"Shamrock" Sugar Cookies


1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter or margarine -- softened
1 tsp vanilla, almond extract or lemon extract
1 egg
Green sugar sprinkles


Heat oven to 375º.

Beat half of the dry cake mix with the shortening, butter, vanilla and egg in a large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, or mix with spoon. Mix in the remaining cake mix.

Divide dough into 4 equal parts. Roll each part 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut with a Shamrock shaped cookie cutter; sprinkle with sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack to cool.

A Leprechaun Visit on St. Patrick's Day!

by EarTwiggle

It is a lot of fun to learn about leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day. Leprechauns are little Irish fairies, and they are thought to be shoemakers. The Irish say that if a leprechaun is caught by a human, he will reveal where he hides his pot of gold. It is believed that they bury their gold in secret places only Leprechauns can reach, or that the pot of gold is hidden at the end of the rainbow.

The leprechaun visit - The night before St. Patrick’s Day, do some harmless pranks and mess up the family-room after your children are in bed. Think of as many silly things as you can that your children will notice in the morning. Leave little gold coins or gold nuggets (beans sprayed golden) lying around. Hide a scroll (letter from the leprechaun – find print version at for your children to find. Read the letter together and tell your children about the mischievous leprechauns and their pot of gold.

Have children search for the gold coins/nuggets that the leprechaun left behind and put them in a bowl. Ask them to estimate the number of gold coins there are in the pot. Count the coins with the children and use this opportunity to introduce and teach the math concepts
“same,” “one more,” and “one less.”

After cleaning up after the leprechaun, have children write a letter to the leprechaun asking him to please clean up next time he plays in your house. Discuss how you could catch a leprechaun and make a leprechaun trap together. Use items around the house like a shoebox, a clean can, paper rolls, strings, sandwich bags, etc. Be creative and have fun. Don’t forget to decorate the trap and to add bait.

Scavenger Hunt - Before your children return from school (or the next morning), close the trap and place inside it a piece of a rainbow and shamrock with a clue from the leprechaun. Print other clues onto the other pieces of the rainbow and hide them in the room. After following each clue, your children will find some of the leprechaun’s “pot of gold” - bag of chocolate foil-covered coins!

Color some leprechaun coloring pages and make a leprechaun puppet to remind you of his visit.

If you are lucky enough to capture a Leprechaun don’t take your eyes off him for even a second or he will disappear. Happy leprechaun hunting....

Jolanda Garcia is a former teacher and educational content designer and runs several websites. Her goal is to provide parents and teachers with quality resources to promote their children's development and creativity. Visit her websites at:
Preschool activities and crafts , and for resources and activities to promote healthy eating habits in young children.

Article Source:
Lady Pens

The Luck of the Irish - Corn Beef and Cabbage Dinner


1 5-pound corn beef brisket with spice packet
6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 large head of green cabbage, cut into wedges


Open spice packet and rub spices onto the brisket. Be sure to coat both sides. Place brisket in a large cooking pot and cover completely with cold water. On high heat bring water to a rapid boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover pot and simmer brisket for approximately 3 hours.

Remove lid and place quartered potatoes in pot. Recover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes until potatoes are almost fork tender. Remove lid from pot and place cabbage wedges on top. Simmer uncovered for approximate 15 minutes or until cabbage and potatoes are at desired tenderness.

The Holiday Where Everyone is Irish - Saint Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday in which we celebrate "Saint Patrick" who was one of the patron saints of Ireland credited with spreading the Catholic religion to many areas of Ireland.

St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland with many businesses being closed on that day. In other parts of the world, especially the US and Canada, it is widely celebrated but is not an official government holiday. It takes place on the 17th day of March each year, which is the day on which Saint Patrick died.

St. Patrick’s Day is a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics in Ireland. Interestingly enough, occasionally the church authorities move the date of the holiday because of its clash with other holy days. In 2008 this is the case, and it will be moved to March 15th to avoid Holy Monday. Catholics around the world will start off their St. Patrick’s Day with a Mass service which is held to signify the holiday.

Amazingly, St. Patrick’s Day began being celebrated here in the United States with a parade in Queens New York in 1737, well before the Revolutionary War. Since that day, parades are a very popular way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Here in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by everyone becoming of Irish decent for the day and has become more of a secular holiday than one of religion. Also, here in the United States, it has taken on more of a meaning of celebrating the beginning of spring. This goes along with the tradition of wearing green on the day, because green is both the color of Ireland as well as the color which signifies life and growth. It is said that you will be lucky for the coming Spring if you wear green on the holiday.

Many people wear a shamrock on the holiday to signify good luck. However, the roots of this tradition, it is said, come from St. Patrick using a shamrock to explain to the pagans the concept of the Holy Trinity. In the Catholic Religion, the Holy Trinity is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, which Christians know all stem from the same God. The three leaves of the shamrock all connected to the same stem were used to explain this concept to the pagans. If you are wearing a shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day, it means that you can claim good luck or blessings on that day and for the rest of the year.

In addition to the shamrock, many people believe that the cute little fictitious Leprechaun character can bring you good luck. For this reason many people wear Leprechaun pins and other memorabilia on St. Patrick’s Day as well as a shamrock.

One of the fun and very popular traditions which goes along with St. Patrick’s Day is the consumption of green ale. Many bars and pubs add green food coloring to their beer on the holiday to serve to their customers. In addition to the green ale, many people also indulge in Irish Cream and Irish Whisky on the day as well. For the kids, a nice green lemonade or 7UP make great non-alcoholic alternatives.

Show Kids How Much You Love Them in Every Valentine’s Day Meal

Give the kids a sense of love all day long on Valentine’s Day. The love isn’t just represented in a special dinner or after dinner treats, but you can remind them of your love at other mealtimes throughout the day too. Here are some ideas to spruce up your every day snacks for Valentine’s Day.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. On Valentine’s Day, it is extra special. Give the kids silver dollar pancakes in the shape of a heart. They’ll wonder how you did it and think you are the greatest mom in the world. It’s nice to be loved.

It’s not only the food that can change shape. Serve drinks for the kids in red and pink cups. Each meal tastes that much better on a plate that says I love you. 

All of your food can go all mushy with love on Valentine’s Day. Give sandwiches a makeover using cookie cutters in the shape of hearts. Kids love eating little pieces of food because they can pick it up with their fingers. Bite size pieces are easier to chew too.

If your kids like fruit, slice your fruit into thick slices and then cut them into different shapes using cookie cutters. Add a bowl of these lovely fruit pieces to their sandwich for lunch. If the kids are school age these ideas still work for a bag lunch on Valentine’s Day.

Do your kids like soup? February is still the middle of winter and in some places it is still cold. Instead of serving that soup for lunch in a regular bowl, try a bread bowl. Hollow the bread out in the shape of a heart. The kids will be stunned and amazed once again by your cooking creativity. Chicken noodle or vegetable soup seems to taste better when it’s presented in a new way.

Macaroni and cheese can go all hugs and kisses with a little help from some add-ins. Add color and protein to the favorite pasta dish with some ham bits shaped like miniature hearts. Pieces of sweet peppers and other veggies like carrots can add some love to that bowl too. Who knew that all you had to do was change the shape of the vegetables to get kids to eat them?

Valentine’s Day is about extra special love all day long. Add that love to your food and give your kids a treat.

Valentine's Day "Sandwiches Made from the Heart"


* Cream cheese, softened
* Red food coloring
* Bread
* Heart-shaped cookie cutter
* Jam; strawberry or raspberry


Add a few drops of red food coloring to the softened cream cheese and mix until the color is a light pink throughout. Cut bread into heart shapes with the cookie cutter. Spread cream cheese on the bread and top with the jam.

Valentine’s Day Dinner for Kids

With all the special events taking place on Valentine’s Day it is only right to end the day with a dinner befitting the occasion. Kids can give you some ideas for what they want to have for dinner. If you trust their tastes, let them choose the meal. Here are some kid friendly Valentine’s Day dinner ideas.

Make your own pizza. The kids can choose the toppings and fix them up into little bowls so that they are easier to put on the pizza. Parents can shape the dough into a heart when it is ready for toppings. To get the entire family involved, each person can create a personal pizza for themselves with their favorite toppings. Add a salad and you have a perfect Valentine’s Day meal.

Anything that you can shape can become a Valentine’s Day meal centerpiece. Instead of a loaf pan, put that meatloaf into a heart shaped pan. Let the kids use ketchup to write a loving message on the meatloaf before you bake it.

Casseroles for dinner are typical but on Valentine’s Day, we can take some time to give it a unique touch. Parents can use kitchen shears to cut raw chicken breasts into heart like shapes for the casserole. Veggie casseroles are easier to shape and kids can do it with a butter knife.

For Valentine’s Day, the drinks are on the kids. Red Kool-Aid is a great choice. Let the kids mix it up. To avoid all of the sweetness, use Splenda instead of pure cane sugar. You can also make a Valentine’s Day punch. You can find many punch recipes online and in cookbooks at your local library. If your kids are really creative, they can use heart-shaped ice molds to fashion festive ice cubes to keep their drinks cool and refreshing.

This special dinner takes planning. You and your kids can grocery shop together the week before to find all the necessary ingredients and utensils to make Valentine’s Day a success. You may have to visit a few stores to find the ice molds or non-stick pans for the meals. While you’re at it, you may find some other things that could make your meal more festive on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day takes on new meaning when you have kids. They see each event with new eyes and Valentine’s Day is no different. Take the opportunity to get them interested in cooking and begin new family traditions that they look forward to participating in together each year.

Little Kids Crafts for All Seasons
Valentine's Day Recipes


Valentine's Day Raspberry Brownies


* 4 cups fresh red raspberries
* 5 tablespoons sugar
* 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
* 2 cups whipping cream
* 1/4 cup raspberry liqueur (Chambord) (optional)
* 4 squares (3-inch) bakery brownies: milk chocolate, blond, or marbled brownies cut into chunks


Set aside 8 to 10 of the berries.

In a bowl combine remaining berries, the sugar, and orange peel, place the berry mixture in a 1- to 1 1/2 quart compote dish or serving bowl.

In a chilled mixing bowl combine whipping cream and liqueur (if using). Beat with chilled beaters of an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Spoon on top of raspberry mixture. Top the whipped cream with brownie chunks and reserved raspberries.

Valentine's Day "Pasta For Me and You"


* 1/2 pound linguini - cooked
* 6 Roma Tomatoes - Cut into large dice
* 6 cloves garlic
* 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
* 1/3 cup fresh basil
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* Few turns of fresh ground pepper


Heat oil in a medium-high skillet, add pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute (don't brown the garlic). Add the tomatoes and cook till tomatoes start to wilt. Add Basil and cook for 1 more minute. Add cooked pasta to skillet and toss.

We have an abundance of cherry tomatoes in the summer so we sometimes substitute the roma tomatoes with cherry tomatoes that have been roasted for an hour or 2 in a 250 F oven (like sun dried tomatoes).

Valentine's Day Party Fun for Kids

Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to have a party. Invite family and friends to share the day with you at your home. When a party is on the agenda, everyone can contribute ideas to make it fun.

Plan ahead. To avoid a rush, gather all of the party supplies a week in advance. Let everyone brainstorm ideas until the big shopping day arrives. With list in hand, find games and items for everyone.

Dress each guest to celebrate at the party. For the girls, give them a candy necklace. Once the party is over, she can nibble at her necklace for a sweet treat. For the boys, try candy whistles. It’ll be the most delicious sound they’ve ever made.

Start with some games. How about a game of hearts for the card players in the group? Go online and Google card games to find a simple version of the game for kids and adults to play at parties.

Word games are fun at a party. Using the words, Happy Valentine’s Day, give kids two or three minutes to write down as many words as they can using those letters. The one with the most words wins a prize.

Prizes for games can be as simple as paper hearts that function as coupons. For example, create a coupon that can be traded in for a day with no chores or a five dollar gift from the store. The more prizes a person wins, the more coupons they can cash in. If you have invited people outside the family, have a separate prize basket with small prizes like teddy bears and candy.

Teach a craft. Kids love to make things so give them an opportunity to learn something new. Since spring comes right on the heels of winter, show them how to plant seeds in a flower pot. They can start their own herb garden that will grow indoors. Decorate the pots with hearts so kids will always remember the fun they had on Valentine’s Day.

If the weather is nice, the kids can take turns whacking a Valentine’s Day piñata. The piñata can be a cupid, a heart, or something else related to Valentine’s Day. Each child gets three chances to bust it open. After that, the older party guests get a crack at it.

Even if it is just the family, a Valentine’s Day party can bring lots of laughs and quality together time. Encourage old and young alike to participate for the most fun.

Chocolate "Stuffed with Love" Valentine's Day Cupcakes



* 3 cups all purpose flour
* 2 cups sugar
* 2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups water
* 2/3 cup vegetable oil
* 2 tablespoons vinegar
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


* 1 package ( 8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
* 1/3 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup Hershey's Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips or Mini Chips

* Red food coloring


Prepare filling; set aside.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla; beat on medium speed 2 minutes or until well combined. Fill paper-lined muffin cups ( 2 1/2 inches in diameter) 2/3 full with batter. Spoon 1 level Tbsp filling into center of each cupcake. Bake 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake portion comes out clean. Cool. About 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.

Filling Directions:

In small mixer bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, egg and salt; beat until smooth and creamy. Add 4-5 drops red food color to acheive your desired color. Stir in chocolate chips.

Valentine's Day Cookie and Cupcake Ideas

Valentine’s Day is a day for treats as well as expressions of love. Kids like to get more of the sweets and this is one day they can enjoy delicious creations. Here are some ideas for making cookies and cupcakes that ooze with love and fresh baked goodness.

Let’s start with the cookies. For kids, baking is fun. It is a way for them to help out in the kitchen and learn love cooking. The freezer section of the grocery store has several flavors of cookies. Rolled dough is good to use and eliminates cleanup hassles after the cookies are made.

Take a roll of refrigerated dough and roll it out on a non-stick surface. Add a touch of flour to the rolling pin before you try to roll the dough or it will stick. Younger kids may find it easier to roll the dough out with a plastic rolling pin because they are not as heavy as the wooden ones.

Heart shaped cookie cutters will turn regular sugar, peanut butter, and chocolate chip cookies into creations of love. Kids don’t only like hearts. Let them experiment with other shapes in the cookie cutter arsenal if they want to. They can even design shapes of their own with the dough pieces that are too small to cut.

Cupcakes are much the same way but it takes a bit more preparation. To make it easy, use a box cake mix instead of mixing everything from scratch. Remind your kids that if you are adding egg that they can’t dip a finger in because of the possibility of salmonella poisoning.

The kids can choose to use cupcake cups that are decorated for the holiday or spoon them directly into the muffin pan. Mini muffin pans create bite size cupcakes for the family to enjoy after dinner. If you have a window in the oven, kids will camp out and watch the cupcakes bake just like a television show.

Decorate those cupcakes with creamy icing. White icing can be turned into pink with a bit of red food coloring. Kids will be amazed by this as the white icing changes colors. For an extra special touch, add candy sprinkles or cinnamon red hot candies. It will be hard to keep the kids from eating up all the ingredients as they bake. It may be hard to keep you from sneaking that spoonful of icing when you should be adding it to the cupcakes too so be warned.

Sweets are fun to make and even more fun to eat. Cookies and cupcakes get a nice makeover on Valentine’s Day to help reflect the good feelings of the holiday as well as create great family togetherness.

"Cherrylisous Cream Cheese" Valentine's Day Cookies



* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 1 cup oleo
* 1 egg
* 2 teaspoons vanilla
* 2 cups flour


* 1 cup powdered sugar
* 2 teaspoons flour
* 3 ounces cream cheese
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 cup coconut
* 1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries -- drained


* 1/4 cup chocolate chips
* 1 teaspoon oleo
* 1/4 cup powdered sugar
* 3 teaspoons water


Mix sugar and oleo. Add egg and vanilla. Stir in flour. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Shape dough into balls. Place 2" apart on cookie sheet. With thumb, make imprint in each cookie. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. Remove from cookie sheet and cool.

Mix filling and fill cookie center with 1/2 teaspoon of filling.

In saucepan, melt chocolate chips and oleo. Mix in rest of ingredients and drizzle over cookies.

Valentine's Day "Party Games" For Kids

Games are essential if you are planning a Valentine's Day party for kids. Here are 7 great Valentine's Day games appropriate for kids that are easy and fun to play.
Valentine Heart Pillow Race:

Use two large stuffed hearts (either pillows or just plush stuffed hearts). Divide the kids into two teams and tell them they must run to the finish line with the heart between their legs. Once they return to the group, they should take the heart and give it to the next child, who puts it between their legs and so on. Whichever group finishes the entire relay first wins. 

Valentine "Toilet Paper" Gift Wrap:

Give the kids a couple rolls of toilet paper and instruct them to wrap another child mummy style. This is a popular game at Halloween, but in this case they are wrapping a present. Divide the kids into two teams and time them. The team that finishes first, wins, and gets to put a big red bow on their "package".

Valentine "Name Match" Game:

Help kids remember some of the great couples of history by having them complete the match to a famous other half. For example, if you say "Romeo" their answer would be "Juliet". To play this game, divide the kids into two groups and give each a bell or similar type item. Present the famous start of the pair. You might say, "peanut butter" and if one of the teams knows the match is "jelly" they will ring in with their answer. 

Some other options are:

"Eggs and (bacon)"
"Coffee and (sugar or cream is OK here)"
"Cinderella and (Prince Charming)"
"Cookies and (milk)"
"Jack and (Jill)"

Valentine "Heart Candy" Game:

Kids love those little Valentine's candy conversation hearts available everywhere around Valentine's Day. Create a heart-stacking contest, which is a lot of fun and can create some team spirit. Initially, each child will get many hearts. Plan to have a few bags on hand if you are doing this game with a lot of kids. Have them build as high as they can with the hearts within in a given period of time (30 seconds to a minute is plenty). If their contraption falls, they are out. Keep playing the game over and over again until you are down to two final contestants. Have everyone cheer him or her on as they try to build the highest (and longest lasting) tower of hearts. Be sure to have a prize for the winner.

Valentine Balloon Game:

Give each child a balloon (not inflated) and have him or her blow it up, but do not tie it off. Have a target somewhere in the room, and in this case a big heart will do, and have them let go of their (untied) balloon in the direction of the target. Whoever gets their balloon the closest to the target gets a prize. If someone gets a direct hit, that's two prizes. Keep the target on the ground to make this game easier. Based on the ages and abilities of the kids, you can have them stand close or somewhat far away from the target when they let their balloon go.

Valentine's Day Bingo:

For a seated game that might help the kids rest for a minute, play a game of Valentine's Day-themed bingo. The bingo squares might have pictures on them like hearts, flowers, cupid, arrows and the like. Be sure to have a prize for the winner, and play the game over and over so the kids can all have a turn at winning. 

Valentine's Day "Throw The Smile" Game:

Sit everyone in a circle and have one person smile wildly at the rest of the group. Everyone else must sit as stone-faced as possible. Then the person smiling dramatically wipes the smile off their face (by literally using their hand over their mouth in a swiping motion) and "throws" the smile to the next person in the circle. That person puts the smile on, and again makes a wild, silly smile at the group, then wipes it off and moves on. As soon as someone smirks or smiles that is not supposed to be smiling at that moment, they are out. It's harder than it sounds and kids often end up in gales of laughter, even when they're trying to be serious.


"Girly Girl" Valentine's Day Cookies


* 1/4 cup soft Crisco vegetable shortening or 1/4 cup butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
* 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 tablespoons milk
* 1 cup Quick or Old Fashioned Oats, Uncooked
* Few Drops red food coloring
* Chocolate Frosting (or Jam of choice)


Beat together shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and peppermint extract; beat well. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in oats. Add just enough red food coloring to make a pink dough. Cover and chill dough 1 hour. Roll out dough on a lightly floured board to 1/8". Cut with 2" floured, heart shaped cookie cutter. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 375 degrees for 6 minutes. Remove and cool on rack.

Frost 1/2 of the cookies with chocolate frosting of choice or jam of choice. Top with remaining cookies, sandwich style.

"My Heart Filled" Valentine's Day Cookies


* 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
* 1/2 cup shortening
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 egg
* 1/2 cup milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt


In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening; gradually add sugar. Add egg, milk and vanilla extract. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Meanwhile, make Cherry Filling (see recipe below).

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place half of the cookies on greased baking sheets; spoon 1/2 teaspoon Cherry filling in the center of each. Use a 1 1/2-inch heart-shaped cutter to cut small hearts out of the other half of the heart shaped cookies you cut out. (Bake small heart cutouts separately.) Place the remaining hearts over filled cookies; press edges together gently. Fill centers with additional filling if needed. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire racks.

Cherry Filling


* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1/2 cup orange juice
* 1/4 cup red maraschino cherry juice
* 12 red maraschino cherries, chopped
* 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
* Additional sugar


Combine sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Add juices, cherries and butter. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 1 minutes. Chill.

Yields about 4 1/2 dozen filled cookies.


Valentine Card Ideas for Moms and Dads

When kids are first introduced to Valentine’s Day it is by their parents. They are told that it is a day to show those we love how we feel about them. Until they learn about Cupid and the type of love he represents, they cherish the love of friends and family above any other. Because of this Mom and Dad are at the top of their card lists. Here are some valentine card ideas for parents.

For the youngest kids, cards made of felt are easy to create. All you need are some pieces of felt, glue sticks, and foam letters. Children will need your help spelling out the love-filled message but even misspellings are an expression of love. Felt cards can be hand delivered without the need for an envelope.

What is one of the biggest canvases in the house? You guessed it, the refrigerator. Toy stores sell those magnetic letters and shapes that are used on the refrigerator to teach spelling and sentence formation. Let the kids create a card that can be enjoyed for more than just the holiday with tons of magnetic letters. Everyone that comes in the kitchen can see their testament of love for Mom and Dad.

Love is not just a word, it is a declaration. In medieval times, declarations were written on scrolls and read to everyone in the town. Kids can do the same for mom and dad. Pre-printed scrolls are available where kids can write in the name of mom and dad and sign their own name at the bottom.

If they want to make their own scrolls at home all they’ll need is a long sheet of paper, glue, and two paper towel rolls. The paper towel rolls will act like the rollers for the scroll. The kids can decorate the scroll card in any way with their own special message. The top and the bottom edges of the paper are then glued to a paper towel roll. After the glue dries, roll the scroll up and tie it closed with a decorative ribbon.

Through the ages, poems have always said what the heart was feeling. Kids learn how to construct poems in school. Encourage them to express their love with words. You’ll be tickled and brought to tears by some of the messages they come up with. Let them paste their poems into a homemade card or fold the poem in half and let it become the card all of it’s own.

Older kids can use the wonders of technology to create a unique card on the computer. Card programs allow the user to use any font, color, and style they want. The cards can be blank or come complete with sayings. On the back, the kids can even put their signature as the creator of the card just like a Hallmark.

Kids are always on the lookout for new ways to say something nice to their parents. These ideas will get them started. If you want a new twist on the Valentine’s Day card for kids to give to their parents, definitely try some of the ideas mentioned above.


Valentine's Day Card Ideas for Classmates

Stores make plenty of money from kids on Valentine’s Day. The teacher gives a list of names to each student and they address a card to each one and bring it to school on Valentine’s Day. Cards come in all shapes and sizes in the store, but they all have the same basic feel to them. Here are a few card ideas that will be different than the usual store bought cards.

Everyone loves getting mail. I visit the mailbox each day with expectation of what may be inside. Your kids can give their classmates the same feeling with a mailbox Valentine’s Day card.

Small craft boxes can be covered with white paper to resemble a mailbox. Kids can paste X’s and O’s and hearts to the outside. Inside the mailbox put a homemade card that says something that your child likes about each of them even if it is only the color of their shirt. Add a small treat inside the mailbox to put an even bigger smile on the children’s faces.

Stickers decorate cards just as well as drawings. Using scissors that create decorative edges, cut hearts and other shapes out of cardstock paper. The shapes can be pasted on a larger piece of cardstock and given that special touch using stickers. Be sure that your child doesn’t forget to write the name of each child on the card. He or she can even make one for their teacher.

Send each child in his class a teddy bear gram. Small Valentine’s bears can be purchased at the dollar store. They have bears with clear plastic slots on the front for a wallet size picture. Instead of a picture slip a folded Valentine’s Day message in the pocket. In addition to the friendly message, each child gets a teddy bear to love.

All kids like to get chocolate on Valentine’s Day. Wrap several candy kisses in aluminum foil and shape it like one giant chocolate kiss. Write a note for each classmate on a long slip of paper and roll it up. Attach one end of the paper to the top of the foil kiss. If you’re short on time or your child has a large class, the messages can all be the same to remove the need to uniquely address each giant kiss. Kids can write something cute on the paper and sign their name.

Traditional cards are okay for classmates, but if your child has an imaginative mind, let them exercise it with these ideas. Make Valentine’s Day in the classroom exciting and new.


Scissor-less Valentine's Day Crafts for Toddlers

Valentine’s Day is a wonderful holiday for crafts. Kids of all ages can get involved in the preparations and celebration. Toddlers are too young to use scissors safely on their own, but they can still participate in craft making with the family. Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day crafts that don’t require the use of scissors by your young ones.
Toddlers like to paint.
They learn in preschool that painting is fun and safe. Give them some finger paints in red and white and have a good time decorating just about anything.
With finger paints you have to prepare the area so that the kids have a blast without your house looking like a construction zone. Dress the kids in play clothes so that they can get messy without ruining their good clothes.
They can use their little hands to make a heart shape out of their prints. You can get them to alternate red and white prints or they can mix white and red to make a batch of pink paint for more hearts. Guide their hands to write words like “I love you” on a piece of construction paper or a poster board.
Toddlers can give the gift of flowers that they have made by themselves.
Give your toddler a variety colors and sizes of tissue paper so that they can make unique bouquets for each of their valentines. The best thing about tissue paper is that it best resembles a flower when it is crumpled up. Kids love to rip and crumble things up. With this craft, they can do those things for fun. You can crumple with them and let out your inner child too.
Once the paper is sufficiently crumpled, put the sheets together. Show the kids how to wrap a pipe cleaner around the bundle of tissue paper sheets and fluff them up. In no time they will look like flowers. Since pipe cleaners may be hard to manage, it might be a better idea for parents to add the pipe cleaner and let the toddlers shape the flowers.
Toddlers can make foam Valentine's Day Cards.
Craft stores have all sorts of good things that toddlers can use for Valentine’s Day crafting. Foam shapes come pre-made. Kids just have to punch them out and apply them to whatever surface they need to. Instead of using glue, glue sticks are less messy and a toddler can learn to handle them much easier than a bottle of glue.
You can cut out some pictures of their face and place them in the center of the foam sheet. After they decorate with the shapes, the craft can be given to grandparents or other family members as a Valentine’s Day card that is unique and special.
Toddlers don’t have to use scissors to make crafts. Each of the above valentine crafts for toddlers required no scissor use and still they make excellent crafts that are fun and still allow them to be creative.


"You Melt My Heart" Valentine's Day Cookies


* 1/3 cup powdered sugar
* 3/4 cup cornstarch
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup butter (no substitutes)


Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in the butter until fine. Gently work into a soft dough. Roll dough out onto a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4-inch thick. Cut using a 2- or 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place hearts onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Let cookies rest on baking sheet until cooled slightly before removing to cooling rack. Frost centers of cookies with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing


* 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1 tablespoon margarine, softened
* 1 tablespoon milk
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/2 pound powdered sugar pink food coloring


Mix together cream cheese, margarine, milk and vanilla. Gradually mix in powdered sugar. Add more milk if needed to make a creamy spreading consistency. Stir in pink food coloring until a pale pink icing is created. Frost centers of melt-away cookies.

Valentine's Day Pinky Popcorn Lollipops


* 7 cups popped corn
* 3 cups miniature marshmallows
* 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* few drops red food color
* 8 lollipops


Measure popped corn into large buttered bowl.

In top of double boiler over hot water, heat marshmallows, butter and salt, stirring frequently, until marshmallows melt and mixture is smooth. Stir in food color. Pour mixture over corn in bowl. Toss gently to coat.

With buttered hands quickly shape mixture around lollipops into 3 inch balls.


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Valentine’s Day Crafts For Children

Kids love to create crafts and Valentine’s Day is no exception. Construction paper is a useful tool for making Valentine’s Day crafts that kids will enjoy creating and family members will enjoy receiving.

Start with a pad of construction paper. Make sure that you have a pad of white sheets, red sheets, and multicolored paper. The local office supply or craft store should have just what you need for the job.

Paper Hearts

The obvious first project is paper hearts. Kids can use safety scissors to cut out heart tracings. They can draw big and small hearts out of red and white sheets of construction paper. What I like to call alligator teeth scissors can be used to cut out some of the hearts and give them a unique edged design.

Red, white, and pink are the usual colors of Valentine’s Day but don’t object if the kids want to use other colors as well. They are being creative and creativity should be encouraged. A purple or green heart will be made with just as much love as a red one.

Happy Valentine's Day Banner

Kids can use large stencils to make letters that spell out Happy Valentine’s Day. Each letter is made out of construction paper and can be any color that the kids wish it to be. When they are done cutting out the letters they can glue them to a string of yarn and make a banner. Add a little glitter or stickers to make the letters stand out even more. You can display their handiwork in a doorway or on the living room wall.

Make Gifts

What else can kids use construction paper for? They can decorate other items for Valentine’s Day. Adding a few tiny pieces of red or pink construction paper to a vase or picture frame can turn it into a special gift with a love theme.

Love Buttons to Wear

Construction paper along with some love stamps can create feel-good buttons for the entire family to wear for Valentine’s Day. The kids can stamp to their hearts content and then cut out shapes around the designs to give to family and classmates. A piece of rolled tape or a small safety pin can fix the “love button” to any shirt or jacket.

Construction paper doesn’t cost much and it is a wonderful way for kids to have fun at Valentine’s Day. With simple items found around the house like construction paper, crayons, markers and scissors, crafts are easy to make at a moment’s notice.

"Be My Valentine" Pizza


* 1 (10 oz.) can refrigerated pizza crust
* 4 teaspoons butter, divided
* 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
* 1 leek, cut into 1-inch strips
* 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast half, cut into small cubes
* 1/4 cup pesto
* artichoke hearts, coarsely chopped, to taste
* 4 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
* 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Unroll refrigerated pizza dough into rectangle or square shape. Create a heart shape template out of paper towels or cardboard. Place template on dough and cut around heart shape using scissors. Place heart-shaped dough on greased cookie sheet and follow instructions on dough can for prebaking pizza crust. Set crust aside.

Saute red pepper and leeks in half of the butter until almost tender. Remove from skillet. Add chicken and other half of the butter to skillet and cook until chicken is done and lightly browned.

Spread pesto over prebaked pizza crust. Top with sautéed leeks, red peppers, and chicken. Add artichoke hearts. Top with cheeses and bake at 425°F. for 7 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with oregano.

Sugar "My Heart" Cookies


* 1 cup shortening
* 2 cups white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3 drops red food coloring


Mix ingredients in the order given. Divide dough and add enough red food coloring for desired shades of pink or red. Refrigerate dough for 40 to 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll and cut out with heart cutters. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 11 minutes. Do not overbake.


Homemade Valentine's Day Decorations

With kids around, you don't need to spend a lot of money on decorations for Valentine's Day. Kids are full of great ideas so enlist their help to come up with homemade decorating tips to spread the love this Valentine's Day.

Start simple. Decorate the main rooms of your home. Give each kid a ball of ribbon in red, white, or pink and watch what they do. Ribbon can be wrapped around vases of flowers and draped above doorways. A pair of scissors can be run the length of the ribbon to create curls.

Cabinets and dressers can be made festive with small construction paper hearts. The kids can stick them all over - wherever they can find a good spot. If you sit still long enough, there may be a few attached to you. Bigger hearts can be cut out and displayed on the walls. If you are afraid that tape will strip the paint off of the walls, use a hole punch to create holes in the hearts. Make a loop through the hole with a piece of string and hang over a push pin or a small nail.

Instead of streamers, try a paper chain in alternating colors. Cut several pieces of construction paper into one inch wide strips. Interlock the paper and create a link chain. When the chain is long enough hang it up in the kitchen or family room as a banner to remind the entire family that it is Valentine's Day.

Kids can glue Popsicle sticks together to make coasters for the coffee table. Watercolor paints can be used to decorate the finished coaster with hearts and arrows. You can even add words like, "Happy Valentine's Day", "Love", etc. to the coasters. The same Popsicle sticks can be used to make a poster or a mobile that says "I Love You". The sticks are shaped and then painted bright red or pink. Once dry, mount them on poster board or attached to a heart-shaped hanger by pieces of yarn.

A cloth furniture cover can transform your living room into a Valentine's Day celebration room. Measure the length of the couch or chair so that the cover will fit. Spread it out on the floor and let the kids get started on the decorations. They can glue felt words and shapes to the cover along with the names of each family member. Every year at Valentine's Day you can bring out their handiwork and decorate the room.

Homemade Valentine's Day decorations are fun to make and display around the house. They don't have to be for just one season. Store them in airtight containers so they stay clean and intact for next year and years to come.

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