6 Ways to Valentine Daily (or Fix a Bad One)

I can’t count the number of Valentine’s Days when I have gotten sick, crowds were awful, prices were high, or even a minor nuisance put a damper on this tricky holiday.  Inspired by these “lovely” memories, here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy other days as if Valentine’s Day:

1. Secret Body Notes:  Pen sweet notes on your skin (calf, forearm, back) that will make you smile all day.  Dedicate a line to someone you’ve lost that would wish you happiness, draw a picture of your pet, or have your kids give you a smiley face.

2. Decorate Yourself in Silly Ways:  With kids or grand kids, buy party washable tattoos or decorate each other with holiday items.  My girls and I spent 30 minutes laughing in the bathroom putting bows in their hair, turning their heads into ribbon bouquets.  They can always decorate themselves with a sheet of stickers also (so long as the stickers go in the trash rather than the laundry at day's end).

3. Make a Play List for YOU:  It’s so nice to have your favorites for a rainy day or yucky chores.  Any time you hear a great song, keep a running list in your purse, bag, or beside your radio.  When you have 7-10 songs, download them and burn a cd.  Here’s the play list that helped me clean bathrooms this weekend:

4. Curious Conversations: Make of list of things you don’t otherwise get to chat about with your friends and family, then write a letter, make a call, or set up lunch to visit for fun. Where is their favorite travel place and why? What is their earliest funny memory? There is list of New Year’s questions for kids on my post, Reflect and Grow, to get you started, or buy some $1.00 “Conversations Cards” leftover from this holiday at your local store. This is a great alternative to movie nights.

5. Active Games: Set up a park day with friends and family full of partner and group games: Run a three-legged race, wheelbarrows, and carry water balloons or eggs with a partner, play red rover and kickball, or create a treasure hunt that include clues from loved ones conversations (above) where the clue's answer and next question is held by that member of the group.

6. Chocolate Shaped Gifts: Use the super easy recipe below to make and deliver your own box of treats (and know what it is made of).  Make heart shapes for love days and appropriate shapes for special days (bunnies/eggs for Easter, flags/balls for summer, diplomas/caps for graduates, baby bottles for new moms, leaves/pumpkins for fall…)

Megan’s Chocolate Shapes Recipe
2 cups chopped/chips dark chocolate, or any combo of your favorite chocolate
1 teaspoon Crisco, plus ½ teaspoon for greasing cookie cutters
1 cup roasted chopped almonds, or nuts of your choice
1/3 cup chopped dried cherries, or dried fruit of your choice

Roast whole, fresh almonds (to softened and increase flavor) in a single layer on a cookie sheet (no spray, no toppings) at 375 F for 5-10 minutes. Remove and cool on the sheet. Meanwhile, put a small pot on the stove at med-low. Add chocolate pieces and 1 tsp Crisco; stir occasionally until melted, then remove from heat. Chop almonds and cherries; stir into melted chocolate.

Lay wax paper on a clean cookie sheet. Quickly run your finger with Crisco along the inside of all your cookie cutter molds and place on your sheet. Pour chocolate into molds and gently press chocolate with a spoon to remove gaps and bubbles around the edges (chocolate will leak out a tiny bit from the below the mold; you can break this off after cooling).

Place filled chocolate shapes into the fridge 1-2 hours to set, then pop out of cookie molds and bag for gifts. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat or share, set out in advance for easy cutting and biting into. Yum!

Happy Loving Year-Round!

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