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Valentine’s Day has always been a somewhat strange holiday for Tom and I. He used to sell roses years ago so the whole holiday has a different taste for us. The holiday is quite a manufactured money maker and we have tried to instill in our boys that fact. There are 364 other days of the year to show the one you love how much you care and how special they are to you.

For years, we used to go out as a group and probably one of our best Valentine’s Day stories has nothing to do with us, per se. We had made reservations with a few other couples to go down to the Ironbound section of Newark for Portuguese food. Turns out that one of the couples had to cancel. While we were standing in the lobby of an extremely crowded restaurant waiting (we only had to wait 1/2 hour since we had reservations – weren’t we lucky?) a young couple came in and the guy walked up to the maitre d  and politely asked for a table for 2. At least they were kind enough not to laugh in his face when he said he didn’t have a reservation, instead they told him that he could be seated at 11:30 (yes, that’s p.m.) mind you, this was around 7 ish. Turns out, we happened to have an extra two seats, so we went up to them and asked if they’d like, they could sit at the end of our table (and we promised to leave them by themselves as much as possible considering we were all sitting at the same table). Turns out, they agreed. We bought them each a Valentine’s Day drink, wound up laughing and talking together for a good part of the evening. It was a very nice Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine’s Day has morphed through our relationship from the initial over-advertised guilt ridden day created by a card company with the expensive flowers and traditional dinner in a restaurant that was over crowded and overbooked through those days of group Valentine dinners with friends, to the occasional missed Valentine’s Day altogether when it managed to coincide with Tom’s snowmobile treks, to the take out Chinese dinner eaten in front of the fire on the floor. Tonight, the plan was that our youngest son and his girlfriend were cooking us dinner. They were going to then watch a movie and we were going to watch a show by the fire. Plans however, still change. A couple hours ago, I got a call from my oldest that he and a group of friends were driving down from school to go snowboarding and obviously to have dinner at home. While Tim and his girlfriend are still cooking us dinner, I am cooking sushi for the boys that are descending upon us any time now. It will be a different kind of Valentine’s Day once again — but a good one anytime you are surrounded by the ones that you love and who love you back.

One thing that has not changed through the years, the constant tradition, is the chocolate covered strawberries. Every year for as long as I can remember, I have made chocolate covered strawberries for all my men.

However you choose to celebrate or if you even celebrate at all…..Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Ask your bra. No really, ladies, your bra will know true love. According to a Japanese lingerie company which has manufactured what it is advertising as the True Love Tester, this bra can only be unhooked by true love. High tech meets Cupid — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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I love to bake. It’s sweet – usually quite literally. I love the holidays. It is however hard to believe that my inbox has been accumulating “cookie of the day” recipes since before Halloween. I really dislike this push to get us through the holidays — at this rate I’m sure that we will be finding Valentine’s Day hearts and candy crowding the shelves well before we’re ringing in the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, it has always been a big part of my life and my family’s lives. But, really, can we just slow it down and actually enjoy them? My sister commented that it was difficult for my youngest nephew who is autistic to understand why Christmas trees were crowding the aisles of the stores already when they were still shopping for his Halloween costume. It’s difficult for me to understand as well. Thanksgiving is coming up, yet we are bombarded by Christmas all over the place. I realize that the stores are anxiously looking to increase sales in an economy that is less than desirable for any of us, but can we also enjoy the holidays without having to cut ourselves off completely from civilization.

Christmas tree

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I know that there are those folks out there that bake or prebake or make and freeze their cookies well in advance of the holidays. To me, that’s a couple weeks, not a couple months. I can’t even think of holiday cookie baking before Thanksgiving rolls around and I’d like to think that I am not the weird one in this equation.

Try to relax, divest yourself of the commercialism and enjoy the holidays, one at a time instead of all at once, pretty soon we’ll just be celebrating Hallothankschristmasyear Day because it would be more time-saving — and then they can start putting out those Easter bunnies in December.

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Author: Bagande

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Ah… the pressure. Valentine’s Day is a day both anticipated and dreaded. Single folks lament their lack of love, couples rack their brains trying to outdo each other and those around them in demonstrations of affection and love. Restaurants are booked to the nines with couples looking to share a romantic meal for Valentine’s Day. Silly people. While I wouldn’t turn down a beautiful bouquet of some pastel colored flower (red is not my personal favorite for roses), I do have to admit that there is a great deal of time and money and anxiety surrounding this holiday. We have personally witnessed the angst of a poor guy who didn’t really think that he needed reservations on Valentine’s Day and we (the group of friends who decided that going out together on Valentine’s Day was fun) kindly offered he and his date the two empty seats we had at our table when our reservation got called. It turned out to be a fun evening, probably one of the more delightful Valentine’s Days we’ve spent.

Valentine’s Day should be but one day in a year, or if you’re lucky – a lifetime of love, flowers and chocolate (probably in that order although there are days that I might shuffle it around a bit).

I am lucky to have a husband that I love and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with him. I am lucky to have three adorably handsome healthy young men. Flowers will die and chocolate will be eaten, yet these gifts will remain.

May you enjoy your Valentine’s Day however you wish to spend it, and remember it is but one of 365 days. How those that care for you treat you the rest of year really is more important than what happens on just one day -even if you do spend most of it in a car – driving kids around like I did.

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As I write this, it’s a brand new month – February and what’s not to like about a month that espouses flowers and chocolate as well as presents that are shiny and that four letter word – L O V E. It’s snowing outside our window, although there is no snow in the forecast and nothing on the radar which is another indication of how unique it is here where we live…our own personal weather patterns.

February is a pretty neat month – especially this year when the Winter Olympics start this Friday (Can you tell that we are big Winter Olympics fans around the T’s house?), Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, February school vacation in addition to your Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day.

February 1, 1790 was the first day that the United States Supreme Court convened for the first time ever and it is the day that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came into existence. (Go Dudley Doright!)

February is American Heart Month, a great excuse to wear red to support a good cause.

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In preparation for Valentine’s Day and our holiday weekend company, I did some Valentine-y desserts of sorts.  Chocolate covered strawberries and chocolate dipped rice krispie treats shaped into hearts.

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