7 Valentine's Day Books For Kids That Are So Cute You Will Love Reading Them All Year Long

Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. It is not as glamorous as Christmas, granted, or as cool as Halloween. But the day has it perks. Like the chocolate. Valentine's Day chocolate is awesome. 

Another great thing about V-day is that you can get so many wonderful kids books. Books that remind kids about love and being kind to one another. Books that teach kids to care about each other.

So I have listed some really cute Valentine's books for preschoolers and first-graders. However, don't get me wrong. Any kid or grown-up will enjoy these stories. And some chocolate.  Definitely some chocolate.

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Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! Kids will be delighted as they follow their much loved Mouse (Give a Mouse a Cookie books) as he plans the perfect valentine's day cards for his friends.  Mouse wants to make sure each valentine card he makes shows each friend just what he loves most about them.

The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing is from her collection of 'Night Before' books (which are, of course, based on the all-time classic, Night Before Christmas!) In this story, kids are getting ready for their Valentine's Day classroom party. Which means making cards, planning games and activities. On the day of their party, a surprise visitor arrives with a Valentine's Day gift for the whole classroom. A fun book for kids and parents of all ages!!

If you are looking for awesome Valentine's Day books for toddlers, Llama Llama I Love You by Anna Dewdney is perfect! The character, Little llama, is all about showing his friends and family how much he loves them with heart-shaped cards and lots of hugs. This sturdy picture board book that will keep little ones happy way past Valentine's Day.

A Crankenstein Valentine by Samantha Berger.  Crankenstein is the grumpiest kid ever, who only speaks monster-speak. And he is green. Children's author Samantha Berger has written a wonderful series of these books for Kindergartners on up. So anyone who has read other Crankenstein books is definitely going to love this one as well, as they find out if Crankenstein will change his monster-like ways for Valentine's this year.

The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever by Brenda Ferber. I love this book because girls and boys are going to laugh out loud when they read it. Or maybe groan. Either way, the story is going to resonate with kids as they read about Leon, who has a crush on a little girl. And now he has decided he wants to give her a special Valentine. Can't you just hear the giggles and see the smiles when kids read this story?? 

Pete The Cat: Valentine's Day is Cool By Kimberly and James Dean. Pete the Cat does not like Valentine's Day. But with a little help from a friend, he soon changes his mind. Most Preschoolers and Kindergartners already know Pete the Cat from other books in the series, and will no doubt enjoy reading about Pete's Valentine's Day adventure.

Special BonusPete the Cat: Valentine’s Day Is Cool comes with a poster, stickers, and twelve punch-out Valentine’s Day cards!

The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond. This is such a sweet book, I had to add it to my list. It is about a little girl named Cornelius Augustus who finds herself catching hearts that fall from the sky one day. She then decides to makes special Valentine's for her animal friends - each valentine just as special and unique as each of her friends are. This is the kind of book you will want to read with your little Valentine all snuggled up in bed.

You may be able to find these books at your local library. Or if you want to buy a copy for your special Valentine, click on the titles to see them on Amazon.

4 Fun Valentine's Desserts That Will Delight Your Sweethearts

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This Valentine's day, whether you are planning  a romantic dessert for two, or yummy treats for the whole family, sugar and butter can never be wrong, right?

Seriously, how can we not indulge our sweet tooth on a day meant to celebrate sweetness hearts? So release your inner baking diva, and check out some awesome desserts that we all have every right to bake, eat and enjoy this V-day!

(and just ignore that little voice inside my  your head telling me you that we just finished baking all those Christmas cookies. Is it our fault these holidays are so close together?)

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

Image From The Novice Chef

Oh wow....cheesecake and brownie mixed together! This may not be the easiest V-Day treat you bake, but doesn't the finished decadency look worth the effort? I don't think I could should make this heavenly sounding concoction because I would probably never share it. However, if you are strong enough to withstand the temptation, you'll find the recipe at The Novice Chef.

Marbled Valentine Sugar Cookies

Image From Baked By Rachel

Sweet sugar cookies with a pink twist would make the perfect family Valentine's Day treat. Just add some pink or red food dye to your regular sugar cookie batter. Wilton's heart-shaped cookie cutters are work well for this recipe, if you do not have any handy. Get the step by step recipe at Baked By Rachel.

"Love is All Around" Cake Roll

Photo From Cleobuttera.com

This pink heart topped roll cake is almost too cute to eat. Well, okay. I guess if no one slices a piece of the cake, no one would ever get to see the surprise hearts inside the cake! And when you check out the recipe over at Cleobuttera, it should make your day, like it did mine, when she shares that she uses a box of cake mix for this heavenly looking dessert.

Any shortcuts when it comes to cooking or baking makes me very appreciative. Just saying.

White Chocolate Bark Bites

Photo From No.2 Pencil.com

Candy bark bites would make great gifts for your favorite Valentines. Of course, if all your favorite loves were home with you, then all the better (smile.) But really, these would be fun gifts for the office or school parties (if you can take home-baked goodies to your child's school. We can't at my kids' schools.)

You will need a heart-shaped baking mold to make this dessert (click on the Wilton's silicone heart pan in the picture above if you would like to check it out on Amazon.) And be sure to head over to No.2 Pencil to get the complete step by step recipe.

3 Simple Ways to Easily Save Money in 2018

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There are so many tips, ideas and even charts for saving money, it is awesome. But at the same time, it can be overwhelming.

When it comes to saving money, I need easy. I need do-able. I need realistic ways to save that I can stick with day in and day out.

Like these 3 SIMPLE savings tips. I love each of these ideas, and hope one of them (or all 3) might work for you too.

Save One Dollar Everyday

Yes, I know. You are probably shaking your head and thinking something like, "what?? why bother?"

But listen, this is a simple goal that is do-able. And that is important. I mean, what good are loftier goals that get abandoned because they were just too difficult to keep up with?

So yep, one dollar at the beginning of each day goes into a special savings spot I have set up. 365 days later, I will have saved an extra $365.

Now of course I know that is really a small drop in the old savings bucket. Still, it is. something. And I am counting on that one dollar each day turning into $2 or $3 dollars some days.

It is just important to set a goal you feel good about sticking to. It makes you feel better, and more likely to follow through with other bigger goals.

Plus, it is a fun way to start my day (smile.)

So yep, a dollar a day is my starting point.

Meal Planning

Going to the store everyday to buy groceries for dinner that night is the number one way to NOT save money.

When I meal prep for the week ahead, and do one shopping trip for all the necessary ingredients, it makes a huge impact on our grocery budget.

I should add that one of our biggest expenses every week is FOOD. So anytime I can cut down on eating expenses, it is awesome. 

The key thing here is sticking to that weekly dinner menu. That is my weak spot. I have been know to be easily persuaded into ordering take-out and falling off my food budget train.

This year I plan to do more meal prepping and freezing prepared meals, so when that sneaky urge to order delivery hits, I can just pull out a dinner from the freezer!

Can we talk about Left-Overs for a minute??

Yep, things need to improve in that area as well this year. So if you are like me, you need to make sure you have a nice ample collection of food storage containers. Because if you don't have a nice clean container with lid handy, chances are those left-overs will never see the inside of your refrigerator.

A little expense up front, but so worth it in the end.

Now is a good time to take inventory of your kitchen, and make sure you have all the cool kitchen cooking utensils  for cooking. Having some new kitchen gadgets at the ready will help make all that cooking you are going to do much more fun.

Saving Money Using Apps Like Ibotta and Ebates

If you have not tried these cash back apps yet, please make this one of your New Year's resolutions.

Get cash back when you snap a picture of your receipt and send it to Ibotta. You can check their website for all the deals they offer, and I can pretty much guarantee you will find items you were planning on buying anyway.

Earn cash back using Ebates every time you shop online. There are no fees for using their service, and it is like getting free money just for buying something you are going to buy anyway.

My goal this year is to take more advantage of these apps, every time I shop. It is simply like throwing money away when I don't.

So I know these look like small steps that may not make a difference. But they really do. And baby steps can lead to much bigger steps along the journey to improve finances. We just need to find what works for us, and start taking those first steps.

5 Easy Casseroles That Will Make You a Kitchen Hero

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This is the time of the year when easy dinner recipes can save the day. When you have zero energy left-over from the holidays, easy casseroles you can put together fast and pop into the oven can be wonderful things. Especially if they are are cheesy, bubbly and make everyone in the family full. At least for an hour or so.

These are 5 of my very favorite family casserole dinners to make. They are delicious and best of all, you can make most of these recipes using 4 ingredients.

Image: JoCooks.com

This easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole will get raves from everyone in your family (unless you have someone who doesn't like Mexican food, which I seriously love myself.) If you happen to have left-over cooked chicken, this recipe is even simpler to make. Disclaimer: mouths may water while this casserole is baking. Just so you know.

Photo: lilluna.com

This Cheesy Chicken Casserole will warm up everyone and my bet is that it will become a favorite dinner in your family! Once you get everything together and into a baking dish (treat yourself to a new glass baking pan at Amazon if yours is worn out from holiday cooking duty!) sit back, relax and enjoy the mouth-watering aromas drifting from your kitchen!

Photo and Recipe From: CrazyForCrust.com

This is probably my favorite go to casserole when I want a very budget-friendly dinner (aka cheap!) that is fast to make too. Do I ask for too much?? Anyhoo, there are variations you can easily make to the recipe for this Cheesy Chili Bake depending on your family's preferences. And on the ingredients you have handy.
I use vegetarian chili, and sometimes skip on the corn if I do not have any handy. The kids always love this dish, and I love how it barely dings my grocery budget!!

Photo Credit: Pillsbury.com

This Chili Cheese Dog Bubble Up Casserole recipe from Pillsbury is a fun quirky kind of dinner to serve to kids. All you really need are hot dogs (or veggie dogs), Pillsbury biscuits (always awesome to have on hand), chili and cheddar cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, and you have a yummy kid-friendly budget dinner ready to serve.

Photo Credit: CookToria.com

Okay, so tell me that this picture of Creamy Spinach Tortellini is not making you hungry. Like right now. Go on, I dare you. I Double Dog Dare You (sorry, little Christmas humor still hanging around here, LOL) This gorgeous recipe full of cheesy goodness take 5 ingredients and about 30 minutes to cook. You must try this one. Really, seriously, try it. And if you have kiddos who are not particularly fond of spinach, well then bribe them with some ice cream.