Monday, February 8, 2010

The Dreaded Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day...until recently I detested this "holiday." It's saturated with candy, chocolate, cut flowers, cards and for what just to tell someone that you love them? Isn't that something that we do anyway, day in and day out, to our children, husbands, parents, friends, anyone we care about...why is there a special day devoted to this? I think we all know the reason for this, but that's not my point here. It wasn't until just last year that I have changed my tune about this particular day, thanks to my kids. My oldest is just old enough to have an interest in celebrating Valentine's Day amongst the many other holiday's and I have quickly learned to have some fun with this ridiculous day.

There will be a big Valentine's celebration at school at the end of this week so I had to get my act together and come up with some fun project ideas to create enough Valentine's Day cards for my oldest to share with his friends. After providing a couple of choices, my son decided that we would make salt dough hearts and turn some into necklaces and some into magnets. This is really a simple and engaging project that can be done in 2 steps over a couple of days. Simple enough that all of my children were able to share in making the dough, cutting out the hearts and decorating them. Recipe follows-

Salt Dough Hearts
Mix 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup water and 1 cup of flour. Roll out the dough to desired thickness, cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Place the hearts on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake in a 250 degree oven for about 2 hours. Thicker dough may take longer.
For necklaces-remember to place a hole through the center of each heart (end of a paintbrush works well for this) prior to baking.
After the hearts have baked and cooled, decorate with paint. We added some glitter after painting for a nice effect.
For magnets-glue a heavier round magnet to the back of the heart. For necklaces-use yarn or heavy string to thread. Embellish each with a simple handmade tag and share with your friends.

This is a perfect time to indulge in making homemade cards for your loved ones. Give your kids a glue stick, some odds and ends found around the house and let them create a masterpiece to send their love to the family and friends.

And all that chocolate that you may have left from Christmas or that you'll be faced with from the 14th...a friend passed along an idea that she implemented in her home for her children. Fill a jar with Hershey Kisses or any type of chocolate and label it with "Kisses for Kindness" or "Chocolates for Caring," catch your kids being kind or caring and present them with a special treat.

One last thought to celebrate the day on Sunday after you've donned the breakfast table with heart shaped toast or pancakes, take your kids on a heart hunt. At some point earlier that morning, place precut red hearts around your yard or on a trail in the woods. Send the kids out to look for the hearts. Just a little something to get everyone outside for some fresh air and to spice things up a bit.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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