We could have bought a box of pre-printed cards to give to classmates for Valentine’s Day, but that would not have been complicated or original enough for my tastes. I had multiple suggestions like Paper Fortune Cookies and Button Paper Clip Bookmarks, but Mr. Star Wars and Miss Priss were having none of it. They just wanted to give a snack size bag of Valentine M&Ms or a box of candy hearts with their name written on the back in Sharpie pen.
We compromised. I cooked up these little Valentine “medicine bottles” that are filled with mini M&Ms. We printed stickers that looked like prescription labels. The labels say, “Heart Medicine” and have a use by date of 2/14/15. I got the satisfaction of a homemade, crafty Valentine, and my kids are happy because it involves candy.
Mini plastic bottles with lids (I used Bead Landing 6.3″ x 5.3″ x 1.4″ bead storage jars, sold in a box of 30)
I had zero inspiration for Valentine’s cards this year. Last year, I planned the Matchbox Valentine months ahead, but no lightning bolts were happening this Valentine’s season. It is with heavy heart that I must admit that I completely lifted our Valentine’s cards idea from Pinterest. Mr. Star Wars and Miss Priss love them, so maybe it is not such a terrible thing, and they were easy to make in bulk. I would like to thank Kim at 733blog.com for posting the original Tic Tac Toe Valentine’s card idea.
I created a 2-column template in a Word document (link in the materials list below). I inserted a table in the document and removed the borders to build the tic tac toe board. The part I find clever about the card is the “XOXO” part at the bottom. It is a traditional closing on a card as well as an homage to the Tic Tac Toe game. Yes, I know that detail will be lost on the 1st and 3rd graders who will be receiving these Tic Tac Toe cards Friday.
Print the cards in color on white cardstock. My template prints 4 to a page. Rather than burn out my printer, I used FedEx Office for this job. The color print and cardstock paper is much better quality than what I could print on my home printer.
When I picked up the print job, I stayed at the store and used their paper cutter to make sure the card cuts were consistent and even. It was a lot of cutting because I needed to cut all edges, not just down the center. This was a tedious part of the process. The finished cards are 4 1/2″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide.
Sign the bottom of each card after the XOXO. We used bright colored Sharpie pens in reds, pinks, and purples.
Put one card in a clear bag.
Add 4 M&M’s of one color and 5 M&M’s of another color to the bag with the card. Make sure to insert the M&M’s on top of the front of the card. Here is an interesting little tidbit– there are hardly any white M&M’s in the Valentine’s M&M’s mix. The majority are red (isn’t that the poisonous dye color?), and the two shades of pink have about an even amount of each. We dumped out the whole bag of candies and sorted into color piles before assembling the Valentine’s treat bags. A 12-ounce bag of M&M’s made ~37 Valentine’s bags (9 M&M’s per treat bag).
Seal the bag. I used my 4″ x 6″ ziploc bead bags from Michael Crafts. Clear gift bags with a twist tie or curly ribbon would be cute too but more time consuming to close securely.
I found this snack idea on Pinterest, and it actually looked like the original picture when we finished making them! These little bites are easy and taste delicious. They have that perfect salty and sweet combination. We are eating them so fast, they may not make it to our neighborhood 4th of July party (which is the reason I made them in the first place).
The Ingredients: Snyder’s Snaps Pretzels (the ones that look like a tic tac toe board), Hershey Kisses, M&Ms (plain and/or peanut)
The Directions: Line up pretzels on a cookie sheet. Put one Hershey kiss on each pretzel. Bake at 275 degrees for ~3 minutes. Take out of the oven and immediately smush M&M into the top. Refrigerate to re-harden the Hershey kiss.
Variations: Whatever holiday, smush the coordinating colored M&M. Halloween– orange. Christmas– red and green. Valentine’s Day– pink, red, and white. St. Patrick’s Day– green. You get the idea.
** I had a student give me a bag of these little morsels at Christmas. He (and by “he” I mean the mom) made them to look like Rudolph. I know they used the mini traditional shaped pretzel and a red mini M&M for the nose. I ate them before I thought to pay attention to the construction. If anyone has made the reindeer version, please let me know the details!