I've always thought of February 14 as a day to show those we love a little extra affection, not buy them another huge gift. If you are young without a mortgage and college tuition to pay, it's one thing, but for the rest of us I think it's really easy to go overboard and try to keep up with the masses.
So, what's a girl to do if she doesn't want to spend a king's ransom on the one she loves?
I'm a fan of some good old 'lovin' from the oven'. Like these heart shaped brownies. You can make your own brownie mix or use a boxed one - they all taste good. Bake them like normal, let them cool and cut the heart shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter (check your local dollar store). Bonus: you can munch on the scraps that are left after cutting the shapes! I don't know anyone who doesn't love a little homemade treat.
Most people I know (especially men) love a homecooked meal. Skip the busy, over-priced restaurants on Thursday and eat in. It can be as simple as spaghetti and salad or very elaborate. But you definitely don't need to break the bank.
A fun breakfast is also a hit. Heart shaped pancakes. Heart shaped biscuits. Strawberries. I pretty much cut everything into a heart shape on the 14th.
I think it's fun to have a little treat waiting at the breakfast table for the kids. Some fun ideas that won't break the bank:
- Small toys: yo-yo's, bubbles, Polly Pockets, matchbox cars, crayons, watercolors.
- Candy: just a bit though as most Valentine's the kids give out these days include a piece of candy (why??) and I don't want to turn this into Halloween. I usually buy a big bag of the holiday M&M's and put some in a cellophane bag tied with a pretty ribbon.
- Gift cards: For older kids. A $5 or $10 card from the local ice cream shop is really fun. We love itunes around here and I will get the pack of 3 $10 cards and divvy them up between the husband and LM. (he gets two cards, she gets one).
- Coupon books: Make your own with coupons for things like a day at the park, a no chore day, you pick dinner night, pajama day, etc. You can be really creative and spend no money and the kids (husbands too) will love this!
There are a million ways to show your love and not break the bank. And your loved ones will be just as happy as if you had spent oodles of money on them.