Browsing Tag

Valentine’s Day

Lifestyle

Solo Valentine’s Day Ideas

February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine’s Day, sweet blog friends! In a way, all of you are my Valentine this year. Military spouses tend to spend a lot of “couple” holidays alone and I am rocking another solo Valentine’s Day today. That’s right, I said rocking. Even though my husband isn’t here, I can still make the most out of the day. And if your loved one is gone (or you’re single!), you can as well.

I think we focus a lot of our Valentine’s Day attention on romantic love, but there are so many other people you can share the love with today. If you’re solo, consider focusing your attention on other people in your life.

Celebrate Galentine’s Day.

Odds are you have a few solo ladies in your life; find a way to celebrate with them. Maybe it’s going out for lunch or getting together for after-work drinks. Invite a fellow military spouse over for dinner or leave encouraging notes in your neighbors’ mailboxes.

Nurture those friendships, give them love and have fun today. Surround yourself with people you love and celebrate other relationships in your life.

 

Give to others. 

We focus on giving during the Christmas season, but why not continue that on Valentine’s Day? You could volunteer or donate what you would normally spend on Valentine’s dinner to your favorite charity. Bring a sweet treat to work or to your neighbors. Or spend an extra 10 minutes playing fetch with your four-legged family members.

Your actual action may be small, but the impact it has could be huge, especially if you encourage others to continue the cycle of giving.

Treat yourself. 

You’re constantly taking care of others, managing things on your own and holding down the fort while your spouse is gone. But maybe it’s time to take care of yourself and what better day to do that than Valentine’s Day? Who says you can’t be your own Valentine?

Spouse Connexion has some great suggestions for pampering yourself on Valentine’s Day. Take a bath, watch your favorite movie or get your hair done. Make some time for yourself in order to make the day special.

While a solo Valentine’s Day may not be your first choice, you don’t have to let it ruin your day. There are so many ways to spread the love and celebrate the holiday. How do you plan to spend your Valentine’s Day?

Lifestyle

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

February 13, 2017
Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

Can you all believe that tomorrow is Valentine’s Day?! Maybe it’s because this weekend felt more like April than February, but Valentine’s Day snuck up on me this year. And I’d be willing to guess it has for some other folks as well. Don’t worry, there are plenty of last minute Valentine’s Day ideas that will make your sweetie feel loved (and they won’t even know you almost forgot!)

I think Valentine’s Day has become a bit too commercial for my taste; we go all out on this one day of the year, but forget to love each other the other 364 days. So if you find yourself scrambling for a last minute idea, consider things you’d do on any other day.

Last Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas

Bring flowers. 

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: florists aren’t the only place to find swoon-worthy flowers. In fact, they may not even be the best place. Most grocery stores have pretty legit floral departments that have cheaper blooms throughout the year. Now, you likely won’t be able to get anything exotic or out of season, but you may really be surprised at what you find. Higher-end grocery stores tend to have the best selection, although they will be pricier. Whatever you do, don’t forget to take the price tag off!

Make dinner. 

Have you ever seen a romantic comedy that shows Valentine’s Day dinner at a restaurant? Everyone is all smushed together and the menu is fixed so they can hustle more people through the doors? Yeah…no thank you very much.

Instead of fighting the crowds or making a last minute reservation at your 100th choice, cook at home. After all, you’re already at the grocery store buying flowers! Make it a whole date and cook with your significant other. If you have kids, get them involved as well. What makes this different than any other weeknight? Well, it’s all in WHAT you cook. Get a little adventurous with something brand new or up your game a bit and grab filet mignon instead of chicken.

Then get all dressed up, dim the lights, break out the fancy dishes and put on some romantic music. The more you make it feel like a fancy restaurant, the more special it will be.

Write them something. 

I know that not everyone would agree with me, but nothing is more romantic than a sweet love note, even if it was a last minute idea. I would rather have 100 little love notes than one piece of expensive jewelry, hands down. It’s personal and thoughtful, even if you’re not the best writer in the world. It doesn’t need to be long or really even on paper. An unexpected sweet text message can be just as powerful. Not sure where to start? Here are a few prompts:

  • I love you because…
  • You are the best at…
  • My life without you would be…

So put pen to paper (or thumb to phone screen) and tell them how you feel about them and why!

Just because you haven’t planned tomorrow for months, you can still make someone feel loved with these last minute Valentine’s Day ideas. What ideas would you add to the list?

 

Care Packages

Valentine’s Day Care Package

February 8, 2017
Valentine's Day Care Package

Oh my heavens, I have been waiting for what seems like FOREVER to share this Valentine’s Day care package with y’all. After a delay in A getting my New Years Eve box, I wanted to make sure he got this in plenty of time so I sent it very early. And then waited. And waited. And waited some more. But he finally got it (and loved it) so now I can share it!

The challenge with owning a care package shop is making sure that anything I send A is unique and different. When I set about designing this Valentine’s Day care package, I knew that I wanted to mix things up so that it looked nothing like the care package I had for sale.

I opted to do that by using plain paper as the flaps and patterned paper for the text. And oh my word, I love that combination so much! Expect to see this in the shop sometime in the future because the words pop so much! The tiny hearts add a little extra love to the words and helped keep the pink to a minimum.

Valentine's Day Care Package

Another unique aspect is that this care package never references Valentine’s Day, although that’s what it’s for. I referenced love in other ways, including the cutest beat skipping EKG I’ve ever seen. It was also a giant pain in the butt to glue down, but A’s worth it.  But what I truly love is the “love you” on the bottom of the box. I had to work a little pink in there somehow!

I also loved the little red hearts on the interior sides. I always cover them, but don’t normally decorate the inside. But this box needed them!

Valentine's Day Care Package

Then to add another layer of uniqueness to this box I wrapped everything in rather un-Valentine’s Day paper. I scored this at HomeGoods for about $4 and knew that I wanted to use it for this box. The pink, orange and black dots were super cute, but not necessarily holiday themed which was perfect.

Valentine's Day Care Package

This was the last big box of A’s deployment (I hope) so I filled it to the brim with as many of his favorite snacks as possible. Salt and pepper cashews, shortbread cookies, Nutella and beef jerky all found their way in here.

I’d like to think I’ve really stepped up my care package game during this deployment and am so pleased with how this one came out.

If you like this post, I’d love it if you heart it on Bloglovin’ or pin it on Pinterest.

Care Packages Countdowns & Cupcakes Store

Valentine’s Day Care Package

December 12, 2016
Valentine's Day Care Package

I got into the care package game very early on in my relationship with A. We’d only been together a few months when he left for a three-month long training school. I sent my first care package not long afterwards, but when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I wanted to up my game. My Valentine’s Day care package was the first one I ever decorated, before I even knew it was a thing!

That box was also the first decorated care package A had ever received and he loved it. It brightened his day and gave him a much needed boost during a rough part of his course. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been creating care packages and sharing them with you ever since!

I went back in my care package files for inspiration for the Valentine’s Day care package that’s currently in my shop.  It looks very similar to that first care package I sent A way back when we were in the early days of our relationship and has a special place in my heart.

While the boxes may look similar, I think I’ve come a long way in my care package design! My favorite part is probably the heart and arrow on the bottom of the box. I’m so happy with the way they turned out and the “forever” text adds a little extra romance to the Valentine’s Day care package. I may have to steal that feature for A’s upcoming Valentine’s Day care package.

valentines-day-care-package

This item comes with all four flaps and the paper for the bottom of the box as well as a card with suggestions for the care package’s contents. I always like sending reasons that I love A, but the five white hearts will be sent blank so you can customize it yourself.  That extra personal touch will really make your valentine’s day.

As always, 10% of the purchase price will be donated to an organization that supports military families. And the LAUNCHPARTY discount code is still active through 12/25 and will give you 10% off your purchase.

Recipes

White Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Brownies

February 12, 2016

It’s not really a secret that Valentine’s Day can get a little crazy. I think people put far too much emphasis on this one day, instead of the other 364, especially when it comes to Valentine’s Day dinner.

You know exactly what I’m talking about, don’t you? Restaurants book up months in advance and are always ridiculously crowded. Plus the super fancy ones usually have a fixed menu that doesn’t include your favorite dessert, which is always my favorite part of any meal.

Our fix for that is to generally cook Valentine’s Day dinner at home and eat at our own pace. It’s cheaper, far more enjoyable and I can drink as much wine as I want!  And we get to enjoy the dessert of our choice, which is a tight race now that these white chocolate raspberry fudge brownies have become a part of my life.

White Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Brownies78

These are the combination of all my favorite dessert ingredients. Thick, fudgey chocolate. Fresh, tart raspberries. And the prettiness of white chocolate.  Separately, they’re all winners. But you put them together on one dish?  Well, gosh I’m in love! The recipe could not be easier, which is a big plus when any special occasion is involved.  I make my brownies from scratch, but you could certainly use a box mix to up the easiness factor. Trust me, your valentine will not know the difference.

The raspberry coulis (pronounced coo-lee) sounds fancy and difficult, but is actually nothing more than cooking raspberries, water and sugar in a saucepan.  It’s the perfect counterpart to the richness of the brownies and keeps the dessert from being too sweet.  Not to mention, its bright red color is the perfect way to pretty up the plate in honor of the holiday!

White Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Brownies66

You’ll need:

For the brownies:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 oz. melted butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 oz melted white chocolate and fresh raspberries for garnish

For the coulis:

  • 12  oz. fresh raspberries (2 containers)
  • A splash of water (less than 1/4 cup)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 7″ by 11″ glass baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they are light and fluffy (about 4 minutes).
  3. Add in the vanilla and sugar, and mix to combine.
  4. Slowly add in the melted butter and mix to combine.
  5. Add in the cocoa powder, flour and salt, mixing thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter into greased baking dish and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Let brownies cool completely before cutting and decorating.
  8. Over a medium heat, cook all coulis ingredients just until they reach a simmer, stirring occasionally, about 7 to 10 minutes.  The raspberries should start to break down.
  9. Remove from the heat and pass the mixture through a fine sieve, pushing it through with the back of a spoon and separating the coulis from the raspberry seeds.
  10. Let the mixture come to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for about an hour.
  11. When ready to plate, layer the raspberry coulis and brownie on a dish. Drizzle melted white chocolate and additional coulis to taste. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

White Chocolate Raspberry Fudge Brownies77

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