The Sweetest Valentine’s Gifts + Activities for Kids

One of my favorite holidays when I was a kid was Valentine’s Day. I relished writing out each person’s name and dropping them in the little makeshift “mailboxes” we made for the special day. I excluded no one (that would be cruel!) and adored getting little hearts and treats in return. What better way to encourage acceptance, love and friendship with a kid than through Valentine’s Day? I don’t see any reason to fret or feel left out – ever.

I love making Valentines with my niece and I always get her a little treat to celebrate the day. Here are some of my top picks!

bubble-gum-machine-pillowTotally custom! Bubble Gum Machine Pillow, on sale now for $18.90

mla102749_0207_candy_bag_xlWe love custom projects. Include a cute photo of your little ones and make a sweet custom tag for candy-giving.

Valentine-heart-cookies-5Help them make something sweet like these iced heart cookies from Cake Journal

Screen shot 2013-01-17 at 10.22.35 PMChocolate hearts from Dylan’s Candy Bar, $18

frames_horizontal_vday2I Love You frame, on sale now for $16.80 (and it’s made in the USA!)

1Let them pick an adorable Valentine’s Day card from Tiny Prints or make your own!

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Too Cute DIY! Valentine’s Day Crackers via Not Martha

I walked into the grocery store the other day and there was Easter candy. Yes, Easter candy out on the shelves already! I thought, “what happened to Valentine’s Day?” Low and behold, I made my way into the center of the store where an explosion of red and pink was awaiting me. Whew! My hubby and I don’t go out on Valentine’s anymore (we had our share in 2006 when balloon and curly string ended up in our coq au vin…) but we do like to give little gifts to one another.

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For a loved one, colleague, kid or just a kid at heart, here’s a do-it-yourself that’s going to knock your socks off. It takes a little dedication but these Valentine’s crackers are just too adorable to ignore. Thanks to Not Martha for the complete instructions here.

suppliestokens_backsidecandy

 

A Must-Do DIY : City Skyline Votives via Sweet Paul

I had to share this awesome DIY. It’d be perfect as a wedding favor, skyline centerpiece or place setting card. Pretty genius, don’t you think? Bust out the x-acto knife…we’re getting ready to cut! Find all the instructions here at Sweet Paul.

Recipe: Fancy, Not-So-Fancy Hot Cocoa

Aahhhh. The weekend marked the start of Autumn and right on time, it was gloomy, rainy and chilly. But no complaints here! I swapped out my summer dresses for fuzzy sweaters and made my first batch of hot cocoa. It really is the easiest recipe, it’s not even worth being called a recipe. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid and I’m sharing it with you today. Here are the simple things you need:

Custom Script Initial Mug, $12

1 tsp. honey. Image from Silverbow Honey *Honey is the secret ingredient that makes this taste so warm and decadent!

12 ounces milk per serving – don’t even think about using water!!

Frothing milk is super simple, and a nice treat. Instructions at Real Simple

Whisk (optional, if you’re foaming milk). 

Hot cocoa powder, your favorite brand will work. Image from Foodie-isms

Who doesn’t love marshmallows??

DIRECTIONS:

1. Put 2 tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 tsp. honey in your favorite mug.

2. Add 12 ounces of milk to a saucepan, turn to medium heat.

3. As you see small bubbles start to form, start whisking for 1 minute. Milk with begin to thicken.

4. Pour hot milk immediately into mug. Mix thoroughly.

5. Top with marshmallows. Enjoy!

Japanese Gift Wrapping: Furoshiki

My sister chastised me one year for wrapping my niece’s presents in newly bought, shiny gift wrap. Apparently it was “wasteful and expensive”. Oops. But who doesn’t love a handsomely presented gift??

A-ha! Problem solved. I’m a fabric hoarder. I’ll see a fabric that’s luxurious, colorful, just gotta-have-it. And then it’ll sit in my closet. Forever. But now I have a great solution for wrapping and appeasing my sis – furoshiki. This age old Japanese method of wrapping things in fabric isn’t just for presents. Packing a picnic or a small item for work can be sweet and useful. And they make beautiful handbags and holders for just about anything.

A simple sweep up of one side, and then the other and a simple knot on top, looks like this:

Photo via Sweet Pine Soaps

Transport and gift wine easily like this:

Photo and instructions via Martha Stewart

Plus many more fun and complicated methods can be found at Makezine.

Cutest DIY Ever! – Make Your Own Anthro Animal Necklaces via Flamingo Toes

When I saw this, I just had to share. This is by far my fav DIY tutorial of the moment! Scratch buying the Anthropologie versions of these mini animal necklaces – just make your own! Here’s the lowdown step by step for making your own Animal Necklaces. And notice the amazing crowns on the DIY version. I’m sure you can find some unique details of your own at your local craft store. Get the super glue ready. Thanks, Flamingo Toes!

The Anthro version, $38 each

The DIY version. Can you really tell the difference?

All the step by step goodness can be found here!

Our Latest Video: Photo Collage Frame How To

You have to see the latest and cutest video we just put together to show you how to make your own Photo Collage Frame. Made of high-quality wood and assembled in the U.S.A., your frame arrives quickly and safely wrapped, ready to celebrate a birthday, wedding, anniversary or any happy occasion!

Here’s how to make one yourself.

A Gift For Yourself: Getting Away from the Ho Hum Weekend

I work from home. So the weeks run into weekends, which run into weeks…You’re probably thinking this is a great problem to have but it’s hard to stop myself from sneaking away to check emails when I’m supposed to be working on a home project. And I run errands all days of the week so I never fee like I’m getting a break. What ever your complaint is, there’s a better way to take advantage of your weekends and time off by taking a new and memorable approach.

Turn it off

No, really. Turn off your phones. Or at least turn the ringers off. If you feel like you can’t live without your phone, believe me, you can. There’s a lot of enjoyment when you’re living in the now and so many of us are guilty of not enjoying it. Do it for an hour, an afternoon, a whole day. The work will be there when you get back!

Photo via Engadget

Give it a theme

Rally up the kids, friends, neighbors and come up with a theme for the afternoon. Set up tents in the back yard and enjoy the company of each other by a fire. Cook dinner and make s’mores under the stars while telling your favorite ghost stories.

Photo via NWF

 

Or, put on your dressiest attire and throw yourselves a dinner party with the china and crystal that you never use. Surprisingly, most of us never use the “good stuff” even for holiday dinners so why not use it on a random day. Take photos to remember the happy ado!

Photo via Giving Style

Free your mind

It’s so easy to get into a rut. Let each person in your family think of one thing you’ve never done before – and go do it. Maybe you’ve been meaning to finally go canoeing this summer or try Indian food for the first time. Let each person choose an activity (within reason!) and commit to doing it together. It’ll teach you a lot about trying new things and give your kids a sense of adventure too.

Photo via Anglers White River

 

 

My Favorite Things Right Now

I’ve been obsessing about a few items lately and now I’m going to share…

Things that sparkle.

Butter nail lacquers

 Love a bit of bling for evening. Crystal circle earrings, $42

Things that grow.

I’ve been enamored with her work for a while. Paula Hayes never ceases to amaze me with her mini worlds.

Crack open the Eggling and grow your own herbs and flowers on the counter.

Things that make noise.

Surprise crackers for holiday or everyday via Design Sponge

Pop Rocks, a nostalgic favorite. Did you know they came in chocolate!??!