Saturday Smiles: Valentine edition

If you were hoping to leave Valentine’s Day on Tuesday, never to be remembered again until next year, then this post is not for you. I have a double dose of Valentine’s smiles for you this week, beginning with a kid-friendly project on Tuesday and ending with an eight-course Italian dinner on Friday. Those were definitely the highlights.

So, let’s get started.

The cuties and I took Tuesday afternoon to make Valentine’s decorations for our front window. Earlier in the week, we’d stocked up on construction paper and stickers. After taking my husband to school, we paid the scrapbook store a visit for some heart paper, which Isabelle could not live without. I hadn’t been to the store for a long time. This was the first memorable trip there with the kids, who, now that I let them cut and glue things, are attracted to all things paper. Isabelle wanted a die-cut snowglobe paper, and Corban wanted a Buzz Lightyear paper. I understand how they’re so easily distracted. I, too, could have walked out of there with a sack full of paper unrelated to our mission. We restrained ourselves, but not without a little bait-and-switch trickery on my part. “Hey, kids, look at the heart papers over there,” I said while carefully putting the non-heart papers back in their places.

We walked out of there with some free, leftover heart stickers, too. Isabelle was excited.

Here’s what we accomplished.

Isabelle artfully arranged the hearts in a circle. Later in the week, they would take marker to the paper. And the window. A small price to pay for creativity, I guess.

When we’d finished our craft project, it was time to make heart-shaped chocolate chip pancakes. For supper.

Corban didn’t get the message.

“Please, I have a Christmas tree?”

No amount of arguing could convince him that we needed to use hearts because it was Valentine’s Day. He got a Christmas tree.

Then, as I prepared the pancakes and sausage, he provided the entertainment.

Why, yes, Mom, I AM using the measuring cups as a drum set and making a terrible lot of noise.

How soon is too soon for music lessons?

Really, the smile says it all. Trouble and cuteness in one little package.

Dinner was a hit. I mean, what kid wouldn’t like chocolate, butter and syrup for supper? Moms, on the other hand, like it a little less when said kids are bouncing off the walls an hour later, nowhere near settled enough for bedtime.

Live and learn. But I’d do it all over again.

Because my husband was in class on Valentine’s Day, we postponed our couple celebration until Friday night, when he planned and (mostly) prepared a romantic dine-in meal for us.

The kids got to help and eat the first few courses.

Here’s how it looked in the kitchen that day.

I believe Isabelle is yelling “Italian!” here. She had no idea what was for supper, but she was excited for the Italian theme. And Corban’s not wearing pants in this picture. This happens a lot.

I shopped with Phil for the ingredients, but this was my first glimpse of the menu.

Wikipedia + Food Network + love. And yes, it was delicious. Every last bite.

This is how the arugula and fennel salad, and the fisherman’s stew turned out. I ate squid. And octopus. And mussels.


It’s been our tradition since before we were married that our Valentine’s dinner is homemade and dine-in. After we had kids, we had to get a little more creative with our timing. We put them to bed as early as they’ll go and eat a little later. It’s worth the wait.

We don’t get out to restaurants, especially fancy ones, much, so to clothe the table in special decor and turn on some classical music as we eat by candlelight is a suitable substitute.

These two days alone provided a week’s worth of smiles.

But the kids — oh, the things they say. I’m going to need to start writing down their words when they say them because they’ve come up with gems lately.

One day, during lunch or snack time, I was granting one of Isabelle’s reasonable requests, when she said, “Mom, why can’t you call me ‘Frajo’?” (I have no idea how to spell this, by the way. Can’t go wrong with phonetics, right?) Seriously, where does she come up with this stuff?

And Corban, today during lunch, said “We should pray.” We told him to go ahead and he said, “Jesus. Thank you for God. Thank you for playing with blocks.”

Can you hear my heart melting?

OK, that’s enough of my gushing. I should mention that the week was not all smiles and giggles. There are some days I look ahead to this post and wonder what on earth I’m going to write. There’s always something, even in the muck of everyday.

I’m hoping you found some smiles this week, too.


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