Teachers Should Adopt THIS Kind of Valentine’s Day Celebration

hpantival

I have never made it secret that I was a weird kid.

I spent a lot of after-school time in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades crying because I felt like I didn’t have any friends.  One of the friends I did have, used to punch me in the gut.  Looking back now, I understand that a lot of us just didn’t know how to express ourselves.  Dare I hang out with this person, or will someone make fun of me?  I KNOW!  Pretend I don’t like them, but hang out with them anyway! 

Others would pretend they liked me and then ridicule me amongst their real friends.  No, don’t make fun of Jessica, she’s one of us COOL KIDS. *snickering laughter*

Yeah.  Confusing much?

Valentine’s Day was always the worst.

My box decorations were never as good as the popular girls’.  My Valentine’s cards, while I thought they were cute, were generally the least trendy around.  And, even though the rule “Bring everyone in your class a Valentine card” was there, you knew people liked you if you got candy in your box, or even multiple Valentine cards from the same person.  Even better were the super-special Valentines from secret admirers.

Every year, I would get my hopes up.  Maybe this will be the year that someone secretly admires me.  Maybe I’ll get a piece of candy from someone.  Maybe my box will be the prettiest.

Off I would go, tummy fluttering, palms sweaty.  Hopeful that this year, THIS year would be it… yet, as the Valentine’s Day party wore on, the fluttering would turn sour, and I would go home with a bunch of meaningless, store-bought paper images with general “To: My Friend” sentiments.  Rarely did anyone take the time to write my name.

The past few years I have watched Cabin Girl blossom, making friendships with any and everyone.  It is, honestly, a relief to know that she will never want for friends to make her feel special.

Now though, I worry about the other kids in her class.  The ones who are like I was.  The ones who may look at my daughter and think, Why don’t people treat me the way they treat her?

In all the hype leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, I received a note from Cabin Girl’s teacher:

“Please send $2 to school for our Valentine’s Day celebration.  The 2nd grade classes will be decorating cookies in lieu of exchanging cards.”

I was overwhelmed by the sense of gratitude I feel for these teachers.

Part of it, yes, is because I was really not looking forward to spending money/time on cards that, really, kids will be disappointed in if there isn’t sugar attached.

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But mostly, it gives me relief to know that one of biggest potentially disappointing situations a kid can face through the school year is being removed.

Today, I hope that everyone enjoys the camaraderie that is experienced when doing something new and special together.

I am eagerly awaiting Cabin Girl’s return home, so I can hear about her day made special, not from receiving, but from doing.

I hope she saves her cookie so I can see it.  And, for $2, it better be a big freaking cookie.

 

Will YOU Be My Galentine?

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Yes, YOU.

With all the hype about Valentine’s Day, many women are listing why they don’t care about it, they hate it, or they could do without it.

Myself included.

Is it a defense mechanism?

Maybe.  It’s one of those ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ type things.  I know my husband won’t do anything nearly as romantic as Suzy Q’s husband, so I’ll just tell myself that I don’t need it/want it/care about it.

I know some of you out there really, truly don’t care.  Massive kudos to you!

Others, well… others just want to feel a little special.  A little appreciated.  Just a bit.

That’s why stumbling upon Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls Galentine’s Day event on G+ has me SO excited. (Yeah, yeah… Jessica, they did that on Parks and Rec, like, forever ago! Well, I don’t watch Parks and Rec, sassy pants.)

Because, we DON’T need to rely on the lovers in our lives to make us feel special.  We have whole communities of people who love each other just because they’re people, and worth loving.

People just like you.

YOU, who works 60 hours a week.

YOU, who works part time while going to school.

YOU, who is laid off and taking time to rediscover your hobbies.

YOU, who stays home with your kids.

YOU, who serves in our nation’s military.

YOU, who jetsets and explores this huge, amazing world we live in.

You.  Yes, you.

I want YOU to be my Galentine.  I want to celebrate the awesomeness that is you.  Not because I want to get laid, or because I’m socially obligated to make you feel special.

But because you deserve it, Galentine.  For being awesomely, perfectly, unapologetically you.

Call me sometime, and we’ll go do Gal-Pal stuff.  I’ll listen to you rant about the new guy at work, I’ll spare you the details of the latest poop catastrophe my 2 year old created, and we’ll laugh over mimosas and pedicures.

gal1platonic gal2crazy gal3pedisI put stuff in my hair and did my makeup for these, you guys.
You’re welcome.

Why I Don’t Expect Romance on Valentine’s Day

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’m finding myself in a tough spot.

The spot where, while I love being romanced, my husband is not a romantic guy.

I know this.  I’ve always known this.  He’s sweet, but he’s never been over the top.

He proposed to me while we were getting ready for bed, for Pete’s sake.  But that’s a story for another day.

This June will mark 10 years of us being together and I can’t remember one epically romantic instance initiated by him.

For him, Valentine’s Day is one of 4 times a year I hope for flowers; Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary, Mother’s Day, and my birthday.  We rarely get each other cards, because we clearly express our feelings for each other on a daily basis.  No need to waste money to write the same sentiments out.  While I would love the thoughtfulness, Captain just doesn’t see the point.  If I ask, he’ll take me to a nice dinner, or we might go on a date.  Most of the time, though, we choose to stay in and have a nice Valentine’s Day dinner as a family.

None of it excites me.  For the most part, Valentine’s Day is the same as any other day, with a lot of extra hype.  I still have kids to take care of, he still has a job to go to, and there will still be fights and messes along the way to bedtime.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I would LOVE for there to be a Valentine’s Day when he goes all out and treats me with surprises and sweet sentiments.   But in our 9.5 years of being together, I’ve learned that if I want something from him, I have to spell it out, and getting a gift because I told him to get it doesn’t have the same significance as being surprised with a heartfelt gesture.

It’s the difference between having hopes and having expectations.  Sure, I’ll always hope to have a super romantic Valentine’s Day, but will I expect it?  No.

And that’s okay.

Because,

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It’s the every day I Love Yous.  The hand holding during dinner, just because we want to touch.  His doing the dishes because he knows I hate it.  Me bringing him his coffee.  The flirty pats on the butt as we pass each other in the hallway.  Him knowing that I can’t fall asleep if he’s wrapped around me, me understanding that he enjoys falling asleep physically connected, and the compromises we make to ensure we both feel fulfilled.

So you can keep your fancy chocolates, your glitzy jewelry, your expensive flowers, and your glamorous nights on the town.

I’ll be happily parked on the couch with the man of my dreams, who makes sure I know I’m loved every day, indulging in our Friday family ritual of pizza and a kid movie.

And, maybe we’ll get a dessert pizza for the occasion.

Early Thanksgiving from a Tiny Kitchen: Part 2

It was a success!!  Dinner was ready on time, and the only thing that turned out iffy was the dressing, which was a bit on the soggy side.

I couldn’t decide which roasting recipe to follow, so I combined a few that I came across and the turkey turned out amazing!  I rubbed it with butter, sea salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder.  Then I stuffed it with chopped apple and diced onion.  Poured half a quart of chicken broth into the roasting pan with most of a bottle of white wine.  Covered it with a foil tent and roasted it at 375, basting it every 30-45 minutes.  It was perfectly done in just over 5 hours.

The rest…

dessert sides sweets tablefood uglypie

Ugly, yet sooo amazingly delicious.

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