Valentine’s Day

So, this weekend is Valentine’s Day.

I have to admit, I prefer it when it falls on a weeknight, because it feels much more special to go out to dinner on a Wednesday than on a Saturday. On the other hand, I don’t have children so I’m not looking for a babysitter, which means it doesn’t really matter to me. We don’t make a giant deal out of Valentine’s Day anyway, so it is all kind of a moot point.

In my imaginary life, I make fabulous handmade cards and small gifts for everyone I know, both locally and across the United States. My house is cleverly and perfectly decorated, without looking like a box of Sweethearts (bleck, I hate those) exploded in it. I make the whole day – nay, the whole week – a romantic and special occasion for Bart. We go to an amazing restaurant and do the $200 per person tasting menu.

In my real life, I (some years) buy Bart a box of Junior Mints and we go out to dinner and spend a grand total of $20. It is vair romantic and sweet.

Clearly, there is a massive gap between my imaginary and real lives. What clever and fun things are you doing to celebrate? Can I steal them?

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  1. Our Valentine’s Day traditions are holdovers from college, i.e., they are cheap. 🙂 We set a budget for gifts, and we never ever go out on the actual day. Instead, I pick the dinner that JG makes, and he picks the dessert, and we go out later on when it’s not crazy and crowded with high expectations. This year, the budget is $25, dinner is ribs and cornbread (hoo, doggie), dessert is underbaked chocolate chip bars, and then we’re going out for sushi on Sunday. Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge deal for us, but it’s nice to do something fun when winter seems particularly long, you know?

  2. We don’t really have and “traditions” but we definitely do Valentine’s day on a budget. I have one friend who always hand-makes the valentine gift for her husband (and vice versa). I have another friend who switches every year at who gets to plan Valentine’s (then the other person plans the anniversary date that year.) Things I would like to make a tradition: lava cakes for dessert (too rich to eat more than once a year) and a heartfelt love note.

  3. I’m making lots of sweets for my visiting teachees. I have made a bit of a reputation for myself among them as a fabulous baker/treat-maker and thus feel kind of obligated to drop by with really tasty things at least every other month. This month: salted caramels, homemade twix*, homemade smores (graham cracker topped with homemade marshmallow** all dipped in chocolate).

    Aaron is getting nothing. I think he’s getting me a chocolate bar. Because I demanded one.



  4. Our anniversary is also on Valentines Day and Blaine has always done a great job at making it special. It’s not so much what we do, but he always makes a list of “do you remember…” and lists our memories from the year out. So for each year of our marriage we have a five or six page list of short/funny/sweet/sad memories from the year. It makes up for our horrible journal habits.

    We usually go out on a different day of the week. This year we had a baby instead. : )

  5. Instead of getting a babysitter (too pricey right now), we wait until the little one is asleep and do a fondue picnic on the living room floor. We also watch a movie. Fun, cheap and romantic.

  6. We are eating out a week later to celebrate 🙂 We only eat out once a month together, so it’s always special, and this month we will say it’s in the name of V-day.

  7. Well, I must say that we don’t normally do anything spectacular for Valentine’s Day. We will just go to dinner, if that. Well, this year, the family that I work for (I am a nanny) has invited us to the Heart Ball. It’s a benefit thing for the American Heart Association. Anyway, the reason this is so exciting is because the tickets are $500 each and we would be going for free, so of course we said yes, and now we have really cool plans for Valentine’s Day. This will probably be the most extravagant Valentine’s Day that we will ever have, considering the fact that it’s black tie and we will be accompanied by people that are quite a bit more well off in the material sense than we are, so ya! I am pretty excited!

  8. Come on, Janssen! With all your cute red dishes and wonderful cooking skills? Junior mints?? Well, those are really good.

    You could try to impress Bart with some fresh artisan bread (super easy!), served with fun cheeses like Brie. Enjoy your freedom to do those things while you can!

    The days of romantic cheese and fruit and bread picnics on the living room floor while watching a movie are pretty much over for us now. The kids never let us get a moment, and Roger, well, he goes to bed about the same time as the kids (he leaves to work about 4:30 or 5 am). So late night romantic dates are hard to come by too. We try to make a delicious meal including filet minon or something we would usually not splurge on, instead of going out (b/c of the sitter and the BYU student crowds).

    Not sure why this comment is so dang long! 🙂

  9. Your Valentine’s Day sounds similar to mine–except no Junior Mints. My husband and I do exchange cards and do the dinner out thing, but that’s about it. And really, dinner out is something we do all the time, so it’s not all that big of a deal–only the restaurants always seem more crowded.

  10. We don’t make too big of a hooplah about Valentine’s day- we ALWAYS finda way to surprise wach other- this year it’s simple, I’m going to put a box of sweethearts (his favorite candy) with a card in his four-wheeling helmet (we’re spending this weekend at the Dunes- nothing like eating dirt and making jumps to scream romance. Our first valentine’s together we had just moved into our house- we had voxes everywhere (we JUST moved in-like a day) and Ryan surprised me with a romantic candelit dinner amoungst the boxes- then the next year we started a tradition- the ugly valentine’s day gift- we find the corniest valentine’s stuffed animal (no more than $5) and try to outdo each other- it’s fun- tacky and reminds us that we are people who love to have fun- and are still madly in love after five years of marriage- the winner is still Ryan- he found me a giant red valentine’s lizard- yup nothing says love like a lizard!

  11. Well, I really love any holiday that I can do anything silly and fun for! I really want to have fun little parties for my kids and their friends when they are older (and I have kids vs kid) for random holidays like groundhogs day (I just thought of that one because you sent that cute pancake email a while back.)

    Do you ever read my comments and cringe at my spelling and lack of punctuation? Ha.

    But this year, Dave’s parents are taking Kinsey on Friday night (YIPEE!)(which I got her Vday pjs for) and we are just spending a night with ourselves…lovely. I am in charge. I think we will got to a movie because we have free tickets, and then dinner- with no screaming and running around the entire restaurant Kinsey, it should be quite delightful! I thought about doing something creative and putting our tent up in our living room and putting sticky stars on the ceiling and eating smores and having a campout, but it almost sounds to much of a pain. We will see!

  12. Oh, and as for presents….Kins is getting a little stuffed doggie and princess candies, Dave is getting ??? and I will probably get flowers cause Dave knows if he doesnt I will probably cry inside for days.

  13. Last year we rented a movie and ordered pizza…it was awesome.

    When I was a kid we always made “Valentine’s Pockets” which are (in their simplest form) 2 paper plates stitched together and decorated with stickers, lace, markers, whatever. We hung these on our door-knobs on Feb. 1 and my mom would leave a little present in them ever night until Valentines. Pencils, or bite-size candy bars, or something. I still participate in this tradition, only now I’m the one filling my own V-day pocket with treats.


  14. We usually go out to dinner, but won’t this year because we just went out without the kids a week ago. I am making a mix tape (well, CD) for him (using his Rhapsody account, so uh, he’s actually paying for it himself!) No idea what I’ll get, probably just a card.

  15. Our Valentine’s plans are relaxed. We’re broke college students so we’ll be ordering a pizza and watching a movie. Which means we’ll be taking time out to hang out with just each other, which is a reason to celebrate all on it’s own!

  16. Going to a Baby Birthing in Maryland–which if you think about it is very romantic–if you think in terms of nine months ago! I’m sending out our Christmas letters finally for Valentine’s. Oh, and a disclaimer email to my grandkids that I’ll be recognizing Dr. Seuss’s birthday this year in lieu of Valentine’s gifts. Same colors, different sentiment.

  17. I’m baking special cookies and we are going out to dinner, but possibly not on actual valentines day…it depends on whether or not we can count on the kindness of family that night to watch our babe.

  18. I do the same thing! In my head, I am going to make Valentine’s with my daughter and they will be beautiful, handmade creations. In reality, I haven’t even bought the supplies yet! But I do hope to get around to that one day this week.

  19. First off, let me say that I love Junior Mints. Have you seen the heart-shaped Valentine’s version? Fun…

    Anyway! Our Valentine’s Day tradition morphed in to one after (1) making dinner in the first year we were married (and dirt poor!) and (2) we hated battling the crowds on the actual day. Every year, we take turns making dinner in.

    We have also added making homemade sugar cookies to our agenda. We make the cookies sometime around Valentine’s Day and then share them with friends and family. After I’ve had my fair share, of course. 🙂

  20. We usually just exchange cards. We used to do the heart shaped boxes of chocolates or a rose or a couple of carnations. These used to be special treats. But now that we are older and have more stuff, it just is stuff – although the sentiment still counts 🙂

  21. For our 1st Valentine’s day, just a few weeks into dating, I gave him a book, he gave me a CD, and he took me out to Pizza Hut (I love their cheese sticks). 2nd V-day we had a baby 5 days prior so same thing again except Pizza Hut delivery. 3rd- we tried the romantic reservation thing, only to find the restaurant seriously loud and overcrowded. Decided to opt for Pizza Hut and quiet park and privacy.

    Ever since then we decided to always do a book, music, and Pizza Hut. Sometimes where you can be seated othertimes it’s take-out and to our own special spot.

    We save the hugely romantic Valentines Day experiences for anniversaries (when it won’t be a full house). And it may be low-key but honestly is there anything more intimate and romantic then picking the perfect book or music for someone you love? That right there is a test of how much you know about your partner.

  22. Fortunately for me, Ryan is oober-romantic. Every year he has an elaborate and usually pricey surprise for me. This year isn’t a surprise but we are going to see Billy Joel in concert (front row tickets) and dinner at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. It’s the only time of year we ever splurge so we have fun with it. We usually get each other gifts depending on our current financial condition. After all it was Valentine’s Day in High School that we started liking each other more than friends, so it’s kind of special for us.

  23. This is Mike’s and my first Valentine’s Day since we got married, so we don’t have any prior traditions to go on, which means that since I’m planning it I get to decide! That makes me happy. 🙂

    So the first thing is that since I am planning Valentine’s Day, he will be planning our anniversary. Next year we might switch, or it may turn out that we always do it this way. In any event, I think that makes it easier to plan something special.

    We’re spending this Valentine’s Day in a hotel by where he works; I’m making dinner, which we’ll have in the hotel room, and then I got a few games and other things that we haven’t played since back when we were first dating, so they’ll have some nostalgia as well as being fun for their own sakes. I’m also going to do one of those cheesy cans where I write either 101 things I love about him or some “remember whens” from the past year… I saw a cute way to decorate a Pringles can, so I’ll be trying that.

    Anyway. The biggest part of it is that it’s a total surprise, so I think that’s what will make it really fun.

    I always feel lame when I leave such long comments! Haha I hope you find something fun to do.

  24. I am going to make us an indoor picnic and be super cheesy and cut the bread, meats and cheeses into hearts and also have heart cookiets, etc…things like that. 🙂

  25. Who knows – our options around here aren’t much and it’s hard to get into a restaurant that night! I prefer something simple though. a number of years ago Dave surprised me 3 years in a row with a barbershop quartet showing up and singing to me, the first year was at a restaurant (semi embarrasing), the 2nd year was as we were coming out of a movie – right in the lobby in front of all the people waiting for the next show (extremely embarrasing). After that I told him I wasn’t going out in public with him again on Valentines day, so that year they came to our house – better. Luckily we moved and that put an end to the barbershop stuff! (I hate being the object of stares and smiles!) Home sounds good to me!

  26. I am with you. I always have great intentions then reality comes. I am making a fun breakfast on Saturday. My mom gave me one of those pancake pans were there are little wells in the shapes of hearts. Ahhhhhh. So precious.

    Then I made some fun Pennie Pockets to stick candy in. They are super easy. I think I will eventually make one for each family member. They are almost the equivalent of a Valentine ‘stocking’ but just filled with candy.

    I am not a big present-giver on Valentines. I just like finding fun ways to say “I love you”. I didn’t have all the precuts.

  27. Usually we do dinner and cards…not overly romantic. Which I think is sad. Last year…since Maddux was only 2 months old we didn’t even go out to dinner we got Chili’s to-go and ate at home.

    So, this year me and three of my very best girlfriends decided to suprise our husbands with a weekend getaway to a Mountain Home. We’ve planned meals, activities, and we can’t wait! It has been so much fun to plan it. We officially invited the men last week and they were excited (and I’m sure a little thankful too) that we had taken charge this year!

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