Oh Valentine

For many years, I never had a “Valentine” on Feb. 14. Like many single females I thought it was a Hallmark holiday and not something to really get all jazzed about. Today, I feel the same way for the most part, but enjoy a nice card or meal with my hubby.

But having kids seems to change one’s perspective on holidays and I found myself signed up for snacks at my son’s daycare and feeling pressured to bring cards and candy to school. My son is only 19 months with five teeth yet we were told to bring cards and candy or whatever and each kid would get a set of Valentines.

As someone who makes a living being creative and frugal, I figured I would do my usual gift giving, which is to make something (aren’t’ the best things homemade anyway) this Valentine’s season. My husband received a customized coupon book for all kinds of fun things he enjoys and a photo cube for his desk from our son. It contained family photos wrapped in one 4×4, six-sided cube. When my son was sick one day recently we pulled out some finger-paints and made a card to give to Daddy. And I found a website that would let you make your own card and mail it to someone, except it came three days early and my husband opened it thinking it was just something in the mail. (fail!) Using my go-to website for online coupons, I found that I could buy one and get one free, so I made another Valentine’s Day card for my sister from my son, since they are so close. Hers also arrived early L

All of this came together with about an hour of work but then; I was at a loss for what to do for my son’s classmates. I coach basketball and take a painting class so there is not much time for making 12 of anything. And in the same week I was babysitting my nephew. So I found printable, free, Valentine’s designs online and figured my husband could McGyver some wax paper into a pocket of some sorts with some Scotch tape. My nephew came over and it gave him great joy to help me bake some cookies for the wax-paper Valentines. Within 30 minutes, we made cookies, printed Valentines and assembled our little pockets of yummy delights!

I hoped these would be good enough for the classroom. I checked Facebook before going to bed and saw that apparently, Pinterest is now the go-to place for ideas, as it seems crafty-moms are fresh out of their own ideas. But I’m not knocking Pinterest as it has been nice for me to create a mood board for my bathroom remodel. As I perused Facebook, I saw four different moms who did the same thing for their kids’ classes. And lo and behold, my son received one of those same designs. Of course, they definitely trumped my wax-paper creation, but it started to make me wonder about what it will be like as my son gets older. Will I be expected to make these insane crafts just to be on par with everyone else? Does anyone NOT use Pinterest for something?

I had a friend talk about a class project her kindergarten student is expected to do and it certainly sounds like more of an adult project. Somewhere my mind began to race about what school will be like when my son is there. As his mother, will his projects be accepted if we DON’T make them for him? Will he receive a passing grade if the penmanship is third-grader-esque and not calligraphy? Will I be expected to have an art degree just to help him with his science project or diorama?

Hopefully my thoughts are exaggerated but one has to wonder how far people take schoolroom crafts and gift-giving. I used to like my homemade gifts and creative things because they were original and slightly imperfect. Now everything homemade looks like it came from Martha Stewart’s guidebook. I can’t cut worth a crap but I can write from the heart and sometimes a poem has to suffice as a Christmas gift or my song lyrics have made great Valentine’s Day presents.

I guess for now I’ll continue to make my own gifts and hope they provide enough pinterest [sic] for someone out there. But who knows if it will be enough for kindergarten.

My son's card we made for Daddy this year.

My son’s card we made for Daddy this year.

The photo cube for Daddy's desk, from C.

The photo cube for Daddy’s desk, from C.

Some cute, free, downloadble artwork for busy moms to use. I repeat, FREE!

Some cute, free, downloadble artwork for busy moms to use. I repeat, FREE!

Hubby helps make wax-paper pockets to hold the cookies

Hubby helps make wax-paper pockets to hold the cookies

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