It’s been almost a year since the first shut down and about a month and a few weeks into the second lockdown, at least we are here in Toronto, Canada. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and we are facing a Valentine’s unlike any other. It appears none of us have dates for the big day. With everything closed, there probably isn’t any romance in the air right now. In this house, it’s a miracle if we are both still awake on the couch at the end of the day.
I can’t say I am big on Valentine’s Day. I like the idea of it, but we don’t need a holiday to tell each other how much we love each other. I also think that Valentine’s Day is about showing everyone you love how much you care about them. For me, it is a day for family and friends. I was single for a while before I met Tom so my other single girlfriends and I would take each other out for dinner. We had fun.
That being said, this is a strange Valentine’s Day and I think we all need something to look forward to. My mental health has been up and down these past few months. Since January I have been working on small things to look forward to. I sprinkle these little events, activities or special meals in our monthly calendar to keep us going. It’s because of this I have been doing Valentine’s activities with the kids all week. I have been brainstorming Valentine’s date night ideas for us to do this year. I thought I would share my ideas with you for you to get inspired too.
A Note About Valentine’s Day With Kids
Our kids are still quite small (3 and 17 months old) so they have been home with us. This means there isn’t much time, energy or space for romance. We haven’t been out on a date since late 2019, but we did manage a walk and a coffee date last summer when my parents were a part of our bubble. Finding time to have a nice romantic Valentine’s Day will be hard, but not impossible.
I am planning to make the day all about the kids and the evening after bedtime will be about mom and dad. I think the kids should take part in some way or another, plus it’s fun to see them get all excited about things. I have bought them matching Valentines pajamas and I am putting together some activities that they can do like colouring and some crafting. I will also put together an early movie night with some treats that I ordered from one of my favourite bakeries here in Toronto. For dinner we are going to make something more adult for Tom and I to enjoy. We will bake a pizza for the kids so everyone is happy. Once the kids go to bed we will do something nice, just the two of us.
Now that I have shared with you my plan for Valentine’s Day with the kids I will share some of the ideas I came up with for the evening along with some wine suggestions to pair with the activity.
Play A Boardgame Together
I love playing board games. Tom and I used to play board games a lot but we just can’t seem to find the time or energy to play these days. I am trying to get N into playing board games but preschoolers have the attention span of a puppy. There are only a few games she is willing to play fully. This is one of them.
Our favourite board games are Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, and Jenga. There are so many options out there. We also like Wine Wars and Scene It. I have an unfair advantage in both these games but we both still have fun playing them.
Wine Pairing: I would suggest a Australian or California Cabernet Sauvignon or South African Pinotage.
Do A Puzzle Together
I also really like doing puzzles but I find it difficult to get one done on my own with the kids around. It’s easier if there are two people doing it together to get it done in one sitting.
Wine Pairing: I would suggest a lightly oaked Chardonnay or Argentinian Malbec.
This one may be a bit hard if you have kids, as the time you would probably be making dinner would be while the kids are still awake. If this is the case maybe you can have a light dinner with the kids and maybe make a cheese board together after bedtime. You could also have dinner with the kids and then maybe make dessert together after the kids have gone to bed. You could make something as easy as these tasty peanut butter chocolate chip cookies or you could try out something more complicated like a souffle. You can try out Martha Stewat’s Chocholate Souflee recipe. Maybe, have ice cream on hand, just in case the souffle doesn’t workout.
If your kids are not like mine and go to bed early then you can actually make dinner together after they have gone to bed. Try out a recipe from a cookbook you own and haven’t tried yet, or if you have a subscription to a food box you could cook one of those meals together.
Wine Pairing: You could open a bottle of wine before dinner to drink while you are cooking. I would suggest a bubbly like a Cremant from France or a Prosecco from Italy.
Play Video Games Together
We aren’t hardcore gamers here but we do play video games. It’s a fun way to do something together that doesn’t require a lot of setup and a little competition is always fun. We have a PS3 (We haven’t hopped onto the PS4 and 5 bandwagon yet), and a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. We like all the Lego Star Wars games for PS3 and Mario Kart for the SNES.
Drink Pairing: I find it hard to drink anything while playing video games, I can get really animated while playing. So maybe skip the drinks until after the game is done or you can make yourself a cocktail in a low glass. Here are 14 Delicious Two-Ingrediant Cocktails That Are Totally Foolproof.
Do A Wine Tasting Together
Speaking of drinking….I think it would be a great idea to do a wine tasting. Don’t feel intimidated by the idea. It is a lot easier to do than you think and lots of fun. You can find a lot of resources online.
You might be asking yourself where do I start? Well, first pick your wines. If you are a beginner I would suggest you pick two wines.You could do a white and a red (starting with the white). You could do two whites or two reds. From there you can decide if you want to do wines from the same countries and/or regions, the same grape variety or different. You could also do cool climate versus warm or hot climate wines, or Old World (Europe) versus New World (everywhere else). There are a lot of options. Whatever you decided I suggest you pick two wines that are very different from each other, for example a Pinot Noir and a Shiraz, or a Pinot Grigio and a Sauvignon Blanc. I found an article on the different Wine Styles to help you pick your wines.
Next you will need some tasting sheets. I found a basic one here. Now, all you need is a bit of guidance to get you going. I found a Guide to Wine for Beginners (Infographic) on the Wine Folly site that is the perfect basic guide for your at-home wine tasting. Just follow the wine tasting sheet along with the guide and you are good to go.
Netflix and Chill
Let’s be realistic, you might be too tired at the end of the day to even do any of my suggestions above so let’s not kid ourselves. This Valentine’s Day may just be ordering in, finding something to watch on tv, and hanging out on the couch. That’s ok. A lot of us spend all day working and then dealing with kids at night or we are working and dealing with kids at the same time. That is all exhausting and it’s no surprise at the end of the day when all you want to do is absolutely nothing. Ordering in is a great opportunity to support a local restaurant so treat yourself to some kick ass food, watch a movie or binge watch a tv show. Whatever floats your boat will be the best thing for you. As long as you and your partner do it together and just enjoy each other’s company then you are doing Valentine’s Day right, if you ask me.
Wine Pairing: Whatever you think goes with going out to eat is a great option. Here is a good resource for pairing wine with food.
As I write this I have just found out that the fun blind tasting I had ordered and had planned for our Valentine’s Day night has been delayed and won’t arrive on time. While I am disappointed about this I have enough ideas here that I will just pick another from this list and it will be great nonetheless. I miss having date nights out, there were always so re-energizing for us as a couple. I know whatever we do will be an change to the everyday. I hope you can take the time to do something special because I think we all need it.