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Be My Valentine (And Bring the Kids)

With a little planning you can create a family friendly romantic Valentine's Day!

Obviously, before kids (B.K.) Valentine’s Day was complete with dinner reservations at a romantic restaurant, a little bubbly and flowers. After kids (A.K.), all that changes. Do you hire a babysitter? Do you bring the kids out to dinner? Do you make a nicer than normal dinner at home?

What do you do for Valentine’s Day with the kids around? Can you have a fun, even romantic Valentine’s Day with children? Absolutely! All it takes is a little creativity and simple planning. I've got some off the beaten path ideas that will have your heart fluttering with love for the whole family.

Turn your Dining Room into Chez Romance

Here’s a creative idea I found that I will definitely be doing this year-create a romantic restaurant setting in your own kitchen. This requires a little simple planning. First, plan the meal you and your spouse will eat. Then plan the meal the kids will eat (something quick and easy). Feed the kids their dinner while you prepare your romantic feast. Set the table for two with your nicest table cloth, finest dishes and flatware and of course candles and soft music. Instruct the kids they will be your waiters for the evening (of course they need to be old enough to carry your plates but a big sister or brother can help)  It’s even more enjoyable if they are dressed the part; simple black pants, white shirts and aprons. Have the food prepared on the plates in advance out of sight, but in order of how it’s going to come out.

Sit back and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes over candles, soft music and delicious food while you hear the cute giggles of your children serving you. For dessert, you can invite your helpful waiters to join you at the table. What more can you ask for? An inexpensive and fun way to celebrate the love you share with the ones you love.

Eat Out As A Family

Pick one of the great family friendly restaurants in Sonoma and eat out earlier in the evening before the dinner rush ( are , , and ). It might mean more crowds and possibly a longer wait time as you are joined by other families, but it’s still a fun way to celebrate and get the night off from cooking for once. The setting may not be as romantic with all the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, but You can always enjoy a romantic dessert or glass of bubbly together after you put the kids to bed.

Indoor Picnic

Get a roaring fire going, push the furniture aside, and spread out a big blanket on the floor. Go high-end by serving a nice wine, gourmet cheeses and crackers, grapes, and fancy Belgian chocolates. Or for a more wallet and family-friendly picnic, serve heart-shaped PB&J sandwiches, fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers and pretzels. Or make it even easier and swing by Whole Foods Market and grab all the fixings and some delicious cupcakes for dessert. This way everyone gets what they really like and you have started a great new tradition.

Have a Lovey Dovey Family Movie Night

Make invitations in the form of a movie ticket or stick a bag of microwave popcorn on the bag of a Valentine’s card inviting them to a family Valentine’s Day pizza and movie.  Order a heart shaped Pizza from Papa Murphy’s and pick a kid appropriate movie that the whole family will enjoy. Here’s a fun list from Common Sense Media. You can always enjoy a little romantic dessert after the kids have gone to bed-chocolate fondue is my favorite.

Scavenger Hunt

Set out hearts all over town and send the kids on a love hunt with your significant other; in the library, in the park, in the car and into a store where they were instructed to buy ‘something red, something hot and something sweet’. The final location took them to a restaurant where we all met for dinner and they revealed the three things they bought. Of course you need to follow closely with the camera to capture all the smiles on the way!

Memories are created when you share time like this together, and one day this time together will be gone. Valentine’s Day can absolutely be a romantic time together even with the children around.

Dorothy February 02, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Yes I agree that Valentine's Day can be just as good, if not better, when the kids are part of the plan.
Elora February 02, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I like your suggestions except rather than going to a "kid" place, if the kids are old enough, go to a regular adult place like The Girl and the Fig. Go for an early seating and let everyone dress up and feel really special because it is a day about love--and once you have kids they are part of your love. Depending on your kids you might be able to go when they are as young as five or six.
Michelle Rulmont February 03, 2012 at 03:35 AM
Thanks Dorothy and Elora! Yes, Elora, great suggestion about Girl and the Fig. One of our favorite restaurants and we actually call my daughter the girl and the fig becuase she loves all things fig!
Renee February 03, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Going out is fun but so can staying in be fun. If you allow young ones to decorate the house you will have heart chains and other demonstrations of love everywhere. . And I have enjoyed heart shape cakes when my kids were old enough to bake on their own. However you celebrate, I agree that Valentine's Day can be wonderful when shared with your children.

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