JOSEPH F. EMMERTH A LOOK AT FAMILY LAW SULLIVAN, TAYLOR, GUMINA & PALMER, P.C.
ACTS OF RANDOM KINDNESS
Be Kind to Others for No Reason
Feb. 17 is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. The idea behind the holiday led me to think about the importance of being kind to the people in your life, whether you know each other well or are strangers passing by on the street. A small act of kindness can go a long way. National Random Acts of Kindness Day began as a small event in New Zealand on Sept. 1, which marks the beginning of spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Josh de Jong, co-founder of RAK Day, had the idea while sitting in busy Auckland traffic and observing some of the angry drivers around him. He thought what a difference it would make if, instead of being so cold and angry, people were to act kindly toward each other. Since then the holiday has steadily become more and more popular, with many groups, schools, and individuals taking
It’s not uncommon for people to start feeling restless this month. Winter is slowly grinding onward, and people’s nerves can be on edge. The weather continues to be gloomy — and still as cold as ever — even if we do get a few rays of sunshine sometimes. People get tired of being cooped up in their homes and want to get out of the house to stretch their legs and breathe fresh air. Sometimes it seems like everyone is sick of looking at and talking to each other, just wanting respite from these long winter nights. I think that because this time of year can feel so lousy, it’s difficult to do something nice for each other. It can be easy to stay negative, but doing even the smallest act of kindness for your spouse, children, or even your ex can make a huge difference. If you’re divorced, acts of kindness might be unexpected or even seem downright impossible, but they can happen if you choose to make them happen. Sending flowers or a thank-you note to acknowledge
time to celebrate, create their own events, and pass on the message of kindness to others.
something they did for you, helping them find a new job, or even sending a cake over with the kids on your ex-spouse’s birthday are small but significant acts. The best part about celebrating National Random Acts of Kindness Day is that it doesn’t have to be just one day. This is an opportunity to practice kindness every day. You might never know the difference you can make by holding open a door, helping someone down the stairs, or bringing in the groceries.
IT’S NOT UNCOMMON FOR PEOPLE TO START FEELING RESTLESS THIS MONTH. WINTER IS SLOWLY GRINDING ONWARD, AND PEOPLE’S NERVES CAN BE ON EDGE.”
I will leave you with a quote from Princess Diana, who was known for being the people’s princess: “Carry out random acts of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” –Joseph Emmerth
SAFE AND SWEET Allergy-Friendly Valentines for Your Child’s Classmates
household items. Have your children draw pictures, create cards, mold tiny sculptures, or braid together friendship bracelets to create one-of-a-kind gifts that will be safe for their classmates to enjoy. Kids can put their own effort into gift-giving, and their valentines will have a personal touch candy cannot replicate. THINK LIKE A KID If you’re looking for a creative valentine that will be safe for all your child’s friends to play with, check no further than the toy aisle of your local dollar store. While being mindful of latex allergies, you can purchase little toys that kids will love that won’t break your bank. Think bouncy balls, mini skateboards, Army men, yo-yos, puzzles, rubber ducks, hand-held games, markers, or bubbles. Adorn these little gifts with yarn, ribbons, or personalized tags, and slap on cute sayings to make them fit for the holiday. Finish off the masterpiece by having your kiddo sign their name on each
valentine, and you’ve got a kid-approved Valentine’s Day favorite.
FANCY UP SOME FRUIT If you’re worried about food allergies but still want to make a yummy treat, ask your child’s teacher for a list of students’ allergies, then just work around them. Fruits are usually a safe bet, but it’s best to double check. You could skewer strawberries and heart-shaped pieces of watermelon onto kabob sticks for a sweet and fun snack, or pass out goody bags with apples, bananas, and clementines. Offering a group snack that is allergy- friendly will keep your children and their friends safe and healthy, and it can also help children with allergies feel included in the festivities. As with all Valentine’s Day gifts, keep in mind that it’s not the item or money spent that means the most. It’s the thought behind each gift that makes receiving valentines the sweetest part.
For a parent of a child with allergies, every day can feel like a battle with food labels and ingredients lists — and Valentine’s Day only exacerbates this fear. Avoid the danger of an allergic reaction on Valentine’s Day by creating alternative, candy-free valentines that the whole class will enjoy! GET CREATIVE This valentine idea taps into your kids’ desire to create by using commonly found
Why You Should Pick Up That Controller GAMING WITH YOUR KIDS
Video games are present in an increasing number of American households. The Entertainment Software Association found that in 2018, 70 percent of parents reported that games were a positive activity in their children’s lives, and 67 percent even play alongside their child at least once a week. Some of you may already be regularly gaming with your kids, but for the rest of you, here are some things to keep in mind. WHY GAMING TOGETHER MATTERS Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and UC Berkeley have shown that video games can have many positive effects on a child, from encouraging critical thinking and social skills to imparting the value of perseverance. Beyond these life skills, video games can also be a way for you to better connect with your child. As game designer and New York Times bestselling author Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., writes, “Games make it easy to build stronger social bonds with our friends and family. Studies show that we like and trust someone better after we play a game with them — even if they beat us.” FIND THE RIGHT GAME Finding the right game to play with your child can be a challenge. Regardless of what platform your child plays on, there’s a nearly
inexhaustible list of games to choose from, and some are more child-friendly than others.
At the very least, research the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating of a game to make sure its content is age-appropriate.
When choosing a game, it’s a good idea to keep your child’s interests in mind. Do they enjoy creating things? Games like “Minecraft,” “Super Mario Maker,” and “Scribblenauts Remix” can act as a great sandbox for you and your child’s imaginations to run wild. Does your child love to solve puzzles? “Snail Bob 2,” “Snipperclips,” and “Portal 2” will have you and your child thinking outside the box for hours. Want to engage in a little friendly competition? “Mario Kart,” “FIFA,” and “Bam Fu” are all excellent choices. GOING BEYOND SCREEN TIME Whether you pick up a controller yourself or just watch your children play games, the most supportive thing you can do as a parent is reinforce the skills they are learning. Understanding that the same creativity and determination that gets them to the end of a level can be applied in the real world is be a powerful thing for a child’s development.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW ABOUT GROUNDHOG DAY?
3 MYTHS ABOUT OUR FAVORITE FURRY METEOROLOGIST
MYTH 2: GROUNDHOG DAY IS HARMLESS. Much like humans, most groundhogs don’t like being suddenly jostled out of their sleep. Their frustration often leads to them biting their handlers. For this reason, the handlers usually wear heavy gloves to protect themselves. However, that isn’t always enough of a precaution to ensure everyone’s safety. In 2009, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was bitten through his glove, and subsequent Mayor Bill de Blasio dropped his groundhog in 2014. MYTH 3: PHIL IS THE ONLY FAMOUS RODENT. While Phil is probably the most well-known ground-dwelling meteorologist, he is not the only groundhog with weather predicting abilities. For example, General Beauregard Lee is the weather predictor for the city of Lilburn, Georgia. Staten Island Chuck takes care of the New York territory, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has three groundhogs of its own, which is probably due to its rich Pennsylvania Dutch history. Canada has even started a Groundhog Day tradition with Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia and Balzac Billy in Alberta. Even though Groundhog Day is a holiday based on many myths, it still provides a great time for event-goers all across the world. You might not be able to fully trust Phil’s predictions, but the superstition and mystique associated with this unique and festive day make it one you shouldn’t skip out on.
Despite the fact that most, if not all, meteorologists place little value on a furry marmot’s ability to predict an early spring, the annual tradition of Groundhog Day is still one that millions of people love to celebrate. Because it is based more on folkloric legend than scientific evidence, Groundhog Day is associated with shams and spoofs of varying degrees. There are many myths regarding the tradition as well as the famous Punxsutawney Phil himself. MYTH 1: THE PREDICTIONS ARE ACCURATE. Many event-goers put a lot of faith in Punxsutawney Phil’s predictions. Unfortunately, he is more likely to be wrong than right. According to studies based on Phil’s predictions and the weather patterns that follow, it seems Phil’s predictions receive an accuracy rate of only 39 percent.
HAVE A LAUGH!
This Italian favorite makes for the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. It’s easy to whip up and will make the holiday feel extra special. TIRAMISU • 6 egg yolks • 3 tablespoons sugar • 1 pound mascarpone cheese • 1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled • 2 teaspoons dark rum 1. In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to beat together egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. 2. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. 3. Fold in 1 tablespoon of espresso. 4. In a small, shallow dish, combine remaining espresso with rum. Dip each ladyfinger into mixture for 5 seconds. Place soaked ladyfingers at the bottom of a walled baking dish. INGREDIENTS DIRECTIONS
Inspired by foodnetwork.com
• 24 packaged ladyfingers • 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
5. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the first layer of ladyfingers. Top with another layer of ladyfingers and another layer of mascarpone. 6. Cover and refrigerate 2–8 hours. 7. Remove from fridge, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, and serve.
JOSEPH F. EMMERTH SULLIVAN, TAYLOR, GUMINA & PALMER, P.C.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Acts of Random Kindness PAGE 1
Candy-Free Valentines PAGE 2
Why Parents Should Play Video Games PAGE 2
3 Myths About Our Favorite Furry Meteorologist PAGE 3
Tiramisu PAGE 3
Three Cheers for Chi Chi! PAGE 4
CHI CHI THE RESCUE DOG A QUADRUPLE AMPUTEE WHO INSPIRES THE WORLD
In our darkest moments, it can be hard to believe joy can be found again. But one amazing dog proves that no matter what happens, through love and patience, we can make the world a better place.
Chi Chi is a golden retriever who was found in a dumpster by an animal rescue group in South Korea. Badly injured and left in a garbage bag with her legs bound together, the only way to save Chi Chi’s life was to amputate all four of her legs. As she recovered, the call went out to find a family who could care for a dog with serious medical needs. As a quadruple amputee, just getting Chi Chi’s prosthetics on so she could go outside in the morning would be time-consuming. Fortunately, Elizabeth Howell from Arizona saw a video about Chi Chi’s plight online. “She stole my heart,” Howell said, taken by how Chi Chi was still wagging her tail despite her injuries. After seeing Chi Chi’s
perseverance and her will to live, Elizabeth and her family took on the challenge. There were struggles as Chi Chi learned to trust people again, but with time, Chi Chi found peace and joy with her new family. “She exemplifies resilience and forgiveness and willingly shares her love and compassion in abundance,” Howell has said. “Her sweet-tempered and gentle spirit opens people’s hearts and her perceptive spirit senses where her love is needed.” Chi Chi’s vet has called her a “miracle dog,” referring both to the fact that she survived losing all her legs and to the joy she brings to the world. Today, Chi Chi is a registered therapy dog, offering strength, love, and
support to those who need it most. She visits VA hospitals, assisted living facilities, and children with disabilities. To celebrate her journey of survival, courage, and love, Chi Chi was honored with the American Humane Hero Dog Award in 2018. You can follow the adventures of this brave, loving canine at Facebook.com/ChiChiRescueDog.
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