Friday, February 28, 2014

5 Things to Prepare for Spring

5 Things to Prepare for Spring
Belinda @ Kids Matter
Are you getting excited about spring? Me too!! Come take a relaxing journey with me through Spring in Bloom. Ah the last view of the snow covered caps of the mountain, the gentle babbling brooks, the bold and brilliant colors, spring storms pelting rhythmically on the ground, and such wonderful fragrance filling the air. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Now, it’s time to get busy with our spring to-do list.
Spring officially makes her entry March 20th but don’t forget to spring those clocks forward March 9th. I’m introducing spring a little early so we can have this to-do list knocked out before its arrival. We don’t want to waste a minute of the beauty that spring brings. We have so many things to look forward to… long walks through nature, biking, sitting on the porch with a nice hot cup of coffee watching the sunrise and set, planting gardens, gathering wild flowers, and the list goes on and on. So, let’s knock this work out right now.
1.      Spring cleaning on the inside. Don’t try to tackle the house as a whole, break it down room by room. Set a date for each room and use it to focus solely on that room. At the end of the day you will see great progress and pick up ideas to help the process in the remaining rooms. Have your cleaning tools prepared before tackling the chores and don’t forget your organizational equipment… boxes, bags, totes, crates, tubs, and bins. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” is one of my favorite sayings.

2.      Winter to summer clothing exchange. Many people change out their clothing storage in spring and fall. That’s a great time to get rid of torn, tattered, or clothing that no longer fits. Keep a box or bag handy for clothes you want to donate to your favorite charity. This task can be incorporated into the spring cleaning and you are knocking out two for one. As you put your winter clothes in storage, try placing a dryer sheet in with the clothing. Come fall, when you take them out, they will smell nice and fresh.

3.      Spring cleaning the outside. If you are lucky, you have the fold in windows for easy cleaning and can do those as you do the interior cleaning. For those of us unlucky folks, we must attempt this feat from outside and possibly on a ladder to reach those uppermost corners. Be safety minded and careful at all times when using a ladder. While cleaning the windows, it’s also a good time to check the seal around each window. Properly sealed windows are a must to prevent the deterioration of wood inside the house. If you have a power washer, they are great tools for spring cleaning the exterior of your home. If not, a garden hose will work, with a little manpower behind it. As you make your way around the house, look for repairs that may need attention.

4.      Preparing the yard for greatest impact. Remove all trash, broken limbs, and damaged lawn furniture. Spruce up the patio with a good cleaning and decorate with vibrantly colored seasonal ornamentation showcasing the new season. Prepare your yard for new growth with seeding where needed, along with an application of lawn fertilizer. Wait until after the last freeze to plant those beautiful new flowers.

5.      Preparing the grill. What would warm temps be without that first grand cookout? It’s time to celebrate winter’s departure. Give the grill a good cleaning inside and out. Check out Real Simple for tips on cleaning your grill.

Now that you have all of your cleaning done… celebrate spring! Spend quality time with your family while enjoying the great outdoors. Appreciate the beauty of nature. Relax in the sounds of spring and breathe in the freshness of it all. Happy spring to you!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet the Child Care Council Staff

Meet the Child Care Council Staff
Introducing Kim G
Belinda @ Kids Matter

Please allow me to introduce a loving mother of two beautiful children and four treasured grandchildren, with a fifth to arrive shortly. She says being a grandmother is, “pure joy” and that, “grandchildren are delightful little beings.” Kim has been married twenty-one years to the love of her life and her hero. When I say hero, that’s exactly what I mean. While vacationing with her family, she was snorkeling off the coast of Hawaii, Kim’s mask became dislodged. Quickly she surfaced to fix the problem. She plunged back under water only to learn the mask was still not properly secured and began losing her breath. With panic looming, she quickly popped to the surface again. Suddenly, a wave overtook her and she couldn’t breathe. To say she was scared may be an understatement. Her husband sped to her side and lifted her up. In the fear of drowning, she almost took her husband out as well. He was, however, able to signal the lifeguards who rapidly raced to her rescue. Today she gives credit where due, to her husband, her hero.
Kim has been an Eligibility Specialist for CCC, serving the counties of Warren, Edmonson, and Hart, for a year and a half. Her bubbly personality and genuine desire to help others are just two of her great qualities.  Kim says that sharing an office space with two very influential people in her life is what keeps her sane. She has such a deep appreciation for her co-workers saying, “They are with me eight hours every work day. They have taught me things, and have listened to me when I needed to talk. They are lovely women, which I am proud to call my friends and blessed to have them in my life.” Though Kim loves her job, when asked if not in the childcare business, what career would she choose? Her answer, “I’d be a judge on American Idol!”
What makes Kim who she is today? She gives credit to her Mom as being the most influential person in her life and giving her that “go get it” attitude. When asked how she maintains that attitude she simply replied while laughing, “I have to pay the mortgage”. Playing a huge role in forming Kim, were the years she spent in the Army. She states, “The Army taught me all that I could withstand and all of my strengths.” She emphasizes, “I’m pretty tough if I need to be, not physically, but mentally.” She also gives credit to her grandparents who taught her to be loving, kind, and patient. All are lessons that she uses in the care of her own grandchildren.
When asked about advice for a happy, successful family, Kim says, “Instill the desire for education into your children and spend great quantities of time loving and laughing together”. She also encourages getting involved in charities. Helping others always gives the greatest of feelings and respect. Kim actively supports St. Jude’s Children Hospital, Warren County Rescue Squad, and Veteran’s organizations. With deep roots in the military, through her own contribution, her husbands, and her fathers, she has great respect for America and those who serve and support the United States. She says, “There are never enough resources to go around”, and encourages us all to give whenever, wherever we can.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love Your Pet Day

Love Your Pet Day
Blog Squad @ Kids Matter
As we continue the month of love celebration, we must recognize Love Your Pet Day! The 20th of February is a day of recognition for our beloved pets. Take time out of your busy schedule to show your pet the love you hold for them. Give that special treat, take a trip to the pet salon, or have a nice game of tug. If you don’t have a pet, today is a great day to get one! Visit your local shelter or the Shelter Pet Project.
“Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” Anatole France

Kids Matter
Kids Matter
Kids Matter

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.”
Alfred A. Montapert

Kids Matter
Kids Matter

Kids Matter

“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Kids Matter
Kids Matter
Kids Matter

“An animal's eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
Martin Buber
Kids Matter
Kids Matter
Kids Matter

“I have felt cats rubbing their faces against mine and touching my cheek with claws carefully sheathed. These things, to me, are expressions of love.”
James Herriot
Kids Matter
Kids Matter
Kids Matter

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.”
Sigmund Freud
Kids Matter

Kids Matter

Kids Matter

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many different ailments, but I have never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.”
Joseph Wood Krutch
Kids Matter

Kids Matter
Kids Matter

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”
Bernard Williams
Kids Matter
Kids Matter
Kids Matter

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day. It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.”
John Grogan

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meet the Child Care Council Staff

Introducing Julia W
Melissa @ Kids Matter

               I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Eligibility Specialist, Julia W. in the Jefferson County office. Julia has been employed by the CCC for about 18 months. Julia pursued employment with the CCC after having been a director at a daycare center. Julia felt that being a director in a daycare wasn’t doing enough to promote child advocacy. She felt that the CCC could give her the opportunity for the “grass roots” level of advocacy she desired.
               Julia, or “Peacock” as she is known to her husband, was recently married in a unique Halloween themed wedding. Julia met her “Mr. Right” when she was just a child, as he was the best friend of her older brother. Having no interest in each other romantically, they both pursued other options in life partners. After both found themselves in a “lost period” (post relationship break-ups), they reconnected via Facebook, and the rest is history. Julia says she was attracted to Mr. Right because, as adults, they discovered that they had much more in common personality wise than they’d previously thought. Julia has a unique sense of humor, and says that Mr. Right “gets her humor”. She says she fell in love with his “completely romantic style, humor, intelligence, and the fact that he is her polar opposite politically”.
               Julia explained that Mr. Right calls her Peacock because when they were dating, she would “peacock” for him every time they saw each other. He says she is beautiful and rare like a peacock. He proposed marriage while they were visiting her family for Christmas Eve. He began by playing “You’ve Got the Touch” by Stan Bush which has special meaning for them. He got down on one knee, proposed, and of course, she said, “Yes”.
               Aside from being employed with the CCC, Julia adds professional actress to her resume. She performed in musical theatre for over 10 years and only stopped when she met her previous spouse. While working as a professional actress, she lived in London for over a year and loved it. During her time as an actress, she also lived in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, NY. She describes her time there with humor and love and says she was NOT afraid of the neighborhood because, in true peacock style, she “was destined to be there”.
               Julia moved to NYC one week after 9/11/01 and describes the time following her move there as sad. She commented, “No one had a job and stockbrokers were applying to work at McDonald’s”. She states that while taking the subway to work, the rage, pride, sadness, ego, agony, resilience, and political feelings of the people were all palpable. However, none of this ever deterred her from living there and continuing her life as normally as possible.
               Working in the office with Julia is a treat. I feel privileged to call her my friend AND co-worker. She’s as lovely as she is charming with her warm, funny, sweet, and passionate style.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Public Speaking

Public Speaking

Belinda @ Kids Matter

“It's much easier to be convincing if you care about your topic. Figure out what's important to you about your message and speak from the heart.” Nicholas Boothman

So, you’ve been asked to deliver a presentation in two weeks. The first thing to hit your mind is, “How am I going to pull this off”. The next thing that comes to mind is sheer terror. Before you even start doing the work required to prep for the presentation, you already have sweaty palms and the nervous jitters. Snap out of it! No one is more critical of you, than yourself. Even if you haven’t given a presentation before, by now, you surely have attended one. Was there a free-for-all at the end of it? Did the speaker get pelted with rotten tomatoes? Did they take away the presenter’s birthday? NO! Even if you fail miserably, do the absolute worst job in giving the presentation… what is the worst that can happen, embarrassment? You will live AND be embarrassed many more times through the humor life presents. Lighten up and laugh at yourself. But, chances are, you will actually do a wonderful job and make your point perfectly clear. Is there something you can do to ensure a successful presentation? Absolutely, just do the necessary footwork on the front end and relax! You aren’t giving a ‘save the world speech’ in front of a firing squad.

Suggestions for a successful presentation:

Know your topic Research, research, research. Yes, research is the key to being knowledgeable of your topic. Don’t just Google the topic and choose the first site that pops up. Truly dig in and read many sites while pulling important information from many sources. And, cite those sources! Someone else did a lot of work to prepare that information and they deserve acknowledgement. Citing sources also gives your presentation foundation and trustworthiness. Utilize more than one search engine, visit your local library, and discuss the topic with a knowledgeable expert.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with statistics Yes, statistics are great but numbers can get overwhelming. Pick out the most impacting figures to make a concrete point. If the percentage of people who prefer lemonade over tea is not relative to your point being made, then skip it.

Refining your topic You are given a topic which is probably really broad and you could take many paths. The first thing you need to ask yourself is what is the point of the presentation? Let’s say you were given the topic of WWII. Suddenly, your mind is overwhelmed by all the things you need to cover. Stop… connect yourself with the topic. What do you know about WWII personally, without any research? Maybe you have a grandfather who served in the war. Maybe your family has a piece of history from WWII handed down through the generations. Pick something you can relate to and then proceed with your research.

Utilizing tools for presentation Nothing removes focus from the speaker more than visual aids.  Don’t get too carried away because your message should be the focus. Use aids such as PowerPoint to create your presentation or a flip chart to demonstrate statistics, or a diagram to show points of impact in the presentation. Using handouts helps the audience follow along while you deliver the speech.

Know your target audience The more you know about the audience that you are presenting in front of, the more your refining skills will allow you to keep the speech targeted for the greatest impact. Let’s say you are giving that WWII speech to a class of middle schoolers. What will most interest them about WWII? The answer will probably be how the war affected them and their little piece of the world. Prior to prepping, talk with someone in the age range of your audience. Ask them what would most hold their interest. Everyone has an opinion.

Relax, smile, and speak in a pleasurable tone. Focus on the information you are giving. Wear comfortable clothing. Make certain you have gathered all of your materials the day before the speech. Practice, practice, practice!! The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become.

Helpful sites:

Friday, February 14, 2014

February is Heart Health Month!

February is Heart Health Month!
Olivia, Debbie, & Eamonn @ Kids Matter

“I’m 33 years old and I had a heart attack. More specifically, I had a minor myocardial infarction that was the result of a 99% blockage of the left anterior descending artery… more commonly known as the ‘widow-maker’, since most people do not survive this. Let me preface this with a few facts. There is no history of heart disease in my family. I am generally in good health. I don’t smoke or drink (I’m actually allergic), or use recreational drugs. I am the tree-hugging fruit and weird veggie eater at central office. So, did you hear that February is Heart Health Month?” – Eamonn

Many people consider heart disease a "man's disease," but around the same number of men and women die each year of heart disease in the U.S.  It is the leading cause of death for Caucasian and African American women. According to the Women's Heart Foundation, African American women ages 55 to 64 are two times as likely as Caucasian women to have a heart attack and 35% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Among Hispanic women, heart disease and cancer cause about the same number of deaths annually. Almost two-thirds of women who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms.  That's why it is so important to have screenings for high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and diabetes. Often, heart disease is not diagnosed until a woman experiences a heart attack, heart failure, a dysrhythmia, or a stroke.

The symptoms of these conditions include:
  • Heart attack: chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and upper body discomfort.
  • Heart failure: shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
  • Dysrhythmia: palpitations or fluttering feelings in the chest.
What every woman should know about heart disease:
  • According to the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, one in three women over age twenty have some form of cardiovascular disease. It can strike women at younger ages more than most people think. The risk rises in middle age, especially after menopause.
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention finds that two-thirds of women who have heart attacks never fully recover.
  • The American College of Cardiology says that women who survive their heart attacks are more likely to die during the first year of recovery than men who have a heart attack.
  • The Women's Heart Foundation states that women who smoke are at risk of heart attack 19 years earlier than those who do not smoke.
  • After age 55, women are at an increased risk of high blood pressure, a major contributor to cardiovascular disease. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says that about one-third of adults in the United States have hypertension.
  • Medical conditions and lifestyle choices that put people at higher risk for heart disease include diabetes, overweight and obesity, poor diet, physical inactivity and excessive alcohol use.

The seven steps to reduce the risk of heart disease
  1. Know your blood pressure. High blood pressure has no symptoms, so you should have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  2. Quit smoking.
  3. Limit alcohol to one drink per day.
  4. Make healthy food choices.
  5. Have your cholesterol and triglycerides checked by your healthcare provider.
  6. Discuss with your healthcare provider whether you should be tested for diabetes.
  7. Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Temper Tantrum 101

Temper Tantrum 101
Belinda @ Kids Matter
“Tantrums are common from ages one to four because kids become frustrated when they can’t get what they want,” says Robert G. Harrington, a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas.
Have you ever been that parent in the store, whose child has a complete meltdown? You know, the one everyone in the store is starring at with those, “you are such a horrible parent,” eyes? Don’t you find it funny, that it’s the child having the meltdown but, your parenting skills are at fault? It’s a fact, Jack, kids have meltdowns! They do not have the coping skills to deal with anger. The only vent that pops into their mind is destroying the floor beneath them. Holding their breath, kicking, screaming, turning varying shades of red, and pounding the floor are just common tools a child uses to vent anger. Anyone who has dealt with children is very well aware of those coping tools. The reason other adults frown upon you, the parent standing in shame over the child’s behavior, is due to them not agreeing with how you are handling the situation. We all have different parenting styles and included in that all-encompassing style, is discipline. While you are standing there infuriated, mortified, and totally astonished by the child’s behavior, the people around you are judging your parenting style. Let me just say this right now… that is your child showing himself on the floor! You deal with it the best way possible; but, whatever you do… don’t give in to the child. Giving in only opens the door to many more mortifying tantrums and if you thought this tantrum was bad, just wait until the next one.
We know that tantrums are methods for venting anger. Children don’t have the skillset to talk through the problem. They don’t have the mindset to compromise. They don’t have the patience to wait until the next payday to get that ‘greatest toy in the whole wide world’. So, where do we go from here? As crazy as this seems, we prep the child for shopping trips. Start a couple hours before the trip, laying down in-store rules. One, this is what we are getting. Two, you are not getting any toys. Three, you will behave and not throw any fits. Do you see where I am going here? Make your rules simple but decisive. Include in your rules a reward for good behavior. Maybe it’s candy, maybe a trip to the park. As you venture through the store, and the child is asking for this and that every five seconds, remind the child of the rules. The first couple of times out will no doubt be frustrating, but in the long run, it will be well worth the trouble.
The more verbal a child gets, the better their anger coping skills become. At the age of four, my grandson is past the tantrum stage but, now we are faced with a new challenge. Yesterday, he clearly verbalized his anger over my accidentally putting his pajamas in his pants drawer. In a heated tone, with intense aggravation on his face, he clearly announced his disgust with me by telling me he was “ticked” (not the word he used). So, you see, we move from one dilemma into another with the growing stages of the child.
What have we learned here? It’s your child and beyond the public embarrassment, you are the parent. Let those standing upon high, looking down on you, be of no concern. Make rules and enforce them. You, as the parent, are growing with your child. You will move through many phases and learn new parenting skills to cope with each new issue. Most importantly, understand that your child is not behaving this way just to torture you. Love your child and work on those patience skills because you have a long road ahead of you. Happy parenting!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The American Flag

The American Flag
Kim @ Kids Matter
Today I am blogging about my memories of the American Flag and how it has influenced my life. My first memory of the American Flag is from elementary school; placing my hand over my heart, and learning the Pledge of Allegiance.   When we are little we are functionary. When I was old enough to understand the meaning of the pledge, I was filled with a sense of respect, and the understanding that I was a part of something big and powerful. We find flags in various places in our community like church, the post office, the library, schools, and in our neighbors’ yards.
I remember being in high school, I attended a DOD (Department of Defense) school in Yokohama, Japan.  One day a classmate ran someone’s pants up the flag pole.  OH, there was BIG trouble for that boy, never mind that we were on a military base.  I think my hand was over my mouth that day.
I joined the Army when I graduated high school.  I felt such pride when I was sworn in to uphold The Constitution of the United States.  When the National Anthem was played, I remember getting goose bumps.  In the military, we saluted the flag; everything was about respect for the American Flag.
When my father passed away, we had a military funeral.  My mother had passed away three months earlier from lung cancer so, I accepted the flag on “on behalf of a grateful nation” and… I sobbed.
Now, the flag is enjoyed and honored at sport events such as the Super Bowl and the Olympic games. It is ingrained in my soul that the United States’ Flag is revered and represents my country.
One of my four granddaughters has started school in Texas.  I am happy that she is allowed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance in her school, every day. I believe that the Pledge of Allegiance is where children get their first knowledge of America and begin to understand who we are as a nation.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Internet Security

Internet Security
Belinda @ Kids Matter
The age of cyber predators has arrived and there sits your child fully enthralled in playing that educational game. The child has not a worry in the world, but lurking behind the scenes, a predator could be monitoring your child. Not only is the child at risk, but so is your computer and everything you have stored on it. In one click you could open the door to hackers and viruses. How do you keep both your child and your electronic gadgets safe?
Tip #1:
Never leave your child unattended while they are on the internet. If they are old enough to peruse their games and favorite sites without your assistance, you should at least be in the same room or check on them often. Kids love to explore, and exploring the internet could lead to danger.
Tip #2:
Utilize anti-virus software on your computer. Sites such as AVG, McAfee, Norton, and AVAST all offer free, (or a free trial), software for protection. It is also good to keep a malware program on your computer such as Malware Bytes or Ad-Aware. Set up the software to run on a schedule that will protect you as needed. One suggestion is to run both programs once a week.
Tip #3:
Most sites deposit “cookies” which are defined by Webopedia as, “A message given to a Web browser by a Web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.”  Per Webopedia, “Cookies cannot read your hard drive to find out information about you; however, any personal information that you give to a Web site, including credit card information, will most likely be stored in a cookie unless you have turned off the cookie feature in your browser. In only this way are cookies a threat to privacy. The cookie will only contain information that you freely provide to a Web site.” You can set the level of security on your computer. Always be mindful what information you provide on the internet because chances are the information is being stored on your computer. It’s a good practice to occasionally delete your cookies and cache of previously viewed web pages. The more careful you are, the more secure your system will be.
Tip #4:
Video chatting can give a predator a lot of information. Clues to location are all around your child. A school logo on a t-shirt can lead the predator right to your child. Monitor who your child chats with and where they are chatting. Children don’t realize they are surrounded by clues to their location.
Tip #5:
Set ground rules! Monitoring your child on the Internet is not a violation of their privacy. You wouldn’t let them go off in a park with someone you didn’t know, would you? Communicate with your child and instruct them of security issues such as, clicking links received in an email. Don’t respond to emails from unknown persons. Make certain they understand to never give out their personal information to anyone online. Let them know, if they don’t know if something is safe, ask a trusted adult.
Tip #6:
Activate those parental controls! Software such as Qustodio, K9 Web Protection, and DNS Angel offer free parental control software. The more thorough you are, the more you, your child, and the electronic device is protected.
It’s always work keeping your child safe, whether it’s out on the street or in your home. Parents are the child’s first line of defense. If you don’t push back the offenders, they will surely find a way to breach the defense.  I wish safe and secure surfing for you and your precious child.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Who Was Saint Valentine? Does He Know How His Holiday Makes Us Feel?

Who Was Saint Valentine? Does He Know How His Holiday Makes Us Feel?

Julia @ Kids Matter

Date: Valentines Day, February 14th 1993.

Heroine: Me. Action: The 4th delivery of red/pink roses to yet another skinny, beautiful, and popular female.

Place: High school classroom of heartless athletics coach who was given the required task of teaching world history; a job he should NOT have been given, and was not qualified to perform.

          To a chubby unpopular girl, it is one of the most undesirable days of the year. It’s a constant reminder that you have no boyfriend, still haven’t lost any weight on your diet, and are still too scared to wear contacts. Now, I did get flowers every year from my mother, who knew my pain and tried to comfort me through it.

          But why do we feel this way? Why is it that we need Valentine’s Day to make us feel pretty, loved, and desired? Who was this hack Valentine anyway? Does he know that single people everywhere are made to feel like MAJOR losers every February 14th?

           There are several differing stories of the martyred man, Valentinus. One is that the Roman Emperor Claudius II decided that single men make better soldiers that those with wives. Like most bone headed moves made by an early aged emperor, he banned marriage. Valentinus found this as idiotic as I do and began secretly performing marriages. This did not bode well and he was put to death.

          Another popular theory has our hero being jailed for helping Christians escape Roman prisons, where they were beaten and tortured daily. It is said that Valentine fell for a woman, believed to be the jailor’s daughter, and sent her a note before his death signed, ‘From Your Valentine’.

          My uneducated opinion is that the man, who secretly married people behind the back of an emperor, is romantic and worthy of a day celebrated in honor of love. I do believe he was imprisoned for defying Claudius. However, and I also believe he fell for a woman while there and gave her the very first ‘valentine card’.

          I think back, and laugh, to when I was 17 and having flowers sent to me in history class being a matter of life and death. I now know what Valentine meant for us all to learn. Love is love and it is everywhere you look.

          The love of my single mother struggling to make ends meet, somehow finding the money to send me very expensive flowers… that is love. I think that is what St. Valentine would like to see in honor of his name.

          Happy Valentine’s Day to you and to all those we love. Let’s go back to our childhoods and pass out valentines to one another. Mail a Valentine to your mother and buy some small old school Star Wars themed ones for your coworkers. Place a small heart shaped piece of chocolate on their desk along with it. You will feel quite warm for passing on a little love.