A Sweet, Sweet Valentine

What's better than a store-bought valentine with your name on it? Add a little something sweet to make it a valentine to remember. Sure, you can buy pretty candy at just about any store this time of the year, but you can also get creative and make it yourself.

Choosing Chocolate

Depending on what you want to try, a visit to a crafts store might be a good idea. There you will find lots of candy molds in fun shapes. It's easy to use molds to make special chocolates. Check out these directions for Easy Chocolate Lovely Pops at WondermintKids for making molded chocolates with a microwave (easier) or on a stove. You will need molds, a grown-up's help, and, of course, chocolate! If using a microwave, check and stir the chocolate after every 30 seconds of cooking.

An Easy Holiday Treat

Take extra thick Oreo cookies, put a (new) lollipop stick or popsicle stick in the middle, dip them in melted chocolate, then after they've cooled on wax paper, take a different color of chocolate coating such as pink or white, and drizzle it on top. If you like, you can add another layer of mini M&M's, Heath Bar crunch, or anything else. Chocolate in different colors is often available in button shapes for melting at craft and chocolate stores. You can make these for all kinds of holidays, just by changing the colors.

Got Conversation Hearts? Make a Candy Wreath

If you are old enough to craft with a hot glue gun, this simple candy wreath idea from Needlepointers.com is a perfect present for someone special. Take any size of Styrofoam wreath form (available in the crafts section or a special crafts store). Pick some pretty, wide ribbon (7/8 inch or wider), secure one end with hot glue to the wreath, and wrap the wreath so that no foam shows. Trim the end of the ribbon and secure the end with hot glue. Then add lots of conversation hearts (best in different sizes) to the outside of the wreath, attaching them with dabs of hot glue. You can use glue to stack the hearts in loose layers on top of each other for a nice effect.

Can't Eat Sugar—or Something Else?

There are people who can't eat sugar. For them, a special kind of sweet treat might be best. Think about using sugar-free chocolate for your crafting. Some companies that produce sugar-free chocolate for baking are Lily's, ChocZero, and Lakanto. Hershey's also makes Zero Sugar chocolate chips.

Sweet Reading!

Maybe you'll take some of these ideas and have a Sweet Valentine party with your family and friends. When the treats are all made and good to go, settle in with a delicious book:

The Book of Chocolate: The Amazing Story of the World's Favorite Candy
You'll meet colorful characters like the feathered-serpent god Quetzalcoatl, who gave chocolate trees to the Aztecs; Henri Nestle, who invented milk chocolate while trying to save the lives of babies who couldn't nurse; and the quarrelsome Mars family.

Candy Construction by Sharon Bowers
Sharon Bowers reveals how inexpensive and readily available store-bought candy offers an irresistible treasure trove of crafting material. Projects offer plans for complete tabletop scenes, including a construction site with dump truck and construction workers; a steam train with an engine, tanker cars, caboose, and boxcars; and a magical castle with stacked cookie towers.

The Candymakers by Wendy Mass
Four 12-year-olds compete in a candy-making contest, including Logan, whose parents run the factory sponsoring the competition. All them have clever ideas, but only one can win--and there's a mystery to solve, too. Their adventures continue in The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Good guy Charlie's got a golden ticket to Willie Wonka's amazing candy factory.

How Sweet It Is (and Was) by Ruth Freeman Swain
Learn about the history of some different kinds of candies--and chewing gum! Includes recipes for sugar paste, fudge, and taffy.

Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot
Mercedes Simon was one of the many children who received chocolate by parachute from American planes just after WWII, as an unofficial part of the Berlin Airlift known as "Little Vittles."

Valentine's Day Is by Gail Gibbons
Don't know much about Valentine's Day? Gail Gibbons tells all about its history and how it is celebrated today.

If you're interested in the science behind the sweet stuff, check out Candy Experiments, by Loralee Leavitt