Favorite Things

Valentine’s Day Craft ideas, Recipe & More

by Ann-Marie on February 11, 2011

  • “Hand”made Valentine’s Card: “Hand”made by your kiddos, it’s super simple to make this sweet Valentine’s Day card for daddy or grandparents. Simply trace your child’s handprint, cut it out, and write a special saying like “You’re Handsome” or “Handing You My Love”. If you’re feeling really crafty, get out some red paint, dip your child’s thumb into it and stamp it on the paper at two angles to make a thumbprint heart. See more kid craft ideas for Valentine’s Day at Martha Stewart online.
  • No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie: If you’ve never had this simple-as-pie pie, you’re missing out!  Let your kids help on this one, it’s fun and minimal mess. Plan ahead, it needs 8 hours to chill, baby.

1 (15- or 18-oz) package chocolate chip cookies (approx. 26 cookies)
1 cup milk
1  (9 oz) graham cracker crust (extra serving size)
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
Dip 8 cookies in milk and place in a single layer in graham cracker crust. Top with 1/3 of whipped topping. Dip 8 more cookies in milk; place on top; spread with 1/3 of whipped topping. Repeat layers with 8 more cookies, milk, and remaining whipped topping. Crumble 2 chocolate chip cookies and sprinkle over pie. Cover and chill 8 hours before serving.

  • American Greetings Free 2-Week Trial Membership:  Send clever, cute and even cuddly American Greetings  e-cards  to your Valentine, and get a free 2-week trial membership. Check out the “Smooth Hamster Valentine”, my favorite!
  • Free Valentine’s Crafts for Children: Just another reminder to head over to Fave Crafts to get some fun Valentine craft ideas for the little ones in the form of a free downloadable ebook.
  • Classic Valentine’s Day Movies: Whether you’re sitting at home alone, with the kids, or snuggled next to your honey, here are a few of the top Valentine’s Day movies.
  1. When Harry Met Sally, 1989
  2. Pride & Prejudice, 2005; or mini-series version, 1995
  3. Pretty Woman, 1990
  4. While You Were Sleeping, 1995
  5. Sleepless In Seattle, 1993

You can see the full list to get more ideas for your Valentine’s movie night, here.

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Idea for Kids: Cleanup Countdown

by Ann-Marie on February 3, 2011

This idea came to me on a rare Saturday when we didn’t have anywhere to be, and my kids were driving me nuts already by 10am. I tested it again yesterday, day 2 of our 4-day school hiatus from the infamous ice storm, and it was a hit once more.

My 6.5 yr old daughter has a nasty habit of not putting her toys away in her room (“Shocker!”). Then when  you have clothes here, Polly Pockets there, scraps of craft paper here, and Squinkies there, and there, and there, it becomes too overwhelming for both of us.

I ‘get’ that brains are wired differently, and some, like Mallory’s, need to compartmentalize in order to process it all. Taking an overall look at her room results in a tearful, screeching, “I CAN’T DO IT!”, with a little foot stomp for added emphasis.

So I started a fun “game” (anything with ‘game’ added to it gets instant buy-in from my kids). It’s called the Cleanup Countdown.

The premise is so simple, and yet so rewarding:  Get the kids to pick up their stuff, without having to nag them about it. Then reward them. And guess what, the more kids you have, the faster your house gets cleaned!

Here is how our game worked, you can adapt it to your levels, rooms, and messiness factor. These directions are per child, so 10 toys on the basement floor really means 20!   And I recommend doing this on-the-fly, just look around the house and come up with your list. It will change every time you ‘play’!

  • Put away 10 toys on the basement floor.
  • Find 9 things you’ve taped to your bedroom walls or door, and either throw them away or put them in a folder for keeping.
  • Pick up 8 pieces of clothing from your bedroom floor.
  • Find 7 markers/crayons/pencils and put them in their boxes where they belong.
  • Put 6 books back onto your bookshelves.
  • (Mallory): Find 5 hair pretties and put them away. (Dylan): Find 5 army guys and put them away.
  • Put 4 stuffed animals back on their shelf.
  • Find 3 of Carlie’s toys and help her to put those away. (She’s 2).
  • Remove 2 papers from the refrigerator, and either throw them away or put them in a folder for keeping.
  • Make your 1 bed.

The reward can be as simple as a special dessert for dinner, or if they worked extra hard then treat them to a Family Movie Night with a Redbox video and popcorn. The bigger your eyes and your own excitement get when describing the reward in detail, the more exciting it will be for your kids. Happy cleaning!


Willow House Double Free Credit

by Ann-Marie on February 2, 2011

The new Spring catalog from Willow House is out, and it’s beautiful!  We kicked off the new catalog with double hostess credit in January, now we’re extending the same Double Hostess Credit through February!

Here’s what that means for you, when you host a Willow House design party:

  • DOUBLE the free hostess credit from your party sales (i.e., $500 in sales = $150 in free product for you)
  • You may choose any 1 item in the catalog for 70% off, as your hostess special
  • In February only, your guests with an order of $40 or more may choose any item under $50 for 1/2 off.

Willow House is all about creating a sense of warmth and welcome in your home!  See what we’re all about and why I am invested in this company, here.

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