Valentines Day ❤️
Did you know St. Valentine's Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.
Valentines Day is all about love, it gives you the perfect opportunity to create more love in your family, not only between parent and child, but between siblings.
We all need to be cherished. But despite our good intentions, too often we forget to tell the people we love just how precious they are to us. Valentines Day reminds us to tell all of our loved ones (not only our sweethearts) how glad we are that they're in our lives.
Ideas to celebrate Valentines Day
Alternate gift ideas:
A Letter of Appreciation.
The best gift of all is always a simple letter to your loved ones detailing how grateful you are to have them in your life. Be as specific as possible; “The way you let me sleep in the morning while you make the kids breakfast” and "The way you dance with such exuberance” are more satisfying than “You’re lovable,” because the recipient feels seen and appreciated. Don’t worry if it isn’t eloquent. Any heartfelt love letter will be cherished by the recipient much more than a store-bought gift. This isn't only for your partner; children feel loved when we notice who they are and what they contribute to us, our family, and the world. Your kids will will reread your letters during tough times. They'll save them for the rest of their lives
Get up a few minutes early so you can enjoy opening each others' Valentines at breakfast
Be sure to include something heart-shaped or sweet to eat.
Let your kids know your love is with them all day
...by tucking little construction paper hearts with love notes into their backpack, lunch, jacket pocket, etc for them to find throughout the day
Spread the love
Before Valentines Day, invite your kids' friends to make Valentines. Good music (theirs), delicious snacks (your job) and a digital or instant camera ("Here's a picture of me making your valentine") seem to provide enough cool context for tweens and even younger teens to let themselves enjoy this project. In fact, inviting friends always seems to double the fun, whatever their age.
Your kids can make very simple Valentines for their class
...which do so much more to fill kids' cups than the store-bought "fast-food" ones. Just cut out hearts, or run them out of the computer. Your child can color and decorate and elaborate as much or little as he wants. Or take your child's drawing and have it color-xeroxed with red ink, then just write in the names.
Sound surround yourself with love
This is the day for your Love Song playlist. Or let your kids create a new one. Skip the heartbroken ones and go straight for celebration, all day long!
Love in Practice
If you'd like your kids to take pride in making the world a better place, Valentines Day is a great opportunity to make love tangible in the world by taking valentines goodies or homemade valentines to a nursing home, hospital, or soup kitchen.
As four wise teachers once said, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
❤️ Make Valentines Day Cookies 🍪
- 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional for added flavor: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 Tablespoons meringue powder
- 9–10 Tablespoons room temperature water
- Americolor Soft Gel Paste Color Kit for coloring
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on medium-high speed until creamed, about 2 minutes. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract (if using) and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl and beat again as needed to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. If the dough seems too soft, you can add 1 Tablespoon more flour so it’s a better consistency for rolling.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal parts. Roll each portion out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured silicone baking mat (I prefer the nonstick silicone mat) to about 1/4″ thickness. The rolled-out dough can be any shape, as long as it is evenly ¼-inch thick.
- Stack the pieces, with parchment paper between the two, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours and up to 2 days. If chilling for more than a couple hours, cover the top dough piece with a single piece of parchment paper.
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a heart cookie cutter, cut into heart shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with 2nd dough piece.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. Make sure you rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.
- Make the icing: In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat all of the icing ingredients together on high speed for 5 minutes. When lifting the whisk up off the icing, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 10-12 seconds. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. (On particularly dry days, I use up to 12-14 Tablespoons water total.) If it’s too thin, add a little more sifted confectioners’ sugar. Separate icing into 6 different bowls. Stir in 1 tiny drop of the following colors into each bowl, 1 color per bowl: pink, violet, green, yellow, and orange. The 6th bowl is for the writing. Use 2-3 drops of red.
- Add icing to piping bag fitted with round icing tip #5. Decorate cookies with colored icing. Use round icing tip #1 for writing. Do not cover cookies as icing sets. Icing will set within 2-3 hours.
- Decorated or plain cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for 5 days or in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- Freezing Instructions: Plain or decorated sugar cookies freeze well up to 3 months. Wait for the icing to set completely before layering between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container. To thaw, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature. You can also freeze the cookie dough for up to 3 months before rolling it out. Prepare the dough through step 3, divide in half, flatten both halves into a disk as we do with pie crust, wrap each in plastic wrap, then freeze. To thaw, thaw the disks in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature for about 1 hour. Roll out the dough as directed in step 4, then chill rolled out dough in the refrigerator for 45 minutes – 1 hour before cutting into shapes and baking.
However you decide to celebrate, I hope February 14 brings more love into your life. Happy Valentines Day! ❤️