Friday, 11 February 2011 22:04

Valentine's Day Crafts

Valentine CraftsIt wasn’t until my husband and I had kids that I began to think that Valentine’s Day could be a great way for kids to celebrate the holiday with their family.

This may just mean that you will find that part of your day is full of fun and laughter while the latter is more romantic – like having two holidays in one!   Here are some ideas on how to make this Valentine’s Day a fun and memorable day, whether that includes children or just you and your loved one.

“Sweet” Recipes & Treats

Sweet recipes and treatsHow about making a Valentine's Day breakfast or dinner for the family and letting the kids help?  Remember that these meals don't have to be fancy.  Try serving heart shaped-pancakes to start your morning – they will be a big hit!  Check out our blog on this and other good for you and tasty Valentine’s Day themed recipes that you and your family will enjoy preparing and eating.

Valentine's Day Messages

This is a fun one! Purchase pink, red and white window markers at your local drugstore or party store and get creative.   You can use them to write Valentine's Day notes on the windows and mirrors throughout your home.  Encourage your kids of all ages to participate.  The younger ones can draw pictures, hearts and smiley faces while the older ones can leave messages.  If you are really in a festive mood, you can use the markers to do something similar on your car windows.   Your kids and spouse will enjoy finding these messages and drawings around the house!

Holiday Themed Crafts

Valentine Day's messagesFinding great Valentine’s Day crafts for kids and grownups is very easy by doing a quick internet search.  One of my favorite holiday crafts is soap making
because it’s simple, relatively inexpensive and fun for kids of all ages (and grown ups too!).  The finished soap bars can be given out as lovely gifts that are perfect for teachers, neighbors and relatives or can be used throughout your home for a festive touch.  Follow our easy example here.

Valentine Day's messagesAnother craft favorite is to have your child make a keepsake memory box to store their Valentine’s Day cards and small treats.   These are very simple to make and share!  You can buy ready to assemble kits at your local craft store or make your own by decorating a shoebox or tissue box with Valentine’s Day themed embellishments.   At our home we enjoy putting a small mailbox out for each family member and leaving little notes and treats the week leading up to Valentine’s Day – it’s a fun way to get into the holiday spirit.  The kids get very excited when the little flag on their mailboxes is up – signaling that something special is waiting for them!

Check out these sites for other Valentine’s Day inspired crafts.

Date Night In Without the Kids

After your kids go to bed have a couple's night in. You can rent your favorite movie or make each other’s favorite meal or dessert.  My husband and I have a tradition for Valentine’s Day…we always get Thai take-out and he buys me carnations.  It’s a silly tradition, but it reminds us of our first real date back in college, when we were poor students and all he could afford to give me on our first Valentine’s Day were a few carnations!    After the kids are in bed, we set the nice china out on the dining room table, complete with wine glasses and candles.  I love this way of celebrating because it’s very low-key, we avoid the restaurant rush, and we can enjoy a nice evening at home.

Family Date Night

If you have older children at home, a date night in can be a great way of incorporating them into the holiday.   Consider letting them stay up later and enjoying a family game night.   To make it more fun encourage everyone to dress in pink and red clothes!  If playing games is not something you enjoy doing as a family, try watching a movie instead and serving simple holiday themed treats.

Decorate for Valentine's Day

Keep it simple by shopping at your local dollar or discount store and purchasing red, white and pink streamers and balloons.   You may want to enlist your kids to help decorate your home or decorate yourself on the 13th after they are in bed so that your kids can enjoy waking up to the festive décor!

Easter EggsI can't believe that Easter is right around the corner, it snuck up on me!  I love planning for this holiday, in some ways more than I enjoy prepping for Christmas. There are just so many great ways to prepare and celebrate Easter, especially with young children. In the next two weeks I'll be posting crafts, healthy meals and other topics related to Easter, stay tuned! Meanwhile, below is my first Easter tip.

Easter Tip #1:  Healthier Alternative to Easter Basket Fillers

My children LOVE Easter baskets and eggs full of goodies, but l feel like we are just recuperating from the Valentine’s Day sugar rush! The last few years, the Easter bunny has not packed our baskets and eggs with chocolates and peeps, he’s gone a healthier route!

Try out some of these basket and egg fillers instead of the sugary and chocolate filled ones found in traditional baskets.

  • Books: How about an Easter themed book or new bookmarks.
  • Gift Certificates: Older children may enjoy a small gift certificate to a local frozen yogurt shop or bookstore.
  • Small Toys: Bath toys, small puzzles, stickers, tiny stuffed animals, temporary tattoos and dollar store items are big hits.
  • Treats: A small amount of candy is ok, but try adding yogurt covered raisins, trailmix, nuts, and pretzels to baskets.
  • Clothes & Accessories: Does your child need a new swimsuit?  How about some flip-flops?  Hair ties, barrettes and nail polish are nice…what about a new toothbrush? One of my friend gets her kids PJs for the warmer weather.
  • Consider a theme and filling your child's basket with appropriate items.  Think outside the basket if you will, with these ideas:
    • Outside Fun Theme:  As the weather gets warmer, children will enjoy things they can use outdoors.  Think bubbles, balls, sidewalk chalk, sunglasses, water guns, new beach toys, jump ropes and hula hoops.
    • Garden Theme: Encourage your child to pick up a new hobby!  How about including some seed packets or child friendly gardening tools? Kid-sized gardening gloves or a small watering can.
    • Craft/Art Basket:  Boost you child’s creativity with a new box of crayons and a coloring book.  Maybe some paints and brushes, washable markers, a new pack of stickers or playdough.

Now how about those chocolate & candy filled eggs? You might consider filling your eggs with the following items:

  • Stickers!   Kids loves them….buy a large pack and then cut them into small sizes that will fit in the eggs.
  • Band-aids are fun, try ones with characters or that are brightly colored.
  • Trail mix or mixed nuts are healthy treats.
  • Raisins, granola, dried apricots, other dried fruit or sugar-free gum
  • Kids will LOVE finding coins or even a dollar bill in an egg or two!
  • Avoid the full size candy bars and stick to the small snack size portions (in a limited amount) if you want to include candy.
The possibilities for a a healthy Easter basket are really endless.  Now, I too love sweets and my kids enjoy them too.  I am not advocating you ban the sugary sweets all together; but limiting them and replacing them with these ideas is something to consider.  See, last year kiddos looked very happy with their candy free Easter baskets!  I know, they are a bit much; but Easter is HUGE deal around our home.   The kids look forward to it and I have a ton of fun getting ready for it.
Easter Baskets
Friday, 12 February 2010 06:56

Valentine's Day Craft: Homemade Soap

Valentine's Day SoapSoap making is easy and relatively inexpensive. This is a fun craft for kids and when you are done, the finished soap bars can be given out as lovely gifts.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 (2lb) package of white glycerin soap
  • 1-2 soap molds. In this craft we used a Victoran style mold and a heart shaped mold.
  • Pink and blue soap coloring found in the craft stores
  • Soap scent (to your taste) – Vanilla was used in this recipe, also found in craft stores.
  • 2 small mixing bowls
  • 1 measuring cup
  • Ribbon & paper for packaging
Valentine's Day Soap - Step 1

*This recipe yields 12 regular sized soap bars.

Step 1:

Cut your white glycerin soap bar into 4 equal parts. Take each part and further cut into 1-inch cubes. Place ½ of the cubes in 1 small mixing bowl and the other half in the other mixing bowl.

Step 2:

Heat your soap cubes in the first bowl in the microwave for 1 minute on high. Continue to heat at 10-second intervals until all of the soap has melted.

Valentine's Day Soap - Step 4
Step 3:

Once the soap cubes have melted, add your favorite fragrance and red soap coloring. Mix the melted soap, coloring and fragrance.

Step 4:

Pour the mixture into the measuring cup and then into your molds. Let cool for 1 hour.

Valentine's Day Soap - Step 5Step 5:

Apply gentle pressure to release your soap from the mold.

Valentine's Day Soap - Step 6Step 6:

Wrap the soap in tissue paper, wrapping paper or other decorative paper (found in the scrapbook section of craft stores) and tie with ribbon.

Valentine's Day Soap - Step 7Step 7:

Repeat all the above steps with the remaining ½ soap cubes but this time add a little blue to the mixture to make purple. Try alternating your colors too – be creative!