Groundhog Day Crossword

Invite your students to learn more about Groundhog Day by matching the clue with the appropriate term in this fun crossword puzzle. Each of the key terms used have been provided in a word bank to make the activity accessible for younger students. 

Managing Difficult Conversations

Difficult conversations are an unfortunate yet inevitable part of life. The hardest part is working up the courage to embark on such a nerve-wracking discussion. Once you’ve managed that much, you need to make sure that you maintain a calm, open mind and speak in a manner that encourages the other person to open up while keeping hostility to a minimum.

Managing Difficult Conversations: A Guide for Project Managers

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10 things I wish I knew before buying an air fryer

  • My air fryer changed my cooking for the better, but there are some things I wish I knew before buying it. 
  • The air fryer is small, so you can’t cook for many people, and you can’t cook multiple foods at the same time.
  • I find that you will need a cookbook and olive oil to successfully use an air fryer. 

Throughout 2020, I heard many friends and people all over social media raving about their air fryers. When the holidays came around, I decided to finally find out what all the fuss was about. Instantly, I understood why so many people have fallen in love with the kitchen appliance. The air fryer became a game changer in my kitchen, allowing me to cook dinner in minutes and fry chicken, vegetables, and other foods without submerging them in unhealthy oil.

Even though the appliance changed my cooking lifestyle for the better, there were still a few things about the air fryer that surprised me and that I wish I knew before I made the purchase. 

There are many different types of air fryers, and the one you choose is important.

There are a ton of air fryers on the market, but they mostly boil down to two models: a convection-oven air fryer and a basket air fryer. The first one resembles a mini toaster or convection oven. On the other hand, the basket air fryer is the more traditional air fryer that uses a drawerlike compartment to cook food.

I was not expecting there to be so many options, so I had to do a lot of research to make sure I was making the right decision. In the end, I decided to buy the Cuisinart convection-oven air fryer for $100 because it has more capabilities, like broiling, toasting, and roasting.

Air fryers can take up a lot of counter space.

Though some are small enough to fit in a cabinet, the air fryer I bought could not easily be stored away. Measuring 11.75 inches by 12 inches, my air fryer needed plenty of counter space, to my surprise. When I unboxed the new appliance, I needed to find 2 feet of counter space in my small Brooklyn apartment. Eventually, I found a spot next to my microwave that has become what I call the appliance corner.

Everything cooks so fast — sometimes too fast.

When cooking in an air fryer, most foods take less than 15 minutes to fully cook, which is always a surprise for me. Typically, I’m used to waiting 20 or 30 minutes to bake chicken breasts in the oven. While the chicken breasts bake, I typically wash the kitchen and tidy up.

Sometimes, things cook so fast that I don’t even realize they’re done. One night, I cooked a meatloaf, and it was finished in under 15 minutes. I was expecting it would take closer to 20, so I left it in there too long. That night, I had burned meatloaf for dinner.

You have to flip most foods halfway through the cooking time for an even cook.

In my air fryer, it’s difficult to get an even cooking texture. Most times, the top of the food becomes crispy and delicious, while the bottom remains soggy. For example, when I made breaded chicken cutlets, one side of them was crunchy, while the other looked mushy. 

I learned quite quickly that I had to flip the food halfway through to get the underside crispy as well. It’s not something I was used to doing with a regular oven.

Some air fryers come with a basket and a tray, and it’s confusing when you should use which.

My air fryer came with a basket and a tray. Some recipes I’ve used told me to use the tray and others told me to use the basket. When I’m not using a recipe to cook dinner, I often struggle to decide which is best to use — something I never had to struggle with before I had an air fryer. I tend to lean toward the basket when I’m attempting to fry something and the tray when I’m roasting.

Following an air-fryer cookbook — especially in the beginning — is a lifesaver.

Since my air fryer looks so much like an oven, I’ve caught myself using it like one. Instead of following a recipe, there have been a few times where I’ve just thrown food in and set the temperature to 375 degrees. In these incidences, the meal never turns out great because it’s not a typical oven. It’s an air fryer that relies on temperature and timing controls that I’m not familiar with just yet.

When I follow an air-fryer-specific recipe that tells me what to put the temperature on and how long to cook it for, the food always turns out much better.

Many air fryers are best for one to two servings and can’t really be used for big dinners.

Though the air fryer was bigger than I expected, and I struggled to find counter space for it, the space where food is cooked is quite small. I can’t imagine you can cook for a large group of people with this appliance — at least not in the model I own. You’d have to cook in batches.

For instance, some recipes I’ve followed said I should put in only two strips of chicken breasts at a time to ensure even cooking and then do a second batch.

I’d recommend staying away from the air fryer if you’re cooking for more than two people.

Similarly, you can’t cook the meat and the vegetables at the same time.

I’m used to baking chicken and vegetables on one giant sheet in the oven. That’s not possible in an air fryer because of its size.

One night I was cooking chicken, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, and they all needed to go in the air fryer, according to their recipes. Instead of putting them all on one tray, as I would have with a traditional oven, I had to cook the chicken first, then the vegetables. By the time everything was finished cooking, the meat was cold. 

Olive oil is still necessary when cooking with an air fryer.

A common misconception is that air fryers completely eliminate the need for olive oil. The truth is that most recipes I’ve used still want me to drizzle olive oil on my food so that it will crisp up in the air fryer. But it is important to note that I’ve used significantly less olive oil with the air fryer than I would have if I traditionally fried my foods.

When the food is cooking, it’s difficult to check if it’s done.

Though my air fryer has a window, the space inside is so small that it’s difficult to see if something is cooked or not. With basket air fryers, there is no window, so it’s impossible to see how your food is doing. Instead, you have to rely solely on the timer.

Many times I’ve had to open the door, let out the precious heat, and pull out the tray just to see if something is cooked through.

By (Frank Olito)  for Insider©

Everything You Need to Know About Groundhog Day

Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Albrecht Powell

Every year on February 2, exactly halfway between the winter solstice and spring equinox, Americans eagerly await the emergence of Punxsutawney Phil, the Western Pennsylvania groundhog who predicts the conclusion of winter by seeing his own shadow. Whether or not you believe in the folklore, Groundhog Day is a cherished tradition with a long history and international renown, primarily due to the 1993 hit movie, “Groundhog Day.”

Although the holiday, as it is today, is a uniquely American tradition, the history stretches hundreds of years back before the first Europeans ever crossed the Atlantic.

Religious Beginnings

The roots of Groundhog Day go all the way back to a different celebration, the Christian feast day of Candlemas. On February 2, Christians traditionally bring candles to their local church to be blessed, which in turn bring light and warmth to the home for the remainder of winter.

At some point, a Candlemas folk song appeared in England that added the element of weather forecast to the holiday:

If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Come, Winter, have another flight;
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Go Winter, and come not again.

Due to the song, the connection between Candlemas and the beginning of spring spread across all of Europe, but still without any connection to an animal.

Introduction of the Groundhog

Germany created its own interpretation of Candlemas and incorporated small hibernating animals into the lore, such as hedgehogs. If a hedgehog emerged on February 2 and saw its own shadow, there would be six more weeks of cold weather. If it didn’t see its own shadow, then spring would come early.

As early German immigrants arrived in America and settled in what is now Pennsylvania, Candlemas is just one of the many customs they brought with them. Because hedgehogs are native to Europe and don’t exist in the wild in North America, the German settlers searched for another burrowing animal in the area to consult and found the groundhog.

First Groundhog Day

The first official Groundhog Day was celebrated on February 2, 1886, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, with a proclamation in The Punxsutawney Spirit by the newspaper’s editor, Clymer Freas: “Today is Groundhog Day and up to the time of going to press the beast has not seen its shadow.” Exactly one year later, townspeople made the first trip to Gobbler’s Knob, the hill where the famous groundhog emerges from, and thus began the modern tradition of Groundhog Day. The local paper proclaimed that Punxsutawney Phil, as he was affectionately named, was the one and only official weather prognosticating groundhog.

Phil’s fame began to spread and newspapers from around the world began to report his predictions. Growing legions of fans started making the trek to Punxsutawney every February 2, and with the release of the movie “Groundhog Day,” the crowds began to number in the tens of thousands. Phil’s yearly Groundhog Day predictions are even entered into the Congressional Record.

Groundhog Day Inspectors with Groundhog
Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

Punxsutawney Groundhog Day Celebration

Many major news networks show the festivities for viewers to watch live online or on TV from the comfort of your own home, which takes place at 7:25 a.m. Eastern time.

If you want to catch a glimpse of Phil’s prediction in person, arrive in Punxsutawney a few hours early or, ideally, at least the day before. Thousands of tourists descend on the small town each February, so lodging and parking are severely limited. Several shuttles provide transportation throughout the morning from the town center to Gobbler’s Knob.

If you decide to spend a few days in Punxsutawney, you’ll see that the celebrations are stretched out across the week. A city-wide festival in the days leading up to February 2 includes ice carving sculpture competitions, food tours, wine tasting, kids’ scavenger hunts, live music concerts, and more.

Punxsutawney Phil

The groundhog’s full name is actually “Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather-Prophet Extraordinary.” It was so proclaimed by the “Punxsutawney Groundhog Club” in 1887, the same year they declared Punxsutawney to be the weather capital of the world.

For most of the year, Phil lives in a climate-controlled home at the Punxsutawney Library. He is taken to Gobbler’s Knob and placed in a heated burrow underneath a simulated tree stump on stage before being pulled out at 7:25 a.m. on Groundhog Day, February 2, to make his prediction.

Phil is reputed by townspeople to be more than 100 years old, surviving far beyond a marmot’s normal life span.

Source: Groundhog Day: Origins, Facts, and Punxsutawney Phil (

26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side

by The House Beautiful Editors

a close up of a flower garden: Companion planting uses one species' advantages to help another. Check out these 13 power pairs!
© Willowpix – Getty Images

Seasoned gardeners know that a diverse mix of plants makes for a healthy and beautiful garden. Many believe that certain plant combinations have extraordinary (even mysterious) powers to help each other grow. Scientific study of the process, called companion planting, has confirmed that some combinations have real benefits unique to those pairings.

Companions help each other grow and use garden space efficiently. Tall plants, for example, provide shade for sun-sensitive shorter plants. Vines can cover the ground while tall stalks grow skywards, allowing two plants to occupy the same patch.

Some couplings also prevent pest problems. Plants can repel harmful organisms or lure the bad bugs away from more delicate species.

These combinations of plants do way better, together:

Roses and Garlic

Gardeners have been planting garlic with roses for eons since the bulbs can help to repel rose pests. Garlic chives are probably just as repellent, and their small purple or white flowers in late spring look great with rose flowers and foliage.

Marigolds and Melons

Certain marigold varieties control nematodes in the roots of melon without using chemical treatments.

Tomatoes and Cabbage

Tomatoes repel diamondback moth larvae, which can chew large holes in cabbage leaves.

Cucumbers and Nasturtiums

The nasturtium’s vining stems make them a great companion rambling among your growing cucumbers and squash plants, suggests Sally Jean Cunningham, master gardener and author of Great Garden Companions>>>P. Nasturtiums reputedly repel cucumber beetles, but they can also serve as a habitat for predatory insects like spiders and ground beetles.

Peppers and Pigweed

Leafminers preferred both pigweed (also called amaranthus) and ragweed to pepper plants in a study at the Coastal Plains Experiment Station in Tifton, Georgia. Just be careful to remove the flowers before the weeds set seed.

Cabbage and Dill

“Dill is a great companion for cabbage family plants, such as broccoli and brussels sprouts,” Cunningham says. The cabbages support the floppy dill, while the dill attracts the helpful wasps that control cabbage worms and other pests.

Corn and Beans

The beans attract beneficial insects that prey on corn pests such as leafhoppers, fall armyworms, and leaf beetles. The vines can also climb up the corn stalks.

Lettuce and Tall Flowers

Nicotiana (flowering tobacco) and cleome (spider flower) give lettuce the light shade it grows best in.

Radishes and Spinach

Planting radishes among your spinach will draw leafminers away from the healthy greens>>>P. The damage the leafminers do to radish leaves doesn’t prevent the radishes from growing nicely underground.

Potatoes and Sweet Alyssum

The sweet alyssum has tiny flowers that attract delicate beneficial insects>>>P, such as predatory wasps. Plant sweet alyssum alongside bushy crops like potatoes>>>P, or let it spread to form a living ground cover under arching plants like broccoli. Bonus: The alyssum’s sweet fragrance will scent your garden all summer longer.

Cauliflower and Dwarf Zinnias

The nectar from the dwarf zinnias lures ladybugs and other predators that help protect cauliflower>>>P.

Collards and Catnip

Studies have found that planting catnip alongside collards reduces flea-beetle damage on the collards. The fragrant plant may also help repel mosquitoes>>>P.

Strawberries and Love-In-A-Mist

Tall, blue-flowered love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)”looks wonderful planted in the center of a wide row of strawberries,” Cunningham says.

Source: 26 Plants You Should Always Grow Side-By-Side (

Six Houseplant Mistakes to Avoid This Winter

By Kelly Manning for Martha Stewart™

Winter’s harsh elements can be taxing on our plants—even those we keep indoors. To prevent damaging (or worse, killing) your houseplants this season, we outlined the most commonly made mistakes to avoid, complete with insight from a garden expert.

© Provided by Martha Stewart Living Getty / Geshas


No matter the time of year, overwatering your plants can cause significant damage, including root rot. This, however, becomes particularly problematic in the winter. “People are used to a regular watering cadence during the spring and summer, when plants are actively growing,” explains Joyce Mast, an expert with Bloomscape. “But in the winter, plants go into a more dormant state. They are not regularly producing new leaves, or flower buds, so they don’t require as much water.” Sticking your fingers in the soil in order to get a sense of the moisture level is a tried-and-true method for determining whether or not your varieties are thirsty. “You’re able to bring most plants back from underwatering, but once the roots start to rot from excess water, it’s very difficult to remedy,” notes Mast.

Persistent Dry Air

Between a loss of moisture in the environment and streams of warm air pumping from heating vents, a perpetual lack of humidity leaves plants dehydrated during the colder months. Increase indoor moisture levels by placing a water-filled pebble tray underneath a pot or group several plants around a tray of water. Alternatively, set up a humidifier in your space, which provides a constant flow of moisture into the air. For an added bonus, regularly spritz leaves with water, which, says Mast, is a “nice way to maintain a regular interaction with your plants” during the winter, when they require less care. However, this should not replace any of our suggested steps for increasing humidity, as mist from a spray bottle quickly evaporates.

Letting Your Plants Collect Dust

It’s not uncommon to notice an increase in your home’s dust level during the winter and, in turn, a build-up of grime on leaves. This is the result of a sealed indoor environment and heating vents, which blow around the accumulated particles. Clean these green parts with a damp paper towel or cloth regularly, as insects, such as spider mites, can easily hide in the dust.

Situating Plants Close to Heating Vents and Windows

Be careful not to place your plants in a direct, or indirect, line of warm air, which will quickly dry them out. Similarly, when they are situated too close to a fireplace, such as on the mantel, they can also become too dry too fast. Be cognizant of cold air drafts as well, which “can shock the plant and damage leaf tissue,” adds Mast.

Continuing to Use Fertilizer

Our houseplants enter into a state of dormancy during the winter, which means they don’t require fertilizer like they do in the spring or summer. Therefore, any extra nutrients will not be absorbed and instead “sit in the soil and damage the roots,” says Mast.

Overlooking a Change in Light Levels

Not all plants like direct sunlight. While you may have found the perfect spot to situate a pot during the spring and summer, it’s important to survey the lighting conditions now that trees are bare of leaves. If your variety is receiving too much sun, move it to a shadier spot in your home.

Source: Six Houseplant Mistakes to Avoid This Winter (

Eating This Popular Food Will Put You in the Worst Mood

Article by Clara Olshansky  for EatThisNotThat!

You probably know that what you eat can have a huge impact on your mood. Considering the fact that 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut, it’s no wonder that some gut-healthy foods can be real mood-boosters, while others can put a real damper on your day. Now, researchers have determined the number one food most likely to put you in a bad mood, and the Homer Simpsons of the world are going to be seriously disappointed.

© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

A study commissioned by the natural food brand Kallo and conducted by market research company OnePoll, asked 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom which foods or beverages have the most positive impact on their emotions, and which have the most negative. It turns out that the single worst food for your mood, according to the poll, is donuts.

Maybe it’s because we tend to eat them in the morning, with a whole day in front of us to experience the resulting sugar crash. Maybe it’s the combination of simple carbs and heavy oils, two well-known gut health disruptors. Either way, if you’re like most people, you’re generally going to want to skip the run to Dunkin’ if you want to feel your best.

Many of the other bad mood–causing foods on the list are somewhat predictable. The silver and bronze go to alcohol and soft drinks respectively, with energy drinks coming in fourth place. Most of the foods on the list beyond that are highly processed meals and snacks, full of simple carbs and saturated fats which can cause inflammation, sluggishness, indigestion, and other negative physical side effects.

When it comes to mood-improving foods and drinks, the study finds that coffee is the number one choice, with dark chocolate coming in second place, and grapes in third. For more foods that will help you live your best, happiest life, check out our 13 Mood-Boosting Snacks to Make Your Day Better.

Source: Eating This Popular Food Will Put You in the Worst Mood, Data Finds (

5 Tips to Keep a Mask From Fogging Up Your Glasses

By Chris Kissell for MoneyTalksNews

Wearing a mask in public is annoying enough — but an irritating side effect makes the practice even worse for those who wear eyeglasses or sunglasses.

© dissx /

As anyone who dons spectacles quickly realizes, wearing a mask can cause your lenses to fog. Every time you breathe, the warm air you exhale travels into the mask, then up and out, onto your lenses. Because the lenses are cooler, fog forms inside.

Fortunately, the following fixes can prevent this annoyance.

1. Soap and water

A 2011 study published in the journal Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England found that a little soap and water goes a long way toward eliminating unwanted fogging. According to the study authors:

“Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn.”

One caveat: Although dish soap typically is recommended for this technique, it’s important to choose a brand that does not use lotion, which can harm the lenses. Lukewarm water also is recommended, as hot water can damage lenses too.

2. Anti-fog spray

Sprays also are available to keep your lenses fog-free. You can find anti-fog sprays at Amazon.

Just note that these can irritate the eyes of some people, so they may not work for everyone.

3. Tuck a small tissue into the mask

Newsweek says tucking a small tissue inside the mask will absorb moisture that otherwise would find its way to the lenses.

The publication recommends placing a folded tissue at the top of your mask and taping it there.

4. Slide your glasses further down your nose

By sliding your spectacles a little lower down your nose, you can keep them out of the way of the moist air escaping out the top of the mask.

This is probably not an ideal long-term solution, but it works in a pinch.

5. Modify the mask to better fit your face

Finally, Glamour says a mask that fits your face more snugly is less likely to produce fogging. So, if the mask has a wire inside the top edge, pinch it tightly to your nose.

If your mask doesn’t have a wire, Glamour recommends a tutorial that can help you create a mask with a “flexible nose.”

Source: 5 Tips to Keep a Mask From Fogging Up Your Glasses (

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