17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Celebrating Valentines Day with the Family

These last few days I have been thinking of ways to celebrate Valentines Day with my family. DH is not big into Valentines Day and through the years I have come to appreciate his reasons and accept the absence of chocolates and flowers on February the 14th. But that doesn't mean I can't have some fun celebrating the day. My mom always did something special for us kids on Valentines Day. There would be a nice handwritten card in our lunchbox, a little piece of candy and pink cream cheese in our bagel. Nothing big, but it was obviously memorable. She even did it when I was in high school. I acted embarrassed in front of my friends, but secretly I loved it.

Just as I was having these thoughts, I got two guest posts in the Tales inbox with some fun ideas that need to be shared. And make sure you get down to the last one - it's a fun idea but it's time sensitive!
The first three ideas came from Corinne:

I've always had a soft spot for Valentines Day - of course as a teenager it was either angst-filled or absolutely heaven on earth, depending on if I had a boyfriend or not. Getting Valentines at school was such fun for me and I am such a sucker for candy. But my mother always made the day special for me by having a little bag of Valentine treats (red chewy hearts etc) and a small present (small, like, $5 or less - a My Little Pony or a cassette tape or something) waiting for us on the kitchen table when we woke up in the morning. Next to our presents was always a card that my grandparents sent from Chicago. She did this for me until I moved out and now she and I do it for my three children.

A couple years ago my friend shared a tradition with me: she makes a fancy candle-lit dinner for her family on Valentines Day. She uses her best dishes and has little treat baskets on the table and makes a meal everyone enjoys. I did this last year for the first time and it was such fun. The candles thrilled my children and I loved that it was a way for me to make the day special for my family. I'm already planning this year's dinner.

A new tradition I am going to start this year is a Valentine's Day tree - I think I got the idea from some Family Fun book. Today my children and I cut a bunch of colored hearts out of paper, punched holes in them and strung them with ribbon. For family night on Monday we're going to write down all the things that we love about each other as well as things that we love about our life. Then we'll hang them on our tiny tabletop tree - if we didn't have a tiny tree, I'd probably past them on a door or window, somewhere visible.

You send your Valentine cards to romantic cities and they postmark your letter and send it back. All you have to do is send a self stamped envelope in another envelope (also stamped) to the postmaster of the city. It's really fun, and usually each city has it's own special stamp they put on it, because they are proud of their romantic name. The sooner you do it the better, it has to travel all the way there and back, so I think there's still time if you do it within the next couple of days. The worst thing that could happen is that you don't get back on or before Valentine's Day, so it's worth a try. Good Luck!

To participate: address the valentine card or letter, put a stamp on it, and put it in a larger envelope, also with a stamp on it, addressed to ``Postmaster, (Town Name), Valentine Re-Mailing, (City, State, ZIP Code). Postage is 39 cents for letters, 24 cents for small postcards. Post offices offering the special service are:

Bliss, N.Y. 14024
Heart Butte, Mont. 59448
Juliette, Ga. 31046
Loveland, Colo. 80538
Loveville, Md. 20656
Loving, N.M. 88256
Romance, Ark. 72136
Romeo, Mich. 48065
Sugar City, Colo. 81076
Valentine, Neb. 69201
Valentine, Texas 79854
Valentines, Va. 23887

Anyone else have any fun things they do to make Valentines Day special for their families?


  • I found this on Design Mom - http://www.marthastewart.com/page.jhtml?type=content&id=tvs9090&contentGroup=TV&site=living&rsc=ns2006_m3 and plan to do the Heart Garland with my kids. I like the idea of having a special candlelit dinner with the family too.

    My mom always had a special valentine for us, a little present, plently of candy and a card. She was one of those moms that continued with the tradition until I was out of college - I loved it.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/05/2007 08:45:00 PM  

  • I think V-day can be totally fun if you commit to the cheesiness of it all. Chocolates, cards, flowers. I definitely like the family candlelit dinner. You could also do the same thing as a picnic on your livingroom floor and get cheese and crackers, fruit, bread and a bunch of fun foods you don't usually have.
    posted by Blogger Beth at 2/05/2007 09:01:00 PM  

  • I always send valentines made by me (and now me and my kiddo) to all my single friends along with some to the grandparents. Everybody should get at least one valentine every year.... because there's a zillion different kinds of love and they should all be celebrated!
    posted by Blogger Em at 2/06/2007 06:31:00 AM  

  • I remember LOVING to decorate my valentine's box for school. I always wanted it to be the prettiest. I loved getting and giving cards and treats.

    Now, this year for my preschooler, Lena, I am going to make my special "cream cheese sugar cookie cut-outs" in the shape of a heart, cooked onto a stick (like the cookie flower arrangements), and frost each one with the monogrammed letter of each child in her class. It's covered with a clear treat bag and tied with a red valentinesy ribbon.

    If you are interested in making some DIE-FOR sugar cookies, try this recipe. It is awesome!! (BTW, I usually DOUBLE IT)

    Cream Cheese Cut-outs:
    1/2 c. buttter
    1 -3 oz pkg.chrm cheese
    2 c. flour
    1 c. sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    Directions: "In mixing bowl combine butter and crm cheese with a mixer on med to high speed for 30 sec. Add about HALF the flour, sugar, egg, bkg powder, and vanilla. Beat til thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Cover & chill 1 hr till easy to handle.

    Divide chilled dough on half, roll to desired thickness btween 1/8th to 1/4 in. thick. (Thicker=softer cookies, thinner=chrunchier cookies) Cut with cookie cutters, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for about 8 minutes.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 2/06/2007 06:52:00 AM  

  • p.s., I have done my own frosting to go with these, and it is very naughty but yummy.

    Combine 1 part softened butter with about 1/2 part cream cheese (to taste) and enough powdered sugar to get the consistency you want. Then add a TEENY bit of vanilla or almond, but not too much or it will color the frosting yellow. Then I add food coloring to make the pretty colors I want.

    Quick and easy tip for frosting bags, I use snack size zip-lock bags and fill them with frosting, tape off the zippy parts and snip varying size holes in the bottom corner of a bunch of bags. They become the perfect easy froster bags, dispsable once the frosting is used up!
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 2/06/2007 07:02:00 AM  

  • Last year my DH was sick for Valentines Day, so he had my ds take me out on a date. It was the cutest. I think we may all go out for a lunch date again. I also set up little mailboxes for everyone so the kids can stuff them full of notes and random treats.

    Thanks Rachel H for the recipe!
    posted by Blogger trimama at 2/06/2007 07:30:00 AM  

  • My DH always does Valentine's for his "girls" --and now that there's a boy, I'm not sure what he's going to do :). He always brings a dozen roses for me, a dozen of something for #1 and another dozen of something for #2. Then he makes us an "adult" dinner --for all of us --that the kids just love (grown-up dishes, candlight, tablecloth, etc.) as we listen to some kind of romantic music (think Josh Groban --not Barry White).

    I always do something little for the kids, too. Usually they wake up to a small toy (plush flowers that bend, small heart pillows, etc.) and candy hearts. I try not to give too much candy (Christmas, NY's, anniversary, and 2 birthdays all before V-day gets us all sick of sugar).

    I usually get DH a mushy card or write him a ridiculously long love letter. I remember one year, #2 was only 4 days old, and in between feedings, he and I went to a restaurant; just the 2 of us. That was nice!

    Anyways, boring, I know, but it works for us... :)
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 2/06/2007 08:05:00 AM  

  • Carrie, my DH isn't into Valentines day either, likely for similar reasons.. IT figures that I finally get a valentine, but he boycotts the holiday. oh well.

    I use the day as an excuse to give him some practical gifts...renewing his Triple A and National Geographic subscription. I then usually convince him to treat to my favorite local mexican joint.

    I really like the idea of giving valentines to all your single friends. thanks, em.
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 2/06/2007 11:23:00 AM  

  • My family always had our dining room table covered in valentine card makings the first couple weeks of Feb. We made them for all our brothers, sisters, and parents. With 9 kids, that was plenty of creativity to be had! We secretly taped them onto the hallway wall at some time early on the 14th. I have great memories of walking down the hall and watching the wind from my walk flutter them up and down. And, searching for the ones for me was always so fun. My dad began our tradition of ridiculous "roses are red" rhymes. His would always make us laugh...or groan.

    Now-a-days, I try not to be in too much of a hurry as I make cards now so that I can occasionally come up with something witty! I hope my kids have as much fun with card making as I did. And now I actually live somewhere with a hall-way. In NY we taped them up on a door. Whatever works!

    Love the ideas--candle light family dinner surely would be a pleaser!
    posted by Blogger Katie at 2/06/2007 03:38:00 PM  

  • I love all of these ideas!

    My mom always made us our own plate of sugar cookies where she hand picks the messages on the candy hearts and frosts them with the exact amount of frosting we each like - then leaves the plate on the front porch with our valentine, rings the doorbell and runs. We could never figure out how she did it when we were little - one minute she would be flipping red and pink heart shaped pancakes the next thing we knew the doorbell sounded and our Valentines were magically there.
    My husband and I lived with her last year while our house was being finished and she did it! I loved it!
    When we lived in NYC she would mail my "plate".
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 2/06/2007 06:22:00 PM  

  • We give our girls a "heart attack". We've cut out dozens and dozens of hearts (some are ones they've made at school, others are leftover valentines cards), then the night before Valentine's Day we sneak into their rooms and tape hearts all over the walls, the door, their beds.

    They love getting up in the morning.

    My mom used to make sandwich cookies that I thought were really good, but that's fallen by the wayside because my girls don't like oatmeal in their cookies. (Sometimes I make a half-batch just for me, though!)
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 2/10/2007 07:38:00 AM  

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