Tag Archives: valentine’s day

San Valentino

12 Feb

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and the internets are abuzz with everything from heart shaped foods, to quirky Valentine’s cards to the ULTIMATE gifts to make your loved ones swoon.  Personally I like to keep the whole holiday pretty low-key and relaxed (easy here in Italy where it’s not so celebrated).  I usually bake something sweet (and yes, heart shaped) and maybe make a little card or handmade gift to leave on the breakfast table for when the family wakes up.  Here are a few of my favourite V-day recipes, diy projects, Valentine’s inspiration and cards that will make you giggle.

For over a month my lovely friend Giova has been posting a handmade heart a day on her blog One Bunting Away.  She is a talented embroiderer and paper artist and I’ve really loved reading each and every heart post.  Read her passionate Valentine’s Day manifesto here.

These seemingly rude Valentine’s cards from Etsy Shop Sunny and Susan really make me laugh. 

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I’m going to try and make these Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar (because we all know that desserts in jars taste so much better!).  And as I do every year I’ll also whip up a batch of my grandmother’s rich and buttery Brown Sugar Shortbreads.  And I’m thinking this heart shaped bacon and heart shaped egg in the hole would be perfect for a Valentine’s breakfast or brunch (although I think I’ll pass on these Weiner and Cheese hearts).

This round-up of Nerds in Love Valentine’s cards by Mighty Girl had me in stitches.

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Last year my daughters and I sewed up some of these little puffy heart necklaces for their friends.  Easy to make and really cute to see a little gaggle of girls wearing them.  These necklaces were featured on some really great Valentine’s round-ups herehere and here.

Surprise Message Bunting Cards

4 Feb

The other day I was chatting with one of my twin daughters about Valentine’s Day and all the fun we’ve had in the past making up special treats and cards for their classmates over the years. Over here in Italy (and I think generally in Europe) Valentine’s Day is a day reserved for couples and adults and not something kids celebrate like in North America.  So even though my kids have always been one of the few that celebrate it in school it has still become a lovely yearly tradition to make something together for their friends.
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This year we decided to make simple cards with sewn paper buntings that have little hidden messages.  Easy, quick and fun for kids of just about any age.IMG_4048-001

This is all you need to make these sweet little cards.  I used glassine for the actual bunting paper so that you can see the pretty patterned paper through it.  If you don’t have glassine paper any type of paper would be fine.
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I cut the glassine paper in long strips and folded it in half to have a square piece of paper.  I then sewed the pieces of glassine squares together with the sewing machine (making sure the folded edge is on the bottom).  This way the glassine paper is sewn on the top, closed by the fold on the bottom and open on the two sides (to make it easier to slip in the small pieces of paper with message on the back).IMG_4068After sewing the bunting together we slipped in little square pieces of paper with our special messages on the back.  Seeing as the glassine is open on both sides the messages are easy to slip in and out.  We then simply attached the sewn paper bunting to our cards with tiny heart stickers (pieces of washi would also be nice).

Now to come up with all the short little messages to go inside.  Some of my favourites that my kids have suggested for their classmates are: ‘you have nice handwriting’, ‘you are pretty smart’, ‘you have the best snacks’ and ‘you don’t smell’.  Let’s hope their romantic sides develop a little more in the years to come.

Valentine’s Round Up

13 Feb

Here I am writing from a little riad in Marrakech, Morocco.  We arrived here today after spending the last few days in a tiny village in the Atlas mountains.  It was an amazing time which included lots of walks in the mountains, a camel trek and some of the best food we’ve ever eaten.  And to top it all off we’ve had amazing weather since we arrived.  Yes, we are all ecstatically happy at the moment.

Even if the Moroccans don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day it’s been on my mind the last few days.  I have secretly stashed some home-baked heart-shaped chocolate-dipped cookies in our suitcase so that I’ll have something special for the family on the 14th.  I’m pretty sure Valentine’s Day this year will be one we’ll remember forever.

Here’s a little round-up of some of my favourite Valentine’s Day treats and surprises that you can make your loved ones.

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These little puffy sewn heart necklaces are the sweetest way to show your favourite little girl that she’s loved.  It’s an easy project that your kids can help you with.  Check out post and tutorial here.

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I love these Valentine’s Day cards over on Classic Play.  And you can download them for free!  Check out post here.

1-IMG_5438These Brown Sugar Shortbreads are the most delicious rich cookies and are perfect for Valentine’s Day due to the little jam heart centres.  Your house will smell divine while these are baking!  Get recipe here.

DIY Edible Confetti by The Proper Pinwheel

Edible confetti!  This is one of my favorite Valentine’s Day finds this year.  Easy to make and such a fun idea for a gift for classmates (or co-workers!).  Get full details and how-to on The Proper Pinwheel.

We made these little candy bags for the twin’s classmates last year and they were a hit.  All you need are some clear plastic bags, pink and red construction paper, some colourful candy and a stapler.  Check out what we made my son’s class and the teachers here.

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I absolutely adore this cupid’s arrow diy that is over on La Tete Dans Les Idees.

Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and make sure to tell the ones you love how much they mean to you!

Valentine’s Heart Necklace

21 Jan

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Usually my 10 year old daughters take in a little Valentine’s gift or treat for all the kids in their class (last year’s treats here).  But this year things  have changed a little.  It seems as though the thought of giving the boys anything to do with love or fondness is something that makes their little cheeks turn pink. They say the boys are silly, not interesting, noisy and smelly.  In other words, they’re starting to NOTICE them.  Oh gosh.

So together with my daughters we came up with a these little puffed heart necklaces that they can give to all the girls in their class.  It’s a quick and simple project that my daughters helped with and the result is absolutely adorable.  I can just imagine their little group of girlfriends walking around school on Valentine’s Day with these little coloured fabric hearts hanging around their necks.

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I cut the cotton batting heart slightly smaller than the cotton hearts so that there was no risk of it poking out after being stitched.

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Now you just have to layer all the hearts and string.  Put the first cotton heart right side down then place the cotton batting heart on top.  Next place the string across the middle (or slightly higher up) and then the last cotton heart on top (good side facing up).

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Now you just have to simply stitch around the outside of the heart.  For some I used the  zigzag stitch instead and it also gave a nice effect.

1-IMG_5297We then took some heavy card stock to make little Valentine’s Cards in which to give the necklaces.  We punched two little holes near the top to pass the string through and used Washi tap to fasten the rolled string on the other side.  You can add little messages and notes inside the card as well.

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Brown Sugar Shortbreads

18 Jan

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In a few days my dear grandmother is turning 91 years old.  At almost 91 my grandmother has more energy than I do and a social schedule that would make an 18 year old jealous.  This wonderful woman is sweet, kind, funny , caring and so generous.  In other words, the perfect grandmother (and great-grandmother!).

In the past I’ve mentioned that during my childhood I spent many days in her cozy little kitchen learning how to bake.  It’s definitely there that my passion for baking was ignited.  And over the years I’ve been slowly teaching my own kids the art of making the perfect biscuit or bobo ball just as my grandmother taught me.

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Today I made up a batch of my grandmother’s Brown Sugar Shortbreads.  These cookies are so buttery and rich and make your house smell like absolute heaven when they’re baking in the oven.  Usually you should make a thumbprint in the balls of dough and fill it up with jam before baking but I thought for the occasion of my grandmother’s 91st I’d make little jam filled hearts in the middle.  And they turned out perfectly.  I think I’ll be making these by the dozen to give out on Valentine’s Day as well.  Believe me, cookies like these will make people feel loved.

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Brown Sugar Shortbreads

1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1 3/4 cup flour
pinch of salt

1. Cream butter and brown sugar.

2. Add egg yolk and mix to combine.

3. Add flour and salt and mix until becomes  dense dough.

4. Roll into balls and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten slightly then either make an indent with thumb (or a carrot heart like me!).  Fill hole with favorite jam.

5. Bake in 350 (180) oven for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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As you read above in the recipe, I carved out a heart in a carrot to use as my “stamp” for the middle of the cookie.  My kids thought I was nuts but it actually worked out perfectly in the end (and let me tell you how hard it is to carve a carrot with a half-healed broken wrist!).

We’ll be enjoying these this week-end and sending loving birthday thoughts to my grandmother in Canada.

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Wouldn’t a sweet little decorated box filled with these delicious cookies make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?

Bobo Balls

9 Jan

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I’m feeling super proud of myself at the moment.  For the second time this week I got myself out of the house by 7:45am in the dark and freezing cold to my pilates class.  From when I got up at 6:45am until I left it was an on-going mental battle for me.  One little voice was telling me to just stay home in my warm house and the other little voice was trying to motivate me out of the house.  Luckily the latter won.

Today I have a secret family recipe to share with you.  I had wanted to post it before the holidays but didn’t manage.  So I’ll sell them as the perfect Valentine’s Day cookie instead of Christmas cookie.

These little balls made with only 4 ingredients are one of my favourite treats from childhood.  My grandmother used to make these for my brother and I and we would be able to scoff down more than a few.   I was 23 when my grandmother actually told me the ingredient list because she knows that I would’ve been horrified if I knew there were dates in them.  I was tricked for 23 years of my life.

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Usually I’m not a huge fan of cookies that involve breakfast cereal but in this case the rice crispies add crunch that compliments the chewy dates.   I know they sound weird and slightly kitschy but trust me on this one…they’re incredibly tasty.  And as a bonus they are no-bake which means it takes minutes to whip up a batch of these.

Gramma’s BoBo Balls

1/2 cup  butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups pitted and chopped dates
3 1/2 cups Rice Crispies cereal

1. Melt butter in pot, add brown sugar and dates.

2. Bring to a boil, lower heat, stir and cook until smooth (8-10 min).

3. Add rice crispies.

4. With buttered hands form into uniform sized balls (approx. 2-bite sized).  Roll in white sugar.

5. Store in air-tight container to keep crispy. Enjoy!

1-IMG_4933-001I hope someone out there gives these cookies a chance and tries them out.  And if you do, please let me know what you think.  I have three kids who all love them (one being Miss Fussy) and I have followed my grandmother’s tradition of not letting them in on the secret of the dates in them.

San Valentino

14 Feb

I’m wishing everyone out there a wonderful day full of love and happiness.  Not just because it’s Valentine’s Day though.  I think all of our days should be full of love and happiness.  

Here are the treats (not sugar free I’m afraid) that the kids are taking into their classmates and teachers.

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