February 14th falls on a Sunday this year. That means you’ve got a whole weekend to build excitement at home around Valentine’s Day. Need a little inspiration?
Here are some absolutely beautiful ideas. Use them to reflect quietly at home, get your kids outdoors, or design an unforgettable family experience.
However you choose to celebrate, don’t miss the opportunity to show-and-tell love and friendship with your family this Valentine’s Day.
Cover photo credit: Masterfile.com
Photo credit: Two Peas and their Pod
Hey, they are still one of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s.
You just can’t beat the vanilla + buttered toast aroma of hot pancakes to etch loving memories in your child’s taste bank.
Add heart-shaped strawberries, clouds of pillowy vanilla Greek yogurt or whipped cream, even heart-shaped butter pats and syrup or honey.
Feeling artistic? Fry up heart-shaped pancakes with a cookie cutter, or make your own.
You can also try “drawing” a heart with batter piped from a Ziploc bag. Snip a half-inch opening at the bottom. Squeeze a heart-shape onto a hot non-stick frying pan, then fill in the shape with piped or spooned batter.
Photo credit: Mas & Pas, The Parenting Network
START A TRADITION
Some of the best childhood memories are built on family traditions, on quiet and sometimes quirky events enjoyed together, and often, over time.
Consider starting your Valentine’s Day Tradition at home. It doesn’t have to be ingenious, just something loving, replicable, and consistent. What if you…
-> Make Valentine’s Day cards for your kids. Keep it simple. A post-it note saying what you love about your son or daughter may become a treasured memento that encourages them all year long.
-> Set the table and re-enact the courtesy of going out on a date: a sit-down dinner, a chair pulled out, Mama dressed and seated, exchanging small or funny gifts.
-> Tell your children how you met one another and knew you wanted to spend your lives together. There is no better gift you can give a child than showing them how well you love and respect one another.
-> Make old-school Valentines with your children’s teacher and classmates or neighbours. Taking time to see and recognize the beauty of those around us develops gratitude and courtesy. It also helps to chip away at selfishness and favoritism. Teach your children to appreciate the value each person brings to the world.
Photo credit: Hoxton/Paul Bradbury/Getty Images
have a heart-to-heart
Help each family member discover their love language. According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five primary ways that people receive and show love.
…when love is expressed by being fully present and connected
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…when love is expressed by touch
Photo credit: Minno Life
Giving and Receiving Gifts
…when love is expressed by tangible expressions of thoughtfulness and consideration
Photo credit: Sign Up Genius
…when love is expressed by kind words and encouragement
Photo credit: Granger Wootz/Blend Images/Getty Images
Acts of Service
…when love is expressed by serving, helping, or demonstrating kindness
Photo credit: All Pro Dad
Start a conversation with your partner and children about what makes them feel loved. You may be surprised to learn that the way you demonstrate love is not the way your partner or child needs to receive it.
Try these quizzes to nail down your own style, and figure out the love language of each family member.
Discussing how others need to be loved, and what makes them feel unloved–there’s no better conversation to have with the ones you love most. It makes for superb conversation in extended family gatherings, because understanding is one of the keys to loving with intention.
This activity is best for families with children from five years up. From birth to five years, experts recommend blending all five techniques to demonstrate love to your baby or toddler. By five, you should start to see your child’s special language emerging.
Photo credit: Village Realty
WALK THE BEACH
Winter-in-the-tropics is a wonderful time to enjoy big, curling waves, spectacular cloud formations, and unusual sunsets.
Take advantage of the gorgeous weather to walk the beach with your family. Pick a time everyone is relaxed and well-rested.
Make sure your kids have had something to eat, or take along healthy nibbles like popcorn, fruit, or nuts.
Ramp up the fun by inviting cousins and friends along. Grab a leash and take your dog, too. There’s adventure aplenty at the beach.
Babies will enjoy your presence, feel your happiness, and appreciate the sensations of sunshine, wind, and laughter.
Your toddler will enjoy playing or making shapes in the sand. If you go on a long hike, be prepared to help or carry very small children.
Kids and tweens will love climbing rocks, getting their feet wet, rolling in the sand, racing on the beach, and just being together.
Draw or scoop out a heart in the sand, or make a shape using rocks or sea shells. Then take a photo your family will remember!
Photo credit: Dad Info
PLAN A PICNIC
If you can grab a sheet or blanket, make sandwiches, and pack juice boxes, you have the makings of a splendid picnic.
Find a park or boardwalk overlooking a pond, and spread your moveable feast.
Or drive to the coast and park. Along a sea wall, dangle your feet over the edge, and take turns trying to name all the seagulls. You’ll pass a lot of time trying to think up new names, and have lots of fun in the process.
Spending leisurely time together shows children that you enjoy their company. Your kids won’t know it, but you are creating a safe place for important conversations.
Photo credit: pbs.org
Do AN EXPERIMENT
Photo credit: Understood.org
PLAY A GAME
Learning how to befriend ourselves and others begins in childhood, and is a lifelong experience. Play is one of the best ways to help children learn socialization skills.
We love this lineup of tried-and-true games and activities to help kids from preschool to junior high cultivate friendliness.
Photo credits: Joy Sweeting
VISIT A BAKERY
Can you think of anything more exciting for a kid than visiting a bakery for Valentine’s Day treats?
The new bakery at Acropolis Cafe in Palmdale is open from Monday to Saturday (from 7 am to 5 pm), and perfect for after-school or weekend treats.
Kids can look for the lovely Greek bakers and their sugar-coated assistants, hard at work in the kitchen.
The display case is full of classic desserts and pastries, tarts, chocolates, and delectable Greek specialties. There is lots of outdoor seating to turn your visit into a dessert date.
For Valentine’s, you can preorder gift boxes filled with dipped strawberries sparkling with edible glitter, decorated cookies, and splendid chocolates.
The Aegean-blue setting of the bakery’s chandelier, and a wall-to-wall mural in the restaurant offer more reasons to visit this charming spot. Painted by local artist, Jason Evans, with Jan-Yves Smith, the mural features Greek-Bahamian culture.
Photo Credit: Tania Delmonte Photography
GLAMOROUS AFTERNOON TEA
For a beautiful Mama-and-me date, or a more sophisticated Valentine’s Day experience for the entire family, drive out west to Caves Village for afternoon tea at Café Channing Noelle?
Enjoy hot or iced tea served in exquisite china, on tablecloths, in a garden, with flowers and a three-tiered stand of pastries and savory treats.
Get dressed, and prepare to take some amazing family shots–pinkies up! The Café also offers a spectacular brunch.
For parties of four or more guests, you’ll need to RSVP one day prior (327-3899).
We hope you’ve been inspired to enjoy really special experiences with your family.
How is your family celebrating Valentine’s Day?