Valentine’s day with the Kids

29 01 2010

I have never been a fan of Valentine’s day…well, I did always look forward to those little red hot Valetine’s heart candies.  The ones that make your tongue tingle and scream “CINAMMON” in your mouth.  Then there was the year abroad in college in the UK when I discovered they had candy hearts with mean sayings on them.  I had fun taping them to my friends’ doors.  All in love and with the true British sarcastic spirit.

So here we are and Valentine’s day is approaching somewhere between shuttling the children to and from classes and school, and working on projects, I guess I should consider what our plan is.  Do I buy/make cards from the children for family members? just my husband? no one?  I think I’ll do whatever I have time to do and whatever we feel like between now and then.  That’s got to be good enough. Then, if it strikes our fancy, everyone is healthy, we have it in our budget (money or time), perhaps we’ll do something around town.

For places to go and eat with the kids in tow at either breakfast, lunch, or dinner here are a few suggestions.  If it is chocolate that you’re after, either for your loved ones or for yourself, then here’s a full but not absolute list of where you can find everything from Cadbury chocolate to some exquisite hand-made chocolates.

Our slightly less local than it was toy store, Henry Bear’s Park, is having a chocolate lollipop workshop at each of their locations.  I am not sure how hands on the workshop will be, but it is free and when you call to reserve your spot you can get all the details.  Arlington’s workshop is on Saturday February 6th from 11:00 -1:00, Brookline’s is on Wednesday February 3rd from 3:30 to 5:30 and Cambridge’s is Friday February 5th from 4:30 to 6:30.  The recommended age from the Candy Factory Kit is ages 10 and up, but for the workshop (or using the kit with help) younger children will be fascinated as well.

You can’t eat it, but you can definitely cook in it and eat from it, if you made it at Made By Me.  Made By Me has some of the nicest options for pottery pieces to paint.   It turns out, on Monday February 1st you can eat it.  Made By Me is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary with cake and goodies.  There will be surprise specials for all painters (make something for the grandparents for Valentine’s day or plan way ahead for Mother’s day.)  If you can’t make it on Monday, then throughout the month of February, Monday through Friday will be Ten Dollar Days when some of the special, more expensive items will be offered for $10 while supplies last for any given item.  Items will vary throughout the month.

On Valentine’s Day proper, Sunday, February 14, paint with someone you love.  You each buy your item but the painting time will be two for the price of one.  Made by Me will provide the music, ambience, flowers, and even chocolates.  You are on your own for the creativity and affection.  We do enjoy eating our cereal or ice cream out of the hand-painted dishes the children have made at Made by Me.  I expect when they’re in college we’ll appreciate them even more.

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Valentine’s Day: A Different Type of Bubbly

2 02 2009

Now that you have little ones, your lifestyle may have changed a tad.  It might be time to revamp Valentine’s day.

If you still fit in your lingerie or have purchased something new to show off your hot mama bod then go for it. For me, lingerie is no longer in the front, or even somewhere in the middle of my dresser drawer.  It has fallen out the back of the drawer and is flattened in the back between the dresser frame and the drawer.  In fact, lingerie is more of a goal like saving money for the kids to go to college some day.  But this isn’t about changes in the bedroom so let’s move on to the kitchen.

In truth, I am not a huge fan of Valentine’s day and never have been.  The thought of a romantic dinner for two might be the perfect evening for some parents.  The sitter comes,  you have reservations at some Boston area romantic spot, and you look fabulous in your new outfit.  The anticipation of a romantic candle-lit dinner with your partner in life without crumbs under foot or under tush nor mysterious noises coming across the monitor just as you sit down to raise a glass of wine) has made you giddy all week.  You get yourselves primped and pampered and head out the door arm in arm.

In our life it’s more like we have reservations at some fabulous restaurant.  We say our goodbyes (9 times out of 10 someone is screaming as we walk out the door).  Okay, sometimes it’s me but getting dressed is really traumatic these days.  So we’re finally out the door, we find our romantic dinner spot.  We then drive around for 20 minutes to find parking.  Once we’re parked we go into the restaurant.  The lights are dim the air is warm and all we really want is a pillow and a blanket.

Since it is rare that we eat together as a family and I think it is important to do when we can, this year Valentine’s day is about the romance of family.  It’s about doing things together.  Letting the usualy schedule flex a little bit.  The teacher in me knows that the more prep I do in advance and the earlier we schedule our evening the more relaxing our experience will be.

So my suggestion for this Valentine’s day is to enjoy the dynamics of your family as it is, not as it could/should/would be.  If that means that the morning is spent apart.  Dad goes out for a Pilates class.  Mom takes the kids out for breakfast.  Mom goes out for a walk around the reservoir.  Dad takes the kids out to play or stays in to do a project (house, painting, laundry).  Just make little changes to the day.  Stop and have a tea break together.  Put on some music to fold laundry to and do it as a family.

And for dinner skip the Champagne, steaks, and chocolate mousse.  Okay, you can keep the chocolate mousse just make it the night before or after school with the kids.  The new Valentine’s menu is heart-shaped hamburgers any style.  The bubbly is beer.  And, dessert is chocolate (perhaps white chocolate for the kids if you want them to sleep).  Plan an early family dinner. Once the kids are in bed you can serve another course. I do mean a little bite to eat here:  a cheese course, a fruit course, dessert, or after dinner drink.

For more info: The recipes and details will be coming soon.  Some great beer choices and pairings will accompany the menu.