A day full of roses, candy, hearts, Valentines, champagne. A day when love fills the air. Couples everywhere are affirming their affections…
and children are on a serious sugar binge (or having major relational drama).
I have found in recent years that Valentine’s Day with a child is just a LITTLE different from Valentine’s Day before children. Our first Valentine’s Day with the Pickle, my husband took us both out to dinner and then out for ice cream. Just Daddy and his girls. The second Valentine’s Day, we took a quick trip to Baskin Robbins for ice cream and then went to see Grandmommy. Nothing romantic. We haven’t done gifts. He might have gotten me flowers.
Truth is, we’ve found that we have affirmed our love for each other day in and day out since we were married. And when the Pickle came along? Well, we didn’t need a special day to remind us of our love… the little reminder is sitting on the couch watching Mickey Mouse right now.
No, Valentine’s Day is not the big to-do it used to be for us, but we still try to do a little something special. And personally, I find those sweet little Valentine’s Day dates to be even more special than the big, expensive, complicated ones.
If you’re like us and don’t want a big event this year, here are some sweet little Valentine’s Day Date ideas that will not only save on time waiting for your table, but will also save on your pocketbook!
1. I Scream, You Scream
I know Valentine’s Day falls in the dead of winter, but ice cream is a sweet, inexpensive treat, that takes me back to lovey dovey malt shop and poodle skirt days. It’s great for two adults, or a family of 6. Not to mention the fact that Knoxville is brimming with options. Our favorite is Baskin Robbins where we get Love Potion #31 (we have our reasons). But Rita’s in Market Square would be great, followed by a romantic walk downtown. Any of the fix-your-own yogurt shops would be fun, and you could even throw in a few fun dating games while you’re at it: How well do you know your love’s favorite toppings? What do your toppings say about you?
If you don’t want to wait in line for a table, why not skip the crowds, call in reinforcements after the kids go to bed, and go afterhours for dessert only. That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, isn’t it? Red Velvet cake. Cherry cheesecake. Sharing a milkshake. Getting things warmed up over a Decadent Lava Cake. Pick your favorite dessert menu and indulge with the one(s) you love.
Still don’t wanna go out? Why not make cupcakes and decorate them with your littles! Squirt cherry syrup in Sprite and share some bubbly. Or indulge in some homemade chocolate fondu! You can festively add to your waistline without subtracting from your wallet.
3. Early Bird Specials
Our first Valentine’s Day dinner with the Pickle happened at 4:30pm. We avoided the dinner crowd, had time for ice cream afterwards, and were home in time for bedtime. And we also got some cute pictures- just the three of us! Pick your favorite restaurant and see just how early you can swing it! You won’t hit the crowds (and the restaurant will thank you for opening up tables come dinnertime).
These are my favorite dates anyways! While our courting days were marked by long conversations in quiet coffee shops, today’s coffee-stops usually involve a quick drive-through and a cake-pop to appease the little princess in the backseat. I’d give anything for two hours to just sit with the love of my life- daydream about the future, laugh about the past, and reconnect our souls over a warm specialty coffee.
5. Dinner and a Movie (on the couch)
Who says Valentine’s Day has to be expensive or complicated? The point is simply being together…and sometimes there is no better place to do that than in the comfort of your own home. Order pizza or your favorite takeout. Curl up on the couch (with or without your kids). Enjoy a game or a movie. Homemade popcorn on the stove (or in a bag). And avoid the crowds altogether.
Any of these dates would be even sweeter with a great coupon!
Many local websites post Valentine’s Day specials for Knoxville a few days before. Papa Murphy’s usually has a special on their heart-shaped pizzas. And many restaurants offer meal specials…including dessert! Watch your Groupons. Check the paper.