I love holidays of all kinds, but Valentine’s has become pretty special to me.
In 2013, it was the last day of life as we knew it. On February 15th, we would find out our five-year-old had leukemia. My dad (Joel’s doctor) found out with a phone call from the lab during his Valentine dinner, but kept it to himself for the night so that our family could have a few more hours of peace and normalcy. Fatherly love? Right there.
Valentine’s day changed for us forever.
I always loved making heart everything, pink food, and buying heart-shaped boxes of waxy and disappointing chocolates for Willy and my boys… But now that Valentine’s day is the eve of Joel’s Cancerversary, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing than showing my family how very, very much I love them.
And, on the day after all the love, we will celebrate cancer. Why? Well, it’s a part of who we are now. You know that joke “I love banging my head into the wall…. because it feels so good when it stops!” No? Is that just our weird family? Well, we had been banging our head into the wall for three-and-a-half years, and now we’re done. Because this is the first year since diagnosis where we can celebrate the cancerversary chemo- and cancer-free, all three boys will be bringing chocolate chip cookies to class in order to acknowledge and share our family’s joy.
My way of “bringing cookies to share with my class” is to share a cookbook with one of you that captures our love of celebration:
I’ve mentioned our family anchors before: Cookie Wednesday, Pizza Friday, bedtime stories, etc. So if you are looking to start some family rituals and celebrations of all the little things, this is the book for you!
To enter the drawing, share your favorite Shelton House post on Pinterest, then tell us which one you shared in the comments below!
Now, on to a festive lunch for Valentine’s Day! I made this during one round of the boys playing UNO with Willy, so it’s not too involved. But it will inspire your little lunch-eater to get some good, wholesome food in their belly before the onslaught of class party food 😉
Valentine’s Day School Lunch
The completed menu will have: Cherry cream cheese sandwich, red grapes (or whatever other fruit you like!), heart-shaped cheddar cheese, and heart-shaped purple carrots.
Start the cream cheese by placing a small handful of frozen cherries or raspberries into a small glass container. (Raspberries make a wonderfully gratifying pink color, but I only had cherries.) Pour 2 teaspoons of maple syrup over the top.
Microwave for 20 seconds or so. Now mash the berries or cherries with a fork to release the juice.
Use the fork to remove the fruit. Feed the fruit to Eric. Add in 1/3 C of room temperature cream cheese and mix.
Spread it onto sliced bread (here’s our bread recipe), with the top slice having a heart cut out.
Slice cheese and cut out hearts. Not much to explain there…. But do save the scraps in a jar! They are perfect to use in macaroni and cheese.
Carrot hearts! Much quicker than they look! I used organic purple carrots from Costco. I only had purple left, but all of the rainbow colors would be so pretty together. Here are your tools:
First, cut out a wedge the entire length of the peeled carrot.
Use your vegetable peeler like you are sharpening a stick for marshmallows and shape the carrot into the shape of a heart. Round off the tops near the wedge. Taper the bottom to a V shape. If it takes a few tries, you really have nothing to lose. It’s a carrot.
Now slice the hearts as thick or as thin as you want!
Boom! Hearts! If your kiddo likes ranch with carrots, here’s our recipe.
I like making these for class snack on Valentine’s Day. Lat year, Eric’s first grade class gobbled. them. up. It’s all about the marketing!
Now, add grapes or apples or whatever your kids would like to accompany the cheese.
For those interested, here is the link to these amazing lunchboxes:
I have used the same three for three years now and I adore them. Chucking an entire lunchbox into the dishwasher after Eric has used it is a priceless commodity. And there are no nooks and crannies for mold or grossness to hide in. Winning.
Okay, don’t forget to enter to win this beautiful cookbook! Pin any post, comment below, and I’ll announce the winner on February 15th!