Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Origins of April Fools Day

April Fools Day is tomorrow. Go ahead and have some fun! 

The uncertain origins of a foolish day by David Johnson and Shmuel Ross
April Fools' Day, sometimes called All Fools' Day, is one of the most light-hearted days of the year. Its origins are uncertain. Some see it as a celebration related to the turn of the seasons, while others believe it stems from the adoption of a new calendar.

New Year's Day Moves
Ancient cultures, including those of the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on or around April 1. It closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st.) In medieval times, much of Europe celebrated March 25, the Feast of Annunciation, as the beginning of the new year.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar (the Gregorian Calendar) to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar called for New Year's Day to be celebrated Jan. 1. That year, France adopted the reformed calendar and shifted New Year's day to Jan. 1. According to a popular explanation, many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1. Other people began to make fun of these traditionalists, sending them on "fool's errands" or trying to trick them into believing something false. Eventually, the practice spread throughout Europe.

Problems With This Explanation
There are at least two difficulties with this explanation. The first is that it doesn't fully account for the spread of April Fools' Day to other European countries. The Gregorian calendar was not adopted by England until 1752, for example, but April Fools' Day was already well established there by that point. The second is that we have no direct historical evidence for this explanation, only conjecture, and that conjecture appears to have been made more recently.

Constantine and Kugel
Another explanation of the origins of April Fools' Day was provided by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Roman emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire. Constantine, amused, allowed a jester named Kugel to be king for one day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day, and the custom became an annual event.
"In a way," explained Prof. Boskin, "it was a very serious day. In those times fools were really wise men. It was the role of jesters to put things in perspective with humor."
This explanation was brought to the public's attention in an Associated Press article printed by many newspapers in 1983. There was only one catch: Boskin made the whole thing up. It took a couple of weeks for the AP to realize that they'd been victims of an April Fools' joke themselves.

Spring Fever
It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there's something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, that lends itself to lighthearted celebrations.

Observances Around the World
April Fools' Day is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a "fool's errand," looking for things that don't exist; playing pranks; and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things.
The French call April 1 Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." French children sometimes tape a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Special Lexington Historical Society Event

Conservation Fundraiser
Thursday, March 31
6:00pm-8:00pm at Munroe Tavern (1332 Massachusetts Avenue)

This wine and cheese event will offer a look at some special objects with interesting stories in the Society’s collections—many of which are crying out for conservation.  Those interested in contributing to our conservation efforts will have the opportunity to purchase “shares” in different conservation projects and have the satisfaction of preserving these objects for posterity.

There will be a special lecture by Dr. Tricia Wilson Nguyen, owner of Thistle Threads and a prominent needlework expert, who will speak about the reproduction efforts surrounding the 17th century Plimoth Jacket.

Free and open to the public!

Reserve your place by calling 781-862-1703.


Annual Meeting
Tuesday, April 5
7:00pm at the Lexington Depot

Join us for a social hour and recognition of some of our dedicated volunteers.  Plans for the Society’s new Archives Center at Munroe Tavern will be unveiled.

Dick Kollen, Society historian, will speak about his brand-new biography of the Reverend Jonas Clarke, The Patriot Parson of Lexington, Massachusetts.  The book will be available for purchase and signing.

Free and open to the public!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Lexington Farmers Market

Did you know the market is open for the winter?

Winter Farmers’ Market!

In a delicious collaboration with Lexington Community Farm, 2016 brings you our first ever Winter LFM! 

Every other Saturday 10-2 pm

March 19th  at Lexington Community Farm, 52 Lowell St, Lexington

Applications for our 12th LFM CSA season are now available! Email to get an application.
We are seeking vendors that will compliment our current farmers and vendors- especially mushrooms, cheese/dairy products, and other unique local items!

Our small yet mighty market will have up to ten of your favorite farmers and vendors! Here’s a sneak peak..
Copicut Farm
River Rock Farm
Still Life Farm/Stillmans
Uncommon Feasts
C & C Lobster and Fish from Hull, MA
Roasted Granola
Coastal Vineyards
the HerbFarmacy

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Latest Trends for Millennial Home Buyers

How essential to young families is having a playroom for the kids? Very. And some are giving up another long-held family feature to get them — the sprawling backyard.

“Buyers today — especially millennial buyers — want everyone to have a private space of their own to decompress under one roof, and the bonus room/playroom outweighs a large yard in their buying decision,” said Patty Blackwelder, a buyer’s agent with Twins Selling Real Estate in Northern Virginia. “The first item that seems to fall off the list is the large yard.”

It was a formal living room repurposed into a playroom that recently swayed clients of hers to purchase a home in Bristow, Va. Gone were the typical sitting chairs and end tables, replaced by shelving for toys, blackboard paint and a Dr. Seuss quote printed on a wall.

While the home has a yard, it’s small. No matter; since moving in, the buyers have been taking their children to a nearby playground anyway, Blackwelder said.

The biggest requirements for families with children, according to the National Association of Realtors, is what you’d expect: 62% of those with kids 18 and under say the quality of the neighborhood is important, while 50% are looking for a good school district and 49% want the home to be convenient to their jobs. Fewer said that lot size or proximity to parks and recreational facilities were a factor in choosing a home. The statistics come from the group’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report.

Yet once those top-level needs are met, families start to make more detail-level compromises when choosing their homes. And being able to visualize a place for the kids to corral their stuff and play has become a priority, according to Blackwelder and others.

In the San Francisco area, Ann Thompson, regional sales executive at Bank of America Home Loans, is seeing the same thing. Indoor play space was a top desire for buyers in 2015, she said.
“People are happy to have a patio for the kids to play on. The big yard thing — it’s not necessarily everyone’s grandest dream anymore,” Thompson said. That may be especially true in California, where water shortages — and restrictions on water usage — influence how much lawn people want. Many owners also don’t want to spend the time or the money required to keep up a large lawn, she said.

That isn’t to say that a large backyard doesn’t remain a priority for some buyers, in some locations. In Kansas City, for one, families don’t seem to be interested in downsizing lawns, said Sherri Hines, a real-estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Kansas City Homes.

“We are so used to space and land, we don’t have houses right on top of each other, we are very spread out geographically,” she said. “And I don’t see that diminishing.” Home prices are also generally more affordable there than in markets on the coasts, and home buyers may not need to compromise as much as in high-cost areas.

But in the Kansas City area, too, an indoor play area is a priority, she said, since parents want a separate space to keep the toys from flooding the kitchen and family areas, Hines said.
“The volume of toys we have is much higher [than in generations past],” she said.

New life for the dining room
Millennials, in particular, are good at repurposing home spaces so that they’re more useful to the way we live today, said Jill Waage, executive editor for the Better Homes and Gardens brand. The brand includes the print magazine from which it gets its name and also includes its website, social platforms, apps, broadcast programs and licensed products. For years now, formal spaces such as dining rooms have been out of favor with many home buyers.

“They are willing to look at the renaming and reuse of the home,” she said, changing rooms “into something that they get value out of every day and every week.”
Retailers are also suggesting the dual-use room as a trend. On the website for Land of Nod, a retailer of children’s furniture and products, there are tips on how to create a formal dining room and playroom in one.

“Just because at some point in time someone wrote ‘dining room’ over this square plot in your home, doesn’t mean that it can only forever and henceforth be used as a dining room,” it reads, adding that often this formal room is used only several days a year for gatherings. “We say you can have your dining room four days a year, but you can also have a playroom 361 days a year.”

Size of the yard may not matter
Families still want some sort of backyard, but it doesn’t have to be huge, Blackwelder said. Many times it’s enough to have room for outdoor living features, such as dining areas and fire pits. Gardens and edible landscaping are also popular, Waage said.
And for the kids, a small lawn — perhaps to place a swing set on — may do just fine, Blackwelder said.

Gone are the days — for many families — when the kids head out the backdoor and play in the yard unsupervised, Blackwelder said. They probably wouldn’t want to, anyway, often preferring to play at a park (with parental supervision) or, in the case of her own family, out near the cul-de-sac in front of the house, where other neighborhood kids would gather and she could watch her kids from the front steps.
Home buyers typically consider their budgets, wishes, wants and needs, then make compromises to settle on their best home choice for their family, she said.

“What’s interesting is, given the choice of a large backyard or space inside for everyone, they will take the smaller backyard and space for everyone. Even if the house is on a main road, they will take that, as long as a playground is nearby,” Blackwelder said.

Article Courtesy of

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

How to Sell Your Lexington Home with Kids!

Home-Selling Tips for Lexington Homeowners with Kids
Are you ready to sell your Lexington home? As your Lexington real estate agent, allow me to tell you that now is the time! According to a recent report, the average number of homes sold each day is 14,986. Yours could be one of them! Now is especially a great time to sell if you want to move up, because mortgage rates are still sitting near record lows.

However, if you have kids, the thought of staging and selling your Lexington home might bring on a laughing fit at best, or an anxiety attack at worst. With young kids especially, it makes it a little more difficult to keep your home clean and decluttered, and to leave at a moment’s notice for a showing.

To help you plan and prepare for the home-selling process with kids, here are a few tips recommends:

1.  Reward the kids for their help cleaning up. For younger kids, you could create a daily cleaning chart. Each day that their room is clean and organized, or each day they pick up their toys, give them a sticker. When the chart is full, allow them to choose a small reward or treat. With older kids, you could offer more allowance or special privileges. Give them reason to keep their room clean!

2.  Let the kids help you pack. Make them feel involved in the home-selling process by letting them choose their favorite toys that they want to keep playing with until the move. Explain that the other toys will be packed away until after the move. Pack toys and belongings together, and afterward, let the young kids decorate the moving boxes with a box of crayons.

3.  Plan field trips in advance. When a showing takes place, you and the kids should plan to leave the house. To make this easier, plan ahead by asking the kids where they want to go. Plan trips to museums, parks, the zoo, or whatever else you can think of. Look up times and prices ahead of time. Have water bottles, juice boxes and nonperishable snacks ready, so you can just grab and go.

4.  Talk to your kids about moving. Whether this is your kids’ first move or not, it might be hard for them to understand. Sit down and talk to them about why you’re moving, and where you’re relocating to. Talk about all of your best memories in your current Lexington home, and come up with reasons to be excited for your new Lexington home. Research the new area, so you know what attractions will excite them.

Hopefully these tips will make selling your Lexington home a bit easier for you and your family! When ready to begin the home-selling process with a professional Lexington real estate agent, supporting you every step of the way, contact me! I am here and ready to help as soon as you are ready.

Theresa D'Antuono

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quick Trip to the State House

Lexington Massachusetts State House Tour

Tuesday, March 8
9:30am Departure from the Lexington Depot

Join us for a special guided tour of the State House with Representative Jay Kaufman, including one or two exclusive surprises!

$25/Members, $30/Non-Members

Purchase tickets by calling 781-862-1703, or register online here:

This event is sponsored by the Lexington Historical Society.