Monday, February 7, 2011

A Family Valentine's Day!

guest post by Amy H.

Valentine's Day is an opportunity to show hospitality to your family as well as others! Here are a few ideas to make February a memorable month! The best part? You probably already have everything, or at least almost everything you need! Happy planning!

*Prepare Hearts. Choose either a verse or passage from the Bible about love and memorize it together. Display the verse or passage so it is always before you: on an index card, hung on the fridge, or even framed as a decoration. As you memorize, meditate and apply the verses together. Taking time to prepare your heart is the most important part of making Valentine's a special blessing for your family and for others.



*Decorate your home. Think through your Christmas and 4th of July decorations for red, think about what you already have that you can use! The candle decoration is new for us this year, and I already had everything! Ribbon, scrap book paper, construction paper hearts, candles, and festive candy are all items that you can add to decorations you have and will make your home special for Valentine's Day! I take pictures of my seasonal decorations once we've decorated, print them, and keep them in my bin of decorations. The next year the kids and I decorate together. The kids use the pictures to help them know where to put the decorations. They have definite ownership and the decorating goes very quickly!



*Think of others. Each year our family sits down together and creates Valentine cards. We put out supplies: cards, stamps with ink, crayons, markers, construction or scrap book paper, scissors, glue and have at it! Everyone works together to make one-of-a-kind Valentine cards. As we make them we talk about who we will send them to. Of course, we quickly come up with family and friends, but then we think a little harder. Who do we know that could use a little extra encouragement? Valentine's Day can be a difficult day for singles. Do you know anyone who has lost their spouse? Anyone who might struggle with loneliness during this season of "love"? We take time to pray specifically and send them a Valentine! Other times we make special treats like Valentine candy, cookies, or breakfast bread and take them personally to others. Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to invite others over for a play date, dessert, or a meal. Lavish others with love, as a family!



*Make meals special. Valentine's breakfast could be pink pancakes (a few drops of red food coloring in the batter) or pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. How about strawberry milk with a Twizzler for a straw? For lunch, use a heart cookie cutter on sandwiches, or make heart shaped grilled cheese with tomato soup. Hot chocolate with a scoop of strawberry ice cream, whipped cream and a drizzle of strawberry syrup and Valentine sprinkles, or even heart marshmallows makes for a special afternoon treat! Or how about strawberry banana smoothies? Even Valentine dinner is a family affair at our house. Sometimes we have a nice meal, other times we have heart shaped pizzas! Dessert makes the evening special, too. We've had fondue, red velvet cake, and even ice cream sandwiches rolled in Valentine sprinkles. My goal is to take favorite meals of my family and add a little Valentine touch, even if it's a small touch it is special! With all our meals we enjoy Valentine napkins, candles, and music in the background. The conversation around your table will make the meal memorable! Talk about what you love about each other, qualities you admire in each other, and even brainstorm ways you can tangibly demonstrate your love within your family and to others.



*Show your family love. Children seem to love balloons and they're inexpensive! Buy a pack, blow one up--without tying it off--and use a Sharpie to write a short message to your child. Then deflate the balloon and put it by their plate at a meal. They'll love blowing it up, reading your "love note", and then playing with the balloon! If you don't mind the craziness, go all out and write notes on the whole pack! Have lots of extra crayons around? Use a valentine cookie pan and melt them into Valentine shapes! Print some coloring pages and color together, or invite friends over and send them home with their own set. Plan ahead and request some Valentine books from the library or a Valentine's movie for free. Spend time together, they'll know they're loved!



*Shop and prepare for next year! I often stock up on decorations, paper goods and fun activities for my children at sales after the holiday. I have founds straws, pads of paper, sunglasses, erasers, play-dough, paper goods, etc. all on great sales! Then I save them and I'm ready when Valentine's Day comes around the next year! I love having extras--so when we enjoy play dates or company I am prepared. After Christmas sales are a great time to think about Valentine's Day, too! This year I found boxes of chocolate on a great deal after Christmas, so these will be little gifts to share with guests (great table favors), teachers, and of course, my family! By preparing now, you'll be ready to bless your family and others next year!



How do you make Valentine's Day special with your family?

15 comments:

  1. Great ideas--thanks for the inspiration! I've been planning a few special things for that day, but hadn't thought about pink milk. That will be a definite hit at breakfast! I'm planning to make something heart-shaped at each meal, ending with a nice candle-lit supper for all of us.

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  2. Wonderfully clever, Amy! I see so much of your mom's special influence in your ideas. I trust the third generation will continue these lovely traditions! (Nice fleece's on 2 older M&Ms - warms my heart!)

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  3. This was our first year (now that we're finally old enough!) to sit down and purposefully create V-Day cards for friends and family members. My boys aren't very interested in excessive crafting or coloring but we made it through that project and I was glad we did it.

    I do have a special V-Day gift for each of my boys and I've been trying to think of a fun V-Day dinner for us all to enjoy on the actual day.

    Definitely socked away some of these ideas for the future. Thank you for taking the time to share with us, Amy!

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  4. Amy...awesome. You did a great job. I think I'll print out your suggestions and try some.

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  5. As always, you have the best ideas!!!! My favorite is the notes on the balloons or maybe the pink milk with Twizzlers. It's hard to pick! :)

    You have inspired me to pick up clearance items when I see them. I bought an undecorated grapevine wreath at Walmart last night for $2.50. A little ribbon and a few small items and I can change it seasonally.

    Valentine's is always low key around here because Ben's birthday is the next week. We're usually so focused on celebrating him that we don't do much for Valentine's.

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  6. Hi Amy ~ What a great post! Re-using other decorations and starting it all with prayer and a focus scripture are such great ideas!

    We have a couple of Valentine's Day books that we like to pull out and read (abt. St. Valentine, etc.), and a couple of years ago someone gave us a mini- chocolate fountain, so we fire it up on Valentine's Day, usually.

    We've also been known to torture our kids with our wedding video and album and story of how we met! :)

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  7. Thanks for sharing your ideas Amy! I love the idea of reusing Christmas decor, since it still is winter and I think it gives a cozier touch than some of the decor sold in stores for Valentines.

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  8. My family has a traditional meal: heart-shaped meatloaf, smothered in catsup, PINK mashed potatoes, tomatoes, and red jello, served with cherry 7-up. My husband very kindly tolerates this tradition :) I also have fond memories of when my dad sent me a carnation at school on Valentine's day. Unfortunately for my hubby, it set me up for life to hope for flowers on that special day! Like I said, hubby's a trooper :)

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  9. Mama C, I love your traditional meal!! So fun! What a sweet memory to have of your dad. :)

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  10. Melanie--we torture our kids on our anniversary with our wedding pictures, video, and "our story"! Love that you still do that knowing the age of your children...really important for them to know about, too!

    Mama C--love your traditions and memories! So much of what we do now to make things special will pass on to future generations! My parents worked hard to make days extra special and I have such great memories! I want to love my family in the same way!

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  11. Great post. Thank you for all of these festive ideas.

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  12. Truly enjoyed your blog, Amy! I always am sure to do something a little extra special for my family on Valentine's Day, but this year have been inspired to do a little more thanks to many of your great suggestions! My favorite is the balloon idea..I think I will definitely add that idea this year!Also, using a cookie cutter for the sandwiches! Other things I like to do is to leave a heart on their pillowcases with a "Happy Valentines Day" note on their pillow for when they wake up in the morning. I also always include a special note in their lunchbags too! My children love every holiday, and I love making them feel extra special on days like this! Now, if I can just add a little more time to make my husband feel extra special and appreciated too, I will be all set! I never exclude him but do tend to focus mostly on the children. I know it doesnt bother him in the least but he is extra special to all of us and always ensures that we are made to feel extra special too! Thanks again for the wonderful blog, Amy! You are creative, talented and organized! I love it! Much love to you and your family this Valentine's Day!!

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  13. Melissa--love the idea of a note on their pillows! What a great way to start the day! And, I hear you on the husband! We're looking forward to spending the evening together after the kids are in bed--and I made some of his favorite cookies for a little snack! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  14. A friend had another idea for our husbands: snail mail him a Valentine to work, and maybe one from the kids, too! I think he'd be a little surprised and love it! If he works from home--then you could "hide" a Valentine in his office! Just a way to say "you're special, appreciated, loved...and respected!"

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  15. Your aunt Corky thinks you are wonderfully gifted and clever! Great job making this sweet holiday even sweeter for your family. Great ideas.......

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