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Deployment DIY: Perfect Deployment Valentine

Valentine's: The time of year where we gorge ourselves on candy hearts, pretty red peeps, and boxes of chocolate that we will spend the rest of the year working off. See also: the holiday every MilSo dealing with a deployment (or training... or duty... or, or, or...) loves the least.

So we'll leave the doldrums to February. It's January, and in military wife time, that means it's time to get your Valentine's Day care package shipped off to your love far away! While you might spend Feb. 14 drowning your sorrows in red wine and Love Actually (been there, done that, no judgement at all), you can at least make sure the love of your life gets the best kind of Valentine's Day care pacakge the postal service can deliver.

Here's how: Five ideas to get your Valentine's care package sweet and swoon-worthy.

  LOVE YOU THIS MUCH

I love you this much! Super cute valentine for your kids to send... or even you! I love you this much! Super cute valentine from Day In My Life for your kids to send... or even you!

This is a SUPER easy DIY and really packs a load of sweet for the soldier opening it far away. Step one: Trace your child's hands. Step two: Make a paper accordion about an inch wide (newspaper folded back and forth would work well to give you a long, long accordion) and affix the two hands together. Step three: On the front hand, write "I love you" and on the inside, write "this much." Step four: Revel in the cuteness.

  GIANT I LOVE YOU

A giant letter valentine from Oh Happy Day is sure to melt his heart! A giant letter valentine from Oh Happy Day is sure to melt his heart!

Years and years ago, my mom actually used to do this for my birthday. I went to school hundreds of miles from where she lived, so come holidays (like birthdays and valentines), she would try to pack a big punch in a tiny package, and the year she sent massive letters spelling out 'I love you' still makes me smile... So I can personally attest that this one will be remembered for years to come... and it's not that hard to do. Tutorial over at Oh Happy Day (a repository of great DIY's for happiness) but you can also do a less-stress version by getting large easel pads at your local office supply store and just drawing one letter at a time on the pages so they pull out to spell your message. (My mom did that, too, and it was also pretty fabulous. You wind up laughing with excitement halfway through.)

  MARBLED RED CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

Marbled red velvet cheesecake brownies from The Novice Chef

First: These ship. I'm not sure if they taste exactly the same on the receiving end, but if you use your standard baking substitutes for shipping, everything should work pretty well (oil for butter, egg substitute/dehydrated egg for eggs in this case) they should be able to make the long-haul. This time of year I generally rely on things being cold enough and priority mail being reliable enough that I just bake-as-normal and ship. Second: Holy Hearts, batman! These are adorable. Three: Not that you'd be the kind to eat half your present for somebody else, but if you were to, say, taste-test, for quality control's sake of course, they do turn your lips a pretty pink... extra Valentine-appropriate for a little Skype sesh, if you will.

  LOVE-FILLED POSTER

Free downloadable Valentine posters from Oh Happy Day can be printed at Kinko's for $5! Free downloadable Valentine posters from Oh Happy Day can be printed at Kinko's for $5!

Also from Oh Happy Day (what did I say? They're great!) is this free download: an awesome, awesome poster you can fold up, ship over, and they can hang up. If you want to print a large format version of the poster like she did, you may need to head to your local Kinko's, but it's a pretty fabulous Valentine. And apparently it will cost you only $5 to print out. So there! Valentine BAM! HEART ATTACK!

Heart Attack! from The House that Lars Built Heart Attack! from The House that Lars Built

This box of hearts is really cute and is something you can enlist your little ones in creating... Everyone can make hearts to their heart's content!

  What do you do to say I love you? Of course, cute Valentine ideas abound. I really love this heart of gold card, and these birthday candles make for a great "light up my life" message. I also really dig these edible Cupid's arrows (although I shipped some myself and they didn't really fare well - maybe your packing skills are better than mine). What do you like to do for Valentine's care packages? Or what do you do at home?

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