Tag Archives: date night

4 Simple and Inexpensive Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be a tough time to get good dinner reservations, and it can be an expensive flowers-and-chocolates gift day. If you’re looking for something non-traditional, or something that won’t break the bank, try these ideas for a fun date night!

1. Breakfast for Dinner. Whip up some heart-shaped pancakes, and top them with whipped cream and strawberries (if you core them, then slice them, those can be heart-shaped too), make some hot cocoa (maybe with a little raspberry liqueur if you’re feeling fancy) and enjoy it by candlelight. It’s basically a meal and dessert at the same time!

2. Backyard Star-Gazing. What could be more romantic than snuggling on a blanket in the back yard, looking at the stars? If you like to know what you’re looking at, Sky View is a neat app where you can hold it up and actually read the labels for the stars you’re seeing.

3. Have a Game Night. Whether you like playing cards, or you prefer board games, it can be fun to just chat and play games together. Fun and easy games that can be played by just two include Rummy, Speed, or Crazy Eights (card games), Phase 10 (a card game of its own), Dominos (we like the Mexican Train version!), Quiddler or Perquacky (word games) or the game of Set (this can be a solitaire game, too). Most of these can be found at Wal-Mart, Target, or on Amazon.com!

4. Reimagine a favorite date you’ve been on before. Have you had a history of wonderful dates together with your sweetie? Take an old idea, and revamp it! Cook the meal you shared at home instead of going out for it. Watch the first movie you went out to see together on DVD on your own couch. Make those fancy cocktails at home. Even if the location isn’t the same, the revisiting of a treasured memory can still be fun. If you have kids now, make it a kid-friendly experience, while sharing a little of your history with them!

What are some inexpensive dates that you’ve enjoyed with your love?

The Boy I Loved. 

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus!  
Not that long ago, I was a silly, young girl, head over heels for a boy I had just met. Not long ago, that boy was a breath of fresh air to a girl who’d sworn off dating for a while. Not long after that, the boy and girl decided they’d get married. And buy a house. And have kids. And never sleep again. 

Really, 8 1/2 years -since we met- isn’t long in the grand scheme of things. But it feels like an eternity sometimes, when I think of what’s happened since then. When I think of places we’ve traveled, jobs we’ve had, people we’ve grown closer to or drifted apart from, it feels like a lifetime already lived. There’s so much water under that bridge we’ll have to raise it if anything else happens. 

But every now and then, there are glimpses of the silly, young girl and the boy who was a breath of fresh air. For instance, last week, Hubby and I had a lovely date night planned, going to a nice restaurant in the neighboring city where Hubby attended college before seeing a concert. Long (frustrating) story short, dinner at the nice restaurant didn’t work out, and we were a little too pressed for time to try making new plans. We ended up at a pizza and beer joint where we ordered dinner by the slice at a counter, and ate in a dirty booth. Not that I had anything against pizza and beer (I love it! Promise!), it just wasn’t what we’d had in mind. We were dressed up and ready for a fancy meal. But you know what? We had a great time. We’d gone to that pizza joint a hundred times while we were dating, with and without friends, and it was a fun little throwback to our younger, freer selves.

You know what else? After a couple of hours of music and dancing, before we headed back home to responsibilities and a babysitter to pay, we went to the location of our first “hang out.” (I’m hesitant to even call it a date.) We ended up right there in another dirty booth, eating gargantuans at the Jimmy John’s on the edge of his college campus. We giggled and flirted and touched our feet under the table with butterflies in our tummies, remembering who we had been 8 1/2 years ago. We reminisced about those old times, and talked about how we love where we are right now, even when it’s hard. 

I looked right across the table and into the eyes of the boy I loved. And I was thrilled to see that my husband looked just like him. 

Babysitters: Are You a Micro-Manager From Afar or Do You Enjoy Your Outing?

Because I’m in the hospital with my brand new, sweet, second son (Baby D says, “Hey there!”) here’s one I wrote a little while ago!

I can be one of two things when it comes to leaving my kiddos with someone… I can be a micro-managing crazy person with a list of a hundred guidelines (read: requirements) or I can just be the trusting mom who says, “Have fun!”

My slightly-OCD tendency is to overdo it. I get worked up, setting out pajamas and sippy cups (already put together, because no babysitter ever knows how to figure that mess out) and favorite blankets. I want to write where every single item in the house can be found, a list of healthy, mom-approved foods that I know my kids will eat (and when they’re allowed to eat them), how to work the TV so that they can watch an allotted 22-minute educational show, and a detailed bedtime routine that must be strictly followed. I want to leave numbers for the closest ten people, and I want to check my phone every two minutes while I’m gone.

But let’s be honest: would that be a nice outing for me? Probably not. I’d be miserable, wondering whether or not everyone kept to my schedule, and looking at my phone every two minutes is just rude, whether I’m out with the girls or with Hubby.

The alternative to this, for me, is the opposite end of the spectrum. I just say, “Bye!” and leave it in the probably-capable hands of my babysitter. They’ll call if they need anything, right? It’s just about relinquishing my control into someone else’s hands, and in the case of my children, it’s tough.

I remember that on my 3 year old’s first day of preschool, I was so nervous. She was crying when we left (Doesn’t every kid cry on their first day of leaving Mom and Dad? No? Just tell me they do.) and I was worried all morning that there would be some need that she’d have that they wouldn’t notice, or couldn’t help her with. Not that I had chosen a preschool that I wasn’t comfortable with or anything like that. I just felt like Mama knows best, ya know?

But now that I’m pregnant with my third, I’ve become a little less crazed about it. When I take my daughter to school, I make sure her bags are packed with everything she could possibly need (yeah, I still do it) and I hug her, kiss her, and run out. I’m a little more confident.  I don’t write a big list for a babysitter, either. I offer some tips on getting them to eat dinner (It’s all about options!) or to make bedtime go more smoothly (Don’t try to do it too early!), but then I kiss those tiny angels, apply my lip gloss, and get the hell outta dodge. I mean, Mama needs a night out, right? (Side note: I am guilty of often hiring a  babysitter after my kids bedtime, so that there are no transitional issues. My 1 1:2 year old sometimes tries to squeeze out the door with me, or I can hear him hollering as I get in the car. Breaks a mama’s heart, so I avoid it where I can.)

Letting go is hard, no matter what the situation, how long you might be letting go for, and into whose hands your leaving the precious ones. How do you cope deal prepare to leave your kiddos with someone else?

Valentine’s Day – Why, Again?

Is anyone else totally underwhelmed with the marketing ploy that is Valentine’s Day?

I mean, I get where it came from. I’m not arguing that. I’m just arguing what it has become. Why does my husband (or your boyfriend, fiance, etc) have to be pressured to buy item A (chocolates, flowers, ugly teddy bears, etc) and take you to nice restaurant B (local favorite, most expensive, or hole-in-the-wall with privacy) so that you know  his love for you extra on this random day in February? There are already birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions to show me that.

I think holding our men (or ourselves) to that standard is ridiculous. Just my two cents. I think that showing love and affection to our significant others should be an every day thing. Not, everyday like boring or common, but every single day, like kisses and hugs and quality time and acts of service and words of affirmation and even gifts. Gifts don’t have to be extravagant, or expensive. Gifts could be a favorite meal prepared for dinner, or a favorite latte brought to them at work, or a pint of their favorite ice cream gotten during the grocery trip.  Showing love shouldn’t be a “special occasion”. It should be the way you live your lives.

That being said, if you and your love waited too long to get those dinner reservations, or the show you wanted to see is sold out, go some other night. Make it a random Tuesday about showing each other your affection and admiration. Do those things any day and every day. You can make a boring evening, a typical lunch, or a stay-at-home weekend a special one, just by the way you treat someone.