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Family Valentine’s Day Traditions & Activities

Family Valentine’s Day Traditions & Activities

Yesterday after my daughter and I climbed in the car to go pick up my son Will at lacrosse my daughter oddly said, “dang it!!” and huffed back into her seat. When I asked her what was wrong she said my son, Will, told her to look in the back of the car for Valentine’s Day gifts because that’s where I always hide them. She looked…and found nothing.

Family Valentine's Day Traditions & ActivitiesThe first thought that crossed my mind was the one and only time I hid gifts in my car and that was on Christmas Eve. I normally hide all the gifts in the basement but we hosted Christmas Eve dinner this year and it just wasn’t safe to have the gifts in the same area that kids would be running around in. But how did my son know I’d hid them there?

Anyway, just a few days away from Valentine’s Day and my daughter was disappointed. She reprimanded me that I better start looking for that something special gift. Little did she know I picked up gifts weeks ago (at least for the kids): a fun basketball hoop that hangs over the door and has a detachable laundry bag. (It was something I’d seen on TV.)

It’s been a bit of a joke among my kids. Every time I tell them to pick up their clothes and put them in the laundry, they insist if I would just buy them the basketball hoop/hamper combo, this wouldn’t be a problem. When I first saw them at Target I thought what a great gift it would be for my daughter to give her brother for his upcoming birthday. Of course, my next thought was about how I would have to hear all about how it wasn’t fair that he got one and she didn’t. Determined not to buy candy for Valentine’s Day gifts this year, this over-the-door basketball net/laundry hamper become the gift of choice.

Not everyone gives gifts on Valentine’s Day but in my family, it’s always been a tradition to give something small. I wouldn’t exactly consider this a “small” gift but it served the general purpose. Finding a special treat for my kids was easy. Finding something for my husband, well….we don’t typically exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day. It seems a little strange to me that I don’t get something special for my husband, my one true love, but we don’t really need anything (except maybe massages and a little alone time but try getting that on Valentine’s Day when you have kids). Instead, as we’ve done for many Valentine’s Days over the years, we will celebrate with chocolate…fondue that is!

As we did on our first Valentine’s Day, we plan to return to a fondue place we love (although we’re waiting to celebrate until a few days post the 14th so we can avoid the crowds and enjoy the “Kids Eat Free” special the restaurant chain has going on for school vacation week). Not as romantic this time around as the kids will join us, but it will still be fun and delicious. If you don’t have a fondue restaurant nearby, I encourage you to consider starting your own family fondue Valentine’s Day tradition. It’s super easy to make, sure to please any pallet, and a great way to make Valentine’s dinner a little extra special.

When I make chocolate fondue, I typically serve 3 or 4 of the following:

  • Fruit such as strawberries, bananas, raspberries or pineapple
  • Baked goods such as brownies, rice krispee treats or pound cake
  • Treats such as marshmallows, sandwich cookies or pretzels



For the fondue itself, I use:

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate (for a real treat I will splurge on some decadent chocolate)
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract



Directions:

Ideally, using a double boiler, warm the cream first, almost to a boil. It will bubble around the edges. (You can also do it directly in a pan for faster results but watch it carefully and stir with a whisk to avoid burning the cream.) Once this happens, turn off the stove and mix in the chocolate and vanilla until thoroughly blended. You can transfer it to another porcelain bowl or keep in the pot if you don’t need to be too fancy. Dive in! (Fondue forks not required but add to the fun!)

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