Friday, February 09, 2007

Make Deliberate Memories

When my children were younger, I proofread all of their literature. One reason I did this was because so many books had a storyline that centered around a boy or girl misunderstood by his/her siblings and parents, but one day a friend came into their life and made everything better. I am AGAINST this blatant anti-family indoctrination. I proudly 'indoctrinate' my children with an opposing ideology. Family IS fun and sisters and brothers can be best friends. My children have heard me remind them over and over again that "friends come into your life for a little while and they are gone, but your sister knows you better than anyone else. You don't know how long you will have each other. Life is so uncertain, one of you could perish tomorrow. Determine to love each other deeply." My two oldest daughters are as different as night and day from each other in just about everything, but they are truly best friends.

I have deliberately used Valentine's Day as an occasion for our family to set aside some concentrated time to express our love for each other. Inspired by memories of exchanging Valentines, candy hearts and surprises while still a child in grade school, I decided to make similar memories with my own children, only with a deeper purpose.

Each year, several days before the February 14th, my husband and I make Valentine bags with the kids. Usually, this is done on a family fun night. The bags are different each year. One year we used white paper lunch bags lavishly decorated. Another year we made heart shaped baskets. I have also taken two pieces of construction paper and stapled them together with the back piece slightly longer than the front so that a name could be printed on the back piece. I pull out glue, sequins, glitter, ribbons, colored paper, stamps, stickers, markers, and anything else that comes to mind and let the children create.

For the next several days I leave the decorations and card paper out on a small table. Each family member secretly makes Valentines for every other family member. (When the kids were younger, we made them together. At that age, quantity was more important to them than quality, so we made a zillion or so for each of us.) As the children grew older we taught them how to make little love rhymes, puns and play on words. "I'd fly to the moon if you'd be mine." Then Dad would draw a rocket going to the moon. "Let's keep our love in bloom" would be written above a bouquet of flowers.

We fill the bags throughout the week with cards and no one is allowed to peek inside. The night before Valentine's Day I secretly put chocolate hearts and other surprises inside along with a love letter to each child.

In the morning, we usually eat heart-shaped pancakes. One year we made a heart-shaped pizza for dinner. In the evening, the bags are passed out and opened together. Oooh…what a sweet time we have together making memories. The little ones receive so much joy over this simple idea. Now that our children are getting older, quality is beginning to trump quantity.

I have kept a few Valentines from each year. Last year, as a family, we pulled out the old Valentines and reminisced with lots of laughter and a few tears. I'm sharing this because I want to inspire you to make deliberate memories with your dear ones. Many of you do this already. Maybe this is just a new idea you can add to your file. I hope this Valentine's Day is filled with love and joy in each of your homes.
photos courtesy:

one step at a time...


  1. Well Valentines Day is almost here...and a day to celebrate with all our loved ones...and your post is pretty interesting to read as well...well i'd also like you to visit my blog on Valentines Day and check out all the resources i've posted there to wish your loved ones all around!!!

  2. Anonymous9.2.07

    Thank you for this! I agree so much with your comments on siblings. I, also, tell my children similar things. I wish you would print lists of the books that you have found to be good or bad in this area. I can always use help with choosing books! Thanks for all your time that you sacrifice to share your homeschooling and mothering wisdom with us!


  3. Betty9.2.07


    Thank you so much for sharing this. What a simple way to encourage and nourish family relationships. I'm also thinking about including some widows and a single lady in the gift bags so that Valentine's day isn't such a dreaded day for them.

    THank you so much!! What a wonderful thought!

    Love, Betty

  4. Hi Linda,
    I was thinking of letting Valentine's slip by unnoticed! I hadn't thought very much about it. This idea is so sweet. I love it. I am planning to make these bags tonight!!! My daughter is going to really enjoy this. Especially if we can get Daddy to do some glitter :)
    Thanks again for the great idea.

  5. I always make Valentine cards for my children, and sometimes get them to make cards for other family members too.
    I like your idea about making it more deliberate, less of a "if we have time" activity.
    As always I've enjoyed my visit to your blog!

  6. Thank you so much for this, I am truly inspired! We have been concentrating on making Valentine's for friends, as fun as this is, I LOVE the idea of baskets & homemade Valentine's w/ family, even my little one's will enjoy this. What a simple idea but one of those I needed pointed out to me.

  7. I've been wanting to do something for Valentine's Day but hadn't come up with anything yet. Maybe we'll try this. Thanks again for a great idea.

  8. What a great idea! I just love creating memories for my kids!

    Our little Valentines tradition involves making a little candy and paper hearts trail from the kids beds to their spot at the breakfast table. They love waking up and gathering up their treats and hearts. We also eat our "special day breakfast" which includes waffles.

    This year I'd like to do something with the paper hearts that make up part of the trail - any ideas?


  9. How beautiful!
    I vow to not be drawn into the commercialism of this holiday.
    (Store bought gifts and cards.)
    Thank you once again for sharing from your heart.

  10. joedeb12.2.07

    Just when I think I've digested your last post, you give me more to feed on! What a beautiful way to focus on the family relationships. The kids and I made Valentine bags and valentines today. I can't wait til we get to open our bags tomorrow!

    BTW, I was really inspired by your post on poetry too. I love poetry, but hadn't really thought through how to regularly fit it into my children's education. Dancing Queen is doing a unit on poetry now, which we are all enjoying, as I'm encouraging her to share her favorite poems aloud with Roboboy.

    Thanks so much for sharing how you do things! I'm always learning from you.