Celebrate Valentine’s Day From the Bottom of Your Heart Without Hitting the Bottom of Your Wallet

There are so many ways to show your special someone – and all your family members – that you care about them without spending a great deal. Since they say the best gifts come from the heart, what better day to give a gift of loving selflessness than on Valentine’s? It’s the perfect time to be creative in saying “I love you.” Here are some suggestions:

  • * Give someone a “heart attack,” and no, we don’t mean that literally. Cut out as many different hearts from all colors of inexpensive construction paper as you can manage. Let the kids help too. Hearts are so easy to cut – you can treat them just like snowflake cutouts only they do not need to be as ornate. Since one side is the identical to the other, simply fold a piece of paper and cut half of your heart – when you open up the paper you will have an entire heart for half the work! Take these cut-outs and spread them all over your sweetie’s office space, car, den, or bedroom area. Leave a big note saying “YOU’VE BEEN HEART ATTACKED!” It will be a gift to remember. Oh – and take lots of pictures of the heart-strewn area to remember it by.
  • * If you’d like to make a heart-shaped cake for your darling but don’t have the funds for a special pan, crafting a heart is not hard as long as you have one square and one round cake pan. Bake your cake in these 2 containers, then when your cake is completely cool, cut the circle in half and place each half at the top on diagonal corners of your square. Cut down the rest of the square to complete the heart shape and voila! You’ve made a heart. Remember these easy tips when frosting your cake: brush it off with a pastry brush after all this cutting to get rid of crumbs. Cakes are easiest to frost if they are partially frozen first. Place your already cooled cake in the freezer for a few hours. Brush off crumbs again and put a very thin layer of butter cream frosting to trap any remaining crumbs. Now put on a good layer of your wonderful frosting and you will have a beautiful treat for your spouse or significant other. You can keep the decorations simple – use conversation hearts or heart=shaped red hots to decorate, or place a heart-shaped doily on your cake and sift powdered or colored sugar over it – remove the doily and you will have a heart on top of your homemade heart cake. Won’t your family be impressed with your efforts?
  • * Make a candy poster for your sweetie and maybe the kiddies as well. Find candy bars that have words that will be fun to use as you tell them how you feel about them. For example, in a poster made for a man you could use Mounds, Milky Way and Mr. Goodbar to create a line that says something like: In the whole Milky Way there is no one else I’ve had such heaps and Mounds of fun with – you’re my Mr. Goodbar. Just place the candy bars where the words would go on your poster board and leave it for your sweetie to find. Let your creativity blossom with this project!
  • * Valentine’s dinner does not have to be over the top expensive or labor intensive in order to please. You can take so many items and tweak them just a little to create a heart. Try cutting or shaping a sandwich, paninni or strombolli into a heart. If you true love loves shepherd’s pie and you have a heart-shaped baking pan, bake it in that instead of a typical casserole dish. Add hearts to many edible dishes by cutting them with cookie cutters from pastry or phyllo dough. These bake up quickly and add a special touch to your dish.
  • * Sugar cookies are a simple treat and they don’t cost too much to make. The great thing about making your own is you can customize them to taste and to fit your dear one. Use decorator gel on frosted cookies to pipe on special messages, memories and I love you’s to your sweetheart. Sugar cookie dough can be flavored with vanilla, almond, lemon or cherry flavoring depending on your family’s preference. Baking treats to please will make you the hero of the hour!

About the Author

Margo Smith graduated with a B.S. degree from BYU. She draws from her experiences as a modern day children’s governess, living in New England, and many years in the corporate when composing articles about a variety of subjects from Valentine’s Day ideas to adult education to scientific breakthroughs.