Pet Obesity Awareness Day

From the moment we open our eyes and turn on the television for our morning news till we close our cell phones and get ready for bed we are bombarded with how healthy we should be or how fit we should look.  Ads and social media tell us what to eat, what to wear, and how to look.  Most of this happens to us on a subconscious level and we react accordingly.  Hence, we are at the gym, thinking about going to the gym, joining gym or considering outside exercising in some way. But, what about our pets? Would you believe that in 2018, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese?

It’s extremely hard to deny our pets treats when they look lovingly into our eyes. Whether cat, dog or cockatoo, our sweet fur friends have a way of tugging on our heart strings, getting us to dish more!  However, our pets cannot regulate their own weight. So, they rely on us to do just that for them. And, believe it or not, animals suffer greatly as a result of obesity.

Feeding our pet companions treats and scraps from the lunch or dinner table on a continual basis is usually doing more harm than good.  One of the complications of excess body weight is shortness of breath, accompanied by sleep apnoea. Back in the 1950s, this condition was known as “Pickwickian syndrome,” named after a portly gentleman in Charles Dicken’s first novel, “The Pickwick Papers.”  The disease, now known as obese hypoventilation syndrome, also affects our pets and can lead to serious breathing problems.

When pets are overweight, fat often is deposited around the rib cage, restricting the movement of the chest wall during respiration. It’s like wearing a corset 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. Not only is it hard to take a deep breath, but it also makes sleep or moving around uncomfortable. Over time, this decreased ability to breathe leads to low blood-oxygen levels, which puts a strain on the heart, and ultimately can lead to heart failure.

So, what can you do to raise awareness?  On this day you can encourage people to take their pets to the local park or dog park.  Larger animals like dogs thrive from a regular exercise regime. The daily walk is not only good for dogs its good for you, too.  Cats and other animals and birds have their weight regulated via diet although some people have managed to get their cats walking off the pounds.  Be aware how much you are feeding scraps to your animals and perhaps restrict this habit until your pet has reached their target weight.

Many animal lovers get together on this day every year to celebrate Pet Obesity Awareness day.  Veterinarians often lead organized events where owners are encouraged to bring their dogs and cats along to receive complimentary health examination and screening.  Owners can then receive advice, tips and nutrition plans from professionals in the field to help them reduce the weight of the dog or cat and stop the problem escalating further tailored to their pets’ requirements.

National Good Neighbor Day

Today, each day is filled with the many tasks we do.  We are all extremely busy, many of us rushing around with barely a chance to glance to the side or to have a meaningful conversation with people we see beyond a simple “hello.”  We typically live in communities, be it either houses in the suburbs or compacted living conditions in cities, surrounded by people.  And, even with all these people around us, but many of us can feel alone and isolated.

We are so busy we hardly have time for the social niceties of by-gone eras.  There was a time when people knew their neighbors and often socialized together, not just waving hello in the driveway. Today, many people do not even know their neighbors’ names, let alone anything else about them.  Getting to know people, especially neighbors, builds deeper and richer communities. Strong communities tend to thrive and prosper.

Good Neighbor Day is celebrated on 28th of September. This unofficial holiday is a day to get to know our neighbors and to celebrate our communities.  Here, at Bliss Products, we service a lot of community-based projects, whether it be putting up a community playground for children or building shade and tables for community gatherings. We see the power that great communal spaces can provide, either for meeting places or recreational areas.

Bliss Products has installed so many different types of outdoor products, truly ‘Everything Under the Sun’ that we have had the great blessing of witnessing firsthand how the right kind of gathering space can transform a social dynamic. People begin to interact with each other more, be it at a cookout or around the playground as kids play. Add a rain protected, shaded area, and suddenly people are playing chess on a picnic table.

Good Neighbor Day was created by Becky Mattson of Arizona in the 1970s to encourage neighbors to be good to each other.  In 1978, then American President, Jimmy Carter, issued a proclamation that designated September 24 of that year as National Good Neighbor Day. In 2004, the United States Senate passed a resolution to celebrate September 26 of that year as National Good Neighbor Day. Prior to 2003, the holiday was celebrated on the fourth Sunday in September. This year, it is unofficially celebrated in the U.S. and around the world today, September 28.

Need ideas on how to celebrate? Simple. Be nice to your neighbor – at home or elsewhere. If you don’t know your neighbors well, maybe today is your chance to go up to them and strike up a conversation. Maybe take some baked goods next door. Invite your neighbors over for dinner or even a cookout. Challenge your neighbor to a tennis match. Or, have a block party at neighborhood gathering spaces.

A great gathering place is often created by Bliss Products shelter and shade structures - https://blissproducts.com/products/shelters-shade-structures/ , you often see us installing shelter around Sports courts, like basketball and tennis. See a sample of our sports related  products here: https://store.blissproducts.com/Sports-Courts-Acc_c_120.html. We help furnish these gathering spaces with site amenities, which can be found here: https://store.blissproducts.com/Site-Amenities_c_19.html and of course remember you can find ‘Everything under the sun’ at https://blissproducts.com so take a look for other outdoor related equipment.

National Cleanup Day

Did You Know...Almost 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans each year?

National CleanUp Day was created by hiking enthusiasts Steve Jewett and Bill Willoughby in partnership with Clean Trails, a nonprofit that works to keep the outdoors clean.

The unofficial holiday raises awareness about cleanliness and reducing litter in the areas we all enjoy. It is all about Cleaning the Outdoors. So if you enjoy going to the local playground, park, beach or local wooded area this is a good way for you to give a little back to our environment that provides a location for amazing adventures and experiences.

The outdoors can bring a lot of joy and peace to those who enjoy hiking, walking, and climbing. Unfortunately, littering and trash can ruin the experience. Not only for you, but it can also negatively affect the flora and fauna. National CleanUp Day is an attempt to bring together those who love the outdoors and nature to help clean up trails, parks, beaches, and other natural communal spaces.

This day encourages people to make an effort to reduce littering and to recycle so that the nature around us remains clean and free of garbage. It is a great way to get kids to care about the world they live in especially natural and communal places where we gather.

The Outdoors--be it a playground or a place to walk or hike--provides a higher quality of life for those who go there. The core philosophy of National CleanUp Day is that our quality of life can be widely impacted by the nature around us! Garbage- and litter-filled natural spaces can negatively impact an individual's sense of well-being as well as the environment. So, we get together with friends, family, and co-workers to organize a cleaning trip to the closest park, hiking trail, or beach and make a difference!

On this day, raise awareness against littering and throwing garbage in communal spaces through social media and word of mouth, or you might join or organise a local clean-up crew and help clean up your outdoors or communal spaces.

Let's pick up the litter and make the outdoors and shared spaces we all enjoy, that much better for all.

International Talk Like a Pirate Day

Have you ever watched ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and wondered, “What would it have been like to be a pirate back in those old days?”  Well, today is your chance to get in touch with your Inner Pirate. Today is ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day!’ And, we thought it would be a good day to celebrate, in tribute to our pirate-themed playground, CP Swagger Shipyard!

This parodic holiday was created in 1995 by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy), of Albany, Oregon. They proclaimed September 19 each year as the day when everyone in the world should talk like a pirate.  An observer of this holiday would greet friends not with "Hello, everyone!" but with "Ahoy, Maties!" or "Ahoy, me hearties!"

According to Summers, this day is the only known holiday to come about as a result of a sports injury. During a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of "Aaarrrgh!", and the idea was born. In all seriousness, that game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of the Normandy landings, they chose Summers' ex-wife's birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember. Go figure!

The holiday gained exposure when Baur and Summers sent a letter about their invented holiday to the American syndicated humour columnist Dave Barry in 2002.  Barry loved the idea and promoted the day.  He also appeared in a cameo in their "Drunken Sailor" Sing Along A-Go-Go video. Then, growing media coverage of the holiday ensured that this event would thereafter be celebrated internationally. In fact, in keeping with true American capitalism, Baur and Summers now sell books and T-shirts related to the theme on their website.

So how can you celebrate this esteemed day, other than talking like a pirate (of course!)

This is the easy part! Everybody knows about sword buckling pirates along with their peg legs, parrots, and treasure chests and parchment maps.  Grab yourself an eye patch, bandana, baggy shirt and a little toy parrot or monkey. Make sure you use awful grammar and a funny old-world accent. You might even consider having a pirate-themed party!  You could have edible gold coins and balloon sword fights! And, don’t forget to get out Treasure Island or Pirates of the Caribbean and project them onto big screens OR play them on the family room television to set the ambiance.

Have a look at https://www.playandpark.com/stories/schools/douglas-road-elementary for a look at our pirate-themed playground equipment. Also, feel free to take a look at our catalogue and consider getting one of these amazing themed playgrounds for your park, subdivision neighbourhood,  church, etc. https://www.playandpark.com/products/structures/cp-swagger-shipyard. And, of course, check out  http://blissproducts.com/ for everything else under the sun!

Happiness Happens Day

Created in 1999 as "Admit You’re Happy Day," this unofficial holiday encourages people to be open about their happiness and share it with others. 

The holiday is based on the premise that happiness is unlimited and contagious. And, that sharing one's happiness can bring a lot of joy to other people's lives. 

Being happy can mean different things to different people. Happiness Happens Day encourages people to take stock of their lives, try to do things that make them happy, and to share this joy with others. Today you get to spread the happiness around!  

Ways to Celebrate? 

  • Play with your kids at the playground.
  • Focus on smiling at people you meet.
  • Think about things that make you happy.
  • Spread that happiness around.
  • Do something nice for yourself and share that happy feeling with others.

You might consider doing something simple like giving up your seat on the bus to someone else. Or, making a more elaborate gesture like volunteering your time and money to a charity of your choice. Studies have found that volunteering helps people bring joy to their lives and helps them live longer. Have a great Happiness Happens Day!

 

Watermelon Day

August 3 is an annual holiday that celebrates everyone's favorite summer fruit. Made of 92% water and full of Vitamins A, C, and antioxidants, watermelon is an ancient food that is believed to have originated in tropical Africa. In fact, historians have found evidence of watermelon cultivation as far back as 4000 years ago. Today, many varieties of the fruit are grown in warm climates all over the world.

Considered a superfood because of its high water content, watermelon is a good thirst quencher. In fact, in the Kalahari desert, where they are called tsamma, watermelons are one of the main sources of water during the dry, hot season. In the past, people crossed the desert only during a good tsamma season.

Prized by nutritionists and raw food enthusiasts, studies have shown that the antioxidants in watermelon (carotenoid and lycopene) can reduce the risk of some types of cancer. And, did you know that all parts of the fruit are edible? The flesh can be eaten as is, cooked or juiced. The rind (or the thick green outer covering of the fruit) can be stewed, fried or pickled.  In some parts of China, watermelon seeds are dried, roasted and enjoyed like nuts. Whatever way you choose to eat it, know you are not alone in enjoying this amazing fruit!

How to Celebrate this holiday? Celebrate by having watermelon for all your meals. Have a big glass of watermelon juice for breakfast; make a lovely watermelon, feta cheese, and mint salad for lunch; and for dinner, make watermelon salsa to go with your fish. And finally, make some refreshing watermelon sorbet to end the day on a high note.

Of course, have slices of the fruit as a snack all through the day. If you have a garden, why not spend some time exploring how to grow a watermelon plant in your backyard. If you plant it today, you won't have to make a grocery store run to get a watermelon for next year's Watermelon Day! You'll only need to take a walk in your garden!

So what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a watermelon and head out to your local park with family or friends and share a few slices to celebrate this delicious holiday.

Today Is National Ice Cream Day!

Did you know that some studies have shown people buy and consume more ice cream on a Sunday than any other day of the week? That makes it incredibly synchronistic that this year's National Ice Cream Day lands on Sunday! Why not take the kids out to get their favorite flavor ice cream cone and visit their favorite playground!

Officially proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, this holiday was supposed to only be celebrated on July 15 of that year. Of course, the ice cream industry seized the opportunity to continue the tradition every year thereafter. Now, not only is today declared to be National Ice Cream Day, July has been designated as National Ice Cream MONTH! This too has now become a tradition.

Traditionally made by freezing a mixture of cream or milk, sugar, and some kind of flavoring, ice cream is often eaten as a dessert after a meal or sometimes as a midday snack. Ice cream treats have a long and varied history, although not much is known about its true origins. Some historians have attributed ice cream to the Chinese, while others suggest that the Romans were involved, mixing snow with honey and fruits to create the first ice cream prototype. 

Either way, the early types of ice cream were nothing like the ice cream we are familiar with today. They were only for the Royals back then. And, in olden days, before refrigeration, ice cream was a food reserved for the royals and the rich only, eaten on special occasions. Refrigeration technology quickly made ice cream a commonly enjoyed dessert around the world. Today, people make ice cream rather easily at home through the use of portable ice cream makers. 

So, how is National Ice Cream Day celebrated? 

  1. Many ice cream parlors and stores offer discounts on their ice cream on this holiday. Why not get a discounted ice cream cone? 

  2. You can have ice cream for all your meals and considered it as a nutritional food group for this day.

  3. Why not make your own ice cream and serve it to family and friends.

  4. Use this day to get creative with your flavorings. What about adding mint to your strawberry ice cream? Or bacon bits to caramel flavored ice cream?

  5. How about using cookies and making some ice cream sandwiches or make an ice cream cake? 

In summary, even if you don't live in the United States, that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating this awesome holiday. After all, ice cream is a delicious treat in every culture.

 

 

Today Is Teddy Bear’s Picnic Day…Have You Visited the Playground Lately?

Did you know that today is Teddy Bear Picnic Day?

The first Teddy bears, invented in 1903, may not have been as cute as the one's made today, but interestingly enough were invented by two different people at around the same time. One person lived in the U.S. and the other in Germany. Obviously, with the lack of communication as we have today, they were not even aware of each other. 

Named after President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was Teddy, teddy bears became so popular that many toymakers started to make them. By 1906, they were so popular and there were so many different kinds of bears, even grown women used to carry around bears like little children. The president even used one as a mascot! 

Celebrated mainly in the United States, Canada, Australia, and in some parts of Europe, the origins of this unofficial holiday are unknown. However, the holiday appears to owe its name to a song of the same name by American composer, John Walter Bratton, and Irish lyricist, Jimmy Kennedy. 

It is also unclear what the holiday aimed to achieve. It could be that the anonymous creators of this holiday wanted parents to encourage creativity by taking their children out with their bears for a picnic in the outdoors. Maybe toy manufacturers created the holiday to encourage teddy bear purchases. Who knows?

What we do know is that today is the perfect opportunity to get out to the park with your children and their favorite stuffed bear to have a picnic! 

How to Celebrate? 

Why not arrange an outing with friends and family, and to enjoy the summer sun, fun and games, and creativity with your children and their favorite toys? Take the kids outside to your local park for a picnic, along with their stuffed bears. If the picnic must be at home, what about setting a pillow tent in the middle of your living room and treat your kids’ teddy bears to a picnic? 

Click for our selection of Park Picnic Tables

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Inclusive Playgrounds Benefit All Children

Playground design has changed over the years. In the 1980s and 1990s, playgrounds consisted of multi-level platforms with slides, jungle gyms and monkey bars, as well as swings – bucket swings for babies and standard swings for older kids. Although enjoyed by the majority of children who played on them, this playground design restricted who could utilize it and the experiences gained from playing on it. (Curbed)

 

As playground designs became more adventurous with climbing walls, splash pads, etc., kids were given opportunities to expand their play and become more engaged. However, these new innovative designs, although exciting to look at and discover, were not built for children with disabilities. Separate playground areas were built to meet their needs. Compliant? Yes. Inclusive? No.

 

The 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA) was revised by the Department of Justice in 2010. The revision, known as the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design (“2010 Standards”), set minimum requirements for “newly designed and constructed or altered State and locacl government facilities, public accommodations, and commercial facilities to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.” (Americans with Disabilities Act) By spring of 2012, compliance with the 2010 Standards was required for new construction and alterations. This meant that playground designs had to be accessible to all children. Ramps, barrier-free travel routes, accessible play options, and an appropriate surface beneath the play structures were now mandated. These requirements allowed kids with disabilities to play right alongside their peers. Compliant? Yes. Inclusive? Yes!

 

Companies such as Bliss Products, provide inclusive products that meet ADA guidelines for wheelchair access and special needs play. These products include wheelchair accessible site amenities and playground units, rubber or engineered wood mulch fall surfacing, as well as border access ramps for easy transitions into play areas. (Bliss Products) And not only do Bliss Products offer accessibility for children with disabilities, they also create opportunities for non-disabled kids to become acquainted with their disabled peers, thus becoming “open-minded, empathetic, and cooperative adults.” (HuffPost) Providing environments where children with disabilities can be given opportunities to experience fair and equitable play is what an inclusive playground is all about.

Positive Impact of Parks on Communities

In the technology-centric world we live in, the latest smartphone, tablet, and gaming system are ever present in the lives of adults and children, alike. And no matter how advanced these devices become, they will be outdated as soon as they hit stores. Parks, on the other hand, are timeless, and they are more than just playgrounds. Today, parks include fitness equipment and running/walking trails, along with open spaces for athletic activities, picnics, community events, and even concerts. Playground equipment is inclusive, providing social opportunities for children to interact with others who may have different social, developmental skills, and ability levels.


Parks continue to be a crucial part of any community. They offer both children and adults a place to socialize and make new friends, hold picnics and community events, and participate in recreational activities. Parks boost the social ties within communities. And a growing sense of pride in a community leads to a decrease in criminal activity, especially amongst youth. Having a safe place to interact with peers and participate in athletic activities provides youth a positive environment. (Gardiner Green Ribbon)

Parks are good for the environment as well. They aid in decreasing air pollution, and control water runoff. Green spaces boost community pride and attract residents who want to enjoy nature, which is beneficial to health and well-being. Parks attract businesses and residents, and increase property values, thus having a positive effect on the economy. (Perfect Mind)

While parks can play a valuable role in the community, the equipment placed within the park can be just as important.  Companies such as Bliss Products and Services know the importance of playgrounds in communities and parks. For over 30 years, they have been the leading supplier of commercial playground equipment across the southeast, maintaining a strong reputation within the Commercial Outdoor Playground Equipment industry by providing a wide variety of products to meet the needs of city and community parks, schools, churches, and daycare centers. Play equipment from early childhood to age 12, dog park products, nature play schemes, and green solutions, as well as inclusive and special needs play are just a few of the products they offer.

Bliss Products strives to provide the best customer service before, during, and after the purchase process. Sales representatives provide on-site consulting on playground options to best meet the needs of clients, and they work exclusively with factory-trained installers for a thorough and complete project. They offer 2D and 3D renderings to show how play pieces and playgrounds will fit into designated areas within a park. (Bliss Products and Services)

As cities continue to grow, it’s crucial that the importance of parks in urban development be remembered. From community pride to the economy to environmental impact, everyone benefits from neighborhood parks and playgrounds. And companies like Bliss Products are working hard to bring communities the best quality equipment to meet their needs.