Their Valentines

I made little goody bags last week for their classes. Instead of candy, because lord knows they’ll get far too much of that, there are temporary tattoos (similar to those above), stickers, a little heart glitter (you are welcome – no need to thank me, moms!), a real fruit leather bar, and thanks to a HUGE number of $2 off Kashi coupons I got in the mail, a Kashi strawberry fruit bar.

The kids are making valentine’s “cards” to put inside them right now. Their job is to color and maybe cut them out.

While it’s not the fanciest design ever, it’s going to have to do – we’ve been thrown off kilter by the whole broken arm/stomach bug saga this week. And besides, they’re kinda cute. I printed the following in black and white into a table, six to a page, on landscape:

You’re a Winner
in My Book!

Filename: j0240439.wmf Keywords: 1st place, awards, blue ribbons ... File Size: 23 KB

Happy Valentine’s Day!
From ________


I just really like that graphic – pretties up the old blog, eh?

They Call it Puppy Love

I just received an email from Sam’s Club, of which I am not a member.

Sam’s Club challenges, Animal Lover? Time to Prove it!

The link leads you to the Pet Center and a graphic that says Feel the Puppy Love? In the Spirit of Valentine’s Day Show them How Much You Care.” An image of a heart shaped doggy bowl filled with treats is featured.

If you click on this it takes you to an article about general animal care, but let’s dissect the headlines for a moment, shall we?

I have pets and I consider myself an animal lover. We are at an all time low of three cats and two fish right now, but the fauna tally here typically registers higher than that between our own pets, strays we are feeding, fosters we are harboring….you get the picture. I have never once felt the need to prove that I cared about my animals as suggested by Sam’s Club. And I particularly have not felt the need to prove that I care for them buy buying them things, which of course is the implication of the email. As a marketing tool, the goal is to convince the customer to purchase their products, of course, but “Animal Lover? Time to Prove it!” does not accomplish that goal. If anything, I find it to be rather repellent.

Blush Pearl Necklace CHIEN COATURE pearl necklaces are made of natural and dyed freshwater pearls and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. The necklaces are wired with flexible jewelry wire and should not break under normal wear. The clasps are lobster claw in sterling silver. Each necklace is custom-made to fit your dog.

In the Spirit of Valentine’s Day Show them How Much You Care. Really? Do dogs and cats feel left out on Valentine’s Day? No kidding? This is what I’m thinking. I’m thinking that animals don’t give a flying frick about holidays and as long as they are fed, watered, sheltered, and given some cuddles, they will be eternally grateful. I’m thinking that the mere idea that animals care about holidays and not only care, but actually require commercially purchased offerings is a symptom of how disturbingly material we have really become as a culture.

I confess, before children I used to put catnip and kitty treats in a stocking for the cats at Christmas. They didn’t much appreciate it, but I did do it for a couple of years. I think we can all agree that it wasn’t for the cats. Well, it was for the cats, technically – I don’t eat cat treats, but the stocking wasn’t for the cats, of course, and as it turns out, they don’t really appreciate wrapping paper either as it only hinders their ability to gnaw through the foil treat package. I have since stopped this ridiculous charade, though the cats still get plenty of treats.

Twinkle Collar Red-Multi Colored Cross
This fashionable collar can be worn as an exquisite necklace or high fashion collar.

What I really don’t understand is buying things “for your dog” that dogs don’t really appreciate. Like jewelry, for instance. I don’t care how adorable your doggy is – the dirty truth is that he would opt for a tasty cat turd over a crystal-laden collar or beaded necklace any day. Now I don’t begrudge the purchases either, but recognize that if you want to buy baubles for your dog, you are not doing it even one iota for the dog – it’s all for you, baby.

Tropical Garden Collar

The Tropical Garden Collar is truly art to wear for your dog! The collar is made of white Italian lambskin and faced with rich white velvet. The collar is faced with hand woven, 3-D floral jewelry made of Czech pressed glass pieces and CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements. This collar is meant for dress-up and party wear – treat this as jewelry for your dog.

That animal neither wants nor needs such frivolities – he needs attention and nourishment, but he does not need doggy spangles. There’s a lot that animals don’t need. They certainly don’t need us to prove that we love them on any commercial level.

Bluebell Harness

This beautiful harness is made of two layers of buttery-soft Italian lambskin. The motifs are cut away from the pastel blue top layer, the top layer is carefully stitched to of the cream irridescent bottom layer. Three sizes of three-dimensional flowers are appliqued and finished with beautiful CRYSTALLIZED™ Swarovski Elements.

So buying sparkly pet junk is fun and harmless, unless of course it helps drive you into the mire of debt that plagues most households. But here’s an idea and one that will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside: as fun as frivolous pet products are, there are animals out there that do need and they need more than just love, commercially purchased or homemade. They need help. This Valentine’s Day consider giving to your local pet shelter, either financially, of your time, or by helping fill their wish list.

Shelters typically accept the following items, but call to determine the need of your local shelter:

~ Pet food, preferably premium brands (Nutro, Science Diet, Wysong, Eukanuba, ProPlan, Purina One, Special Diets)
~ Ceramic or Metal Food Bowls
~ Small Litter Boxes for cages
~ Large Litter Pans
~ Cat Litter
~ Used Towels for Cages
~ Scratching Posts
~ Cat Trees
~ Cat Nip
~ Cat Toys
~ Postage Stamps
~ Envelopes
~ Computer Paper
~ Printer Cartridges (call for needs)
~ Bleach
~ Paper Towels
~ Rubber gloves
~ Spray Bottles
~ Fuzzy commode seat covers for cage beds
~ Trash Bags
~ Digital Camera and volunteers to nicely capture and edit photos for the website
~ Gift Cards for Petsmart or PetCo, Office Depot, Office Max, Target, Home Depot or Lowes
~ Dog chew toys
~ Dog leashes
~ Dog treats
~ Volunteer dog walkers
~ Round fleece cat beds
~ Newspapers
~ Blankets
~ Cat Collars (quick release)
~ Dog collars-all sizes
~ Gift certificates for grooming
~ Chew Bones
~ Powdered kitten/puppy replacement milk
~ Large jars of peanut butter for dog treat toys
~ Animal shampoo
~ Animal carriers

Even if you are on a budget, this is a great way to dispose of your old towels and pillowcases and that hideous toilet cover set from your first apartment or that perfectly functional digicam that has been gathering dust since you upgraded.

And if you have kids, big or little, this is a fabulous opportunity to demonstrate what loving animals is really all about.

Valentine’s Day Mazes

Here’s a really cool Valentine’s Maze courtesy of Family Fun. They have a whole passel of printable stuff to keep your little Valentine busy.

Here is a heart-shaped Backyardigan’s maze from Nick Jr. and the rest of their Valentine’s printables.

Blackdog has some increasingly difficult heart-shaped mazes for the child who likes a challenge. Or, make your own maze.

Here is another and another and another. Can you tell my kid really likes mazes? And more.

This one is interesting – you have to count your way through the puzzle. This one is simplest, buy they have others counting by 2s through 5s.

The thing is, my 5 year old broke and dislocated his arm today at the elbow, so instead of him running about like normal, I’ll need to keep him calm and busy and he will stay put for these. I got them each a book of mazes before Christmas and he had done the entire book within 24 hours, but my goodness it kept him quiet!

Valentine’s Tree

I bought a 4′ Christmas tree on clearance. Originally $19.99, 90% off. So it was $2.00. It is sparkly silver and prelit. Sadly, I did not check the box for contents, however, because it is missing its stand. Well, 2/3 of its stand. Which makes it sort of (ok, very) pathetic, but nonetheless a good deal for $2.00.

Because I hadn’t bothered to put it away with the Christmas things, it was set up in the dining room. Wonky. Mr. Lawyer wanted to know what on earth I was doing with it and I decided right then to have the kids make a Valentine’s Tree out of it. To a) save face from not having put the tree away by late January and b) to keep the Beastlings busy for a few minutes making decorations.

The worked diligently yesterday and today and I have to say their efforts are quite lovely. The stand is still an issue. It’s in a glass jar filled with red scrunchy gift bag filler for now, not the best solution for kids. And on the kitchen counter so Babybeast won’t attempt to devour it. And she would. Oh, would she ever.

Mister Lawyer, I suspect, thinks it’s hideous. And he’s right. But we like it anyway.

Free Valentines Photocards

Who doesn’t love free stuff!

Six free Valentines-themed photocards with envelopes and free shipping from Stories by Everyone, a scrapbooking site. What could be sweeter?

Offer is good through February 1, 2009 only. Enter code VALENTINE when you check out.

And as a bonus, if you have little kids, click on that black and white heart in this post to enlarge it and print it out – it’s good for coloring and will keep your little one occupied while you upload his or her photo to make cards out of.

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