. Decorate with currants or raisin eyes. Repeat until all dough is used.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven. Cool slightly before removing from cookie sheet.  Makes 72 or more medium-sized groundhogs.

Find another cookie recipe that is a Groundhog Day tradition.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15.

King was the chief spokesman for nonviolent activism in the civil rights movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law. According to Wikipedia, the campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his assassination in 1968. President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later. At first, some states resisted observing the holiday as such, giving it alternative names or combining it with other holidays. It was officially observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000.*

Lauren Simmons has compiled some interesting facts below.


10 Things You Didn’t Know about Martin Luther King Jr. 

  1. There are close to 1,000 streets in the world named after Martin Luther King Jr.
  2. The former Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., where King was assassinated, is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.
  3. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was not recognized as a paid national holiday by all 50 states until 2000. The last to sign on was South Carolina.
  4. In the speech known as “I Have a Dream,” those words were never in the original draft. They were ad libbed.
  5. King’s autopsy revealed that although he was only 39 years old, he had the heart of a 60-year-old man, perhaps a result of the stress of 13 years in the civil rights movement. He himself had verbally predicted he would not live past the age of 40.
  6. His father was born Michael King, and Martin Luther King Jr. was originally called Michael King Jr. After a family trip to Germany, his father, a pastor and missionary, changed both of their names to “Martin Luther” after the German Protestant reformer.
  7. He entered Moorehouse College at the age of 15 as part of an early admittance program that aimed to boost enrollment during the war.
  8. Martin Luther King Jr. was a big Trekkie. He was so into Star Trek that he managed to convince Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, to stay on the show beyond the first season.

    Nichelle Nicols as Lt. Uhura

    Nichelle Nicols as Lt. Uhura

  9. In 1964, at the age of 35, King won the Nobel Peace Prize. To this day he is still the youngest male to ever receive it.
  10. There are two places outside of the United States that celebrate MLK Day: Toronto, Canada, and Hiroshima, Japan.

Elvis Presley’s Birthday Celebration

“The King” would’ve been 80 years old if he were alive today, January 8, 2015.


According to Rolling Stone magazine,  a new website called will go live on Elvis’ Presley’s birthday.  It will feature a comprehensive online database of all things Elvis. Graceland will also livestream an 80th birthday celebration for the singer starting at 10:15 a.m. EST; Priscilla Presley is scheduled to appear at the event.

Lisa Marie plane for sale

Own a piece of Presley by purchasing this plane.

One can have a bit of Presley property.  You can now bid on Presley’s private planes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II. Julien’s Auctions will auction off the aircrafts, which have been parked outside Graceland for over 30 years, on February 2nd. While the planes are no longer suitable for flying, they preserve the original interiors from Presley’s time onboard.


“Groundhog Day” Movie Fans Celebrate in Woodstock, IL!

It’s Groundhog Days again in Woodstock, Illinois.   Events, many free, begin Thursday, January 29 until February 8, 2015.

Woodstock, Illinois was the town featured as Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in the 1993 film “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell, directed by Chicago native Harold Ramis.

Bill Murray

Bill Murray and Phil take a little drive.

Click HERE for more information and a video of Woodstock Willie’s Prognostication.

Fast Honey-Mustard Salad Dressing

Yield: 1 cup or approximately 8 servings

Fast Honey-Mustard Salad Dressing
Photo by Taste of Home©


  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil

Directions:  In a small bowl, combine honey and mustard. Add vinegar; whisk until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Facts:
2 tablespoons equals 150 calories, 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, trace protein.

Originally published as Honey-Mustard Salad Dressing in Taste of Home December/January 2001, p9