Kidlist welcomes Lauren Petty Stoltz, mother of three and reporter for NBC 5, as a guest contributor. Her girls prepared a date night for her and her husband and it’s inspiring! Read on for all the details and how we could recreate it in our own homes.
After a month of staying at home, we were all getting a little stir crazy. A blogger I follow, Living with Landyn, mentioned her wedding anniversary was coming up and that her kids were making them dinner to celebrate. That gave me an idea!
I suggested to our daughters (Elaina, a 6th grader, Lila, a 2nd grader and Claire, a 1st grader) that my husband, Doug, and I needed a date night and maybe they could make us dinner. They took the idea and ran with it! We set our date night for a Friday night, which was several days out, to give them time to prepare.
They put up sheets to block the entrances to our dining room so we couldn’t see their planning. They came up with the name “The Sisters Red Carpet Restaurant” and had us call our oldest daughter’s cell phone a few days before to “make a reservation.”
We did make suggestions on what the restaurant should “serve.” Our oldest has used the stove before, so we suggested pasta and jarred sauce, to make it easy. If you have younger kids, you could make the noodles ahead of time. We also suggested Caprese salad, and bought the ingredients during a trip to the store. But the girls came up with the idea to put them on a Club cracker, which was really delicious!
My husband also ordered a salad that our oldest put together with vegetables we had in the fridge. We bought a screw top bottle of wine, to make it easier for them to serve.
Ahead of date night, the girls set the table and put out candles. They wrote out the menu and name tags for themselves. They came up with their “uniforms” by going through their closets and finding black and white outfits and aprons. They told us the restaurant was “fancy” so we should dress up, too.
The night of our date, my husband and I headed upstairs to get ready. Doug got out his suit. I put on a dress and it was fun to get dressed up, after weeks of wearing casual clothes at home. At 6:45pm, our reservation time, we headed downstairs and they wowed us with their hard work!
Our middle daughter, Lila, manned a hostess stand and asked us our name and if we had a reservation, while Claire, our youngest, led us to the table. They had filled water glasses and lit candles and right away brought out bread and butter. Earlier in the day, my husband taught Lila how to make martinis, so she shook those up and we laughed as they tried not to spill them on the way to the table.
We asked what they recommended off the menu and placed our orders. One thing my husband and I were impressed with was their ability to stay in character and make small talk. We talked about the weather, our jobs, where they “live” — all together in an apartment in the city, they told us — and they were so attentive. It was so great to see them take it all so seriously!
They had eaten ahead of time, so the dinner was all about us. They refilled our water glasses, cleared our plates and our oldest, Elaina, even loaded the dishwasher. You could just see they were so happy making us happy!
The dinner lasted much longer than we thought — nearly an hour! Then it was time for dessert and we decided to invite them to join us at the table. That led to a lot of laughs, as we stuffed our faces on ice cream, chocolate chip cookies I’d made two days before, and Oreos, the girls’ favorite dessert.
Staying at home for a month has been hard on all of us. There have been tears and tantrums, but for this one miraculous, magical night, there was no fighting or complaining. The idea of running a restaurant united our daughters and gave them a fun activity that our family will cherish. I hope this post inspires other families, because I can assure you when this pandemic is over, this is one date night we will remember forever.