Hosting a Valentine’s Day Party

Throw a fun and festive Valentine’s Day party for your kids with these easy craft and food ideas!  

I always feel a little blue come January and February after the three-month spree of holidays between October to January 1st. Do you feel this way too?

By the time February’s here, we’re deep into winter and spring still seems so far away.  In an effort to allude the winter blues this year, I thought I’d throw a fun Valentine’s Day party for a few of our friends and their children.  Even though it might seem premature to start Valentine’s crafts at the beginning of January, it was just what I needed to keep my holiday spirit alive!

Instead of feeling like I was spending idle time perusing the web and saving fun food and craft ideas for another day, all of this was now in the name of “work.”  The things I do for this blog, you know? 🙂  This “work” finally gave me a reason to break out the glue gun and pretend to be Martha Stewart for a few hours each day during nap time! It was so much fun!  Plus, it gave me a purposeful excuse to make multiple trips to my happy place, aka Hobby Lobby. 

 

I didn’t want to get too crazy since we were only having a few people over and let’s face it, we all know there are plenty other things to be done during nap time.  I decided on doing a breakfast since this is the easiest way to work around everyone’s nap times and because it gave all of us tired parents another reason to drink more coffee. There can never be enough coffee, can there?

The menu was simple and straight forward and while I had the kids in mind first, the adults enjoyed it just as much.  I tried to center everything around foods I could turn into festive hearts or things that were red and pink.  I’m sure you can probably think of many other recipes and foods that would work with this type of theme!  

A few other ideas I had, but didn’t end up making were Toads in The Hole, using a heart shaped cookie cutter, baked bacon in the shape of hearts, omelets or a veggie quiche using red veggies like red peppers and tomatoes or french toast with the bread cut into hearts. The ideas are probably endless.  Use whatever foods your family enjoys and put a holiday spin on them! 

 

After setting the menu, I perused my favorite craft sites for fun Valentine’s ideas.  While I’m definitely no Martha Stewart, I can work a glue gun pretty well!  I found a couple of cute ideas that were easy and not too expensive.  Using coupons, my Hobby Lobby app 40% off code and materials from around the house, the decorations cost very little to make.  However, they had a total wow factor!

I’m not kidding when I say the first time Emily walked into the dining room all decorated she said, “Wow!” It was so cute and clearly, she enjoyed it!  I happened to love making all of the crafts, but if you aren’t crafty at all or don’t have the time, you’re in luck because so many stores are selling holiday items right now.  Think the Target Dollar Spot! 

So, If you ever feel like keeping the holiday spirit alive after the new year, maybe a fun Valentine’s Day party is just what you and the kids need?  I truly had so much fun planning, shopping, and making the food and crafts for this little get together!  It really took minimal time, money and effort, but our friends and their children just loved it and I’m sure yours would too!

Food

Cinnamon Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes, recipe below.  I also cut up banana slices in the shape of hearts for extra holiday fun!  You could do this with strawberries too! 

Strawberry Milk, recipe below.  You could just use strawberry syrup if you’re in a rush, but it was really easy to make this myself, especially since I wasn’t sure I’d have another use for the syrup afterward. 

Cranberry Fruit Dip served with Strawberries & Red Apple Slices.  I’ve made this dip many times!  It also works well with low-fat cream cheese and cool whip. 

Bagels with Strawberry Cream Cheese,  You could use store bought cream cheese or just stir some strawberry jam into plain cream cheese to make it a little more festive.  I used 2 Tbs. of jam with 4 oz low-fat cream cheese.  I also added a drop of red food color to enhance the color. 

Decorations

Valentine’s Chair Envelope – How cute are these? They were really easy and inexpensive to make! I changed up the design a little and instead of putting the full name on it, I used hot glue to add a felt heart and initial. To attach it to the chair, I cut a small slit in the back heart, slipped some ribbon through and tied it at the top. They’re the perfect for holding Valentine’s Day cards and treats. 

Felt Heart Tree – As soon as I saw this on Instagram, I knew I had to make one for this party! I made a few changes to their directions. 1. I used hot glue to attach the hearts to the cone instead of pins.  I also used an 8 oz. pineapple can covered with decorative paper as the base instead of candlesticks.  The topper is a felt heart, instead of a plastic one.  I used 3 full sheets of felt, which were only 33 cents each at Hobby Lobby – major score! It was an easy nap time craft, yet looks really cute! 

Valentine’s Doily Garland – This one is beyond easy!  I bought a packet of red, pink and white doilies and white yarn.  I folded the doilies in half over the yarn and used a little hot glue to secure them together.  Super simple, yet added a little extra holiday touch to the room.  I did each color on a separate string of yarn so I can use them for more holidays than just Valentine’s Day. 

DIY Party Hats – When I saw these, I thought “yes!” I love party hats, but they never seem to be in the right color or pattern at the store.  With this easy tutorial, I can buy whatever paper I want and make them myself. It was so easy! I think party hats in seasonal patterns will be making an appearance at many future get togethers! A few notes on making them: I found patterned paper hid the seam better.  Also, I just taped them together with one long strip of tape along the seam instead of using the cut and insert pieces.  For the elastic under the chin, I cut a small hole on opposite sides of the hat, pulled an end of the elastic through each side, knotted it and then secured it with tape.

Recipes:

Cinnamon Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk, low-fat is fine
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Directions:
1. Preheat your griddle to 350 degrees and lightly spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk. Slowly whisk in melted butter.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Be careful to not over mix. 
5. Pour the batter, about ¼ cup for each pancake, onto the pre-heated skillet. Carefully spread each pancake thinner with the back of a spoon. Cook about 2-3 minutes and then flip over and cook the other side another 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate and enjoy with syrup! 
*For heart-shaped pancakes: Pour some batter into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Pour a little onto the griddle starting at the bottom of the heart “v” and move diagonally up to the left to make the left side of the heart and repeat the process, starting at the bottom and moving in a diagonal up to the right to make the right side.  Take the back of a spoon and spread the batter slightly to better form the heart.  This took a few pancakes to get the hearts to look right, so don’t worry if it doesn’t look quite right at first.  They’re so tasty no one will mind!

*Recipe adapted from Oh Sweet Basil

Strawberry Milk

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen strawberries, thawed keeping juices
2 cups milk (2% or whole preferred)
confectioners sugar or honey, to taste

Directions:
1. At least 24 hours before making, put 2 cups of frozen strawberries in a Tupperware container and refrigerate to thaw.  After thawing, they measured just over a cup. 
2. Put defrosted strawberries (with accumulated juices) and 1 cup of milk in a blender and blend until well combined.  Add in a second cup of milk and blend until combined. Taste and add sugar or honey to taste. I added about a tablespoon of honey.  You make like more or less
3.  Store in refrigerator.  Stir before using.  Not only can you drink this plain, but it’s great when used for oatmeal or smoothies.  

*Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine (Jan/Feb 2017 Edition)

 

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