Our family loves all the holidays. There are a few that my family really looks forward to every year – Christmas, Halloween, and Valentine’s Day in that order. I personally can do without Halloween, but I truly love the other two. They bring up such great opportunities for family togetherness and thinking of others. This year we plan on doing both, and our inspiration will be the movie Wonder. With our family’s love of movie nights, and the timing of the release of Wonder, we decided on a Valentine’s movie night for this years family fun.
Wonder took the special needs community by storm last November with its movie release. Like other special needs families, we were already well acquainted with the book. When we heard the movie was being released, we had to see it. I am happy to report, that the movie version is just as good as the book, if not a tiny bit better.
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It is the perfect movie to for a family Valentine’s Day event, even if your family does not have special needs. It is about love and acceptance. Two things that go hand-in-hand on Valentine’s Day. In this movie, we get to dive into the personal realities of every person affected by special needs. Everyone has a voice that they can relate to, not just the special needs family.
Preparing for the Movie Night
With Valentine’s Day being smack in the middle of the week, we decided our movie night will have to happen on the following Saturday night. This way we have time to make it an all day affair. We will begin with food prep, decorations and giving back, and end with the movie night fun. If you would like to come with us on our family fun adventure, I created a printable packet with all the necessary items for you to create this in your home. You can find it at the end of this post.
Unlike other movie nights we have done, we really can’t base our menu on the movie itself. Instead, we have based everything on Valentine’s Day. Think red and white and heart shapes everywhere.
Our decorations are usually pretty simple, and this movie night is no different. We have settled on red and white balloons, a red tablecloth, dollar store Valentine’s decorations and tableware, and some cut-out hearts. Our best decoration comes in the form of a Valentine’s family selfie backdrop. We found wacky tacky props that we will use for a for our funny family selfies. The instructions for how to create your fabulous photo shoot are included in the printable at the end of the this post.
As I mentioned before, I love Valentine’s Day for the opportunity to teach my children to give back. Because we are a special needs family, we have lots of people pouring their time and energy into us on a regular basis. The holidays help us to remember that we should return the gesture or at least pay-it-forward. At Christmas time there are so many organizations to get involved with. During Valentine’s season we have to get a little bit more creative.
If you are looking for some ways to give back this Valentine’s season, I have created a short list below.
- Make cards for the elderly
- Donate pet supplies to your local animal shelter
- Bring treats to those that work with your family
- Send a “Thank you” letter to your community workers (police/fire department, library, garbage collection, mail delivery, etc)
- Do something nice for others in the family
- Offer free babysitting for a young couple with children
- Donate to your local women’s shelter
- Sit by someone new at lunch
- Be a “Give Back” detective and get creative
We want our main dish to be something that hasn’t been overly done. Every year we make a heart-shaped pizza. This year we want something new. We have decided to stick with Italian food, but instead we will make spaghetti with heart-shaped meatballs and heart-shaped cheesy garlic biscuits.
Finding a heart-shaped vegetable is pretty tricky. Since broccoli is heart healthy, it will fit right in. To add a bit of fun to the menu, we also plan on making a red berry Jello salad. We will end the meal with heart-shaped cookies and strawberry ice cream with sprinkles.
Of course no movie would be the same without popcorn and candy, so we will also be making Valentine’s popcorn mix as well. We found an amazing recipe from The Two Sisters site that is easy to make and yummy! Please see below for the other recipes.
Heart-shaped Turkey Meatballs
An Italian family favorite with a Valentine's flare.
- 2 pounds Turkey Burger
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Cups Garlic Croutons Crushed
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Onion Salt
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
- 1 TBS Italian Seasoning
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Mix eggs , Parmesan cheese and spices together in a bowl. Add Turkey Burger. Mix together. Shape into 1 1/2 inch heart shapes. Fry each turkey heart in a small amount of olive oil until cooked through and brown. Add to your favorite sauce.
Heart-shaped Garlic Parmesan Biscuits
A very easy recipe that the whole family will love this Valentine's!
- 1 Tube Grands Refrigerated Biscuits
- Parmesan Cheese
- Olive Oil
- Garlic Salt
Remove all refrigerated biscuits from their container. With a sharp knife cut a slit down the middle approximately on 1 inch. Shape the biscuit into a heart and place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all biscuits have been shaped. Lightly brush each biscuit with olive oil. Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese and Garlic Salt on each biscuit to taste. Bake at 350 degrees until biscuits are golden brown.
Red Berry Jello Salad
A yummy way to get kids to eat some healthy berries.
- 1 Container Strawberries Washed and Sliced.
- 2 Containers Raspberries Washed.
- 1 8x8 Pan Red Jello Jigglers Cut into small cubes.
- 1 Container Fat-free Whipped Topping
Place berries and Jello in a large bowl. Add whipped topping. Combine until mixed through. Keep chilled.
Three Ingredient Valentine's Cookies
Kids tested and approved!
- 2 1/2 Sticks Salted Butter Softened.
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
Cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar. Add flour in small increments until it forms a stiff dough. Cover and chill for one hour. Remove dough from fridge. Roll out and cut shapes or roll into balls and press with a fork. Decorate as desired.
Movie Night Printable…
Here are the printable instructions for the movie night so you can do this with your family too! I would love to see your wacky family photos, please share them with me. Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Is your family looking for a fun way to reconnect this Valentine’s day? You have come to the right place. Why not try our Family Valentine’s Movie Night With Wonder? Or you could try one of our other fun movie night ideas.