Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Eve got a lollipop and a pencil from Lex’s teacher at drop-off this morning. She was thrilled! I made her wait all the way through an eye doctor’s appointment and until we got home before I let her eat it.


When we dropped Lex off this morning his classmates were already putting their cards into cute envelops they had all made. Instead of the usual boring worksheet to start the day the class was all atwitter with Valentine’s excitement. Lex said they were having a Valentine’s Day/100 Days of School party, and it was gym day!! He was super eager to go to school this morning!

Emptying out their bags this afternoon after school I was amazed with the amount of candy and stickers and tatoos and pencils there were. Somehow Valentine’s Day has become a pink Halloween. I’m a culprit as well, with our bags of treats that got stapled to each card we sent in. It’s hard to resist! :)

the table

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! (I’m going to go pay attention to my little loved ones now, instead of ignoring them for the computer.)

For some quality writing about the love of Valentine’s Day, see Rosy eloquent blog. For random pictures of sticky faced little kids, stick with me! :)

The world’s greatest treats

I know I have mentioned these treats before, but let me tell you again just how amazingly awesome they are. I wish I could take credit for the idea, but alas, it was another Pinterest find.

Here’s how you do it. Take a bunch of pretzels (regular shape, or roundy, or square, which is what I can only ever find in the store). Spread them out in a single layer on a baking tray. Put a Hershey Kiss (or Hug, or Peppermint Kiss, or whatever you like!) on each one. Bake them in the oven @ 200° for about 5 minutes. Just enough to get the Kiss soft and squishy. Take them out and press an M&M (plain, dark, peanut, peanut butter, it doesn’t matter, they are all delicious!) into each one. Done! The hardest part is not eating all of the ingredients along the way. Employ your strong willpower, or, if you are like me and my kids, just buy extra ingredients!


Packaging up the treats for tomorrow's party. Gotta get them out of this house ASAP! :)

I have done this twice and I have a learned a few lessons about what comes next. The process is easy, but here are two things not to do. 1) Don’t try to rush the cooling process by putting the whole tray in the freezer. This causes the chocolate Kisses to separate from the pretzels. Still delicious, but not as presentable. And 2) Don’t leave your trays uncovered during the cooling process. That’s what I did this time (instead of the freezer) and by the next day the chocolate kisses were getting that white “old chocolate” look. Still delicious, don’t worry, but even less presentable. This batch is going to the classmates, so I’m sure they won’t care, but I wonder how many parents are going to look at them and think I gave out old candy. Oh well. Finally 3) This is unverified, but I think maybe doing them on the Stoneware causes chocolate/pretzel separation as well. I’m not sure why this would be, but we did three trays this time, all cooled on the counter, and the only treats that separated were from the one Stoneware pan. I’ll have to verify this next time we make treats. Easter…? :)

close up

Close up. Still yummy, but not quite as pretty.

Valentine’s Day prep

We are in full swing for Valentine’s Day around here. The kids are busily making cards (though Lex still has many to do tomorrow!) and today we made treats. Tomorrow we are going to package them up in cute little bags and attach them to the cards. We went to a Valentine’s Day craft event at the library on Friday. The kids made cards with cool supplies that we don’t normally have at home, like glitter and tissue paper squares. One mother taught us all how to make tissue paper flowers. They also decorated sugar cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles. Good times!


In another Martha moment (via Pinterest) I learned a cool way to fold hearts into envelopes. Lex LOVED the idea and it remotivated him to make a few more cards. :)

yellow card

I love little kid handwriting.


Best friends 4 ever. :)

little notes

Sometimes I like to leave little notes for my kids to find in the morning.

at the library

Glitter, string, doilies... I looked and looked for these at the store. Turns out you have to buy them at Staples online!


Looks appetizing, eh? Eve ate both of her's but Lex hardly made it through one.

pretzel treats

Remember these from Christmas?

pretzel treats -p2

This time with red and pink and white, and Peanut M&Ms!

3 trays

Like a drug, they are. So delicious that once you start you just can't stop!! Think we made enough? I need to get them packaged up ASAP before they all end up in my belly!

Tomorrow afternoon Eve and I are going to make Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts for her class party. (getting my Martha on!) Then, finally then, I can put away all the paper and stickers and hearts and scissors and glue that have been dominating my table for three weeks now!! Do you feel the love?!? :) I may have gotten the supplies out a little early this year, in the hopes that cards would be done quickly.

We begin again…

Snow day today! Rain/sleet/ice day, really. A perfect day to stay in PJs and start Valentine’s Day cards. Eve has been begging to get out the supplies all week but we’ve been so busy I haven’t let her. Today we spent most of the morning working on cards.


Lots of red and white and hearts and glitter. The Valentine's Day cards have begun!


Every morning at school Lex does a "Drop in the bucket" sheet (aka Drop Sheets). This week he decided to start making worksheets for Eve as well. He calls them Invisible Ink Marker Worksheets (aka IIMWs). She loves them. They can be so sweet together!

If you’re curious, I just hit Google and found the drop sheets they do, made by Frog Publications. Last month his teacher was sending extra copies home with him for Eve to do because we told her how much Eve liked doing them. This month they have moved on to math and she stopped sending them home. Eve still “does” the completed ones that come home with Lex each week. How did I end up with worksheet loving kids? :)

I have chocolate under my fingernails… or Valentine’s Day sugarfest

Someone, please, get me out of the kitchen!!

I don’t know what’s come over me this Valentine’s Day. I’m not really a big fan of the holiday, but for some reason this year I’m gung ho! I finally got the deliciously decorated sugar cookies out the door today…

one more peek

One more peek...

and this afternoon we found ourselves back in the kitchen (dining room, really) making Peanut Butter Balls. The kids saw this recipe in Parents magazine and wanted to make them for their classmates. Eve’s party is tomorrow and Lex’s is Friday, so today we whipped up a double batch, dipped them in chocolate, rolled them in sprinkles, and only sampled one each! :) I packaged up Eve’s tonight and tomorrow morning we’ll staple the Valentine’s Day cards to the baggies and send them to school. Hope they fit in the “mailbox” she made made in class today!


Eve, licking the spoon. She wore this hat all afternoon and made everyone call her Frosty :)


I printed labels for the baggies and the kids put them on. They were truly very helpful with this whole project!

rolling sprinkles

I dipped the peanut butter balls in chocolate and the kids rolled them in sprinkles. It was a messy endeavor. I don't know how people make chocolate dipped things look attractive. Maybe I need more practice!

close up

Not the most beautiful things, but I think their classmates will enjoy them.


Look, it's me! Alan came home and took some pictures. Chocolate fingers!

all packaged up

Here are the treats for Eve's class, all packaged up.


Probably not necessary because the smell of peanut butter is potent, but I thought it would be nice to include an ingredients list, just in case.

eve cards

Here are Eve's Valentine's Day cards. She did most of the writing, but got tired at the end so I helped with a few. I love them! She was heart happy with the stickers :)

final product

This is what they will look like tomorrow when we staple the cards to the bags. I get all excited just looking at them!

lex cards

Here are Lex's Valentine's Day cards. He was so creative this year, with the decorations and the writing. I love the outpouring of love as well. I hope his classmates like it and don't give him trouble for not having "cool" store bought ones. I wonder what age that starts? I hope we have a few more years of innocent love!

clever writing

It took me a minute to figure out, but I love this clever writing.

I hope my abundance of photos isn’t annoying. I’m all giddy about pink this year!  I’d like to say we’re done for awhile, but I told Lex’s teacher I would make cookies for their class party on Friday, so tomorrow afternoon we will be making Peanut Butter and Jelly Heart cookies. :) I’m sure you’ll see pictures of them too!

PS. These Peanut Butter Balls are tasty, but not as good as the pretzels ones we had at Christmas! In case you were wondering.

Valentine’s “Treats” (or “why I stopped baking”)

I stopped baking awhile back. Did I mention that? After the baking bonanza that was the holiday season my gut was full, my Weight Watchers efforts floundering, and my children bored of the whole thing, so I decided to give it up. Excluding Alan’s last-minute-throw-together birthday cake, my oven hasn’t seen anything but wholesome homemade bread since January. I tell you this as a prelude to today’s crazy afternoon.

In a thoughtless moment I volunteered to bake goodies for Lex’s preschool Valentine’s Day party tomorrow. I volunteered a few weeks ago and ever since have been thinking of creative, healthy(ish) treats. I had settled on heart-shaped sugar cookies with diced, dried cranberries. I thought that would be festive and not too over the top sweet. I was happy and eager to bake. Lex has been very happy and excited about this party and in the car yesterday he asked what kind of cookies we would be baking. I told him and, in his very sweet polite voice, he said “but mom, I don’t like sugar cookies.” Crap. I had forgotten that small fact. He suggested chocolate chip cookies, I said I wanted them to be a bit healthier and he so suggested oatmeal raisin cookies. Hmmm…. ok. So I spent a quick 24hrs trying to decide how to make them tasty and festive. We decided to make bar cookies and cut them with heart cookie cutters. Eve and I bought “Cupid M&Ms” and red gummy candies (why? well, because I wanted to eat them!) at the store today. I was planning to bake the M&Ms into the cookies, but Lex said he wanted to put them on top. Ok, umm, I guess we need frosting to make the candies stick. Baking by committee… So we made Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin cookies (tasty recipe under the lid of the oatmeal container) with whole wheat flour and reduced sugar, and I made cream cheese frosting with cauliflower puree (shhh.. don’t let Lex read this!), and I let the kids decorate with candies. We had discussed nice little Xs and Os or small hearts, but they chose to PILE on the candy! Ugh.

While all of this baking was going on, Eve was trying to help, but not really very helpful, and Lex was at the table making Valentine’s Day cards. It seemed like a nice enough afternoon, until it occurred to me that they both ate a fair amount of sugar (sneaking M&Ms here and there) and NO exercise. By the end of the evening Lex was bouncing, BOUNCING around the kitchen, crashing into things, making me crazy. Eve was whining and bouncing. I was feeling ill mentally and physically (so much for WW this week!) and cranky. Fortunately I got control (of myself, anyway) and accepted the fact that their craziness was entirely my fault. We ran around the living room for awhile, did some jumping jacks, somersaults, bear walks, etc. and then went up for bath. Bath went well and things were smooth until it was time to pick out clothes for tomorrow (part of our smooth evening routine that normally goes very well).

Lex currently wears only three shirts. He has 11 (yes, we counted tonight) plus several t-shirts and sweaters/sweatshirts, but will only wear three of them. One is too small and has holes in the arms, so it will be going away soon. This evening his three shirts were all dirty. He had a complete and total meltdown! It was sweet though, for a meltdown, and he just cried and cried about how he couldn’t possibly wear any of those other eight shirts. He even went so far as to say he didn’t want to go to school tomorrow because he wanted to stay home and wait until his shirts were clean. He has been excited about his Valentine’s Day party for a week now and he decided to skip it because he didn’t want to wear a different shirt. Crazy kid! We decided to go to bed instead and discuss in the morning. Later I remembered that I have a load of laundry in the dryer, so I think I’ll let him “find” a shirt in the dryer tomorrow. I really don’t want to fight in the morning and skipping school isn’t really an option, especially since I have the party food!! He fell asleep in my arms, which was sweet, and I apologized to him for sugaring him up and not giving him an outlet to burn it off.

Whew! After all that I came downstairs to face an hour and a half of kitchen clean-up (I also made Alan some awesome, to him, chili today, so there was dinner clean-up too). Alan and I also agreed that the cookies had too much candy on them, so I removed the candy, swirled around the pink and red colors from M&Ms that “melt in your mouth” or on cookies! I had such beautiful cookie treats in my head and these are A FAR CRY from them, but hopefully kids like them. Hopefully. If not, well…. I have a sneaking suspicion that Lex may not actually eat one. He isn’t really a big cookie fan and when I offered him a cookie this evening, before they were decorated, he said “No thank you. I’ll just have one tomorrow.” I’m curious if he actually does. Especially since I made them to his specs!

Tomorrow will be devoted to the kids.

And I now remember why I quit baking.

Cookie bars

Two pans of cookie bars. I should have stopped here.

Cookie bars with frosting

Cookie bars with frosting, though clearly not enough frosting. I was expecting white frosting, but this is more vanilla colored.

Kids decorating cookies

The kids hard at work decorating the cookies.

Cookie scraps

Cookie scraps anyone?

Decorated cookies

Decorated cookies. So much for healthy!

Undecorated cookies

My undecorated version. Not pretty. I hope the kids like them!

Cookie close-ups

Cookie close-ups. I want to be a food photographer. Yes, I know I need more practice!