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The Wonderful World of Rudolpha: Nutmeg’s rebellion



It’s story time at the North Pole Animal Day Care. The teacher, Rudolpha the reindeer, is about to read a book called Nutmeg’s Rebellion to the class.

“Who likes candy?” she asks.

“Me!” yell Mistral the penguin, Bianca the rabbit, Snowflake the polar bear, Storm the fox and Frost the snowy owl.

“Well, in that case, you’re going to love this story,” she says, as she opens the book.

“Once upon a time there was a place called Treat Town, a wonderful village where the houses were made of chocolate and the roads were made of nougat. There, each type of candy played an important role: the Licorice Nation guarded the town against the Evil Sweet Teeth, the Candy Cane Clan cared for the children, the Caramel Society kept dust and dirt off the roads and floors and the Gingerbread People were in charge of the town’s maintenance and upkeep.

“The Evil Sweet Teeth were a constant threat, but the village was a happy one, nonetheless. However, one Gingerbread woman named Nutmeg was unhappy with her job. All day, she repaired roofs, oiled machines and swept chimneys. But she often found herself dreaming of working with the Licorice Nation, the valiant sentinels of the town.

“One day, Nutmeg had had enough. She gathered her courage and went to the town meeting to speak to Mayor Gummy Bear and the town council. During question time, she stood up and said:

“‘Mr. Mayor, for hundreds of years, the Gingerbread People have maintained our village. While this is important work, not all of us are happy. I’d like to change my job. I want to guard the citizens of Treat Town, alongside the Licorice Nation.’

“There were exclamations of shock and surprise. Mayor Gummy Bear asked his advisers for their opinions on the matter. To Nutmeg’s surprise, most of them agreed that people should be able to choose their jobs. In fact, many of them had wished to do something different as well.

“After consulting the public, the mayor made a change in the municipal bylaws. All citizens could now choose which job they wanted, all thanks to a Gingerbread woman with a rebellious streak.”

“Wow! I always thought that rebels were bad guys,” says Snowflake.

“It all depends on the situation,” explains Rudolpha. “Peaceful rebellions like Nutmeg’s can be very good for society. And now, it’s snack time. Who wants a gingerbread cookie?”

Written by Johannie Dufour and Sarah Beauregard
Translated by Cyan Caruso-Comas

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March 17th: St. Patrick’s prayer of the deer



While St. Patrick is one of the most well-known figures of modern folklore and festivals, ironically he is less known for his touching and beloved role in Irish faith and literature.

Among the writings attributed to him is the beautiful prayer The Deer’s Cry, also known as the Shield of St. Patrick, or the Breastplate of St. Patrick. This prayer was written as an invocation of protection to shield St. Patrick and his monks from enemies lying in wait in the Irish forests.

Having gathered his followers around him, St. Patrick was leading them past the hostile forces at Loegaire, Ireland, where the son of King Niall laid ambushes. Patrick’s enemies did not want him to bring the Christian faith to Tara.

In the morning before Patrick and the monks proceeded, they gathered and prayed a long and musical prayer of protection, including the words:

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven: Light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendor of Fire, speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea, stability of Earth, firmness of Rock…

I arise today, through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to secure me…

Christ to protect me today, against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.

With such a powerful prayer, tradition says Patrick’s enemies were completely fooled. In the forest, as they waited to attack the missionaries, his enemies saw only wild deer (St. Patrick and his monks) and one fawn (St. Benen), following along behind, carrying books. They let them pass.

Today this lovely prayer of the deer is used to light and bless the Easter fires, as St. Patrick did when he arrived at Tara. It is still used as a shield against devils, poison, envy, and sudden death.

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Great love letters endure



Love — mysterious, forbidden, secret, new love, and old — inspired some of the greatest letters ever written, notes so grand they are still treasured today.

Longest-lasting love letter – Arguably the greatest love letter has been read for literally thousands of years: The Song of Solomon, which appears in the Old Testament of the Bible. Written in 600 BC to one of his 700 wives, King Solomon writes: “…thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes … How much better is thy love than wine!”

Tormented love – A 17th-century Portuguese nun, Mariana of Alcoforado, wrote broken-hearted letters to her lover of two years: the scoundrel Noel Bouton, Marquis de Chamilly. Proving himself a cad, Bouton published the letters, thus creating a new word in French for love letter: Portugals. One of Mariana’s lamentations: “… all my pleasure is in repeating your name a thousand times a day. Some nuns, who know the deplorable state to which you have reduced me, speak to me of you. I leave this room you visited so often as little as I may, and spend all my time gazing on your portrait, which I love a thousand times more than my own life.”

Mystery love – Scholars still debate the identity of Ludwig van Beethoven’s lover who, in 1812, he famously calls his ‘immortal (or eternal) beloved.’ It was a love not to be: “Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us.”

Presidential love – President Richard Nixon’s love for his wife Pat was well known. In the early years of their relationship, he writes to Pat, referring to himself in the third person: “…when the wind blows and the rains fall and the sun shines through the clouds (as it is now) he still resolves … that nothing so fine ever happened to him or anyone else as falling in love with Thee — my dearest heart.”

Comedian love – From bad-boy comedian George Carlin to his wife Sally Wade:
“Sallyburger, If you took the number of sub-atomic particles in the universe and multiplied that number times itself that many times; and then added the total number of microseconds since the beginning of time, times itself; and then added 803 — you would still have only the tiniest fraction of a billion-billionth percent of the amount of love I have for you. Love, your candle partner, the romantic Mr. Carlin, your eternal flame.”

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Valentine’s Day trivia quiz



Test your knowledge with this fun Valentine’s Day quiz.

1. What Italian city receives thousands of cards addressed to Juliet every Valentine’s Day?

a. Rome
b. Verona
c. Venice
d. Florence

2. In Canada, you can find Love (the village) in what province?

a. British Columbia
b. Alberta
c. Saskatchewan
d. Ontario

2. According to the Greeting Card Association, approximately how many cards are exchanged on Valentine’s Day worldwide?

a. 250 million
b. 500 million
c. 750 million
d. 1 billion

3. What ancient pagan festival was once celebrated in Rome on February 14?

a. Lupercalia
b. Vestalia
c. Brumalia
d. Vulcanalia

4. According to historians, the first valentine love letter was written in 1415 by an imprisoned duke. What language was it written in?

a. English
b. French
c. Spanish
d. Latin

6. In the Middle Ages, what organ was associated with love?

a. The heart
b. The stomach
c. The liver
d. The kidneys

Answers: 1b, 2c, 3d, 4a, 5b, 6c

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Interesting Things to Know

On the 12th day of Christmas: Much less fun.



One of the most fun stories of the Christmas season is that of the Three Kings visiting the baby Jesus, bringing him gifts.

That gift-giving day is on the calendar as the 12th day after Christmas, Jan. 6, just about the time when most of us are packing away the gold, frankincense, and myrrh for the year.

Some people undecorate on January 1. If decorations have been up since before Thanksgiving, removing them right after New Year’s Day is recommended. The neighbors are probably tired of your lighted Santa, reindeer, and trees. The real Christmas tree and wreaths are getting pretty dry by that time.

Still, many people are sad to see their outdoor and indoor decorations go and wait until the unofficial undecorating day of January 6.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that undecorating day is prime time for falls. The CDC urges using steady step stools and ladders when taking down outdoor and indoor decorations. Take your time. Use the same amount of care as when putting them up.

Here are a few tips from professional decorators:

* Take photos of inside decorations and groupings you especially like so you will have a guide for next year. Box the groupings together.

* Discard broken pieces and donate redundant pieces to a charity. If you have ample storage space, save the giveaways until next October before donating.

* Clean decorations before storing them. Dust shiny tree ornaments. Clean white cotton objects, like white lambs, with a toothbrush and then coat with cornstarch. Toss artificial poinsettias in a bag with a half cup of salt to move the dust.

* Store decorations thematically or in their original boxes. For tree ornaments, it can be convenient to store according to color. Next year it will be easier to choose colors for the tree.

* Put artificial trees in their original boxes to protect them for future use and for convenient storage.

* Store outdoor decorations together in the garage, basement, or attic.

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6 clever tips for storing Christmas decorations



Are you tired of untangling Christmas lights and trying to salvage squashed ornaments when you decorate for the holidays? Here are six storage tips that can make things easier.

1. Insert strands of Christmas tree beads into separate plastic bottles

2. Wrap string lights around pieces of cardboard or empty wrapping paper rolls

3. Thread rolls of ribbon onto a paper towel holder

4. Place small Christmas tree ornaments in egg cartons

5. Bundle wrapping paper rolls in a garment bag

6. Hang wreaths on hangers in a closet

Once your decorations are organized, stow them in clear plastic bins so you can easily see what’s inside. Also, remember to label each container.

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Red velvet bites



This bite-sized version of red velvet cake will allow your guests to sample all the desserts at your next holiday spread. You can count on these to be a crowd-pleaser.

Start to finish: 3 hours (1 hour active)
Servings: 40 bites

• 3 cups sugar
• 3 cups flour
• 1/2 cup cornstarch
• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
• 4 large eggs
• 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
• 1-1/4 cups warm water
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon white vinegar
• 2 tablespoons red food dye
• 4.5 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
• 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
• 2 cups icing sugar
• 28 ounces white chocolate
• 1/4 cup red decorative sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 7 by 11-inch baking dish. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, use a whisk or hand beater to mix the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, warm water, vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, vinegar, and food dye. Blend until the mixture is uniform.
3. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool.
4. In a large bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter, and the rest of the vanilla. Slowly incorporate the icing sugar by blending at low speed until the mixture has a smooth, even texture. Set aside.
5. Once the cake has completely cooled, place it in a large bowl and use your hands to crumble it until it has the consistency of wet sand. Add about a 1/2 cup of the cream cheese icing to the cake at a time and mix well. The final texture should allow you to form balls that keep their shape.
6. With your hands, form 40 cake balls and squish them slightly to create a disc shape. Place the balls on a baking sheet, and put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
7. In the meantime, melt the white chocolate using a double boiler or water bath. Let the chocolate cool slightly while ensuring it remains a liquid. Using a fork, dip each cake ball into the chocolate, so they’re completely coated. Place the balls on a baking sheet and immediately sprinkle the decorative sugar. Put the balls in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden.

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King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

9:30 am Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 18 @ 9:30 am – 11:30 am
Forest Bathing Walk @ Sky Meadows State Park
Join Kim Strader, ANFT Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide, for a gentle walk (no more than a mile or two) where we will wander and sit. Through a series of invitations and prompts, we[...]
10:00 am 2nd United States Cavalry – Civi... @ Sky Meadows State Park
2nd United States Cavalry – Civi... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 18 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
2nd United States Cavalry - Civil War Encampment @ Sky Meadows State Park
Get up-close and personal with history. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a Civil War Encampment. Interact with the 2nd US Cavalry as they perform daily tasks of the Union soldiers. Activities[...]
all-day Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
Mad Science Kit @ Warren County Community Center
The Warren County Parks and Recreation Department Mad Science Kit contains experiments that focus on fun, interactivity, and entertainment. Participants ages 6-12 will be able to perform four (4) experiments, including Dyed Carnations, Lava Lamps,[...]
10:00 am Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Mah Jongg “Players Club” @ Warren County Community Center
Players will enjoy several hands of Mah Jongg against skilled opponents. This club meets on Tuesdays from April 6, 2021 through April 27, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Warren County Community[...]
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Apr 20 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
10:00 am Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 24 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Earth Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
On this Earth Day, celebrate safely by doing your part to restore our earth and joining the Great Global Cleanup. Stop by one of our tables at the Explorer Outpost, Picnic Area, or Lost Mountain[...]
12:00 pm Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Empty Bowl Supper “To Go” @ Downtown Market
Come out to enjoy our favorite fundraiser to benefit the House of Hope, the Empty Bowl Supper “TO GO”! DATE: Saturday, April 24 from 12noon-3pm Ticket Link: LOCATION: Main Street & Downtown Market Check in near the[...]
12:00 pm SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Apr 24 @ 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
SHS Band Golf Tournament @ Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club
Join us for an afternoon of golf at Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club in Front Royal! 1 pm Shotgun, Registration from 12pm – 12:45pm. $85/Player $340/Team Help us celebrate Skyline High School Band’s success while[...]
12:30 pm Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Apr 24 @ 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Color Run Fundraiser @ Warren County Department of Social Services
Save Our Children Front Royal is hosting a Color Run/Walk to raise money for The Child Safe Center, located in Winchester, Virginia. The Child Safe Center is a local non-profit who supports sexually abused victims[...]
4:00 pm Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
Apr 25 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Paint with a Superhero @ Downtown Market
$30 per painter or 4 painters for $100. Bring the whole family and save! Join us for a special Paint with a Superhero event! Be sure to dress up as your favorite hero or villain[...]