For me, Valentine’s Day has seen some changes over the years. Before kids, it was all about romance and quiet dinners, chocolate and roses (or, at the very least, a restaurant meal where no one cried about the “green stuffs” in their food). And it was lovely. But now, with two little girls in the mix, Valentine’s Day is a sweet, goopy, glitter glue-smeared lovefest. And it’s funny, but I actually think I appreciate it more in its current incarnation, because the focus is so squarely on love. Real love – messy, sticky, gooey love.
My husband and I (though we do find ways to have a grown-up version of the holiday after our girls are in bed) have found Valentine’s Day to be a great time not only for giving extra love around our house – sometimes in the form of pink pancakes for breakfast, but also for teaching and reminding our kids about the importance of giving by encouraging simple acts of kindness and expressions of love and appreciation. Making and sharing Valentine’s gifts with friends and family hits the bulls-eye there.
A non-candy treat
This DIY lip balm is one of our favorite non-candy treats for kids to make and share. And it’s perfect for the middle of February when everyone’s lips are dry and chapped. With all-natural ingredients, such as shea butter and coconut oil, it’s silky, smooth and glides on with ease. The added honey makes it ever so slightly sweet and extra moisturizing and the peppermint oil gives it a fun, cooling sensation.
And speaking of oils, this recipe is completely customizable, so … say, you don’t like peppermint? No problem! Use something else, such as lavender, vanilla, orange, or — in true keeping with Valentine’s Day — chocolate (yes!). You can even get creative and add color or shimmer to your lip balm. Little ones will need lots of supervision handling hot ingredients, but this recipe is simple enough for older kids with kitchen experience to make themselves.
For a really festive touch, have your kids decorate the pots or tubes with cute labels, a bit of pink or red paper or some Valentine-themed decorative craft tape. Then do what I do, sit back, relax and watch your children ploddingly write the names of every kid in their class on every gift tag. Every. Single. One. Sure, it feels like time has actually stopped (now what letter, mommy?) but just think of all that togetherness we’re getting. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Homemade Lip Balm
Makes 10 to 12 pots or tubes
3 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. beeswax pellets
1 tsp. shea butter or cocoa butter
1 tsp. honey
6 to 8 drops food-grade peppermint oil
Lip balm tubes or tins (available in craft stores or easy to find online)
1.Combine the coconut oil, beeswax, and shea butter in a small, heat-safe bowl or Mason jar and place into a small saucepan filled with water over medium-low heat, stirring until the mixture is completely melted. Add the honey and stir to incorporate.
2.Remove from the heat and stir in the peppermint oil, then carefully pour into tubes or tins and let set for at least 1 hour.
3. Store in a cool, dry place.
Note: To add color to homemade lip balm, add a bit of lipstick to your wax and oils as they are melting by just scraping a bit off the end of the lipstick. The more you add, the more intense your hue will be. Stir well for even color. And if you (or your kids) want to add a touch of sparkle – use edible glitter! Yep, find it in the baking aisle of your local craft store.
Important note: Pediatricians recommend waiting until babies are at least 12 months old before feeding them honey because it can contain bacteria that can cause botulism. These bacteria are harmless to adults and children over the age of 1, but they can make babies, whose digestive and immune systems are still immature, very sick.
Suzy Scherr is the author of The Apple Cider Vinegar Companion, The Baking Soda Companion. She is a personal chef, writer, culinary instructor, and busy mom with a knack for finding new ways to make being in the kitchen or at the table exciting, fun, and accessible. suzys
Excerpted from The Honey Companion © 2019 Suzy Scherr. Published by The Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton & Company.