Our family celebrates Valentine's Day as a family. We don't give valentines to others like happens in school classes or the such. We want our children to know that love is special and should be treated as such. They are being taught to not get emotionally or otherwise involved in a one-on-one relationship with anyone of the opposite sex until the time that they are ready to marry.
So, over the years, our family has celebrated Valentine's Day in a variety of ways. For a few years, we would get dressed up and Ed would take the whole family out to eat at O'Charley's, where some could eat for free. Then, the next 2 or 3 years, we filled red, heart shaped boxes with candy and gave to the children. We used the boxes over again and still have them in the attic. For a year or two, I made a special supper of fondue. That was a lot of work for the cook (and I had to borrow crockpots to keep the fondue warm), but the children really enjoyed it.
This year, I wanted to do something different, but not spend much money. With the help of Swagbucks, I armed myself with several ideas that I could use to surprise my family. Some of the things I'd do again, and others weren't worth the trouble and time.
My family was quite surprised to find a the breakfast table set nicely with surprises at their plates.
The main course was overnight pancakes topped with apple, cinnamon, and sugar. I made rice krispie treats, tinted them pink, used a funnel to help shape them, wrapped them in foil, and added a tag that said "Happy Valentine's Day". They each had a necklace made of a Dove chocolate heart wrapped in wire and tied on a ribbon. This is Samuel's plate. The boys had a foil covered key shape with a red Sculpty heart for the "key to my heart" idea. The girls had bracelets made of red ribbon decorated with a simple flower shape, with a velcro closure. The rice krispie treats were appreciated, as were the candy and the bracelets. The heart keychain idea, and making the candy heart into a necklace weren't worth the time, trouble, or expense.
For a snack, they found personalized Hershey bars and valentine pencils decorated with heart shaped beads on ribbons. The candy bars made a really good presentation and they liked the idea (and loved the candy), but the pencils weren't worth the time, trouble, or expense. The pencils will get used, but the ribbons slide off.
While Ed was at church last night (we all stayed home to make sure we wouldn't pass on any sickness), I gave the children homemade play-dough tinted pink and cut into hearts (for presentation) to keep them busy while I got supper ready. This was definitely a good idea!
For a special supper, we had spaghetti with heart shaped meatballs and a red, slushy punch. Our bread was braided and in a heart shape. Dessert was Sweetheart Cupcakes.
I learned that special food was appreciated more than the crafty ideas and will keep that in mind. Overall, a good Valentine's Day was had by all!
And, in case you think I'm Wonder Woman and did all this in one day, you're wrong. The ideas were gathered one very late night and the other things were made during the week and hidden. Sarah helped with some of it. The meatballs were shaped and cooked on Friday, then kept in the fridge. The cupcakes were baked mid-week and frozen. They were thawed on Saturday, frosted that night, and hidden away until dessert time. Planning makes a world of difference!