Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Be Mine!

First off, let me say that I had an AMAZING day yesterday! The only sad thing that happened all day was signing into my Facebook account and seeing a lot of my single friends bemoaning the day, wishing they could skip straight to Wednesday, and all because they were single! LADIES! Seriously?!?!? If you can't celebrate, at least don't spend the day whining! :)

I wanted a little gift for Chris and Natalie (I already had a little owl "big girl" cup for Abby, along with a small box of chocolates with yet another owl, lol), so when I saw a similar idea online, I knew I had to try. It didn't take me long to write my own poem. :)
ThenI collected all the candies - Riesens, Goobers, LifeSavers, Starburst, Symphony, and Kisses...

And packed them all up. :)

I got a laugh from Chris and an "lol" from Natalie (after Chris sent her a picture on his phone) which was quickly followed by "That's not actually candy is it?!" (We're all trying to diet).

A school Valentine's Day party calls for an extra special hairstyle.

Like a fishtail braid! (Abby couldn't really see it, but she got a kick out of the name).

And extra-special matching cousin dresses! These were the easiest things to make once I'd figured out the applique panel. Just cut a square of your favorite material, sew three little felt hearts randomly on it, attach it to a store-bought shirt, then attach a matching skirt to the bottom of the shirt. Voila! Even sewing-phobic me was good with these. I'll post a tutorial in a bit.

After I dropped Abby off at school, I headed to a local beauty shop for a girl date with my running partner! We agreed that getting our nails done is waaay more fun than trying to increase our run/walk ratio :)

Isn't this a fun color? The selection at the salon wasn't all that great, or else I don't think I would have normally considered it, but now that I have it, I love it! Strangely, so does my family. :) Thanks to Beanhead and Darrell for the gift certificate - you totally didn't have to, but it sure was fun! :)

My owl ring is a gift from my running partner, who knows of my love for owls and has a similar ring which I've threatened to steal many times. :) Best of all, it actually FITS! (I have chunky fingers lol so finding rings to fit is a challenge).

Chris brought me home flowers and a beautiful card (with a mouse!)

(The note cracks me up... Sydney - their doggie - and I have been needing serious relationship counseling lately...)

So, at our house this year we kids drew each other's names out of a hat for "Secret Valentines". The idea was to do special things for our Valentine throughout the day, being very careful to be secretive, then do a reveal at dinner. I came home and found my bedroom door had been decorated!

(This is a terrible picture, the heart decoration is really adorable!

And then later on I discovered my bed had been covered in chocolate hearts! :) I may have shrieked in happiness just a little...

Dinner was on me this year, as everybody else had quite a busy day. I wrote out the menu earlier in the week - appetizer salads in bacon bowls, heart-shaped meatloaves, roasted green beans, homemade mashed potatoes, and a chocolate raspberry cake for dessert.

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make bacon bowls.

Invert a muffin tin over a jellyroll pan. I used a tin with extra-big muffin cups and it worked great.

Each bowl takes 3 slices of bacon. Cut two of the slices in half.

Place the halves on the tins, overlapping slightly. I don't know how else to write that, but hopefully the pictures will help!

Wrap the final slice of bacon around the base of the cup, and SECURE WITH A TOOTHPICK. This is important. (The ones below had toothpicks stuck in them too late) If you don't do this, your bowls will look like this:

If, on the other hand, you DO secure the ends with a toothpick, they will turn out like THIS:

This is better. :) Cook until cooked through but not crispy, wiggle them off the muffin tin, place them upright on a baking sheet, and finish cooking.

I filled them with baby greens and herbs, chopped tomato, cucumber, and thinly-sliced radish, and drizzled them with homemade raspberry-balsamic vinaigrette dressing. They were amazing. :) I'm gonna post the dressing recipe up here soon. I also painted a tiny heart with dressing on each salad place.

Our heart meatloaves turned out well.

The green beans gave me fits but turned out well, too. :)

After dinner, we all had a glass of sparkling cider, revealed who we'd gotten as our secret Valentine, and shared a few qualities or character traits we loved most about our valentine.

My cake flopped - the only failure of the entire evening - but despite the fact that it looked like two chocolate pancakes smushed around raspberry marshmallow filling, it was quite yummy. :)

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