Valentine's Day is a perfect time to help your child explore his or her creative side. In addition to the standard Valentine card making, we've got a couple of crafty ideas for you and your child to enjoy together.
Although they're typically considered a Christmas time treat, sugar cookies are so much fun that they can be incorporated into a variety of holidays. Here is one recipe that turns out dough ideal for use as your little Picasso's canvas.
3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour
Heart-shaped cookie cutters
Small clean paint brushes
Disposable cups for mixing paint
Water to clean brushes
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and then stir in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, salt,and flour. Gradually combine the dry and wet mixtures together and knead to form a dough. Allow the dough to refrigerate for several hours before you roll it out.
Once the dough has chilled roll the dough out on a clean dry floured surface such as a kitchen table. Help your child use the cookie cutters to cut out heart-shaped cookies. Arrange the cut outs on a foil covered baking sheet. (Foil is suggested since this can get a bit messy.) Allow your child to decorate the cookies with sprinkles and paint little pictures on the cookies using food coloring for paint. (I often combine the food coloring with some water to get a less intense color.)
Once the cookies are finished being decorated bake them in a 400 degree oven until the edges are slightly golden brown which should take about 6-8 minutes.
Since your little one probably gets Valentines from classmates at school, helping him or her create a nice keepsake box for them is a fun and creative activity.
A cardboard shoe box
Don't worry if you don't have all of the materials above, this list is just to give you some ideas of things you could use. Provide your child with the glue, scissors and decorative materials (magazines, tissue paper, macaroni, beads, sequins, buttons, etc.) and help him or her decorate the shoe box with these supplies. By the time your child is done, he or she will have a beautifully decorated box for storing Valentine treasures from friends and family.
Great Finds and Gifts for Parents Who Are Waiting To Find Out Their Baby's Gender
Before we lived in an age of technology unisex baby gifts were a must. Today it's almost surprising to hear parents say they don't plan to find out the sex of their baby until it arrives, but if you're the old fashioned type or you've got friends of that persuasion and you want to get them a baby gift, we've got a few finds for you that will perfectly fit the bill.
If you're thinking keepsake gifts look no further than this elegant classic off-white photo album available from Bamibini Bliss. New parents take lots of pictures of their babies and even though we live in a digital age it's nice to have an album to cozy up with and flip through.
Another great choice is this
beautiful hard cover book by Susan Branch. It's full of endearing language, illustrations, and thoughts. Mom and Dad can fill in information about baby and his or her world. There are spaces for photographs, cards, handprint, footprint, a lock of hair, favorites, firsts, and much more.
If you want to give expectant parents something they can really use, check out this cool
baby bistro box. The box contains cards full of nutritional information for feeding baby for the first twelve months. It includes safety rules, shopping tips, recipe ideas, and prenatal suggestions. The recipe card format allows parents to find the information they want, when they need it, and then take it along to the store.
Another great option is a stylish
nursing cover. These covers allow mom to breastfeed baby in style and comfort in any situation. A variety of styles are available to match any outfit. Mom can easily slip the cover into a purse or diaper bag when not in use and the fabric is soft, lightweight and breathable for baby.
Cute and Trendy Wearable Gifts
Natural themes are trendy these days and we just love this
owl onesie from Orange Button. The orginal owl illustration is screen printed on a 100% organic cotton onesie, which is perfect for having close to a newborn's skin.
(A word of caution about adorable but unisex clothing: If parents are waiting until the birth to learn the baby's sex it's a great idea to stock up on some cute neutral clothing but once baby arrives it's a good idea to get some accessories that distinguish baby as a boy or girl to avoid those awkward exchanges where a stranger tells you how adorable your son is when in fact you have a daughter.)
For the Nursery
Decorating a nursery when you don't know the baby's sex is tricky, you can't go with the classic pink or blue options. Fortunately there are some very cool modern bedding designers today with products that would be beautiful in a boy or girl's room.
Another thing you can do to deck out the nursery of a baby whose sex is not yet known is to pick out some colorful attractive artwork for the baby's room. You can find a great selection of artist prints in lots of neutral colors and themes that will compliment a variety of decor.