Our Valentines 2020

Confession: I love holidays. The lighter and brighter, the better. Have I ever told you that?

I especially like Valentine’s Day, because it means I made it through January and it celebrates one of my favorite parts of life: Ryan.

It’s a good time to take down the winter decorations I’ve left up since Christmas, and clear the air and make things fresh.

I don’t feel smart with decor. I’m not the right kind of person, not trendy or smart enough. Plenty insecure though, I like that about myself. Usually, natural and found items are what appeal to me most, but it’s kind of hard to find Valentine’s decorations in my woods.

I find myself loving what we make: things that mean something to me. Or sometimes, distressed letters from Walmart, and an air plant from Amazon in a rusty watering can from a garage sale. Yeah, that works.

This year, my girls and I did some simple crafts that we had a lot of fun with. We spray painted pint jars for holding tea lights. Covering up heart shapes on the jars before painting was neat – and adding twine. Twine is always good in my book.

We decorated a canvas with spray paint, torn fabric, and vintage buttons.

And we arranged Scrabble letters. I love Scrabble letters. They fit every occasion.

I was going to run to Joann Fabrics for pretty pink paper and maybe a heart punch, but I didn’t have a vehicle that day and so my girls traced stencil hearts onto plain cardstock, then painted them with pink paint and glitter glue. We cut them out and hot-glued them to branches, an idea we found on the illustrious worldwide web.

The best part was working with these kiddos. Not that I thought to take pictures of the real crafting…

That night, we went to my friend Melissa’s house. She had a craft she wanted to try together – conversation hearts hot-glued to fishing line, then hung from a suspension rod. It’s hard to show on a picture, backlit by the window, but it’s so pretty in real life. Next time I’d put the hearts closer together, more like a bead string, but Aarick says he likes this, like they’re falling.

I couldn’t figure out why a bunch of hearts said GOAT on them. Is that a compliment or are conversation hearts supposed to be insulting nowadays or what?

Google to the rescue… OHHH. Greatest Of All Time. Got it.

One word of advice: make them in the house in which you intend to display them. They tangle horribly in transport.

And another word: a man who helps you untangle fishing line after 10 pm is a keeper.

This year, my church is having a Sweetheart Banquet for the couples on February 13th, which we are super excited about.

Instead of taking the next night for another date away from the kids, we decided to hold a family party in-house, and include them. Each family member signed up for a part of the dinner, taking responsibility for planning and preparing that item. (Yes, Mom will be helping.)

  • Jenny is doing the drinks: pink sparkling sherbet punch, and hot coffee (because it’s not every day a four-year-old gets to drink it, and oooh she loves to have her share).
  • Kelly is making the main dish: mini meatloaves and buttered noodles. We’re going to bake a barbecue sauce heart onto the top of each meatloaf – Melissa’s idea again. She’s way too good with holidays.
  • Aarick is baking the bread: soft pretzels with cheese dip.
  • Ryan is providing dessert, because it can be bought. Lol. (Loving him does not exempt him from my teasing. When I think he’s the bomb I can get away with a lot.)
  • Which leaves me with salad and a veggie. I’m going to do steamed broccoli, and a retro pink fluff salad in individual servings on lettuce leaves.
  • And we’ll set on some appetizer plates with little bits of good things, on china, with a tablecloth and candles. I’m so excited!

So that’s the plan for the Zook family Valentine celebrations 2020.

What are you doing? I love ideas.

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3 years ago

Years ago I bought a pink and silver journal and designated a spread for each family member. Then the other members each wrote a love note on everyone else’s spread. When everyone had finished each member could read the nice things everyone else had written about them. Every year since, we’ve decorated the next spread with the year and then repeated the process. It’s fun to look back and see how the notes have developed from mom writing for the littles to their own untidy scrawl to really nice teenaged notes. They sometimes weary of writing all those notes but they sure do love reading what everyone else wrote for them.

I started doing February fun days when long winter days with too many “wittle” people made me so weary. This is something my children plan for and look forward to all year and have never let me stop doing. I homeschool which makes it easy to incorporate. My 14 year old who goes to real school was mourning that she doesn’t get to participate. I was surprised that at her age it was still something she wanted to do. We do backwards day, funky hair day, color days (all wear the same color and eat special food that color) hot chocolate day, pajama day,etc.
It’s a lot of fun!

My daughters birthday is on the 14th so celebrating her usually overshadows celebrating our marriage. You have some lovely, simple decor and ideas for the holiday that inspire me to do something special! Thanks for sharing.

Lucinda J. Miller
3 years ago

Love the conversation heart deco. And the scrabble letters! And the pics of your girls. 🙂

Dawn Nolt
3 years ago

We have a Valentines tradition of doing a fondue meal with our children. It’s lots of fun, takes hours and creates wonderful memories. We all dress in red or pink, light candles and eat on china. Our fondue is in 3 courses: cheese with artisan bread cubes, broccoli, and baby potatoes; oil with steak, shrimp and chicken; chocolate with pretzels and angel food cake squares.

Kendra L
3 years ago

We invite guests, set a pretty table, and serve heart-shaped foods. Pizza, dinner rolls and meatloaf are particularly easy to make heart shaped. Carrots and potatoes can be trimmed so that they are heart-shaped when sliced. Cheese, bread, finger jello, ham, brownies, etc. can be cut with a cookie cutter. I have a heart-shaped pan for baking cakes, cornbread, and that sort of thing. The kids always enjoy it.

My cousin shared an idea that I intended to try this year but still haven’t started–on the days between Feb. 1 and 14, every night write an affirming/encouraging word that describes your child/spouse on a heart and post it on their bedroom door. By Valentines Day they will have woken up to fourteen words of love and affirmation.

I like your decorating ideas! Simple and beautiful. I too like the things we make the best.

3 years ago

This year I’m having a minor surgery done on my foot on Valentine’s Day, lol. True love sits beside his wife in the hospital.

I haven’t established a lot of Valentine’s Day traditions because I like to keep the bar low, but one year when I have the energy, I’d like to try some of these ideas. Anyone who crafts with their kids without getting snappy and developing a twitch has my deep respect.

3 years ago

Write or have someone else write on otherspeak on how single people can bless and be blessed on Lover’s Day.????

3 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

Well, I don’t think I was exactly volunteering…..but…I’ll see.☺️

3 years ago

I was just mulling over what to do with my mantel now that it’s February and I really should take my winter decor down. I like your ideas!
Our tradition is to have a yummy supper followed by lots of fresh fruit and chocolate for dipping. Our children look forward to it. We might have a lunch date or a date night some other time around Valentines Day, but usually that evening is a family evening.

Regina S
3 years ago

I like your ideas Shari! My daughter’s are all grown up but I like to put up Valentine decor from Dollar Tree. One year I made fridge magnets with canning jar lids and stickers. They came out rather nice. I crochet hearts and put them on the mantle. Those are really fun to do!

3 years ago

I have opinions about Valentine’s Day consumerist peer pressure. Suffice it to say that I prefer to celebrate it as a family love day. We traditionally eat shrimp alfredo, a really good salad, possibly a steamed veggie and dessert is chocolate fondue with dippers. A few years I have managed a treasure hunt for the children with the last clue leading them each to a different place for their treasure – a candy bag is the preferred gift. One year my teenage son informed me that his was way too easy to find, so I thiefed it and rehid it – twice, I think, until he conceded defeat. Fun memories. I like the XOXO. . .don’t think I’ve ever actually decorated for the day.

3 years ago

Valentine’s Day has become a special family time versus the love/marriage focus. (That always made me a little squeamish anyway.) We have a meal of special stuff: a cut of beef, risotto with real Parmesan, roasted asparagus, fresh fruit and cheesecake, a sparkling drink. And by candlelight, like every other supper in the winter to beat back the winter blues. This year, I’m going to sneak up to Norma’s store and buy the cards my kids were eyeing with desire last week. That’s a whole lot of joy for 50 cents a piece.

3 years ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

It’s fun to see how you celebrate Valentines Day. I’m a 1st and 2nd grade teacher and am not sure how I should celebrate the day. I am single but who doesn’t love a festive day with cheery decor and pink and chocolate? I think it would be fun to do friendship valentines, but I’m not sure if it’s silly to turn a lovers holiday into a friendship holiday for the littles. But obviously many of you include your kids. Is it different in a family setting vs classroom setting? I do have one thing planned for the day—making chocolate covered strawberries and possibly passing them out to the other classrooms.

Cinnamom in MN
3 years ago
Reply to  Rebekah

In our small private school for Valentines week, the teachers had all the students draw names, mixing up all ages and grades. They are to do kind and helpful things for the person they selected.

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