valentine’s day

I Carry Your Heart in My Heart {Valentine’s Day Mantel}

I love Valentine’s Day. Well, really I love Valentine’s Day decor. It goes back to elementary school; decorating “mail boxes” and passing out Valentine cards and candy. I just can’t quite get enough of the pink and red hearts and paper doilies. 

So, of course, I love putting up a few Valentine decorations in the house. I especially enjoy decking the mantel for the day of love! This year’s mantel features a few of my favorite things : chalk art, vintage and handmade! 

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelThe focal point of the mantelscape is the large printed chalk art, based on the famous E.E. Cummings poem. You can purchase the downloadable file from Caravan. I had an engineer print done at Staples for around $4. 

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelMost of the rest of the mantel is recycled from last year’s. The adorable felt heart garland is by Aidie’s Hideaway. You can read about how to make the faux antique brass letters here.

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantel I bought a grocery store bouquet of white spider mums and used my blue jars as vases.The antique mason jars are leftover from our wedding and have gotten so much use since then!

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelThe flowers got an extra dose of fun with Happy Flags from Natalie Creates.  

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantel

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelAren’t they cute?? :)

Happy, handmade Valentine's Day mantelDo you put up any Valentine decorations, or are you still enjoying the post-Christmas breathing room? 

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)I want no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”
E.E. Cummings

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Almond Vanilla Homemade Marshmallows

Hi there! I have a fun recipe for you today! Except that it’s more like a science experiment than a recipe. {But don’t worry, you can still eat it!}. 

Over Christmas I decided to try making homemade marshmallows. I’ve been admiring them for several years now, but was always too afraid to try. It’s proof that fear gets you nowhere. Overcoming your fears gets you delicious, fluffy marshmallows. Long story short, it took me two tries to get a good batch of marshmallows. I followed a recipe the first time, but they turned out more like jelly candies. I tweaked the recipe a bit for my second attempt and I ended up with a batch of fluffy goodness. 

Homemade Marshmallows - so much easier to make than I thought!

You too can have your very own delicious marshmallows! It’s actually really easy! You’ll need to be sure to have a candy thermometer and a stand mixer. A hand mixer will not do the job here. Don’t see the words “candy thermometer” and run away. I promise it’s easy! :)

Homemade Marshmallows - Almond Vanilla Flavored

 

Homemade Marshmallows - Almond Vanilla Flavored

 

Almond Vanilla Homemade Marshmallows
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Ingredients
  1. Crisco/Butter
  2. Powdered Sugar
  3. 3 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
  4. 1 c ice cold water
  5. 1 1/2 c white sugar
  6. 1 c light corn syrup
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp vanilla
  9. 1 tsp almond flavoring
  10. food coloring {optional}
Instructions
  1. 1) Grease your pan with either Crisco or butter. I used two 9 x 9 disposable pans. After your pan is well greased, put in a few scoops of powdered sugar and shake around until the pan is well coated.
  2. 2) Put the 3 packets of gelatin and half of the water in the mixing bowl for the stand mixer. Set aside.
  3. 3) Mix the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining water in a sauce pan. Heat over medium high. Place the candy thermometer on the side of the sauce pan and cook until the temperature reaches 240 degrees. This will take about 10 minutes. Make sure you reach the correct temp! When you do, remove the syrup mixture from the heat.
  4. 4) Turn the stand mixer on low and slowly add the syrup to the gelatin mixture. Turn the speed up to the highest setting and allow it to whip the mix for about 12-15 minutes. At this point it should look like marshmallow fluff. Add the flavorings and whip for an additional minute.
  5. 5) Pour the mixture into your greased and powdered pans. Spread evenly with a greased butter knife. If you want to add any swirls of color add a few drops of food coloring here and there. Spread the color throughout the mix with your knife.
  6. 6) Coat the top of the mixture in the pan with powdered sugar. Allow to sit over night.
  7. 7) The next morning you can remove the marshmallow from the pan. Grease a pizza cutter and cut the marshmallow into squares. You could also use a cookie cutter to get your desired shape. {I did hearts for Valentine's Day}. Coat each cut side in powdered sugar.
  8. 8) Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
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Homemade Marshmallows - Almond Vanilla FlavoredThese are not anywhere near healthy. They’re basically pure sugar…but they are delicious and a special treat! I love mine in my coffee, but they’re also great in hot chocolate or just eat them up without a drink. You could even dip them in melted chocolate or make s’mores. {yum!}.

Homemade Marshmallows - Almond Vanilla FlavoredAre there any recipes or projects you’ve wanted to try but have been too afraid to? I dare you to try them! You just might surprise yourself. :)

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Sweetheart Table

Are you feeling the love around here yet? Valentine’s Day is getting closer and closer. Have you made your plans yet? We don’t ever plan anything to elaborate for Valentine’s Day, but we do like to carve out a little time to slow down and commemorate our love. Do you know what that does not include? Fighting huge crowds to sit in a noisy restaurant to be served by an overworked waiter. We did that once or twice while we were dating. We waited a couple of hours for a decent Italian meal only to be hurried out so they could quickly bus the table and seat the next lovestruck couple. 

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in.

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in. Our typical Valentine’s Day now is spent quietly at home. We stay busy all week with our jobs, freelance work, keeping the house afloat, church stuff, friend stuff, family stuff…..whew! Sometimes it’s just nice to plan an evening without the craziness and enjoy the quiet comforts of our own home. 

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in.

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in. Our happy heart day tradition is takeout. Oh, glorious takeout. All the tastiness of our favorite restaurants, none of the crowds or craziness. More importantly, none of the cooking. {holla!}. You can’t just eat straight out of the take out containers, though. Not on the day of love! 

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in.

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in. Pull out your “fancy dishes”, whatever those may be. Grab some grocery store flowers and light a candle or two. Use this day as an excuse to slow down. Don’t think about whether this day is just commercial or now. Forget about your to-do list. Take some time to just be with the one you love. Remember why you fell in love in the first place. 

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in. Aside from the $4 bouquet of flowers from Kroger, I already had everything on hand for this table setting. I just shopped my house and mixed and matched. 

 Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in. It’s easy for us to do this now. We’re enjoying this time with just the two of us while we can. For those of you with Littles, you may have to be more intentional about carving out time. Maybe you need to wait until after the kiddos’ bedtime for a dessert date. That’s ok. Just make time for each other. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of time. You’ll be glad you did! 

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in.

Sweetheart table - Valentine's Day table setting  |||  Carve out a little time to slow down and spend time with your loved one. Skip the crowds and create a nice night in. What are your plans for this Valentine’s Day? Do you prefer to go out or stay in? 

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