Favorite Date Night In: One of the practical difficulties of Valentine's Day as a parent is that it can be difficult to find a sitter. All of our regulars have their own Valentines, and even if they didn't, I would still feel uncomfortable leaving our newborn. Enter the concept of a date night in. If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you may remember the "Friday for Fifteen" series. Each installment includes a date night idea for $15 or less. One of my favorites, and possibly the most appropriate to the occasion, is this one:
The Drink: Lindemans Framboise lambic style beer (around $10 for 750ml bottle), served in a champagne flute, if you have it. This raspberry beer is from a farmhouse brewery in Belgium. Unlike most beer styles, a lambic is created using wild yeast. The windows are thrown open and the fermenting liquid is exposed to the wild yeast and bacteria in the air, which is said to give the lambic its characteristic sour bite. The effervescence, sweetness, and acidity provide a nice complement and balance to the richness of...
The Food: Flourless Chocolate Cake (around $4 for the chocolate, you probably already have the other ingredients). This flourless chocolate cake is decadent and has a surprising depth of flavor for such a simple, easy dessert. I usually use a Ghirardelli Bittersweet Baking Bar, which is available in most grocery stores and is good flavor/value combination. I hear that Callebaut baking chocolate is also a good choice. Find the cake recipe here. The chocolate ties into this movie...
The Movie: Les émotifs anonymes (Romantics Anonymous). This romantic comedy is about chocolate, awkward people, and love. One more thing, this movie is available on Netflix instant view if you have a subscription. If you don't, you can try the free one month trial by clicking here. Enjoy!
Favorite Family Date Night In: So maybe you have kids and want to celebrate St. Valentine's Day as a family. My favorite family friendly love stories are UP and The Incredibles. The young ones will enjoy either of these films, and I guarantee that the first 12 minutes of UP will have you in tears. To make a night of it, pair it with a Valentine's Day snack mix of pink M&M's, mini marshmallows, and graham cracker goldfish.
Favorite Love Song: Ben Fold's The Luckiest. It reminds me of some advice that my grandmother gave me when I was younger. When I asked her how to know if someone was "the one," she said that both people should feel like they are the luckiest person in the world to be with the other. As I got older, I always tested relationships against that standard. Bit of trivia, and a sign that the world really is such a small place, my husband and I first danced to this song at this lady's wedding.
Favorite Random (Unisex) Gift: A breakfast in bed tray. And all that goes with it. At my house that means that the person making the breakfast takes care of the children while the pampered party gets to keep sleeping. This tray is also good for a shared midnight snack, because nothing says young and in love like ignoring tomorrow and staying up until 3 am snuggled in bed, eating and drinking, and laughing (at episodes of your favorite tv show, or... other things).
Favorite Non-Material Gift: A generous heart. Oh, how I wish I could find a link to purchase this "item," for myself! Back around the beginning of January when everyone was making resolutions and finding their "word" for the year, I was busy being super pregnant. But recently the words "generous heart" came to me. A generous heart is difficult to define, but it is characterized by certain things: taking the time to be gentle, taking the time to really "see" others, meeting the needs of others even though it is inconvenient or uncomfortable (for example, ignoring our own fatigue to serve another), choosing forgiveness, choosing to believe the best of the other, and refusing to entertain negative words and thoughts about others. I challenge you to give the gift of an intentionally generous heart to your mate for three days.