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the mysterious valentine! connecting with Littles near and far!

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

February is right around the corner and 

that means that Valentine’s Day will soon follow!

Our thoughts here at Our Grand Lives,

have turned from snowman and freezing temps 

to doilies, hearts and roses! 

Today our post focuses on one of our favorite Valentine’s Day stories!

We offer ways to share the mystery of this story

with your Littles

whether they live near or far

as, together, you prepare for and celebrate the holiday!

We all know how much young children love 

age-appropriate secrets and mysteries!

When they figure them out, they feel so smart and so proud!  

Grands who lives close to their Littles,

as well as those who are distant Grands,

will find that this story and the activities we’re sharing

provide memorable ways to connect with your Littles!

And, of course, this activity is not limited to being one shared

between a child and his/her grandparent...

moms or dads, aunts and uncles, caregivers or special friends

will find this to be a wonderful way to connect with a special Little, too!

Louanne Pig in the Mysterious Valentine

by Nancy Carlson,

 is a delightful story about Louanne Pig, a character who tries to figure out 

the identity of the secret admirer who sends her a mysterious valentine. 

The valentine she receives is signed in a green pen, 

and Louanne searches for the pen throughout the story!


.  At the end of the book, 

sharp-eyed readers can see a green pen in Louanne’s dad’s pocket!  

(Read on for more details…)


The first thing you will want to do is to read this delightful story 

with your Little(s).

In fact, it would be really helpful to read the story a few times!  

That shouldn’t be too hard.  

Every time Laurie reads a book to her Little

it ends with the request of “Read again, Grammy?”

You can read the book to your Little in person or over Facetime. 

FaceTime is such a wonderful tool for connecting with Littles regularly,

especially as a distant Grand, like Laura!

We’ve provided a link for the book if you’d like to purchase your own copy

 (or if you’d like to send one to your Little as a gift).

Another option for sharing the story is to share the video link by text 

and then watch that together!

For those of you who may be interested,

we’ve included a Youtube version of the story being read aloud below:

The ending of the book (the third to the last page) is where your Littles will find

the biggest clue to the identity of Louanne’s secret admirer!  

Really encourage your Littles to study that page!  

You might have to point out the clue to your toddler or preschool Littles 

as it is fairly small and they may have not yet developed 

the visual context to identify it.

NOTEWhen we taught kindergarten, we often had to stop and ask questions, guiding our five and six year old students as we neared the end of the book! SO… don’t be surprised if younger Littles need your help, too!

IN FACT, the book actually never identifies LuAnne’s dad

as her secret admirer in words!

The reader HAS to use the picture clue to figure it out.

That’s half the fun in solving the mystery!

Once your Littles know who the secret admirer is,

be sure to go back and reread the story once again!

Your Littles will be so tickled 

as they discover that green pen themselves!


Now it's time for the fun to begin - not just for your Little, but for the Grand as well!

It’s time for you to make a mysterious Valentine for your own Little!

Make any version you’d like - there is just one requirement -


(or marker, crayon, etc)

with the words, “Your Secret Admirer”

Seal your valentine in an envelope, and send it to your Little.

DON’T acknowledge that you were the one who sent the valentine!

Once your Little has received his/her mysterious valentine, 

be sure to casually set up a time to see them in person or on FaceTime.

Just as in the book, have that green pen visible somewhere on or by you 

while visiting with your Little.

As we said, this will work if you are together in person or via FaceTime!

A Grand Tip or Two!

For younger Littles

you might want to hold the green pen in your hand 

and/or attach it to your clothes.

For older Littles, you can be more subtle.  

Put the pen behind your ear, or in a pocket, or have it laying on a table 

with some paper from the valentine nearby!.

If your Little discovers your secret, 

you will share a laugh and a big hug (in-person or virtually)!  

If your Little doesn’t solve the mystery, try again next year!  

Who knows?

This could become a new Valentine tradition for you to share together!

Just in case you and your Little are having too much fun

and you don’t want it to come to an end… in person or virtually,

we’ve got a few additional or perhaps alternative ways to extend the excitement

leading up to 💗 day!

#1 - Send A Hidden Message!

After sending your mystery valentine, follow up by sending your Little a hidden message… OR save the idea for another year!  You could also sign this hidden valentine with a green pen! All would be a fun way to connect experiences!

On white paper, write a message or draw a picture for your Little, using a white crayon!  

Before sending off to your Little, add a heart (drawn or a sticker) to the back side of the paper so your Little will know which side to paint! 

Roll or fold your secret message and put it in a box (if mailing) or a gift bag with a set of watercolor paints.  Add the following directions to your package:

Deliver your package if you are local or send it through the mail!  

Soon your Little will be painting, deciphering and reading the Valentine message 

sent by special delivery!

A Grand Tip!

For older Littles (elementary age)

add a special challenge to your mysterious valentine!

Once you’ve written your message and/or drawn a picture in white crayon,

cut your paper into pieces to resemble a jigsaw puzzle.

(Put a red heart on the back of all your pieces to denote front and back.)

Pack up your message (an envelope works well) with the paints and the directions.

When your Little receives your note,

he/she will paint the different pieces and then put them together

to decode your message!

#2 - Love Note Countdown!

Why send just one valentine?  Send a love note on 5, 10 or even 14 consecutive days, ending on Valentine’s Day!  You can share a memory of your Little or each note could highlight something special you love about your Little!  

NOTE:  You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to send a love note to your Little - even if you are local!  Send one periodically throughout the year.  In fact, you could send your first one prior to Valentine’s Day and then send one each month throughout the year!  What a fun tradition that would be!

#3 - Send a Video Message!

Your Littles will love it if you take a minute and record a quick video message sent especially to them!  You could do this once or you could send regular or occasional ones!  Wear some fun Valentine earrings, wear a lei or a holiday T-shirt/glasses or hat and film away!  For your younger Littles, you could have a favorite stuffed animal join you (similar to a puppet).  Check out a message Laura has prepared for her Little L!

Older Littles will be tickled if you share a riddle, a silly joke or a magic trick during your video!  All Littles will be touched if you share something that makes them special to you!  Here’s a list of fun jokes for inspiration!

As you may be able to tell,

the most important thing is to find authentic ways to connect with your Littles!

Valentine’s Day offers a wonderful opportunity to do just that

while making lasting memories along the way!

Want to make our own valentine for your Littles?

If you’d like to create your own Valentine for your Littles

but don’t know where to start, we may be able to help!

Check out last year’s post - Will You Be My Valentine? Valentine Creations!

where we share lots of ideas for homemade cards you or your Littles could make!

Valentine’s Day celebrates love and caring,

so what better time is there than now to teach our Littles about kindness!

Last year Laura also shared one of her favorite activities

during her years as a kindergarten teacher...

While this activity works especially well during this time of year,

please know that It’s a powerful message that can be shared with Littles ANY time!

offers ways for Grands, parents and caregivers

to adapt these ideas!

Using teachable moments such as these

- to share kindness with our Littles and its impact on our world -

could be one of the greatest gifts we, as Grands, can offer them!

In anticipation of the Super Bowl in less than two weeks,

we’ll be back on Thursday with our

 Super Dips for the Big Game! post.

 We’ll share two of our favorite Game Day dips

and we’ll revisit the decor, games and menus we shared

In last year’s Game’s On post!

We hope you’ll join us!

Remember… you can subscribe to our blog!

That way, you’ll always be notified when a new post is published!

And, as you most likely know, you can also find us on 

We’ve always got new ideas waiting for you there!

❤️ We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week:

10 comentários

18 de fev.

I was able to visit 4yo grand daughter with a bag of valentines gifts and some crafts I'd put together for her and her mum to assemble. I sent similar gifts to my grandson in Ireland and he then showed me what had arrived via a video call.

Thanks for linking with #pocolo, sorry for the delay with commenting

Our Grand Lives
20 de fev.
Respondendo a

What fun ideas for celebrating ❤️ Day! Thanks so much for sharing! -Laura


15 de fev.

Oh what a wonderful book. It sounds absolutely precious. Look at all those smiles from the grands.

Thanks bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month sweet friends.

Our Grand Lives
20 de fev.
Respondendo a

It is a fun story... the Littles always giggle with glee when they figure out who the mysterious valentine is! Thank YOU for stopping by! -Laura


01 de fev.

That book sounds wonderful and I love all the extension activities you've come up with too!

Our Grand Lives
03 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thanks, Joanne! It is a favorite! 💕


31 de jan.

Wow, this is chock full of great ideas to share Valentine's Day with littles! I might use some of these ideas with my little granddaughter who is at my house often. I love the story of the green pen. What a fun book to read together! Blessings to you! I'm your neighbor at #Let'sHaveCoffee.

Our Grand Lives
03 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to comment! There is nothing better than sharing time with our precious Littles! Hope to see you back here and we will definitely be stopping by #Let'sHaveCofffee soon!


31 de jan.

I really, really love this! What wonderful ideas. I love that technology can help (like FaceTime) for faraway family, too. That mysterious Valentine book looks so cute! Thank you for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #23 linkup. Hope to see you there next week, too! ~Jennifer

Our Grand Lives
03 de fev.
Respondendo a

Thanks so much for taking the time, Jennifer, to stop by and comment. The story is definitely one of our favorites and we both - near (Laurie) and far (Laura/me) are grateful for FaceTime and the opportunities it gives us to connect with our Littles. See you soon at Will Blog for Comments!

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