The classroom walls are covered with decorative hearts and arrow bearing cupids. Here's a fun way to help your children enjoy the excitement of Valentine's Day.
Will you be my valentine?
The celebration of friendship and love will undoubtedly include a card exchange between students.

As your child proudly hands you his class list, you realize before you've begun, that the initial eagerness to sign twenty or thirty Valentines will dwindle after about the eighth card written. Alternative to store-bought cards
We can put our creative juices to work and help our kids make homemade cards. Valentine's Day is about friendship and love. Taking the time to create something by hand lets the recipient know that they are being thought of in a special way.

What about an alternative to paper cards? Imagine how excited your children will be when you suggest the idea of edible Valentine cards? Can you hear their squeals of delight as they run into the kitchen?

This activity is an enjoyable way to spend time with your child. Should you be blessed with more than one child needing Valentines, you can all work simultaneously.

The trick to making such activities stress-free is to be organized.

You will need the following:

A cookie recipe - try our sugar cookie recipe (below)
Tubes/containers of pre-made, colored icing
Small decorations, such as sprinkles and mini candies
Plastic wrap/cellophane
Ribbon
Optional -- small cards personalizing the gift

Sugar Cookie Valentines
Ingredients:
1 cup margarine
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 cups flour

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Cream margarine and sugar together; beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture and mix well.

3. You can now roll out the dough with rolling pin.

4. Using heart shaped cookie cutters will add to the message these cookies are intended to express. "I like you."

5. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until golden in color.

You must allow the cookies to cool before decorating them. If not, your icing will melt.

Finishing touches
Your bakers may appreciate the necessary time-out from the kitchen. If you suspect your children will tire easily, why not continue to decorate the following day?

Now you are ready to put the final touches on the edible Valentine card.

Place the decorating accessories on the table before beginning. Have a sheet of waxed paper at each child's workstation to make clean up easy.

Provide your child with possible examples for the edible Valentine card, before giving the green light to go ahead. Outline the cookie with icing and small candies, print each classmate's name on a cookie or just spread the icing with a small knife and add sprinkles.

The possibilities are as endless as a child's imagination.

Try them out!
When you have enough for your child's class and his teacher(s), allow your baker to sample a couple. There is nothing more rewarding than tasting something you made yourself.

The decorated cookies will need to air dry for at least an hour (depending on the icing used) before they can be wrapped.

Wrap each cookie in cellophane. You can add some ribbon to your gift if desired.

If your child still has enough energy, encourage him to write a gift tag. A simple "To Johnny From Ben" will suffice. Younger children only require a "From" name.

It's guaranteed the recipients of these edible Valentines will be honored with their cards, and your child will be proud of his unique gift.

Points and Prizes Keyword: SUGAR worth 50 points good through 02/10/08.

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