This month I was assigned to teach Relief Society in church, and I was able to pick any topic I wanted. After a lot of thought, I decided to teach about love and even though it's not exactly spiritual, I decided to talk about Valentine's Day a little bit too. Many people hate Valentine's Day because it can be so commercial, and it can be such a disappointment if you've had a recent breakup or your loved one isn't around. I've always loved Valentine's Day and I think it's partially due to the fact that my dad always gave each of the kids in my family a Valentine telling them why he was proud of them and how much he loved them. Valentine's was less about whether or not a boyfriend brought roses and more about spreading the love. Larry says that Valentine's Day is a girl holiday when every guy is trying to please the women in their life, bu tI think it should be less about what my husband does for me and more about looking at it as an opportunity to make sure everyone around me knows how much I love them. Christmas time is all about showing Christlike love, but we lose the Christmas spirit so quickly. Valentine's Day is the perfect reminder to be a little bit kinder to everyone.
I decided to take my own advice and make sure some of my friends know how much I love them, and what better way to do that than with another party, right? I decided to have a Valentine's exchange. The whole things was really simple. I asked each guest to bring Valenetine's to exchange and I updated them with the final guest list so they would know how many Valentines to bring and who to address them to.
Since the weather was so cold I had hot water ready for hot chocolate (with my favorite peppermint syrup).
And I had a cookie decorating station with all sorts of Valentine's Day candy and sprinkles and a few different kinds of frosting so everyone could decorate their own heart-shaped cookies and take some home too (which saved me a lot of time decorating them myself).The only extra decoration that I put up was this little garland that I made with paper hearts cut out of all different pink and red scrapbooking papers and I only made it because I had all these hearts left over from my Relief Society lesson. I just sewed a straight line across them on my sewing machine so it only took a few minutes to make.The only other prep I did was to make my own Valentines. I decided to use a Martha Stewart pattern to make felt fortune cookies and they were really easy to make. I think they would be fun for other special occasions too like baby showers or wedding favors. I glued a wire across a 4 inch circle of felt and glued a ribbon over it to cover it. Then I printed out a couple of different Valentine's Day forntunes Then you just fold them up
I wanted to put them in little Chinese take-out boxes, but I couldn't find any affordable enough so I used these little polka dots boxes for wedding favors that I found at Target, and they fit perfectly.
Then I just wrapped each one with a red ribbon and sealed them with some cardstock with the recipients name. The only hard part of the whole party was that I couldn't ivite everyone that I wanted because I had to keep the guest list resonably small since the guests had to make Valentines for everyone coming. Creed ended up having his own guest too because Meg was able to bring her daughter Aylssa, and he was thrilled.
Yep, his Ladies Man shirt says it all.
I provided some melamine plate for everyone to gather their new Valentines on and then after everyone had a good chance to visit and snack, we exchanged Valentines. I wanted everyone to have a chance to talk as they exchanged so we did it like speed dating. I had a timer and let everyone chat for two minutes and then they had to move on the the next person. I think it worked really well and I appreciated having a chance to talk with everyone.
I told the guests that their Valentines could be as simple or elaborate as they wanted, the point was really just to have a chance to get together to visit, but of course they went all out. I managed to get a picture of each of the guests with their Valentines except Julia, who was sick and just had to drop her Valentines off. Here's Cat who did have a Chinese take-out box full of her handmade treats
Megan used this Martha Stewart idea to make heart-shaped Valentines that fold up into little envelopes
Greta and her daughter made sugar cookies for everyone.
Nikki spoiled everyone with a kit to prepare them for spring; nail polish, toe seperators, and a little tube of foot scrub.
Heather made giant Hershey kisses out of rice crispy treats and slipped notes in on the paper that sticks out of the top.
Liz made cupcakes
Meg and Alyssa brought buckeyes
Katherine made some playdough and her daughter helped her cut out heart-shapes to hand out to everyone.
Brooke with three kinds of homemade truffles.
Brittany made lollipop cookies