Show some love from sunup to sundown with these ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Since the special holiday is on Monday this year, consider celebrating all day on Saturday or Sunday.

Morning

Wake the kids up to a breakfast of heart-shaped pancakes and fresh fruit. Use a cookie cutter to cut out hearts for pancakes, and for strawberries, carve out the stem of the strawberry in a circular motion. Chop the strawberry in half, and then cut a small v-shape into the top of the strawberry.

Other foods to shape into hearts:

  • Toast or biscuits
  • Waffles
  • Pop Tarts
  • PB&J sandwich
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Pretzels

Set the tone of the day with a heart garland made of construction paper, twine and mini-clothespins from the craft store. If you want to elevate it above pure decoration, have family members write notes of love and appreciation to each other on the hearts. Or see who in the family is the most creative with puns and art – “I can’t bear to be without you!”

Noon

Your heart cookie cutter comes to the rescue again for an afternoon treat with these festive sugar cookies. Whether you channel Martha Stewart in your decorating or keep it simple, the basic recipe is the same. Bake the cookies together, and set up a decorating station for your kids to experiment with different designs. Buy or make frosting, and set out sprinkles, red sugar, cinnamon candies or pink and red M&M’S.

Recipe: Heat oven to 400°. In large bowl, beat 1 c. powdered sugar, 1 c. softened butter and 1 tbsp. white vinegar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Stir in 2¼ c. all-purpose flour, ¾ tsp. baking soda, 1½ tsp. ground ginger and ¼ tsp. salt. Divide dough in half, and in one half, mix in six drops of red food color. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut into heart shapes with cookie cutters. Bake 5-7 minutes.
Source: bettycrocker.com

This game from Handmade Charlotte brings the carnival to your home. Start by painting glass bottles in pretty colors, and decorate with stickers. Shape pipe cleaners into hearts for the “rings” to toss. Set your bottles at different spots to change up the difficulty.
Source: handmadecharlotte.com

Other games to try:

  • Set up a washi tape tic tac toe board and use HERSHEY’S HUGS and KISSES for themed Xs and Os.
  • Play a game of musical chairs to love songs.
  • Search online for printable, themed bingo or scavenger hunt cards.

Night

What better way to say I love you at bedtime than with a story. Some of our favorites include: “Olive, My Love” by Vivian Walsh and J. Otto Seibold; “The Dinosaurs Valentine’s Day” by Jessica Brady; “Hugs and Kisses for the Grouchy Ladybug” by Eric Carle; “Pete the Cat’s Groovy Guide to Love” by Kimberly and James Dean; and “The Love Letter” by Anika Aldamuy Denise and Lucy Ruth Cummins.

Pair your story with this red velvet hot chocolate, and your little ones will have sweet dreams indeed. Simmer 3 c. milk, 1 c. half and half and 1/3 c. sugar in a medium pot. Add 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips and ½ c. white chocolate chips and cook, stirring until smooth. Add 1 tbsp. vanilla extract and red food coloring, and mix. Make the whipped cream by beating 1 c. heavy whipping cream and 1 tbsp. powdered sugar on high until soft peaks form. Add 1 c. marshmallow fluff and 1 tsp. vanilla extract whipping on high speed until peaks form.
Source: dixiecrystals.com

-Emily Webb and Mary Williams

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