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Archive for March, 2012

Egg-Citing Hunts in Union County

‘Tis the Season for Spring Festivities in Union County! Here are some great adventures for children this weekend:

  • New Providence Lions Club will hold its Easter Egg Hunt at Oakwood Park Easter on Saturday, March 31, at 9:30 am with the Easter Bunny arriving at 9:15 am. Balloons, lollipops, and viewing of EMS vehicles will start at 9:00. All age groups are invited but the egg hunt is limited to Pre-K to grade 2.
  • Garwood’s annual Easter Egg Hunt will be held on Saturday, March 31st, and 12 pm, with a rain date of Sunday, April 1st at 1:00 pm. The Hunt, along with prizes and a visit by the Easter Bunny, will be at the Garwood Little League Field at the East end of Myrtle Avenue. Garwood residents only.
  • Scotch Plains annual Egg Hunt is March 31st at 11 AM at Park Middle School. The first hunt will be for 0-2 year olds. Kids ages 3-8 will follow.  Baked goods will be for sale and children can get tattoos and their face painted, as well as guess the number of jelly beans and pick lollipops to win a prize. The Easter Bunny will be there, too. Please bring a non-perishable food item (no glass, please) to donate to the Scotch Plains Food Pantry.
The fun’s not over yet! Here are some Easter Egg Hunts especially for Union County kids next weekend:
  • Summit PAL is sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt with the Easter Bunny on April 7th at 10 AM at the Family Aquatic Center at 100 Ashwood Avenue. This event is open to all Summit residents.
  • Cranford Chamber of Commerce hosts breakfast with the Easter Bunny at the Garlic Rose, 28 North Avenue, on April 7th at 9AM. Cost is $10 for children and $15 for adults, and photos are an additional $3. Email for more info.
  • Fanwood’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt will be at Forest Road Park on April 7th at 10 AM. All children 10 and under are invited to help find over 1000 eggs filled with goodies and prize tickets hidden around the park. The Easter Bunny will be there along with contests to guess the number of jelly beans and chocolate eggs. Bring your own decorated egg and bunny drawing to enter the drawing contests.
  • Mountainside is hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at Oasis Church, 1180 Spruce Drive, On April 8th, right after Easter Sunday’s 10AM Church Service and Kids’ program with a Bible lesson and craft under the Big Top Tent. Live bunnies will be there, along with the Easter Bunny.
And, one more event for the weekend after that!File:Paashaas.gif
  • Clark will hold its sixth annual Easter Egg Hunt at the Clark Recreation Center at 430 Westfield Avenue on Saturday, April 16th from 12 to 2 pm. Bring a camera and take pictures with the Easter Bunny. Decorate your own basket, hunt for eggs filled with prizes, participate in a coloring contest, have snacks, enter the jelly bean contest, and enter the grand prize drawing. This event is open to Clark children up to and including 5th grade. Al children must be accompanied by an adult.


What to do in the Garden this week!

Every spring, my thoughts turn to the garden. This is the year my flowers beds will be immaculate and my vegetables will be abundant! Here’s what to do in NJ:

Perennials:File:Hosta sieboldiana Elegans2UME.jpg

  1. This week, I divided up all of my hostas. Hostas can be split right down the middle with a spade and then half can be removed and planted somewhere else. They’re so hardy, and fantastic in shady areas. Just keep the newly planted half well watered for at least the first few weeks.
  2. It’s also time to divide the tubers of irises. Before the stems get too big and leafy, dig in with the spade and bring up a few tubers. They start to get crowded after a few years, and this is the second time I’ve divided them since planting about a half dozen seven years ago.
  3. It’s rose pruning time. Before new growth gets a chance to sprout, take away leggy stems and shape the plant the way you want them. The cuttings can be rooted in soil – water frequently – some people even cover them with a clear glass jar to keep evaporation low if the weather is warm.


  1. Peas, lettuce, spinach, and potatoes can all be sown directly into the ground now.
  2. Tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers can be sown in pots indoors.
Cleanup and Miscellaneous
  1. Sharpen your tools.
  2. If you need to build raised beds or put borders around new beds, now’s a good time.
  3. It’s too soon to put down mulch because it will trap cold and moistness next to roots and seeds and kill them. But it’s not too soon to clean up leaves and debris that got left behind over the winter.
  4. If you haven’t started a compost pile yet, what are you waiting for? Take a $5 plastic storage bin, drill a few holes in it, and then place it in a corner of the yard. Add fruit and vegetable peels, as well as coffee grinds and loose tea (no meat or dairy products, please!) whenever you have them. By the summer you’ll have nutrient rich soil to place around plants.

This is my favorite time of year to plan the garden. What do you want to plant this year?

Crossing the Celestial Equator

Happy First Day of Spring! This beautiful hyacinth on the left appeared in my front yard a few days ago.

Astronomically speaking, today is the day that the Sun crosses the celestial equator (an imaginary line directly above the equator) heading north.

This diagram to the right

is the analemma. It traces the path of the Sun in its annual migration to the northern and southern hemispheres.  In other words, for the next 6 months, the Sun is in the northern hemisphere! Of course, any fifth grader can tell you that the cause of this is the tilt of the Earth on its axis as it orbits the Sun.

Some people believe that the equinox is a day when sun rise and sun set are exactly 12 hours apart – resulting in equal day and nights. That day – when sunset and sunrise are 12 hours apart – is called the equilux. The equilux is different for different locations on Earth.

The image below shows the illumination of the Earth by the Sun today.

Pi Makes the World Go ‘Round’

Happy Pi Day! Pi, of course, is the Greek letter Л, the symbol for the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter and is an infinite number beginning with the digits 3.14.

Today is 3/14, so we celebrate Pi Day! Larry Shaw created Pi Day in 1988 and it was approved by the US House of Representatives in 2009.

Princeton, NJ, hosts an annual celebration today to commemorate the birthday of one of its most famous citizens – Albert Einstein. Einstein lived in Princeton while working at the Institute for Advanced Study. Princeton hosts events such as pie eating, pi recitation contests, and an Einstein look alike contest.

The Exploratorium is also hosting Pi Day festivities. Check out the webcast at 1:00 today here.

Biannual Tasks You need to do this Weekend!

Don’t forget to change your batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors this weekend!

Other tasks you should schedule twice a year and isn’t this weekend a great time to do them:

  • Review and practice fire escape plans from your home.
  • Reprogram your thermostat.
  • Check your fire extinguisher in your kitchen – does it need to be inspected?

Largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the state! Today!!!

Come see Grand Marshal Bill Dugan, Chairman Michael J. Panella, and Adjutant Kerry Ricci in this year’s Union County St Patrick’s Day Parade!

Today marks the fifteeth year of this annual parade which was founded in 1995 by a group of Irish American and Fraternal Organizations in Union County and repres

ents the cooperative efforts of a parade committee, the Township of Union, the County of Union, and corporate sponsors and advertisers. It is now the largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New Jersey.

At 9AM this morning, a Mass will be held at St. Patrick’s Church in Elizabeth and a welcoming reception will follow.

At 12 Noon there will be reviewing stand festivities at Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues in Union and a Kids’ Zone at Stuyvesant Avenue.

At 1 PM the parade will begin. Marching units will proceed along Morris Avenue, turn at the Main Reviewing Stand and end at Roosevelt Avenue. This year’s parade is dedicated to all of those who have been touched by cancer.

Is Daylight Saving Time Bad For Us?


Here’s a graphic representation of the shift in time and daylight when daylight saving time begins at 3:00 AM on Sunday morning. Why do we have DST? 

The great part about Daylight Saving Time is that the evenings are longer – extra time to bike ride with the family or weed your garden. People who suffer with the winter blues (often called Seasonal Affective Disorder) can put away their blue lights. But that first few weeks create some health and safety concerns that may not get the attention they deserve.

Is DST bad for us? The first few days, and for some people weeks, into and out of DST disturbs people’s sleeping patterns and make them more restless at night. A 2011 study shows that there’s an increase in heart attacks during the first week of DST and a decrease in heart attacks during the first week after DST ends in the fall. A 2009 study showed that workers were injured on the job more often and more severely on the Monday after switching to DST than any other typical Monday.

Perhaps DST is good for us – In 1975, the US Department of Transportation estimated a 1.5 to 2% reduction in traffic fatalities during DST and in 1995, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimated a reduction of 1.2%, including a 5% reduction in fatalities of pedestrians.

In the 1970s, the US Law Enforcement Assistance Administration found a 10-13% reduction in violent crimes during DST.

Dentist’s Day – March 6th

March 6th is Dentist’s Day – is everyone smiling?Smiles on Stiles, Linden Office

One of our favorite dentists is Dr. Alice Brittain of Smiles On Stiles in Linden, NJ. A Pittsburgh native, Dr. Brittain began her dental career in the US Air Force, serving ten years on active duty, and then served part time in the NY Air National Guard until retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Since moving to Linden in 1992, Dr. Brittain has maintained a private family dental practice. She also possesses a Certificate in Electrology and is a Certified Professional Electrologist.

Do you take care of your teeth? Dr. Brittain says, “Do you take your car in for regular maintenance?  Will you have it for ten years?  Thirty?  Have you scheduled a dental check-up lately?”

Dr. Brittain can be found at 1202 N. Stiles St. in Linden and can be reached at 908-486-2673.

Celebrate Dentist’s Day by making an appointment for a checkup now!

Why are snow flakes different shapes?

How Big Is A Snowflake? Most snowflakes are less than one-half inch across. The largest snowflake recorded was fifteen inches in diameter. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the world’s largest snowflake appeared at Fort Keogh, Montana, on Jan. 28, 1887. The snowflake was about 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick.

How Many Snowflake Shapes Are There? All snowflakes have six sides and no two snowflakes are alike. Scientists think that there are five different shapes of snow crystals. 1. long needle shape 2. hollow column that is shaped like a six-sided prism 3. thin and flat six-sided plates 4. six-pointed stars 5. intricate dendrites

What Makes The Different Shapes? The shape that a snow crystal will take depends on the temperature at which it was formed.

  • When the temperature is around 32°F to 25°F thin six-sides plates are formed.
  • At 25°F to 21°F long needle shapes are formed.
  • At 21°F to 14°F hollow columns are formed.
  • At 14°F to 10°F six-point stars are formed.
  • At 10°F to 3°F dendrites are formed.
  • The colder it is outside, the smaller the snowflakes that fall.
  • The fluffiest snow falls at temperatures around 15°F.

What was the tallest snowman? It took 14 days for the residents of Bethel, Maine, to make the tallest snowman ever. Completed Feb. 17, 1999, the snowman, Angus, was about 114 feet tall, and had car tires for a mouth and trees for arms.

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