Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes

Although these look complicated, this simple recipe is a snap to make.

Valentine’s Day may bring to mind romance, flowers and chocolate candy, but for parents, love extends to our kiddos.

My husband and I won’t get the chance to have a night out Valentine's Day evening after a long day at work. We won’t be dining at one of Omaha’s fine restaurants or drinking glasses of wine by the fireplace. Although I don’t fault anyone for getting a babysitter to enjoy a Tuesday night out, it’s just not our thing. We will, however, be enjoying cupid’s holiday with an adorable little person.

With that in mind, there are lots of little ways to show your mini-me how much you love them year-round, but Valentine’s Day can certainly be another time to show how much you care and how they can care for others. Here are a few ways to celebrate the day with your kids and even give a little love to others in the community!

1. Enjoy some sweets. Make some Valentine’s Day-themed cookies or cupcakes with your kid. They’ll love decorating, and you’ll both love partaking. Get creative and write reasons why you love your family on the cookies. Frost the cupcakes with symbols of your favorite familial memories. Best of all, enjoy indulgent treats with your little sweeties!

2. Create and deliver cards from the heart. Design your own original Valentine’s Day cards with messages of hope and healing to deliver to Children’s Hospital. Think about the impact it can make on a child who is suffering. Just a simple card with words of affirmation can show a sick child love and brighten their day. Local nursing homes, such as Community 360, also are looking for volunteers to deliver handmade cards to their residents on Valentine’s Day. Sign up or learn more on their website. What a perfect way for you and your child to show love to someone who is young at heart!

3. Rent a flick. Enjoy a heartfelt love story perfect for the younger generation. What’s sweeter than "Lady and the Tramp" with the iconic spaghetti scene and singing “That’s Amore?” Teach your little ones about “true love” with Westley and Princess Buttercup in "The Princess Bride." You may have to buy this one (rather than rent), but "Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown" will take you back to the nostalgic days of self-dubbed “blockhead” Charlie Brown, the Peanuts gang and the little red-haired girl. Let your kids fall in love with the sweet love stories you enjoyed at their age.

No matter what your heart desires on Valentine’s Day, if you have kids, you will love to try out these fun activities to warm their hearts and others. Enjoy the spirit of the holiday by spreading a little cheer and kindness as well as enjoying some family-friendly flicks.

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Jen Schneider is a local middle school teacher and mom to two children.

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