Which Holiday is It, Again?

I am always just a little (or a lot) behind around here.  I like life busy and crowded and interesting and very creative, so that means there are often a few loose ends.  Then throw in the occasional crisis, or diversion like my eye surgery, and things really go to pot.  So, as I geared up for the Valentine’s Day party I have thrown for my children for many years, there were some holdovers from previous holidays.

This pumpkin was one of seven which I had purchased right before Halloween when they got deeply discounted.  All the others went moldy and were composted, this one has hung on, although on its lower left flank you can see it starting to go.  We kept one pumpkin until Easter one year, whereupon it collapsed spectacularly into a puddle of goo, ruining the top of a tansu chest.  We never learn, although this one is more prudently being kept on the floor.

Then, there is the Christmas tree.  Still up, no one has lighted or watered it for weeks.  I don’t decorate for Christmas so was unable (and disinclined) to take it down because I didn’t know where any of the parts went, except the tree itself (I know where things go outside).  I made many appointments with the youngest child, who knows where all the stuff goes, but something always intervened, so we ended up with a very sad tree in the middle of February.

However, because I am also completely behind in the laundry, I had a festive, and appropriate shirt to wear for the dismantling because it was the only clean one in my closet.

Thus attired I corralled the kids and we got the tree undecorated, the ornaments put away, the boxes labeled with my spiffy new label-maker, and the rule made that in future years nobody can go back to college while the Christmas tree is still up.

dry trees shed a lot of needles

Once we got the previous holidays resolved we were able to move on to the current one.  And after a lot of cooking, and cleaning, and fussing around in the craft-supply boxes, this is what we got.

The Valentine’s Day party is a tradition of many years standing now.  It started as a surprise after-school snack for the older kids prepared by the youngest one and me when he was only two or three years old.  We cooked and decorated and made Valentines all day long and they came home to a fun event.  We all loved it, and so it continued, with the surprise element wearing out after a couple of years.  Then, as schedules got more fragmented, and Valentine’s came on the weekend a couple of times it became a party where everyone pitched in to help put it on.  The format and the menu has remained unchanged, however.

heart-shaped sandwiches and pink milk

pink-tinted rice krispie treats

sugar cookies with lemon glaze; the heart quins are new this year

chocolate cake with a powdered sugar heart

There is also fruit salad, but we have never found any way to make it thematic, so it is just cut-up oranges, apples and frozen blueberries.  Very important are the home-made valentines of various levels of effort and skill (the oldest son’s cards this year wished us all a Merry Valentine’s Day, perhaps inspired by the presence of the very dead Christmas tree).  I make a different card each year.  This year’s card I made on the sewing machine, with the heart and the spider added by hand.  The inscription read “You’ve captured my heart”.  Corniness is strongly encouraged.

We also had a new element this year, in the spirit of “use what you have”, which was the very touching heart pumpkin.  Only time will tell if this becomes a permanent part of the event.

We all had a lovely time, then once again everyone scattered, leaving this in their wake.

leftovers, yum

Sigh.  Well, at least we finally got the tree down.  Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody, however, and with whomever, you celebrate.

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