When I was a little girl my dad always bought me and my sisters Valentine’s Day gifts. It was usually something small, often a plastic container that was filled with conversation hearts or a heart-shaped box of chocolates, maybe a small knick-knack or stuffed animal. I remember how that little trinket waiting on the kitchen table in the morning would bring such joy. I remember showing it off to my friends in school and it being my prized possession for at least the next several days.
This year I am treasuring those memories a little bit more because it is our first Valentine’s Day without my dad, who passed away very suddenly last month.
I’ve got to admit that I was dreading this weekend. Not only is it the first holiday without my dad, but his birthday is also Monday, a double-whammy of reminders not even a month into our grieving process.
To counteract the sadness that I’ve been feeling, I decided to focus on making this Valentine’s special for E, the way my dad always made it special for me. So, out came the trinkets!
I decided that it was only appropriate to celebrate E’s current true love – cars! So, I came up with these little valentines, one for E and others for his cousins and some special Stroller Strides friends. I was really happy with the way that they turned out and was super-proud of myself for creating valentines that were non-food (i.e., completely safe and healthy) and something that every toddler loves. They even leant themselves to a cute, Valentine’s Day-appropriate saying.
He was so excited to get a car and was surprisingly willing to share the love. (I was a little worried that he was not going to like the idea of giving away cars.)
I added to our Valentine’s Day festivities, with another thing every two-year-old loves – cookies! We used Ina Garten’s shortbread cookie recipe (by the way, shortbread is egg-free!). We substituted soy-free Earth Balance for the butter and topped them off with safe red sprinkles (Wilton are safe for us). They were a lot of fun to make and E gets so excited when he gets a “surprise” for dessert 🙂
Also, my heart-shaped strawberry project from last year, inspired me to use cookie-cutters to Valentine-ify his standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I love that something as simple as cookie cutters can make so many safe foods more fun!
My Valentine’s Day was totally made first thing this morning, though, when E said, “Happy Valentine’s Day Mommy, Daddy” and initiated a big group hug. Seriously could not think of a better gift!
I hope you are having a great Valentine’s Day with your loved ones. Hug them a little closer and extra long this year.
Happy Valentine’s Day to My First Valentine! I Love You Dad!