Thursday, February 7, 2013

Family Valentines on a Budget

My youngest son gave me this Valentine last year.  I'm still not quite sure how he came up with "Best supervisor ever" but it is just cute enough and just sweet enough to tug at my heart strings.  And, it didn't cost a thing.

Valentine's Day costs can really add up.  A gift for your spouse, a nice dinner and cards & candy for your child to exchange with his classmates can put your budget over the top.   Want to celebrate Valentine's Day this year without busting your budget?

Here are some frugal ideas to show your family how much you care.

For the Kids:

  • Go pink!  Think of all the food items that you can make pink.  Pancakes, a glass of milk, mashed potatoes, vanilla yogurt.  Adults may think it's weird but kids love oddly colored food.  Just add a drop or two of food coloring and you are all set.
  • Hearts:  Cut sandwiches, jello jigglers, pancakes, etc. into heart shapes.  Or take a tiny heart cookie cutter and make heart shaped butter patties and place on top of strawberry muffins.
  • Make a scavenger hunt around the house and leave the clues on heart shaped papers.  You could even add a hershey kiss on each clue.
  • Make a valentine tree.  Find an interestingly shaped small tree branch and put it in a flower pot so that it stands up.  Decorate with white or red Christmas lights and red paper hearts.  The kids can write their Valentine messages on the hearts and hang them with white yarn.
  • Make red play dough.  Here are 10 recipes for home made playdough.  (Most require some cooking so parent supervision will be necessary.) Using cherry jello mix or cherry kool aid mix will make it colorful and cherry scented.
  • Sprinkle Party:  Everything is more fun with sprinkles --- ice cream, cupcakes, cookies, pudding, etc.
  • Make a card for each of your kids and put it on their pillow for bedtime.  Tell them one thing that you admire about them.
  • Let your kids have some friends over to play (or "hang out" if they are teens).  Make it a movie night  or red food party.
  • Take a family bike ride or hike if the weather is nice.  If it's snowing where you are, build a family snowman or have a snowball fight.
A rare Atlanta snow in Feb. 2010

For the Grown Ups:  
  • Let Mom read a book while Dad and kids clean the house.
  • Wash Dad's car. If it is too cold to wash the exterior, vacuum out the interior and clean the windows.
  • Have the whole family find something red or white to wear and take a quick family photo.  Email it to grandparents or relatives with a Valentine's wish.
  • Let the kids call their grandparents to wish them a Happy Valentine's Day.
  • Fix your spouse breakfast in bed.
  • Fix a nice hot bubble bath for your spouse and watch the kids while he/she soaks their troubles away.
  • Warm up the car and defrost the windshield for your spouse.
  • Help the kids make a card for your spouse.  Bring on the crafts and glitter!
  • Call or email your spouse during the day just to let them know that you are thinking of them.
  • Let the kids pick some flowers for Mom.  (We already have daffodils blooming in GA).
How do you celebrate Valentine's Day on a budget?  Please share your ideas!


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