Simple Homemade Valentine Decoration (Great For Kids)

I love decorating for the holidays.  As soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, I am ready to pull out my Christmas decorations.  The tree goes up and the balsam candles are lit.

When we came home from Christmas in Chicago, I was sad to see that our tree had shed entirely shed itself.  That night, we went to work at getting that thing out of our house before it left our living room covered in needles.  I was sad to see it go, but it was time.

Now that the New Year is over, I’m ready to get some other decorations out.  Last year, Mary was just getting old enough to color and I pulled out a few craft projects.  Doilies adorned our cabinets and we painted her first ever project.

This year she has a new love for crafting and I am taking advantage of it.  We made this adorable Valentine canvas in just a few minutes.  What I love about projects like these, is that regardless of your child’s age or ability, they turn out great.

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If you want to attempt the framed picture (last year’s project) it is a really nice and easy one as well.  Simply take a piece of white paper and allow your child to use appropriate colored finger paint.  Let dry and then cut into a heart shape.  Tape to a piece of pink construction paper and place in frame!

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Project Materials:

White canvas (I purchased ours in bulk at Michael’s)

1 sheet of computer paper

Washable Dot Paints (like what you use for bingo)

Tape

Make Your Project:

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Take your computer paper and fold in half.  Draw half of the heart.  This is easier than just drawing a free hand heart, as it stays more uniform.  You could also trace one if you have a stencil.  Cut out heart shape and set aside.  Tape the sheet of paper to your canvas.  Start by taping around the outside.  Then using very small pieces, secure the inside just slightly along the edge.  Once secure, use appropriate colored dotters and blot the inside.

The dot paints won’t bleed under the paper and will cover the area nicely.  They even look great when overlapped.

After you have finished with the dot paint.  Gently peel the paper off, as soon as you have finished painting.  You can carefully use the edge of the blotter to cover any areas that weren’t covered.

Be Your Running Valentine

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Instead of making fancy cards for your significant other or buying flowers and chocolate I thought it might be nice to turn it around and treat yourself as a Valentine, runner’s style.  I think we can all admit that when it comes to ourselves we are really good at the punishment of those long running miles but not very good at the pampering and recovering portion.  So below is a list of ideas you can do for yourself to keep running well and stay healthy:

Give yourself the gift of a downward facing dog.  I totally understand that you don’t have time for an entire yoga class.  Heck, I often have these great intentions of doing a full online yoga class and rarely does it actually come together. Sometimes I proudly announce to my husband that I will be in the office for an hour doing some yoga, only to come out 10 minutes later and shrug, “I just wasn’t feeling it.”  So maybe you don’t do a full yoga class.  But you can certainly give yourself a few minutes of doing some downward facing dogs.  This one stretch, when held for about 30 seconds, can help loosen tight calves, hamstrings and lower back muscles.  Take some time and pedal out the calves to work deeper into those knotted muscles.

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Just stick it.  Like the Nazareth song says, “Love hurts.”  Spend a few minutes post long run using the stick.  This bad boy will get deep into painful calves, hamstrings and quads.  All I can say is that it hurts so good.  If you have never used one of these, it is an incredible tool.  Just don’t expect it to feel like a nice little massage.  This is meant to dig in and hurt.  But the results are pretty awesome.

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Go ahead and dig into that Valentine’s Day dark chocolate.  It is full of antioxidants that help lower your cholesterol and keep your heart healthy.  It also helps ward off blood clots and even inflammation.  Just don’t give yourself the go ahead and eat ALL of the dark chocolate because if you are anything like me that is a recipe for a another long run to make up for the indulgence!

Whenever we can find Neuhaus chocolates in the U.S. we go ahead and splurge!

Whenever we can find Neuhaus chocolates in the U.S. we go ahead and splurge!

Prop your feet up and be a slug.  Just for a day!  Sometimes the one thing we runners are worst at is taking a break.  Although you should keep moving to some extent on your rest days it is ok to give yourself an occasional full day off.  Settle in on the couch and read a good book or even better watch some Olympics.  I don’t know about you but I can’t get enough right now!  Go wild and even take a midday nap!

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Bottoms up!  Some research says that an ice cold beer after a long run can improve recovery and provide you with some post run antioxidants.  It seems the jury is still out on this one, but while they sit and deliberate I say go ahead and have a cold one.

My favorite beer Hump Lupa Licious from Short's Brewery in MI.  If you can get your hands on this go for it!

This is my favorite beer of all time.  Huma Lupa Licious from Short’s Brewery in MI. If you can get your hands on this IPA go for it!

There are dozens of nice things you can do for yourself.  Pull out that dusty foam roller and give it a go, get a manicure and pedicure, whatever it takes to make you feel refreshed and ready to hit the road.  Do something nice for yourself and of course don’t forget your loved ones.  I am especially lucky this year to have my husband as my Valentine and running partner.  We sure make a good team.  Perhaps we will be slugs on the couch together and watch some Olympics!  Who says romance is dead?!