11 February 2013

(Reluctant) Homemade Love

I am not crafty or arty or in any way good with my hands. Yet, for some reason, I find myself making homemade stuff for my kids for every single holiday. I chalk it up to sheer stubbornness with a dash of frugality thrown in. Whether it's Halloween costumes...

Or gifts for the kids' teachers...

... I find myself with big plans and little talent. Sure, things always work out OK and I don't waste much, which is the whole point. The last thing I want to do is acquire more plastic and synthetic stuff or, even worse, send someone else home with it. The real reason I do this to myself is because I feel like all of the holidays we celebrate have become too commercialized. It's so easy to get caught up with buying things and I want my kids to experience holidays in a way that emphasizes more than just buying things. They're about sharing something with a community - whether that's an extended family or a classroom or a neighborhood. And putting in a little effort guarantees that the gift or costume or note will be unique and special. I can't tell you how many compliments we received regarding the holiday jam!

So, when it came time to think about the valentines that Benny and Lila would share with their friends, there was no debate about making them at home. The idea of melting crayons appealed to my cheap factor (we have an overabundance of them around here) as well as my don't-send-them-home-with-something-that-they-can't-use-up factor. Granted, the melted crayons will likely get thrown away, but we are re-using them, so at least we won't have to throw them away. Then I remembered that when I was making the holiday jam lids for Christmas presents, I bought a bunch of nice colored card stock for under $5. There was plenty left for over 40 (yikes!) valentines. Cha-ching.

The really great thing about this idea? Benny was totally invested and helped peel the crayons, helped arrange them in the muffin pans and signed his name. When we finished today, he declared, "These turned out pretty well!" 

Here's how I did it:
  • Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees
  • Peel the paper off (a lot) of crayons and break them into small pieces
  • Arrange a variety of pieces in a nonstick or silicon muffin pan (there are all sorts of cool shapes out there, but I couldn't find anything on short notice)
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Let sit for about 20 minutes - or until completely cooled.
  • Pop out with a knife.

We'll see how Benny's classmates receive the love notes. I figure this is the last year I can make the same valentines cards for both Benny and Lila without receiving some serious flak from them, so I'm taking complete advantage of the situation.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Ann Wyse said...

Super cute! Great idea!

Sara Struckman said...

Thank you! (And I did find inspiration on Pinterest.)

Heidi said...

I thought they were fabulous, and what a VERY cool idea for old crayons! I think I am going to need to find a reason to bust that one out myself.

Sara Struckman said...

Thanks, Heidi! And thanks for including candy hearts in Ian's valentines. They are my favorite. Benny didn't stand a chance with them! Hope to see you this week.