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a red & white valentine dinner!

Thursday, February 9, 2023

WOW! It’s been a busy week!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and the Super Bowl is this coming Sunday!

Lots of opportunities to celebrate with loved ones are quickly approaching!

If you are gearing up for this Sunday’s Super Bowl, check out all the options we shared for decor, party activities and food in Monday’s post, Game’s On!

And, are you still looking for ways to help the Littles in your life with some card making fun? Last Thursday’s post, Will You Be My Valentine? offers several ideas for different ages!

When we were both teaching kindergarten,

this time of year was always one of the busiest!

We had to find lots of creative ways to balance life at school with life at home and

finding ways to make this day special for our own Littles was a priority!

Are you ready to to celebrate ♥️ Day with your sweeties?

In today’s post, Laurie reminisces about Valentine days past including a Valentine tradition that she and Husband M celebrated with her Littles through all their growing up years! She also shares her thoughts and ideas for making this holiday extra special now that she’s a Grand! Read on for her fun suggestions!

I got the idea for a red and white Valentine dinner from an Early Childhood class I attended when my own Littles were 1 and 2 ½ years old. I figured it was a pretty easy deal! We had to eat anyway and my kids loved spaghetti and meatballs! It was a win-win!

My planning began simply and quickly.

I could do this and create a wonderful, picturesque evening for us all!

This is what I dreamed of….

(photo from Make A Joyful Home)

And... this is what it actually looked like……

Paper plates, placemats, cups and napkins! Plastic bowls for serving!!

And…both my Littles had RSV on this night!

But that’s okay!!!

Both my husband and I were working full time, we had many Valentines to get ready for friends and family, and as a kindergarten teacher, those V-Day parties (2 of them when teaching half day kindergarten!) did me in. But you know what? The paper plates, napkins and simple foods were just as elegant for my Littles! What really mattered were the traditions we were celebrating and the conversation and love that took place around the dinner table.

Some years I had the kids decorate placemats and/or glasses for dinner.

During their elementary school years, my Littles loved to set the table themselves

and came up with unique centerpieces.

I found these glasses (I think they might have been vases!!) at Dollar Tree many years ago. My great nieces and nephews use them now for their Valentine celebrations! If they break, no problem – they were only $1 each but our Littles always feel very fancy using them!

The food varied from year to year!

During the busy teen years, we would pick up a heart-shaped pizza and make due with that. No matter what, we always made sure we sat down together to eat,

and then we'd open our Valentines to each other after dinner.

If you are looking for a simple dessert to cap off your evening,

here's a yummy idea from One Sweet Appetite:

When I was growing up (think 1960’s and 1970’s), there was no Pinterest or websites to check out, but my mom started a fun Valentines tradition for our family. She covered a shoebox in white paper, cut a slot in it and decorated it with hearts. We had family that lived out of town, and in those days, Valentine cards came in the mail from grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins. When one arrived, my mom would put it in the box. On Valentine’s night, we would open the box and open cards. There was always such excitement to see who we had received cards from!! When my children were young, I made one as well. Though the only cards in there were from our immediate family, I made sure all four of us gave cards to each other – homemade ones from the Littles.. (For many years my kids had so much fun slipping cards secretly into the box... the box would be stuffed!!) . My sister made a box with each of her grandchildren as well, and I hope to continue the same tradition with Little D.

My kids always got a small gift for Valentine's Day, as well, and the last envelope they opened was the first clue on a treasure hunt to find their gift. The clues started as picture clues, then became simple directions that they were able to read (“Look at your bed”) and later became puzzles they had to figure out. Oftentimes their gift was their own small carton of their favorite ice cream in the freezer! No sharing and no negotiating flavors – it was a treat!

(Original clues from the 1990’s!)

Our Red & White Dinner definitely became an annual tradition...

one we ALWAYS looked forward to!

12 years later – still using paper products!!

Do you see the red and white Valentine box?

I’ve got two more quick and simple traditions for you!

#1 - Wear as much pink, red and white as you can!

Count the items each person is wearing and whoever has the most wins a group hug and kisses or – a chocolate heart! And yes, underwear counts! (Oh, the giggles you will get with that one!)

#2 - Door Decor Filled With Love & Praise!

While your child is sleeping on the night of February 13th, cut out hearts and attach them to yarn to create a fun covering for their door that they have to cross through on Valentine’s Day morning! Better yet – fill the hearts with messages of love and praise!

At this stage of life, nurturing our friendships is a cherished gift!

Hosting a Red & White Dinner (or brunch) with close friends sounds like a

wonderful way to celebrate this special day!

While your menu and decor might look a bit different from the family dinner described above, imagine the fun you could have together!

Make your gathering a potluck meal of sorts, by assigning each guest

a different course for the meal.

The only requirement would be that the dish or cocktail shared be… red & white!

You could provide prizes, too!

If you and your friends are crafters,

you could include a fun project for everyone to make,

as part of the evening’s festivities!

Our minds are spinning with the possibilities!

Time to check out Pinterest! 😉

We will definitely be keeping these ideas in mind for future Grand celebrations!

While many of the ideas shared are from Laurie's own memories from years ago,

most can be recreated with our new generation of Littles!

Laurie and Laura can’t wait to begin new traditions with Little D and Little L

in our most favorite role as a Grand!

Below are some ways to adapt the ideas Laurie has shared and use them at this stage of life,

creating new traditions with our growing and changing families!

♥️ Invite the whole family over for a Red & White Dinner - either on Valentine’s Day or any time! Make it as simple or elegant as you'd like! Remember, it's the experience of celebrating together that matters most!

♥️ Have a special evening with your Littles and let your Middles enjoy a special night out together! Older Littles can even help plan and prepare the dinner!

♥️ Create a Valentine Box for your Littles and fill it with a Valentine card and, perhaps more importantly, hearts filled with messages of love and praise! Give the box to your Littles at your Red & White Dinner!

Imagine how fun and special it would be to begin one of these traditions together!

As you do, you can share your memories from your own Littles’ pasts

with their children!

What a ♥️ gift to everyone!

It doesn’t matter one bit to your Littles if your traditions are plain and simple!

Even though we should always share our love with our families, Valentine’s Day is a special day when we can overload them with hugs, kisses, snuggles, affirmations and reminders that they are always the most important thing in our lives and we will love them forever and ever, no matter what!

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

What will you be doing this year? Is there a new tradition you want to begin?

We’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas! Please share!

Next Monday (February 13), we have one more Valentine focused post for you!

Laura will share a special story

and ways to teach our Littles about kindness!

In the meantime, remember that you can find also us posting regularly

on Facebook and Instagram often with brand new content!

Thank you for reading


being a part of Our Grand Lives!


Feb 17

I just love your red and white Valentine's dinner. So creative.

Thanks bunches and bunches for sharing this with Sweet Tea & Friends this month dear friends.

Our Grand Lives
Feb 20
Replying to

Thanks bunches! 💕


Feb 15

Aw, I enjoyed all the pictures you included in this post! -It Looks like wonderful memories. I love the red and white dinner idea mentioned. Thank you for sharing your post with us at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party #24 😊


Our Grand Lives
Feb 20
Replying to

Thank YOU, Stephanie, for stopping by! The memories are, indeed, wonderful! 💕


Feb 07

I love the red & white dinner idea, and what a fun trip down memory lane seeing all these wonderful pictures over the years! I love the paper plates, too! Thanks so much for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #24 linkup. ~Jennifer

Our Grand Lives
Feb 08
Replying to

Thank you! We do love our trips down memory lane and the opportunities to now share those special moments/memories with readers but also our grandkids! 💕


Feb 06

What I loved about this post was that it was just everyday (and for full time employed, that is still some work, after work!) but made special because everyone wanted it to be! And that is where the celebration is, it is in us! Thank you for sharing with us at SSPS, this was quite lovely to read and enjoy!

Our Grand Lives
Feb 08
Replying to

You are so right! Finding time to create special moments (and now sweet memories) in the midst of busy days is something we are grateful for! So glad you stopped by! Thank you!


Feb 09, 2023

I love your throwback photos and all of your fun ideas for Valentine's Day celebrations! What a fun walk down memory lane for me too. ❤️

Niky | The House on Silverado

Our Grand Lives
Feb 08
Replying to

YES! Laurie has always been such a keeper of memories with her collection of scrapbooks! Sometimes I think we spend as much time reminiscing as we do planning future posts. Thanks so much for your kind comments! Wishing you (and your Littles) a Happy Valentine's Day, Niky! - Laura

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