Category Archives: Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day

Someday I will have a calm Valentines day, but not this year, and probably not as long as I have children in elementary school.  It’s been a frenzied, crazy, wild day and will yet get crazier before it ends.

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While I have 3 minutes, I want to record what I’ve loved about today so far.

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I’ve been collecting valentine themed socks for all my kids over the past couple of weeks.  It was so much fun to toss them each a goofy pair of socks as they got ready for school this morning.  Comparing socks brought smiles and laughter in the early morning hours and made them all feel special.   My favorite pair isn’t pictured, though.  I finally found socks for my oldest son late last night:  a pair of long socks with hamburgers on the sides.  So funny.  We all laughed at them.  I hope their silly socks were a reminder all day that I love them.

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Before I raced to the elementary school to help with a party, I got a valentine ready for each of my children.  I letterpressed the pink bees a few weeks ago.   On the back is a note to each of them telling them something I especially love about them right now.  I still remember a valentine I got from my mom as a girl… it made me feel so special.  I hope they feel the same way.

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My husband surprised me early this morning with roses, chocolate and a card that I really enjoyed.  What a wonderful way to start the day!  I am oh, so lucky to have him for my Valentine.

Unfortunately I didn’t see the early morning exchange coming so he had to wait for his simple gift (a card and his two favorite treats).  It’s on his desk…

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I used my L Letterpress to make his card, as well.  One of my goals this year is to use it more and I’m pleased with how it turned out.  I hope he likes it!

This morning my 12 year old son expressed a desire to give a special valentine.  The announcement sort of came out of the blue and VERY last minute.  I let him use one of my roses and some of my chocolate and he was off on a stealth mission, which he happily reported on after school.  No one knows it was from him.  What was really cool about it was the second story he shared on the drive home today.   He had the impression that he should buy a rose for a girl at school who is very quiet, has no friends, and gets little attention from anyone.  Again, he did it anonymously.  He has the same 8th period class as her, and so he was there when they came in to deliver the flowers.  The joy on his face as he described the surprise and delight on her face when her name was the first one called was my favorite moment of the day.  He felt so good about what he did.  I love seeing him find joy in noticing others and finding ways to build them.  And as a mother who has been on her knees praying for something – anything – positive to happen to one of my children at school, I feel proud that my son might have answered such a prayer today.  I love that boy!

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My house is a mess even though I’ve almost exclusively been working on cleaning it all week.  I’m supposed to be leaving town at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning but find I have many hours of work ahead of me… yet I know I need sleep since I’m driving and can’t afford to be drowsy or get a headache.  My to-do list is long; in fact I have three lists.   Let’s hope I at least cover the basics before I go!

And, because we have so many stages here, I think it will be fun to record how each of my children have approached this day:

15 year old son:  couldn’t care less what day it is.  Calls his snowboard his girlfriend and I’m just fine with him not being attached to anybody.
14 year old daughter:  couldn’t care more what day it is.  Got a couple of roses at school from boys (friends, not anyone she has a crush on).  Took valentines for her girlfriends.
12 year old son:  really cared about how some things turned out today.  See above.  Was bummed that he didn’t get a valentine party at school and was, therefore, really happy about the one I put in his mailbox.
10 year old daughter:  the party I helped with in her classroom was the loudest party I’ve ever been to.  There is quite a group in her class this year.  She’s my girl who’s friends with all the boys but in love with none of them.  I must add a side note here about the noise level in the classroom.  I watched all the kids to see why they were so loud, and really, everyone was just being normal and a handful were pretty loud.  The scene made me smile and laugh out loud with relief.  I thought, “My children are totally NORMAL.
8 year old daughter:  put lots of effort into her Valentine box and was very particular about how things were done.  Brought home a beautiful heart wreath.
6 year old son:  had no interest in decorating his box, but was thrilled with his candy haul after school today.
5 year old daughter:  made tons of handwritten notes for her family, loved her new socks so much that she said to me, “I’m going to keep these and clean them up someday and give them to my little girl for Valentines when I’m a mom.”
3 year old daughter:  took her socks off and put them back on over and over again, changed clothes 13 times before 2 pm, loved being the baby sister at the school party, quietly made 3 of the craft I was in charge of.

It really has been fun to watch each of them enjoying the day on their own level.

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There’s been another, second level, of “frantic” in my heart today.  I’m supposed to be leaving town with three of the children at 5 a.m. tomorrow morning.  The amount of work I still have to do is a little daunting, and try as I might to make progress on my to-do list, it’s still far too long.  My house is a mess even though I’ve almost exclusively been working on cleaning it all week.  I’ve folded something like 20 loads of laundry this week hoping to “get ahead” since I won’t be around to do it for a few days.  The only difference it seems to have made is to increase the rate at which my youngest two girls change clothes.  Why do I expect the perfect house, perfectly organized wife and mother, perfectly scheduled everything right at the moment I’m trying to prepare for life to be lived by this family in two different places?

In a little while my husband and I will go grab a bite to eat.  Nothing fancy; there’s no time for the wait at a restaurant.  Then I’ll come home, work like crazy and then drop into bed, hopefully in time to avoid being drowsy while driving and to hold off a headache.  I keep telling myself it will all work out, and then running around like it won’t.  I’ve promised myself this, though.  While we eat dinner together, just the two of us, I will push all my stresses aside and memorize the moment.  How handsome he looks, how much fun it is to smile and laugh together, how perfect he is for me, how much I love him, how grateful I am that we’ve rolled up our sleeves together to figure out this business of raising eight children.

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My heart overflows with gratitude, joy and love.  What a fabulous life it is!

Jennifer

Heart Mini Quilt

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What a fun project this little quilt was!  When I realized I’d gone a little crazy cutting pink squares for my Scrappy Swoon Quilt, I decided to use them right away instead of tossing them in the scrap bin.  With Valentine’s Day approaching, a heart came to mind and I had just enough squares to put it together.  I decided to use grays for the background squares.

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Once it was pieced and basted, I quilted it in straight lines on both diagonals.   Simple and cheery, it’s adding a bit of festivity to our wall.

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I backed the quilt in an old Anna Griffin ticking stripe print I had on hand, and the binding is a Flower Sugar print from Lecien.

A few quick stats on making one if you’re interested:

fabric needed:  48 – 3.5 inch squares various pink or red fabrics for the heart, 9 – 3 7/8 inch squares of both pink AND gray fabrics, and 34 – 3.5 inch squares of various gray prints for the background.

Pair each 3 7/8 inch pink square with a 3 7/8 inch gray square and make 18 half square triangles using a scant 1/4 inch seam allowance.

Lay your squares out as follows, from left to right:

Top row:  10 gray squares
2nd row: 1 gray, 1 half square triangle block, 1 pink, 1 HST block, 2 gray squares, 1 HST square, 1 pink, 1 HST, 1 gray
3rd row:  1 HST, 3 pink, 2 HST sqaures, 3 pink, 1 HST
4th row:  10 pink squares
5th row:  10 pink squares
6th row:  1 HST, 8 pink squares, 1 HST
7th row:  1 gray, 1 HST, 6 pink, 1 HST, 1 gray
8th row:  2 gray, 1 HST, 4 pink, 1 HST, 2 gray
9th row:  3 gray, 1 HST, 2 pink, 1 HST, 3 gray
10th row:  4 gray, 2 HST, 4 gray

Sew each row together (1/4 inch seam allowance, of course).

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Sew strips together to complete quilt top:

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The quilt top should measure 30 inches square.  Choose a backing, then quilt and bind according to your taste.  Done!

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With all the projects I’m in the middle of right now, it was a pleasure to put together a quick little project just for fun.  It’s also my first finished quilt of 2013.  It will keep a smile on my face this month when I walk past it, and that’s no small thing on gloomy February days!

Thanks for visiting,
Jennifer

Cupid’s Arrow Game – Valentines Day Party Game

Looking for ideas for your Valentines Day class party games?  We played the BEST game at my daughter’s 2nd grade Valentines Day Party, and I just have to share it.  It’s simple, easy to prep, inexpensive, easy to clean up and lots of fun for both girls and boys.

It’s called Cupid’s Arrow and here’s what you need:

q-tips and straws for cupid's arrow valentines day party game

Q-tips and straws.  I went to my local dollar store and found q-tips in different colors.  Score!  We used two boxes, or 800 q-tips for our class (I took twice that many with me, you never know how fast they will shoot their q-tips!).  You also need straws, but I found that all the straws for sale at local stores, including the adorable paper straws we all love, were too narrow to fit q-tips inside them.  I ended up going to a local fast food chain and buying some milkshake straws for a quarter.

You also need a large bowl and a large blanket or tablecloth that you don’t mind having kids walk on,  because they will.  Oh, and I recommend a trash bag as well.  I’ve learned that taking an extra trash bag to any class party is always helpful, just like bringing your own dish towels to any church kitchen.

bowl and blanket for cupids arrow valentines day party game

To play the game, simply lay the blanket out on the floor and place the bowl on one end.  You may need to move desks to make room, or even use the hallway if needed.  Line the children up on the other end and give them all a straw and a fistful of q-tips.

kids playing cupid's arrow game

When you say “go” they start putting q-tips into one end of the straw and blowing through the straw to “shoot” their arrow.  The goal is to get q-tips into the bowl.  We had two teams, represented by the two q-tip colors.  Stand back and let them shoot.  Seriously, you will end up with q-tips all over the place but they will have fun learning how to aim and get them in.  I found that the girls enjoyed this activity as much as the boys did.

The blanket on the floor is intended to help the kids stay back an equal distance from the bowl.  I found that their excitement caused them to get closer and closer.  I let them.  The point is to have fun, after all.  We didn’t end up counting which team won at the end anyway, because they just wanted to shoot the whole time.  At the end of each rotation we collected the q-tips from around the floor and dumped them in the bowl, which I dumped in the trash.

Sometimes planning activities for classroom parties feels intimidating or overwhelming.  Playing Cupid’s Arrow reminded me that Valentines Day party games can a lot of fun without being expensive or over-planned.

Before they went to the next station, we also did a quick Jello Slurping contest.  They kept their straws, sat on my blanket (to protect the classroom carpet), got a cup of jello and waited for “go”.  It was fun to watch them.

My daughter and her cute friend…they make me smile.

Cupid’s Arrow was a really fun Valentines Day party game!  I wanted to play it later as a family but the night was just too crazy.  Instead, we’re going to have a q-tip war sometime soon.  I can just picture it:  ten people blowing hundreds of q-tips around my family room.  It’s going to be great!

Hopeful Homemaker

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