Valentine’s Day 2015

We’ve rounded-up our favorite Valentine’s crafts, events and recipes in one place to help make sure you have everything you need to fill February with love. We’ve also included gift guides so you can surprise all your loved ones with just the right neckalce, toy or treat.

The best recipes, crafts and events to fill your February with love.

Valentine’s Day falls on a Thursday this year, so there aren’tmany day-of events. Luckily, plenty of our favorite familydestinations have chosen to host Valentine’s Day events ahead oftime. Check out our list for dances, craft nights and more.

Valentine’s Day events around Chicagoland

Valentine’s Day Events in Chicago for kids and families

Celebrate Valentine’s Day all month long with these lovableevents around Chicagoland.

We all usually think of Valentine’s Day as a time toshower our loved ones with sweet or chocolate treats. But there areplenty of ways to make Valentine’s Day special for your kids thatdon’t involve a sugar rush (and of course the subsequent crash fromthat short-but-sweet high).

Unconventional Valentine’s Day Treats

We all usually think of Valentine’s Day as a time to shower ourloved ones with sweet or chocolate treats. But there are plenty ofways to make Valentine’s Day special for your kids that don’tinvolve a sugar rush (and of course the subsequent crash from thatshort-but-sweet high).

If you invest in a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can create avariety of healthy treats for your kids that show the love.

Here are some age-appropriate ideas for unconventional (butstill tasty) Valentine’s Day treats for your kids.

Sweet treats for your sweethearts

Valentine’s Treats for a perfect party in Chicago

From pink pancakes to spagetti and sweet-balls, we have afull menu of lovely foods to serve your family from breakfast todinner. Valentine’s Day has never tasted so good.

Valentine’s Day from breakfast to dinner

Love is on the menu with these Valentine’s Day recipes

Sure, some have labeled Valentine’s Day a conspiracy by greeting card companies to get
rich while lowering the self-esteem of single women everywhere. Or
a way for candy companies to bridge the lull between the holidays
and Easter.

But really, it’s a day to remember all the people in our lives
whom we love, and who love us. And what better way to do that than
with teddy-bear shaped Rice Krispies treats? Check out the recipes
below to make your Valentine’s Day weekend extra sweet.


Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday this year, so why not infuse your
family brunch with a little festive flavor? All it takes is a
little red food coloring and some imagination.


  • Pretty
    in Pink Pancakes

    Add a few drops of food coloring to pancake batter and try pouring
    them in a heart shape (good luck!). Swap out the usual maple syrup
    for whipped cream and red sprinkles. For an over-the-top touch, try
    adding freshly sliced strawberries.

  • Positively Pink Milk

    A few drops of red food coloring added to your kid’s milk glasses
    or the cream for your spouse’s coffee will tickle them all

  • Cheesy
    Valentine Bagel

    Add a pink punch to ordinary cream cheese with a few drops of red
    food coloring and spread on your favorite bagel.

  • A
    Valentine’s Day Toast

    Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut regular bread slices into
    heart shapes. Pop in the toaster and spread with raspberry jam or
    butter and red decorator’s sugar.


(Mia!) Dearest


This one comes from reader Vicki
: “We make the whole day red and have heart-shaped
food. We do heart-shaped pancakes and then for dinner we make
individual heart-shaped pizzas that the kids love to make by

Spaghetti and Sweet-balls

OK, they’re really just meatballs. But when you’re forming your
meatballs, give those cookie-cutters a try. Heart-shaped meatballs
will take your spaghetti dinner from ho-hum to heart-ily



Bear-y Happy Valentine’s Day

Put a holiday twist on the classic Rice Krispies treats with
this recipe. For a healthier alternative, consider using rice cakes
instead. Go to recipe >>

Chubby Cherub Cake

Long on love but short on time? No worries. This recipe uses
store-bought pound cake, some pink cherry icing and a few sprinkles
and takes just minutes to put together. Go to recipe >>

From stained-glass hearts to tissue-paper flowers, theseValentine’s Day crafts are sure to melt hearts this February.

Valentine’s Day Crafts

February is full of love and what better way to show you carethan a homemade heart or two? Try out one of these Valentine’s Daycrafts with the kids and spread the love.

3 ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Chicago with kids

Is it me or is Valentine’s Day less about romance and more about cutting red hearts out of construction paper with safety scissors once you have children?

If you’re looking for a family-friendly way to celebrate the holiday that’s fun for everyone, here are some options:

1 I Love Nature! Family Valentine’s Dance

  • Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
  • Feb. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • $45, $40 member, $20 kids, $10 kids 3 and under

Deck the kids out in Valentine’s Day finery and head to the nature museum’s first annual Family Valentine’s Day Dance. Experience exclusive after-hours access to the museum, enjoy dinner and hit the dance floor with children in tow. When not shaking their booties, children can create Valentine’s Day cards, decorate cookies, win prizes and walk away with a cool swag bag.

2 Laura Doherty’s Family Valentine’s Show

Chicago’s “pop-sweetheart for kids,” Laura Doherty brings her folksy tunes like “Swingin’ Valentine” and “Vegetable Party” to Schubas for a special Valentine’s show for the whole family. Other songs include hits from the award-winning CD, “Kids in the City,” which pays homage to our kinda town…Chicago!

3 Sweet and Treats Valentine’s Day Party

  • Pump It Up, 821 W. Eastman, Chicago
  • Feb. 12, 5:30-8 p.m.
  • $10 advanced; $13 door

Pizza, jumping, prizes and sugar-what’s not to like? Bounce around for hours with the offspring.

Valentine’s Day gift ideas from Chicago Etsy shops

There’s nothing quite as special as a handmade gift, but we allcan’t be artists. Luckily, there are plenty of talented people onEtsy, an online marketplace for
handmade and vintage goods, eager to sell you their creations. And
one of the best features about Etsy is that you can search forsellers by their location, which means you can still shop local
even on the internet.

We’ve rounded up our favorite picks from Chicago-based Etsyshops for gifts for babies, kids, moms, dads and anyone else youmight want to share some love with. We’ve chosen gifts that notonly help you show someone you care, but also show Chicago somelove as well.

Know of a great Windy City Etsy shop we missed? Share it in thecomments below!

DIY Valentine’s Day treats for the classroom

If you are anything like me, you just looked at your calendar and realized you have less than a week to make 20-something Valentine’s Day treats for your child’s class.

I like to make my own treats because I’ve noticed that many Valentine’s Day treat make some reference to a romantic love that may be foreign to most 6 year olds. We’ll save the romantic love for the adults and make a kid-friendly Valentine’s Day that helps them show appreciation for their friends. I also like to provide gender neutral and sugar free options-am I doing too much?

I decided to do a roundup of some crafts that you could complete in your free time (what is that?) this weekend. Many of the crafts require items you may already have in your home such as construction or cardstock paper, scissors, gel pens and Popsicle sticks. So clear off a table and pull out your craft basket, here are some quick and budget friendly crafts.

Out of This World

Anything related to the solar system is a big deal in my home, so I know this would be a huge hit. To make this cute card all you need is cardstock paper, gel pens and scissors. Fold the cardstock paper in half and cut out heart shapes. If your child is able you can have them write out phrases such as “You are out of this world” or “You’re a super star” on the hearts. If you want, you can attach mini Milky Way candies or Hershey Kisses. Or you can head to your nearest dollar store and pick up a pack of marbleized rubber balls to insert in the middle of the hearts to serve as planets. Your child can also use the gel pens to decorate the heart with little stars and “galactic dust”!

Super Valentine

Does your kid have a favorite superhero or refuse to take their cape off for bedtime? Oh, just mine? I love this craft but it’s a bit more tedious. This project requires tootsie pops, stiff felt (heavy cardstock will also work), a hole puncher, ribbon and hot glue. Using the stiff felt and ribbon, you will make and attach a cape to the tootsie pop.  You can use crinkle cut scissors to add some detail to the cape. A hot glue gun can be used to attach the superhero’s symbol (this is a great time to let your child be creative and make their own!) to the cape and any other decorations .

Love of Reading

Bookmarks are always a fun treat, especially if you have a reader or want to encourage reading in your home. For this project you can use cardstock and have your child decorate each book mark with Valentine ‘s Day themed stickers. If you have a laminator, it would be great to laminate each one, otherwise be sure to use heavy card stock. You can also punch a hole at the top of the bookmark and add decorative ribbon.

Looks like we have a busy, but fun weekend ahead of us! What treats are you sending to your child’s classroom for their Valentine’s Day party?

Valentine’s preparations on Pinterest

One of my favorite holidays (after Christmas) definitely has tobe Valentine’s Day. I love preparing all things pink and red andputting everything I can think of into a heart shape. This year,Charlie is in preschool, so he will have the added bonus of aclassroom party and making Valentines. I thought I’d pull togethersome of my favorite ideas (including those I plan to try) so thatyou can spend the next week getting ready!

Theseshovelvalentines have been floating around Pinterest for a while. I
had every intention of doing them this year, but have had virtually
no luck finding the shovels. If you know of a place, please share!
(Either way, I think these are pretty darling). Have a little
fella? What about theserobots made
out of tic tacs and Starburst! Plus, they have goggly eyes. What
kid doesn’t love those! After a few unsuccessful searches at the
stores, I finally decided to find rubber bouncy balls and go with
this“Have a Ball”valentine. I’ll have Charlie write his name and then we’ll be
all set! Easy to put together, but different than the typical candy
kind. Still looking for some ideas and printables?Check out thissitefor 29 more ideas – some of which are pretty cheap
and simple.

Charlie’s school will be doing a Valentine’s Day tea this yearand I’m helping, so of course I turned to Pinterest to get someinspiration. I was given the task of finding an easy craft and Istumbled upon thesepop-up hearthats. Before his party, I plan to cut out all the hats and have
them ready for the kids to decorate. You can use stamps, stickers,
markers, crayons, or paint – whatever you may have lying around the
craft drawer. I tried this idea out on Charlie and he loved it so
much he didn’t even want to take it off. The best part? You just
need a paper plate. For snack, I thought about what to do instead
of the usual cookie fare and decided this recipe forhot pinkchocolate chip cookies was perfect!

Finally, we love to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home, so Ithought it would be fun to make cards this year rather than spendany money at the store. For my hubby (from me), I opted to createthis“Iheart you” printable. I couldn’t find this specific one online,
so I created my own and you can see that picture above and plan to
add a candy heart. From the boys I plan to make thiseasy love poemwith candy bars and I already started acard with aheart made out of feet. I recommend the latter with slightly
older children or infants; my toddler’s foot heart looks like it’s
been bleeding!

Have some of your own V-day ideas? Send them our way and tagus@ChiParent
on Pinterest.

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