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!