A Very Special Valentine’s Day

Today we are happy to share a guest post from Maya Szydlowski, community manager for Veterans United Home Loans:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and for moms with kiddos that means trying to round up cards and candies for your kids to hand out to their classmates. While grabbing a classroom list is no hard task, trying to get your kids to simply scrawl names on cards can be a little more difficult as the work hardly keeps their attention. To make Valentine’s Day a little more fun and creative for both you and your kiddos this year, consider giving a few of the following craft ideas a try:

Heart-Shaped Breakfast

Valentine pancakes
An awesome tradition that my mom used to do when we were kids was a Valentine’s Day breakfast. Starting your families’ Valentine’s Day can start with some love from the kitchen. A few days prior, go out and purchase some metal heart-shaped cookie cutters from your local grocery or craft store. These cookie cutters can be great additions when making pancakes, eggs, and French toast! Now how exciting would it be for the kids to sit down at the table and be served heart-shaped chocolate-chip pancakes? It will surely bring a smile on their face and a moment they’ll always remember.

Tip: This could also work for lunch! Heart shaped sandwiches or heart cheese and crackers, anyone? Yum!

Homemade V-Day Cards

Although we all know going to the store and buying a pack of Valentine’s Day cards is easy to do, why not make a fun craft out of it? Your kids will be much more excited and it will be a really special gift for their friends, other family members and classmates. Thankfully, these cards are small and easily made, so cleanup afterwards will be a breeze.

Best part about this, as long as you have the card stock (thicker than normal paper and available at almost any craft/scrapbooking store), you can really use whatever items you have around the house. Have leftover wrapping paper or ribbon from the holidays?  Have your kids cut out hearts or letters using the wrapping paper to decorate, write a sweet note inside, and you’re done! To add a little extra bit of love, buy a big bag of small candies and tape a piece to each card. It is the day of sweets, after all J

If you want to take creativity to a new level, (and your kids are aren’t little munchkins anymore), you could make cards using copper and other unconventional materials to really impress your crowd.

Play Dough!

Playdough is one of every child’s favorite things to play with, so why not have them make it themselves? (Plus, you could put those cookie cutters you bought for breakfast to use!)

2 cups flour
2 packets of gelatin (store brand will work just fine)
1 cup salt
2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon cream of tartar [optional]
(You can also personalize with food coloring, scented oils, etc.)

Put all ingredients in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir frequently! Once the “goop” starts thickening into what looks like mashed potatoes, take off heat.

Wait until the dough cools off, pour onto a floured surface and begin to knead. Once it turns into that smooth, desired texture, divide the dough and roll into balls. Next, use your finger to press into the center of each dough ball. Take out your food coloring and squeeze a few drops in. Then slowly knead the dough ball. (Note: Try to keep the raw dye from directly touching hands or counter, keynote to this step is to go slowly!). Now the fun part – use your cookie cutters to make fun Valentine’s Day shapes. Store the pieces you want to keep on a plate and saran wrap the artwork.

Valentine’s Day can be as special as you’d like it to be, from the kitchen to edible artwork, the day of love and sweets will be one to remember. Show your kids a little extra love this holiday by spending the extra time with them crafting and being creative. There will be many memories to be had, and your kids will enjoy burning off some of their energy!

Maya Szydlowski is a community manager for Veterans United Home Loans, the nation’s top dedicated VA loan provider as well as news and information on veterans’ benefits.

Photo: – credit to LisaClarkebyUnknownonMonday, February 06, 2012Military Life:,,

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