It's Friday and that means...DATE NIGHT! And just because you can't get a babysitter is no excuse for missing out on the best night of the week!
Let me start by giving you some advice on planning your dates. What my husband and I have done is to trade off weeks for date night. One week it's my responsibility, the next week it's his, and whoever has responsibility is also in charge of finding a babysitter (if necessary). We usually do our planning in secret, simply because we like to surprise each other, and we both enjoy being surprised. On occasion I will get very creative and send him an invitation, or leave notes with hints about the date throughout the week. My favorite were my clues about our tennis date- "This is a court with no judge and no jury," "Where we're going, love means nothing," etc. I loved to watch his complete confusion as he tried to figure out the clues! We had a good laugh about it when we finally got to the tennis court!
Sometimes, if the date is a big deal (like a show he's been wanting to see) I will just tell him ahead of time, because I think that the planning and anticipation can be almost as fun as the event itself, and the excitement leading up to the date can bring you closer together as you talk about it and anticipate together.
So back to my topic- Dates At Home! My biggest piece of advice for dates at home is to make them special by having a theme. It actually makes the planning easier, and it's just more fun! Here are a few ideas for when you just can't tear yourself away from the kiddies for the night!
1. Have a Movie-Themed Night: I did this with my husband for one of the Harry Potter movies- he really wanted to see one of them and we hadn't gotten a chance to watch it, so without him knowing I got my hands on a copy (borrowed it from a friend) for our date. I had popcorn and hot chocolate and warm blankets all ready (it was wintertime). I turned on the dvd to the main menu so that the theme music was playing when he came in, and I had turned out the lights and lit candles all over the room (very Hogwarts). It was just a really cool effect! You could do this with any movie, and even dress up and/or make special treats to go with your theme.
2. Game Tournament- If you two are of the competitive mindset, this one can be a blast. Set up a gaming tournament with certain rules- you can play one game or a series of different games (this would be a great one for tonight with the Olympics starting!). When my husband and I did it, we used pool (we had a pool table), foosball (a foosball table too) and a card game. We kept score differently with each game (every ball in the pocket was a point, every goal was a point, etc.) and at the end of the night whoever lost had to make an ice cream sundae (or you could do smoothies) for the winner. And then we just teased the heck out of each other!
3. Scrapbooking- Okay, ladies, now you may think that your husbands will think this is lame, but if I got MY husband, the Jock of All Time to do it, then yours will too! You can scrapbook anything you want- photos of when you were dating, your wedding, your honeymoon, your kids- just have fun with it and be creative! You might be surprised at what you can create together. (And ladies, if you are an avid scrapbooker, please remember to just let your man do it his own way- this is NOT an entry for Creating Keepsakes magazine!)
4. Getting to Know You- This is a good one to combine with something else, like baking cookies. Just get a series of "getting to know you" questions and put them in a jar (there is great list here) Find a good cookie recipe and have fun making it together, then once the cookies are in the oven, take turns pulling out a question and giving your answer. You might be surprised what you learn about each other...
5. Spa Night- The credit totally goes to my sweet hubby for this one! One night he surprised me with a spa date- I came into our bedroom and he had laid out a thick cushion of blankets on the floor as our massage table. The lights were out, and the room was lit only by candles. He had a small water fountain bubbling quietly in the corner, and a cd of soothing spa music playing. I have gotten professional massages before, and he re-created the atmosphere perfectly! He then gave me a delightful massage with wonderfully scented body oils, and then pampered me with a bubble bath afterward. I felt like a queen! Getting spoiled was fun, but if we did this date again, I would insist on getting a turn as the masseuse. ;-)
6. Remember When- A lot of us have home movies, but we hardly ever have an opportunity to watch them! Take a night to pull out your old home movies and watch your wedding, or when your kids were born. Going back to those special moments in your life will remind you of all the loving feelings you had (and hopefully still have!) for each other.
7. Pick a Project- Whether it be painting a room in your house, making Christmas gifts, or refinishing a piece of furniture, a project will bring you closer together as you learn to work together to accomplish something big. Come on, we all have projects that need doing! Doing them together will make it fun, and in the process you will make some great memories.
8. Exercise- Get a workout dvd and do it together! Since you're doing it with your man, I would recommend something macho, like tae-bo or kickboxing. Don't take it too seriously, just have fun with it and enjoy a healthy treat like smoothies when you're finished. And of course you'll probably need to shower afterward, which could also bring you closer together... ;-)
9. Learn Something New- Your local library is a great resource for instructional books and dvds. Why not get a book on origami and try it out? Or even a dvd on ballroom dancing. I remember when I was a teenager I would see my parents sitting in the living room eating popcorn and watching instructional videos on things like "How To Install Wainscoting". Not exactly on the romantic side, but they enjoyed deciding on projects to do around the house and then learning how to do them together. It's just those little things that make you closer!
10. Dine in- After you have kids, mealtime can turn into a hectic affair. Why not let the kids have the hectic affair and save the romantic affair for your sweetie? We have a back deck, so I would love to someday make a romantic dinner for my DH out there. I would string up some white lights, light some candles, maybe have a tablecloth with rose petals on it and some soft music playing... sparkling cider and champagne glasses... it would be just like our own 5-star restaurant at home! You could do the exact same thing inside, and if you want to keep the kids away from the "restaurant", you could have their dinner picnic-style on the living room floor. Kids love that, and your eating sanctuary would be safe until date time. And if cooking an elaborate meal is too much for you, just order out. Guys love food from their favorite restaurant. Just toss the containers and serve it on your nice china. :-)
Check back next Friday for fun and frugal date ideas you can do outdoors!
Do you have any fun stay-at-home date ideas? Leave a comment!