Monday, February 13, 2012

What We Did with Valentine's Day 2011

It's hard to believe that just over a year ago I started blogging for the first time!  Here's my first repeat post that challenged me (again) as we look to Valentine's Day 2012.  I don't have my full game plan yet, but I'm working on it!  Our day is going to look a little different than last year, but I'm hoping to still have the same (or better) sentiments to take from it.   

from the archives

A couple of Mondays ago I challenged myself, and anyone else reading this, to make Valentine’s Day about more than just romance, flowers, and chocolate.  It was a challenge to anyone, with or without a spouse or romantic interest, to reflect on the example of true love that God has given us and come up with ideas of how to share that love with those around us – particularly those in our families, but also with others.

I’m going to share some of the highlights of our Valentine’s Day celebration and my assessment on how we did in our attempt to redeem this holiday

Pre-Valentine’s Day Events
  • Helping Jadon make a Valentine for Daddy with random crafty stuff I had (foam, stickers, googly eyes, etc.).  Very cute!
  • Making Valentine’s cupcakes for our friends at Bible study and for our neighbors next door (a single mom with 5 children)
  • The hubby planned an evening out for supper and a special dessert, babysitters included (a wonderful couple from our church).  What a wonderful evening out, just the two of us!

Valentine’s Day Happenings
  • Andy and Jadon made a special Valentine’s Day breakfast of heart-shaped pancakes for the three of us.  Before eating, as I mentioned on Monday, Andy read a few verses from 1 Corinthians 13.  It really helped both of us to go into the day with an attitude of serving and caring for one another in love.  This was also when Jadon “gave his cards” to Mommy and Daddy. 
  • Jadon (and I) surprised Daddy with a brief visit at the church and a monkey “I Love You” balloon – yes, he picked it out and it was hilarious! 
  • I made a special Valentine’s Day dinner for just the 3 of us – calzones (kind of a sentimental meal for us from our first couple years of marriage), caesar salad, and raspberry lemonade (gotta have something red!).  Originally I had hoped to make the calzones heart-shaped, but I quickly realized that due to the consistency of the dough… it just wasn’t going to happen… It was still a nice meal, though.  The meal was served with our nice china, good silverware, and crystal goblets – even Jadon’s place was set with a small plate of our china, a big boy fork, and a glass juice cup (which he was particularly excited about).  Andy read from 1 John 4 and we prayed together.  It was a nice time to be grateful of the love we can show to each other only as a result of the love that God showed us through the sacrifice of His Son. 
  • Also at dinner time, we exchanged cards for one another – which were not your “typical” Valentine’s Day cards.  Both my card to Andy and our card to Jadon were homemade.  Andy’s card to me was a store-bought card, but not explicitly Valentine’s Day.  It didn’t bother me in the least, as what he wrote to me in the card meant so much more than what was already printed on it. 
  • Dessert was also on each person’s dinner plate, but was held off until dinner was finished – chocolate dipped pretzels.  Easy, cheap, pretty, and yummy – does it get any better than that?
Valentine's Day Breakfast - sooo cute!

These are the letters from a Valentine's message my husband left for me in the stairwell of my dorm when we were in college.  The whole message included my name, too.  When trying to think of some simple decorating to do before our meal, I remembered I had tucked these away!  Clothes-pinned them to my curtain rod and they're still good to be used next year! 

Valentine's Day Dinner

Checking out his yummy dessert!
Didn't get a picture of the monkey balloon, but this is the frog one Jadon picked out for himself!

So, did our family accomplish what we set out to do this year for Valentine’s Day?  Yes and no. 

We purposely spent more time meditating on and discussing passages of God’s Word that talk about love – His love for us and our love for Him and others.  I think we could have done more of this, but honestly… with an almost 2 year old who just doesn’t get it yet, it was difficult.  I’d like to come up with some more creative ways to incorporate him (young children in general) in this portion of the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

We did find ways to show love to each other in special ways without having to spend lots of money.  I used supplies that I already had on hand to make our cards.  The entire meal I made, including dessert, was made up of ingredients that I almost always have on hand (pizza dough, red sauce, various cheese, and there are lots of other goodies that can be stuffed in a calzone… not to mention basic salad fixings, pretzels, and chocolate melted down for dipping).  Oh, and I put the chocolate-covered pretzels in regular ziplock bags and snipped some ribbon from the balloons we bought (I’ll get to that next) to tie a little boy on each bag.  We purchased 2 helium Valentine’s Day balloons (one for Daddy and one for Jadon) from our local dollar store for – you guessed it – a dollar each.  So, as far as showing love toward each other… I think we did a great job!

We also found opportunities to show love toward others. The cupcakes I made to give away I made from a mix and some canned frosting that were already in my pantry.  This is an area that we could probably have done more in, but during this time we were also helping our church do an outreach ministry to some of the elderly who have been shut-in this winter, so I think we can count that too. 

All in all, I think this was one of my favorite Valentine’s Days ever.  I’ve succeeded in changing my own perspective – at least a little – on this celebration.  In fact… I’m actually kind of looking forward to next year already!  We had a lot of fun together!  Even if you didn’t take my challenge this year, hopefully it will inspire you to start thinking about next year!  

Lots of love for our boy!

How did you redeem Valentine’s Day by showing love toward God in serving and loving others – family, friends, and even strangers?  Leave a comment below.  Maybe you can be an inspiration to me and others! 

Happy Valentine’s Week!

~ Carrie ~

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