One of the things I LOVE to do for my kids is make their class valentines. I don’t know why. It’s not like I have oodles of free time on my hands. Or unlimited funds to import the rarest and trendiest V-day finds by dog-sled.
I do know that I like my kids to have unique valentines. I like them to take valentines that are fun and memorable, and that don’t have perforated tabs. I do strive for candy-free ideas whenever possible, but not this time.
I started by finding these cute tic tac valentine printables. I mean seriously, HOW CUTE ARE THESE??? The only problem was securing a supply of tic tacs that I wouldn’t need to take a second mortgage out for. Sometimes crafting in Canada is hard. You see all these cute pins, and either can’t find the stuff they’re using, or the price is redonkulous. The best price I found was $9.99 for 12 of the plain white tic tacs. Between school and her brownie group, Ems needed around 60 valentines, so it would have been about $50 for just the candies.
Just a few feet down the aisle at Costco and I struck gold! Giant tubs of ring pops! 30 pops for $9.99!! I was saved!
I hopped into my trusty MDS software by Stampin’ Up! (I lurve their stuff and it looks the most like the cards I make by hand). A little while later, I was submitting my design for printing. Staples is awesome for this. Most jobs are ready in under 6 hours and it cost me about $6 to get all the valentines printed in colour on glossy cover stock.
Once I cut and scored my ring pop toppers, all I had to do was staple them to the pops. I had purchased some super-cute coloured staples to use for this, but apparently they didn’t play nicely with my 50-year-old Bostitch stapler. Actually, nothing plays well with that stapler. It’s a bit of a snob.
Once they were all stapled, I popped them back into the giant jar they came in. No worrying about crushed valentines! Also, the ring pops are lightweight, so as not to drag the kidlets down.
I saw a pin once for valentines made of oranges. I thought it was a fantastic idea, no candy, cute puns. Until I thought of poor Ems trying to carry 20-30 navel oranges in her backpack on the cheese-wagon. I try really hard to keep valentine carrying logistics in mind.
I originally wrote this post on May 1, 2013. Because of the horrific state my life was in at the time, I just couldn’t bring myself to publish this piece. I’m publishing it now with all the love in my heart. I miss my mom every day.
A few of you may know that I recently lost my mother.
38 days ago to be exact.
My mom and I were very close. It had always been just us against the world, the dynamic duo, we were a team. And now, half of my team is gone.
There’s no one in the world that knows you as well as a loving mother. You’re a part of them, you grew from their cells. They carried you and nourished you, and when you were born, they loved and took care of you. They know every freckle, every scar, and how it came to be on your body. They know what your breathing sounds like at night when you have pneumonia, and what it sounds like when it stops. They know why you don’t like shrimp, but do like lobster, and they remember the funny things you said as a child.
My mom was 52. She died of a massive Athero sclero-something, caused by severe heart disease. My mom was young, she didn’t even know she had heart disease. If she had, she would have told someone, or been doing something to treat it. We didn’t even know the symptoms she was presenting could have been a heart attack. She had a cold, she felt a little lackluster, and a bit winded when she walked around.
Now as I face my first mother’s day without her in my life, I have a couple of wishes. No one in particular needs to grant them, but I hope you might read them and think about them.
- Get a physical. – my mom had been in between family doctors, and hadn’t gone for a yearly check up in a couple of years. I know how hard it is to find a doctor in Alberta, and Canada in general. Stop making excuses. If you can’t find one that you like, get a physical done at a walk-in clinic. In the year or two that you him, haw, procrastinate and forget, your body might be changing dramatically. Get off your duff. Do it.
- Don’t ignore your body. – you have lived with it your whole life. You will be the first person who notices that something isn’t quite right. Especially to the ladies - Please don’t push yourself to the bottom of the priority list. I know, I’m a mom too, and I am guilty of doing just this. Taking care of myself last, if at all. Not wanting to be a burden, and just too damn busy taking care of everybody else to have time to be sick or recuperate. Stop. Now. Who’s going to take care of your babies if you’re gone? If you’re comfortable handing your kids over to them for the rest of their lives, you should be comfortable enough to do it for an hour, or a day while you get the treatment that you need.
- The atypical is typical. – this is what cardiac people say about women and heart attacks. They often don’t present the “classic” symptoms of pain in the chest or left arm and a shortness in breath. Symptoms can range from an upset stomach, to jaw pain. Pay attention to how you feel and don’t be ashamed to sound the alarm. Call an ambulance, call a family member, GO TO THE HOSPITAL. That’s what they are there for. The earlier you get treatment, the better your survival odds are. Please, please don’t wait till it’s too late. The Heart & Stroke foundation has a whole page about heart disease and women. Read it.
- Hug your mom today. – Hug her hard and tight. Appreciate everything she’s done, or given up to raise you. If you’re too far away to hug her (and by that I mean at least 300 km, across the city is a shit excuse and you know it), phone her. Skype, face time, what ever. Find a way to show her how much you love and appreciate her. Please do this. Because there are lots of us who would give everything we have (plus most of what we don’t) for 5 more minutes with our moms.
It’s bake sale time at Emma’s school again. I was suffering with mutant tonsillitis when the notice came home last week, so I had to wait till yesterday to do any kind of food prep. The idea for these came from this pin on Pinterest. When I followed the link I noticed there wasn’t much of a tutorial, so I thought I’d try to help avoid any future Pinterest fails.
1 package Oreo Double Stuf
1 package white candy melts
1/4 tsp Peppermint extract
Candy canes, crushed (about 1/2 cup) for sprinkling
- Unwrap and crush your candy canes. (the kids were amazing at this part)
- Assemble all of your ingredients so that they are handy. Line cookie sheets with waxed paper and make sure you have lolly sticks ready. You need to work quickly with the melted chocolate, it’s better to have anything you need nearby.
- Pour candy melts into a glass bowl (mine had a handle, I highly recommend . Microwave in 15-30 second intervals, stirring in between. After first 30 seconds, add peppermint extract and stir. Continue with intervals till chocolate is melted & smooth.
- Here is the secret, what makes this a Pin-Win instead of an epic fail. Heat the Oreos in the microwave before inserting the lolly stick. I found that 15 seconds for 2 cookies worked well for me. You might have different times based on your microwave. You want the icing barely soft, not melted. This way you can put your lolly stick in and not bust your cookie. (snicker)
- Dip cookie into chocolate using a spoon to help coat.
- Lay on wax paper & sprinkle with candy cane bits.