Emily Wyckoff

Valentine’s Day when you have kids – it’s not just for love birds

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and once again, I will be happy to stay home with my husband (and kids) and leave the romantic restaurants free for young lovers, engagements complete with the diamond ring in the champagne glass, and the like. I have not been to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day since Boston, 1993, when my now-husband and I decided to venture out without a reservation and ended up in a suburban Pizza Hut hours later. Not exactly the romantic meal we had in mind, needless to say.

I love to cook and since the Boston debacle, we have pretty much stayed home every year and made a special meal, enjoyed by candlelight in our comfy house (another reason to stay in and avoid the inclement weather of western New York in February). I try to make something out of the ordinary – lobster, steak, scallops, etc. I think this year I am going to try Rachael’s “Sexy Surf anf Turf” - or her fabulous, easy beef wellington recipe – yum.

As anyone with kids knows, Valentine’s Day takes on a whole new meaning with kids. Making Valentine’s Day cards for classmates has turned into a major project. I have finally wised up and started this process a few days in advance, as it seems to be quite time consuming. (3 kids x average of 30 kids per class = 90 valentines that must be signed). Plus my over achieving oldest daughter, age 7, insists on going above and beyond the standard cartoon character valentines that simply need to be signed and sealed with a provided sticker, and forges ahead, creating her own cards for each of her classmates. She has 40 kids in her class, mind you. We tried to start today - yes, 8 days before the big day - and she did not complete one successfully before she dissolved into tears as she was using a pen and quit the project because her “v” was not up to her high standards. Yes, the oldest child, the perfectionist. This is why I start one week in advance.

When I was growing up my mom would always leave a sweet Valentine’s Day card on my pillow with a small gift – usually red foil wrapped chocolate hearts; I can remember the exact shape and size to this day. I continue this tradition with my kids and they love it – it is small way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your kids and let them know how much you love them.

My kids also love to make cards for extended family members – grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Any opportunity to foster kids’ natural inclination to let people know how important they are to them is welcome in my book. My kids have insisted on sending a Dora the Explorer or Scooby Doo valentine left over from their class valentines to my mother in law and trust me, she loves it.

And of course because I am a baker (and sugar addict), Valentine’s Day is yet another excuse to bake with my kids and share the love with friends and family. Try these traditional Christmas cut-outs using a heart shaped cookie cutter and pink, red or white icing, with sprinkles and decorations. Yum.

So even though you have kids and might not be able to go out for the most romantic night ever anymore, Valentine’s Day takes on even more meaning – and fun – when you have kids. How will you celebrate Valentines Day? 

21 Responses to “Valentine’s Day when you have kids – it’s not just for love birds”

  1. Connie says:

    I finally get to say for once that I will be going out to a restuarant for Valentines Day. Me and husband have been married for almost 4 years. Our daughter is 2 1/2 and we had lived 1300 miles from any family. We just moved back close to his parents house, and they offered to watch our little girl. I am very happy to say that we will have our romantic evening on Valentines day.

  2. I can relate. We will be staying in, with the children, and enjoying a quiet evening. We are not old by any means, and have only been married 9 years, but being home with loved ones on a cold winters day (minnesota) is the Best Day Ever. Well….that’s what the boys say.

    I must say….I am a New Rachel Ray Fan. I like to do my own thing in the kitchen and always put a twist on any recipe I try. We eat low fat, nothing fried, and no red meat. Sometimes this proves to be difficult to satisfy everyones palate. Tonight I made The French Bread Pizza’s that RR had on her Wednesday show. The best part….I didn’t have to run to the store for ingredients and they are so tastey!

  3. Tracie Day says:

    I am happy to say for the first time in many years we are going out for Valentines this year. We have 4 kids ages from 13 years down to 1 yr of age. The 13 yr old is a tremendous help babysitting so we are taking the middle two boys and going to see the Medieval Knights show. I got the champange and rose and the kids get to see the show of a lifetime and they get in free so thats an added bonus. Happy Valentines to all!

  4. heather says:

    i have to say that i prefer a quiet evening at home as aposed to a big romantic night out with 100 other couples doing the exact same thing. I am currently engaged and this will be our first valentines together and i am perfectly content to sit at home make dinner and watch a movie. that way it’s just the two of us and we dont have to listen to everyone else’s conversation…

  5. Leanna Pack says:

    Feb 8, 2008
    I watched the Rachel Ray show today and want to find out how to get the free red valentines
    day nightgown That was offered to viewers who went to the Rachel Ray website?

  6. GR says:

    I have planned a wonderful night in for the family..With 2 children, ages 6 and 2 1/2 there really is no other choice, but instead of being upset that hubby didn’t make plans, I decided- I will and I want the kids included. So, I have a wonderful dinner planned with dessert and flowers and then a small present for each. And to hopefully and quietly end the evening with a great movie in bed with all of us snuggled together…I can’t wait!

  7. Mollie says:

    We, too, usually stay in on Valentine’s Day. All of the babysitters are busy, too, right?

    Two years ago, when our kids were 2, 3 1/2 and 5, I served two Valentine’s day dinners. The first one was served restaurant-style by Mom and Dad to three (napless) kids at 5:30. The kids enjoyed the royal treatment, with tablecloth, candles, Hershey’s kisses, etc.. My husband put them to bed while I put our dinner on the table. The kids were all fast asleep before we got to dessert!

    My hubby still says that was one of the nicest things I’d done for him.

  8. Andrea says:

    Dear Rachel Ray,
    I do not work due to Carpal Tunnel Surgery. I was wondering how can I give my husband a nice Valentines gift or something he is never happy with what i do we have been married 19 years I have been putting up with a lot of BS I try to make him happy sometimes I wonder if I should just end the marriage. We have not taken a trip since we have been married. My dream would be to take a romantic trip to Cancoon that is my wish in life. But do you have any suggestions when someone does not have any income. Thank You Andrea Finney from Converse ,Tx

  9. Bren says:

    My oldest son has a basketball game on Valentine’s Day, so we will go to the game and then have dinner as a family at home.
    We have three boys, ages 14, 10 and 4. Most years we set the table with candles and flowers and have a nice meal, usually steak, and some kind of seafood.
    The boys feel they are “special” and my husband and I get to enjoy a nice meal. My
    birthday is in April and we usually go for a romantic weekend at that time.

  10. Angela says:

    I will have my boys,ages 8 and 5, as my dates for Valentine’s Day. My hubby has been working nights for the past couple of months so our “date” will have to wait until the weekend. I think we’ll have Rachael’s Ravioli Lasagna (my 8year old’s favorite) and a special dessert (haven’t decided yet).Hopefully hubby will at least remember to send me flowers that day.

  11. karen says:

    I can’t believe how old I feel following many of these responses! My children are 19 & 16, and as a tradition, we have alternated years of going out just the two of us, or staying in and celebrating with the kids – making special dinners with the kids, with such varied specialties through the years as the heart shaped jello and hand made tuxedo strawberries. (sometimes opting for ordering the heart-shaped pizzas at home in lieu of the crowds and over priced menus!)

    I agree – the special dinners at home are the most memorable because the kids grow up so fast.

    My husband has even made a point to get flowers for each one of us (yes even our son!) making us each feel especially loved.

  12. Christine MacLean says:

    Hi I’m Christy and I’m 12 going on 13. but ather than that the day befor valents day and I alrady speant all my money on her gifes. what shound I make on shach short motes for valents day. Along with linied food? do you know.

    Also Rach I love all of your showes I wond like to some day come to show live!…..

  13. Vicky says:

    We are so excited to stay home with our boys as well. I have a 2 year old and 1 year old that I just love being with and want to be with them tomorrow. We are planning flowers, candlelight and dinner with ALL four of us and look forward to showing them many more.

  14. Stacy says:

    My husband travels a lot for his job. Last year he was out of town for valentine’s day. I knew he was wishing that he could be at home with me and our daughter, so we decided to do something special for him. We baked him cookies and brownies and packed them up good in an air-proof container. I then wrapped the container in bubble wrap and put it in a box. I got information on the hotel that he was staying at and called ahead to make sure that I could send something to him via Fed Ex in care of the hotel. I then sent the goodies to him via Fed Ex. He received them on valentine’s day upon his return to the hotel after a long day. Both he and his co-workers were so grateful.

    This year he is home for the holiday and I am home on maternity leave after having our second daughter six weeks ago. This year I will be making a special dinner and we all purchased little gifts for each other. It is important to me to take the opportunity to remind my loved ones how much they mean to me, whether it is done on valentine’s day or days or even weeks later.

  15. Drema Reed says:

    Hey Rachael, I love your show, since being off
    work from having surgery its been nice to see the show. I wanted to enter for the Valentine’s dress but I think its too late. Would love to come see the show sometime. Thanks for making me smile, your so down to earth….

  16. Becky says:

    Rachel, I’m not so great on computers. This is my first time on your website and I’m not finding where to see your recipe of the chicken in the pastry you prepared for Valentine’s Day on your daytime tv show. Where do I find it? By the way, when I had surgery, you were my “comfort friend”! Thanks so much for you being you! God bless.

  17. DeAnn says:

    I am desperately searching for your February 13, 2008 recipe for your “Surf/Turf dinners you prepared on your show that day. They featured 3 types of Surf/Turfs. The one I was looking for was the steak and Jumbo shrimp. That looked fabulous for a stay home and cook Valentines dinner. Can you help. Thank you

  18. Ana says:

    Hey there,

    Here is a suggestion, this year my husband and I (proud parents of 3 very demanding kids)decided we should have our very private celebration for valentine’s day and decided from this year on we will be celebrating on the 13th!. I know it is not conventional, but we will be making our own tradition and this simple idea cleared up the problem with babysitting (our 18 years old babysitter LOVED the idea of earning the extra money the day before)

    So this year we had the LUXURY of going to a nice, romantic restaurant and dine with candlelight and go to a romantic spot to see the stars and moon, or make out as we were kids, ;)

    As for the 14th we made a special dinner as always for the whole family, but this time with a romantic feeling in the air having celebrated one on one the day before…HIGHLY RECOMENDED!!!!!

  19. Faith says:

    I have a daughter(10) with ADHD, & son (4). I’m a stay at home mom and very rarely get a break from my kids. I love them very much but every mom knows even we need breaks sometimes. This year, my husband & I couldn’t afford to go out for Valentine’s day. I stayed home with the kids & he went to the neighbor’s to hang out. I had to stay home so the kids were in bed and well rested for school. He didn’t do anything for me for Valentine’s day. Oh well, hopefully I can plan ahead for next year with some of your great ideas.

  20. Becky says:

    Well, I am all for going out on Valentines’ Day. That is the gift i ask my husband for every birthday, v-day, mothers day, a date with him. My husband works two jobs and we get almost zero time to spend as a couple. Thankfully my in-laws are nearby and are more than willing to watch my girls. And yes we even live in Michigan and its cold, but if we can we still go out in February!

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