If you haven't made plans for a night out for Valentine's Day, you may have trouble getting seated at a restaurant or securing a babysitter. With just a little bit of preparation and planning, you can have a lovely and romantic night in with your mate.
| The Kids|
If you've got little ones in the house, they probably already have a fairly early bedtime. Perfect! Just put them to bed at their regular time and start your evening after they've fallen asleep.
For older kids, have them choose a movie or two and set them up with snacks and a show in another room. Threaten to ground them from video games till summer if they interrupt you.
Or, if you're lucky enough to have relatives nearby, see if they'll take your kids for a few hours (or overnight).
One of the benefits of staying in is not having to wear heels all night, but yoga pants don't exactly say "hot mama" so try to find a happy medium. Get a pedicure. Shave your legs. Take a bubble bath. Put on some mascara and scented lotion.
THEN put on the yoga pants. Just be sure to leave your prettied-up toes exposed and add a sexy camisole instead of a frumpy sweatshirt.
| The Mood|
Candles, flowers, and no visible toys are all you need to set the mood. But you can also add some special touches, like these printable man-approved Valentine's Day cards from Dating Divas.
Or write a love letter on festisite.com and put your words into a heart shape.
| The Meal|
If your mate has a favorite dish that doesn't get made very often because it's (too spicy for the kids) (takes too long to prepare) (has too many expensive ingredients for a family meal), now is the time to dig out that recipe and make it just for the two of you.
It's hard to go wrong with a couple of steaks. My hubby makes the very best marinade ever:
Scott's Awesome Steak Marinade
- 1½ cups olive oil
- 4½ Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1½ Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
Combine all ingredients. Pour over steak, cover, and chill at least three hours to overnight in the refrigerator. Grill or broil steak to your liking (just know that anything over medium-rare is considered "charcoal" in many parts of the country).
Keep the rest of the dinner light with just a nice side salad and a glass of sparkling cider or your favorite wine (being overly full will kill the mood). For dessert, I can't think of anything better than chocolate. Pick up something decadent from a local baker or try this simple slow cooker recipe:
Slow Cooker Molten Mocha Cake
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Spray a 3-quart slow cooker with cooking spray (you can use a larger slow cooker; just add 30 minutes to 1 hour of cooking time). Stir together all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 to 2½ hours, or till set around the edges.
Turn off the slow cooker and let stand 30 minutes (keep covered). Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
| The Movie|
So. Many. Choices!!! Whether you choose from your own collection, rent one from the library, or stream it through Netflix, we bet one of these will make you swoon while you snuggle up on the couch!
- An Affair to Remember (1957) starring Cary Grant & Deborah Carr
- Casablanca (1942) starring Humphrey Bogart & Ingrid Bergman
- Roman Holiday (1953) starring Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn
- When Harry Met Sally... (1989) starring Billy Crystal & Meg Ryan
- Ever After (1998) starring Dougray Scott & Drew Barrymore
- Never Been Kissed (1999) starring Michael Vartand & Drew Barrymore
- The Proposal (2009) starring Ryan Reynolds & Sandra Bullock
- Sleepless in Seattle (1993) starring Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan
- You've Got Mail (1998) starring Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan
- City of Angels (1998) starring Nicholas Cage & Meg Ryan
- The Notebook (2004) starring Ryan Gosling & Rachel McAdams
- Sweet November (2001) starring Keanu Reeves & Charlize Theron
- Titanic (1997) starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet
- A Walk to Remember (2002) starring Shane West & Mandy Moore
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) starring Heath Ledger & Julia Stiles
- Benny & Joon (1993) starring Johnny Depp & Mary Stuart Masterson
- Friends with Benefits (2011) starring Justin Timberlake & Mila Kunis
- The Princess Bride (1987) starring Cary Elwes & Robin Wright
- Jerry Maguire (1996) starring Tom Cruise & Renee Zellwegger
For more ideas to help you create a special and romantic evening, visit our Valentine's Day Pinterest Board.