7 Unique and Creative Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

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Love is in the air! For as long as I can remember, I've said what I wanted to say with Hallmark Signature Cards. Find out why they're the BEST, and other ways to celebrate Valentine's Day this year. #ad #SendingYourLove

I think it goes without saying, but I will never forget my first Valentine’s Day with a boyfriend.

It was so wrong! And so right. It was wrong because I was just getting over the flu so my body was telling me to go lie down for a few hours, or weeks. And we didn’t know to book a restaurant for dinner so we couldn’t find a single place to eat! This was before cell phones so we couldn’t call ahead while driving. We just walked in and out of restaurants and were disappointed each time. Finally, we found a table at a popular Italian place but not until 9pm! I couldn’t help but laugh.

Our Valentine’s Day was so right because, well, we loved each other! We were young and inspired. We exchanged greeting cards and chocolates, and he gave me a giant stuffed bear. I fell asleep with it that night. Ah, Valentine’s Day of youth!

That was the first of many Valentine’s Days in which I wasn’t single. I don’t tell this to many people, but it’s my favorite holiday! It’s so pretty. One of the main reasons I love it so much is the element of surprise. Whether you’re single, taken, or married, you never really know what will happen. And sometimes you have to create that magic and mystery yourself. There’s nothing wrong with that! I think of it as a family holiday, but then that leads me back to what started my family. My relationship with my husband. So whether snuggling close with him, or with all four of us, I know it will be a gorgeous day.

For as long as I can remember, I have expressed myself in words. And for as long as I can remember, I have relied on Hallmark Signature Cards to be the beginning of my expression of feelings. Gifting cards is so important. Hallmark Signature Cards have been my top choice and my sister and I would try to top each other with the BEST and MOST appropriate and relevant cards. Whether to each other, or to the idea of romance in our lives down the line. In fact, if I saw a particularly romantic card at the store, I would buy it. Even when single. It’s because it gave me something to dream about and to look forward to – a real, messy, wonderful, expressive love. And gosh, I have found that.

In fact, I was super excited to go to Walmart last week to get a head start on my Valentine buying. It seriously gives me glee! You can often hear me laughing or maybe even see me wiping away tears in the card aisle. It’s PERFECT for me:

At Walmart, you can find the newest collection of Hallmark Signature Cards for Valentine’s Day. When you go to Walmart, it’s easy to get everything you need – including the perfect card. Hallmark always has a card for everything. Their wide range of cards covers you from every day and birthday, to special occasion and seasonal. My eye is on the prize!

Like I was saying above, sometimes you have to create your own magic on Valentine’s Day. There’s no use sitting and waiting for what will happen. You can make it happen! Here are 7 Unique and Creative Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day:

1 – Instead of going out, and trying to find a private or quiet place to eat, choose a home cooked meal. Not only that, make it together! Maybe one of you cooks and one doesn’t. Maybe you both do, or neither do, but you can try a meal or week’s worth of meals from a meal subscription service. That can be fun, and romantic. We did that last week. Delicious.

2 – Instead of a night spent alone, spring for a girls’ night out or even a solo date with a movie and ice cream. (my favorite)

3 – Instead of flowers, try a plant. It lasts longer. Or maybe plant a tree. You never know how big it will get.

4 – Instead of chocolates, make a dessert together. If you are already making dinner together, great. If not, sometimes it’s fun to focus on making one part of a romantic dinner. Dessert is a favorite meal for some! (me)

5 – Instead of an exotic weekend getaway, (which actually sounds awesome, but money, and time, and kids) be a tourist in your own town. We have a little city full of treasures we have yet to discover. And there’s always more to discover.

6 – Instead of a solo date, consider a group date! Split the duties and the costs and have a ton of fun. Another idea is to volunteer on Valentine’s Day. Pay a visit to people in extra need of love this year.

7 – Instead of fumbling for the words to say, let Hallmark Signature Cards be your guide. They’re always mine. Sometimes it’s just as meaningful, if not more, to find the meanings in these beautiful cards. I ALWAYS find ones that say exactly what I want to say. In fact, I have a great idea. Write a haiku in your card. It’s simple and it’s a way to say so much, in not so many words. Just like a card. It’s unique and creative and doesn’t put too much pressure on you. Try it!

In fact, I’ll write one right now:

Love is quite simple
It only needs an open heart
Wild, ready to soar

Be sure to look for a coupon in the aisle at Walmart, where you can save $2 on 3 Hallmark Valentine’s Day Cards! Right now through Ibotta at Walmart, earn $1 back on any Hallmark Valentine’s Cards priced $2.97 and above! Offer through 2/14 or while supplies last.

Make sure to check out the Hallmark Valentine’s Day hub for more inspiration and to find a store near you!

What’s your favorite creative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

5 Tips For Hosting a Big Game Party

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com.

Having a big game party? We are too! We're so excited to host out-of-towners, and we're prepared to WOW them with these 5 easy tips. #ad #BigGameBBxx

You know by now that we’re party people!

Right? Right. We love attention to detail. Like at our wedding when people started getting hungry again, long after the cake was cut, and we served mashed potatoes in martini glasses with a rolling cart filled with toppings. That was magical. And I’ll never forget the kids’ birthday party a few years back, when we had had games, bounce house time, cake, and presents, and then Cassidy came out with a cotton candy machine. Right then and there! Details matter. And we love parties a lot.

To put it mildly.

On Sunday, my father-in-law is coming over. We haven’t seen him since we were in Florida and I know that Cassidy is excited. While planning the menu, we have been thinking about all the little touches that will make it special for all four of us, plus Grandpa Larry. Now I’m not going to say what team we’re rooting for, but I can tell you what food we’re rooting for! And that’s my number 1 tip for planning a big game party. Think of the excellent touches! I’ve got you covered!

1 – Create your food spread with taste, variety, a little fanciness, and versatility in mind.

First, we have RAGÚ® Old World Style Sauce and RAGÚ® Double Cheddar Sauce. YUM. We have always enjoyed the taste of RAGÚ® brand’s heritage with RAGÚ® Old World Style Traditional spaghetti sauce, because it’s a classic pasta sauce crafted with vine-ripened tomatoes and well-storied passion. It’s smooth and flavorful and contains TWO servings of vegetables in every 1/2 cup of sauce. Here’s a recipe we love to to pair it with. And we use RAGÚ® Double Cheddar Sauce for the best mac & cheese. Seriously. We even serve it as an appetizer. The best appetizers are made with RAGÚ® Double Cheddar Sauce! My favorite way to use it is for a roasted broccoli recipe for parties. That’s about perfection for me.

Next, we have Garden of Eatin’® Chips. Holy cow do I love these! Organic corn chips make a tasty and better-for-you snack. All their quality snacks are made with quality, NON-GMO ingredients with a delicious twist on a conventional favorite: Garden of Eatin’® Organic Corn Chips. They are available nationwide in three must-try flavors: Corn Chips with Sea Salt, Corn Chips BBQ Black Bean, and Blue Corn Chips with Sea Salt. I have to be honest – they are ALL good – but my favorite is Corn Chips BBQ Black Bean. Um.. hello. It’s awesome. I love BBQ EVERYTHING. It’s all this flavor with better-for-you ingredients. What’s not to love? And you can love it too! This downloadable coupon is for $.075 off any ONE variety!

After that we have the BIG AZ® Sriracha Chicken Sandwich! So delicious. They are sold at convenience stores all around the United States from the refrigerator OR from a sandwich warmer. They are filling and inexpensive and the BIG AZ® Sriracha Chicken Sandwich with cheese delivers a kick with its tangy-sweet hot sauce. Sriracha-covered grilled chicken is topped with a slice of cheese and served on Advance Pierre’s signature corn-dusted bun for extreme yumminess. The line of sandwiches has a wide variety of products and they make delicious meals no matter the time of day. They offer over 9 lunch sandwiches and 4 breakfast sandwiches to satisfy BIG AZ hunger! Also, they’re totally delicious and satisfying.

We also have a Midea Air Fryer! Total awesomeness as I have always wanted one, and the new MFTN3501 Air Fryer is going to be the MVP of your party. It allows you and your guests to enjoy the classic and crisp taste of fried foods with less than 80 percent of the fat than if they were deep fried. The air fryer is powered by 1500 watts of super-heated air that circulates in the chamber. Adding just a small amount of oil, the MFTN3501 cooks your favorite game day foods like wings, fries, and more, while allowing the excess fats from food ingredients to fall away. You can also use the Midea to grill, bake, and roast! The retail price is $89.99. I even use mine for toast! I think everything has a both lighter and crisper taste from it.

Now, if there’s something you know about me, it’s that I LOVE cheese. Especially Formaggio Italian Cheeses. Oh boy – do I. What do WE serve on the big game day, knowing we’re experts in anything cheese? We make a charcuterie board with a Fresh Marinated Mozzarella Salad Cup, as well as Artisan Wraps Italian style. The Fresh Marinated Mozzarella Salad Cup has their Award-Winning fresh mozzarella, hand tossed in a famous marinade of delectable herbs and spices.

Then the Artisan Wraps are meat and cheese wraps hand-rolled with love. Think savory meats wrapped around a soft creamy center of fresh mozzarella. Both products are best served at room temperature, and you can find them in Sam’s Club and Costco. I love to add multi-grain crackers and berries. This is really the BEST. Find some olives and it will be delightful.

Other favorite party pleasers are Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce and Smoky Ketchup from Red Duck Foods. The smoky ketchup is lower in sugar and sodium than counterparts. It’s delicious to cook with, and we use it for our turkey chili! You can also use it for soup or anything that calls for tomato paste. This ketchup actually tastes like tomatoes! The Smoked Applewood Molasses BBQ Sauce isn’t TOO sweet, and is delicious beyond traditional BBQ. We use it for breakfast hash and even pizza. It’s made with whole, honest ingredients and doesn’t contain things like natural or artificial colorings, preservatives, or stabilizers. And since I love you so much, if you use the code: BABBLEBOXX, it’s good for 25% off any purchase through February 28th, 2018! Link HERE. Definitely don’t miss that discount code!

I hope you liked my list of top party pleasers! Here are the rest of my big game party tips:

2 – Step it up with your decorations! I mean, your other bowl is already amazing, so why not use proper decorations? One thing we did once was put all of our chairs together on two sides to look like bleacher. And they were facing each other! Maybe some jeering was involved. We also gave our kids whistles and flags. Aren’t we insane? Well it was fun!

3 – Get your sight and sound ready. Sometimes upgrades are in order because you can’t watch the big game on a tiny screen! My husband will often have the game playing on two different screens in the house. That can be rather fun.

4 – Football lanterns! They’re easy to find (we had ours shipped) and are a big party pleaser!

5 – Keep your home clean and comfy. In fact, I made you an awesome video!

Which product are you most excited to try?