Seasons of Joy: The Very Best Valentine….Ever!

Ribbet collageSeasons of Joy

It is Valentine’s day today.  For the first time since they were born the older ones have been asking about it.  Usually we do not make a huge deal.  Gary and I swap cards with beautiful handwritten notes of love.  But they are private messages, not to be shared with the rest of the family.  And he will always gift me with 12 red roses.  I love roses with a passion and dark red ones are my absolute favourite:


But this year we decided to make it a little different.  And indeed it was different right from the start with a heap of cards landing on our door step before even Gary had left for work.  The children had a huge amount of fun guessing who they were all from and still are none the wiser!

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Gary took the girls out to lunch at an Italian restaurant for a Valentine meal.  They have been excitedly getting ready for this all week.  He asked that they dress up and they decided to dress similarly, well exactly the same actually.  They had chosen their long orange dresses to wear but I knew they didn’t have any cardigans to wear with them and they were summer dresses with spaghetti straps.  So yesterday unknown to them I bought and had delivered to them two red cardigans and some black tights.  They were soooo excited.  Are they not beautiful?


They have been working on a Valentine box for Gary all week, making and wrapping cards, clay presents, loom bands Golf clubs and ball, chocolates…they had written letters of love and thankfulness for the father he is to them.  All of these fitted in a lovely red box decorated with the Tartan he wore for our wedding:

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Unbeknownst to them Gary had bought each of his older girls a single red rose and a heart-shaped box of chocolates, and for his younger girls a teddy bear heart chocolate each:

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He asked the girls to come in one at a time so he could give them his gifts separately.  First his little girls:

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Then his youngest twin, C12:

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And finally his eldest twin:

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The girls then gave their Daddy their own gift, made especially for him:

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Here they are together before they left for the restaurant:


Knowing that T and the younger girls might feel left out, I asked T if he wanted to help me organise a Valentine tea party lunch for A6 and B3.  Now they have absolutely no idea what Valentine’s day is all about but were very excited about the food part!

And I went a bit mad.  I know, a shocking surprise, but nevertheless true.  We were in Sainsburys with no plan to get anything bar dinner for that night and some heart biscuits for the tea party.  But my creative juices mixed randomly with Sainsburys tacky plastic Valentine’s range and just took me over.  I had no control over me, you understand.  I mean, I did not go into Sainsburys with the goal of buying 8 red heart-shaped plastic champagne flutes with 8 red heart-shaped plastic plates to match….and then there was the heart-shaped table confetti, the red balloons, heart decorated napkins, the red tablecloth……not to mention the pancakes which I intend to shape into a heart and the strawberries, cream, chocolate and heart-shaped edible confetti to sprinkle over them…oh, and I mustn’t forget the strawberry milkshake juice and pink strawberry milkshake flavoured straws to fill the red heart-shaped plastic champagne flutes with….or in deed the bear biscuits with a big red heart and ten artist palettes (I will explain later, I promise)….seriously, madness over took me.  I plead temporary insanity.  Gary just looked at me with a mixture between benevolence and horror……

The little ones and T were, of course, delighted and we set out a picnic style Valentine tea party.  First I turned round the happy Christmas banner to hide the letters, blew up the red heart-shaped balloons and hung them all around the mantle piece, in front of which we would be hosting our picnic:


I then went to town de-tacky-ing the plastic bits and bobs I had bought.  The paint palette fit beautifully into one side of the heart plates:

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I folded up a napkin so it fit perfectly in the other half and made up name holders from the hearts we had bought from the charity shop:

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I set up the heart-shaped pancakes in the center of the artist’s palettes, and in the areas meant for paint I popped whipped cream (not shown – it was added last), chocolate, heart-shaped sprinkles, sliced strawberries, a knife and finally a teddy bear biscuit:


I made up some flutes of milk shake and popped them on a tray with the milkshake straws:


I laid out a patchwork blanket on the floor and sprinkled it with red confetti hearts and added the food and drink:



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Oh the fun!!  All my February blooos seem to have been washed away midst my family’s love and all that tacky red plastic!  A happy girl indeed.  I do love my family!

Tonight Granny is very kindly babysitting whilst Gary and I pop out to the same restaurant (yes, Gary will be really well fed today!), so there is still much to look forward to…..



  1. What a perfect Valentine’s Day!!! Oh my gosh I love all the pictures. You have a most beautiful family Claire. <3

  2. What a perfect Valentine’s day! I know all about going into a store and losing my mind over tacky fun decorations. Luckily it doesn’t happen to often. I just love how your family celebrates life.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thanks Dawn. The thing is the little ones don’t have a clue it’s tacky. They just see bright and colourful and fall in love! B3 begged me to ‘do a tea-party’ every weekend!

  3. I really think your plastic party looks great! Yay for Gary. What a special memory that will be. Glad you had such a wonderful day. You all deserve it! As for us, it was our 24th anniversary. So hard to believe.

  4. Love, love, love this post….so very precious. Smiling over your temporary insanity…I can relate :-). Thanks so much for sharing. Continuing to pray for you too. Blessings, Brenda

    1. Thank you Brenda, so much for your prayers. We have booked a holiday with Gary’s parents which is always great medicine for us all!
      PS Gary is concerned the temporary insanity isn’t so temporary after all…..

  5. Oh goodness, what a wonderful Valentine’s Day. The girls looked lovely for their lunch date. It sounds like just the perfect day. And I’m one to go a little bit crazy too when something could have been simpler. The picnic pictures are wonderful though.

  6. We generally go a bit mad about Valentine’s Day at our house as a substitute for Halloween. It seems so much nicer to celebrate love and caring for each other instead of ghosts and blood and scariness.

    I love how your husband is modeling healthy male-female relationships for your daughters (and your son sees it as well, so for him too). It is a very powerful lesson. My husband brings my two little girls each their own rose when he gets me my special Valentine roses and the look on their faces is priceless.

    1. This was the first time the older ones had been taken out by Gary on his own. They were so excited, all. week. long. I think it will etch in their hearts as one of their favourite days.

  7. What a fun V-day tea party! And to have chased the February blues – I hope it becomes a yearly tradition 🙂 The love and affection between Gary and the girls is quite the sight to behold – sounds like a wonderful valentine’s day for all.

    1. Yes, I think it will. That and we’ve booked ourselves a holiday to go home to Ireland. Next year I’ll not be waiting until Feb to book. Next year I shall book straight after Christmas!

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