Sometimes it is the little things that mean the most.

About nine years ago, we were living in Indiana at the time, my hubby and I made plans to go out for Valentine’s Day. Well, on February 13th our sitter called to cancel. I had to punt. I went to the store and bought some steaks, baked potatoes, ingredients for a cheesecake, and salad fixin’s. I had these cute little springform pans I used to make the cheesecake. (I saw on the Wilton website that these are discontinued, sorry.)

I used the skins from the tomatoes to make fancy tomato roses.

When it was time for dinner, the family showed up in their jeans and sweats. I sent them all away. I told them they had to dress nice to come to Chéz Mommé! (Ok, any French-speaking people, please don’t criticize. I was shootin’ from the hip and wanted our Valentine dinner to sound all fancy. I don’t know ANY French, but Chef Mommy just didn’t cut it.)

We all quickly put on something fancy to come have dinner at the kitchen table. Fortunately, the girls’ Christmas dresses had been red with a little heart on the front.

As soon as we lit the candles and sat down to eat, the power went out! That was the year a huge blizzard hit the Indianapolis area. So, there we sat–in the candlelight–having our steak dinner. Memories!

Little did I know what an impact our “romantic” evening had on the kids.

The next year, as Valentine’s Day approached, they started asking about Chéz Mommé. We were back in the South by this time, so no fear of another blizzard anyway!

We put on our fancy duds and had Chéz Mommé once again. We had steak, potato, salad, and a different fancy dessert of some sort. I realize you can’t see the front of them, but I made place cards out of heart shaped doilies. Of course we had candles and tomato roses, too!

Chéz Mommé has become an annual tradition. We don’t always have it on February 14th now that schedules are what they are.

Some years, the kids have come to the table just out of the shower with wet hair, wet hair and a fancy dress.

We try to make it a little different each year. However, with the exception of dessert, the menu stays pretty much the same.

One year we had dancing. One year we had fancy music coming from a DirecTV channel. One year we had floating candles.

I try not to go overboard on the spending. I often will pick up clearance items when I find them. Once, I made heart confetti out of construction paper using a paper punch. We often use the same table cloth or placemats.

I think it was two years ago that we had chocolate fondue for our dessert. That required a plastic table cloth, for obvious reasons.

Last year I made meringue cups and filled them with raspberry sorbet and homemade hot fudge!

One day there when the kids are grown and gone, I’ll have plenty of Valentine dates, I’m sure.

As you can see by the photos, that day is coming sooner than I’d like!

I’ve already bought my steaks for Chéz Mommé this year, in the mark-down bin! I still have to figure out what we will have for dessert. One thing I do know, our dinner plate will have a tomato rose on it!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

How to make a tomato rose:

Or, if you are a more visual person, here is a link, only she makes hers with paper, not tomatoes.