Tierney Bistro: Child Labor at its Finest, for St. Valentine’s Day

by | Feb 12, 2013 | February, Liturgical Living, Parenting, Parties, Saints | 8 comments

If you’re like me, you like your husband.  You like getting dressed up.  You like eating food.  You like general adorableness.  And being waited upon.  And little bells.

But if you’re like me you do NOT like sitting in traffic on a Saturday night (seriously, what is your problem LA?).  You do not like trying to find a parking spot.  Maybe you also don’t like dropping off your awesome eight-passenger van full of sand, individual socks, and goldfish cracker dust with the valet at a nice restaurant.  

If you’re like me you don’t like waiting around — although you DO enjoy your husband’s company and think he is hilarious and looks very handsome in that shirt — you just don’t like sitting around.  

Tablecloth and bread basket cloth are from my fabric stash.

You definitely don’t like having to decide if getting dessert is worth the extra hour you’ll have to pay the babysitter.  You’re not crazy about having spent THAT much on something that is now just — in your tummy.  You can’t necessarily remember all the stuff you made small talk about with the babysitter the last time you drove her home, so now you’re worried that you will sound like an idiot to the girl you just paid to watch TV (and not do dishes) at your house. 

Flowers are left over from Betty’s birthday party.

Yes?  Maybe?

Well . . . have I got a solution for you:

<Your Name Here> Bistro

The husband invented Tierney Bistro for our anniversary one year to accommodate my likes and avoid my dislikes.  It was such a huge success that we’ve used it many times since for other special occasions and date nights.

Here’s how it works:

  • We set a festive table (kids can help with this of course) and print out a menu for the evening
  • A grown up cooks the food for the grown ups (usually the husband has done this, using prepared finger-food-type items from Trader Joe’s and Costco, but I decided to give it a go for this time) and something quick and easy for the kids
  • The kids eat first
  • The kids seat us and wait on us at dinner

We ring a little bell if we need service, otherwise they stay (somewhat) out of sight.  But there is great ceremony as they bring out the courses and refill the drinks.  Occasionally, there have even been dinner shows.

My kids love it because they like the pageantry and playacting.  We call them “Miss” and “young man.”  They get to feel like responsible adults with real jobs.  I love it for all the reasons I outlined above.  And it’s really, really cute and affordable.

We decided to have our St. Valentine’s Day edition of Tierney Bistro a little early this year to beat the beginning of Lent  (mmmmm . . . steak), and so I could share it with you here.

Enjoy!  And have a very Happy St. Valentine’s Day with the ones you love!

Hey!  I finally fixed those pants!
Happy St. Valentine’s Day, my love!

Congratulations to Joy and Karen, the winners of Advent and Lent quest! If your name is Joy or Karen, check your email to see if you are the right Joy or Karen. If your name isn’t Joy or Karen, or if your name IS Joy or Karen but you didn’t get an email from us . . . sorry, you didn’t win.

That’s the bad news. But the good news is you can still order your own copy and it’s downloadable so you have plenty of time to print it out before Lent starts tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who participated and stay tuned for our Lent Challenge!

Check out Arma Dei for this and other Catholic craft kits.


  1. LcMcCants

    This is SO cute! I just found your blog… via a few other blog (you know how this kinda thing happens) and it is way cute, as is this idea. I will work on teaching our 4 month old how to handle a dinner plate and pour some wine!


  2. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    This is such a cute idea! I can see my daughter being thrilled to do this. She can't stop bringing us fake cups of tea and setting picnics for us right now 🙂

  3. Rachael

    I love this idea! I was thinking as I first started reading that you were going to just describe a nice date night at home (we prefer that to the hassle of going out too!), but then to my surprise you'd gotten the kids involved! Your family is beautiful. I found your blog through Leslie, and it has been a delight to read. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Pam Anderson

    I'm a bit confused about your stating the start date for Lent is tomorrow – This year Ash Wednesday is March 5th and that is when Lent begins. Love the Bistro idea – we do that with our kiddos, too 😉

    • Kendra

      This post is from 2013, when Lent did start the day after Valentine's Day :0).

  5. Elizabeth

    This is so cute and fun! Valentine's Day is our anniversary, so we don't mind splurging on a really special day. We also live in a small city — 60,000 people including the countryside — so waiting and traffic are almost non-existent :). I can understand disliking those things in a large city, though. I would like to do a bistro for more date nights around the house! A great idea.

  6. Kat

    We just did this – under the name "Le Chateau Landreneau". The kids loved it, and it was nice to sit down and be served. But their idea of live entertainment was "fighting with foam swords", a kind offer which we had to turn down.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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