Let’s Band Together – Rainbow Loom Valentines

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If you’ve been around any children between the ages of 5 and 10 recently, you have probably seen the infamous Rainbow Loom. Or, maybe you have seen a loving parent or grandparent sporting a woven bracelet made of rubber bands. Rainbow Looms were the hot Christmas gift of 2013 but Santa didn’t bring one to our house. My oldest boy wanted in on the trend though, so he parted with some giftcard money and bought one for himself! Yes, boys and girls are loving the looms! So far, we’re on our third bag of elastics (each bag holds 600 multi-colored elastics).

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There is no shortage of great Valentine ideas on the internet but when you need to buy nearly 30 of that great idea, the total cost adds up quickly! Since BigB was churning out Rainbow Loom bracelets like he was on an assembly line, I figured there was an opportunity for cost-effective Valentines in his Rainbow Loom addiction!

Paper and Pigtails has great FREE set of printables for Valentine cards to go along with Rainbow Loom bracelets!  We printed these in colour and laminated them for durability. (Let’s face it, these February 14th gifts are going to be thrown in a paperbag, then a schoolbag, go on the bus, make their way around the classroom and then be tossed in another school bag for a second bus ride to their new home!)

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I’m definitely happy with how this Valentine project turned out. They look really sharp and they were so easy to make! BigB is very proud of his creations and he’s excited to hand them out to his friends and classmates on Friday.

If you’re part of the Rainbow Loom club, you might want to check out these videos. They give examples of the styles we made, which can be challenging to get the hang of! They show two of the simpler weaves, the Single-Bracelet and the Fishtail. We haven’t made our way to the Starburst-Bracelet level yet! #MelMar

 

Valentine’s Cookies…and Added BONUS!

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Violet and I are planning to go to Tom’s office on Valentine’s Day, toting a tray of cookies for his students and coworkers. I envision it as a lovely visit with everyone fawning over Violet and biting into their cookies, remarking on how delicious they are and what an organized and talented domestic goddess I must be. This image is the ideal. The alternative (and what is more likely to happen) is that Violet will be cranky and unhappy for the entire visit and everyone will be forced to lie about their cookies tasting delicious.

In an effort to ensure that next Friday sways further towards the first scenario I described, I did a test-run of my Valentine’s Day sweets and I’m happy to say they turned out okay! Here’s a step-by-step run-down with some tips in case you want to give them a go too!

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– Mix up your favourite batch of chocolate chip cookies – but skip the chocolate chips. (I have decided not to provide the recipe I used because it was not perfect and I plan on using a different recipe for my next attempt.)

– Fill muffin tins about 1/2 full of your cookie mixture. (I went 3/4 full and it was too much. I will be adjusting the quantity next time!)

– Put the cookies in the oven for about 15 minutes.

– Use a spoon to create a crater in the middle, turning the cookie into a little cup. (I also tried using a shot glass to make the impression but too much of the batter stuck to the bottom of the glass. As it is, you’ll have to coat your spoon with “Pam” fairly often to keep things smooth!)

– You might have to take the cookies out every five minutes or so to reinforce your cup – just keep an eye on them and use your judgement until you’re confident the cookies are done and the crater is deep enough.

– Once your cookies cool, fill them with M&Ms or Smarties. (If you’re really keen, you’ll use exclusively red, pink and white candies since it is Valentine’s Day but no one’s going to judge you too harshly if you throw in a blue or yellow.)

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Lastly – as a final safeguard against catastrophe at our Valentine’s visit – I put Valentine pictures of Violet into the cups. (I figure the adorable picture is a perfect distraction against potentially foul-tasting cookie-cups!) I used a template from the Wal-Mart photo website to design simple Valentine’s cards.  I taped a toothpick to the back of each card to stand it in the cup cookie.

Now, I said there was an added bonus to this post! This innovation comes courtesy of my dear husband, Tom. Since these cookies were part of a pilot project, I didn’t bother filling them all with M&Ms. When Tom saw them empty, he immediately decided they should be used for ice-cream so a few nights ago we made tiny ice-cream sundaes in cookie cups and they were divine!

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“Thumbody” in NY *hearts* You!

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I don’t typically make much of February 14th. A red shirt and a little ‘something special’ for the Mister was about as far as I’d ever go. Maybe it’s because this is Violet’s first Valentine’s Day (and maybe it’s because so many of you have hopped onboard with the blog – yay!) but this year our family took on two little Valentine’s Day projects and I’m glad we did! Here’s how we put together our “Thumbody in NY loves you” valentines!

Supplies

Finger Paint (Water, sugar, flour, food colouring)

Paper Cutter

Glue Stick

Sharpie Marker

Stickers (if you’re looking to bump things up a notch)

This project is pretty simple (simple enough to do with an 11 month old!) and I won’t insult your intelligence by providing step-by-step instructions for cutting white paper and glueing it to a red background. I will, however, give you some tips and some info about our experiences with this craft!

Obviously you can make the cards in whatever shapes/colours you please. We picked red for its classic Valentine-ness and I cut the cards in such a way that we could fit them inside leftover envelopes given to us by the extra-zealous WalMart employee who handled our last photo print order.

It was important to me that I make the fingerpaint because I knew some of it would be ingested during the foray into fingerpainting! I tried a couple of recipes. The first one called for cornstarch and that seemed like a good idea because I figured cornstarch would give the paint a nice consistency but I basically ended up with custards in the 4 primary colours which were gelatinous and not paint-like.

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For my second go at the paint I followed this recipe from Momtastic and it was much more successful!

As you can imagine, it took several days to reach the final product. One day, Violet and I cut the papers. Another day we decorated the insides of the cards with stickers.

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On Saturday, I made the paint while Violet played with her dad and later all three of us did our thumbprints. Finally, one evening after bedtime, I drew the faces onto the thumbprints, wrote out the messages and stuffed them into envelopes. The rest is up to the mail carriers! #MelHal

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