The Institution of Valentine's Day: Here are some ways to make the day of love – all about LOVE again.

If you’re like me, you tend to get a bit nauseous with the thought of Valentine’s Day. Don’t get me wrong, I am so in love with my husband. We’ve been married thirteen years, and I’m happier with him now than I was the day I married him. He’s my soul mate, my best friend, I can’t imagine a Valentine’s Day with anyone else.

What gets me with Valentine’s Day is the INSTITUTION of the whole thing. The “requirement” of boxed chocolates, flowers, the expensive restaurants. If I’m being honest, even the Facebook posts on the big V-Day from other wives showing off what THEIR husbands did for them. “See how much my husband loves me??? Don’t I have the best husband??” Is this what Valentine’s Day is all about? The bigger the present – the better? The MORE flowers the better? Getting reservations a month early at the super-expensive restaurant downtown? Is this what Valentine’s Day is all about? How do men handle the pressure?

I’m not saying I’m against Valentine’s Day, I absolutely am not. I love the idea of picking a day to celebrate love. Celebrate why you love your spouse, your children. Tell them why you love them – make it mean something. If your wife loves going for a hike – plan a hike. If your wife loves TV – give her a couple hours to herself to catch up on that show she can’t get caught up on. Go out of your way to do something HAND PICKED for your wife or husband. What really means the most to your spouse? Cause I’d bet if we we’re being honest, most wives aren’t all that concerned with the nice restaurants and the 2 dozen roses.

There is NOTHING wrong with you if you like all the Valentine’s Day hoopla. You love getting dressed up and going out to nice restaurants, coming home to your dozen roses and box of chocolates. I guess this article is for those of us who are sort of over the institution of the whole thing, and are looking for something a little different. Maybe my 13 years of marriage have made me thirsty for something that is a little more meaningful? Yes, you’re my Valentine. But after 13 years – why are you still in love with me? Why are you happy I’m your Valentine?

So I’m here to offer some alternatives to going out and spending a ton of money. Maybe by doing any one of these things will mean more to your spouse. You went out of your way to do something special. At home. For them.

I could have given you guys 20 ideas of things to do, but my point in throwing out ideas – is just to get us thinking outside the box, (myself included). It’s so much easier to just buy chocolates and get a card. I’m writing this as a challenge to you – and to myself – to make this year count.

1: Chocolate Ginger Mouse via Shape Magazine. Healthy alternative that tastes delicious!

No Valentine’s Day is complete without some chocolate! Indulge your sweetheart with this creamy mousse recipe from Chef Anthony Stewart of the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami, Florida. Healthy ingredients like tofu and ginger juice are masked by a rich chocolate flavor. Your valentine will never guess this dessert is sugar-free with zero grams of trans fat!

4 oz. Hershey unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. hot water
12 oz. extra-firm silken tofu
1/4 c. Splenda
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. fresh ginger juice (grate the ginger root and squeeze to extract juice)

Combine cocoa powder and hot water in a stainless steel bowl. Cook slowly over a hot water bath for 5 minutes until the mixture is like fudge. In a food processor blend tofu for 1 minute, add fudge, Splenda, vanilla extract, and ginger juice and blend until smooth. Place mixture in parfait glass. Garnish with raspberries or as desire and serve cold.

2. Play Romantic Hide & Seek! Put the kids to bed, and give it a try!

Be creative and have fun with treasure hunts. Hide little romantic treasures around the house. They don’t have to be regular gifts. You don’t even have to gift wrap them. It’s all up to you. The important thing is to have fun!

A romantic treasure can be a little note with a romantic messages or a love message. You can write a love poem or record yourself singing a romantic song. Or you can give a romantic promise or favor, like a romance coupon. The possibilities are endless.

Here is one way to play a treasure hunt:

First you both write down notes with things you would like your partner to do for you. Then you each hide the notes with your partner’s wishes around the house. The hunt then starts. You have 15 min to find as many favors as possible. When the time is up you have to do all the favors your partner was able to find.

Another way is to write down favors you would do for your partner. Hide them yourself. Then let your partner look for them. Set a time. Whatever favors your partner finds you must do.

3. Enjoy a Valentine’s Day Cocktail!

Try the Rasmopolitan!


  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) citrus-flavored vodka
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) raspberry-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) Chambord
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon Simple Syrup Simple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry juice
  • Raspberries for garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add vodkas, Chambord, lime juice, simple syrup, and cranberry juice. Shake or stir until well chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries; serve.

4. Give your husband or wife a sensual massage with coconut oil!

I’ve been reading a lot about coconut oil lately, and it’s not only good for you to eat – it also has many other uses! I read an article about how wonderful coconut oil is as a replacement for lube. It’s natural, clean, and can be used for so many things! When you get it out of the jar, it’s a solid mass – but once it warms – it becomes a clear oil. Play with it! Have fun! Drop some coconut oil on your spouse, and watch it melt into oil, and use it as a massage oil! (I’m going to have to try this!)

Everyone agrees coconut oil is a perfect lube – but FYI – don’t use it with condoms, it is not safe in conjunction with latex.

You can buy coconut oil just about anywhere….and it’s pretty inexpensive.

5. Share the love at Starbucks!

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Starbucks. No, I’m not being paid to say this. But who doesn’t love free coffee?

Visit a participating store between 2 and 5 p.m. on February 14, buy a Vanilla Spice Latte, Caffè Mocha or Hot Chocolate, and they’ll give you a complimentary second one (of equal or lesser value) for your special friend. Offer good at participating stores while supplies last. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts.

5. Set your spouse up with a romantic bath!

Creating a romantic bath is an opportunity to experience relaxation and intimacy with a partner. You can use items from around the home or from specialty stores to create passion in your bathroom. Understand how to set up a romantic bath, regardless of whether you’re in your home, a hotel room, a resort, or at a secluded cabin.

Select just a couple of items to add to your bath. Too many additions might make the water overly fragrant or look too crowded.

  • Rose petals sprinkled on top of the water add a romantic and fragrant effect to your bath. You can also blend a few cups of rose petals with half a blender of warm water to make a puree. Swirl it into the hot bath water or massage it on each other during the bath.
  • Adding bubble bath to the water while the tub is filling up adds a mood of both frivolity and romance. Look for more adult scents, such as vanilla, rather than using the same fruity-scented bubbles you would put in a child’s bath.
  • Bath salts help soften skin and usually add pleasant scents and colors to your bath. These are available at most bed and bath shops, as well as some specialty or beauty supply stores.
  • Adding a couple drops of essential oils, such as lavender, jasmine, or cedar wood, to the bath water introduces aromatherapy into your romantic soak.

Set the scene by lighting candles around the bathroom and around the edge of the tub if the rim is wide enough that you won’t knock them over. Turn off the lights so your bathroom is illuminated only by candlelight.

Create a play list or CD beforehand to ensure you have a constant stream of your favorite romantic music playing during your bath. Try to find music choices that you both enjoy. Set up speakers or a music playing device ahead of time, and keep all electronic devices far away from the water to avoid electrocution.

Prepare a tray holding glasses of champagne or sparkling juice and strawberries or grapes to enjoy with your mate while soaking in the bath. Set the tray on a small table near the tub so it is easy for you both to access.

Have fluffy towels or bathrobes ready for when you are ready to get out of the bath. As an extra loving touch, warm the towels or robes ahead of time in the dryer or using a towel warmer.

6. Remember your children! Show them why you are blessed to have THEM as your Valentine!

One of the MANY reasons why I love my father, is because for as long as I can remember, I’ve been his Valentine. Oh, he’s been my sister’s Valentine, and my cousin’s Valentine – and most importantly my mom’s Valentine, but he’s always made me feel special. Every year he reminds me why even at 35-years-old, I’m still important to him, and he loves me too.

My boys are 10 and 12, and every year – my husband and I have given them a little something on Valentine’s Day to remind them we love them. Valentine’s Day is about LOVE.

Once a year I get to write a love-letter to my sons, and pour my heart out. Maybe I’m doing it more for myself than I’m doing it for them….. but if Valentine’s Day is really about love – then it’s the one day I get to shower them with praise, and remind them WHY I love them. Remember – they’re watching us. Our children are learning how to raise their own children from US. Make the good stuff count, stand out.

My bottom line is – if you have someone you love in your life…. do something to show them why you love them. Something small – a note, a bath, a massage, a cocktail, whatever works for you. But tell them.

I love you — here’s why.

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