Ahhh Valentine’s Day ... it’s a special time of the year to express love to someone you love. Traditionally it is for two lovers or spouses, but over the years has been spread to include children, family, friends and teachers. Even with all the commercial hype of the 20th century, Valentine’s Day has a long history and tradition of being commercial. So how do you show love without breaking the bank in today’s times?

Let’s get back to basics. This year spread the love of Valentine’s Day by making a card for your loved one. Send the kids off to school with a note taped inside their lunch box. If your child is school lunch, then tape the note inside their backpack for an early morning surprise.

Growing up in New York with five kids in the family my parents had to be creative when it came to spoiling us and they used Valentine’s Day as one of those times. We would come home from school and my mother would have the table set with flowers and either giant Hershey kisses or those printed candies on each plate. With excitement we would rush to the table feeing loved and thought of. As children, we assume that the love is for the adults only but my parents included all of us; to love as a family. We usually had steak or shrimp and even lobster a few times; always something exciting and special. I have tried to apply that in my own life with my own children by handwriting them a card or note, fixing them their favorite meal or going to their favorite restaurant.

But while making the kids feel loved don’t forget your spouse. Turn your home into a restaurant by ordering a special meal for take-out; or into a spa by having a bubble bath, fruit and massage oils ready for when they get home. Start their day off by putting a note in the car or in their briefcase, this will make them feel loved the whole day and ease a stressful day.

Try making your own box of homemade chocolates for a wonderful gift. These can be shared with family, friends and teachers. Whatever you decide, have fun with it. 


They are quick, easy and a super fun way for the kiddo to be creative.

Supplies needed:

Silicone molds (whatever size or shape)

Chocolate (I prefer bitter sweet, but anything will do)

Decorations (sprinkles, dragèes, pearls, nuts, etc.)

Melt chocolate and pour into mold(s).

Decorate then freeze for 30 minutes.

Wrap in decorative foil, parchment paper or place in cupcake cups.


J. Brennen is the mother of two young children and co-owner of Chefs for Hire catering and personal chef service. mychefsforhire.com.