Valentine’s ‘treats’ that won’t cause cavities :-)

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You know Valentine’s Day is quickly becoming my second least favorite holiday ever since my kids started school. I thought only on Halloween it was ok to overindulge your kids in sugar. But apparently Valentine’s Day is trying hard to get the number one spot. Of course, I enjoy the dressing up for Halloween and the love that surrounds February 14th but at school these holidays mean that kids get to exchange CANDY!!! Lots and lots of candy. Teachers and any other adult that comes in contact with children get to do the same on those days. It’s not just the candy but the kind that my kids receive that I don’t like. All my efforts (and cash!) to feed my kids organic whenever possible and very little processed food in general are thrown out the window on those holidays !!! Grrrrrrr

Momma no likey. Not one bit.

I know what you are thinking: they are only young once and a little bit of everything is good for them and let them be kids…. but BECAUSE they are young and BECAUSE it’s important to instill the right habits in them NOW I am even more determined to break this tradition cycle.

Sooooooo, here is my solution: On Valentine’s Day show some REAL LOVE and make something! Give your friends handmade items! 🙂 Look here, aren’t those cute?

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And so much fun to make – for mom & kids! You can place a little note in them or an organic treat. They will hold a gift card just so perfectly!! 🙂 Or fill them with lavender to turn those stuffy drawers into fields of french freshness! Don’t get me wrong, I love gift giving just as much as the next one. I LOVE chocolate, and cookies & cake!! I let my kids have treats ALL the time. Really. I promise they don’t miss out on anything. Just recently the kids have been hooked to making rice crispy treats.

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But do we need a holiday to pass out the WORST thing a lap has produced? Artificial flavors, colors, high fructose corn syrup… oh and COLORS!! And did I mention artificial flavors? Who in the world enjoys those?

Well, not this mother! This year all of my daughter’s girlfriends are getting a Yasemin Tea-Skirt!

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Luckily, I already had this fabric in my stash from a few years ago.  Don’t you love when holiday fabrics go on sale for 70% off at JoAnns the day after a holiday? I had about three yards of this fun pink & red heart fabric waiting to be turned into something!

The boys in my daughter’s class will all receive the aforementioned felt heart hanger with some bubble gum! So will my son’s whole class (boys & girls). The felt hangers were so easy to make. And felt is super affordable. $4.99 / yard at JoAnn’s (plus you can always find a 40% off coupon!!). I made a template heart on paper and traced it onto my felt. I needed two two pieces (front&back, mine are about 5.5″ across) and another half piece for the pocket.

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I added a little leaf machine stitching to the pocket for some extra cuteness. And a cute little ribbon loop in case kids would like to hang them on their backpacks. I filled each heart with Polyfil. You can use cotton balls too.  Note: You don’t need a sewing machine for this project. Felt doesn’t fray and is really fun to sew by hand and super cute when you use a contrasting color thread. Embroidery floss works great. See here. But since I had to make 40 of these I opted for the quick machine version. I am sure you understand. 🙂 After all, the baby only naps an hour or two each morning.

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Love,

Yasemin

P.S. After I was done with my heart hangers I had some scraps of felt left-over. I used it to make a banner of 100 little hearts.  My daughter got to take the banner to school last week for their 100th day of Kindergarten celebration. What better way to celebrate a milestone than to show some love? 🙂

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Ahhh, one more weekend, one more birthday

photo 1 (3)Yesterday, we celebrated my baby’s first birthday.

Unlike her big sister’s birthday 2 weeks ago I changed it up a bit (last minute that is) and had everyone meet us at our local cafe studio ‘Dulce by La Duni’. I don’t know if it was because I was craving their delectable cuatro leches cake or was it because we just hosted a big party at home not too long ago and had another one planned for my son the following week. Either way, mommy needed a break from doing dishes, decorating the house etc.

La Duni is such a pretty place that it was easy to feel at home there. It felt intimate & personal without the hassle of pre- and post party clean-up. Plus, afterwards we all came back home for presents & mimosas. Since it was only our closest friends it was easy.

I have to say, if I had a choice I’ll do it this way ALL the time. But I know the older kids like having a house full of their friends running, jumping, dancing, screaming… I know I know … It’s just too much to do 3 of those in one month!

But back to drooling over how perfect of a place La Duni is … They even had coral-colored roses on the tables – same color as Stella’s top which happens to be my favorite color of 2013!

Stella knew this day was all about her. She truly soaked up in all the attention and clapped and smiled and gave kisses. I love  one-year-olds. This has got to be my favorite age. They still love to be kissed and carried around but try so hard to talk and be big kids. So darned cute. I love her to pieces.

 

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I also love these cupcakes ‘to pieces’ : Cuatro Leches!

Here is how they describe them on their menu: Layered Mantecado vanilla sponge cake, soaked in cuatro leches sauce, topped with
caramelized Swiss meringue and dotted with Arequipe reduction. Served with 3 leches sauce and Arequipe caramel! Ok, you had me at ‘soaked’ … Yummy!

That fluffy meringue topping is so much more delicious than icing! I love the caramel drizzle. The vanilla sponge cake SOAKED! in cuatro leches sauce – divine!

I don’t think it gets any better than this.

 

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Aside from all the sugar & caffeine (check out their incredibly extensive coffee & tea selection!)  I have to say that the presence of only our dearest friends topped with an absolutely happy baby made this day so memorable and extra special for me. I can’t wait to celebrate many many more birthdays this way in the future.

To Stella : Just a year ago we just met you ‘little star’ now you are claiming your place in this world so gracefully. I love you! Happy first birthday!