Valentine’s Day – Family-style

So this year Valentine’s Day will be a family affair at our house. We are cutting back on babysitters so we are hunkering down and celebrating family-style. I’ve come to realize that when you are married (or not) and have kids, you have to take your romantic Valentine’s Days when they happen – and it’s not necessarily February 14th. Just like my dad used to say when I was growing up, “Every day is Mother’s Day.”

It kind of makes sense though, and I think this Valentine’s Day is a great time to celebrate love for everyone in the family. So if you’re home with your kids, make it a truly special occasion – it’s a perfect opportunity to show your appreciation and love for each other- without spending a lot of money.

Here are some ideas for celebrating Valentine’s Day with the whole family:

Make valentines. My kids love making cards – I encourage them to make valentines for grandparents, older relatives and out-of-town family and stick them in the mail. You can make your own with construction paper, glitter, markers, etc. There are also great websites with lots of free printable cards. Younger kids will get a kick out of personalizing, printing out and coloring their own from websites like or Internet These sites have other fun printable activities for the holiday as well like mazes, word searches, and coloring pages.

Coupon books. Help your kids cut out hearts from construction paper and staple into a coupon “book.” Make them for Mom, Dad, and siblings too – they can range from “Good for one room tidying, upon request – no complaints,” to “Good for one 10-minute uninterrupted turn with my video game,” to “Good for one hug.”

Bake some valentine treats. Heart-shaped cookies (you can just use your favorite Christmas cut out recipe with some pink frosting – try out the Frosted Sugar Cookie recipe from the site) are fun and easy. Valentine cupcakes are always a hit – bake your favorite store bought cake mix, top with frosting and stick on one or more conversation hearts for an added vday touch.

Family dinner. Even though it’s not a romantic dinner with your valentine, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the table look extra special. Dim the lights, pull out the candlesticks, nice china and cloth napkins. An easy way to decorate the table is to sprinkle confetti down the middle and intersperse some foil-wrapped chocolate kisses for fun. Your kids will love it.

Have fun with an easy dinner featuring the color of the day – red. Red soup, red entree, and try Rachael’s version of inside-out chocolate dipped strawberries for dessert! Here are some of Rachael’s recipes that would be perfect for the red dinner:

Quick Tomato and Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato Brushetta

Red French Bread Pizza

Ravioli Lasagna

Chicken Parmigiano with Polenta

Mile High Lasagna

Greek Baked Ziti

Roasted Caprese Spaghetti

Cherry Tomato Spagehtti all’Amatriciana

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

Stuffed Roasted Strawberries

Pull out the old photos: My kids love looking at old photos, so after dinner, pull out the photo albums or fire up the slide show on the computer and take a minute to appreciate your family through the years and I’m sure share a laugh or two. Your kids will enjoy checking out wedding photos or baby photos of them – or you!

Movie Night. Close out the evening with a family movie where love conquers all – some good ones are: Lady and the Tramp, Sound of Music, The Princess Bride, Shrek, Cheaper by the Dozen, and The Parent Trap (new or old). If you are at the Disney Princess stage – all are big on love and romance for sure – Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, etc. And if you have older kids you can share some of the all-time romantic favorites – When Harry Met Sally, Say Anything, or Pretty in Pink.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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