Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day Eve {Make Do}

I have been thinking about my mom a lot lately. I always think of her when any holiday rolls around, but I've been thinking of her most especially because she and my dad were masters at making every day special... even if it was a day when my Dad was traveling (he traveled a lot, but I honestly don't remember that), or a busy day when we only had fifteen minutes together as a family of seven before we darted off to our various activities.

It would have been really easy for my mom to forgo little holiday traditions because we were too busy or my dad was not home because of work commitments. I'm grateful she made do and carried on, because the traditions we kept throughout the year (like all things pink for breakfast on V-day, as well as green milk and green clover pancakes on St. Patty's Day, eating out of a pumpkin on Halloween, etc.), the amazing birthday cakes she made herself, as well as the day-to-day details like the notes she and my dad would put in our lunches, the after-school treats, and making breakfast for us every morning are some of my fondest memories. Our home was a happy place, always filled with good food and festive decor.  It was the little things that made every single day special.

For those of you in situations similar to my own (especially if your hubby works crazy hours), I know that it's really easy to justify by saying: I'm going to wait until I have a bigger house, more money, wait until my kids are older so that they'll really appreciate my efforts, or until I've had more time to plan an event and "do it right." Make do.

We have a 24" wide table in our tiny galley kitchen. Our space is not ideal for entertaining, not even ideal for serving meals with just the four of us. But we do it anyway.  We had our Valentine's date two days early, and had our family Valentine's dinner the night before because we knew Kyle would be home (It was a good thing, too, because he was at work until 4am on Valentine's Day.  Nice.).  Because of the craziness of the day we only had two small windows to celebrate as a family: 30 minutes to decorate sugar cookies (I froze some from our Valentine's Day play date), and 30 minutes for our Valentine's Day dinner.  It wasn't what I had planned, but I'm glad we made the effort.

I used 12x12 paper for place mats, made place cards from matching paper, used our china and our pewter goblets, scattered candy across the table (one of my favorite traditions growing up) and made some age-appropriate place settings for Ella and Jones.  It was easy and only took a few minutes of my time, but it made me happy.




Kendra said...

LOVE it...especially that Jones' is a littler place mat! What a cute idea...I have my own home, but I still want to decorate it better. I am so glad that I can get ideas from you!

Anna said...

Oh I love this. Paper placemats--you are a genius!

stacey said...

i love that paper placemat idea too! i just bought some from target on clearance and am thinking i should return them. (and i shamelessly stole the first part about family traditions and put it on my blog. don't worry, i gave you the credit :) )

gbrooks said...

classy - like mother, like daughter.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post so much! Especially the part about waiting until everything is perfect to celebrate. I fell into that trap last year and I'm trying to celebrate what I have right now rather than wait. I love the little place cards.