FYI Articles

Deck the Halls

Holly and ivy, pine and balsam, there are so many sweet smells of Christmas. You and your family can make your own beautiful wreaths to decorate your home or give to friends and neighbors.

Make Your Own Board Games

It's a long time 'til summer. Nights are cold and seem to last forever. T.V. can get boring. Video games, likewise. Fortunately, there's a cure for the winter blahs. Gather your family together for an hour or two of face-to-face gaming with a twist: you can make the games yourselves to match your family's interests.

Sailing Away

Have you ever wanted to sail away across the water? For people today, sailing is something that's done for fun, but not so long ago sailing ships were the only practical way to travel across the vast oceans. For sailors to rely on only wind power called for courage, intelligence, stamina, and strength.

Netbooks for Newbies

It has been fascinating to observe the rising adoption rates of netbooks. Think of netbooks as filling the technological niche between smartphones (such as the Blackberry and the iPhone) and full-sized laptops: they are compact, light-weight, and inexpensive computers for the price-conscious mobile user. Netbooks generally feature a diagonal screen size of 7–10 inches, wi-fi, a slower processor which consumes less power (resulting in often considerably longer battery life), a smallish hard drive, and no built-in optical drive (CD/DVD).

Hands-on Colonial Crafts

Chances are if you are studying colonial times, your teacher will assign a hands-on project. You could make a model of the Jamestown Fort or a copy of the Declaration of Independence-but why not try a craft that the colonists themselves would have done?

Every colonial family except for the very rich had to be able to make their own soap, candles, furniture, cloth, baskets, toys, and musical instruments. Below is one practical craft to try. Scroll down and check our lists of books and Web sites for more ideas.

Games for Everyone

Counter-culture revolutionary that I’m not, I am nonetheless always on the lookout for media that has been produced outside the mainstream. The catchall term for such media is “indie,” though such a mass grouping for what is actually a very diverse market is woefully oversimplified. But you get the idea:

Meant to Be Read Aloud

"In a poem, the secrets of the poem give it its tension and gift of emerging sense and form, so that it’s not always the flowering in the poem and the specific images that make it memorable, but the tensions and physicality, the rhythms, the underlying song.

The high spots of a poem could be said to correspond with the bloom in the garden. But you need the compositional entity in order to convey the weight and force of the poem’s motion, of its emerging meaning.

Boots & Saddles: Beginning in Horseback Riding

Brilliant autumn leaves, snow-covered pines, blossoms of a rainy spring, or dusty summer sunshine—the weather outside is always perfect for horseback riding.

Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day has a long history, reaching back to the end of the Civil War. On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered his army, and soldiers of the North and South went home to their families, their ranks thinned by the war's bloodshed. Thousands upon thousands of the men who went to battle never returned. At home, their families grieved for the fathers and brothers lost to them and looked for a way to memorialize their sacrifices.

Local Haunts

At times, a sense of things past seems to envelop tourists and residents who stroll quietly along Fredericksburg streets at twilight or drive through a countryside still scarred by the battles of the Civil War. Some swear that more than a general sense of the history of the place overwhelms them. At twilight, at midnight, or even at high noon, specters and shades of those whose place this was may return to their homes and habits to pray, to flirt, to dine, and to stroll, to fire their rifles and march in formation, or lie wounded in hospital beds, wearing uniforms of gray or blue.