Andrea Gargotta: How to Celebrate Valentine's Day with Your Kids

By Andrea Gargotta

Onto the next holiday? It can sometimes feel like that . . . at least for me, with two kids, counting down the days to each one. Next up: Valentine's Day. Is it really a holiday? Or is this a made up occasion for retailers to ring up a few bucks? It seems as though when trying to research some fact there is quite a debate on this very topic. As many moms like me know-- from sitting for hours hunched over craft supplies assisting my children in making cards for their classmates--for our children this is a VERY special and REAL holiday.

Every year I give my children cards, candy and some little gift all wrapped in a red basket. This year I have decided to make a "romantic dinner" for us. We will have cheese fondue. I am going to use a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out bread for dipping. We will eat off the fancy china, of course. I will play love music and light the candles. The fun starts after dinner. We will decorate cupcakes!

Courtesy of Andrea Gargotta

My plan is to surprise them with . . . drum roll please . . . "Mama's Cupcake Shop." Easy and fun, this creative activity is pefect to share with your kids on this special day.

Here is what you need to do:

1. Sprinkle rose petals as a path way to your surprise bake shop.

2. Make a big sign at the entry of the shop.

3. Cover a table in craft paper. Then decorate it with hearts and love messages for your children.

4. Purchase white aprons from the local craft store and decorate them with your children's names. I will bedazzle my daughter's since she is all about the bling. And for my son I will keep it in 12-year-old cool--more of a scientist theme.

5. The morning of February 14 while the kids are in school make vanilla and chocolate heart-shaped cupcakes. Also prepare a big bowl of white butter cream frosting. I like to get squeeze bottles and fill each with a different color frosting for piping and writing.

6. Fill containers filled with a rainbow of sprinkles, gummy candies, chocolate candies, and other assorted sweets.

All set--now you just need the kids!

Instead of thinking of Valentine's Day as a day reserved for lovers I choose to make it about LOVE. The love I have for my friends and family and, most of all, my children. Bon Appetit!

Professional chef and party planner Andrea Beth Gargotta has built a career on effortlessly dishing up a variety of healthy, exotic dishes. She is known for her art of detail in every aspect of the culinary experience -- from menu development to shopping to clean up. She opened and ran her highly acclaimed craft-services company, Andrea's Craft Service, with the goal of creating a healthier food experience on the film set, gaining admirers such as Tim Allen, Mary J. Blidge, Michael Bay, Joe Pytka, Adam Sandler, Jane Seymour, and countless other A-listers. She is at work on a book about her culinary experiences.