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Challenge: Be My Valentine

Easy and Affordable DIY Valentine's Day Party (Plus, A Major Mom Fail)

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There's one week till Valentine's Day. How are you celebrating?

We invited a few of my daughter's friends over for a fun DIY party, where they decorated their own mailboxes, made and exchanged cards and even colored cookies. The best part? It didn't take much effort at all. Almost every item was from Target (one-stop shopping), which means it was on the cheap too! No Pinterest perfection here, just some store bought things arranged in a playful way.

But, it wouldn't be one of my parties without an epic mom fail. In an effort to prep ahead, I made mini heart cakes the day before. (The Funfetti boxed kind. Mama ain't got time for scratch.) I placed them in Tupperware and hid them in the oven so my kids wouldn't see them. I even warned my husband not to turn it on the night before. You know where this is going...

The day of the party, I was running errands, rushed to get my son from school, was making his lunch, trying to clean up and prep and preheated the oven to bake the cookies. Well, my friends, the smell and the smoke alarm simultaneously reminded me about the cakes and their containers. "Shit. Shit Shit." I started screaming. I threw open the oven door to find the cakes encased in melted, smoking plastic. I turned the oven off, grabbed the damaged goods and threw them outside. (Surprisingly, the cakes were still intact and, for a moment, I contemplated serving them. Then, I envisioned other people's children getting sick from BPA poisoning, on my watch, and discarded that plan.) Much like candle wax, there was disintegrated plastic everywhere. I grabbed what I could and waited for the rest to harden so I could scrape it off without burning myself. I spent the next hour, which I did not have, with scissors, a knife and a lighter, scraping, cutting and remelting. Despite opening doors, turning on the fan and lighting candles, the house reeked. Once it cleared out and the oven was cleaned, I tried to reheat it to bake the cookies. That was a no-go. The house filled back up with the same smell that will forever haunt me. So I ran the heart shaped dough over to my friend's house and she kindly baked them for me, just in time for me to pick up the girls from school, in the pouring rain, with the warm sheet pan on my lap.

Did the kids care about the missing cakes? Of course not. It was all me. Trying to be the mom doing it all. This was just one more reminder that I can't and that's okay.

Now, back to the party...

For every kids event, I cover the table with white craft paper to not only protect my furniture, but also make for easy cleanup. It acts as a blank canvas that they create on as well.

I put red mailboxes at each girl's station and used stickers as confetti because I'm all about a twofer to save money.

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I placed colored craft hearts (Ours are old, but you can find something similar at your local craft store.) on the table to also help decorate the boxes.

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And, I put containers filled with crayons, markers, pens, scissors, glue and pom poms on the table.

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I poured sparkling pink lemonade (I'll run a theme into the ground.) into plastic soda bottles to make it more fun for the kids.

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Burned cakes be dammed, I think my girl was pretty happy with her mama's efforts.

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The mailboxes turned out so cute.

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Next, it was on to the cards...

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Next up: Coloring on cookies (with food paper and markers), which they found so fun.

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When it was time to say goodbye, each girl went home a personalized mailbox filled with a slap bracelet, bath bomb, bandages, tattoos, conversation hearts, mini mazes and slinkies, which are all from the dollar bin. I filled the remainder with Valentine gummies and kisses.

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They were also gifted with a blank book to write (or draw) their own love stories.

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And, finally, a fun themed balloon. Did I mention how much I love the dollar bin? (#NOTsponsored)

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I'd love to hear what you have planned for Valentine's Day- or, more realistically, about your latest mom fail. Come say hello at @natsnextadventure!

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