Valentine’s Day 2014 began with a 3 mi run along a favorite route, followed by bike intervals directed by my husband (20 secs anaerobic sprints with 10 sec recovery repeated for several minutes—killer!) and weight training. Then it was breakfast time for my kiddos, so I made something thematic:

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I took an hour or so to do a couple of errands, including picking up some fresh fruit for our dessert tonight and a couple additional items for the picnic the kiddos and I had planned. Bill stayed with our children, and what a treat it was to run into a former student and to browse leisurely at the corner market.

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Katie and I were finishing up a math lesson, and Eric was helping me to pack for the picnic…when Bill returned home from his errands with a dozen red roses. We are not traditionally a flower couple, so this was such a beautiful surprise! Thank you, sweetheart!

We finished up a bit of schooling and then Katie, Eric, and I headed out for a two mile walk to a park that is lovely but which we don’t often use. The kiddos have been logging some good miles, though, and our range is expanding. We walked for quite a while, telling stories, being present, and taking in the day. Katie and I talked (after she asked a few times when we would be there) about remaining in the present, how we had nowhere we have to be, how we can simply enjoy the day, how I chose a destination that would take us a long time on purpose—so that we would have more time just to be with each other and to celebrate the love among the three of us. (It was also a gift of some silence and alone time for Bill for several hours. We are planning a family Valentine’s Day excursion this weekend, but today I wanted to give him the gift of decompression).

When we eventually arrived at the park, we chose a shady spot under a pine tree, set up our towels, opened our basket, and dined on yellow lentil hummus, string cheese, raw trail mix, blueberries, and strawberry-banana smoothies, among a couple of other items. Katie made friends with some girls near her age, and Eric and I played spaceship and planetary explorers. My little people are so much fun for me. I was also able to fit in some extra exercise: my sit-ups, arm work, etc.

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We then walked the two miles home, and got home right in time to start setting our dessert table and to make dinner and our Valentine’s Day treat. The kiddos played with their daddy while I set up our table:

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They had heart shaped pizza with red bell pepper hearts, pineapple, and olives; kale and shaved Brussels sprouts salad, potato soup, and Cupid arrow fruit salad:

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My parents came over for dessert night, although my mom is finishing up a four day cleanse and exhibited the kind of willpower I very much respect and did not have a piece so that she could really know she did the cleanse completely without cheating herself.

I made my version of boccone dolce (“sweet mouthful” in Italian). It’s three layers of baked meringue, and each disc is spread with melted chocolate (we only use dark over here, as dark as we can get it at times) and a bit of whipped cream. Traditionally, only strawberries are used, but I wanted strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries in mine (I also garnished with tiny grapes and mint). The top is decorated and then hit with drizzles of the chocolate. YUM! I don’t make treats like this much anymore at ALL (and I used to, all the time—I really love to bake/cook , actually), so this was especially delicious tonight!

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When I served Eric his piece, he exclaimed, “Oh mercy!” LOL.

So it was a day of unusual treats here and there, but a day full of solid exercise for all of us, too….so it balanced out, and we were responsible about it.

I am excited for the rest of the long weekend! Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

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