A Very Special Valentine’s Day Lesson Taught By My Daughter


The table is set for a wonderful Valentine’s memory

Introduction: A few days before Valentine’s Day my daughter, Tori, came to me with an idea she had for a gift for Vonnie and me for Valentine’s Day. I could tell that this meant a lot to her, and her sincerity and creativity impressed me so much that I knew I had to help her make it happen. Tori has written for Enemy of Debt once before, and did a wonderful job, so I asked her if she would write about the experience to share here. Please welcome back my daughter for a very special guest post:

It was only two days until Valentine’s Day, and we had nothing planned. That’s when I decided I needed to do something for my parents:

A special dinner!

I told my dad this idea and he agreed to help me make the food. The next day we discussed in secret, and decided to make chicken kiev, green beans, and rice with the option of Chardonnay or Prosseco wine (two of mom’s favorites). Also, we would have warm bread and salad as an appetizer. But then we decided that we should do the dinner on Saturday instead of actually on Valentines day since I was going to be at my school dance that night.

As mom got ready to go to a concert, dad and I set up dinner. Smooth jazz was playing in the background, candlesticks beamed, and food awaited her downstairs. I was their V.I.P hostess/server for the night, and it was my pleasure.


Check out the smile on that server!

I led mom downstairs to the fancy ambiance that now filled our dining room. She and dad were seated and were offered the wine choices. They both decided on Chardonnay. Soon afterword I delivered their salad along with a plate of warm Vienna bread. That is mom’s favorite!

Next I turned off the stove and oven. I then took the chicken pan out (with a cloth) and put it on the plates. I made three of them because I would be delivering room service to my brother, Tristan. Also on the plate were green beans and rice. I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the rice form into heart. Mom said, β€œThe meal is better than any other restaurant I’ve been to. And I’m not even kidding!”


Heart shaped rice = awesome!

As they were eating, I remembered the most important course of the meal, which dad and I had forgotten about:


I am glad we had things that would work because I really wanted them to get the whole experience. I offered them the choice of an orange push up, birthday-cake ice cream, or a Greek yogurt bar. Dad chose the yogurt bar and mom chose the push up.

At the end, mom and dad asked if it was possible to make a reservation for a year in advance. They even said they’d bring more people! After discussing it with my interns (the cats), we decided to allow it. Now I can’t wait to write about the next Valentines Day’s experience…

To Be Continued…


Here’s the breakdown of what we had to purchase for the dinner:

  • Two Candle Holders, Candles, and Valentine’s Day Hearts for the Table: $7.02
  • Chicken Kiev, Rice, Green Beans, Salad Mix and Bread: $13.31
  • Two Bottles of Wine: $28.61

Total: $48.94

Although, we didn’t open the bottle of Prosseco, which was about $16 of the total price.

However, the cost of the meal doesn’t even matter. That wasn’t the point, or her gift to us. Her gift was the creation of the atmosphere and the experience of a great Valentine’s Day dinner. She provided that fabulously, and in the process gave us a memory that we will cherish forever.

A memory that is absolutely priceless.

About Travis

28 Responses to “A Very Special Valentine’s Day Lesson Taught By My Daughter”

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  1. Wow what an incredible gift from Tori! I’m not surprised that Tori’s mom / Travis’ wife thought it was better than any restaurant she’s been to. Very awesome Valentine’s Day gift.

    • Travis says:

      She’s a very creative and thoughtful girl, DC. She does this sort of thing all the time. She also handmade Valentine’s Day cards for her closest friends! Thanks for reading!

  2. Very cool Tori! Such an awesome gift to your parents and I’m sure that it created memories that’ll last for years to come. .

  3. E.M. says:

    How adorable! I love how you put a little extra effort into taking the heart-shaped cookie cutter to the rice. The food looks quite yummy.

    • Travis says:

      I had thought of the idea earlier in the day….but forgot to tell Tori about it. While she was plating up the food, I asked Vonnie if she would excuse me for a moment (completely playing the part of being in a restaurant) and walked into the kitchen to show Tori. She clapped her hands in excitement….she LOVED the idea. Vonnie thought it was cool too when see saw it. Great memories!

  4. That’s so sweet of you Tori! I love how you made the rice heart shaped!

  5. Kathy says:

    Tori, you are a lovely young lady to do the dinner for your parents. What a thoughtful gesture that totally keeps within your parent’s financial objectives. I hope your dance was wonderful for you.

    • Travis says:

      I went to pick her up from her dance, and found her and her friends running around the school (a school dance is not just a dance these days…there are activities all over the school). She had a great time! I was glad she could both go to her dance AND help create a special Valentine’s day memory for all of us!

  6. Love the heart-shaped rice! How adorable!!!

  7. This is both adorable and impressive. Your daughter is quite the writer and so thoughtful πŸ™‚

    • Travis says:

      She loves her writing, Stefanie. As I was reading over what she had written, and giving her a few suggestions for improvements, she was telling me about what she was learning in school about sentence structure and how she applied it to what she had written. I know I didn’t think like that as a 6th grader!

  8. Aww, how sweet! Good job Tori!

  9. What an awesome Valentine. I see Tori gets that it is the atmosphere and the thought that goes into a holiday, not how expensive the gift or restaurant is. Lessons that will serve her well in the future. You must be really proud!

    • Travis says:

      We are both very proud of her, Kim, she knows how to do things to melt your heart that’s for sure. She always surprises me with her thoughtfulness and creativity!

  10. Travis, that is so awesome. Our kids have done this for us before too, and it’s always such a great treat. What really stuck out to me, though, is how much respect and love she has for both of you. This only comes when you love and discipline your kids in a healthy manner. You two are doing an awesome job at raising your kids and being real with them. Not perfect, but real, and that is so important. πŸ™‚

    • Travis says:

      I read this comment after a particularly challenging evening with my otherwise adorable eleven year old daughter…..we all have our moments, right/ You’re right, not perfect…..but the willingness to keep trying our best – both us as parents to try to guide our kids in the right direction, and ours willingness to take our instruction to heart out of mutual respect – that’s how we’ll eventually end up with productive, caring and respectful adult children. That’s the plan anyway. πŸ™‚ I always enjoy trading comments with you, Laurie – we share very similar perspectives on things.

  11. Great stuff Tori! I’m going to take your idea and use the heart shaped cookie cutter the next time I serve rice to my kids. Maybe they will eat it then. πŸ™‚

  12. Love this! Your daughter is a talented writer and thoughtful person. Thanks for sharing her story! πŸ™‚

    • Travis says:

      She is certainly both of those, Kendal. I have such pride as a father watching her grow into a young woman. She is always working on her next “book.” She’s writing one right now….but she won’t tell me much about it until she’s done!

  13. Awwww….I love this Travis! How sweet! I love it when kids get creative like that and I love how creative she is. Heart shaped cookie cutter for plating the rice – brilliant and I’m going to absolutely borrow that idea!

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