Sunday, February 23, 2014

Valentine's Day Party: Cookies and Milk

Henry and Holden decided to throw their 2nd Valentine's Day Party, and we had a lot of fun! I wanted to try my best to keep it casual and easy, and for the most part that happened. :) I was able to use a lot of what I had last year (decorations and craft supplies) so I didn't need to buy much new. My red table cloth that I've had forever really goes a long way. And Target always has some cute felt banners, and I made some of my own from printables I found on Pinterest. I decided on the cookies and milk theme for the "menu" so I didn't go overboard with other snacks. I did make the Valentine's snack mix again, but gave it as Henry and Holden's Valentines to take home. I also wanted to have a little photo area, so I did splurge on the photo booth kit I found at Target. But this party is such a fun way to show our friends we love them! And the kids really just like hanging out and playing with all the different toys, so it doesn't have to be over the top.
I made three types of cookies, a Lofthouse-style sugar cookie, an M&M chocolate chip cookie, and a strawberry flavored sandwich cookie. I browsed Pinterest for ideas and had a hard time narrowing it down! I served strawberry milk out of my glass bottles with some fun heart straws I found at Michaels. I also wanted to do a hot chocolate bar for the moms. I made a crockpot hot chocolate recipe to try and keep it simple, then had fun toppings and mix-ins. (Think different chips, butterscotch, mint, chocolate and white chocolate, caramel syrup, pirolette cookies to stir, sprinkles, and tons of marshmallows and whipped cream!) Everyone brought something to share, so I snapped a picture before all of the fun marshmallows got there. I also did the fun Valentine's snack mix, which can be anything you want! I like that the party isn't full of candy, since the kids are all so young still, and this mix is plenty sweet without it. This year, I did Teddy Grahams, strawberry yogurt raisins, any kind of yogurt puff (strawberry again, since it's pink!), strawberry-flavored Mini-Wheats, and dried strawberries. You can use frosted Cheerios or some other cereal to add some bulk if you'd like, or any other flavor combos if you're not a fan of strawberry! I packaged them in the small snack-size baggies and stapled a little printable I'd made on top. I thought they looked pretty cute!
The craft was just making Valentine cards. I covered a card table in brown craft paper and got out the dot markers, crayons, and foam stickers. I had most of it already, and just let the kids go to town on some heart shaped cardstock and blank cards. No need to overthink at this age. Some kids will want nothing to do with it, and for most of them, dot markers are exciting enough! Maybe next year we can do something crazy with glue or glitter, but this year is simple.
The photo booth area is always fun, even though it's hard to get the kids to sit still for it. I covered a wall with some seamless paper that looks like wood (also from Michaels) and put up my heart banner. We tried to get the kids to use some of the props from the kit, with varying degrees of success. It had glasses, lips, hats and some cute little sayings. I was hoping to re-use it, but it was just cardstock and didn't hold up that well. But it should be easy to re-create if I want to do it again! I always like to try and get the moms in the picture with their kids, since I know how hard it is to get a cute one with mom in it! So those are some of my favorites. 
So I would say the day was a great success! Kids playing with toys, crafting, and of course eating cookies, while moms got to chat and have a cup of hot chocolate. Win-win! I'll leave you with some more pictures from the party. Hopefully we will keep up this new tradition! 

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