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The origins of Valentine's Day trace back to the ancient Roman celebration of Lupercalia. Held on February 15, Lupercalia honored the gods Lupercus and Faunus, as well as the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. In addition to a bountiful feast, Lupercalia festivities are purported to have included the pairing of young women and men. Men would draw women's names from a box, Ronin & Willow and each couple would be paired until next year's celebration. While this pairing of couples set the tone for today's holiday, it wasn't called "Valentine's Day" until a priest named Valentine came along. Valentine, a romantic at heart, disobeyed Emperor Claudius II's decree that soldiers remain bachelors. Claudius handed down this decree believing that soldiers would be distracted and unable to concentrate on fighting if they were married or engaged. Valentine defied the emperor and secretly performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance, Valentine was put to death on February 14. After Valentine's death, he was named a saint. As Christianity spread through Rome, the priests Zariah

According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty. Cupid was known to cause Caleb people to fall in love by shooting them with his magical arrows. But Cupid didn't just cause others to fall in love - he himself fell deeply in love. As legend has it, Cupid fell in love with a mortal maiden named Psyche. Cupid married Psyche, but Venus, jealous of Psyche's beauty, forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. Psyche, of course, couldn't resist temptation and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband. As punishment, Venus demanded that she perform three hard tasks, the last of which caused Psyche's death. Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods, moved by their love, granted Pysche immortality. Cupid thus represents the heart and Psyche the (struggles of the) human soul.

By: Terri Bose

This Handprint Valentine’s Day Card will be your Mom’s favorite card. She’ll save it for a lifetime. Don’t forget to make one for Dad too! I still look back on the handmade cards my kids made and the kids enjoy looking at their craft projects over the years too. Supplies Skin Colored Construction Paper Red and Pink Construction Paper Pencil Scissors Glue Markers

Photo Credit: Encore Craft

Instructions Fold a piece of skin colored construction paper in half. Place your hand on the folded paper with edge of your palm (near the pinky) lining up with the fold. Trace around your hand except for edge on the fold. Remove your hand and cut out. Open up. Cut hearts out of construction paper. Paste on palm. Write message "A Handful of Love" on the card and sign.

By: Melissa Matters Sending flowers or saying "I Love You," are ways we express our love. However, love is more than just an outward expression of words that we might see on some conversation hearts. I believe love is best revealed through actions. As a parent, I want my children to know what love looks like. Here are five things parents can teach their kids about love. # 1 Love Is patient Patience is an endearing quality. People who love one another have to be patient with one another. With two small kids, it's easy for me to get frustrated. Little kids can take some time to go to the bathroom, put on their shoes and brush their teeth. Yet, as parents, it's important that we show patience. # 2 Love is kind My kids watch my every move. I think your relationship with your spouse is one of the easiest ways to teach kids about love. Do you and your spouse use kind words or are you always yelling? Do you hug and kiss? Do you ever carry out random acts of kindness? # 3 Love Is pure Purity is a vital part of love. For me, this revolves around being wholesome and faithful. Perhaps, young children can't understand this as much. However, it's important that tweens and teens understand the difference between lust and love. Someone who loves you will never dishonor you or force you to do something you don't want to. # 4 Love Is selfless Selflessness is a great attribute. Simple gestures like offering your kids the last brownie is a great way to show generosity. A husband offering his jacket to his wife is another small way to show selflessness. # 5 Love doesn't hold grudges It's natural for people who love each other to disagree. However, parents cannot stay angry with their children. Furthermore, parents can't hold grudges against each other. These types of feelings just fester under the surface and pollute your relationships. Even when my daughter gets in trouble, I make sure to tell her that I'm not mad at her. I also give her a hug and tell her I love her. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Kathy Salit Photography

Kathy Salit Photography

Courtesy of: National Calendar Day

Today we honor one of the world’s most convenient inventions, the umbrella! Not only does the umbrella help keep us dry from the rain, it also protects us from the heat of the sun. Umbrellas can also be used as a fashion accessory American celebrates the umbrella on February 10th, National Umbrella Day. There are famous umbrellas in the movies that you might recognize, a couple of them are: * Singin” in the Rain – 1952 * Mary Poppins – 1964 Interesting Umbrella TidBits: The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning shade or shadow. Brolly is a slang word for umbrella, used often in Britain, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Bumbershoot is a fanciful Americanism, for umbrella, from the late 19th century. The basic umbrella was invented over four thousand years ago. There is evidence of umbrellas in the ancient art and artifacts of Egypt Assyria, Greece, and China. It was the Chinese that first waterproofed umbrellas for use in the rain. They waxed and lacquered their paper parasols in order to use them for rain. The first of all umbrella shops was called “James Smith and Sons”. The shop opened in 1830, and is still located at 53 New Oxford Street in London England. In 1928, Hans Haupt’s pocket umbrellas appeared. In 1969, Bradford E. Phillips, the owner of Totes Incorporated of Loveland, Ohio obtained a patent for the first “working folding umbrella”. Umbrellas have also been fashioned into hats as early as 1880 and as recently as 1987. Umbrellas are used in photography: Umbrellas with a reflective inside are used by photographers as a diffusion device when employing artificial lighting and as a glare shield and shade, most often in portrait situations.


Courtesy of: Wikihow

1 Study the origins of the word. Evolving from the Latin word, umbra, meaning "shadow" or "haded" and the term umbella, which is a flat-topped rounded flower[1], the resulting term "umbrella" is a combination of both the object's shape and function. 2 Learn about umbrella superstition. Aside from the common courtesy of avoiding poking anyone in the eye, it is a well-known superstition that if you opens an umbrella indoors, you will be subject to bad luck. The legend goes back to how indoor opening of an umbrella affects and offends the sun god (because umbrellas were used to shield the sun).[2] What other superstitions can you find with respect to umbrellas? 3 Consider the many styles and sizes of umbrellas. There are broad umbrellas designed to keep off a heavy run, there are cloth umbrellas designed to shade people from the sun's searing rays and there are umbrellas that fold up neatly to fit inside a purse. Cafes use large outdoor umbrellas to allow customers to sit under shade or keep out the rain when dining outside. Large beach umbrellas keep swimmers and beach visitors out of the sun and just a little cooler for the shade.

4 Count how many umbrellas you own. Do you use them for keeping dry only, or do you also use them as a form of shading your face and body on a sunny day? Perhaps today is a good time to revisit your impression of the utility of the umbrella––perhaps add one to your garden for shade or buy a new one for shading you in the summer heat. 5 Learn how to care for umbrellas. Do you know what to do after using an umbrella? Rather than simply folding it up wet, there are simple procedures to keep your umbrella in tip top shape. 6 See what other uses can be made of an umbrella. While most umbrellas are used to keep us dry or shaded, there are other uses for umbrellas (or their shape). 7 Transform your umbrella. Do you have some unwanted umbrellas around the house? They can have a new lease of life rather than being tossed out. Here are some ways to change your umbrella into something else. 8 Take your umbrella out with you today. Lay out a beach towel and umbrella in the sand at the beach or open one up while walking somewhere. Have fun with the kids. If you have a hose, create "rain" with it by holding your thumb on the nozzle and sprinkle water above them, while they use an umbrella. Or, if it's too cold outside for water fun, try making an umbrella tent and crawling under it together.

Brynli Carroll is a vivacious, fun-loving little girl full of energy and has a heart of gold. She is currently in Kindergarten and is loving every minute of it. Brynli began pageants at a very young age and by the time she was 3 years old, the stage became ALL hers! From then on she never missed a chance to be in the spotlight. Her pageant experience has definitely contributed to her success in modeling. She began boutique modeling about a year and a half ago. Just in the past 6 months her career has really taken off. In November she signed a contract with TL Modeling Agency out of Houston, Tx; she is listed with several boutique modeling pages and she has made appearances in several child model magazines such as Model Source 2013 Most Beautiful Edition, Texas Child Model Magazine 2013 Holiday Edition, Makings of a Model Holiday edition, POSE Model Magazine, and several others. She was blessed with the opportunity to walk in the Winter RockerLand Fashion Show collaborated by POSE and Elizabeth Copeland of E Couture Designs (whom she walked for) held in Dallas, TX. She has also been chosen as on of the 2014 models of Little T's Boutique!! She has such a passion for this industry that she gave up two dance classes (her own decision) to be able to focus on more "photo shoots". And as long as Brynli continues to work hard focus on her dreams.... the sky will always be her limit!!! We are more than proud of all her accomplishments!

It’s Love Your Pet Day! Feb. 20th is the official day for pampering your pet with a little extra love and affection to show them just how much you care. Did you know that most households in the United States have at least one pet? Approximately 39% of US households own at least Zaylon one dog, and 33% own at least one cat. Pets provide wonderful companionship and can actually help decrease your blood pressure and stress. So whether you have a cat, dog, hamster, rabbit, bird, reptile, or goldfish, shower them with love and affection today! Happy Love Your Pet Day! Emily

By: Joseph Karbousky

Of course we should show love and appreciation to our pets every day, but today is a celebration of all pets, so go do a bit more for your furry friends today. Maybe something as simple as some Keagan & Gus extra treats, Gage pampering and attention is a great way to spend the day, especially after a long day at work. If you’re not a pet owner, maybe you could adopt a pet today. If you have a very busy life style and don't have time to take care of a pet, maybe a small donation to a local shelter or humane society could bring some temporary joy to a pet while they wait to be adopted - and you can be their hero for Ava Marie a day! Karyssa Marie

Nadia is 7 years old, and will be 8 in February. She loves to draw and make things for others. She has two cats, and says she wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She also loves to sing, and she sings at school. She just made the honor roll. In Kindergarten Nadia won a bookmark design contest at her local library. Her design was used for their bookmarks. Nadia is tall for age. The doctor says that she will be at least 5'10" when she is grown.

Courtesy of: Holiday Insights

Carnival Day celebrates a popular entertainment venue. Each year, millions of Americans flock to carnivals and put down big bucks to be entertained by death defying treats, clowns, elephants, lions, animal acts, and much more. Often, carnivals are preceded by a parade. Its a away to let the townspeople know that the carnival has come to town. Molly Don't limit your thinking about Carnival Day to a professional carnival. There is a wide range of summer and winter carnivals. School carnivals are popular. Towns, and even businesses, hold carnivals of all types. Celebrate today by going to a carnival, if possible. Or, organize a local carnival event. Skyler Elyse

Courtesy of:: Birthday in a Box Planning & Invitations What Do I Need For the Party? In addition to basic Carnival party supplies, like plates, cups, napkins and decorations, you may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your Carnival party: Bouncy house Popcorn machine and popcorn bags Cotton candy machine Bubble machine Snow cone maker Dunking tank A circus canopy tent Circus party games Carnival or circus music A pinata Carnival Party Invitation Ideas


If you have time to make your own circus invitations, here are some creative carnival party ideas to get you started: Attach a card-style invitation to one of our personalized circus party supplies or a box of animal crackers with a length of curling ribbon by punching a hole in one corner of the circus invitation. Hand-deliver your circus invitations to your guests. Include a circus sticker and some confetti with each circus party invitation and seal the envelope with a personalized circus party sticker with party information or a fun message on it! Create invitations that look like popcorn bags using red-striped paper. Fold the paper over and glue together to form a pocket, then used scalloped scissors to cut an edge at the top of the pocket. Write the party details on a piece of card stock and put it in the pocket. Cut out the shape of a circus tent from red-striped paper and paste a white card in the middle with the party details. Design your invitation to resemble a carnival ticket Be creative with the wording of the party details.


Decorating & Food Ideas Carnival Party Decorating Ideas Ticket Booth: Set up a ticket booth and have an adult or older child wearing a top hat hand each of your guests a string of tickets when they arrive. These tickets can later be redeemed for favors. You can print copies of our Carnival Tickets on cardstock or purchase rolls of tickets. Carnival Colors: Think in colors like red, blue and yellow when selecting decorations and partyware. Tent effect: Use colorful sheets and blankets or plastic tablecloths to make your party area look like the inside of a circus tent. You can hang them from ropes suspended from trees, tent poles, or from the ceiling. You can also drape red and white streamers from the ceiling to create a canopy. Table Decorations: Decorate your tables with red, blue and yellow table covers. Use popcorn boxes tied to helium balloons as a centerpiece and tie balloons to the back of each chair. Trapezes: String rope though empty paper towel tubes and hang them to create flying trapezes. Add a stuffed animal or doll to each trapeze. Barbell: Make a fake barbell by gluing a plastic ball to each end of a wooden dowel. Spray paint the whole thing black, and add the words "500 lbs." to each end with a white paint pen from a craft store. Clowns: If you'd rather not hire a clown, ask an older child or adult to dress as a clown and make balloon animals. If you don't know how to make balloon animals, check out our Balloon Animals Kit that comes with an instruction book, balloons, and a balloon inflator. Photo booth: Get some silly props like clown noses, glasses, mustaches and hats, and take photos of the kids. Face painting: Hire a face painter, or have an adult paint simple designs on children's faces with face paint. Check out cheap and simple recipe to make your own face paint. Carnival Party Food Ideas A carnival theme party wouldn't be complete without great carnival food like: Hot dogs, Corn dogs, Burgers, & Chicken fingers Popcorn, Cotton candy, Peanuts & Cracker Jacks French fries Madison Nachos Soft pretzels Lemonade in a circus theme plastic stadium cup with a silly straw Snow cones & Ice cream Caramel apples Here are a few additional ideas for dessert: Clown Cupcakes: Bake cupcakes and top with white frosting. Make each one look like a clown's face using a red gum drop for a nose, M&Ms for the eyes, a bit of red licorice for a mouth, and cotton candy for the hair. Circus Cake: Bake a cake and cover it with white frosting. Use tubes of colored icing to add balloons in red, yellow and blue. Place toy animals around the edges. Clown Ice Cream: Make clown heads using scoops of bright orange or raspberry sherbet topped with sugar cone "hats" surrounded by rings of icing "ruffles." Make faces using round, red candy for the noses (try gumballs), M&Ms for the eyes, and red licorice strings for the mouths. Make these ahead of time, and freeze them until you're ready to serve them to your guests.

Party Favor Ideas Carnival Party Favor Ideas Thank your guests with awesome party favors or pass favors out as prizes! Find a large variety of Carnival party favors such as: Clown noses Carnival stickers and tattoos Circus sipper cups Pencils and notepads Fun shaped candy and lollipops Cotton candy

Abigail Ann

Amilia is a nine year old type1 (Insulin Dependent) diabetic, but she doesn't let that hold her back. She self administers four or more insulin shots every day. Being diabetic, she educates herself on healthy living beyond what most adults ever do. Amilia enjoys photography, modeling, dance, cheer, pageantry, gaming, sports, family nights and pretty much all the same things most young ladies her age enjoy. Amilia's favorite type of TV/movies are crime solving and mysteries. Her favorite games are crime solving and console dance games. Amilia is always on the go, fast paced, cheerful and loving. Amongst the things she wants to do when she is grown are, finding a cure for diabetes , crime solving, becoming a Doctor, being a famous entertainer and the list goes on. She knows she can be any or all of these things if she desires it enough. Amilia enjoys spending time with her family. She especially enjoys dressing up and playtime with her four year old sister. She wishes the world to be kinder and more considerate to each other.

Hailey Marie is such a happy & sweet 16 month old! She loves playing in the back yard with her sand/ water table & loves her swing set! Hailey is extremely smart & has been learning baby sign language since she was an infant & is signing quite a bit now, mommy & daddy couldn't be more proud! Hailey's Favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we are going to play with them this month in Disney World! Hailey loves "cooking" lots of healthy food with her kitchen & grill set from her grandparents!

Photo Credits: Kathy Salit Photography

John "RONIN" Crosier is a very rambunctious three year old little boy! His favorite things are his blanket, sippy cup & team umi zoomi.. Ronin is exceptionally smart & tells us all the time that he is going to be an astronaut when he grows up:) He loves rockets, the moon & the stars. It doesn't matter if it is 10 degrees outside he would rather be outside than anywhere else! Ronin has two older siblings, Christian & Ivy Rose, but his favorite person is his little sister, Willow. They are 12 months apart and super close! He is an amazing little boy with a huge personality. He keeps us laughing and there is never a dull moment in our house

for sure!!!

This is a day that Fairy Tales are made of (and for). It's Tell a Fairy Tale Day . Today is a great opportunity to read your kids. If the kids aren't around, its certainly okay to read them alone. We all know that everybody loves a good fairy tale. To qualify as a fairy tale, a story does not have to begin with Cheyenne "Once upon a time.....". But, they usually do. It is a requirement that the story has a happy ending. There's nothing better than a good story that ends with Temprance Noell "and they all lived happily ever after". On Fairy Tale Day, cozy up under a blanket with the kids and read "the good Olivia Andrew Photography book"....a fairy tale book. Libraries and schools will often mark this day with special fairy tale readings and story hours.

Courtesy of: 1)Find

a topic or plot line that appeals to your audience. Do you think your toddler boy would enjoy hearing about princesses and true love? Think about what they would want to hear, or ask them what they would want in a story.

2)Start off with an introduction to the story. Once upon a time is a traditional start, but used a lot. If the traditional feeling is what you are going for, using that is acceptable. You also might want to try something different, such as: "in a castle far, far away." The start should be interesting enough to catch the child's attention. 3)Kick off from the beginning. If you started with a story about a princess locked in her Caia tower, add more conflict. Perhaps, there is a magical song outside her window that she has to get to, or a monster within the tower. Make it interesting, so that your children will want to hear more instead of falling asleep. Many kids have short attention-spans, so Ava Alyse their interest is crucial. 4)End your story with something that wraps up the conflict. Select one that will make your child(ren) sleepy and interested, preferable a happy one. In most children's books, the "good guy" wins. 5)Try to tell a story that they would want to tell their kids some day. Tell them one that they will always remember because it wasn't from a book, but was from your heart.

Feb. 2014 Issue #4