DIY Heart Stamp

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I’m not a crafty person. I consider myself creative, yes, but not DIY-inclined. So when Levi’s teacher asked each student to bring in a decorated shoe box or bag for their upcoming Valentine’s Day celebration, I began brainstorming the easiest way we could complete this arts-and-crafts project together.

Knowing I’d be too lazy to cover a shoe box in construction paper and that Levi would be too distracted to decorate such a large container, I decided to use a plain white paper bag we already had in the house. My thought was that we’d use leftover paint from Halloween to make hearts and swirls and other pretty designs.

But Levi doesn’t know how to draw hearts. He is, after all, only 2-1/2. He also doesn’t have the attention span to finish a lengthy art project, so whatever we were going to do would have to be quick and simple. 

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Inspired by a painting Levi recently brought home from school, I created a DIY heart stamp using a toilet paper roll. It was so ridiculously easy that I almost feel silly sharing this how-to:

  1. Flatten the paper roll to form two creases
  2. Invert one of the creases
  3. Slightly manipulate the cardboard on both sides of the inverted crease to create the curved top of the heart
  4. Lightly wrap paper roll with rubber band to help keep its shape

So simple, right?

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Levi was excited to “stamp, stamp, stamp!” the heart-shaped paper towel roll onto the plain gift bag — for a few minutes. Then all he wanted to do was mix different colors of paint onto the plate. But with a little bit of coaxing encouragement (and some literal hand-holding) he stamped all four sides of the bag. We added polka dots with oversize paint markers (similar to these) to fill in some of the white space, and I later used a metallic Sharpie to write his name on either side.

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Is it the prettiest bag for collecting Valentine’s Day cards? No, it looks like a toddler painted it. But that’s the point! Levi was so proud of his artwork, and I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with a quick arts-and-crafts project that involved minimal clean up. 

Classroom Valentine’s Day cards c/o Minted

Post by PJ Feinstein: Bunny and Dolly

Originally from the East coast, PJ lives in Omaha with her military officer-husband, toddler son, and lazy white dog. She's expecting baby #2 in February. 

DIY Fortune Cookie Valentines

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A few weeks ago, our neighbor brought us fortune cookies. According to the cookies, we all had rather uninteresting destinies (except for T's "you are not a person who can be ignored"), so the kids started talking about the predictions they would draft. And then I (rather randomly) said, "well, let's try baking our own fortune cookies." And now we can't stop. Turns out fortune cookies make for a great "team" baking experience – one kid writes and cuts out the crazy fortunes (this would be F), while another child (P) helps fold and insert the fortunes before the cookies harden (basically "speed" baking). Plus, I've found the 4-5 minute baking time allows me to help with homework and/or cook dinner without becoming overly distracted (i.e. I can't read a whole article in 4 minutes). Anyways, we like them so much that we're handing some out for Valentine's Day. The best part was coming up with the fortunes – from "you will travel to all 7 continents" to "you will dance with an elephant", I'm hoping we'll make the second grade smile.

FORTUNE COOKIE RECIPE:

Ingredients:

*1 egg white

* 1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract

* 1 pinch salt

* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 2.5 tablespoons white sugar

* 1 tablespoon of water

* Empty egg carton (or muffin tin)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Write fortunes on strips of paper approximately 4 inches long and 1/2 an inch wide.

2. Butter two baking sheets. Lots of lots of butter (otherwise the cookies will stick).

3. Mix the egg white with the vanilla extract until foamy but not stiff. Add flour, salt, and sugar to the egg mixture. Add the water. If the mixture is too thick add 1 more tablespoon of water.

4. Place batter (measured out as 1 teaspoon per cookie) four inches apart on the cooking sheet. Only bake 3 at a time (if this is easy for you, then you can try to bake more in the next batch).

5. Tilt the baking sheet around to assure that the batter is in a circle.

6. Bake 4-5 minutes or until the outer edge of the cookie turns a golden brown (JUST the outer edge).

7. Remove cookies from the cooking sheet using a spatula (I slowly pushed them off the sheet) and place on a wooden cutting board. QUICKLY, place the fortune in the middle of the cookie and fold in half. SUPER QUICKLY fold the cookies again by putting them into the empty egg carton (which I found to work much better than a muffin tin).

- Makes 12 cookies. (adapted slightly from this allrecipes.com)

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Post by Darcy : bedtimemonsters.blogspot.com

Avery’s Toddler Valentines

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When she was two, Avery was old enough to help make her own valentines.  The valentines were inspired by this blog post.  Avery had a fun time scribbling on different shades of red and pink paper, then I cut out hearts using this Marvy craft punch, printed a little message and pasted some patterned wrapping paper on the back.  Each valentine went into a glassine envelope with some bits of beautiful hand-pulled candy from Papabubble in NY.  The last step was sealing each envelope with washi tape.  It was such a fun process!  Thanks to lovelydesign for your inspiration.

Post by Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine

You can see her work and read about her two young children and their first forays in cooking, art and everything in between at Avery and Augustine.

Valentine Donut Flags

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I couldn't resist adding a little donut humor to one of my 12 Days of Love surprises for the kids. My kids go crazy over the little powdered sugar donuts, and it made for a quick, simple breakfast surprise.

I found these cute heart straws at Target. They're the perfect size for this project: a little bit shorter and chubbier than your average paper straw. I'm also going to use them to make the scroll letters in the 12 Days list. Photos coming soon. 

But for these little donut flags, just download and print my little printable flags, cut them out and glue 'em onto a straw. When you're ready for breakfast, stack up a few donuts, push the straw through the donut holes and you're all set. Bonus points for serving fruit along with the donuts. That'll definitely make you feel like SuperMom.

Download the free printable flags here.

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Christina Williams is a blogger and graphic designer living in Salt Lake City, Utah. She's a night owl and a bookworm, as well as a mother to three children ranging in age from two to eight. She shares her latest DIY and design projects along with her adventures in parenting on her blog, Just Call Me Chris.