Friday, February 14, 2014

Love Jars

Last year, when trying to add a more "giving" aspect to Valentine's Day, we decided to make valentines and take them to Mass to hand out to anyone who wanted one. You can read about it here. It was an excellent teaching moment about the joy that comes from giving. We decided to make it a tradition.

This year, as you may know, I am only two days off crutches (and still in a cast) for Valentine's Day. Still, I hate to pass up an opportunity for a month-long home school art project so I told the kids we would think of something. #1 made a similar thing in 1st grade and I still have it next to my sink. It is a wonderful way to remember that I am loved and appreciated.

We decided to make Love Jars!

I went to my new favorite place, Etsy, and ordered 30 unlabeled baby food jars (yes, you can buy everything there). It's too bad we are post-baby food and that I can't think to keep things like baby food jars around (not being crafty, I don't see them as "we'll craft with these later!" It's more like "recyclables taking up space."). I digress.

While we waited for our jars to arrive, we did some prep work. All the people who have decent scissor skills cut tissue paper into tiny squares/circles/random shapes.

 Our bag of squares.
The jars arrived and we all set in to start our decoupage. Mod Podge has been around like 50 years. Did you know that? I have never used it before (one plus for school - I didn't have to deal with this at home). All I know is that I will never be the person who does a decoupage coffee table/dresser/end table (see "not crafty" above) but it was fun for the little people.

After one jar, #s 3&4 realized it wasn't their idea of fun so they waited for the next job - Stickers!

Next, glue pieces of card stock on top of the lid and ribbon around the rim (so it looks less like baby food and more like LOVE) :0)
More stickers on the lid, then the scissor people get to cutting...I looked up and printed a bunch of Saint's quotes and Bible verses that deal with love.

Once cut, you pick out ten different quotes, fold them up, and drop them into each jar. Put on the lid and they're ready to go!
The jar should be kept somewhere in your home that you will see it from time to time (or more often than that). When the mood strikes, you can take out a quote/verse and ponder or pray or just remember you are loved. We hope this is especially useful for the older parishioners who live alone and can use an extra reminder of God's love and their importance to the little people. 
I think our relatively "home-bound" existence lately was what allowed us to have the time and interest in completing such a large project. Whatever the reason, I am happy with the result. It was a great way to teach the little people about bringing joy to others. We even said some prayers while we worked. #1 reminded us, "we really are Ora et Labora now" ;0)

We attended 8 AM Mass as a family and took the jars, handing them out after Mass was over. I am always humbled by the reaction that results from reaching out. There was one gentleman in particular, who's wife was at home ill, who thanked us profusely. I do hope my kids are starting to feel the grace and joy that come from doing something for someone else.We are so blessed to be here, in this parish, among these people. 

To read some awesome stuff the Pope said recently about marriage and commitment, go HERE

Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Pray for Us.


  1. What a wonderful idea! I love the idea of giving something thoughtfully and lovingly made like this- outside of Valentine's Day exchanges. It sounds like a great idea for nursing homes, too. We'll have to try this next year.

  2. Thanks for sharing this idea!

    Also, you have opened my eyes to a new business opportunity...haha! I had no idea there was a market for baby food jars on Etsy. We must have hundreds of them stashed in our basement! (I'm convinced that in not too long, they will stop being sold in glass jars, and I wanted to stock up for future crafts, etc.). I wish I had known you needed some!