Wednesday, February 15, 2012

She Will Go a Little Crazy Preparing for Valentine's Day

Let me start off by saying my mother and I are VERY similar.  While I have always appreciated the flair my mother has for the holidays, it wasn't until I had my own little family that I truly appreciated the time and effort she put into making each holiday, no matter how small, special.  My mom may be the only person in my family who does not have any Irish blood, but she was always the one to cook the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots as well as dye the milk for dinner green!  I truly aspire to provide the same experience for my girls and to inspire my girls to pass that tradition on to their children.  With that being said, it takes a LOT of work to keep this craziness alive! 

This post is dedicated to my pre-Valentine's Day prep (literally the day before).  This is our first year with Morgan in daycare, so it provided me a great excuse to peruse Pinterest for the perfect toddler-appropriate Valentine!  We don't keep a lot of candy in our house because it gets eaten so quickly, so I knew that I didn't really want to give out candy for Valentine's Day.  I finally found the perfect idea using bubbles.  I was able to buy 3 packs of bubbles at the dollar store and use a free printable found HERE to create the below Valentines from Morgan to her daycare pals. 
Bubbles can be fun for all ages, but I did want to do something a little different for the 7 staff members.  This is the one project on which I wish I started earlier than the night before as I was not completely happy with the final product.  I found the Pencil Valentine tutorial HERE and while I think the tutorial was great, these were a LOT more time intensive than I expected.  It took me 15-20 minutes alone to score every 1/4 inch on the yellow paper so that when it rolled around the Rolos (inside the pencils), the paper still maintained the geometrical pencil look.  After spending the time on all of that, the rest felt a little rushed and I really needed to have spent more time putting it all together, ensuring the Rolo packages did not come out.  I also didn't have time to make tags, so I just wrote directly on the pencils.  Oh well, better luck next time!
I did get to try out a new dessert recipe for the daycare Valetine's Day party, S'Mores Cups.  My girlfriend, Kristin, has made these several times and they are always delicious.  I thought they would be easy enough to make for the party and would appeal to all of the kids (and staff). 

S'Mores Cups
Degree of Difficulty: 4
Mess Factor: 5
Taste: 8
These are not that difficult to make, but they do require a couple of steps, so keep that in mind.  The ingredient list is really small and if I didn't need to make 2 batches for the daycare party, I probably would have rated the degree of difficulty and mess factor even lower!

First, combine your graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and melted butter in a bowl.  I almost always cheat and buy graham cracker crumbs instead of making my own.  One, because it GREATLY reduces the mess and two, because we go through actual graham crackers pretty quickly.  Using my 1 T measuring spoon, I scooped out perfect size proportions into the mini-cupcake tin and used the back of the measuring spoon to create the cup-like shape within the tin.  Then, I popped these suckers into a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes.
While the graham cracker cups were baking, I opened up my bag of Hershey's chocolate bars and split the little rectangles in half.  Half of each small rectangle was then placed in the slightly cooled cups. 

I was able to commandeer my husband, Matt, into helping, so he was in charge of cutting all of the marshmallows in half, which I then smushed into place within each graham cracker cup.  It's import to smush these a little bit so that the chocolate below melts and can keep the marshmallow adhered to the cup.  Then, place the tray back into the oven for 1-2 minutes to let the marshmallows heat and puff up.  Remove from the oven and let these babies cool before trying to pop them out or go any further, otherwise it can get quite messy!

After the cups were cooled, Matt melted more of the chocolate bar in a small bowl and dipped the top half of the cups into the melted chocolate.  I feel bad because I'm pretty sure Matt didn't get to try even one of these while I snuck one during breakfast the next morning.  The only change I would make if making them in the future (which I am 99% sure I will do), is to use dark chocolate.  My friend, Kristin, uses dark chocolate and I prefer the taste a little more.  We decided to go with Hershey's Milk Chocolate for these since they were being served to young children and I wasn't sure how all of the kids would feel about that.  I am selfish enough to want kids and adults, alike, to love and want more of my treats!

Whew!  That was a lot of stuff to do within a 3 hour timeframe (8pm to 11pm).  I am so lucky to have such a great husband willing to help me and indulge me in my crazy projects!



1 comment:

  1. I was wondering what you would do for the party! =] Gotta love Pinterest!!