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Valentine Frenzy

I don’t know about you, my
friends-across-the-globe, but my house began preparing for
Valentines Day around, oh, the middle of January. For whatever
reason, it’s one of my daughters’ favorite holidays;
I’d like to think it’s because of their passionate love
for their fellow men, but I suspect it has more to do with the
abundance of chocolate being handed out. For a household that shops
pretty exclusively at farmers’ markets and Whole Foods, the
glut of Hershey kisses and Sweethearts falling from the sky must
seem not unlike manna from heaven all those thousands of years ago,
and Valentines Day rivals only Halloween in its possibility –
nay, promise – of high fructose corn syrup for everyone.

To be fair, my daughters have just as much fun preparing and giving
gifts as they do receiving them, and they’ve been painting
and drawing and writing and crafting lo these many weeks now. And I
try hard to act like most other moms and not wrinkle my nose at the
Sweet Tarts or the weird-tasting little hearts with words on them,
because I don’t want my kids to be complete outcasts at such
a young age.

Plenty of time for that later.

So when the girls asked if they could put
a piece of candy on their Valentine cards for some friends, I said
yes. And I even let them put on some peppermint Hershey Kisses we
had left over from Christmas (hey, they’re still good.) and
didn’t buy the Whole Foods 365 Brand-version.

Ooh, is there one?

No, we did it. And Cora is giving away Scratch-N-Sniff Valentines
that are coated in what I am sure are phthalate-filled scent
pockets. And when I go to their schools for their respective
parties and watch all the kids rip open the cards, I won’t
even try to remind them to recycle all that paper, for
heaven’s sake. I have to let my daughters dabble their toes
in the mainstream current sometimes, after all.

I do see evidence, though, that I am rubbing off on my girls. I
told them we could make something to give away to a few friends,
and asked what they’d like to do, thinking it’d be
something like “rice krispie treats” or

“Well,” Cora, my four-year-old said, “I’d
sure like to try those lotion bars you told us about a while
ago.” “Ooh, yeah!” Maddie said, “And
I’d like to make a few melted crayon hearts from recycled

Be still my heart. They had me at “lotion bars”.

So last week we made these awesomehref="http://www.crunchybetty.com/how-to-make-lotion-bars"
target="_blank">lotion bars from one of my favorite
sites, target="_blank">Crunchy Betty (and Leslie, yes, you, I
swear this post was written before you emailed me – just had
to drop that promise in here!). I’d earmarked them over the
holidays and when I found some heart-shaped silicone molds at a
thrift store for ninety-nine cents, it seemed like a match made in
granola heaven. They are a hard lotion bar, perfect for little
hands to rub on dry winter skin. Many nights Cora complains that
her legs are itchy, and while I love watching a four-year-old try
to scratch adorably through some flannel footie pjs as much as the
next person, I wanted to find something that Cora could use herself
while not greasing up her entire room. The girls got to choose
which scent they put into the lotion bars – Maddie chose
jasmine essential oil while Cora went with vanilla.

The bars have been a big hit; Cora’s handed a couple out to
friends already and I even caught her explaining – and
demonstrating – how and when to use them to one of her
friends. Which was cute enough, but then her friend ran up to her
mom and said, “Mommy, can I go put some pjs on? My legs are
itching and I need to rub them with my heart” and made it
that much more adorkable.

We then turned our attention to the crayon hearts: crayon bits of
different colors, heated at low heat in a silicone mold until they
run together and then, when cooled, make a truly psychedelic
crayon. We’ve made a few of those: Cora assiduously peels the
crayon bits while Maddie arranges them in a mold, both of them
carefully stacking the paper wrapper shreds in a neat pile to the

Later on, I started to clean up and sweep the paper bits into the
recycling bin. Maddie frowned and slapped her hand down on the
counter to stop me. “Mom, what are you doing? These paper
bits aren’t ready to be recycled; can’t you see
I’m using them to make jewelry? They’re still
useful!” And she shook her head and actually tsk’d me
as she went back to stringing wrapper remnants on curling ribbon.

Perhaps I don’t have to worry about my daughters becoming too


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