By HEATHER CASS
With Valentine’s Day falling on a Sunday this year (yes, this Sunday), you have got a three-day window of opportunity to come up with something romantic to make your sweetheart swoon.
You can go with the old flowers-and-candy or dinner-and-a-movie standbys, but a weekend holiday gives most of us the time to do something a little more special for the ones we love.
Here are a few last-minute Valentine’s Day ideas that won’t break the bank or require a reservation, proving that romance really is as easy as 1-2-3.
1 sure-fire romantic idea
1. Rent or buy a copy of the first movie you ever saw together as a couple. While you watch it, think back. Recall the anticipation of that first kiss. Remember the butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling when his/her hand would brush yours. Relive the days when you couldn’t bear to be apart.
2 heart-y (and easy) meal ideas
Who needs an elaborate, five-course meal or the cleanup that comes with it? Save time for romance with these foolproof Valentine’s Day dinner ideas, sure to please palettes from 2 to 92.
1. Heart-shaped pizza. Buy ready-made pizza crust (in the tube) or use your favorite homemade recipe and shape the dough into a heart. Make one big pizza or create individual pizzas for each family member.
2. Heart-shaped pancakes. Place a heart-shaped cookie cutter in your frying pan. Ladle batter into the cookie cutter (don’t fill too full as it will overflow). When it’s time to flip it, simply slide a toothpick around the inside edges of the cutter to remove it from the pancake. Then use a spatula to turn the pancake. Serve pancakes topped with strawberry sauce and a chocolate candy heart.
3 pink drinks
Sip some sweetness with these pink drinks. And, remember: One drink + two straws = instant romance.
1. Cinnamon heart shake. Blend low-fat strawberry ice cream with skim milk, add in some cinnamon hearts and stir gently. Pour into tall glasses. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon hearts. — www.kids-cooking.suite101.com.
2. Drop pomegranate seeds into Champagne or strawberries into sparkling wine to tinge your drink pink.
3. Whip up some Berry Sweetheart mocktails with this recipe from “Maran Illustrated Bartending:” Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, add 3 ounces of red cranberry juice, 3 ounces of apple juice, 1 ounce of honey. Stir ingredients. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
4 romantic ideas
1. Create an iTunes playlist of songs important in your relationship (songs popular when you met, your wedding song, etc.). Download the playlist to your sweetie’s iPod and leave it on a table with a note that says “play me.”
2. Say cheese. When’s the last time you had a professional portrait taken of just the two of you? Take your significant other to a local photo studio for an impromptu photo shoot. Walk-ins are welcome at many area studios such as JCPenney, Sears and Portrait Innovations.
3. If you’re computer-savvy, buy a domain name, such as your partner’s name or an anagram with both of your names ( www.jennylovesjoey.com), and create a simple Web site for your Valentine. See which domain names are available and purchase one (about $20) at www.GoDaddy.com.
4. Dust off the wedding video, pop some popcorn and have a good laugh at the outfits and hairstyles from the day you said “I do.” Share it with the kids; they will love seeing Grandpa Joe doing the Pennsylvania Polka with Aunt Trudy.
5 couple-time games
Invite some of your couple friends over and host a game night. Just be sure you team up with your significant other; no “boys versus girls” on Valentine’s Day weekend. Here are a few games that will inspire lots of laughs and spark some friendly couple competition.
1. Hearts. This classic card game will have you playing tricks and breaking hearts. Best with four players. Not familiar with the game? Find out how to play at www.toycrossing.com/hearts.
2. Cranium. This is one of the most interactive and entertaining party board games on the market today. It’s charades meets Pictionary meets Trivial Pursuit meets Play-Doh and it’s a blast.
3. Twister. Get all knotted up and entwined with this 1960s classic. This is one you can play with just two.
4. Apples to Apples. This popular board game of comparisons was named “Party Game of the Year” in 1999 by Games magazine and can be played in several variations (see them at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apples_to_Apples). Best with more than four players.
5. Compatibility. Played in teams of two, this board game involves matching picture and word cards. Teams score points for thinking alike.
6 places to go
1. “Some Enchanted Evening” at the Station Dinner Theatre, 4940 Peach St. Love songs, dancing and dinner for $39. Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Call 864-2022 or visit www.canterburyfeast.com.
2. Valentine’s Day Prediction Race. Get your heart pumping and share a little sweat with your sweetie. This fun run/walk starts at Presque Isle State Park, Rotary Pavilion, Sunday at 10 a.m. The distance is a mystery (but it will be between 4 and 6 miles). Call (814) 774-3209 or visit www.erie-runnersclub.org.
3. Erie Otters game. Snuggle up and watch the Erie Otters kick some ice. They take on the Peterborough Petes on Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $14.50. Call 452-4857 or visit www.ottershockey.com.
4. Jr.’s Last Laugh Comedy Club. The funny folks at Jr.’s are offering a special Valentine’s Day show on Sunday at 6 p.m. Cost is $30 per person and includes buffet dinner, comedy show, dessert and coffee. Headliner is Ralph Harris, best known for his starring role in the ABC-TV sitcom “On Our Own.” Call 461-0911 or visit www.jrslastlaugh.com.
5. Mayville Winter Ice Festival. This cool (and I do mean cool) festival is held in nearby Mayville, N.Y., and is worth the drive. The main attraction is a giant castle created with blocks of ice carved out of Chautauqua Lake. Bundle (and snuggle) up as you stroll because all events — including fireworks and a snowman-building contest — are outdoors. Call (716) 753-3113 or visit www.mayvillechautauquachamber.org.
6. Tuba concert. Luther Memorial Church will be celebrating Valentine’s Day with a free tuba love song concert. No, not songs about loving tubas, but tuba songs about love. Daniel Burdick, on the tuba, and Erik Meyer, on the piano, will be performing at Luther Memorial, 225 W. 10th St. on Sunday at 10 a.m. Worship service follows at 10:30 a.m. (you need not stay for the scheduled worship service to follow). Call 454-0106 or visit www.luthermemorialonline.org.
7 ways with words
1. Buy the romance edition of the popular Magnetic Poetry Kit (available at book stores) and write a poem on the fridge.
2. Leave a sweet message on the bathroom mirror with a dry erase marker.
3. Write an old-fashioned love note or make a homemade valentine and tuck it somewhere your loved one will find it later — gym bag, lunch box, under the windshield wiper, etc.
4. Play Mad Libs using romantic words only.
5. Use sidewalk chalk to write your names in a heart on the driveway so your partner will see it when they get home. Driveway still covered in snow? Use a spray bottle with colored water and express your love in the snow.
6. Play with their food. Buy some alphabet pretzels (Tops Friendly Markets) or Alpha-Bits cereal and leave them a snack with “I love you” spelled out on top.
7. Share a romantic book. Take turns reading chapters to each other in bed.
8 lovey-dovey movies
We all have different ideas as to what’s romantic, but here are eight can’t-go-wrong choices.
1. “Gone with the Wind”
5. “An Officer and a Gentleman”
6. “Dirty Dancing”
7. “The Notebook”
8. “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”
HEATHER CASS can be reached at 870-1821 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.