A fun Valentine’s family dinner. This is a simple way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your family or gals for Galentine’s.
I used to hate Valentine’s. It seemed so forced and mushy. I kept thinking…why wait for one day to show someone that I love them? But…
What if Valentine’s was more than romantic love? What if it was more than roses and chocolate hearts?
What if Valentine’s was truly about showing love to other people?
What if we used the day to show kindness to others? We bought someone coffee while they were waiting in line. We gave a compliment to a random stranger. Held a door for the next person or called up an old friend.
I think this is why Valentine’s is so important. It gives us an opportunity to show our kids that love doesn’t just have to be romantic. Love doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Love can just simply be an act of kindness.
Valentine’s Family Dinner
A few years back, we started this Valentine’s family dinner. We were tired of arranging a babysitter and then waiting in traffic for a crowded restaurant. So we did a fancy (well, sort of fancy) dinner at our house. I look forward to this day every year and love the reaction I get on my kids’ faces when they walk through the door.
We did this Valentine’s family dinner last year and I made ricotta stuffed shells and strawberry chocolate cupcakes. It was delicious and at the end of the night, we danced and played with the left over balloons.
Y’all know I keep it real. So I want to first mention expectations. It never fails that when you try to do something special for your kids, it likely does not go as planned. This year was no exception. I had spent all day (ok, maybe 2 hours here and there) on this cute Valentine’s family dinner set up.
By the time dinner rolled around, my middle son was in time out, my baby was crying and my oldest was giving me attitude because I told him he had to eat before opening his gift.
Keep your expectations low. Kids always seem to throw you a curve ball. At dinnertime, we usually have something spilling, someone farting at the table or me getting up 100 times to get something.
I get it. Dinner time can be a battle, but I really do think they appreciate you putting in the effort to make it special sometimes.
Keep it simple. Try to use things from your house that you already have like mason jars, flower vases, candles, etc. You can always grab a few things from a dollar store from the Valentine’s section. The main point is it does not need to be perfect or fancy.
My husband had just built a new dining table [gorgeous, right?] so I didn’t want to cover it completely. I made a Valentine’s table runner. I took a white paper tablecloth and painted red X’s and O’s on it. So simple and you can get the kids involved if you want.
Here are some things that you can use for your family Valentine’s dinner:
- Paper plates and napkins
- Fun cups or straws
- Rose petals
- Heart shaped balloons
- Valentine’s candy/chocolates
What’s on the menu?
Last year I made these stuffed ricotta shells. Sticking with the Italian theme, this year I made homemade pizzas using King Arthur’s recipe. I made the dough the night before and then rolled them out right before dinner. I added spaghetti sauce, fresh mozerella and basil. The pizzas turned out really good. It is definitely a lot of work to make your own dough. You can also use store bought dough and let the kids make their own pizzas and pick their toppings.
I also made a batch of these puff pastry hearts filled with fresh whipped cream, sliced strawberries and drizzled nutella. These are so easy to make and all the parts can be made ahead of time so all you have to do is assemble when you are ready to eat them.
Valentine’s Kid Activites
It’s always fun to have some activities for the kids. I let the kids paint on the leftover tablecloth. It is still hanging on my window and I love looking at their creation. One made hearts and the other made a giant monster truck.
We also found this card game at the store. Each card had a question like, “What is your favorite trip?” and “What is your favorite food?” It was fun to play with the kids and hear their answers.
Here are a few activities I found on Pinterest that you could use for your Valentine’s family dinner.
Valentine’s Family Dinner
This Valentine’s family dinner is one of my favorite things we do together as a family. It doesn’t have to be about romantic love, you could easily do this with your girlfriends for Galentine’s. Forget about being Pinterest perfect, serving a 5-star meal or having fancy decor, the point is just spending a few moments together.