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Valentine's Day

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Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.
The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. THE good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.
The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.




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GAMES & ACTIVITIES

VALENTINE'S DAY GUESSING GAME
Take a bunch of jars and fill them with assorted Valentine's Day candies (one kind of candy per jar). Be sure to count the number of candies as you put them in the jars.
Leave a piece of paper and a pencil next to the jar and have the residents guess how many candies are in the jar. Be sure they write their name on the paper beside their guess.
The one who's closest to the correct number wins the jar of candy.
You could also have it where the one that guesses the correct number wins a prize instead of the jar of candies.


VALENTINE PICTIONARY
Supplies: Dry Erase Board
Markers
Eraser
Valentine Bag
Papers with valentine objects written on them
Timer
How To Play: Put papers with valentine objects written on them into bag. Divide participants into two groups. Flip a coin to see which team goes first. Invite a person from the playing team to approach the dry erase board, draw a slip of paper, and read it to themselves. On your mark, the player should then draw the object in hopes that his/her team members will guess the object on their paper. If the team guesses correctly, before time runs out, they score a point. If the playing team does not guess correctly the other team has five seconds to try to come up with the correct answer. If they guess correctly they score a point and it is their turn to play.



VALENTINE BINGO
You can make your own bingo cards with valentine items instead of numbers to call. You could use a February theme to increase the number of items (groundhogs, President Lincoln, Washington, candy, hearts, doves, valentines, for some examples).



RULES FOR PLAYING THE CARD GAME HEARTS

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POEMS

How do I love the? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight.
For the ends of being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise,
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints---I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning



Live with me, and be my love
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valley's, dales and fields
And all the craggy mountains yields
There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, by whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee a bed or roses,
With a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Then live with me and be my love.
William Shakespeare



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CRAFTS

HEART PIN
Materials:
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 3/4 cups water
Red food coloring
Method:
Make up a batch of baker's clay and knead until well mixed
Add a few drops of food coloring and remix
Roll and cut into small hearts
Insert safety pin into the back of each heart and bake 2-3 hours
Decorate in various ways.


VALENTINE MOUSE
Materials:
red & pink construction paper
scissors
stapler
black marker
white glue
flat lollipop
Instructions:
Fold a piece of red construction paper and cut a half heart about 3 1/2 inches high on the fold. Leave the heart folded to form the body of the mouse.
Cut a smaller heart from the red paper for the head of the mouse.
Cut a slit about halfway up from the point of the heart.
Wrap two sides of the slit around to form a cone nose and staple them in place.
Use a black marker to draw eyes and a nose.
Staple the head to the pointed end of the heart body.
Staple the rounded end of the body so that it forms a pocket.
Cut a tiny heart from red paper. Write PULL on the heart and glue it to the stick end of the lollipop.
Cut a heart from the pink paper to cover the lollipop. Write your valentine message on this heart and glue it over the wrapper.
Tuck the lollipop into the body of the mouse so that the stick end is sticking out to form the tail of the mouse.



VALENTINE DAY CANDY CRAFT CANDLE
Materials:

1 York Peppermint Pattie
1 Roll Lifesavers
Hershey Kiss
Bow
Other candies
Ribbon for decorating
Cellophane tape
For the base, take the Peppermint Pattie and wrap it in foil or fold the corners under and tape. Glue a bow to the top of the Peppermint patty. Cut out the center loop of the bow. Take the outer wrapping off the Lifesavers roll. Don't remove the foil wrap. Tape a Hershey Kiss to the end of the Lifesaver roll. This will create a candle.

You can use other types of rolled candy such as Mentos, Rolos, Spree etc. Tape the bottom of the candle into the bow where the center loop was removed. You can decorate the candle with ribbon or stickers.


VALENTINE'S DAY PLACEMATS
Gather up old Valentines cards, cut out the pictures and glue them onto red construction paper in a collage fashion. Cover placemat with clear contact paper.







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RECIPES

VALENTINE'S DAY STRAWBERRY ANGEL FLUFF
1 ea Angel food cake
1 pk Frozen whipped topping, lg
1 pk Strawberry Jello, lg
1 pk Frozen strawberries

Tear the cake into walnut-size pieces and scatter over bottom of 10"x13" sheet cake pan.
Dissolve Jello in 2 cups of boiling water and then 2 cups cold water.
Allow to jell a little.
Fold in the frozen strawberries and whipped topping which has thawed a little.
Pour over cake and refrigerate until set.
Decorate with whipped cream or additional whipped topping and fresh strawberries.


BUBBLY VALENTINE'S DAY PUNCH
2 qt White Grape Juice
2 L Diet 7-Up
1 L Bottle Club Soda
Mix together the grape juice, 7-up, and club soda.
Chill well before serving.


VALENTINE'S DAY GRAHAM CRACKER HOUSES
For each house you'll use 5 graham crackers; leave 4 whole and break the 5th one in half.
Use a paper plate as the base to hold each house.
Using frosting, glue 2 whole pieces and 2 half pieces together in the shape of a triangle.
Use the 2 remaining whole crackers glue them on top of the rectange to form the roof. Use frosting to add doors and windows (use your imagination, have fun with this)
Decorate your house with Hershey's Kisses, red hots, valentine's day conversation candies, M&Ms, gum drops, raisins, pretzels, licorice, etc. (just use the frosting to glue the goodies onto your house)
Use leftover frosting to make a snow-covered roof.
To make the Frosting:
Mix together 1/2 pound icing sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and between 1 and 2 tablespoons of milk (until frosting looks like the right consistency; not too runny).
If using a pastry bag, be sure to use one with a small tip otherwise you can always use a ziplock bag (just cut a small hole in one corner and squeeze out the frosting).


HEART SHAPED CAKE
Make a heart-shaped cake for Valentine's Day. Just bake a two-layer cake using a favorite recipe (one layer in an 8" round pan, and one in a 8" square pan. When cooled thoroughly, cut the round cake in half. Place the square cake in a diamond shape and place each semi-circle against the top sides of the triangle to resemble a heart. Cover the entire cake with red, white, or pink frosting. Put on the finishing touches by either using candy hearts, Hershey kisses or cake decorations. This cake will be oversized so cover a piece of cardboard with tinfoil to place it on.


VALENTINE SWEETHEART SANDWICH COOKIES RECIPE
Yield: 36

1/4 lb Unsalted butter
1 1/4 c Sugar
2 lg Eggs
1 ts Vanilla extract
1/2 c Unsweetened cocoa
2 c Flour
1/2 ts Salt
1 ts Baking powder
1/2 ts Baking soda

FILLING:

4 tb Unsalted butter
1/8 Peppermint extract
Red Food Coloring
4 c Confectioner's sugar
Whipping cream
To make the cookies, cream the butter with the sugar in a large bowl until light. Beat in eggs and vanilla; set aside. Sift the cocoa, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together. Stir the dry ingredients thoroughly into the butter mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 or 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375F and butter 2 cookie sheets. Using a teaspoon measure, roll level teaspoons of the dough into balls and place them 2 inches apart on the sheets. Bake for 10 to 15 mins, until cookies are puffed and surfaces slightly dry and cracked. Cool on racks.

To make the filling, cream the butter until light. Beat in the peppermint and powdered sugar, adding whipping cream and continuing to beat until the consistency is like creamy frosting, add 2 or 3 droplets of red food coloring to tint pink.

When the cookies are complete cool, spread about 1/2 tbs of filling on the bottom of one cookie, then top with the bottom side of another cookie.





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