Friday, January 29, 2010

How to have a great date night at home

Aside from the fact that we live on a pretty tight budget, we live about 15-20 miles outside of "town," making evenings out very infrequent for us. While I do enjoy some time out with just Ben, I often find an at-home "date night" equally relaxing. It's cozy and quiet, it's inexpensive and we don't need a babysitter (though, with 6 younger siblings-in-law half a mile down the road, plus a Grandma and a Papa, babysitters aren't all that hard to come by!).

Two things that really make an at-home date night enjoyable for me are putting Katie to bed early so I can focus on Ben and straightening up before we get started. It's sort of stressful to "relax" amidst clutter. I like to have the kitchen cleaned up and the house straightened up before our "date" starts. It's much more enjoyable for me that way.

Now, for some fun at-home date night ideas:

::Prepare a nice meal. You can make a delicious, restaurant quality meal at home for a fraction of the cost of going out to eat. In fact, if you have a favorite restaurant meal in mind, you can likely find a "copy cat" recipe online and give it a try. One website to check out is CopyKat Recipes. If you do some of your prep. work and cleaning earlier in the day, it will make it more simple and give you more time to spend with your hubby! Of course, instead of making something fancy, you could always make something fun and simple like burgers or homemade pizza. Sometimes we even pick up a pizza from the deli for $6 or $7. It's better than a frozen pizza and cheaper than takeout. Plus, you can doctor it up if you want.

::Have dessert. We don't do much dessert at our house, so this is a fun treat. Brew some coffee to go along with it if it won't keep you up all night! Honestly, I'm not a coffee person myself, but Ben LOVES it!

::Watch a movie. Ben and I love to snuggle up in our bed and watch a DVD on the laptop. We have done free trials of Netflix and Blockbuster Online. The free trials last two weeks and they send you as many DVDs as you can watch during that time frame. You get one in the mail, watch it, return it, and they send another one. Don't forget to cancel the subscription before the two weeks are up or they'll charge your credit card. However, both of these services are pretty reasonably priced and are something to consider if you watch movies frequently. Another option for movies is RedBox. Their rentals are $1 per night. If you have to make an extra trip to get the movie and return it, it's not as good of a deal as it sounds like. But, if you're already going to be out, it works out well! Just don't forget to take it back--we paid $7 for a movie one time!

::Play a game. My hubby's not a big game person, but there are a couple of games we enjoy playing together. A little friendly competition is always fun. :)

::Do a puzzle. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoy puzzles. Plus, it's an activity that lends itself to conversation, making it a great activity for a 'date night.' You could keep the puzzle and pieces underneath the glass on your table to keep them from getting misplaced if you don't finish it in one sitting. There is also puzzle glue you can buy at Michael's to keep your puzzle stuck together once it's done. If you really like it, you could even frame it and hang it somewhere in your house. :)

::Just talk. It is so easy to get bogged down with everything and not set aside time to have a quality conversation with your spouse. When we were courting long distance, we spent hours on the phone every week and sometimes, I miss those long hours of just talking with my man. Perhaps the best "date night" you could have at home with your husband is dinner and a nice, long talk. After all, I would guess one of the reasons you married him is because you enjoyed his conversation!

Those are just a few basic and obvious ideas, but be creative! Just because your budget doesn't allow for expensive nights on the town doesn't mean you can't enjoy a nice evening with your husband. Whatever you and your hubby enjoy doing together at home, set aside a "date night" and do it! Enriching your marriage by spending quality time together is so, so important!

What do you and your husband do to spend time together without breaking the bank?

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  1. I see that you have writing listed as one of your interests! Perhaps you would like my blog:

    I love to write, and though I don't write often, I feel that I have to have an outlet somewhere. So here, every now and then, I'll unpack my thoughts and regale everyone with them. You might enjoy some of my short, random musings!

  2. I love being able to make restaurant quality meals myself. For our anniversary dinner (when we were super short on money) I was able to make the same meals we had enjoyed on the night he proposed for about $7 total.

    The things Robert and I really like to do for dates are; going our for a walk or hike. We can't do that much during the winter here but we sure do enjoy it during the summer! We also will stay up late to watch something on youtube, there are lots of old clean movies on youtube and some good documentaries every now and then too.

    Sometimes we'll just go for a drive. Here in Alaska there are roads that go out to "the middle of nowhere". Last March someone in a small town five hours away bought our snow machine and we offered to drive it out for them. That was a really fun, but long day and we both thoroughly enjoyed it!

  3. thanks for reminding me that we can 'date' even if we don't leave the house. with my husband's new position and school starting it is IMPOSSIBLE and we don't have ANY family where we live now.... i'm going to be planning one of these real soon! maybe this weekend since we'll be snowed in! :o)

  4. We love date nights at home! We send the kids to Grandma's down the road for their "date" and hubby and I enjoy a frozen pizza and ice cream (a rare treat with 5 children!) Then we take a walk or watch a movie or just sit on the porch swing. So relaxing and nice!

  5. Laura:

    How neat that you could make the meals you had the night he proposed--so romantic and fun! :)

    When we lived in FL, we had wifi at home and watched videos on YouTube frequently. Now that we've moved, we don't have internet at home and the internet at the farm is limited. You can only download a certain amount of stuff per day, so we can't really watch long videos online.

    I really enjoy going for walks with Ben. We haven't done it much recently, but when we were courting and I'd visit him here at the farm, we went on walks all the time. We would go for drives too. We'd stop at the little market and get chips and a soda (not the healthiest, I know) and drive around. Aah, the memories. :)

  6. Ashley: Enjoy your at-home date night! We'll be snowed in, too, so maybe I'll have to plan one for tomorrow night. :o)

  7. Melinda: I'm sure we will send Katie to Grandma and Papa's down the road when she gets a little older so we can have an at-home date. Right now, she's only 11 months old and goes to sleep between 7 and 8 so it's not necessary. I'm sure in the midst of mothering 5, a break from it all to spend time with your hubby is a blessing. :)

  8. Great ideas! We try to do a date night at least twice a month. It so easy for couples to forget or overlook the importance of a kid-free night. Couples need to recharge and reinvest in their marriage to keep that connection going.

    Great post! :-)

  9. Great ideas! We like to rent RedBox movies, and we also play SuperMario Bros together. That sounds kind of weird, but we have so much fun with tit.

  10. I agree - picking up the clutter first makes a big difference! We do Redbox movies a lot - so nice to get a movie for $1 instead of spending $20 at the theater!

  11. Very sweet ideas! I'm inspired!