Kate and I were talking recently about how blogging and social media have led to every minor thing in life transforming into a major thing. We both have been avoiding Pinterest this entire month because the onslaught of Valentine Day stressed us out. When I was a kid, you went to the store and picked out the little cardboard box with the cartoon character you liked the best on it. Inside there were those cheap little paper envelopes that you tried to lick shut but they’d never stay shut. Now, if you judge the average Valentine by what you see on Pinterest, we’re all Martha-freaking-Stewart, and the blogosphere is full of tutorials and DIY entertaining and decor ideas for holidays I didn’t know people actually celebrated with things they needed tutorials for. I actually have a tendency to get caught up in things like that because I LOVE holidays. I love traditions. I love making things absolutely magical for my kids. But I also like having a balance, and making things meaningful. I’ve been thinking about Valentines Day lately and wanted to do something with my family that wasn’t about games and candy and presents as it seems every holiday is. We get plenty of treats around here, but within our home I wanted to really focus this year on the actual love part of Valentines.
Every Monday night at our house is “Family Night.” We sing a song together, read from our scriptures, have a little lesson/message about a value, and then play a game and have a treat. A couple of weeks ago our lesson was about kindness and I blasted back to 1st grade when we learned about “warm fuzzies” and “cold pricklies.” Did everyone do that? I taught my kids all about warm-fuzzies and had them go around in a circle and say something kind about everyone else in the family. They loved it. And they thought of the cutest things to say.
It reminded me about how important it is to say things and not just show them. And how much confidence it instills in a person to receive a compliment, and call out all of the wonderful things about them that you love. I remember very specific instances in my life when people did that for me, and what a difference it made. I still have a little folded up piece of paper from youth group activity we did when I was about 13 where we exchanged papers and wrote things we admired about the other person on it. It says awesome teenage things like, “Sara is so super sweet to everyone!” and still, it makes me smile every time I read it.
I still cling to a letter my Mom wrote to me when I was a teenager when she noted qualities she loved about me and traits she admired. Things I never saw in myself until I read them from her and things I aspired to live up to after that moment. I remember having a thoughtful chemistry teacher in high school who pulled me aside after class one day and asked me if I had considered what I would study in college. She told me I was bright, and that I had a keen understanding of chemistry, and that the world needed more smart women in the science field. Until that moment, I had never considered myself anything but completely average, but that one little compliment set me on a path that eventually led to a college degree in the science field. I think about that teacher often and how much confidence she gave me with a few simple words.
Experiences like that remind me of how important it is to express things to the people I love, and especially to help my children recognize in themselves what I see so clearly: their strengths, their unique traits, their good behavior. The things I’m proud of, the things that make me laugh, the things I love. I love it when my sons see those things in each other, too.
So we did another little family activity. I made these little love-notes and thought about each one of my kids. This actually takes some time; it caused my husband and I to really ponder about the special attributes of each of our kids and realize how unique they all are.
I filled some out, my husband filled some out, and we had our boys fill a few out for each other. That was probably my favorite part; seeing each of them express things they love about their brothers.
It was fun reminiscing about things we’d done together in the past and some of our favorite family moments.
I made the notes little; just perfect for a quick little phrase or two, and perfectly sized to fit inside of those cute little treat bags. (Mine are all from Orson Gygi)
My kids absolutely love our Christmas advent, and the waking-up-first-thing-in-the-morning-and-checking-it part is probably even more exciting than seeing what was actually in there.
So I packaged up all of our little love notes
and have them waiting to be delivered.
And although I know my little boys will adore hand-written expressions of love from their parents, they will adore them much more if there’s candy involved. So they’ll get a little of that too. Packaged in their mail boxes in the days leading up to Valentines day. And before they can use them to make paper airplanes, I’ll tuck them away for them to read again someday and be reminded of how much they’re loved.
You can use these little notes like I did, or for a fun family night of your own where you read them out loud, or slip them into a lunch box or tape them to a bathroom mirror for someone. They’re just for sharin’ the love, so do that any way you like 🙂
(Little mail boxes from Target dollar section.) I’m having technical issues that are preventing me from putting all of these pages together in file, but you can can print them all separately using the links below. I included all of the little phrases and questions starters I used for my family, plus a sheet of blank notes to use however you like.
Love Notes Set #1
Love Notes Set #2
Love Notes Set #3
Love Notes (Blank)
Click below for more Valentine Fun!
LOVE your idea! I am also all about being intentional and making things meaningful along with fun!
Can you share where you got those adorable little bags and tape?
Ann, the cute bags are from Orson Gygi:
And the tape I just picked up at Michael’s craft store!
After I saw this cute post, I ran to Target and picked up some mini mailboxes of my own. Love! Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂
Great project for kids of ALL ages (I’m gonna start a few right now) and the templates are a thoughtful addition.
I’d love to get your posts!
I love your ideas and the beautiful spirit that accompanied all you have done to make this holiday of love, full of real LOVE!
Such a cute idea. P.S. I am dying to see the kitchen in your new house, I hope it is still in the plan for January:)
YES! It’s still coming! I’ve been waiting on a piece of cabinetry that’s getting repaired so I can take some pictures and it’s taking forever! They’re supposed to be finishing it this week so a post is coming up!
I was just thinking today that I love all the little things people have done for me recently, and how I’ve wanted to return the favor. This is a great idea for the people that I love
My husband is leaving for a month and will be gone for V-Day. These will be perfect for me to fill out and tuck into his suitcase for reminders of why I love him even though he’ll be far away. Thank you!
such a great idea…I will be making plans…thanks
I already purchased these mailboxes from Target and was going to have my family write one “love note” to each other from Feb 1 to Feb 14. Now I have an easy printable to use. Thanks!
So cute! I love that this is so much more personal than the regular cards you get at the store. Thanks!
couldn’t agree more with telling lovies. thanx for all the adorable labels you have created and shared with us at no cost. you da bomb!
Beautiful. For some reason, reading through this, it made me cry (tenderly) – I guess it made me miss my mom. I so want to do something like this for my best friend.
One of my favorite things about this blog is how excited it makes me to have kids 🙂 I have been a teacher now for 5 years and I love doing crafts and fun things in the classroom, but your blog sheds a beautiful light on the joys of being a parent 🙂
Thank you for that!
Oh thank you Emily, that comment means a lot to us. Sometimes I hope that our stories don’t prevent people from wanting kids, haha!
this is a great idea, and I think it’s especially good for teenagers who are way too old for the cute little cards you give to your elementary school classes but still need (maybe need even more) the positive reassurance of their qualities and that they are loved. thank you!
Thank you for these little printable notes. It’s a great idea. I can’t wait to use them. BUT..I have to thank you even more for the link to Orson Gygi. Oh my, oh my….love that website. And they should thank you, because I just placed an order filled with goodies.
Oh Gina, isn’t it wonderful?? If you are ever in the Salt Lake City area you will just die when you go in the actual store. It’s amazing! Definitely one of my favorite places to shop, thank goodness for on-line ordering, right??
thank you for these! We have done the valentine’s mailboxes for years, but I always just have blank hearts for us to write note to each other all throughout February. I love that these are so specific and it will encourage better notes. My kids put a lot of ‘I love you’s, or you’re the best _____ (mom, dad, brother, etc) ever’. I will be printing these today!
Super cute! Thanks for sharing!!
I love this idea! So adorable and sweet and simple and…. Thank you!
I love these. I have a love hate relationship with Pintrest. I love the ideas, hate that I’ll never actually do any of them.
Sara – Loved your post. I love the cute, crafty stuff as much as the next mom (maybe more than most), but I really appreciated your thoughts on what is meaningful. It is so easy to go overboard. I loved picking out the boxed valentine’s as a kid too. One of my sons was thrilled to find a box of Angry Bird valentines on his bed a couple of days ago (he told me what he wanted). I’m doing this for FHE tonight! ….and its been a while since we’ve had an FHE…but this is meaningful and do-able.
Thank you so much! They are adorable!!
I’ve already been preparing for Valentines Day. (Red stuff on Christmas clearance!!) Pinterest has given me some fun homemade ideas too…I’m about to get my Martha on.
What a lovely post. Thanks for the printables!
What a fantastic idea and really lovely read. Thank you!
Oh these are so sweet! Just what I have been looking for. We have those little mailboxes that my kids covered in BLING. You can barely see the mailboxes now, but these are perfect to fill them up with notes. Thanks for doing these! You ladies are both amazing! I may be an obsessed fan. Love everything you do.
Just what I’ve been looking for–cute and meaningful valentines!
Thanks for FHE activity tonight! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
Sara–where did you get those cute mailboxes? I want some for my family!
Target dollar section! They have them every year in pink and blue- but they seem to get bought up pretty fast so go check your store!
This is a cool idea. Thank you
What a cute idea, thanks for sharing!
“Super sweet” post. Thanks for the printable! These will be fantastic for FHE tonight.