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Bates: Shop local for romantic gifts for Valentine's Day

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My daughter, Amy, married a romantic. Now, don’t get me wrong. Her husband, Alan, has two feet on the ground, helping to raise two young boys while managing the accounting department of an international firm. Yet he is wonderfully romantic. Lucky Amy!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am sharing just one heart-fluttering idea Alan had. I hope the gentlemen reading this will follow Alan’s lead. A couple of Valentine's Days ago, Alan presented my daughter with six weeks of Amy Wednesdays. You may ask what are Amy Wednesdays? Simple. Every Wednesday for six weeks Amy received from Alan a surprise activity or gift.

Amy anticipated eagerly each Wednesday during the next six weeks. One Wednesday she received a dozen red roses. Another Wednesday she was taken out to dinner at a restaurant she had never been to. Yet another Wednesday it was breakfast in bed. The next Wednesday she received her favorite Rogers and Hammerstein DVD musicals, and the last Wednesday was simply a slow walk along the Riverwalk holding hands.

I encourage you guys to take Valentine’s Day seriously this year, warming the winter months. You, too, can be romantic and host Amy Wednesdays. As always, shop local while doing so.

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Only three booths left for Life is a Journey Expo. The expo will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 16 at McHenry High School West Campus, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road.

Sponsored by Bjorkman's Ace Hardware, Centegra Health System, Northwest Herald and Worldwide Traveler Ltd., Life is a Journey is an expo within an expo featuring many roads to cross such as Automotive Highway, Business to Business Boulevard, Children's Court, Financial Frontage, Health & Fitness Fairway, Home Highway, Leisure Lane, Pet Parkway, Senior Street and Woman's Walkway.

From 9 to 11:30 a.m., the Coupon Queen will give a Super Couponing presentation. Early attendance by reservation only. Doors open at 9 a.m. for this show. Call 815-385-4300 to reserve your spot.

Expo entertainment and programs will include Corkscrew Gymnastics & Sports Academy all day; Animal Adventures Animal Show at 10:30 a.m.; 4 Strings Attached of The Martin Lopez Academy at 12:30 p.m.; Humor & Healthy Aging presentation by Sue Salach-Cutler at 1:30 pm; and Home Improvement Tips from Bjorkman's Ace Hardware at 2:30 p.m. Additional features will include Fun With Phonics Story Skit, Gypsy Glen K-9 Kastle Dog Safety presentation, inflatables, face painting, free popcorn, bowling lane, drag racing speed game, miniature horse, safety dogs demos, and giveaways.

Patrons have the chance to win a three-night trip (including air fare) to Now Jade Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico, valued at $2,500, compliments of Worldwide Traveler Ltd., Now Jade Resort and Apple Vacations.

For more information, call 815-385-4300 or visit www.mchenrychamber.com.

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The McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to attend a Breakfast N' Learn on "HR for Business in 3 Easy Steps" presented by The Outsource Group. This three-part seminar takes place from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 21, March 7 and March 21. Arrive at 7 a.m. for a free breakfast.

The Feb. 21 program will be how to balance the growth of your business with the demands of day-to-day operations. March 7 will be how government defines your business. Reviewed will be government regulations including the new health care reform act. The March 21 program will explore payroll, employment laws, workers compensation, SUTA, FUTA, policy handbook, OSHA and benefits.

Register at www.mchenrychamber.com.

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The next mixer is from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Red Mango, 1114 N. Green St. Be sure to register for Never Eat Alone luncheon will be held at 11:45 a.m. Feb. 27 at Sugar Buzz Cupcakes, 2210 Route 120, McHenry, with a total cost of $8 for sandwich, soup, beverage, tax and tip. Appetizer will include heavy duty networking.

Bring Your Lunch and Learn tomorrow from noon to 1 p.m. at the chamber office, 1257 N. Green St. Topic will be Organics 101 presented by Sally South, Cornerstone Health Coaching Group. This is a free event but reservations are needed by calling 815-385-4300.

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Save the Date: The McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce will host the State of McHenry mayoral luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. March 6 at the McHenry Country Club, 820 N. John St., McHenry. Mayor Susan Low will discuss city accomplishments during 2012 and detail McHenry’s vision for 2013. Those interested in transportation issues, residential growth, commercial development and McHenry’s Riverwalk should plan to attend. Cost is $25 per person for chamber members and $30 for nonmembers. Tables of eight are $175. Reservation deadline is March 1. Register by calling 815-385-4300 or visitingwww.mchenrychamber.com.

• Kay Rial Bates is the president and CEO of the McHenry Area Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at kay@mchenrychamber.com.

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