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Create Your Own Extraordinary Valentine's Day

O'Fallon Patch mom columnist discusses creative ways for parents to skip the babysitter, expense and long waits on Valentine's Day.

I remember the days when my husband I were just dating and Valentine’s Day was a big deal.  He would surprise me with a gift, some roses and then we would go out for really nice dinner. 

We had a lot of wonderful times and created many lasting memories.  One of my fondest Valentine moments was actually only a few weeks after our first date.  Chris took me out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and gave me a Precious Moment figurine that would later become the topper for our wedding cake. 

Boy those were the days!  We didn’t have a care in the world and a two- hour wait at a restaurant was no big deal.  Fighting the crowds and buying overpriced flowers seemed worth it.  However, 10 years of marriage and two kids later, I have to say that Valentine’s Day has lost a little bit of its luster. 

Now that we are “grown-up” and have responsibilities, it seems like such a waste to spend so much money for just one day of the year.  On average, a dozen roses is triple the price on Valentine’s Day than any other time of the year.  And don’t even get me started on how much more expensive restaurants can be on Valentine’s Day!  Add to that paying a babysitter for the night out, and you could’ve taken a small vacation for the amount of money spent on just one night.

Once we had kids, we started doing things a little different for Valentine’s Day.  I head to the local and get a couple of premium cut steaks, a nice and sometimes even a (depending on how sleep deprived I am at the time).  Once the kids go to bed, we have our “date.”  There aren’t any distractions, we eat our food when it’s nice and hot and don’t have to worry about driving after having a couple of drinks. 

We don’t have to dodge crowds, deal with poor service and most importantly, we don’t have to break the bank to spend some quality time together.  We’ve also ditched the presents and started giving each other instead.  After 10 years of marriage, it means more to me to get a love note from my husband than receiving flowers or jewelry. 

I’ve talked to a lot of my friends about their Valentine traditions, and many of them are quite similar to ours.  It seems that some of the local grocery stores are starting to catch on, too.  At , you can order an entire meal for two that is pre-cooked for only $37.99.  All you have to do is heat it up!  If you have older kids that don’t have to go to bed early, you can get them in on the fun, too.  Have them be your waiter or waitress and you can “tip” them for their service.  They can even be your clean up crew, too! 

 So, this year, think outside of the box and bring some “extra-ordinary” into your Valentine celebration.   You could be creating memories that will last a lifetime!

Linda K. Feldt February 12, 2011 at 02:39 PM
I really look forward to your articles, Trish!! This one is another "hit"!! Loved your pics and special stories!! Love, Linda

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