Arrrrrr You Ready For Valentine’s Day?

Last year I shared what we did for Clara’s little Valentines, er, classmates – so this year (with about 10 hours to spare) I thought I’d show you what we put together (she was a great little helper this time around). These are always final-hour creations for me (we ran through Target yesterday, right before the big snow storm hit), but then putting them together and seeing Clara tote them off to school with a big ol’ smile never fails to melt my heart.

Speaking of hearts… behold, Clara’s pirate-tastic V-day treats:

Each bag has a little stack of temporary tattoos and small tubes of bubbles (hand selected by Clara of course).

Our “ingredients” were all cute finds at Target: two 24-count packs of temporary tattoos (98 cents each on clearance), a little $1 set of clear heart envelopes, and a $3 set of bubbles with anchors on the end of them. There were a few different themes we could go with (cupcakes, coloring, pirates, etc), so I just left it up to Clara and she said she wanted to do pirates (she’s loving Jake & The Neverland Pirates these days).

So here’s our booty all spread out at home before we assembled it. Yarrrr.

In total we spent $6 to make 14 valentines for her classmates (technically we could have made 24, but we doubled things up so everyone got duplicates of each item except for the heart bags, which we saved for a future project). That breaks down to 42 cents per valentine, which made me smile (last year’s clocked in at 43 cents each, so it’s funny how similar these were).

The first thing we did was open everything up and carefully tear the tattoos apart (Clara helped me fold them along the perforations and I did the tearing. We made little piles of them so everyone would get a few candy/treat themed ones (just in case someone wasn’t as into pirates as Clara) and a few from the pirate set of tattoos. We also pulled out two tubes of bubbles for each person (Clara was great at helping me make piles on the table) and I quickly sketched a little eye patch on the heart and added “Ahoy Valentine! xoxo, Clara” to each bag with a Sharpie.

Clara’s school asks that you don’t address them to each child by name since it’s faster for them to just stick one in each kid’s bag without hunting for the right names, so that simplified things. Then all we had to do was seal up each bag after Clara helped me load them up with bubbles and tattoos. The set of clear bags came with little twist ties for closing each one, but we looked through her sticker basket and found these little voice bubble stickers, which we thought would be funny to add with the word “Arrrr!” on them. You know, so our little eye-patched heart guy could be saying that to reinforce the whole pirate thing.

Of course with all this freshly fallen snow, she won’t get to deliver them until next week, but she’s very excited to show all of her friends what she helped me put together. What are you guys doing by way of school/kid Valentines this year? Are you baking? Sending candy hearts? I might be just as excited as Clara to see what she comes home with this time…

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Hooked On Symphonics

On Saturday I took Clara to one of the Richmond Symphony’s special performances geared just for kids (they call it their “Lollipops” series). Sherry had planned to come but it was in the morning and her morning sickness did not agree. So I took lots of pictures for her (Clara even demanded that we make her some videos to send her throughout the event). As much as I thought Clara would enjoy the concert part of it, the real reason I wanted to take her was the “instrument petting zoo” that they hold an hour before the show. Kids can actually try out different instruments with the help of members of the youth orchestra.

She was most interested in the percussion instruments, mainly because there wasn’t a line (it was much busier than we expected!) and, well, hitting stuff is fun when you’re three.

I was really hoping they’d have a French Horn for her to see in person, since it’s what I played in high school. They only had a trumpet and a trombone, but I still got a kick out of watching her taking a brass instrument for a momentary spin.

It was held at Richmond’s Carpenter Theater, which we’d never been to before. It was very pretty outside – Clara exclaimed “ooooh, a CASTLE!” – but it was too cold to stop and get a picture (you can see it here, if you’d like). Fortunately the inside was equally beautiful.

The concert itself was only an hour long. The first half was just the symphony performing – which also included the conductor telling a story that wove the songs together and helped the kids appreciate why the songs were happy at some points or scary at others. Clara recognized a couple of the songs from Little Einsteins and sang along (since that show puts lyrics to classical music), which was cute but also a little loud. Fortunately since the entire theater was filled with kids, her chatter just blended with all of the other taking/singing/crying that was going on.

Halfway through they switched gears and students of the school at The Richmond Ballet came out to accompany the symphony. This was Clara’s favorite part, which confirms my instinct that she’d like going to see The Nutcracker next holiday season. It was general admission, so we were lucky to find empty seats in the 2nd row (next to one of her preschool friends, whom we just happened to bump into there) so we had a great view of the action. Although next time I might sit further back if it’s just the symphony because it was hard to see the instruments.

The Richmond Symphony only does these every other month or so, and I definitely think we’ll try going again – hopefully with mommy in tow. Clara ate it all up and was pretty well behaved through it all (minus some wild seat bouncing at one point). Plus, the band geek in me appreciated the excuse to go see some talented musicians perform.

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