There are some holidays we never go out for dinner. Valentine’s Day is one of them, way too crowded. With three boys in the house I try and teach manners and proper etiquette. Every year I make a special dinner. The main course might not be steak and lobster, but the atmosphere is great. We begin our evening by eating in the formal dining room, using the good china, cloth napkins, and all the silverware on the table that a fancy restaurant would have. To add to the ambience, the table is lit by candlelight, and decorated with Valentine cards and small gifts, all while romantic music is playing in the background… the fun begins. The boys come to the table in a nice collared shirt and use all their manners and possibility learn a few news ones that evening. One son will move my chair and help me to be seated, we eat with one hand in our lap, ask for the food to be passed, have nice dinner conversation, and all with no bodily noises being made. I show them the proper way to use a fork and knife, about the bread plate, dessert fork and all the necessary things they might encounter on a real date at a nicer restaurant. As the boys take their plates to the kitchen after dinner, they find another surprise — money under the plate. It may not be much, but for one night they are all little gentlemen, and play their part very well. The best part, I get a candlelight dinner with my favorite Valentines.