February Cheer

Pink Flower

A beautiful pink flower right out of our garden will make a perfect Valentine’s Day centerpiece!

Today is Valentine’s Day originally named after Saint Valentine, a martyred Roman priest. These days, it’s a special day to celebrate love, romance and friendship. For many of us, this holiday provides a great excuse to embellish a bit in our homes, to bring out all those symbols of love—hearts and flowers, red and pink bursts of color, bits of lace and flourish, and the special sweet and savory treats of chocolate and champagne, and heart-shaped presentations of cookies and cake. Instead of just having those feelings of warmth and love isolated to the one day, let’s hold onto that spirit of Valentine’s Day and make this celebration of love, cheer and winter warmth extend throughout the entire month.

Here are some easy suggestions for celebrating an entire month of Valentine moments with your loved ones in your home or apartment:

  • Bring out the hearts and wear your heart on your sleeve.  Gather together all your heart-shaped objects and baking wares and make sure they are utilized this month.  I like to decorate the family dinner table with my collection of porcelain, silver and shell-encrusted heart-shaped boxes that I have collected over the years.  Many of the boxes have been gifts from my sons, some hand-painted, and given to me for Mother’s Day or other special occasions.  I also have an extensive collection of cookie cutters and heart-shaped cake and tart pans.  I use the cookie cutters to make actual cookies as well as to cut shapes out of a 9 x 13 inch pan of brownies.  Cookie cutters can also make crust-less, heart-shaped finger sandwiches, perfect for tea or an afternoon snack (a good tip: cover them with a damp napkin, dish towel or paper towel to keep them fresh until you’re ready to serve them).  Float a heart-shaped toast in a bowl of steaming soup, or a heart-shaped candle in a crystal bowl.  Bake a heart cake or unmold a heart-shaped gelatin or mousse.
  • The moment you come in the door at night, put on a romantic CD.  Nothing is quite as effective at chasing away the chill and bringing on the cheer.  I currently listen to a lot of Steve Tyrell, Diana Krall, and Norah Jones but I also find myself returning to the old standards recorded by Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett time and again.  I like to do this every night whenever I come in.
  • A month of flowers.  Flowers are always wonderful and perhaps even expected on Valentine’s Day.  But how about a fresh bouquet each week?  Treat yourself to an offering from your favorite on-line (like 1800flowers.com) or local florist (we have a great one by us – Floral Fashions) or even pick up posies in the grocery store.  And if multiple bouquets during the month get to be a bit much, grace your table, mantle, or bedside with a bountiful, colorful arrangement of fruits whether lemons and limes or something more exotic like—kumquats, pomegranates, persimmons, or star fruit.  Imagine yourself in a five-star hotel and place a small stack of plates, napkins and fruit knives near the arrangements to encourage people to help themselves to your tasty treats.
  • Stock up on candles.  February nights deserve to be softly lit with the glow of multiple candles.  Amass whatever candlesticks and holders you possess in clusters at the dining table, mantle or even on the bathroom vanity.  Indulge yourself with a bit of wax and wick.  Keep a candelabra lit in the kitchen while you cook, as long as it’s high enough to avoid any accident. You’ll feel warmer and snugger!  Just please, remember to extinguish all candles after dinner or, for real safety, maybe purchase battery-operated ‘flickering’ candles.

These are just a few suggestions to extend a little romance and Valentine sparkle throughout February.  A romantic token or a gesture every day is all that is necessary for you and your loved ones to know that home is always where your heart is.

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