As I shared last year, I have committed myself to getting cute Valentines out of my son every year. Because why wouldn’t I add something else to my plate? I really question my understanding of reality sometimes.

At least with this being our fourth year of super adorable Heart Day photo shoots, I have learned to plan ahead, keep it simple, and go with whatever we get. No second chances, no redos. This is helped along by the fact that my son will now tell me, “NO MORE PICTURES” when he is finished for the day. Talk about a temperamental model.

I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit that I came up with the inspiration for this photo shoot in October. Yes, you read that correctly. I was trying to decide what to do for his 3rd birthday photo shoot/Christmas card shoot and was suddenly struck by the idea of using a USPS mailbox as our Valentine’s Day prop. I was not entirely sure about the legality of taking pictures at a federal post office, but hey, you only live once right?

All I needed for this photo shoot was a cute kid outfit (all from Gap – my favorite place to build his wardrobe), some valentines in red envelopes, a big construction paper heart, and a sunny day when the post office was closed. Ahh the simplicity.

I let my little guy seal all of his envelopes with a kiss first before we were off to the “big blue mailbox”.

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Once we were there, I just let him go have some fun mailing our letters. (NOTE: we stamped them and just mailed them to a couple friends and ourselves. Toddlers don’t really understand the instruction, “No go ahead and pretend to mail the letter. Put it in there, but not so much that it actually gets mailed.” These bad boys were getting mailed, whether I liked it or not.).

The pictures turned out even better than I could have hoped.

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I even got this super cute “winter scene” shot before he gave me the, “No more pictures.” line. He’s a trooper.

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We made a great card on Shutterfly during one of their crazy good sales. Great gift idea for less than $25. WAHOO.

As Valentine’s Day got closer, we kept with our mail theme. To be more accurate, I got really excited when I walked past the dollar section at Target and saw these. To be completely precise, I think I was smiling like an idiot for the rest of my shopping trip after finding them.

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We filled these little mailboxes of love with homemade, chocolate dipped pretzels. These really couldn’t be easier to make, and my little sous chef had a blast helping me.

All you need:

  • different colored candy melts (Michael’s)
  • pretzels
  • a variety of sprinkles
  • bags tied with ribbon to keep them fresh

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And of course, a good taste tester.

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Add in festive wrapping paper with a variety of ribbons (thanks again, Target dollar section!), and we assured ourselves some pretty great Xs and Os from all the people we sent love to this year.

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