Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's day romance for busy parents

Wow, what a cliche title, nice job Annie!
Well, cliche or not, it's the absolute truth and I'm not backing down. I had 2 sick kids with bronchitis, one (almost) sick grad-student-working-mom ( aka. me), one busy dad that's been moonlighting as WonderDad ( aka. making things happen at home even when he's not there, especially when I'm having an emotional breakdown - why-oh-why did I have to start so many things at once), and a whole lot of romance/Valentine's day surprising/Dad-appreciating  on my hands to organize.

What do you do, when you have someone special in your life and you want to surprise them, and"
- you can't go anywhere ( sick kids, remember?)
- you can't order anything ( since you were so sick yourself until the last minute that you were not sure you'll be doing anything, and now there is absolutely no time for an order to arrive)
- plan on a budget ( no private jets dinners, I'm afraid)
- have to keep the house from falling on your head + all the engagements you have, and keep the kids occupied?
- did I mentioned keep the kids occupied?Right!
- Have 24 hours to pull the whole thing off?

I'll tell you what- you improvise! There was a whole lot of improvisation happening at our house, all right.

First, don't panic. Things can't get any worse, even if you don't plan anything, so whatever you do, it will be OK.
Second, as the penguins from Madagascar said " use some grit 'n' spit 'n' a whole lot of duct tape".

My plan- a romantic dinner for two in a French restaurant.
Card monstrosity? Check!
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Kids occupied? Check!
Card for Daddy? Done!
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Dead camera battery? Check! Crappy phone pictures? Check!

Dinner for two with 2 kids in the house-mission possible! What you need is that patio table for two you have in your basement, that's been waiting for the summer to come. Then you need a white tablecloth, a piece of lace ( preferably pink ;-) and some patience to actually haul the damn' thing upstairs from the basement without breaking your back. ( Chiropractor appointment on Monday? Check!)

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Pink and purple lights from your daughter's room, a lot ( and I mean a lot) of scented candles or any kind of candles you can find for that matter, paper doilies from your daughter's Valentine's day craft projects last year,
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fresh ( and not so fresh to down right plastic) flowers,
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awesome dessert, made by your most awesome co-workers at Coccadotts cake shop,
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a whole bag of rose petals leftover from the time you made your daughter a tutu, a white blanket ( to make the dark couch contrast with the light petals, since the room will be dark anyway,

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a romantic french music, obligingly provided by Amazon Cloud Service :

all leftover balloons, ribbons, confetti, in all colors you can find and a whole lot of courage that you can pull this thing off.
What's that? The food? Oh, yeah! The food! Good food always helps set the mood, right?
So, here it is:
1. Mini organic crackers with fig spread and Havarti cheese cube

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2. Mixed greens salad with fresh strawberries, Gorgonzola cheese, caramelized pecans and honey mustard dressing
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3. For the main course chives mashed potatoes with sour cream and feta, lamb chops with fresh rosemary and garlic, mint infused olive oil, red wine gravy.
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4. A bottle of Cote Du Rhone
5. A basket of garlic bread ciabatta baguette and fresh organic butter with herbs.

Here is the place to share that none of this would have been possible without the two waiters, who agreed to show up for the occasion ( although politely declined their picture taken), who dressed up, served with a smile and such politeness, I never knew existed in this house. Not to mention while we dined with WonderDad, Kalin ( my eldest) typed, printed and presented the dessert menus, which I didn't even know existed until he gave them to us. Our kids even brought a silver bell ( from the Christmas decorations) for us to use ( and a pair of walkie-talkies later in the night)!Talk about dining in the future! As my son pointed out, he doesn't know anything about romance, but where he was deficient, my daughter ( who is 5) clarified things for him.

I have to admit, the dinner didn't go as I hoped, it was MUCH better!Thank you, Kalin and Ellie, for making this dinner even more magical than I could have imagined!
But most of all, thank you, WonderDad, for saving the day, everyday!

Happy Valentine's Day, moms and dads everywhere!

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