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simpleValentineideas

Simple & Special Ideas for Valentine’s Day

I’ve got a brand new Valentine tutorial up on the mom channel at eHow and – I must say – I’m pretty excited about it.  It’s a jumbo, and much healthier, version of the classic conversation heart. Go check it out, if you’re so inclined, then head back here for 13 more easy ways to make the 14th special.

Two reminders first though:

      1. The FREE parenting webinar we’re hosting with Today Show expert Amy McCready is tonight at 6pm PST/9pm EST.  If you’re tired of yelling, nagging, etc. to get the kids to listen be sure to join us.  RSVP is required – go here to grab your spot.
      2.  

      3. If you have a second, I’d love for you to chime in below on the question of the day:

Where do you stand on sugary snacks?  Not phased by them, completely outlawed at your house, or somewhere in between?

13 More Easy-to-Do Valentine Ideas

This love balloon delivery idea would be so fun for nieces, nephews and cousins.

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Remember that question of the day?  We fall somewhere in the middle, avoiding sugar as much as we can in our daily routine but don’t have a problem with it for special occasions. These homemade marshmallows would definitely be on the list for just such a day.

You all know I’m big of art for making memories with the littles, especially on special days. These birdseed feeders are a lovely little project and I know my kiddos would love gazing out the window to see if the birds took the bait.

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Need a simple strategy for giving your space some love?  Check out this DIY heart garland from MPMK contributor Kaley.

Real Simple‘s tutorial on how to bake a heart cake would come in handy for a party.

Don’t forget to check out a book, or five, from our list of LOVE-ly Valentine Reads.

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These sprinkle treats would be a sweet surprise packed in a lunch box.

I adore this idea of writing love letters to your children – what a fabulous Valentine’s Day tradition.

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And while you’re at it, why not make some easy heart envelopes to house your love notes.

These heart jellies are yet another good option for your sweet tooth.

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Do your kids flip over special drinks like mine do? (Maybe I’ve just conditioned them by usually only allowing milk and water.) Whatever the reason, my littles would love these floats.

Last week we suggested a nap picnic as a way for even the busiest couples to squeeze in some romance.

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Finally, how stinking cute is this DIY hair bow? I’m thinking of whipping up a set – one for me and one for S.

That’s my list – will you try one of these projects next week?

Question of the day: 

Where do you stand on your kids and sugary snacks?  

a) Not phased by them

b) They’re completely outlawed at your house

c) Somewhere in between

 

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P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacey February 6, 2013 at 8:53 am

Oh… the sugary treat dilemma is soooo hard! I have a huge sweet tooth so I really try to limit the sweets my girls eat but it is hard. They both love sweet things and I worry that if I restrict too much they will just want them more. We try to reach a healthy balance by at least making most of our sweet treats from scratch…

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Gina February 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

I am probably in the minority here but we allow a sweet treat every single day! Whether it be a cookie after dinner (or even at breakfast!) or a few m&ms – I know I like to have something sweet so I let my kids have one too! And they know that once its eaten they cant have anymore for the rest of the day – sometimes my 4yr old will ask and I have to remind him he already had his sweet treat and he just says “oh yeah I forgot!” =)

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mpmk February 6, 2013 at 10:45 am

Ah, it’s funny that both of you mention having a sweet tooth yourselves – I’m definitely in that boat!

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Janssen February 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

Somewhere in between. I don’t want to be WEIRD about sugar with my kids (I know too many people who were severely limited as kids and then went nuts when they were adults and could buy them for themselves), but I don’t want to be just filling them with junk either. Like Stacey, I try and compensate by making most of our treats ourselves.

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mpmk February 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I also think that making anything completely off-limits (sugar, TV, etc.) gives it way too much power in a child’s eyes – often making it that much more desirable. In general we try to go by the motto, “everything in moderation”.

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Melissa February 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I’m with Gina. We have a small sweet treat almost every day.

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Anna February 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

We try to make lots of treats that taste “sugary” but aren’t. I think it’s wonderful to “treat” yourself and your family on a regular basis, but not necessarily with the ingredients of teats that come in boxes, bags, and wrappers. I love making them with my kiddos as much as I love eating them when were done. We also talk about what we are putting in our treats, too (subbing apple sauce for sugar, etc.). It’s amazing how young children can begin to understand nutrition! That being said, I would never say no to them having a cookie at a playdate or cake at a birthday party. I think it’s incredibly important to respect that we all have our own ways of eating. I wouldn’t want anyone to judge my choices, as I wouldn’t judge their choices either.

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mpmk February 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Nicely said Anna :)

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Nicole February 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

I try to limit sugary snacks as much as possible but they are allowed in moderation. I have a friend that allows one sugary snack of the kid’s choice (within reason) and once they have had it they know that is it for the day. If they haven’t had their snack by 7:00pm then they don’t get one for that day.

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Kaley February 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Thanks so much for featuring my Valentines Garland!

As far as sweets, I dont eat them (don’t have a sweet tooth at all!), so I try to keep them away from my daughter. But like Janssen, I dont want to be weird about it, so I have learned that it’s ok to have a treat every once in a while. Right now we are working on distinguishing between healthy foods and special treats. So she is constantly asking if a certain food is growing food or a treat. I try to use some of the strategies from the website It’s Not About Nutrition, there is some great stuff there.

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mpmk February 6, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I’m totally jealous that you don’t have a sweet tooth – mine is massive! We do a lot of talking about what is and isn’t “good for our bodies” too. The kids really like learning about it and they see it as sort of a game trying to decipher what is and isn’t good for our bodies.

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Emily February 6, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Love the Valentine ideas, especially using fruit letters on the yogurt! My almost three year old is a chocoholic! We limit it to one sweet a day. When she first started into the sweet stage I really felt uneasy and wanted to restrict her to once a week. I’ve learned to loosen up a bit from living in Mexico where candy filled piñatas are abundant!

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mpmk February 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Thanks Emily, I was really pleased with how the hearts turned out and even more pleased to find my kiddos love them. S (my 2 year old) is sick right now so it was so nice to have them on hand to help cheer her up :).

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mpmk February 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

Is anyone else surprised no one has chimed in yet that they don’t allow any sugar in their home?

I certainly know moms with this policy in real life – Do you think the early comments scared them off (no judgement here either way ladies!) or do you think this is actually a lot less common then may be perceived?

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Bridgett February 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Somewhere in between, I suppose. We generally don’t purchase sweets (ok, well we do secretly purchase some treats that the hubby and I eat after the kids go to bed). Snacks during the day we always insist be semi-healthy. Fruit, crackers, granola bars, etc. But if the kids nicely ask for a sugary treat (and have well-behaved that day), then we’ll share something with them after lunch or dinner.

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Marty February 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm

My kids cook with me and ask about the foods we cook and the hows and whys of cooking. Personally I think talking about nutrition is normal. My daughter ate all of her Easter candy in one sitting last year and had a terrible “hangover” from all that sugar. She now knows what going overboard with sugar can do to her. That being said they have a jar full of sweets that they have easy access to. They have learned to regulate their intake of sugar and candy without too much prompting from me. My kids generally prefer and apple or a banana to a small candy bar. I don’t make candy a reward for anything. Moderation is the key.

Now, my niece is raised differently. Cake is only for birthdays, candy is bad… I wonder what will happen when she is tall enough to reach mommy’s chocolate stash.

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