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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Non-Candy Valentine

Every year, people spend $1.6 Billion dollars on Valentine's candy.  JUST THE CANDY, folks.  And I always feel like most of that ends up in my candy jar at home.

My kids are "special treat" fanatics.  I finished my dinner, special treat!  I stayed on the green apple today at daycare, special treat!  It's Thursday, special treat!  They are starting to reach the age where I can no longer pretend that apricots are candy, and of course their favorite treats are chocolate. (Pretty smart boys.)  So I do keep the obligatory special treat jar for occasions that I and I alone deem special.

But on Valentine's Day, they come home from daycare with 30 bags of candy each that I end up throwing away, because a. they will never eat it all and b. they are 3 and 1, come on people, they can't eat gum or Jolly Ranchers!

So I always end up being "that" mom, the one who sends her kids with other-than-candy treats.  And hopefully, it will be something parents can actually say yes to when their kids beg for another "treat" from the candy jar.  I just print and cut some free Valentines from my kids' favorite shows and attach a fun "treat."

So here is a list of my Top 10 fun non-candy treats that most kids (and parents) are happy to receive on their Valentine's cards.

The easiest thing on earth to make, and a great alternative for the kids who love suckers.  (Or for you to sneak for your tea!) You can buy them pre-made if you're strapped for time like me!

2. Chocolate or Yogurt Covered Raisins
My kids adore these, and they are really cheap too!

3. Freeze Dried Strawberries
These are such a yummy treat, and who doesn't love strawberries for Valentine's Day?  I like getting the quart sized containers and putting them in cute bags and reusing the big plastic tub as pantry storage for open bags of pretzels and crackers.  You could even get really fancy with these and dip them in chocolate!

4. Fruit Leather
This is a fun alternative to those artificially flavored roll-up gummy fruit snacks.

5. Nut-free trail mix
Nuts are a big no-no in most schools and daycares now, so here's a great recipe for a 5-ingredient nut free trail mix.  Or you can buy some here.

Little ones seem to always have chapped lips during the winter.  They lick them constantly until they are raw.  I won't even tell you about the time my husband thought it would be good to put Carmex on my toddler, suffice to say he will never do that again.  So kid-safe lip balm is a must for the kids and makes the mommies happy too.  You can add anything to this kit, but the kids especially love flavored Kool-aid to add flavor and fun color to this DIY lip balm.  They even come with printable labels.  It's a really fun activity too!

I love these DIY glow stick Valentines.  I don't have a die cutter, but the same could be done with some heart stickers and glitter glue.  Don't forget the glowsticks!

These are adorable, and my kids LOVE bouncy balls.  I love these Glow In The Dark Bouncing Balls because they are easy to find under the couch!

9. Valentine's Day Coloring Pages
What kid doesn't love coloring?  You could even include a couple crayons with each Valentine.

These strawberry applesauce Valentines are so friggin cute I can't even stand it.  And I won't keep my kids out of them for longer than 5 minutes.

What ideas do you have for some Non-Candy Valentines?