Sunday, February 15, 2009


Chris and I don't typically celebrate Valentine's Day the way most couples do. I mean, I make it a point to let him know I love him all the time, and the same goes for him. We don't need a special day, y'know? We usually focus on making it a fun day for the kids instead, and we do some nice little something for each other. Then we can buy the chocolate when it goes on sale on the 15th!
The last couple of years, I have been working and Valentine's Day has been on a week day. That's been hard for me. My head would be full of ideas and I had no time to execute them. Last year, the kids were both disappointed to wake up and find that there was no strawberry milk for breakfast and no candy on the table. I felt so awful!
This year, though, it fell happily on a Saturday. I had the whole Saturday to pretend I was a stay-at-home mommy and I cooked and celebrated to my heart's content.
It was good.
I have learned to make a few compromises, though. There are things that the kids don't mind and that make my job easier. For example, I used disposable dishes all day long. The table for breakfast was not elegant in my estimation, but all they see is candy and a candles. Oh, and robots full of candy. Aren't those so cute?
I made pink, heart-shaped waffles with homemade strawberry syrup.
Mr. Valentine Bot would like a bite, please.

Mrs. Bot has a little secret compartment on her chest. It shows you just how she feels.

The rest of the day's menu included artichokes (they have hearts, you know) and tomatoes (also known as the love apple) for lunch and heart-shaped pizza for dinner. I even ventured out into the territory of soy cheese and made a "special" pizza for myself. It was, uh, not quite the same. But it didn't give me a tummy ache. That counts for something. But my kids love my homemade pizza, so they were really excited. Oh - and we had "children's wine" to drink for dinner. That's sparkling grape juice, actually. But it sounds so much nicer when you call it children's wine and serve it in goblets.
We spent most of the day in our back yard working on the kids' Christmas present. I know that sounds weird, seeing as Christmas is long gone. But, we actually gave them a Home Depot gift card and a promise to build a garden box. Andrew has been a little interested in gardening and has brought a few things home from his school garden and dropped them into the dirt in our yard. They've actually done pretty well. So, I thought we'd do a little something to encourage that in both of our kids. Plus, I've been intereted in gardening too. I have a brown thumb and I'd like to do something about it.
Anyhoo, pest control is a real issue here in Florida. we don't have nice winters that kill lots of bugs and our ants are outta control - especially if you till up some nice, sandy squares to plant stuff. In an effort to control that a bit, I decided to start us off with a little elevated garden box.
After the. longest. ever. trip to Home Depot (I should have known that Chris would take the time to pick out the straightest, truest, most knot-free boards they had in stock), we ventured back and set to work.
Some of us set to play instead. And that's just fine.

Emma turned the space under their playground into the Tiki Hut, an ice cream & smoothie shop. She decorated it with leaves and flowers from around the yard. I ordered a blueberry smoothie. It was surprisingly light and airy.

Chia Shrek held our plans steady so they wouldn't blow away in the wind.

And my sweet valentine did the manly work. Oh-me-oh-my. I do love a man in action.

Drew got in on the power tool action.

And Emma, in all of her delicateness, tried her best to do a bit of hammering.

In the end, all of our hands touched the project in some way. It's not a huge bit of construction, but it's ours.

And here is the almost-finished box. We'll line it with landscaping fabric and fill it with dirt later today. There will hopefully be more pictures and stories coming from our garden efforts. I plan to try the whole upside-down tomatoes thing. I promise you'll know more about it than you ever thought you wanted to know.

And? To make the day even better, when I stopped at the fruit stand to buy tomatoes, I fell victim to the annual trap. A half-flat of strawberries at a great price. I do not know how we'll eat them all. But look at them.

Would you have been able to resist? They smelled so wonderful and looked so beautiful all jumbled in their box. I had to bring them home with me.

Hey. Wait a minute. There's a pint missing from this half-flat! Who in the world? What? Where did my berries go?

Did you know that a whole pint of strawberries can be consumed in 128.7 seconds? This is completely anecdotal, mind you.


claibornes corner said...

Oh my, you know how I love photos of men and power tools!! And look at that Andrew!!!!

Mary said...

We sort of have the same we're starting to have that tradition for Valentine's Day.

Sounds like a wonderful day of love for the whole family and half-flat of strawberries to boot. Those look like some really good berries.

frabjouspoet said...

I'm jealous over your garden box. I have two tomato plants growing in a large pot and am now making plans for some squash and canteloupe and whatever else I decide to try.

Amy said...

Mmmmm, strawberries fresh from the field. Ours get trucked a mighty long way so I don't think they're ever as good as I remember.

You're always so on the ball with these holidays. I keep dreaming that I will be some day....

Julie said...

I am so jealous you have fresh strawberries in such large quantities there. They cost an arm and a leg here on the East Coast right now.