Ding Dong Dashing the Neighbors



Day Twelve: Ready to “Ding Dong Dash” the neighbors on Friday! 

Ok, almost ready! Geo, bless his soul, made handmade caramels for family and friends last night — my job today was to wrap them up and assemble little care packages. I had cut all all the wax paper,  assembled all the ribbon and cello, and made one package when my day said, “Hello, other plans!”  

Who knew Wednesday could be so pushy? 



So, guess who will be wrapping up these babies tonight and tomorrow? Yeah, this girl!

If making caramels isn’t your thing (and I tried, the kid won’t give up his “secret” recipe) and you don’t have an adorable college student to talk into doing the job for you, this little package works just as well with store bought candy or cookies or really anything you’d want to leave as a gift! You can make these door packages in 3 easy steps!



  • Candy
  • Cellophane
  • Ribbon
  • Wire Garland 


  1. Cut out a large square of cello. I just plop whatever I’m wrapping up on the roll of cello and cut a square that will give me a bit of extra at the top.
  2. Tie closed with ribbon of your choice. 
  3. Cut a piece of wire garland (about 15″). Create a “loop” by twisting it closed at about 3-4″ from the ends. Then twist those ends around your package where you tied your ribbon. And that’s it.

Now the hard part: leaving them on your neighbor’s door without getting caught. Good luck! 

Taking Care



Day Eleven: Take good care. Whatever that care might look like. Sometimes, romance is just being there for your person. 

I dropped Geo off for his morning class and headed down to the church to touch bases with our church administrator. Get a feel for how Sunday went–just a quick check in before heading back home to my day jobs. Since we were iced/snowed in this Sunday,  I had left instructions with staff for all my kiddos to use their activity bags (stuffed with fun things to color, a snack, stickers!) if I didn’t make it down the hill to teach Sunday School. 

Clearly, I didn’t. 

So, I was a little surprised to find our Sunday School classroom trashed. Art supplies everywhere — small children had clearly been making things in the space last Sunday when they should have been hanging out with their parents using their activity bags. 

Which, for the record, I’m typically cool about. The kids know they’re allowed to use the craft supplies just so long as they put everything back. I’m  more than happy to let you play and create when I’m not there: but I’m not keen on picking up your messes. We’ve had this conversation. More than once. And as a church, we have this conversation every February: we call it Stewardship! 

And as if it was not enough, I walked into the girl’s bathroom and found my feet sticking to the floor. Oh, the ewww factor. The more I looked around the space, the more I knew that it needed some real care.   It’s not my job to clean those spaces, but it was clear those spaces needed some love.

After talking with our administrator, I headed home and told IZ, “I’m so peeved at the moment, but it would be a really good idea if I went back and cleaned right now. I just hate to strand you at work.” 

“It’s OK, you should go. You clean better when you’re angry anyhow.”

Oh, did I mention I clean best when I’m angry? Yeah, I do. 

Here’s the thing, I had plans for today. Plans for my job job, plans for Mirieo and this blog, plans that did not involve deep cleaning a public bathroom and classroom at church. 

But I also knew that these things needed to be done and well, I might as well do it now when I’m motivated.

As IZ shooed me out the door, I realized: sometimes plans fall through. And sometimes, true love is about taking good care of the people and things in your life.  

Caring for a church and the children in it: even when they trash rooms when  they shouldn’t.

Caring for a loved one and making room for them to do the important things to them, even when it doesn’t fit your agenda. Saying, “GO!” when it would be better for you if they stayed.

It’s now 3 pm. The girl’s bathroom is less sticky. My classroom is picked up (thanks to the lovely ministerial staff who saw the problem and fixed it for me). I’m a bit spent from all the cleaning and if I’m honest, all I really want right now is a Starbucks. 

As Valentine’s Day approaches we are all focused on the beautiful — and so we should be. Cards and flowers and poetry, these are the things we cherish. These are the gestures of love. I’m not a skeptic, I think these gestures have staying power. It’s why we keep doing them: they work!

But I also treasure that romantic gesture of being “seen”. Of having someone understand what is important to me (even if it’s being a bit OCD about a bathroom at church!) and supporting me. 

When that same person can say, “Really? You just need a Starbucks?” — well, that might just be love in a paper cup. 

How do you take care of the ones you love? 


Quick Valentines: Stickers to the Rescue



Day Ten: Quick Valentines. Dress up some store-bought candy with stickers and then hide them in places where they can be found. 

Ok, this one is for all those people out there who are last minute OR have teenagers OR both. You know who you are!

I think my 17 year old still likes getting a Valentine from his mom. But… you can never be too sure. My hunch is, he’d  be so sad if I didn’t do Valentines–but only as long as I don’t stage some flashy public display that would embarrass him. So, yes to the candy. No to the balloon delivery at college. 

I would never do that, for the record. But you get my point. They’re temperamental creatures, handle with care. And if they don’t have a Valentine of their own this year, all the more reason to carefully litter their world with love. 

But this is also great idea for you last minute Valentine people!  All you need are some stickers and an imagination. Everybody likes a bit of chocolate, but you certainly don’t have to limit it to candy. Replace the fruit label on their orange or apple with a heart sticker and toss it into a lunch bag. Or sneak a heart sticker onto a much used water bottle, or on the front of a credit card in a wallet. Just make sure your sticker is someplace it will get seen. 

Like, say, a backpack!



(I took took this photo this morning while he was running around getting ready for class. I don’t even think he noticed me standing there with a camera!)

The upside to a simple sticker, is that if your teen finds this “love memo” in a very public place (like the cafeteria!) it’s not nearly as embarrassing as a writing all over their lunch stack, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. XOXOXO MOM.” 

And if you’re the last minute type, well– a sneaky little sticker might just save your holiday. (PS, if your local store is all sold out of Valentine themed stickers, check out your local business supply store. They often have gold foil heart stickers all year round!) 


A Fine Little Romance



Day Nine: A Little Romance. (I wrote this piece a few years back and it still holds. Romance is in the eye of the beholder!) 

Valentine Cookie Round-Up

Day Eight: Who doesn’t love a little Valentine Cookie to nibble? While it might be tempting to grab a box of store bought (those boxes sure sing to me!) if you have the time, these recipes and ideas are worth the effort. And in some cases, there’s not much effort required! So, why not bake up a little love? 

Valentine Cookie Round-Up


Raspberry Lemon Squares by Lick the Spoon. More of a dessert!



I love everything about Ella Claire: and these gorgeous cookies are just the beginning of the goodness on her blog. Easy Strawberry and Cream cookies. 


a pretty cool life


Peanut Butter Blossoms. (photo credit: A Pretty Cool Life) No recipe here: but it’s pretty easy. Top you favorite peanut butter cookie with a chocolate heart. Add the candy fresh from the oven  while the cookies are still warm! 


Classic Linzer cookies. Via Attic Lace. 


pretzel cookies

Learn how to make these cute dipped pretzels. Easy, fun, and so festive. Over on Love from the Oven.

And so good! Easy Valentine’s  Day Cookies. These would be fun to do with the kids! via Family Fresh Meals.



 Fun pinwheel cookies in red and white from The Shine Project.



Sophisticated French Filled Macaroons that are easy to make! via bhg. 



 Completely worth the effort! Heart Sandwich Cookies from Martha. Oh Martha. We love you. 


Want to bake up some love this Valentine’s Day? Follow my pinterest board: Creating Everyday Romance for  more fabulous ideas and recipes.