Posted by: ourbakersdozen | February 14, 2010

Whatever happened to Simple Paper Valentines…

I have a very good friend who was taking two of her children to a local homeschool Valentine party and she asked me if I would like to send Nathaniel, Emma and Elsa with her. I was sorely tempted but the thought of a kazillion valentines to help them sign was a bit overwhelming and was the only obstacle in the way of my saying yes to her generous invitation. The deadline for signing up was looming and when Peggy asked me what my final decision would be I shared my ‘stress fest’ over the thought of so many valentines to make & sign… I asked ‘so just how many kids do you think will attend?’

“Oh.” she replied, waving her hand dismissively. “Ten – max!”

I stared at her incredulously… “Ten max – so that’s like only 5 other kids besides mine and yours?!”

She laughed and nodded. “Yup – so don’t sweat it!”

Later that day I sent my reply to the invite and just narrowly squeaked by the deadline to RSVP.  A reply came back that we would soon get a list of names for the valentine exchange. A cold sweat crept over my brow but I quickly dismissed it. “Only ten Peggy said – Only ten so even if each of my children  give a valentine that’s only 21 valentines to make and sign…” I began designing a simple Valentine in my mind that the children could easily and cheaply create.

Then the list came in… I stopped counting after thirty something and emailed Peggy…. (I can be an evil person at times and was not going to miss this opportunity to rub it in tease my good friend about her generous estimate of ten MAX!) A flurry of emails were exchanged with Peggy assuring me cheap Valentines of 30 for 3 bucks could be found at the local grocery store just down the road from me. AND as she  had counted all the way down to the bottom (no doubt knowing full well I was going to be inquiring about her earlier miscount!) she knew there was exactly 60 children attending.

With that determined, I headed out to the store to pick up a few essentials and to check out these said Valentines. Strolling up and down the isles I could not find any boxes of Valentines until I got to the fresh produce section?? I did not care for the choices and decided to take a page out of Peggy’s book (think lover of candy & anything chocolate) and gathered up a few items I would need to complete my 60 plus candy valentines. As I am forever giving Peg a hard time over how she loves to share candy with the kids, she is now convinced I am the health food police (Think Super Bowl Audi green police commercial) so I was really looking forward to seeing her reaction to my choice.

Friday morning we assembled our Valentines and our “Mail Boxes” that would be needed to receive the other 60 plus Valentines my children would be getting. Sadly I was not home when Peggy picked up my three so I was going to have to wait to see what she thought of the candy Valentines. Late in the afternoon, I heard cheerful footsteps and happy voices enter the dining room behind my pantry/computer office that is squeezed between the dining room and kitchen. The children’s paper mail boxes were groaning from their load of cards and I grinned at Peg and asked an expectant “so what did you think of our Valentine cards?”

“Oh”, she laughed “I’ve not had time to look at the valentines they all got, I’ll have to see them when I look at Bill and Holly’s cards!”

Not wanting to let the “cat out of the bag” I just smiled and changed the topic and after she left Emma, Elsa and Nathaniel dumped their straining paper bags onto the dining room table which was immediately lost from sight from an avalanche of…. CANDY! My eyes grew wide in horror  and I sighed. (It is not w/o reason I referred you to the audi commercial) My joke on Peggy was completely lost now… in an ocean of other candy valentines! Whatever happened to the simple paper Valentines of yesterday I wondered?

Better yet, I wondered as I swept this candy sea back  into the bags while little hands hurriedly stuffed odd pieces into their pockets and mouths, can I possibly convince the kids that they have to earn this candy back…

part two to follow



  1. Yep, the last few years that I had a child in elementary school( our last Valentine’s day parties), very few gave Valentines that didn’t at least include some type of candy. I used to at least try to buy or make a paper valentine to go with the candy.( how odd does that sound?) I remember when Hershey came out with the mini candy bars with a To: and From: line on the wrapper.
    This reminds me of a story I hope you don’t mind my sharing;

    One year an ailing elderly lady who had been a Nurse Missionary in Africa for years came home to the USA with her adult daughter( whom she adopted when the Mother died during birth) , her Son In Law and granddaughter who was Cindy’s age. Since the patents of this kindergarten age child spoke no English the elderly lady came to sign the little girl up and we by chance happened to talk while waiting for the office lady to get her materials and take care whatever reason I was there. Since it was the beginning of February the woman talked of how excited her grand daughter would be with the Valentine’s day party. and how she planned to make a scrap book with all of her pretty Valentine cards for her to keep and remember even if she ended up back in Africa at some point ( there were many political hurdles to get over since the adoption was never recorded properly in the USA, the adoptee was no longer a minor and the older lady was not well) One could see the joy in this old woman’s face when she walked her granddaughter into the classroom on Valentine’s day. A week later she sadly told of how she only had about ten valentines that could be put into the scrapbook that she envisioned, She further shared that the little girl had no taste for candy as her poor village in Africa never knew such a thing. I can still see her shaking her head as she said” things just aren’t like they used to be”
    Sorry this is so long…. but thanks for the trip down memory lane !!!!!

  2. What was I thinking “about 10 Valentines”?!? I must have only seen the first 10 on the screen last year!

    In any case, I too was reminiscing about paper valentine’s in the good ol’ days. I remember clearly AGONIZING over which Valentine from the pack to give to whom. Heaven forbid I give a “I think U R cute” to a boy who might then think I like him!

    Some of the candy the kids got this year didn’t even have a name for the “from”! Just a card and candy. I have opted to try and include something “Catholic” on our cards and candy. I know most likely it will not be read, but just in case…it will be there.

    Glad to have provided a happy-sugar-filled distraction for the week. My reputation stands. Avalanche of candy, wherever I go 🙂

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