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7 Valentine's Day Crafts

 By Kathryn Trudeau

 

Whether you’re decorating Easter eggs or Christmas cards, holiday crafts are a great way to spend time with your kids. Not to mention that craft time gives you plenty of time to enjoy art and keep your kids busy for a few hours. Creating Valentine's Day cards is a tried-and-true activity for this holiday, but that’s not your only option.


Below, we’re sharing seven of our favorite Valentine’s Day-inspired crafts. 

 

1. Yarn Heart Needlework for Kids

 

This craft isn’t just cute; it’s a great activity to help build hand-eye coordination and bolster those fine motor skills.


What you need:

  • Paper plates (either pink plate plates or you can paint white plates pink)
  • A hole punch
  • Yarn (suggested: white or ombre pink yarn)
  • Optional: Plastic darning needle

What to do:

  1. Cut out a heart shape from the center of your paper plate.
  2. Use the hole punch to create a heart-shape in the middle of the paper plate. Just punch around the hole you already cut.
  3. Thread the plastic darning needle with yarn and have your child weave the yarn through the holes. 
  4. Alternate threaded the holes that are across from each other. Keep going until all of the holes are filled.
  5. Secure the loose ends of the yarn with tape on the back of the plate.

2. Confetti Balloon Art

Wondering what to do with all of the hole punches you just made from the last craft? Use them for this one!


What you need:

  • White construction paper
  • Hole punch
  • Colorful pieces of construction paper (or the holes you already punched from the last craft)
  • Glue
  • Yarn

What to do:

  1. Use the glue to draw balloons (or hearts or anything else you desire)
  2. Sprinkle the hole-punched pieces of paper on top of the glue.
  3. When dry, shake off any loose pieces.
  4. Use a marker to draw the strings for the balloon.

3. Love Bugs

 

These little love bugs are super easy to make and fun to decorate.


What you need:

  • Googly eyes
  • Craft sticks
  • Construction paper
  • Glitter glue pens

What to do:

  1. Paint your craft stick. This is the bug’s body.
  2. Add googly eyes and pipe cleaners for antennas. 
  3. To make the wings, cut a heart out of the construction paper.
  4. To attach wings, turn the heart upside down and glue to the back of the craft stick.

4. PomPom Love Monsters

If you’ve ever made a pompom for a knit or crochet hat, you can make a love monster.


What you need:

  • A piece of cardstock cut into a heart shape
  • Yarn (pink, red, or white)
  • Googly eyes
  • A piece of cardboard (scrap)

What to do: 

  1. Wrap your yarn around the cardboard piece 200 times.
  2. Take a 6-inch piece of yarn and slide it under the cardboard. Tie it around the center of the yarn so that it secures the 200 strands.  
  3. Cut the loop of 200 strands that you just made. Your 6-inch piece of yarn should be holding it all together now. Trim if needed. This pompom is your monster’s hair.
  4. Turn a paper cup upside down. Wrap the cup with yarn 30-50 times. Use hot glue to secure the yarn.
  5. Place your “hair” pompom on top of your paper cup. 
  6. Glue googly eyes and pipe cleaner antenna.
  7. Cut out a heart from construction paper. This will be your monster’s feet. Glue the cup on top of the heart.


5. Heart-Shaped Sun Catchers

 

 

Brighten up your windows with these adorable sun catchers — no stain glass skills needed!


What you need:

  • Foam craft sheets (purple, pink, or red)
  • Tissue paper squares, 1-inch wide (white, pink, purple, red)
  • Tissue paper squares
  • Wax paper
  • Liquid starch or regular white school glue
  • Paintbrush or foam craft brush
  • Scissors

What to do:

  1. Pour liquid starch into a small plastic container. (Disposable lunch meat containers work well for this.) You can also use Elmer’s glue if you don’t have liquid starch. You might want to use a foam craft brush if you opt to use the glue, though.
  2. Lay a piece of wax paper on your work surface.
  3. Place a square of tissue paper onto the wax paper. Dip a paintbrush in the liquid starch (or the Elmer’s glue) and “paint” over each piece of tissue paper. 
  4. Continue adding squares of tissue paper to your work surface. Paint each square with the glue or  liquid starch. 
  5. Allow the tissue paper to dry.
  6. Once the tissue paper is dried, carefully separate the tissue paper from the wax paper. All the little tissue paper squares should be attached together.
  7. To make your sun catcher frame, cut a heart shape from your craft foam sheet. Then cut out the center to create a frame.
  8. Glue the heart frame on your dried tissue paper.
  9. Allow the craft foam frames to dry.
  10. Trim off the tissue paper hanging.
  11. Hang from your window.

6. Finger-Painted Love Trees

Finger painting is adored by kids of all ages, and it’s always a crowd-pleasers with the littlest ones. 


What you need:

  • Finger paint (pink and red and purple)
  • White construction paper
  • Brown permanent marker

What to do:

  1. Draw a tree trunk on the paper with the brown permanent marker.
  2. Finger paint the leaves on. 
  3. That’s it!

7. Heart-Shaped Clay Pendants

My mother-in-law keeps a 4-foot-tall potted tree in her living room, and each season she decorates the tree. From Christmas decorations to Easter eggs, she keeps the tree rather festive. These heart-shaped clay pendants would make the perfect addition to a holiday tree like hers. You don’t need a holiday tree to use these pendants, though. You can hang them anywhere you please to make your home ready for Valentine’s Day. 


What you need:

  • 2 cups of cornstarch
  • 118 ml bottle of craft glue
  • Acrylic paint
  • String or ribbon

What to do:

  1. Mix the cornstarch and the glue in a bowl. (You might want to use a craft bowl or something you don’t mind getting messy.) 
  2. Be prepared to knead this mixture for quite a few minutes. It should eventually combine and resemble fondant icing.
  3. Roll the clay out on a piece of parchment paper.
  4. Use a heart-shape cookie cutter to create your pendants. 
  5. Use a straw to punch a hole in each heart. (You’ll hang your pendants hung this way.)
  6. Let the clay hearts dry overnight.
  7. Paint and decorate the pendants. 
  8. Allow them to dry.
  9. Slide a piece of ribbon through the hearts and hang them up as cute decorations!

What About You?

What crafts will you and your little one do this Valentine’s Day?

 

 

14 Tips to (Finally) Get Organized This Year

 By Kathryn Trudeau

Are you tired of staring at boxes of clothes or toys your kids outgrew years ago? Or are you overwhelmed with all the “stuff” piling up in closets and attics? Even though we entered 2021 a few weeks ago, it’s not too late to create a few new resolutions — specifically about getting organized this year. 

Getting organized isn’t just about organizing your stuff either. Getting organized can refer to your thoughts too. When you’re mentally organized, you’re more likely to get organized in your home too.

Here are 14 tips to eliminate clutter and chaos and bring organization to your home.

 

1. Start Small

This is the first step in getting organized, and it might be the hardest one. When motivation surges, it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and plan 12 new projections. Remember slow and steady wins the race. In other words, don’t bite off more than you can chew.

It’s not reasonable to think you can completely organize your entire home and implement new organizational strategies all in one weekend. For example, large projects may take a few weekends to complete, but by starting small, you reduce the chance that you’ll lose steam by the end of the project. 

 

2. Use One Family Calendar

If you use a paper calendar in the kitchen for kids’ appointments and a calendar on your phone for sports practices, chances are pretty good that some appointments will slip through the cracks. Instead, use one family calendar. You can use a paper calendar, but you can also sync up a digital calendar with your spouse too. 

Use your family calendar to keep track of doctors’ appointments, vacations, and other engagements. 

 

3. Establish Daily, Weekly and Monthly Routines

When you’re trying to get organized, it can seem overwhelming, but here’s the good news: not every chore has to be done on a daily basis. When you create chore lists, organize your chores by daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. 

For example, you might need to sweep the kitchen daily, clean the bathroom weekly, and refill the dog food bin monthly. 

When it comes to toys, cleaning up toys should be part of a daily routine, either before nap or bedtime. And always separate toys by type. 

 

 

4. Set SMART Goals

When you’re setting goals, it’s easy to get carried away with unrealistic goals. Unfortunately, if you don’t meet those goals, it can unravel all of your motivation for the entire project. Instead, make sure you set SMART goals:

    • Specific: Instead of “clean the house” try “clean the bathroom on Friday.”
    • Measurable: Include something “measurable” in your goal so that you can measure progress. You might say “I will assemble three boxes of old clothes to donate.”
  • Achievable: Make sure you are physically capable of completing the task. For example, if you don’t own a steam cleaner, it wouldn’t make sense to add “steam clean the bathroom” to your list of goals. 
  • Relevant: Make sure each part of your goal helps you reach your bigger goal. 
  • Time-based: Add a time component to your goal to make your goal as specific as possible. For example, you might say “I will have a new mail sorting system in place by next Monday.”


  • 5. Divide and Conquer

    If applicable, assign some chores to your children. When more family members participate, the faster you can reach your goals. You might consider hanging a chore chart where children can see it easily. For smaller children, you can use visual representations (like a picture of a toothbrush) to indicate what chore or responsibility they should do.

     

    6. Find a Home for Everything

    Not knowing where to keep an item is the biggest contributor to household clutter. Identify a home for every toy, pajama, book, or paper -- and you’ll see clutter decrease. You can use baskets, closet organizers, toy bins, bookshelves, and desk organizers to help you find a place for every single item in your home.

     

     

    7. Don’t Neglect Paper Piles

    Mail and other paper piles can add up quickly. Try this rule this year: every time you bring the mail inside, take action. Acceptable actions including filing it in the appropriate drawer, shredding it, or recycling it. 

     

    8. Ask for Help If You Need It

    Help comes in many forms, and it’s always okay to ask for help if you need it. You might seek help from:

    • Friends or family members
    • Professional organizers
    • ADHD coaches or therapists (because sometimes ADHD can lead to difficulties with executive function skills like organizing) 
    • Charities that will come pick up boxes for donation

     

    9. Make a Long-Term Commitment

    After a long weekend cleaning and reorganizing, it can be really frustrating when the messes creep back on Monday. However, it’s important to remember that organizing doesn’t end after a thorough cleaning. Instead, organization is an ongoing, life-long process. The point of getting organized isn’t to eliminate household cleaning or chores (I wish!), but it’s to adopt strategies that make staying organized easy. For example, it’s much easier to clean up toys when you know where each one goes.

     

    10. Try Some Software Tools

    All sorts of technology from calendars to apps is available to simplify your home organization process. Some apps let you create a home inventory (no more wondering if you need toilet paper!), set up a home maintenance calendar (like scheduling HVAC cleanings), manage home improvement projects and track household budgets all in one place.

     

    11. Track Your Progress

    Remember those SMART goals? You can track your progress by making sure you meet mini milestones. 

     

    12. Celebrate Each Success

    Once you reach those mini milestones, celebrate! Maybe you treat yourself to a coffee from your favorite cafe, or maybe you plan a family movie night -- whatever celebration you choose helps to keep you motivated. 

     

    13. Don’t Focus on Failures 

    If you don’t reach a milestone, don’t dwell on it. Look at each failure as a chance to grow and keep learning. For example, if your new toy organization strategy didn’t work out, that’s okay. What did you learn? Use that knowledge to create a better system that works for you and your family. Maybe you need to try a more simple solution for your children.

     

    14. Purge

    Staying organized with kids is hard. Every season, there’s a new batch of clothes and shoes. Every birthday, new presents arrive. The best way to stay organized is to frequently purge the outgrown clothes or overgrown toys. You can:

    • Donate them to friends or a charity 
    • Store them (labeled and organized by size) in your basement or garage if you’re planning on handing them down to a sibling in a year or two

    Do you have a favorite home organizational tip?

     

    __________________________________________________________________

    Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at  www.katietrudeau.com 

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