After a ten year absence from Valentine’s in America, I had forgotten how over the top this nation celebrates. HLY CUPID! The word ‘bonkers’ springs to mind.  The local grocery stores have been outfitted in red hearts and roses since January 2nd.  We welcomed in the new year and then almost overnight St. Nicholas’ crackers, cookies, candies, chocolates, and marshmallows metamorphosized into red and pink treats for St. Valentine.

BONKERS.

I was hit by cupid’s arrow a few weeks back and found myself making a detour past Party City to brainstorm card ideas for Ouisie’s preschool party. I wanted non-candy treats. After a month of Christmas cookies, and a week of celebrating Ouisie’s 4th birthday I am completely sugared out.

Less than an hour later, I walked out with a bag full of trinkets averaging just $.85 per item. Two of my other favourite bargain spots for class gifts are Target and Michaels. So many choices…. so little time!

Below are eight “sugar free” designs with printable templates. Simply print the design onto cardstock, cut out the cards, stick the toy on with a dot of hot glue, and share some LVE.

Valentine Collage

GOOD FORTUNE 

In the spirit of the Chinese New Year, why not tell your Valentines how fortunate you are to know them? While you hope never to erase any friendship from your heart, I could not resist the fortune cookie shaped erasers from Michaels. What’s more, I love erasers and think one can never have enough of them– or good fortune. Template: GoodFortune

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HEART BOING! 

Who can forget how that first Valentine’s crush made your heart bounce at recess? Young love is sporadic and bouncy like a ball. The BOING! card was inspired by youthful hearts and the endless entertainment from a bouncy ball. Template: HeartBoing

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♥ LOST WITHOUT YOU 

Face it, we would all be lost without our friends.  While I do not recommend trusting these compass rings on your next safari trek, they are sufficient for little adventurers who just want to solve mysteries and find buried treasures in the garden. As the compass is a ring, I used an x-acto knife to make a small slit and pushed the base of the ring through the card.  Template: Lost Without You

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♥ LOVE BUG 

Love bugs. We are all guilty of being bitten by them. They’re the pest we can’t live with– or without. These creepy crawlers were irresistibly cute and, bonus, they are finger puppets. Various insects can be found at Party City. You can thank me later for inviting pests into your love nest. Template: LoveBug

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♥ PICTURE PERFECT 

As a photo enthusiast, and lover of Fisher-Price view masters, I had to make a card with these cute mini versions. Say ‘cheese’! Template: PicturePerfect

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♥ SAY JUMP! 

You know those loved ones you go the extra mile for without batting an eye? One look at this plastic paratrooper and I knew he believed in unconditional love. If you say jump. I’ll ask, how high? Template: Say Jump 

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♥ WRITE ON 

Who does not like a new pencil or pen? Find one coated in glitter, and you’ve got a winning stylus for any kid. Template: WriteOn

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♥ YOU SPIN ME RIGHT ROUND 

Take a spinning noise maker, a 1980’s new wave song, and my scrambled brain, and you get this original love note. Template: Spin Me Right Round

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After such a long hiatus without Valentine’s, I had forgotten how much I LVE the uber cheesiness of the holiday. Wishing to top off the cheese with even more cheese, I will close with a riddle:

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Atlas.

Atlas who?

Atlas Valentine’s Day is here!

xoxo