February 05, 2022

Annual Kids Valentine Dinner

 One thing I get asked about a lot when I post photos after the fact on Facebook/Instagram is about our annual Kid's Valentine Dinner that we put on each year. We started this tradition quite by accident back when our oldest kids were around 6 or 7. I found a cute idea on a blog, printed out the printables and put out a simple but cute dinner. It was a HIT. 

Every year, our kids ask when we are doing Cupid's Cafe and every year it makes my heart so happy to hear that they still love it. I take that as quite a compliment considering those big kids are now 14 & 15. Our 7 year old has been doing Cupid's Cafe since she was a baby and so it's pretty much all she knows :) 

I get asked a lot about how we do it, what we cook, where the printables are, etc, whenever I post photos so I thought I'd compile everything here to have a quick reference for anyone wanting to create their own Valentine tradition..

Hubby & I celebrate our anniversary on the 2nd of February so we typically combine celebrating our anniversary and Valentines together and it's not usually ever close to Valentine's weekend. We save that time for us to spend special time together and make Valentine's weekend about the kiddos. 

The evening that we decide to do Cupid's Cafe we ask the kids to vacate the main part of the house so we can set up. They can hang together or just go to their rooms. Our 7 year old loves to use this time to get dressed up in her fanciest outfit. The teenagers fluctuate between putting actual decent clothes on and wearing hole-y hoodies. We are just glad they still like to show up :) 

Hubby takes on food prep & I decorate the dining room. 
I've collected various items in the 8 years or so that we've been doing this so do not feel like you have to go and spend a bunch of money on cute things. Just dress it up a smidge and they'll feel the extra effort you put into it! 

The essentials that you need are: 

*The Menus (the most important part to create Cupid's Crazy Cafe) I cannot take credit for this amazing idea. The Dating Divas outdid themselves and have the free printables here

*An idea of the food you'll serve 

*A few decorations if desired 

If you are like me, and love to go all out, some fun things I suggest can be: 

*Placecards (I printed on cardstock and use the same ones every year) 

*Cute plates (Target and TJ Maxx are my go-to) 

*Fresh Flowers 

*A few Valentine specific decor pieces for the middle of the table

*A tablecloth (I use fabric layered with wrapping paper) 

*Paper Straws in fun prints

When everything is set up, we call the kids out and have them sit in their assigned seat. Typically I have their Valentine gift sitting in their chair (we usually buy just a small happy, nothing big). 
The point of the dinner is to turn the tables on them and have the adults serve them dinner all by themselves. You'll essentially get to act like you're their waiter/waitress and they think this is just the best ever! 

However, there is a twist. 

When you print the menus, you'll notice that inside there are random numbers with silly names. 
Then empty spaces for them to fill in with those numbers. 

Hubby and I create our menu and then have a list in the kitchen with what each number means. 

Example of what we do: 
#1: Dessert
#2: Pink mashed potatoes
#3: Spoon
#4: Drink
#5: Steak
#6: Napkin
#7 Fork
#8: Side item

The kids fill out their menus with random numbers on the right side. They'll have no idea what each number will get them which is what makes for such a silly meal. 
Sometimes they may only get a napkin and their steak but no utensils to eat it with. 
Or their mashed potatoes and dessert. And so on. 
We usually wait several minutes between each portion of the meal to let the silly sink in. 

I also laminated our menus so we could use dry erase markers and use them from year to year! 

It's just the most fun tradition and although it takes a little bit of effort to set up, it only has to be as complicated as you want to make it :) 

The kids look forward to it every single year and if it keeps them willing to be silly with us, I'm all for keeping the magic alive. 

I hope this helps with inspiring a fun tradition for you and your family on Valentines!!