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handmade_eco-friendly_valentine_card_2 handmade_eco-friendly_valentine_cards_3handmade_eco-friendly_valentine_card_web As a child, Valentine’s Day was one of my favorites. At home, our celebration was beautifully simple, typically a special dessert or snack or note in our lunchbox. At school, we had an elaborate celebration with baked goods and sweet drinks. Everyone brought self-decorated shoeboxes with little slits in the top, cut like a mail drop in a door. We shared notes (often generic ones with a cartoon on the front), and the very best ones included stickers or candy.

I cannot reproduce this experience entirely for my children now, but I do try to find ways to make the season special at home with small handmade projects or heart-shaped snacks. This year, we’re using supplies and materials we already own to create our valentines. It’s flexible for all ages, and just the sort of light-hearted project to enjoy as a family over the weekend or to occupy busy bees during the week. I shared more details today on the Babiekins blog.

On the same note: other handmade cards we’ve made  | the year I forgot Valentine’s Day | the year I learned the hard truth of love on Valentine’s Day

Happy weekend, friends! x

 

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As parents, Mark and I have learned to be creative about our “dates.” Every other week we have a legitimate night-out to ourselves, but between those evenings, we squeeze whatever random moments we can. Fortunately, we’re both pretty simple people, both of us more often enjoying casual intimacy over fancy, crowded restaurants. So when my sister offered to take my kids to the movies on Saturday morning in exchange for watching her daughter (who would mostly be napping), I took the opportunity to create a little impromptu lunch date for us. I roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus, pulled out a little brie, a baguette, and a bottle of wine (midday? gasp.).

Typically, I’d take a blanket outside, but since our weather has been cold and damp still, I opted for an indoor picnic instead. Using one of our throw blankets, I spread our small feast across our bedroom floor–the perfect casual, romantic lunch. It was brief compared to a typical evening date but such an ideal way to spend together and connect.

This Valentine’s Day will be particularly special for me and Mark since we’ll be closing on OUR NEW HOME. Crazy, right? It’s a cozy 1930’s craftsman needing a lot of attention and love, but we’re so grateful for this gift. The best Valentine’s Day gift really. We’ll be celebrating by having another indoor picnic (by candlelight) in our empty place, just the two of us. I’m pretty excited. What are your plans for this weekend? Remember, simple can be just as romantic (even if you pick up dinner).

Coyote Handle Board was gifted from Given Goods, a fair-trade business supporting artisans in developing countries. All thoughts and images are my own. 

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I’m not sure why, but Valentine’s Day often sneaks up on me. Mark and I usually plan something small for ourselves, but I often forget about the exchange of sentimental goods kids share, too. I used to love it as a child. We’d decorate boxes and share cards and candy with one another. When my own kids were young, they didn’t really know (or care) or understand about Valentine’s Day, and I never pushed them into it–a heart-shaped cake or cookie usually did the trick. I still remember the year that changed. Since then, I make an effort to remember: they want to share on that day, too.

As I scoured the internet, laden with adorable Valentine DIYs, for ideas this year, I realized I would be doing a large amount of the work (which for me, defeats the purpose). I decided instead to just let the kids make their own. They love creating their own masterpieces to share with others and I’m always amazed at what their minds and hands can do together. I brought out the felt heart-shaped stickers and different washi tapes I found last weekend in the Target dollar section, along with several other art supplies we had on hand at home. After spreading them out across the table and introducing the materials (especially the ones in limited quantity), I let them loose to create. They cheered, literally. Meanwhile, I sat down with them, helping them spell names and creating on my own paper. The projects belonged to each of them: specific gifts handmade with love.

{materials we used–this can vary}

  • heart-shaped cookie cutters (for tracing)
  • washi tape
  • oil pastels
  • construction paper
  • red + white twine
  • felt heart stickers
  • glue sticks
  • scissors

 

 

 

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Without love, deeds, even the most brilliant, count as nothing.
― Thérèse de Lisieux

On this day internationally commemorating love, it seems easier to focus on the deeds — the perfect date, flowers, chocolates, or as it might be at our house, pink ombré pancakes. But this morning, as the kids and I moved through our usual routine, I found my heart, once full from the giddiness of pink pancake hearts, quickly drained by the deeds of bickering and complaining. Not very valentine-esque, right? I could feel my frustration — my exhaustion — at these attitudes growing within me when these words above (paraphrased from 1 Corinthians 13) rang through my heart — without love, deeds count as nothing. What good are my beautiful pancake gifts if I cannot respond in love to my children when they’re not loving? As good as nothing. Come again? Nothing? So in the midst of our school morning and rising tensions, I opted for an hour break — the kids to play and for me to be alone (relatively). I needed to be loved, to be reminded of a great Love toward me, to be filled not with more deeds but with Truth. My heart was strengthened again. The greatest of these is love. So. Good.

May you all be filled with love to share somehow today. Happy “Love” Day, everyone.