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Archive for the 'Valentine' Category

Fabulous Valentines #2: The Love Bugs

Cupid (copyright Lexington Herald-Leader/MCT) This has to be the cutest Valentine idea ever — possibly even cuter than the night of fairies our family used to celebrate every Midsummer’s Eve, when our children were small. (More on that in a minute.) A San Diego family launched the Love Bugs tradition a few years ago after discovering that their home had two magical little creatures, who visit every winter between mid-January and Valentine’s Day. They stay at the adorable lodging 10-year-old Lexie made for them out of a bling-ed out tissue box, and they leave the family little love notes and treats, like Hershey’s Kisses. Naturally, the family writes back and leaves treats in turn.

What a wonderful way to add a little magic to the depths of winter, spread a little loving, and encourage writing at the same time. At our house, the fairies came every year on the summer solstice to cavort in the garden, sip fairy tea and flit about. Naturally, our children needed to set up that party venue for them – using flowers and leaves and tiny acorn tops or shells as cups – and leave notes. And of course, they needed to sample fairy cakes and berry tea first. They’d go to bed in a state of utter excitement. They never saw the fairies, but by morning, the garden had been festooned with ribbons and streamers, and the fairies had left a thank you note (Ah, the joys of glitter pens) and little gifts. Our kids are in their teens now, but they still talk about it. It was a dash of magic in the midst of the humdrum – and whether you prefer love bugs or fairies or elves, it’s a gift of love.

This post is part of the All About Parenting blog carnival about love, which goes live later this week. Read love-ly Valentine tips from parenting experts and creative parents across the blogosphere.

Posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
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Fabulous Valentine Bears

Bear hugs 3 Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we can’t wait for that sweetheart of a holiday. It’s a time to tell friends and family that we love ’em, and to do it in a froth of pink adorableness.

So we’re putting together a Fab Five list of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, with the cutest, easiest valentine cards and treats. And we’re leading off with this sweet treat from the archives of Family Fun Magazine: Fill tiny cellophane bags (we picked ours up at Michael’s – we think they’re supposed to be for homemade lollipops) with tiny Teddy Graham cookies and gummi bears. Tie on a ribbon, and attach a tag that says “Bear hugs for you,” “Join the cub,” “I can’t bear to be without you” or something else suitably adorable. Voila. Instant valentine.

Posted on Monday, January 31st, 2011
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FAB Five of Valentines

Valentines (Courtesy Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. It’s a chance to express how we feel, not just to our spouses and loved ones, but to our friends too. That’s why the idea of storebought Valentines never thrilled me much. Well, OK – when you’ve got four kids under 10 and four classrooms worth of Valentines to churn out, storebought TinkerBell cards start looking really, really good.  But when you take the time to make your own cards, you’re not just saying hey, Happy Pink Cards & Chocolate Day, you’re also giving someone a piece of yourself. It’s not just the doilies and construction paper, it’s the thought and effort and love behind it all. Plus, Valentine-making is the sweetest family craft activity around.

So here’s a Fab Five roundup of adorable, handmade valentine ideas to get us started:

1. Hershey’s candy bar wrappers: Family Fun Magazine suggests making your own custom-made Hershey’s style logo to wrap around those candy bar valentines. The site has downloadable Heart-ey’s chocolate wrappers, but you can also make your own at home. (A friend used a similar idea to make baby announcements a few years back — filling in the baby’s weight, height and other stats in what’s normally the nutritional analysis box. Too cute for words.)

2. Swedish Hearts: We’ve always had a soft spot for these woven heart baskets, especially when they’re made from red and white, or red and pink paper. The instructions are here, but basically, you cut two, identical, long rectangles. Fold each in half and round off the ends. Now, cut two long slits in each, from the fold up, but not all the way through the end. Weave the two pieces of paper together. The first one takes forever, as you figure it out, but then they’re a breeze. And they’re the perfect little holder for a Peppermint Patty or similar treat.
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Posted on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
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Valentine # 6: Hearts on strings

heartI confess: Especially in these tough economic times, I’m always looking for ways to pinch pennies by making instead of buying gifts. But sometimes writer’s block extends to the old imagination, too. So, I find myself looking a little closer at store-bought gifts and wondering, Can I do that?

Here’s one of my favorite “stolen it” ideas for Valentine’s Day. Pottery Barn has a delightful hanging hearts mobile that seems to be a cinch to make, as long as you have a deft touch with a needle (or a sewing machine). You’ll need to buy material in at least five different patterns (you won’t need much so check your scraps or look in the bargain bins at your local craft/fabric stores). You’ll also need about 3-4 yards of ribbon, a thick wire ring, paint to match the color of the ribbon, batting and pinking shears.

First, paint the wire ring in the color of the ribbon and set aside. Cut the ribbon in varying lengths (6-15 inches). Print a heart pattern (such as this one) and cut it out. Trace it on the backside of your material. You will need two or four hearts for each piece of material. Cut out the hearts using pinking shears. Sew the hearts together, about a half inch from the edges, with the backsides facing out, leaving a one-inch opening at the top. Turn it right side out and stuff with batting. Sew the top closed. About halfway down the ribbon, sew on the top of the heart. Repeat for each heart. Wrap the top half of the ribbon around the wire three times, leaving about four inches at the top. Draw all of these top portions together and tie into a loop. That’s it. (And for all those who aren’t looking to pinch pennies, you can buy the real deal for $34.99 from Pottery Barn.)

Posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009
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Valentine Bingo Prepping for that classroom Valentine party? Bingo’s always popular with kids, particularly when you use something edible for the markers – red and white M&Ms, gummi bears, conversation hearts or yogurt covered raisins.

Here’s how to make your bingo boards:
1. Open a word document on your computer and type in “Valentine Bingo” in some particularly Valentine-y font (we used Snell Roundhand and wondered where the heck they come up with these font names). Now click the tab for making tables and insert a 4×4 table right under the heading. Grab a corner with your cursor and pull it down to make appropriate sized squares. Print the results on white card stock, enough for every child in the class or, if you’re using party stations and letting small groups rotate through, 4-6 boards plus 1 extra.
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Posted on Thursday, February 5th, 2009
Under: Crafts, Valentine | 2 Comments »

Valentine #4: Edible Bear Hugs

Bear hugs 3Awww, these are too cute. Family Fun Magazine sent us a sneak peek of their February 2009 issue, and we’ve been swooning over these valentines ever since. Fill tiny cellophane bags (we picked ours up at Michael’s – we think they’re supposed to be for homemade lollipops) with tiny Teddy Graham cookies and gummi bears. Tie on a ribbon, and attach a tag that says “Bear hugs for you,” “Join the cub,” “I can’t bear to be without you” or something else suitably adorable. Voila. Instant valentine.

Posted on Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
Under: Valentine | 2 Comments »

VALENTINE #3: The Dress-Up Relay Race

Feather boa (Photo courtesy of Samantha Sargent, stock.xchng) Looking for fun classroom party ideas? A dress-up relay race is great for any age and it’s infinitely adaptable. We’ve used it for back to school parties, Valentines and end-of-school shindigs, kindergarten through fifth grade, and it’s always popular!

For a Valentine’s relay, you’ll need one small suitcase, duffle bag or backpack for each team. Pack each suitcase with a pair of ridiculous red tube socks, huge boxer shorts with red hearts, a feather boa, a tiara and sunglasses. The boa and boxers make kids laugh, so we always include them, but you can use any variation of clothing.

Here’s how to play:
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Posted on Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009
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VALENTINES: Heart Pockets

Valentines (Courtesy So, how cute are these? It’s day two of our Valentine countdown and we’re making these pretty paper heart pockets, some as decorations and others for holding valentine cards. They’re another brilliant idea from‘s round up of Valentine ideas. Here’s how to make them…

1. Cut two heart shapes of equal size out of pink or red paper or card stock.

2. Cut 2 or 3 additional, smaller hearts from contrasting paper, and attach them with glue, spray adhesive, double sticky tape or a simple running stitch to the front.

3. Now stack the two main hearts with right sides facing out. Use a sewing machine to zigzag stitch around the edges, leaving the top open. Use pinking shears to trim the edges, if you wish, then punch holes near the top of pouch and thread ribbons through. Voila!

Posted on Monday, February 2nd, 2009
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VALENTINE Countdown: Oh-So-Pink Cookies

Valentine Shortbread (Courtesy February! We’re two weeks out from Valentine’s Day. Time to fire up the oven and rustle up the doilies and ribbons. And we’re starting our Valentine countdown with a recipe from one of our favorite sites for recipes, crafts and decoration ideas, (And thank you, Better Homes & Gardens folks, for always being so nice about sharing!) We’ve been swooning over their ideas for sweet peppermint stars – little florets of pink and white meringue – and red velvet cupcakes. But that mouthwatering photo above is for White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread, the perfect oh-so-pink cookie for your sweetie. Here’s how it’s done.
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Posted on Sunday, February 1st, 2009
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VALENTINE Countdown Coming Soon!

 Valentines Day (Laurie McAdam, MCT)Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Check back with us on Sunday, as we begin our 2-week countdown to the pinkest and sweetest of holidays – Valentine cards, crafts, recipes and classroom party ideas.

Posted on Thursday, January 29th, 2009
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