Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Homemade Valentine

"My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." 1 John 3:18-20



Zechariah wanted me to include his special Valentine in my post. He said this picture was the "sweetest one". On Valentine's Day Zech brought a card and some candy to his one "true love" at her work.

In the same way that we draw names for Christmas, we draw names for "Secret Valentines". We often have to draw names many times because someone always ends up with their own name. It's also extra hard because Zechariah can't choose my name since he requires my help in assembling his gift. This year it turned out that everyone drew the exact same name as last year except for Gabe and me, we switched names. Next year I think we'll take extra time to make sure everyone gets a different person.

I always think the homemade gifts are the best! They come straight from the heart and show in a practical hands-on way the giver's love.

I had a hard time making up my mind when it came to a gift for Ariel. I had too many things I wanted to make her. I settled on a t-shirt hoodie that I saw here. I perused the racks at Goodwill for a long time before I settled on this combo. Since the project was very inexpensive, I bought enough shirts to make two hoodies. I am still working on the second one for her.



Zechariah drew Gabriel's name again. We made together a giant puzzle bigger than him. It was fun to watch Zech color the giant board. He was very detailed in drawing his picture, and even more careful coloring it in.

The cutting the puzzle was the hard part. First, together we drew a grid on the back of the puzzle for all our pieces. It ended up being a 109 piece puzzle! In the beginning we were going to make the puzzle pieces look very traditional, but then I started cutting them out. After 5 minutes I had one finished. Only 9 hours to go... That seemed overwhelming so we simplified it to straight edges. We still made the pieces interlocking; we just didn't round the corners. That saved a lot of time! I think the finished product was still amazing and Gabe LOVED it!



Gabriel had a really hard time deciding what to make his dad. He wanted to make so many elaborate things that he himself would have enjoyed, but not necessarily his father. (Zech and I stole the puzzle idea from Gabe. That was something Gabriel considered making for his dad.) It can be difficult to think outside yourself to the person you are making the gift for. After an hour of walking around Hobby Lobby together, Gabe chose to make his dad a painted candy jar for Titus' desk at work. You can't go wrong with candy for Titus. He consumes large quantities of it! I love the guitar that Gabe painted on the front of the jar. It's perfect for his dad.


Throughout the evening of our special dinner, we had different challenges for everyone to compete in. We didn't want to make it too boring or too easy. The winner of the challenge was given the opportunity of presenting their gift to their secret valentine. We also spread out the challenges between our five courses at dinner. This was especially hard on Zech who really wanted to be given his gift first.

One of our challenges was a dance contest.
Gabriel won the right to give his gift to Titus!

Ariel wowed us with her artistic gift. She put together an ABC coloring book for Zechariah, and she made him recycled crayons in the shape of numbers. We found a silicone candy/ice tray at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars. The coloring book was especially fun to read through. She used mostly birds for her letters... H is for Hawk. F is for Falcon. D is for duck. P is for parakeet. And so forth. Zech loved the whole present!



I had to be the most patient for my gift. I was the last one of the evening. Titus drew my name again and fixed my hair straightener! I was so happy with it. When I flew to Mexico at Christmas time, the straightener's plug cracked and broke. I never used it in Mexico and when I tried it back at home it made a loud buzzing sound when I plugged it in. The safety plug was cracked in half. It had to have been damaged in my luggage. I kept it in the outside pocket of my bag. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed when I got back home.

The straightener was really expensive and I couldn't bring myself to replace it. Who has $150 lying around to use on a hair product? Not me. My straightener was a Mother's Day gift several years ago. I went for two months with frizzy fluffy hair. I am so glad to have my straightener back! Titus bought a new GFCI plug and rewired the straightener himself. He might have cheated on the homemade part a little bit, but who am I to complain?



"Happiness is homemade." - Author Unknown

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