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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Family Valentine

We decided to have some special family fun this Valentine's Day. In the past we've always gotten a sitter for the kids, and Titus and I have gone out to eat. It's been a time for us to connect and reminisce about days in the past. Every year Titus makes a reservation at Blind Tiger where we had our first Valentine's date.

I've done a lot of thinking about Valentine's Day over the past couple years, and I really wanted to get away from it being about couples. I talked about this a little bit last year. I feel like it should be a day for love, but more of an unconditional God centered love. This is not to say a husband and wife can't experience that. I strongly desired this year to share the day as a family, not as a couple.

Titus and I did still have a special date on a different day, but the evening of February 14th was reserved for our children. I don't want them growing up thinking life is all about finding a spouse and getting that perfect family. God has so much more in store for them relationally. You can be complete without a mate. Big shock, huh?

This year was a huge triumph, and I believe it's going to become even greater in the future!

I tried to put lots of special touches on everything to make the night unforgettable for our family. We had appealing decorations that created a perfect atmosphere. My mom let me borrow all of her Christmas lights that we strung around the dining room. Each place had a name tag, red silverware, a champagne glass, along with a cloth napkin I made. The favorite part for the kids was the candles spread throughout the room. The night was enchanting. Each year we are going to add new things to the celebration. I already found some clearance red heart shaped plates for us to eat on next year!

I wanted to create a menu to please everyone. In order to keep with our Valentine's theme I tried to stick with red foods. We started off the meal with pink bread hot from the bread maker. I found some delicious spices to make 3 different dipping sauces for the bread. The spices were on my Christmas wish list; however, I didn't receive them. I was supremely excited to find them at Aldi the last time I went grocery shopping for a cheaper price! They are wonderful!! Very similar to what Johnny Carino's offers for their bread, however I find them to taste much better!

As the evening grew later, the lighting was even more beautiful. The kids felt so grown up dining by candle light. I am certain this is a night we will always remember.

In the past I have made the kids giant chocolate chip cookie hearts and I didn't want to disappoint this year. Each cookie is probably the equivalent of one dozen cookies!

Secret Santa's were such a big hit, the kids asked if we could draw names for Secret Valentines. It's always fun to have a secret and give homemade gifts from the heart!

Ariel drew Zech's name and made him peanut butter balls. She also worked very hard on the green bracelet Zech is wearing in the photo. It's made out of ribbon and pop can tops. Genius!

Gabriel was quite the tailor in designing this bird hat for his sister. Gabe is in the "Mario club," and Ariel says she's in the "bird club." Now she can wear her new hat to her meetings! My help was very minimal as he did most of the work and all of the design process.

I love that both of my boys are interested in sewing. I believe it's a very useful skill for both sexes. Zechariah chose to make this black and green Tic-Tac-Toe set for Gabriel. He painted all of the wooden playing pieces (Hearts vs. Stars). He also sat on my lap and helped guide the sewing needle while we made the board. The favorite part of his was lifting the presser foot and cutting the thread.

With the luck of the draw both Titus and I drew each other's names. I thought it was very appropriate for Valentine's Day. He spent hours fashioning this paper rose for me. He said it isn't finished as he would like to add a green stem and dip the rose in wax. The candle was obviously store bought but went very well with the gift. It smells fantastic!

I had so much fun making these playing cards for my husband. I love how they turned out. The front of the pack says, "52 Reasons Why I Love You." Then I came up with 52 things that I love about Titus. At first I thought it was going to be difficult to think of stuff, but once you get started it's hard to stop. I probably could have come up with many many more than just 52 things I love.

52 Reasons why I love you
Our dinner was delicious! I found all new recipes to try out for the night. Our main course was traditional Lasagna that left your mouth watering for more. It was sensational, however, very heavy food. The recipe used both sausage and ground beef, along with 5 different cheeses! It was a little expensive, but worth the price. You will not go away hungry. If fact you might go away too full!

For dessert I made a strawberry pie, something I had never eaten before. It was very simple to make! Both recipes I found in a cookbook I was given as a wedding gift. Sad to say, these are the first two recipes I've made from it. I can't believe I haven't cooked from it before. The book is filled with pictures that make you strongly desiring to eat.

A few days before Valentine's Day my husband and I got to have a date out without the children. We dressed formally, were served a 5 course meal, and dined with our very good friends. It was a wonderful night! The only sad part of the evening, I dropped my camera and it appears that the lens might have been broken. If you notice all my pictures on the normal focal length have the top left corner darkened. It works fine if you zoom, but I often use it on the normal setting. I'm going to need to purchase a new lens again. This will be my 4th time buying the same lens. I must stop dropping it. Maybe it's just time for a new camera?

I have to tell you, Zechariah is seriously confused about this whole Valentine's Day holiday. All his life we have had our parakeet Valentine (who is named for the day). In 4 days our bird will be 5 years old! The part that confuses Zechariah, he can't seem to grasp that when we say it's Valentine's Day we are not referring to it being the day belonging to our bird Valentine. He truly believes all the celebration is a birthday party. When we attended the school party he loved it that so many people wanted to celebrate our bird. No matter what I said, he didn't understand. There were many times throughout the day that he would run to the bird cage and tell her, "Today is your day, Valentine! It's your party!"

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