Tuesday, February 19, 2013

... homemade love :)

I'm not sure about you ... but we ADORE Valentine's Day in our house ...

 I wake a couple hours before everyone ... do a quick clean up of clutter, if needed (- - who am I kidding?  It's always needed!)... and deck out the house with lovey-dovey hearts!

 I like my family to be reminded of how much I L-O-V-E them
... even when they are scrubbing their teeth - LOL!

My little guy was the only one in the house who was up for a special breakfast - - my daughter, like my hubby, has her routine and mornings are not her favorite ... need I say more?
 Luckily, my son woke up on the right side of the bed ... I'm thinking it was probably due to my "Good Morning, Valentine" song.  Yes - - I'm that cheesy and/or annoying - - depending upon who you might ask.

I'd like to add that he even came down stairs and walked through the house counting up all of the hearts tucked here and there.  I love that kind of appreciation!!!!  (My daughter would be rolling her eyes right about now ...  :)

Here's a glimpse of my hubby's thoughtfulness ...
... courtesy of the mad-potter skills of Mr. Gary Bowser of The Canvas :)  Isn't it darling??  I fell in love with it as soon as it was brought up from the kiln!  So many times I had wanted to purchase it ... but other things came up and back onto the shelf it would go.  I was stunned when I opened this!

With receiving such a thoughtful gift ... I thought it best to reciprocate a little:
 A homemade Valentine for my favorite guy in the world.

And, since I was feeling all sorts of craftiness ... I created a new dimension to our traditional scavenger hunt ...
 Instead of finding their valentines by way of a trail of clues (which after so many years of clue writing, I'm about tapped) ... the kids needed to find all of the pieces to their heart - put the puzzle together ... and win their valentines!  Sounds great, right?  A little Survivor-esque? 
 Well ... all went well with the exception of my daughter's last piece being MIA.  Truly ... we still can't find it!!  And, the sad thing is -- I was the one to hide them!!  (...too bad I didn't take pics of every one!)  This is my mind -- It is crowded ... cluttered ... hazy ... yet blooming with ideas - - which will be forgotten the next day if not written down!  Frustrating.  However, all was forgiven when she received the "go-ahead" to open her Valentine surprises.  I was not about to withhold the reward because I may be in the early stages of becoming senile ...

We kept the theme with the menu ... Well, I can't take credit for the idea, because I read it somewhere on the Internet ... don't ask me where (LOL)

A Slice of Heaven
Cupid in the Clouds
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 T granulated sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast
3 T olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1 t salt
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
garlic salt, for sprinkling
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
*makes 1 pizza *

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Stir water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved.  Add the olive oil and salt.  Stir in the flour until well blended.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.

Pat dough onto shape on a baking stone/pan, dipping fingers into olive oil as needed, to prevent sticking.  Brush olive oil onto dough and sprinkle garlic salt & Parmesan cheese.  Bake crust for approximately 10 minutes.

Pull from oven and add toppings.  Place back in oven until cheese is melted and crust is golden.

Bon Appetit!
 ... a cheesy slice of heaven :) and a root beer float (a/k/a Cupid in the Clouds)!
 ... our loaded, roasted veggie slice of heaven!

If this is more your style of pizza ... chop up your favorite veggies (we like ours thick!) and place in a baking dish. Drizzle a little EVOO, sprinkle a little flavor (garlic, salt, pepper, etc.) and roast veggies in oven (400 degrees F) for approximately 30 minutes.  Add grape tomatoes halfway through roast.  You will know that they are done when they break open a bit.  

Side note:  It is best to prepare the veggies first before the pizza dough.

I brushed the crust with EVOO & Italian blend cheeses, added roasted veggies and topped it off with another layer of cheesy goodness :)  Place in oven and bake until cheese is melted.


As any mom of a grade-schooler knows - Valentine's isn't just held at home, but in the classroom as well.  So, the night before the party (because that's how it's done here - - we're a house of procrastinators - - it's shameful, really)  ... my husband and I searched out the house for the last minute build of Nate's Valentine's box.  Another vote for L-O-V-E ... Pinterest!  My son saw an army tank and declared it to be the chosen idea... so, here's our version ...
A shoebox, an empty envelope box, an old shirt cut into pieces ... and A TON of hot glue!!  Hats off to the inventors of hot glue sticks and their finger-burnin' guns ... what would we do without them???  We added a dowel rod for the barrel and cupcake flags from the Fourth of July.  This tank was ready for action ... the sugary-friendship kind.

Remember my confession of being a procrastinator??  Well ... on the morning of my son's party, I prepared my share of tasks as a party mom :)  *shake head*  I know.  I was kicking myself as I pulled out my sewing machine and the electric mixer at the same time.  But, I took deep breaths and reminded myself that if a Little Engine Could ... I could.  By God's grace - - I finished, showered ... even ran errands and washed the car before 2:00 p.m.  I don't think He could ignore me that day - - He heard my pleas all morning long! 

The Party Plan ...

Be Your Own "Cookie Boss" (titled by my co-party mom)
Create your own cookie design with heart-shaped cookies & *frosting piping bags

Love Thy Neighbor
Create a card of kindness for the student sitting next to you.

Catch My Heart
Play a beanbag game of "hot potato" with tunes from One Direction :)  Winner receives the handmade beanbag!

*Sugar Cookie Frosting

4 c powdered sugar
1/4 c shortening
1/4 c butter, softened
5 T milk
1 t vanilla extract
food coloring

Blend butter & shortening in large mixing bowl, gradually add sugar and milk.  Add vanilla and beat for approximately 5 minutes, until stiff.  Blend in food coloring, if desired.  Note:  2 T of lemon juice can be added, if baking for Easter/spring cookies.

Whew!  Is it me, or does Valentine's Day seem to be Valentine's Week??  Well - till next year, Cupid, when we meet again :)

Here's looking at you, kid ...

- Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca

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