The last of the December holiday decor has finally been tucked away in bins in the attic. Well, almost. In frigid snow-covered Minnesota, I’ll keep the white twinkle lights up that frame our outdoor windows and wind around the pine treetops in flowerboxes. The lights seem to brighten our spirits, and add warmth with their sparkle in the evening snow during sub-zero temps and blistery snowstorms — at least through February … OK, March.
This time of year I think about the happy color pink, the taste of chocolate and lovely heart shapes everywhere. Even outside. That’s why I’m inspired to freeze water with a sprinkling of birdseed in heart-shaped cake pans to unmold and hang with twine from tree branches in the front yard. It’s a suncatcher attraction for feathered friends and passersby (search Heart-Shaped Ice Sculptures at www.donnaerickson.com).
What’s next? More heartfelt ideas to create a house of hearts. Enjoy them with your kids no matter where you live:
- Heart-shaped cookies
Use your favorite rolled-out sugar cookie recipe and cookie cutters in heart shapes to fill your cookie jar with cookies made by you and the kids.
For a creative twist, when making medium or large cookies, use a knife to cut out a 1 inch deep and 1/4 inch wide wedge off the side of the heart-shaped dough before baking. Once cool and decorated, hang the cookie on a glass of milk or a mug of hot chocolate.
Or, poke a hole through the top of several cookies before baking. When cool, string them with twine individually, and hang from a table centerpiece of bare branches. When friends visit, they can take home a cookie heart.
Make mini cookies with your smallest heart cookie cutter. Pack in a cardboard jewelry gift box lined with waxed paper. Give to someone special with a Valentine message attached.
- Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day
Put a love twist on breakfast. Use strawberry jam from a squeeze container to draw a heart on your child’s toast. When you prepare pancakes, spoon the batter onto the pan in various sizes of heart shapes. Top them with fresh strawberries cut lengthwise to make hearts.
- Family love
Share your wedding photos with your children. Tell them how you and your spouse met, and include any funny or romantic stories they would enjoy. Look for formal wedding pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents, too. Learn their names and share family love stories and lore.