love monkey.

My friend Meggan has a real knack for coming up with really creative Valentines for her kids to hand out, and seeing as she has three adorable boys which leaves out ‘pink’ and ‘hearts’, that’s really saying something.  So when she offered to share some of her ideas in a Valentine blog post I jumped at it.  Some of you may remember Meggan from her guest post last November, reflections on gratitude, where she shared the hostess gifts she put together for Thanksgiving.  She has put together another fun post full of creative ideas just in time for Valentine’s Day!

So, with no further ado, I give you Meggan …

Well, hello again!  It appears that I’m drawn to these holiday posts as my first appearance on q is for quandie was last Thanksgiving.  I’m happy to return with some Valentine creativity that is personal, super quick, easy and inexpensive not to mention darling!  (We will get to the post title in a second, ha!)

First off, has anyone seen this photo?  I snagged it off of Instagram from the feed @futureworldhealth.

valentine 1It really strikes a chord with me.  I have three boys which means multiple parties and multiple treats.  I always try to challenge myself to think outside the Valentine box to come up with a non-food alternative that is still fun to get/give.  Not like the houses that gave out toothbrushes on Halloween.  Anyone remember those?  Although I totally understand the sentiment as an adult, at the time it was…lame.

I will admit right now that I am not the overachieving Martha type (ahem, Linda), so whatever creative endeavor I embark on is usually simple and achievable so I;  1. don’t turn into a freak the day before Valentine’s are handed out and 2. don’t need to take out a second mortgage to fund them.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with heading to the dollar store and picking out whatever superhero/princess cards that call the siren song to your youngster, in fact, I am totally dialing it in for my Kindergartener this year.  He is all about Ninja Turtles and so. be. it.  But, if you have any persuasion over their Disney riddled brains, here are some rather cute alternatives.

Some years ago, I became obsessed with Google’s picture editing software called Piknik.  It was free and early on in this world of editing that has grown exponentially to become so user friendly.  I used it for photos, art prints, invitations and cards.  Then they sent out a notice that Piknik would be no longer.  Sad face.  But, they were offering PicMonkey.  Happy Face!  I figured at the time that I would be hooked and then there would be all of these fees to join, etc.  I was pleased that although there is an upgraded version of PicMonkey that is called “Royale” where you can get more fonts/images/editing options, you can still do quite a bit of creative editing with their free offerings.

A few years ago, when I was still trying to fit into the “must hand out food” for parties mindset, I came up with the following Valentines and handed them out with the respective fruits.  I had a bit of the “toothbrush lady” fear, but they went over amazingly well.  I teased my boys that it was “nature’s candy”.  Eyeroll.  You simply upload a picture to PicMonkey and then click the “add text” button.  There are loads of options for clipart, frames and overlays to apply.

valentine sully
sawyer valentine
valentine henry

Another idea is to make references that the parents will get, but the kids have no idea.  It makes it funnier, no?  My oldest loves anything with guns or hunting, so I picked up some plastic soldiers and put a little Pat Benatar into it.

love battlefield
battlefield 2

If you look closely at the picture, you can see little heart shaped bokeh, which is the fancy word for light bubbles in pictures.  Bokeh is one of the free options for pictures, as is making the edges of the pictures look frosty.  You can begin to see the possibilities.

Then, there’s this kid.  I have no words for Sawyer.  This was sent with a piece of gum.

stuck on you
It doesn’t even have to be a picture to upload, you can create anything with a blank background and make up your own card under the “Design” tab (there is also a collage tab that’s kind of fun).  For example, I now have a 6th grade boy.  Valentine’s are not cool anymore.  Unless it has an arrow on it and definitely no hearts.  He loves archery, I love inspirational quotes, it was really a match made in…google?  I simply save the finished product from PicMonkey onto my computer and then print them off in wallet sizes.
valentine 2
Cut them to size …
valentine 3
insert glow sticks and you have a socially acceptable Valentine for a pre-teen boy.
valentine 4

If you are not inclined for computer aided Valentining, the craft stores are teeming with fun options.  Last year, I wanted to simulate an animal mount, specifically a deer.  I found these little balsa wood plaques with pre-drilled holes, a deerhead stamp, some twine and we went with “You’re a deer friend.”

valentine 5

You would think with all of my fan-girling over this, it would be a compensated post.  It is not.  However, should the Google/PicMonkey/Michaels squad feel the urge to send some Oscar-esque swag this way, this lady would blush, act surprised and then snatch it up like the last…piece of fruit.  Google you can send said swag bag to….oh who are we kidding?  You know where I am along with everything else.  Ha! (She laughs whilst looking over her shoulder)

Thanks for the time Quandie readers!  I hope you read between the lines that this is applicable to anyone, not just people with kids and also not just for Valentine’s Day!  Perhaps you’ll try it out and let us know what you think!  Big, big love to all of your beautiful hearts.

valentine 6
Big, big love right back at ya Meggan for sharing these great ideas!

4 thoughts on “love monkey.

  1. Great idea! Just created Valentines for the college kids from our cat Sherman. I created the ‘purrfect’ design and sent them to Walgreen’s photo to have printed!


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