Happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day tends to evoke the best and the worst of our emotions. We love the idea of love. We love the idea of being in love. We love the idea of celebrating love... giving a card, some chocolates, maybe even receiving a bouquet of flowers. Valentine's Day can quite literally be the the sweetest of days... and yet it can be the most bittersweet. For those who are alone, they can feel so very lonely... But celebrate - not just for requited or unrequited love... Celebrate for the sake of celebrating. Surely, there is somoeone in your life worth showing your love... be it a sister, mother, daughter or best friend. And why not celebrate yourself?

Today is the day to show our love to those who mean the very most in our lives. For many it will mean a romantic night out... For others it will be a meal at home shared with family and perhaps a few special chocolate treats. But this Valentine's Day why not tell all those you love that you love them indeed? 

What's wrong in treating yourself to something extra sweet?
What's wrong with getting some chocolates for yourself... even better, you know. You don't have to share!
Why not do something special for yourself?
Buy some flowers!
Drink Champagne!
I hate for anyone to feel sad and lonely on Valentine's Day...

You see, whether I am alone or not, I love Valentines's Day... I love flowers and chocolate and Champagne and I have never had any problem getting any of these things for myself!


<3 Valentine's Day
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So simple and yet so special!  Embellish a layer cake with royal icing "X & O" to make your #Valentine feel extra special.
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sweeter outlook.
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Valentine's Day DIY gift tag - made to look like a cookie
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I will tell you a secret: I actually fantasize about carrying around bouquets of flowers all the time. And I have since I was a little girl.


Pretty Champagne

Wishing you all a Wonderful Valentine's Day!
XOXO,


Jessica


Will you be mine, Valentine?

Valentine's Day is just around the corner... just a week to go! Do you have sweeties for your sweetie? Are you planning a night out somewhere? A nice meal at home? I'm trying to figure out what I will be doing with the children. We love to do something special on Valentine's Day... and we usually celebrate it all day long starting with a fun breakfast and ending with a fun dinner at the end of the day... I'm trying to come up with some great home made treat ideas as well.

With Love Straws
I love these heart shaped straws from Terrain!


Love Note Cupcakes
these darling cupcakes from Better Homes and Gardens would be a lovely treat to bring to the classroom!


adorable!
Deocrate your own sugar cookies or Pop Tarts... are these not adorable?!


How to Make Conversation Heart Cookies
Martha Stewart's conversation cookies would be fun to make, give and receive!


Alessi big love coffee spoons design
coffee, hot chocolate or ice cream would be so much fun to eat with these spoons from Alessi!


Seed Valentines
Little ideas blossom into greatness with these darling seed packages from Martha Stewart


valentine fruit!
A sweet, healthy and delicious afternoon snack!


Heart-Shaped Eggs and Toast make a perfect Valentine's Day breakfast.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day... especially when it's served with Love!


Not all Valentine treats have to be sugary! One year I made flubber for my son's classroom. We packaged it up with a copy of the recipe tied on to the bag. These were fun to make and a huge hit from the children and the parents of the classroom. Recipe here.

Make a heart stamp from an empty paper towel or toilet paper roll. Stamp cards to make Valentines!
It can't get any simpler than this! Create a heart shaped stamp from an old paper tube!


These lace pancakes are so easy and fun to make. I think I'll make a batch while the kids are skiing on Sunday! I'll toss them in the freezer and take them out next Thursday for breakfast! Click here for my recipe!



If you're anywhere in the Northeast this will be the perfect weekend to start creating some Valentine treats... we're due for a perfect storm... a large Nor'Easter will be dumping a couple of feet of snow on top of us, potentially stranding us for a while! Get to the gorcery store and bring your Valentine Shopping List!

Oh - and it's Friday Eve already! 
Cheers!
XOXO,

Jessica











Inspired

Yesterday's Pink Post got me all excited for Valentine's Day which is just 3 weeks away. I love Valentine's Day. I love a holiday that celebrates pink and red and all things heart shaped. We'll be cooking, baking and crafting and having some good fun. I'll come up with ideas for Valentines for the kids to take to school. I'm sure I will end up getting suckered into baking or creating something for all three classes. This drives me insane, but I really do enjoy it!

I've found some great Valentine's ideas over the past few days. I can't wait to try these!


Image, courtesy Martha Stewart
How cute are these tea bags? I love this idea.
This is something the kids can easily make and give to their teachers
along with some heart shaped baked treats!
I've already gone ahead and bought a jumbo box of Twinings English Breakfast Tea!



 
Image courtesy Martha Stewart
I just adore these little felt shaped heart that have simply been placed over little buttons.
This is a perfect way to make every day clothing a little more festive!
Simply cut out hearts from felt and place a little slit in the middle of the heart, slide over button, et voila!



 
Image Courtesy Martha Stewart
Aren't these tulips lovely?
Simply place tulips in a small bud jar.
Place bud jar in a larger vase and add the candied hearts!



 
Image Courtesy Martha Stewart
Or, spice up your flowers by following the same method as above!


 
Image Courtesy Martha Stewart
How about some White Chocolate Covered Fruit? Some Sweeties for your Sweetie!
I'm all for edible flowers!





Image courtesy Martha Stewart
I'm all for the simplicity of baking brownies or fudge and decorating them with a small candied heart.
These are simply perfect!




Image Courtesy Martha Stewart
I love these pastel lollipop flowers!
A sweet treat for a preschooler.

 
 
Image, Family Fun Magazine
For any Choo Choo Loving Little Boy, these cupcakes are on a roll!
I think I might have to make these for Alexander's class!



 
Image, Courtesy Martha Stewart
Nothing Says Bite Me like these delectable heart shaped sugar cookies!
I think I will be making these for Becca's class!


 
Image, Williams-Sonoma
Whoopie Pies? Heart Shapes?
Can it really get any better than this?
I think NOT!
(The Whoopie Pie originated in Maine, therefore this is the Perfect Preppy Valentine Treat!)
Perhaps this is what the children will give the teachers with their tea bags...


 
Image, Williams-Sonoma
I love the idea of mini chocolate cupcakes in this heart shaped box! 


 
Image, Williams Sonoma
You'll need some lovely gift tags to adorn all your wonderful edible treats!


 
Image, Pottery Barn Kids
I love the idea of this Valentine Garland!
I think we'll have such fun making one ourselves!

Perhaps you'll want to have some friends over and have Valentine's Lunch
(keep the evening open for your Sweetie!)
For a light, yet festive menu click here.



I'll have many more fun ideas for you in the days to come!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


XOXOXO

My Valentine Lunch


I had an old college friend over for lunch today. I am not insinuating that Emily is old... it's just that we go way, way back. And while we have seen each other here and there over the years, our lives took different paths and so our schedules were varied. I've been very good about following through with my New Year's resolution. (Partly, I am sure, because it had nothing to do with a gym!) I told myself that I would reconnect with all those people who were near and dear to me in the past. People I've let go, slip away because I was busy, or lazy or whatever. And so, largely thanks to Facebook I am back in touch with so many wonderful people. Memories that I thought had been buried have been unearthed, some good, some bad, and many, very funny ones. So I noticed that Emily was on FB and I sent her a note a few months ago. She posted a message on my wall a few days ago. And so we decided to get together and reminisce. I offered to have her over for lunch since the kids had no school today. With no running around I could enjoy some time for a play date of my very own! I made a Valentine Salad with heart of palm, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzerella that had been marinating in an olive oil based dressing, garbanzo beans and kalamata olives with a light vinaigrette. We enjoyed our salads with baguettes and a garlic, olive oil and butter spread. We enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine and a bottle of Pellegrino. For dessert (when the boys decided to make an appearance) we had strawberries, miniature heart shaped fudge brownies and cranberry almond shortbread. The wine, the food, the company made for a nearly 4 hour lunch and a perfectly wonderful afternoon. (Menu and recipes are posted over at The Entertaining Kitchen.)
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My Funny Valentine (Gifts)!




We love Flubber! After making Play Doh for Alexander's preschool class I thought it would be fun to make something a little "more cool" for the older two... not that Play Doh is uncool by any means, but well, Flubber is cool! And so easy to make. Alexander had a blast helping me this morning. Here, again, is another fun project suitable for all ages!

Recipe for Flubber

In Bowl #1
3/4 Cups of warm water
1 Cup of glue (Elmer's)
Food coloring

In Bowl #2
2 tsp. Borax (you can get it in the grocery store -- cleaning/detergent aisle)
1/2 Cup of warm water

Directions:

Stir together well mixtures in both bowls. When both bowls are well mixed pour mixture #2 into mixture #1. Stir with a rubber spatula, or just reach in with your hands to pull out a glob of Flubber!



Here we have the packaged Valentines....




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Fun Valentine Craft for all ages!



You can't expect Valentine's day to come and go without a fun craft idea for all ages, can you? We love Play Doh. Well the kids do. They play and I clean up after it. But that's another story! Play Doh is one of those things that keeps all three kids busy for hours on end. It's something they can play with alone or with each other. I've made Play Doh before... have tried all different recipes but none seemed right. Christopher brought home some that he made in class not too long ago and it was perfect! Not too sticky and not too tough. It didn't stick to your hands. This dough was not a gooey blob that that was icky to the touch (couldn't think of a better word!) This dough was perfect... soft and pliable and not at all crumbly. I wrote Christopher's teacher and she kindly shared her recipe. Alexander and I made it the next day. Then I had an idea... we needed to bring in Valentines to the children in his class. We would bring home made Play Doh and package it up with a heart shaped cookie cutter and a copy of the recipe. We made two batches. The children will either get purple dough or pink dough. I think this is a great idea and will be a big hit!

Should you want to make it for a class or make it with your kids at home, a rainy day project just follow the simple steps below! This should take no more than 10 minutes start to finish!

Ingredients:

2 Cups of flour
2 Cups of water
4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp oil
1 cup of salt
Food coloring, optional

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in to a bowl and mix well with a spoon until well blended. Should you add a lot of food coloring, as I did for my pink dough, you may want to add an extra tablespoon of flour. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook over low heat for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The mixture should resemble bread dough. Remove from pan and cool. If the dough is too sticky, add and knead in powder until the dough is no longer sticky. Will feel like Play Doh when done. At first the smell is not pleasant, but this will disappear!




We made gift tags/recipe cards
I printed out the recipe and cut and pasted them on to index cards. I used a hole punch to punch a hole to tie the cards on to the gift bags. The small hearts were created by inserting Alexander's thumb onto an ink pad... we positioned the two thumb prints to resemble the shape of a heart. (Love this idea... not sure where it originated... could have been Martha Stewart's.)

Below, the finished product!

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My Little Valentine!


We love Valentine's Day! We start celebrating early. Rebecca has started making her cards, Christopher has started writing his --He prefers his bought -- and Alexander has started a few projects that we will be sharing here and on my food blog for you all to do with your kids and for your friends. We started our celebration at lunchtime yesterday. A simple pb&j was cut out with 2 heart-shaped cookie cutters. I also hulled a few strawberries to look like hearts. Alexander thought this was the greatest lunch ever! If you have nut allergies you can achieve the same result with cream cheese and jelly!
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