Family Fun Valentine’s Dinner

In our family, we have a tradition of doing a silly mixed-up dinner theme for Valentine’s Day. I saw the idea online once, many years ago, and tried it out on our young family. Our girls loved it so much that every year we have had to repeat it! They look forward to this fun family dinner, so my husband and I try to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a couple at different times. We will go out to dinner another night, or maybe out to lunch while the girls are in school.

It’s a very simple idea that anyone can do! You don’t need any fancy printables (although you can go that route if you want to), and you can pretty much throw it together last minute. Here’s what to do:

Grab a piece of paper and write the numbers 1-11 down the side. Assign the following items to random numbers:

Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish 1, Side Dish 2, Drink, Dessert, Plate, Fork, Spoon, Knife, Napkin.

Now, decide on your menu. It can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like. Some years, I have made a fancy dinner with new recipes we’ve never tried before, but most years I keep it as simple as possible. Just think about your schedule and how much time you have/want to spend in preparation. This year, our menu looks like this:

Appetizer: heart-shaped pepper and cucumber cut-outs (use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter)

Main Dish: heart-shaped homemade mini pizzas with pepperoni cut into heart shapes on top. Again, use a cookie cutter, or try the method in this link:  

Side Dish: heart-shaped Jello jigglers (our heart cookie cutter is going to get a real workout today!)

Side Dish: heart-shaped strawberry halves

Drink: pink soda with vanilla ice cream floats 

Dessert: mini heart-shaped (cut-out) brownies (You can make up a boxed mix, buy some from your grocery store bakery and cut them into hearts, or make your own recipe!)

Lots of sugar, I know, but we’re also having veggies and fruit in there! You can copy my menu, or come up with your own! You can even make sandwiches cut in heart shapes. One year, we had heart-shaped pancakes for our main course.

Once you have your menu decided on, and assigned numbers, make a menu sheet for each member of your family. Write their name at the top and write down the side in order: Drink, Appetizer, Main, Side, Side, and Dessert. Draw two lines next to each item except for dessert. This will only need one line. This gives them 11 lines to randomly write the number 1-11 on.

Of course, YOU will have the key written down and hidden in a secret spot in your kitchen. 😉

We like to buy decorations from a dollar store such as a tablecloth, napkins, and cups to match Valentine’s Day, but you certainly don’t need to! We also put a few candles on the table, and scatter some confetti or candies around the candles. Anything will work. The key is that you are having fun together. Decorations are only if you want to add a little festivity. 😉

Gather up the “menus” and have the waitress (my kids like to take turns being the waitress) bring out the appetizers. You may get some mixed reactions if your littles get a fork for their appetizer while a sibling gets brownies! Be prepared for this and be patient! Be flexible and willing to “trade numbers” for the little ones who can’t handle it! Keeping it fun is the key, here.

I like to wait a few minutes between “courses”, and you can bring out the sides with the main, etc. However you want to run your little crazy mixed-up restaurant is up to you!

I hope you enjoy this fun Valentine’s tradition as much as we do! Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

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