Not Just a Day for Lovers

I. Love. Valentine’s Day.  Always have.  Always will.

No, I do not now nor have ever had a boyfriend that goes all out and makes it incredible.  Doesn’t matter.

Valentine’s Day, for me anyway, is a day that I can let people know that I truly do love and appreciate them in a totally non-creepy way.

When I was in elementary and middle school, picking out the perfect valentine for each friend was a process that could take hours, sometimes days! After all, I couldn’t give one that was super sappy to a boy!  I loved getting an extra however-many minutes before school officially started to pass out those cards (and see everyone’s boxes up close!)

I’ll never forget the year a boy gave me a huge heart-shaped box of chocolates…and then pretended that his dad made him do it.  I totally still have that box (sans the chocolate of course!)

In college, people tried to convince me that Valentine’s Day without a boyfriend was a terrible, horrible, catastrophe of a day.  I didn’t believe them.  I made a pineapple upside down cake with my best friends instead.  We drank sparkling grape juice.  We were so, so cool.

As a 3rd grade teacher, I look forward to the Valentine’s Day party more than the Christmas party!  Shocking, I know.  Watching my 26 little weirdos race around the room with their own valentines, begging to be allowed to dig into their candy…it takes me back to my childhood and I get misty eyed.

I love spending that night with my roomies (who happen to be 2 of my most favorite people ever!): eating copious amounts of chocolate, quoting Friends, and realizing anew just how much I will miss them when we part ways in a few months.

My point is: don’t hate on Valentine’s Day.  It doesn’t matter how the holiday got started.  It doesn’t matter that society has made it into a huge commercial holiday (hellllooooo! Christmas anyone?).  Who cares that restaurants have made it into “couple’s night”?

It’s simply a day to let people know that you love, care about and appreciate them.  Plus, you get to eat chocolate guilt free!

My favorite way to eat chocolate?  In the form of fondue!

Chocolate fondue is an incredibly easy and inexpensive way to create a special “meal”.

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P.S. If you don’t have a fondue pot, just put it into a bowl that you can nest inside another one filled with a small amount of hot water.  It will stay nice and melted for 10-15 minutes.  At that point, you can either refresh the water or heat the chocolate up again if needed.

You will need:

Equal parts chocolate and heavy whipping cream.

A variety of items to dunk into the melted chocolate.

(You can use fancy chocolate if you like…but honestly?  Chocolate chips taste fine.)

Heat the cream, add the chocolate.  Stir until melty and smooth.  Done.

We went simple with our dippers (but the sky really is the limit here!):

– Heart-shaped strawberries: made by making a V-shaped cut when removing the stems.

–  Big marshmallows

– Graham Crackers

– Grocery store cheesecake

In the past we have also used: bananas, pineapple chunks (yum!), brownie bites, orange slices, rice crispy treats, and pretzels.  If you would eat it covered in chocolate, you can totes use it as a dipper!

Recipe for Raised Eyebrows

For any of you that don’t know, I lead a fairly vanilla life.

I follow a recipe while cooking.  I read the fine print.  I’m never late for work.  I drive the speed limit…sometimes.

I very, very rarely have any adventures or do anything unexpected.

Wait.

My life isn’t vanilla, its hobbit-like!

Anyway…

This last October I took a major step out of my comfort zone.  I raised a couple of eyebrows.  I had to work fairly hard to convince a few people that I wasn’t playing a joke on them.

I got a tattoo.

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When I thought about tattoos in the past, I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t see why someone would willingly let another person effectively stab them with needles.  I didn’t judge them necessarily, but I also didn’t try to understand.

My tattoo symbolizes an idea that has come to mean a great deal to me over the past year and half.  I want to never forget what I’ve learned.  I want to never again doubt who I am.  I want to remember what God has been trying to tell me for so long.  I want to have a permanent reminder that I am God’s beloved child (1 John 3:1-3).

You wouldn’t think I would need a tattoo to remember that, right?  It’s really not that I needed that tattoo, but that I wanted it.  I wanted a reminder of His love every time I wash my hands.  Every time I reach for a glass of water.  Every time I happen to glance down.  I tend to forget that God doesn’t want perfect people, and my tattoo is a reminder that He loves me: forgetful, scattered and vanilla person that I am.