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22 February 2014

Valentine's Day - Crazy Cupid's Diner

In the years since we had kids, Chris and I have started a few traditions around holidays. We started them for a few different reasons… a) we are far away from our extended family b) as a military family, Dad was often gone, so the girls and I made holidays special even though he wasn't home c) also as a military family, we would move around a lot and from one holiday to the next, we weren't necessarily in the same town or able to celebrate with the same friends.

One of our holiday traditions is a fondue dinner for Valentine's Day.  There have been some years when it has been more elaborate than others, but we have done it every year since Olivia was a baby.  That year, I remember very well.  Olivia was still in a high chair, and her high chair was parked near the table, but in reach of the drapes that framed our sliding glass door.  We discovered that night that Olivia didn't really enjoy having really messy hands with fondue all over them. The chocolate course bothered her so much that she wiped her hands all over the drapes. They were incredibly stained the next day. I tried taking them down to wash them, but they were ruined. Believe it or not, we just shrugged it off, bought new drapes at Ikea and continued to do fondue year after year.  However, Olivia was never seated next to the curtains again!!

As we are in a temporary apartment and have no access to our fondue pots and other kitchen items, we decided not to do fondue this year. The girls were disappointed that we wouldn't be doing it, so I found a fun Valentine's surprise that would be fun and super easy to do.  Chris, ever the good sport, was very supportive.
I had seen the idea on Pinterest - God love Pinterest! I can spend hours dreaming on Pinterest!  99% of everything I pin is just not reality for me. But, I do find some really cool stuff there. I have a board called "Pinterest I have done in real life". Check it out and you will find some pretty cool things that have worked out really well.  I cook quite a lot of the recipes I find there, and have to say the vast majority of them are really, really good!
But, on the other hand, wow! Pinterest creates a whole lot of pressure to have a really gorgeous home (like the Pottery Barn catalog wasn't pressure enough!) and throw fabulous parties, and give incredible gifts.  And, Thank You JESUS I was already married by the time Pinterest was invented. I would have had a nervous breakdown, no question!

Here is where the idea came for our Crazy Cupid's Diner Valentine's Dinner Surprise! Visit the website if you want the actual printables too! Yay!

Basically how it worked was that ahead of time, Chris and I decided what we would serve for dinner and created a "cheat sheet" for what the menu items matched up to.

We kicked the girls out of the kitchen, so they couldn't see what was being prepared, and we gave them each a menu (see the left above). They were to order two numbers for each course and then would see how that worked out for them!  It actually didn't turn out too crazy, but theoretically, they could have been served a napkin and a fork only for their first course.  Olivia got a napkin and fruit salad and no utensils for her first course, and Sophia got dessert and a drink first.  Then, for Sophia's second course, she got steak, but had no fork to eat it with!  Here she is trying to eat it with a knife!

The girls had a ton of fun with this crazy, surprise dinner and said that they want to do it again next year, and do fondue at another holiday!

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