For Mr. One's preschool, we made our own Valentines for his classmates, as well as a treat for his teacher and classroom aide, on a budget, of course.
I had seen this tutorial, and several variations, floating around the blogging world. I thought this would be something easy and fun to put together, not to mention inexpensive.
I found the mini candy canes on 75 percent off clearance after Christmas, bought the baggies and lollipop sticks with half off coupons. The Valentine pencils were from the Dollar Spot at Target. The paper, stickers and ribbon were all supplies we had on hand. I think the grand total for the whole project hovered around $4.00. All the supplies for the teacher treats were already on hand.
I had Mr. One arrange the candy canes into a heart shape on parchment paper. We baked them on 300 degrees for 5 minutes, then I quickly pinched the ends around the lollipop stick. (Skip to My Lou has more detailed directions.)
I cut out heart shapes, punched a whole in the top and wrote "It's sweet to be your friend" on the front. My son signed the backs and decorated them with stickers.
A little suggestion for signing Valentines with a preschooler- just have your kiddos sign a few at a time, then move onto something else so they don't get frustrated. I had my preschooler sign four, then decorate them with stickers, then sign four more, then decorate, until they were done.
We sandwiched the cooled and bagged suckers between the tag and pencil and tied it all off with curling ribbon.
For the teachers, we made Cake Pops (go to Bakerella for details). I used a chocolate cake mix with cherry frosting, then covered them with semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate (you know, the giant bag of chips you can buy at Costco...). They tasted just like a good chocolate covered cherry. Yum! It was a lot of work, but some good, messy fun with Mr. Two (who loves a good food mess, and wanted to do something fun with Mommy too...) I put them in a red-lidded plastic container and tied it off with a tag, sucker and curling ribbon.
One fun variation on the candy cane suckers:
I crushed up some red and pink Jolly Ranchers and carefully sprinkled them into the inside of the candy cane heart before baking them. The Jolly Ranchers melted inside and made a pink tinted window in the heart. I tried to convince Mr. One that this would be fun to do for his classmates' suckers, but he was insistent on keeping them "plain." I wanted him to have ownership of this project, and I let him choose.
So I made some on my own, the "fancy" way to give to others...