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Tuesday, January 23, 2024

I'm not always living in the past

This week, I've also been living in the future, the near future that is. 

I'm gathering my Valentine's things and those things that can "pass" for Valentine-oriented decor and scattering them about. Since Valentine's Day is a minor holiday (and I think overly-commercialized), our decorations and celebrations tend to be frugal. In keeping with that mindset, I like to repurpose other items we have around the house.

My sister-in-law gave this cast iron heart mold to me about 30 years ago. I've brought it out to use as a decor piece for February and to make heart-shaped biscuits in the coming weeks. Right now it's resting against the backsplash of the kitchen counter.

Here's our Valentine's tree. In a pile of sticks and small branches outside I found a bare evergreen branch (all the needles have fallen off). It looked like just the sort of branch that could make a nice Valentine's tree. I also have 7 gold-painted glass heart ornaments that are used on the Christmas tree each year. So, I got out my can of gold spray paint and painted the branch to make a gold tree. I stuck the new "tree" into a pot that had floral foam already inside, hung the ornaments, and voila, a tabletop Valentine's tree. I had wanted a white painted little tree, but gold paint is what I had.

I've seen several Valentine garlands on fireplace mantels online. Many of them are lighted. I like the look of a lighted garland this time of year in the living room. The days end early, so we can enjoy the lights in the evening hours. I had a pink painted, wooden heart garland that I made years ago. Since I'm going for a gold, white, and pink theme, here, I used my gold pen to add a gold edging to each heart (not visible in the photo). I scavenged a white light strand from my daughters' childhood room stuff. The lights had small pastel shades on each light bulb -- I carefully pulled each shade off. Next I entwined the pink heart garland with the light strand and hung them on the mantel. 

We're still working on some decorations as well as planning Valentine's Day meals. I know it may be early for some to be thinking about Valentine's Day. My medical and dental appointments start up again February 1. So, in part I'm distracting myself from what's to come and also getting ahead in case February finds me busy again.

How about you? Do you like or dislike the thought of putting up Valentine's decorations? 


  1. I enjoyed seeing your festive Valentine decorations. I don't typically put any out - but I like seeing what others do.

    I did make a couple of your "recipes the world forgot", however. What surprised us was how good the Cabbage Plate was. I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and thought I would just give it a try. I'll definitely be putting it on my rotation. And hubs always enjoys a good casserole, so the chicken rice recipe was a winner.

    1. Hi Ruthie,
      I like the phrase you used -- "recipes the world forgot." Wasn't the cabbage dish a surprise? I really didn't think we would like it. But it was a delicious and flavorful way to serve cooked cabbage. I'm glad you enjoyed the recipes that you tried.

  2. Putting out Valentine's Day decorations sounds like a good distraction. Maybe you could make another dinner from you mother's cookbook for another one.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      That's a great suggestion! Distracting myself helps right now. It's a way to live in the moment and not think as much about the future.

  3. I'm not one to decorate for holidays except for Christmas and that is just a very simple decor. I won't be making special meals based on a holiday either. For just the two of us it just isn't worth it. We can hardly eat through meals during the week because we just can't eat so much food. I try to cut down on what I make but I also want the leftovers for a meal during the week. I just can't get the balance.

    1. Hi Alice,
      Do you freeze leftovers to use for quick future meals? After my father passed away, my stepmom told me that cooking for one was challenging. What she ended up doing was cooking the amounts that she would have for herself and my father, then freezing half to make a quick lunch or dinner at another time. I've thought about this for myself and husband when someday it'll just be two that I'm cooking for. We don't eat as much as we used to on top of a someday shrinking household will mean we'll have a lot of leftovers, too. Good luck to you as you continue to navigate cooking for two.

  4. We keep our Valentine's celebrations small, and I don't decorate, but I like your decorations! It sound like they give you a lot of cheer. I'm with you on having fairy lights on the mantel during the dark months of winter. They are cheerful and I somehow feel warmer when I see them.

    Ugh, sorry that you are getting back to the medical/dental stuff again. I would also be trying to distract myself, in your shoes.

    1. Hi Kris,
      One of my neighbors keeps fairy lights on their mantel throughout winter. They do seem psychologically warming.
      Thanks. I'm trying not to think too far into the future.

  5. The discussion the past couple of days of leftovers is interesting. My dad hated leftovers when i was a kid, from eating the way they did. But my husband loves leftovers (many things do taste better a couple of days later), and often ribs me about not making a big enough batch of something good I've cooked for him. Fortunately, I enjoy the pattern of cooking "big" one day, then enjoying subsequent meals from the freezer. Also, I eat a rotation diet, so it's different every day. That makes it extra nice to know that there's something ready-made for Day 3 or whatever, just waiting to be heated up. So that's something we often do. Managing leftovers is a habit, though, which I know is less-natural for some people than others.

    As for Valentine's Day, I love the idea of it, though we're not big consumers. So I do have some heart-shaped things we've picked up over the years which we display, and we always make something special for Valentine's dinner. I like your decorations! Sara

    1. P.S. We ARE fortunate to have a lot of freezer space, which makes this practical. Our DS would like to do this, but has a small and unreliable freezer compartment on his fridge. Sara


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