My Valentines

I am the kind of mom who savors every moment of my kids’ childhood, knowing as sure as I look at my seven-year-old son that these moments are fleeting.  That’s why I love Valentine’s Day and the opportunity to stop and tell my children (and yes, my husband, too!) all the marvelous things about them that I adore, and celebrate our love as loudly and as joyfully as I can.  Because these four people are my heart, and I’m not afraid to show it.

Like when JDubbs and Em go to the Father-Daughter Valentine’s Day dance.  The look on his face as he hugs her tells me that he’s not letting these moments go by unappreciated, either.  He knows this love is gift.
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And the next day, when I got to take these two goofballs to apres ski, just us three (which hardly ever happens anymore), I just had to stop to appreciate the moment…and take a silly selfie.

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And of course like that night, after the kids had gone to bed, when JDubbs and I pulled out our bag o’ hearts from Valentine’s past, love notes from us to the kids telling them individually and collectively how very loved they are, how proud they make us, and what makes them special.  I know it looks like a serious undertaking, but saving them every year just means we add a few more and by the time these kids are teenagers, our Curtains of Love are going to be more like a forest!

Curtain of Love @ Rub Some Dirt On It
Valentine’s morning is outdone only by Christmas as the day I cannot wait for them to wake up and see their happiness.  Little H, who doesn’t remember seeing them before, gasped at the sight of all that love.  The big kids squealed with delight and I could hear them exclaiming, “I forgot about this!” and “Look at this one!” as they read them to each other and pointed out especially favorite memories.  This will always be worth it, every time.

A curtain of love to show your kids how much you love them. Put love notes outside their bedrooms every Valentine's Day that tell them why they're special. Keep them and repeat every year! #valentinesday

Valentine’s Day may be a super-commercialized holiday with cards at $5 a pop, but the spirit behind it, to let the people you know hear how much you love them, is very much who I am and want to be as a parent, friend, wife, family.  My heart is happier with days like this in it.

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(thanks to Little H’s dear Miss Kelly for this lovely little Valentine for her as well)

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The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun!

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Valentine’s Day is upon us, and since it is one of my favorite holidays of the year, I do love going the extra mile with the kids to create crafts that spread the love.  We have might QUITE a few homemade Valentines, which was a bit more than I was expecting, but both Jax and Em headed off to school this morning with bags of notes for their friends and teachers to let them know how much they are loved.  Little H made two bead pipe cleaner hearts for her preschool teachers, and Em made a bunch for the adults in her classroom.  Our little home mailbox is getting more full every day with notes and Valentines from the kids to us and other family members, and all in all, we are all feeling oh-so-lovely.

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

One of my other favorite ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day is with our favorite Valentine book, The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond.  We have read this book a zillion times and have had it read to us at the library and in our Arts For Tots class.  It always gets me thinking about a fun math activity I did with the big kids a few years ago, and since Little H and I were headed to JoAnn Fabrics anyway, I thought it might be time for another go round of The Day It Rained Hearts math!

 Basically all you need are scissors, glue, and lots of different styles of card stock, including two different colors for your hearts.  Little H had a ball picking out the card stock for each of her siblings’ umbrellas, and the Easter egg pattern for herself (yikes!).  I found sky-colored paper for our background and pink and red sheets for our hearts.  Then the kids cut out their own umbrellas and designed their raining hearts.  The only person who had any real instructions was Jax, who only had to somehow group his hearts together.  Then, because I’m a nerd, we made different math equations about the arrangement of hearts on each person’s paper.  They were all different and appropriate to their math level.

Little H went first.  We counted all her red hearts, and all her pink hearts.  Then we counted how many in all.  She doesn’t understand the idea of equations yet, so we just kept it simple with one-to-one correspondence.

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I will allow you fair readers to take a moment to admire the Easter egg umbrella.  Fancy, isn’t it?

Em figured out her math equation on her own.  I’m so proud of my girl, learning so much in kindergarten this year!

I have 2 red hearts.  I have 7 red hearts.  I have 9 hearts in all.  2 +7 =9

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax is ready for a bit of a challenge, so I asked him to make a multiplication equation.  Nailed it!

I have five groups of two hearts.  5 x 2 = 10

The Day It Rained Hearts Math Fun! @ Rub Some Dirt On It (3)

Also, please stop and admire Jax’s umbrella as well.  Such a striking combination!

Differentiating for math can be fairly painless when you stop and think about how each of your children learns and what they are ready for.  They all did this project together side-by-side, and it was a lot of fun watching them solve their problems on their own!

This is making me very excited to shower them with love on Sunday!  I can’t wait to celebrate each of them in their own way.

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Last Minute Valentine Ideas

Anyone else out there just realizing that even though Valentine’s Day isn’t until Sunday, we only have two days left to get our act together for valentines for school?? Yes I bought the traditional commercialized box of Star Wars/Princesses/Paw Patrol valentines, but what about the other loved ones in our lives?  Grandparents, special teachers, cousins and best friends?  Do you need just a little something extra, but something that doesn’t require you to have to run out to the store one more time? I’ve got you covered with a few very LOVE-ly but also simple ways to show people you care.

Handprint Heart Valentines

Fish Valentines

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Butterfly Valentines

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Button Heart Valentines

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Lovebug

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Melted Crayon Hearts

Homemade Valentines @ Rub Some Dirt On It #preschoolvalentines #homemadevalentines #valentinesdaycrafts

Time for me to go get creating as well!  Spread the love!

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Step, Hop & Read!

After rereading my 15 awesome literacy ideas I shared last month, I knew that there were definitely one or two that could help Em with some sight words that are causing her a bit of trouble.  The, there, then, they all seem to blend together, as do where, when, and what.  I know she just sees the first two letters and takes a guess.  I thought maybe doing a little fun sight word practice–with a splash of moving around–might motivate her to remember a word or two.  So we took an old favorite literacy activity and improved it, and created Step, Hop, Read!

Step, Hop, Read @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Instead of just drilling Em on sight words, I find it’s much more effective to get her body involved.  So I took those tricky words and wrote them on construction paper hearts (since we were still excited about Valentine’s Day).  Then I also wrote the alphabet so Little H could get in on the fun.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

We scattered them across the floor, and I’d call out a letter for Little H and a word for Em, then tell them how to get there.  Hop to the letter M!  Skip to the word “where”!  The gross motor element really made them laugh and encouraged them to play together and for longer than I would have thought.

IMG_5983 Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then they’d wait on their word or letter for the next instructions.  Learning patience is a great skill for this age, too!

Em was happy to help her sister when she needed a helping hand.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

But then Little H made the predicable move of stealing all of the purple hearts, regardless of what was written on them, because purple is her favorite.  When she started hoarding the hearts, I knew the game was over.  Attention span spent.  Back to H’s favorite pastime–sorting.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

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I was finally able to extricate the words from Little H and left her to happily organize her heart alphabet.  Em and I gave her sight words one last go.

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This time, playing hopscotch!  She would yell the word and then hop over them.

Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It Step, Hop, Read! @ Rub Some Dirt On It

We love to read, and jump, and skip, and play, and it shows!

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Now it’s your turn to get reading.  Hop to it!

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Everyone Loves To Be Loved

 Every year we make the kids a Curtain of Love full of small notes about things we love about them (how helpful you are at bedtime, our morning snuggles, reading chapter books together) and every year I am blown away by how much I love doing it.  We save the hearts so the night before Valentine’s Day I pull out dozens of love notes from JDubbs and me to them from over the years, and all we have to do is add a few more and string them on colorful ribbon we also have stashed away.  Very low stress, very high reward.

Curtains of love notes to let your kids know how much you love them on Valentine's Day!

On Valentine’s Day morning, I heard Jax’s door open, then heard him gasp in surprise.  I snuck out of bed with my phone to capture pics and watch him as he grabbed his stool and took the time to read every heart with all the reasons we love him.  Then he helped his sisters do the same.

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When he saw me, he said, “Mom! I forgot about these! I love this!” And my mommy heart was full.

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Then the kids headed downstairs for homemade waffles and a few sweet surprises (books, one small toy, Paw Patrol pups, cards, and silly headbands).  It doesn’t take a lot to make them feel special–just thoughtful gifts that let them know we listen to them and know what they like, and want them to feel loved today and every day.

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Throughout the day we had lots of family fun–JDubbs took them to build an igloo outside, Nana brought treats and Auntie Jenny came by with Valentines for them.  What is better than a day that celebrates how much you love each other?

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Maybe some flowers from my hubby.  Everyone loves to be loved.

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Happy Valentine’s Day one and all!

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We Heart Buttons!

I can’t believe it was three years ago that we first made these awesome button Valentine hearts to decorate our home for Valentine’s Day.  They are so festive and fun–Little H loves looking up at them, yelling colors and who decorated them.  “Oooh! A purple one!  Jax!  Em!  Me!”  I always love decorating for Valentine’s Day–it helps the coldest days of the year feel a little brighter.  So if you need a pick-me-up this winter or have another snow day due to a snowpocalypse, here is a simple, heartfelt craft with your name on it.

Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Materials:  construction paper or cardstock, glue, buttons and scissors

First you cut out big heart shapes out of colorful paper, then let the kids make designs across the heart in glue.  Little H couldn’t decide if she want pink or purple paper, so I used the leftover paper from Em’s heart to make a kind of frame.  It looked so cute, and really helped her stay within the confines of the heart (and not make a complete and utter mess)!  I kind of wish I had done the same for the big kids.

Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Then let the kids place buttons on the wet glue.  Instant Valentine’s decor!

Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It

If I had paid more attention to the fact that we were inevitably having a snow day this week, I might have stocked up on the more traditional-colored buttons.  Em loves putting things in a pattern and probably would have done pink-red-white to her heart’s content.  However, that forethought was not to be, so we settled for all the buttons left in our crafting box, so it was more of a rainbow smorgasbord.  It’s nice to think outside the box a little, and who says traditional is always best?

Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Jax wanted his heart to look like it had an arrow through it like Cupid’s (look what half a year of kindergarten will get you! Such a cute idea!).  I let him do his own gluing, which was a bit of a mistake because it became a sort of Elmer’s glue quagmire, but his heart (excuse the pun) was in the right place.

Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It

These beautiful hearts are cheering up our kitchen, and are helping to remind us to show each other love every day.  I’ve been telling the kids to show love, not just say it, and when I look at these awesome crafts, my heart smiles.

Button Valentine Hearts @ Rub Some Dirt On It

Spreading love!

If you heart Valentine’s Day, too, check out tons of great Valentine’s Day and button crafts on my Rub Some Dirt On It Pinterest board here!

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A Snowy Valentine’s Day

This morning was our third year creating a curtain of love for our kids to wake up to Valentine’s morning; Jax remembered waking up to it last year and was (almost) as excited going to sleep as he was on Christmas Eve.  So JDubbs and I pulled out the hearts from years past and added some new ones sharing reasons why we love our kids, adding some specific ones about the past year and about our littlest Valentine, little H.

Curtain of Love @ Rub Some Dirt On It

I was awake with the baby when Em woke up and I could hear her excited whispers to try to get Jax out of bed.  I scooped her out before she fully woke him up, but throughout the day they took the time to read and listen to the love Mommy and Daddy rained down on them.

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Little H doesn’t understand it, but that doesn’t mean she won’t try to eat it.

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We got nearly two feet of snow overnight, and so we had a lot of indoor fun today, including dress up and board games (Jax rocked his new Iron Patriot costume–a huge Valentine hit).

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And maybe the kids watched more TV than usual, but hey, that’s a treat, too!

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PicMonkey Collage

It was a strange day schedule-wise, with the busy school week catching up with Jax so he was tired and Em spending time outside with Daddy while he shoveled, being snowed in until early afternoon and a birthday party for a friend today (and another for Jax tomorrow!).  The baby napped for less than an hour total and Mommy has been awake for longer than she’d care to count.  But at the end of this Valentine’s Day (which is momentous not just because it is Baby H’s first but because my sister got engaged!), no matter how I yearn for warmer weather or how tired I feel by the evening’s end, I can smile looking back thinking that today especially, our kids felt loved and that they heard the many ways we think they are amazing, special, and divine.  Anything else after that is just icing on the cake.  With hearts.

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