Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day... a little late!

Valentine's Day is, although very commercial, very cute. It's fun. It's a nice excuse to get a box of chocolates. :-) Goodness knows I'm a chocoholic! DH did well this year, and got me a box of Ghiradelli chocolates. Yum!

It's also cute because of the kidlets and their Valentines. I remember being in grade school, and trading cards. I could give the boy on whom I had a secret crush a valentine, and he'd never know that I had a crush on him because everyone else got one too. Sounds weird, but it was just the fact that I could express my "love" to him without him knowing it that was great.

Thing One and Thing Two were very excited about Valentine's Day this year. And I have to say, I was excited for them! I bought super cool (by my standards) Valentines last year for them to give out this year. I got them on an after season clearance sale for about fifty cents a box. Yay me! Thing one had cool leggo sticker puzzle cards, and Thing Two had cute 3-D cards. (The ones that are wavy plastic on top. When you hold them one way you see one thing, and if you hold them the other, you see something else.) Both were very cool. Each kiddo was going to get a lollipop taped to their card. (In MY day's it would have been a lollipop taped to their ENVELOPE. When did Valentine's stop coming with envelopes? What a PIA.)

Well, theeen I found that Chuck E. Cheese had FREE printable Valentines online. The side of the Valentine was a coupon for five FREE tokens. How fun would that be for the kids, I thought. My kids go NUTS over CEC.

Unfortunately, I later realized that the coupon was only good with a food purchase. DRAT! They were already printed and cut. They were going out anyway. They could sit in other parents homes like the Wendy's or Friendly's coupons that we get.

But THHHEEEENNN I found a cute tutorial on making heart shaped lollipops out of mini candy canes. Actually, I found this shortly after Christmas, stocked up on mini candy canes, and forgot about them. Well, that is, until one box fell face down on the floor, and almost off of the candy canes inside broke. And then I forgot again until another box fell and broke. That's when I decided to move the boxes off the sewing table. :-P

So the night before the big Valentine's Day party I, with house guests, remembered to make my lollipops. After all, how hard could they be, right? Five minutes in a 300 degree oven, insert lollipop stick, pinch closed, cool, wrap. Easy as pie.... Well, I'm not very good at cooking pie... Ask my family who, ever so nicely, attempted to eat my Shoo Fly pie that I made for Thanksgiving last year. That's a mistake I won't make again. Same with these lollipops.

Really, they're a very simple idea. Bake until they just start to melt. This is supposed to take around five minutes. Well, it didn't. First batch, not six minutes either. So up I went to read the kids a QUICK story. Came back down, and they were a meltly, unrecognizable mess on the tray. Good thing I still had six boxes of good candy canes!

Next batch went in the oven. Next batch still was not melted at five minutes or six minutes. At approx six minutes and 22 seconds, they were a melty mess, but still resembled candy cane hearts. They were going to preschoolers and kindergartners, so they were good enough for me!

Time to put the sticks in place. Well, that was a whole other ball game. The tutorial mentioned to be careful because the pan would still be HOT, but failed to say, "Hey, Stupid! You just melted hard candy. While it's still pliable, it's going to be scorching hot!" I found this out the hard way. I also realized that the candy cools down VERY fast. Too fast, as a matter of fact, to get all of my lollipop sticks situated, so I had to put them back in the oven to remelt them, and hope that I didn't OVER melt them.

Batch number three was in the oven, and D asked me if I had any good ones yet. She saw the yukky mess of the first batch. I gave her a curt "NO," but didn't mean it snippy towards her, but just because I was frustrated in general. She laughed, and told me that she was only joking when she asked. Her laughing lightened me for a few. A laugh with D will always do this. :-)

I finally started putting the lollipop sticks in the oven as I was melting the candy. It saved a few precious seconds, and seemed to work better. The lollipops started working and looking better, and as I said, they were going to 3/4/5/6 year olds who wouldn't/couldn't appreciate all the time and effort I was putting into them anyway.

Then came time for wrapping them. This is where I found out just how fragile they are! As I told D, be careful how hard you put them down. Be careful of how you even look at them because if you look at them wrong they'll break! Let's just hope that some of the school kids got ones that weren't broken. Too bad if they didn't. At least the teachers got to see them before the kids got to them.

They looked cuter when they were all wrapped up, but the whole ordeal was just very stressful to me. If I had to do it again, I would have about five more boxes of candy canes, and I'd start making them before 8:30-9 PM the night before they're due. But I think that next year I'll just buy the red heart lollipops again. :-P

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