Children's Book Illustrator & Writer, Wildlife & Nature Imagery by Debbie Gaida


Valentine's Day and Your Inner Child

Posted on January 17, 2015 at 12:55 AM

Valentine's Day has always held a special place in my heart. 

       How could it not?  I think most of us looked forward to the Valentine's Day party in elementary school.  We decorated paper lunch bags and hung them in the classroom.  We'd shop with our Moms to pick out the perfect cards, then go home and decide what friend would get which card.  It was so exciting when it came time from our busy elementary school days to tuck our little love notes carefully in our friends' whimsically decorated bags. We all looked forward to sharing cupcakes brought in, an assortment of candies, and the simple happiness of looking in our special Valentine bags to find a handful of little white envelopes addressed just for us.

  (Homemade peanut brittle dipped in milk chocolate).  This is a fun project John and I enjoy doing together.  Trust me, it's a big hit with friends and family!  See recipe below.

Through the years if I was in a relationship or not, (thankfully My Prince has since come)--- I'd make it a time to focus on what Love really meant to me whatever was going on in life when February 14 rolled along. There were many times when I only wished I had a special romantic someone to send me flowers and chocolate. However, if my prince was no where in sight , I found it fun to enjoy all the hoopla my own way with all the romanticism I could muster up. Plus, there's all that opportunity for sweets and chocolate, and special recipes and flowers on the table......wine.....and more chocolate. Prince or no Prince, I made up my mind to LOVE the day that celebrates LOVE.

  Remember making string Easter baskets in grade school? We would use strings dipped in glue to cover balloons.   This time, my inner child played while making hearts...... I imagine your inner child will enjoy making these too.  Directions are below.  Size shown here is approx. 9"x 12".

One of my favorite symbols is and always has been a heart.  With this being said,  throughout the year I LOVE decorating and celebrating with....... you guessed it......hearts!  It simply makes your heart feel happy!


Here's something you can do to add a romantic sweetness in a blink of any eye. Three large silk flowers were attached with a hot glue gun and hung with a ribbon.  Easy as that!

I already had three large silk roses and removed them from their stems.  I used a hot glue gun to attach just a few of the under petals together.  Get creative by attaching ribbon, lace, illusion netting.  Simple, yet elegant......

And......yet more love to pass around to our furry friends..............These easy biscuits are yummy for pets and people. 

                                                                                                                                                          (Penny woke  from her nap to try one!)

Mix together 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp. chicken or beef base, and 1/2 cup hot water.  Knead into a ball on a floured surface.  Roll out about 1/4" thick and cut into shapes.  Bake on a greased sheet about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  I sprinkled warm biscuits with parm cheese.  I personally like them with cheese and a glass of wine :)

Walt's Famous Buttery Peanut Brittle

In a large Teflon 6 quart Dutch oven heat & stir 2 cups sugar, 2 cups light corn syrup and 2 cups water.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  When the syrup boils, blend in 1 lb. butter.  Stir until it reaches 230 degrees.  Add (1) 16 oz. jar salted chopped peanuts when it reaches 285 degrees.  Keep stirring constantly until it reaches the hard crack stage (305 degrees).  Remove from heat and quickly stir in 1 tsp. baking soda, mixing well.  Use caution, mixture is VERY HOT.  Using spatula, quickly spread on un-greased cookie sheets.  Cool, then break into pieces.  Depending how thin it's spread, this recipe makes about 3 tins.  Store in a cool dry area.  It will keep for months, that is, unless everyone eats it up right away :)

I sometimes dip it in chocolate, as shown above :)

String Art Hearts

Inflate 2 round balloons and tie them together at their base.  Slightly inflate a third balloon and tie forming a base onto other two.  Cut yarn or string pieces about 14" pieces and put them into white glue dilluted with small amount of water mixture.  Apply yarn or string, covering balloons randomly.  The trick is to coat the yarn enough that when it dries, it will keep shape.  Try to imagine how it will look once the balloons are popped after the yarn has dried.  I've worked on the above pictured heart for sometime :)  I placed it in a large bowl to completely dry, then added even more yarn, wanting to be sure it would hold shape once the balloons were gone.  Give it a try!  If working with little ones, adults may have to assist as the hearts are a bit tricky to cover.  Remember, you can always just cover one balloon and make a basket :)  Or.....two balloons will make the top portion of a heart!  I added the third balloon to make a more distinctive heart shape.



I'd love to hear how your projects turn out or if you have any questions.  Say hello to your inner child from mine  :)

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