My New Favorite Love Song

Happy Valentine’s Day! I couldn’t let this day of love go by without sharing my new favorite love song. A friend posted a version of it earlier this week and since then I’ve had it on repeat! It’s John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ and it is especially touching since his wife is the woman featured in the video <3

This version with Lindsey Stirling is beautiful as well: http://youtu.be/xwsYvBYZcx4

See a list of my other favorite love songs here.

Love You To Pieces Craft

love you to pieces craft

love you to pieces craft

Looking for a last minute Valentine’s Day craft? Check out this adorable heart that Lucas brought home from preschool! It has added meaning to the parents of all the children in his classroom since puzzle pieces are symbolic to parents of children who are on the Autism spectrum.

Making this craft is super simple. Draw a heart on a piece of paper, glue some puzzle pieces on to the heart, and then paint it any color your child would like. What a special craft to make and give to loved ones!

Sweet Treats For Little Valentines

cheryls collage

Make your child’s Valentine’s Day lunch or snack special this year by giving them a delicious treat. Cheryl’s sent me a beautiful tin full of cookies and other goodies to share with my boys.

The sugar cookies were really good and had a hint of lemon flavoring to them. I also thought the little bird cookie was adorable. The boys liked the frosted heart shaped cookies and the pretzels that were covered with sprinkles.

Looking on Cheryl’s website I saw a bunch of cute gifts for Valentine’s Day. The cookie bouquets were nice as was the “tweetheart” box. If you are looking to have cookies delivered for your valentine then make sure to place your order by 3pm EST today!

 

They also have $5 cookie cards that are perfect for every occasion from happy birthdays to get well wishes.

Preparing For A Long Awaited Date Night

neutrogena

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

Sinisa and I on a date in 2007 <3

I am so excited to be going on a special date night this week! My mom is watching the boys and Sinisa and I are going on our first date night in a long time. It’s been at least a year, if not more, since we have gone out sans kids for more than the hour and a half that they are at Awana.

Sinisa is planning the whole date and made us reservations for a nice Italian restaurant. {He says it’s where we went for our first Valentine’s Day but my memory is so bad that I don’t remember that long ago.} I think we will be going out for drinks or a movie as well so it should be a fun night.

Since this is a special occasion I’m going to have to spend longer than 5 minutes getting ready. I plan to run to the store and get a nice top to wear for our date. I also am going to make myself up by doing my hair and makeup. He will be quite surprised seeing me transform from my sweats and ponytail!

I don’t normally wear more makeup than some mineral powder and lip gloss but I have some new Neutrogena makeup I’m going to use. I like Neutrogena makeup because it doesn’t irritate my skin and it looks natural.

I recently tried their MoistureSmooth color stick and was very impressed with it. It looks like a big lip pencil, has a texture like lipstick or balm but goes on smooth and feels like a lip gloss. This stick adds color I don’t normally get with lip gloss but doesn’t feel thick like I am wearing a lot on my lips. I also love that it isn’t sticky because I hate that feeling. The smell of this color stick was fruity which I liked as well. I was sent  the Sweet Watermelon color to review but will be going out and getting a few more colors since I really like it.

The mascara I was sent is their Healthy Volume Mascara. It has Olive in it which the package says helps plump the core of each and every lash. I don’t wear mascara often but thought this was a nice product. I liked that my eyelashes didn’t clump together like some mascaras make them do.

With both makeup products on and a nice, new shirt I think Sinisa will be surprised to see me when I come down the steps for our date night! If you want to treat yourself to some new makeup for your next date night, you can get a printable coupon for $1 off any NEUTROGENA® Cosmetics product at HealthyEssentials.com.

Chocolate Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

fannie may heart shaped box

Valentine’s Day is this Friday! If you are still looking for gift ideas I have a few to share from Fannie May and appreciate them sending me a box of chocolates to review. I shared around the Holidays how chocolates were my go-to gift to give and the same is true for gift giving around Valentine’s Day. Since most people love chocolate as much as I do it’s an easy gift to give.

When I received the box of chocolates last week, Jacob was excited to see all of the candy. Every day he has been picking out one to try and we take guesses as to what is inside the chocolate coating. It’s a special moment between the two of us and something we both look forward to each day.

Along with the typical box of chocolate, Fannie May has an assortment of special Valentine’s Day gifts. Here are some of my favorite:

Champagne Celebration Strawberries

Giant, hand-picked strawberries are generously dipped in creamy white and pink champagne-infused real chocolate and decoratively sprinkled with gold, platinum and clear sugar.

Assorted Chocolates – Heart Box, 2 lb.

Milk chocolate, dark chocolate or a combination of both, this essential assortment has something for everyone, from buttercreams and rich nougats, to buttery caramels. This is the box of chocolates that we received from Fannie May. I love the caramels and Jacob’s favorites are the wrapped chocolate hearts. They are housed in a beautiful box that makes this the perfect gift to give!

Loving Favorite Gifts Tower

A selection of favorite confections for your Valentine, each Loving Favorite Gifts Tower weighs 2 lbs, 9 oz and comes filled with: 4 oz Valentine Pixies, 1 lb Delights Individually Wrapped Chocolates, 5 oz Milk Truffle Hearts, 4 Milk Grahams, 4 Milk Cookies, 4 Milk Pretzels, and 4 White Pretzels. Yum! If you have multiple people on your gift list you could even split this one up and give the boxes in the tower out to separate people.

Which gift is your favorite?

Shipping Note: The website says if you order by today (2/11 at 3pm EST) you can use ground shipping and get the gift to your Valentine in time. Waited until the last minute? You can still order and choose overnight delivery on 2/13 for delivery on 2/14 or visit one of their Chicago area stores.

Valentine’s Day Hands-On Play Ideas {HOP}

Hop

I’m really excited to be joining in as a host of the Hands-On Play Party with some fabulous bloggers. This linky will be posted each Tuesday. I will be sharing some of my own activities for kids plus sharing some other great ideas from bloggers that link up each week.

This week I’m sharing some fun Valentine’s Day ideas. My boys loved playing in this Valentine’s Day sensory table.

How about a chocolate scented activity? Happy Hooligans shares a Play Dough Chocolate Shop that I think would keep Lucas, my four year old, busy for a whole afternoon!

Little Bins For Little Hands shares some great Valentine’s Day math activities. I’m planning to do some of these with Jake.

And check out this painting activity from Gift of Curiosity….this isn’t just normal paint- it’s fizzy paint! So fun :)

 

 Visit my co-hosts!

Construction Sensory Play from P is for Preschooler

My Name Quiet Book Page from Stir the Wonder

What Is Hands On Play? from Little Bins for Little Hands

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 Now it’s your turn! What fun hands-on play activities have you been creating at home? If you are a blogger you can link up your blog posts (no more than 3 please) or, if you don’t have a blog, share your activities on Facebook and leave a link in the comments below. Just looking for activity ideas? You can do that as well by clicking through to the linky at the bottom of this post.

(Please note: If you are linking up below you give the hosts permission to use an image with a link back if you are featured in a future HOP post.)



Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas From The Fruit Company

TFC Red Pear Valentine Tower

I love chocolate on Valentine’s Day but it’s also nice to give {and get} healthier options as well so that is why I wanted to share about The Fruit Company’s gift ideas for Valentine’s Day. You can give those you love some sweet, delicious fruit along with other goodies. We received the Red Pear Valentine Tower for review and it was great because it had something for everyone in it.

This gift tower is packed with four Red D’Anjou pears, chocolate covered cherries, zebra chocolate popcorn, strawberry yogurt pretzels and two Fuji apples. Sinisa loved the pears and the boys gobbled up the apples. Jacob thought the pretzels tasted just like his favorite drink, strawberry milk. My favorites were the chocolate covered cherries. They were really juicy and I thought it was a great mix of fruit and chocolate.

Some other gift ideas from The Fruit Company include:

Valentine Berries

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Organic Pink Fruit Basket

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 Chocolate Truffle Lava Cakes

If you are shopping last minute make sure to check out their website for special Valentine’s Day shipping. Choose Valentine’s Day delivery, and receive upgraded shipping at no extra cost as long as your order is placed by noon, PST, February 13, 2014.

Showing Love With Baked Goods {Gift Card Giveaways}

bakery 16

(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post as part of Rich Products #bakerybecause program but all thoughts are my own.)

My boys love their sweets so for Valentine’s Day I wanted to give them some gifts they could enjoy for a special dessert. I’d love to bake but don’t really have much time to do so, so I head to my local grocery store to pickup their favorite cookies and cakes. Instead of just picking up items from the store and giving them in the bakery boxes I decided to get a little creative and figure out some special ways to share them.

I had some chocolate brownies and I decided to make the large brownies into bite sized pieces so they were easier for my kids to eat and not as messy. Once cut I packaged them in a couple different ways.

I used a gift card box and took out the insert inside where the card was supposed to go. I added Valentine’s themed mini muffin wrappers and then put a piece of brownie in each wrapper. Put the lid on, add a couple pieces of tape to the sides, and voila….a little box of yumminess!

For the second half of the brownies I decided to put them in these cute baking wrappers I found. You could even add some mini marshmallows in with them! Once in the wrappers they can be enclosed in clear cellophane.

I found a lot of fun ways to give the cookies. Some I put in little dollar value boxes I found. Some I put into treat bags decorated with curly ribbons at the top. I found a mug with some candies in it and took the candies out and refilled it with cookies which I think would be a great gift paired with a package of coffee beans or a gift card to a coffee shop. I also found little Valentine’s take out boxes with heart cut outs that I thought would be a hit with Sinisa as a special dessert after a Chinese dinner.

I also found a box of mini chocolate cakes adorned with frosting hearts. They were adorable so I wanted to display them. These will be given in a heart shaped tray wrapped in the heart cellophane that the white chocolate chip macadamia nut cookies are wrapped in.

What is your favorite way to gift baked goods and who would you give a delicious gift to? Check out the giveaway below!

GIVEAWAY

Three people will win $25 gift cards

HOW TO ENTER

{Do any or all of the following, leave a separate comment for each you do}

1) Leave a comment telling me who makes your life special

2) Share this giveaway on a social network

3) Leave a comment telling me what special way you’d gift a baked good

4) Subscribe to this blog via email

Giveaway ends February 20, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. Must be 18 or older and a US resident to win.

Cute As A Button DIY Valentines

cute as a button

Looking for a cute idea for Valentine’s Day cards? Country Woman magazine shared these adorable ones with me. They are easy to make and I think they are a charming way to let a friend or family member know how much you care.

Simply print and cut out a design of your choice and glue it to a larger square cut from colored card stock. Using a needle and thread stitch a few pretty buttons on to the valentine.

For a full list of instructions and materials, please visit: http://www.countrywomanmagazine.com/project/cute-as-a-button-valentines-card/

5 DIY Valentine’s Day Decorations Kids Can Help Make

Valentines Decorations

Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is going to be here in just a little over a month!? I thought I’d gather some DIY Valentine’s Day decorations that kids can help make. There is nothing more precious than homemade hearts and other crafts made with love.

Heart Garland from Buggy and Buddy

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Cardboard Roll Heart from Kitchen Counter Chronicles

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Heart Suncatcher from Happiness Is Homemade

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Heart Ornaments & Valentine’s Tree from PlayDrMom

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Love Canvas from The Inspired Treehouse

Aren’t those all adorable? If you are a blogger and have a kid’s Valentine’s Day decoration post feel free to share a link in the comments :)

Send A Virtual Valentine To Newtown

sandy hook valentine

Valentine’s Day marks the two month anniversary of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. As we celebrate those we love, Sandy Hook Promise is asking all Americans to keep the community of Newtown in their hearts.

Send your love and support to the community today. SHARE a valentine, make the Sandy Hook Promise, and help send #1MillionHearts to Newtown.

VeggieTales Gifts Of Service Coupons {Printable}

vt phillippians

Here’s another great printable from VeggieTales in honor of the Lettuce Love One Another DVD. Today’s theme is serving others. You can talk as a family about what nice things you can do for others and then fill out these cards. I’m thinking about doing them with Jacob and then having him give them to daddy for Valentine’s Day :)

{PDF will load below. You can then download to your computer and print}

(Disclosure: I received a copy of the movie but am not being compensated for posting this printable.)

My Valentine’s Day Playlist

beats audio

Some Of My Favorite Romantic Songs

Tank- Next Breath
Savage Garden- Truly Madly Deeply
NeYo- Let Me Love You
Sixpence None The Richer- Kiss Me
98 Degrees- I Do
Brian McKnight- Back at One
K-Ci and JoJo- All My Life
Rascal Flatts- Bless The Broken Road
Bryan Adams- Everything I Do, I Do It For You
Steven Curtis Chapman- I Will Be Here
Luther Vandross- Here and Now
Whitney Houston- I Will Always Love You
Edwin McCain- I’ll Be

What are your favorite romantic songs?

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I’ve been enjoying using my Windows Phone 8X by HTC to play music. It has Beats Audio. Here’s a little more about what makes it amazing according to HTC:

The 8X has a dedicated amp built right into the phone, so it pumps more power to your headphones than ever. Plus, Beats Audio is coming to Windows phones for the first time ever. Take that combination and transform your listening pleasure with deeper bass, crisper vocals and detailed high notes for music, games, movies and videos.

 (Disclosure: I am a member of HTC’s Troop 8X and received this phone to review. All thoughts are my own.)

DIY: Heart Hair Braid

DIY Heart Braid

If you have a little girl with some hair, and know how to do a french braid, you have to try your hand at this heart hair braid! How cute would this be for Valentine’s Day? Cozy Friedman, author of Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair, shares how to do the heart shaped braid with us!

What You’ll Need:

Wide-tooth comb, fine-tooth comb, decorative hair clip, ponytail holders

Directions:

Step 1: Starting with damp hair (either towel-dried or misted), use a wide-tooth comb to detangle the hair.  Then, using a fine-tooth comb, part the hair down the middle of the head.  Clip one side up right above the ear.

Step 2: On the other side of the part, use the fine comb to gather a thin section of hair from the crown.  This section should measure about 2 inches from the hairline to the top of the head.

Step 3: Divide this section into three, and begin a French braid starting at the crown and curving toward the temple, then toward the back of the head, like the top lobe of a heart.  You will be lifting hair into the braid only from this side of the part.  Leave no loose hair in front of the ears.

Step 4: When you reach the center part at the back of the head, secure the braid with a ponytail holder.  If the hair is very long, end the braid about mid-ear; the ends will hang down the back.

Step 5: Unclip the hair on the other side of the part and repeat the process.  Secure with a ponytail holder.

Step 6: Join the ends of the braids together in the back

(Disclosure: This content was sent to me to share but I was not compensated.)

 

Love Notes {Printable}

love notes

{image via Paper Coterie}

Paper Coterie has another great printable out! This one is perfect for Valentine’s Day and with over 15 designs to choose from there is something for everyone. Find the printable here.

(Disclosure: This is not a compensated post.)

Send A Valentine To The Kids Of Hurricane Sandy

vday bear

The Postal Service wants to surprise 650 students at the John C. Thompson School (PS-52) of Staten Island and you can help.

Following Hurricane Sandy, the school was closed from Oct. 31 to Nov. 19. Many children and their families lost everything. Today, the children (grades pre-K to 5) are working hard.Things are getting back to normal but will never be the same.

Operation Bear Hug hopes to make February 14th extra special by providing Valentines to every child in the school. Send your Valentine wishes to:

Operation Bear Hug

PO Box 10213

Staten Island NY 10301

 

Cards will be delivered to each child by the Postal Service’s “I Love You” Bear mascot on Valentine’s Day along with as many hugs as they can bear.

(Disclosure: This isn’t a compensated post. I just love the cause and wanted to share a fun way to give back for Valentine’s Day.)

Preschool Sweetheart Event {Wordless Wednesday}

My family

Lucas

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My family

Jacob’s Valentines This Year

Making Heart Shaped Crayons

This is Jacob’s first year of school which means it’s his first time exchanging valentines with classmates. He is in Preschool so I wanted to make something fun that the children in his class could enjoy. He wanted to do Valentines with candy but edible items aren’t allowed. I had a bunch of ideas I had found when putting together my 10 DIY Valentines post so I chose to make the heart shaped crayons. I wanted to do something a little different so I got little notepads at the store and Jacob decorated each one with stickers. We got all of the stickers out and he decided what each of his classmates would like the most so each little notebook was personalized. I then printed out handwriting sheets and had him practice writing his name 15 times and used those for the “from”. I think they turned out really cute.

Making Heart Shaped Crayons

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Jacob's Mailbox To Receive Valentines

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Ready for the Valentines Exchange

Valentine’s Day Sensory Table

Valentine's Day Themed Sensory Table

My children have sensory processing issues that make sensory table a must have item in our home but I think sensory activities are a great activity for all young children. I like to create themed ones around Holidays or certain things that interest my children. Our latest table is Valentine’s themed.

 

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A close up of the items that are in the table

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Items in the table:

-mini themed erasers

-mini spiked balls

-clear decorative stones

-red heart shaped stones

-white feathers

-white pom poms

-red,white, pink shaped heart beads

-white yarn tied in bows

-pieces of white ball garland cut into smaller strands

-small heart shaped containers with lids

-heart shaped bowls

-Valentine’s themed cups

10 Valentine’s Day Themed Lunches

vday lunch collage

{Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}

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10 Valentine’s Day Themed Breakfasts

Valentine's Day breakfast ideas

{Click the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}

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7 Valentine’s Day Decorations

vday decor

Love these DIY Valentine’s Decorations {click on links to be taken to the posts they come from}:

Valentine’s Day Tree

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Yarn Love Letters

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Framed Prints

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Valentine’s Mobile

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Ribbon Tree

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Valentines Centerpieces

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Twig Heart

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Looking for more ideas?

Check out these 8 DIY Valentine’s wreaths :)

10 Valentine’s Day Treats

vday treats

{Click on the pictures to be taken to the posts they come from}

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Find other top 10 lists here :)

DIY Valentines {10 Ideas}

valentines

Want to make Valentines this year instead of buying them? Check out these ideas found around the web!

{Click on pictures for directions}

Crayon Valentines

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Pirate Valentines

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Fishy Valentines

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Lollipop Valentines

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“I Dig You” Valentines

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Rockin’ Valentines

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Magnifying Glass Valentines

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Mustaches!

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“Make Your Own Paper” Valentines

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Glow Stick Valentines

8 Wreaths For Valentine’s Day

valentines day wreaths

Time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day :) Enjoy this roundup of fabulous Valentine’s themed wreaths and click on the pictures to visit the sites they came from!

XO Wreath

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Heart Wreath

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Paper Heart Wreath

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Cockscomb Wreath

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Red, White, and Pink Wreath

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Button Wreath

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Valentine Book Wreath

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Double Heart Wreath

{Bloggers} Sign Up For The “Giveaway Love Is In The Air” Blog Event

giveaway love is in the air

I’m joining in on another Valentine’s giveaway hop! This one is called “Giveaway Love Is In The Air” and is hosted by Matter of Cents and The Maven of Social Media. It runs from February 1-7th. All the prizes will be love/romance/relationship themed. You can find more information and how to join in here.

{Bloggers} Sign Up For The All For Love Valentine’s Event

I just signed up for the All For Love Valentine’s Event which is a giveaway hop event being hosted by Real Mom Reviews and Mama Chocolate. I love these types of events because they introduce our readers to new blogs and they can enter to win lots of amazing prizes. This hop runs from February 1-7, 2012 and all giveaways must have a value of $25 or more.

If you are a blogger and are interested in signing up for this giveaway hop you can visit Real Mom Reviews to learn more and sign up!

(Disclosure: I am posting to participate in this giveaway hop and want to spread the word so more blogs join in. All thoughts are my own.)