Happy Valentine’s Day to all the sweethearts! May your day be filled with lots of love.
I baked sweet heart treats (literally) for the boys’ co-op classes yesterday. These no-fail butter cookies are such a joy to decorate! Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to make them gluten free so I haven’t actually eaten one of them since 2009. It’s a small form of torture. (The recipe is at the end.)
I have a few crafts planned today on top of our regular schoolwork. In the interest of saving money, we aren’t doing a big night out. Instead, we’ll grab take-out, put the boys to bed early, and cherish the quiet house in each other’s company. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.
To my sweetheart, this is our 16th Valentine’s Day together. My cup overflows. ♥
(This photo was taken in 1997 in the exact spot where he asked me to be his girlfriend one year earlier.)
Perfect Butter Cookies
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Icing, whisk together:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 tbsp. milk
Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add egg and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients, then add to the butter mixture. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and let chill in the fridge for an hour. Afterwards, roll the dough onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Bake the cookies on parchment paper for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool completely before icing.
** I typically double the recipe because one batch just doesn’t make enough. I also make extra icing so I can create different colors for decorating. Use the professional gel coloring instead of the liquid kind so you don’t fudge the consistency. I use sandwich bags for piping. Enjoy!
In lieu of purchasing Valentine’s Day decorations, I decided to do it on the cheap. I cut out a stack of hearts of various sizes in red, pink and yellow paper, then hand-stitched the hearts together with lavender thread to create vertical and horizontal bunting to hang over the sideboard in the kitchen.
When I found a stack of plastic cups in the pantry, I thought, “Hey! More craft supplies!” I painted the cups, glued on a few extra hearts and trimmed the rims in glitter.
Not too bad for free.
This sweet little piece, “The Universe and Forever,” is by Wendy MacNaughton, who says, “I make diagrams to help make sense of things that are incomprehensible and overwhelming, too big and complex. In this case, love.” True that. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovebugs. (Click on the image to see a larger version or to order a print.)
I caved and gave the boys their Valentine’s gifts yesterday. To their surprise and elation, they unwrapped the last Star Wars movie they didn’t own (Empire Strikes Back) and a starter box of Legos. I’ve shied away from Legos all these years because I didn’t think they were 1) ready to play with such tiny pieces and 2) ready to keep track of such tiny pieces. Both last night and this morning I found beetle-size pieces in the living room carpet, on the tile floor in the kitchen and in the bathroom (really?). Even though I gave CLEAR instructions to play at a table where the pieces to be contained, Legos have popped up in other areas of the house already. I’ll endure it, though, because those boys played with their Legos for two hours straight.
And playing for two hours straight was a huge help to me since I’ve started packing. We leave Amarillo in less than three weeks, so I’ll be splitting all of my time between the book, packing up the house and maintaining some level of race training for the half marathon in early April. A contract has been on the house for two weeks, though I’ve only just started acting like it. Between you and me, reader, I’m a little nervous. You know when something is too good to be true and you’re so sure it’s going to be yanked away at the last minute that you’re reluctant to accept it in the first place? It kinda feels like that.
However, if it’s not going to be yanked away, I want to be prepared! I’ve already packed a good chunk of non-essentials and will tackle the semi-essentials bit by bit. We’ve also secured a rental house in Knoxville, and I’ll admit to you that I probably look at it two or three times a day online. The house backs into a wooded area thick with trees and grass. There’s a deck off the back of the house that looks onto it, and in the wintertime when the leaves have fallen, you can see a small range of the Smoky Mountains in the background.
Springtime is coming, and I couldn’t be more glad. It’s time for a new season.