Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Feel the Love! Valentine's Day at Our House. Plus a Felt Tic Tack Toe Tutorial!

Valentine's Day is a special day in our house because it also happens to be CHD Awareness Day.  As many of you know, my daughter was born with CHD.  CHD Awareness Week runs from February 7-14.  Perfectly aligned to end with Valentine's Day.  Heart families love hearts.  It becomes our symbol for our fight, our strength, our love, and a trophy for our heart warriors.  The heart is defined as the organ that sustains life.  I think that love could have a similar definition, the force that keeps us alive and bonds us together.  While Valentine's Day may be a lame hallmark holiday to some, I view it as a day to celebrate love.  We should celebrate love every day, but I think it's fun to have one day to go all out and do crazy lame things to shower the ones you love with love!

The last couple years I haven't been going all out.  Just doing the basics - candy, card, gift.  With all the upheaval and changes in our family dynamic, I just didn't have it in me to do the Super Mom routine for all the holidays.  Don't feel bad, though, Santa still came, we still colored Easter Eggs, the kids had birthday parties and cakes, we dressed up and went trick or treating, but I went easy on myself and didn't try to push myself too hard to get in the Super Mom mood and go above and beyond the basics.
This year, I'm feeling some of my Super Powers coming back again and I am ready to put on my cape and add a little more magic back into our holiday celebrations.  Even though it may seem lame and an insane amount of work for little pay off, it is SO special to the kids.  These things they will look back and remember fondly and hopefully it will inspire them to create the same magic and fun in their children's lives.

Here is a peek into our fun Valentine's Day!
I hung little hooks above their door and tied two strings of balloons onto them, so they could wake up and walk through a balloon wall :).  I couldn't find any red or pink and I didn't knock myself out.  I had the "brilliant" idea to color red hearts on the balloons with permanent marker.  NOTE TO SELF: NEVER do this AGAIN!!!!  I was blowing up all the balloons, watching tv, not paying attention and when I was done I look down and my whole entire outfit was pink!!!  Permanent marker all over my clothes!  AHHHH!  I soaked everything in borax in the sink and got most of it out.  Such a mess.  Don't ever make that mistake!  I got some on the paint where I hung them here, I'm hoping the magic eraser will take it off.
See's candy for the kids and me.  I am hooked on their Cinnamon Lollipops!  Yum!  Somehow this cost me $45.  YIKES!
I made this cute Tic Tac Toe felt heart game for their gift.  Bayne loves Tic Tac Toe.  I found the inspiration for this on Pinterest.  I'd link it, but there was no tutorial.  Their version was done on poster board with black lines drawn onto it and felt hearts of a single color.  I thought it would be fun to do one all out of felt because it would be easier to roll up an store.  I didn't want to spend hours on it (which I did anyway), so I decided to make the hearts reversible.  White on one side and pink on the other, so I only had to make 9 hearts total.  This was entirely hand sewn, so anyone can do this.  I am including a TUTORIAL at the tail end of this post, so you can make your own.  I think this will be a fun thing to take on trips, camping, to the park, Grandma's, where ever!

Looks like we have a live one!  First to wake up was Aubrey ... see her peeking through :)

Then my boy Bayne (who eventually tore half of these down by paying Tarzan)  :)

Playing with their new game (i.e. fighting over who gets to be what color)

I got up extra early and made Oatmeal Waffles colored pink with red dye and fresh squeezed juice made from my organic produce delivery service.  A couple different oranges, two mangos, three pears ... delicious!!!!  Here is a link to the recipe for the waffles ... Oatmeal Waffles .  They were healthy and delicious!  

Here are my kiddos all dressed in their CHD Awareness Zipper Heart Shirts made by me :).
Find them on Etsy in my shop along with lots of other cool things I make.

I pushed the easy button for dinner and ordered this delicious heart shaped pizza from our neighborhood Valentino's.  Now that's Amore!

For dessert, I made this ... there is a brownie under all that frosting.  The brownie is deceptively delicious.  It has pureed spinach and carrots in it and 3 grams of fiber per serving!  Shhhhhh!  Don't tell the kids because they both asked for seconds.  I love finding ways to sneak veggies into their desserts.  Makes me feel better about everything.  Of course the frosting is pure sugar, but I used Earths Balance Organic Butter Substitute.  Love that stuff.  I am sure most of you have heard of Jessica Seinfield's Deceptively Delicious recipes.  Here is a link to her recipe ... Deceptively Delicious Brownies .  I, personally, don't love them.  I am spoiled by years of eating fatty chocolate brownies.  What is important, is my kids do and I like the guilt free feeling I get when they eat them, so I make them often.  Plus it is a great way to use up all the spinach I have been getting in my organic produce box.

That was our Valentine's Day celebration in a nut shell!  The kids had fun passing their cards out at school.  I got to volunteer for the first time in Aubrey's class.  I love working in the class room because it gives me a chance to get to know all the kids.  I was in charge of marble painting.  Six four to five year olds at a time with 5 different color paint and marbles flying everywhere was a little crazy, but it was fun!

As promised, here is a tutorial for how to make your very own Felt Heart Tic Tac Toe Game:

Start by making a template out of tissue paper or regular paper for your large heart.  Draw a sketch of how you want your lines to appear for the game, so you get a good idea on size.  Fold your heart in half and cut it out of the tissue paper, so you get an even heart.  Leave it folded and pin it onto a piece of felt, also folded in half, aligning the center of the heart that is folded to the folded edge of the felt.  Pin it all around (I have a little helper pinning for me).  Then cut out your heart.  We used red because that is what I had the most of, but you can use any color.
Cut out your black lines for the game board by measuring the lines you drew on your template.  Adjust as necessary.  
Pin the lines down.  You can either sew this through the machine or hand sew.  I hand sewed mine, but about half way through I wished I had used the machine ;)
Then work on cutting out your smaller hearts.  I started with a tissue paper heart to get the right size heart to fit in the spaces between the lines.  I cut one heart out of felt using the tissue paper template, then took that felt heart and fine tuned it to make it the size and shape I liked and then used that felt heart as a template to cut the rest of the hearts.  I wanted to cut both the pink and white hearts at the same time to save time and the felt heart template works better than the paper if you want equal size and shape.

Put both the white and pink felt together (you can use any colors) and then pin your felt template to both layers (shown above).  Cut out hearts.  Do this 9 times to make 9 double sided hearts.  Enough for every space on the game board.
Use embroidery floss and knot the end.  Sew the edges of the hearts with a straight stitch leaving a small opening for stuffing.
Stuff the heart full (get your little helper to stuff!) and then sew the heart closed tying the ends and clipping the threads close to the seam.
And now you are all finished and ready to play Tic Tac Toe!  I wanted to have something to store the game in to make it easy to travel with and keep the pieces together.  I can totally see these hearts making their way elsewhere, so I decided to steal this bag idea from another pattern I have for felt groceries.  I have blogged about this book and another project I made from there in a post here.  It's a great book with lots of fun hand sewing projects made from felt.

All nicely stored and ready to go!  I think I will be taking this to dance class with us to keep the kids entertained while the other dances.  :)

Enjoy!  And don't forget to celebrate LOVE today and every day!!!

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