Tag Archives: date night

How to Make Date Night Happen When You're Parents - Kid Swap 101

How to Make Date Nights Happen When You’re Parents: Kid Swap!!

How to Make Date Night Happen When You're Parents - Kid Swap 101

When I posted The Fun Dare: 12 Dates in 12 Days challenge, many parents were discouraged; it’s as if they were missing out on all the fun.

Even when I suggested modifying most of the dates to stay-at-home, and spreading the 12 dates out over 12 consecutive weeks, some still couldn’t wrap their brain around how this could be done with children.  

I didn’t have the solution until US Olympian Annett Davis posted a comment saying exactly how she and her husband of eighteen years were going to pull this off.  

I immediately sent her a text and asked if she’d share their brilliant practice with you.  Get ready…this is gooooood.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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I know what you are thinking.  I have kids, I can’t do one date night, let alone the 12 suggested in The Fun Dare!  Think again.  I’ve got two words for you…Kid Swap!!!

On a beautiful fall day 18 years ago I married the man of my dreams.  We purposefully waited before trying to have children. Why?  Because we wanted to enjoy each other every day, selfishly, without having to care for little ones.

Fast forward to today.  We are actually more happily married than we were in the beginning, and now have two amazing children.  Sure spontaneity went out the window the moment we had kids, but that didn’t mean our fun date nights had to go with it, and neither does yours.

What’s a couple to do?

Kid Swap 101

A few years ago we came up with a fabulous idea.  We have a neighborhood full of amazing folks with kids around the same age as ours.  Our kids have been playing together for years.  One day it hit us.  Why in the world were we forking out $30 or more per date night, just for the babysitter, when we could be babysitting each others kids, for free?!?!

Here’s how the kid swap works. 

1.  Find a friend or neighbor that you trust with your kids. 

2.  Pick a day and time that works best for both couples.  It’s okay to have a daytime date.  There’s no rule that says you have to go out after 7pm. :)   Sometimes with little ones dates work better during the daytime so that it doesn’t interfere with their nighttime routine.

3.  If your child has allergies, make sure you bring your own snacks to share.  You can also take your children’s favorite toys, games, or movies to ensure a good time.

4.  Make this a regular occurrence, not just a one time thing.  In my case, my neighbor Ani takes our kids every Friday night so that my husband and I can go out.  Then on Saturday night we take her kids.  The children play games, watch movies, have snacks, they have a blast! What kid wouldn’t want two extended play dates with their friends every week?

We all know that date nights are extremely important.  Not only are we kindling the flames of our relationship with our mates, but our children are learning something important too.  When you go out on a date, your child sees how much you value each other.  They see that your relationship with your mate is so great that you do lots of fun, cool, and amazing things together to keep it going. 

What a marvelous example we set for our children. My daughter’s eyes light up, in a Disney Princess type of way, whenever I tell her that her father and I are going on a date. She wants me to dress up, and wear make-up for him.  I love how excited she gets seeing us date.  Doing a weekly kid swap makes this happen much more often than it used to, it has certainly made our marriage sizzle.  We are going to use the kid swap to do The Fun Dare, and I hope you do too!

QUESTION: How do you make sure your date night happens? Tell us on our community Facebook page where over a million women join us.


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Happy Wives Club Book


THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book like none other.  Guaranteed.

Date Night

At Home Date Night On a Budget

When my husband and I were newly married, we received some wonderful advice from a great couple.

They told us that they’d been having a weekly date night for 20+ years of marriage. As newlyweds, we decided to be intentional about a weekly date night.

After we became parents, my mom was more than happy to babysit for a couple of hours each Friday night so we could continue the tradition. 

So, for our first 7+ years of marriage, we have had a date night every single week!

Then, we moved away from my hometown. We’re now 2 hours from one set of grandparents, nearly 6 from the other. No more easy babysitter!  Couple that with a tight budget, and we knew we needed to get creative!

This is why I invented the no-prep, at-home, low-cost date – that I affectionately call the “Dessert Date”.  Thinking it was a great idea, I wanted to share it with you!

Everything for this date can be done within about 5-10 minutes. 

I thought it would be fun to make this a surprise for my hubby. So, I waited until the boys were in bed and hubby was in the shower, and then got to work.

The first thing I did was to lay out some nice clothes for him on the bed, with a handwritten note saying, “Put these on, and meet me in the kitchen.” Next, I put on some nice clothes myself and dusted on some make up.

I found the champagne glasses from our wedding, along with a couple of napkins, and a copy of the invitation from that day. If you don’t have glasses from your wedding, substitute what you do have.

You could also use a nice quote about love or marriage printed out, instead of your invitation. We don’t drink alchohol, so I bought some sparkling grape juice to go in the glasses.

I prepared my super quick, super yummy strawberry cream desserts.

Finally, I found the mix of love songs that played during our wedding reception. 

Honestly, because of the effort put into it,  this felt much more like a “real” date, than some of our out-to-eat, followed by a stop at Walmart “dates.” 

We had a lovely time staring into each others eyes like newlyweds.

The entire prep for this date happened during the short time that my hubby was in the shower, making it a very low-stress date. It was also very inexpensive – around $5 or so. And between the fancy plated desserts, the champagne glasses, candle light, and all of our wedding reminders, it was very romantic.

We both remember it fondly as one of our favorite dates ever — going out included.

If you’re needing some alone time with your husband, but don’t have the resources or babysitter for a night out, I would encourage you to get creative!  

You can make great memories right where you are.

What’s your favorite date night?

game night

The BEST 2 Player Games for Date Night!

Since my husband and I have young children, the majority of our date nights are spent at home.

We do try to go out on a date once a month, but we still make an effort to spend time together at least once a week, interacting with one another, without distractions (such as TV or internet).

While we try to spend quality time together more than once a week, we are sticklers about getting at least 1 night in a week, regardless of our busy schedules. 

Game night is one of our absolute favorites for weekly fun. It’s been a challenge to find games that translate well to 2-player versions.

Several games that I enjoyed growing up, just don’t work with only 2 people. We’ve finally gotten a good collection of really awesome board games that work with 2 players. 

Here are a few of our favorites, so you can start working on your own collection of games for date night!

Best 2 Player Games for Date Night

Dominion – This will always be one of my favorite games! It can be played with up to four players, but works really well with just two! It’s a card game, we’ve played it for several years now and still love it! There are many expansions for the game (intrigue, seaside, hinterlands etc.) and they all add so much to the game! We’ve purchased each expansion as it came out and I have trouble choosing a favorite! 

Fluxx - This is a game that must be played with a good sense of humor. The rules are constantly changing, along with the goal of the game! It’s another card game that certainly will keep you laughing and keep you on your toes! We recently bought the “martian fluxx” variant and definitely prefer that version to the original. 

Glory to Rome - This is one of the more complicated card games, I’m still trying to wrap my head around playing it well, but it’s definitely fun! You each build your own buildings and try to come out on top! There are multiple ways to score points in this game, so it’s a challenge to choose which strategy to go with. It also makes the game fun though, because you never have to play it the same way twice!

Race for the Galaxy - This has always been one of my husband’s favorite games, but I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to get on board. I love the game now, but there’s definitely a steep learning curve to it, and it may take awhile before you really feel like you can play it well. 

Carcassone - This was one of the first games we purchased together (about 4 years ago) and we’re still getting lots of enjoyment out of it! Carcassone is a tile-laying game, and it allows you to build cities, roads, farms and cloisters and connect them to one another to gain points. Very fun game, and it’s always neat to see all the scenery that you’ve built together at the end of the game!

Famiglia - Another card game, this time the cards represent different “mobster” families. Each color card allows you to do a different action, and thereby gain better cards into your “family”. It’s simple to learn, but there’s a surprising amount of strategy involved!

Pandemic - This game is unique because, instead of playing against one another, you are on a team against the game! It’s shockingly difficult and a lot of fun to get to work together in a game instead of having to compete. There’s also nothing quite like trying to save the world from multiple viruses! You really feel like you’ve accomplished something awesome together when you win this game!

Tigris & Euphrates - This game is truly one of our favorites. It has a longer play-time than most, but it’s definitely worth the time! You play on one board and build your own little kingdoms by laying tiles of various colors. You are then able to join kingdoms or invade one another, and gain points. It’s a very interesting game, especially since you don’t know how many points the other player has earned until the end of the game! 

Suburbia - This is one of our newer games. It’s also a tile laying game, but instead of building farms or roads you create buildings for your city. The strategy is in which tiles you put where, as well as which tiles you choose to build. We only purchased this one a few weeks ago but it’s already a favorite! 

Agricola - Remember that popular Farming game on Facebook awhile back? This is a game that is very similar, but with lots more strategy! You are a farmer, and you must build your hut, farm your land, raise cattle and feed your family! It’s a very interesting game and quite the challenge!

Zertz, Yinsh & Dvonn - These games are more abstract than the others I’ve listed. Instead of having a theme or story to them, they are pure strategy (like chess or checkers, but more fun). These games can be bought separately and played as a single game, or can be combined with a couple other games in the series to form a huge tournament. We currently own two in the series and are working our way up to have the whole collection. They are quicker games and deceptively difficult! 

I’ve created a list on amazon with all of the games, so you can find them easily, instead of needing to do multiple searches. This is an affiliate link to my 2 player games list on Amazon. 

These are our absolute favorite 2 player games! Have you ever heard of any of them? Share with us on the Happy Wives Club Facebook page.

We’d love to hear about your favorites!

the argument free marriage book


THE BOOK: Read the book that inspired the powerful TED talk and prompted author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, PhD., to write the book’s foreword. Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, bestselling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts said, “We’ve been counseling couples and writing marriage books for a long time, and we can say with absolute certainty, there has never been a book quite like The Argument-Free Marriage. If you think no such union exists, or if you’ve come to the conclusion that arguments are necessary in marriage, allow Fawn to challenge that notion and set you on a path to creating the greatest partnership in life: your marriage.”

Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

Top 20 Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

We all know how important frequent date nights are for keeping the fire burning with our spouse. 

But when money is tight, or a babysitter is nowhere to be found, keeping a regular date night can be a challenge.  We’re here to help!

We’ve scoured the web, looking for the best, cheapest, most creative stay-at-home date night ideas and compiled a list of the top 20 we found online.

So grab your hubby, put the kids down for the night, and get your date night on!

  1. Iron Chef Chocolate: Make a meal with chocolate featured in every course. Who says chocolate can’t be served as a main course? You can either make a meal together or divide up the courses between each of you and surprise the other with your sweet & savory creations.

  2. Strip Trivia: Make it a hot night with this sizzling bedroom game. Tease each other with one steamy question at a time to set one another on fire!

  3. Make It a Theme Night! Choose a theme and center everything you do around it. For example, if you choose an Italian theme, you could eat spaghetti and gelato, then watch a movie like The Italian Job or Life is Beautiful. Some other fun theme ideas: Mexican, Asian, Christmas, Kid’s theme, 1950′s (or any decade), etcetera.

  4. Living Room Camp-Out: Get anything you have that makes you feel like your camping out and set it up in your living room (i.e. camping chairs, turn off the lights and use flashlights, blanket…). Make tin foil dinners in your oven for the dinner.

  5. Crepes in Paris (no ticket required): Spend an evening in Paris right in your very own home enjoying create-your-own-crepes and creative spouse caricatures. So fun!

  6. Create a DIY Photoshoot:  When’s the last time the two of you were in the same photo? Using your tripod or Apple photo booth, snap pics together in various rooms of your home for memories you’ll never forget.

  7. Kid-Free Slumber Party: Make a cozy pallet for you and your spouse on the living room floor [with] lots of blankets, pillows, snacks, and movies. We call it a ‘slumber party.  It’s a little silly, but super fun and makes us enjoy the little things in life.

  8. All Dressed Up & Nowhere to Go: Pull out your nicest formal dress from your last cruise or even from your high school or college prom (if yours still fits.. good for you! I’m not even close to fitting into mine), light dozens of tea candles, and have a romantic, fancy dinner.

  9. Out of Character: Dress up as an actor from a movie and pick the character for each other (think Tom Cruise in Risky Business).

  10. Dream Date by Design: Design your own Dream Date with an easy survey! Have your sweetheart do one also, to create two amazing dates!

  11. Turn Your Bedroom Into a Love Nest: I purchased a bed canopy years ago. Occasionally I’ll pull it out, dust it off and put it up for the night. Then I fill the room with candlelight and other sundry romantic items and pretend that Mr. Beguiles and I are tucked away in a sumptuous hotel room or cottage somewhere.

  12. Karaoke Night - oh yeah! Find songs with lyrics on YouTube and sing your heart out. This is funniest if you can find some heart-wrenching ballads to belt out.

  13. Dance the night away: It has all the intimacy of a club without the downside of slipping in spilled drinks. Rehash the days of the high school dance. Turn down the lights, turn up the music and be sure to dance two feet apart. Just kidding! Getting close is the point, and what better way to get close to your spouse than dancing in your own private gala?

  14. Vacation Planning Date: Turn planning your next vacation into a fabulous and fun date night with our great printables!

  15. Get a Taste of Another Culture: Plan out a delish meal of Paella and sangria, prepare it together and then dig in. Love Indian? Make your own Chicken Tikka Masala.

  16. Write out the story of how you met (and fell in love): Better yet- video tape it! Your kids and future posterity will be so grateful and it is so fun to go back and read (or watch) years down the road. It’s amazing how much you will forget!

  17. Wine Bar at Home: Buy a few different bottles of wine (get 20 great picks under $20), make a plate of meats and cheeses, light some candles and load up your iPod with your favorite tunes.

  18. Something Old, New, Borrowed & Blue!  Celebrate your lifelong commitment to your sweetheart with this “Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue” themed date! This date is a true celebration of love.

  19. Play the Newlywed Game! See how well you really know one another. Have prizes for every correct answer. You can check out some fun questions here.

  20. It’s a Love Match! Create some sparks with your sweetheart with this free printable that puts a romantic spin on the classic game of Memory!

Didn’t find something on this list that floats your boat?  Find an endless amount of creative and cheap stay-at-home date nights at my absolute favorite date night site: The Dating Divas.  These fabulous ladies love their hubbies and have made a career out of sharing their awesome date night ideas with us.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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the argument free marriage book


THE BOOK: Read the book that inspired the powerful TED talk and prompted author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, PhD., to write the book’s foreword. Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, bestselling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts said, “We’ve been counseling couples and writing marriage books for a long time, and we can say with absolute certainty, there has never been a book quite like The Argument-Free Marriage. If you think no such union exists, or if you’ve come to the conclusion that arguments are necessary in marriage, allow Fawn to challenge that notion and set you on a path to creating the greatest partnership in life: your marriage.”

6 Surprising Benefits of Dating Your Husband

6 Surprising Benefits of Dating Your Husband

Oh, the joys of dating!  Sometimes when I hear people talk about date night, they make it sound so obligatory.  Because someone said they should do it once a week, they do it, but sometimes they’d rather not.

When I hear people talk like that about their date nights, I think, Oh, how I wish they knew how fun dating can be!  I think a part of the problem is so many think date nights need to take tons of planning or work.

Going (or staying in) on a date with your spouse should not feel like work.  You can do tiny things like a frozen yogurt date or a coffee date (where you just go to your local shop, order what you want and enjoy 30 minutes together just connecting).  

You don’t have to get dressed up or bring out the china.  Dating is about connection.  Yes, sometimes you may have the energy to plan a date that is a little more involved.  And other times you might not.  Go with whatever feels right for you, your spouse, and works with your schedule.

Dating is so important to keeping the fire lit in your marriage.  And as Kim Hall with TooDarnHappy.com shares today, there are also some great benefits you may not have considered until now.

Until tomorrow…make it a great day!

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First, let’s talk about what it means to date your husband.

I love how Paula Rollo described this, and I’ll paraphrase: At the core, it’s about taking the time together to deepen and grow your relationship.

It’s that simple, and it can take multiple forms.

The point is to spend time together enjoying and paying attention to one another.

You already know dates help rekindle romance and build intimacy, but there are other surprising rewards as well.

6 Surprising Benefits of Dating Your Husband

1. Create shared stories. These can be about something big, like a weekend away at a luxurious B&B, or small, like the walk at dusk where you saw the sparkling dance of the fireflies.  Stories are the ties that bind you together and keep your family strong.

2. Build resiliency. Sometimes ants overrun your romantic picnic, or rain pours down on your trip. The ability to find the good in and laugh at most anything, especially when you share those moments, builds resiliency that will help you bounce back from bigger challenges.

3. Be a great a role model. The idea of dating your husband and thereby putting your marriage first can be a controversial one, as Fawn notes here. She makes this important point, though: “Being a living example of the marriage you want for your own children teaches them at an early age what love looks like (and what it doesn’t).”

4. Move out of your comfort zone. Growth occurs on the edges of your comfort zone; not on your comfy couch cushions. Sharing an activity on that edge is a good thing! It ultimately helps you develop more capability, flexibility, and maybe even more patience, all traits that make for a happier wife.

5. Open the door for more interesting conversations. My hubby and I find that long walks or car rides especially allow time for more expansive, uninterrupted talks. We might choose a topic from the news, Sunday’s sermon, or a current book, or just let the conversation meander. Even though we’ve been married over 31 years, these conversations help us to see each other—and our world—from a new perspective.

6. Move towards a goal. Whether you want to be more fit,  get rid of clutter, or set your sights on anything else important to you both, you will discover a great deal of shared satisfaction when you work as a team towards that goal.

While revitalizing and refreshing your marriage through one-on-one time is important and can be lots of fun, too, I hope these additional benefits provide even more motivation to date your husband!

YOUR TURN: What benefits have you discovered come from dating your spouse?

May you find happiness wherever you are! Kim, your personal Sherpa of Joy at Too Darn Happy


JOIN THE 1,000,000 MEMBER CHALLENGE: If you haven’t already done it, what are you waiting for? Join the club! It takes only a few seconds and, of course, is free.

Happy Wives Club Book


THE NEW YORK TIMES® BEST-SELLING BOOK: It’s been described as, “Like Eat, Pray, Love but not down on marriage.” Make sure to check out the Happy Wives Club book.  I had the great honor of traveling to 12 countries on 6 continents, interviewing couples happily married 25 years or more, with 1 mission only: to find out what makes marriages happy…and keeps them that way.  It’s a marriage book line none other.  Guaranteed.

Listening Night

Listening Night

You know the old saying “opposites attract”? In many ways, that was true for my husband and I. While we certainly have our similarities, there are many ways in which we are opposite. 

My husband, for example is and extrovert and kind of a genius. He taught himself to read Greek in less than a year, and his idea of a relaxing afternoon is studying his tremendously thick C++ computer programming book.

I’m an introvert that would rather spend my time working on my blog, writing books or reading a young adult novel. And for the record, I can’t understand computer programming to save my own life. 

Needless to say, sometimes each of us are more than a little bit bored by the other’s interests.

My husband can drone on for hours about the intricacies of his latest computer program that he’s designing. Not a topic I’m particularly interested in, but then we also have the times when I’m babbling non-stop about blog stats or social media algorithms and he’s as lost in that conversation as I am when he discusses Greek with me!

That’s why listening night, is important to us. And no, we don’t call it that, it’s nothing official, it’s just taking the time, to really, truly listen.

Usually when my husband jabbers on about something I don’t understand I give a half-hearted “mmmhmmm” and move on to something else. It’s okay, because he gives me a tired “that’s great honey” when I talk about my blog and after a bit he tends to change the topic too. We both understand, because these aren’t our shared passions, and they don’t have to be. 

But sometimes, it’s still good to take the time to truly listen. To ask questions and do your best to comprehend the other’s interests. Even when they are completely beyond your realm of understanding, like my husband’s are to me.

When I do this it’s my way of saying “I love you” to him in that moment, as I try to understand whatever has his smart brain intrigued for today. I hear the “love you” back from him as he grins and cheers with me when I break a blogging milestone or tell him about a novel that had me in tears. 

Listening night doesn’t have to be something official, (although it can be). It’s just the simple decision to put aside phones, and switch off the tv, to look each other in the eye and truly try to understand what your spouse is fascinated with, even when it doesn’t also fascinate you. 

Comment Below:  When was the last time you and your hubby had a listening night? Do you have opposite hobbies like we do, or are all of your interests similar? 

progressive dinner for two

Progressive Dinner for Two!

Today I mentioned on Facebook that I was looking for some fun and creative date night ideas. To my surprise one of the BEST date night ideas that I’ve ever heard of emerged.

Tricia Callahan, my friend and an awesome blogger over at OnceAMonthMeals.com, gave me permission to share her fabulous date night idea with you.

Have you ever heard of a progressive dinner? It’s a fun dinner that you usually have with friends or neighbors. The way a traditional progressive dinner works is that you have a 3 course meal that is spread out over the course of the night.

The catch is, with a progressive party, you don’t eat the meal all in one place. Each course is served at someone else’s home. For instance, you would have the appetizers at house “A”.  Next you’d move down the street to your neighbors home for the main course, which of course will take a couple of hours there. Finally, you go to the last home for dessert.

Well the traditional progressive party has lots of families or couples involved. Tricia’s idea just involves two people, you and your man.

So how does it work?

How to Have a Progressive Dinner for Two Date Night:

  • Make a list of some of your favorite (or new) restaurants. You’ll need a list of 9 places in the same general area of town. One set of 3 that have great appetizers, another set that has yummy dinners, and the final 3 that have amazing sweet treats. You will let your hubby choose from the list which places you’ll go to (or take turns picking).
  • Get in you car, and while you are on the way to the appetizer location call in your order for take out! Hop out, go get it, and bring it back to your vehicle.  Use your phone wifi to connect your iPad, computer, or phone and watch your favorite Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon movie or series from the comfort (and privacy) of your own ride.
  • When you are finishing up your appetizer, pick the dinner location from the list, call in your order, pick it up, eat, and have fun watching your next series episode.  Then repeat again with the dessert location of your choice.

Variations to the night that I thought of, and weren’t in Tricia’s plan, include having a different activity at each location instead of watching a show. For instance, while you are eating appetizers have a phone game contest, like see who can get the high score on Flappy Birds, or whatever phone craze game is out now.  At your dinner location play a 21 questions game, see if you can find out something new about your spouse that you didn’t already know. During dessert you can have on hand your favorite board or card game to play in your vehicle. 

Remember you are in your car and you can go anywhere you like. So, a fun idea could be taking your dessert to the beach, or a mountainside to watch the sunset. 

The possibilities are endless. Make the night light, creative, delicious, and fun!

Comment Below: What’s will you do on your progressive dinner for two?

date night

The Date Night Dilemma

Do you wrestle with the date night dilemma?

Because sometimes, for one reason or another, the traditional “date night” out at a restaurant, or to see a movie, is just not possible. 

Maybe you don’t have it in the budget, or you are choosing to save your money for something else.

Perhaps your children are keeping you from being able to go out as often as you once did.

Maybe you or your spouse are one of the people that don’t like the phrase “date night” being used, after marriage. All of these things are perfectly fine, and normal! 

I will let you in on a little secret today; It doesn’t matter what you are doing, it matters who you are doing it with. 

What is most important is not the title that you put on your evening or the extravagant restaurants that you visit. What matters is that you and your spouse regularly take time to deepen and grow your relationship. 

That could mean dinner and a movie out on the town, or it could be the way you talk and laugh as you cook dinner together each night. 

Maybe for you, it’s sitting playing board games together or lying in bed talking for awhile before you drift off to sleep. 

It doesn’t always have to be scheduled, and babysitters are not always required. All that’s really needed is the two of you spending time connecting, however that works in your marriage. 

So don’t feel guilty if you can’t squeeze in that romantic candle lit dinner for 2 at your favorite restaurant. Instead, spend time connecting with your spouse in all the little (and big) chances that you do get throughout your time at home, and watch your relationship blossom. who you are doing it with

Do not let the logistics of date night become a point of contention in your marriage. Do what works for the two of you, and call it what you will. 



5 Easy Ways to Sneak Date Night Into Your Marriage Regularly

5 Easy Ways to sneak date night into your marriage regularly

When you think of “date night,” does getting dressed up or spending alot of money come to mind?

Have you ever thought, “I just don’t have time for a date night?”  If either of these thoughts describe you, this post by Christine St. Vil is for you!  

Christine gives us four easy ways to sneak date night into our marriages regularly.  And I hope she doesn’t mind but I’d like to add one more.

For the past eleven years, Keith and I have made it a priority to go on:

Starbucks Dates

We call them Starbucks dates but it’s sort of like calling all tissue Kleenex.  It just means we go on a date to a coffee house.  

Prior to becoming lactose intolerant, weekly Pinkberry dates were my absolute favorite (and on most weeks, we’d try to squeeze in a few of those after dinner).  

Date nights don’t need to be expensive, time consuming or cause either of you any sort of stress. Simplicity is best because its purpose is connection.  So if you are spending time alone -connecting- believe it or not, that is the most perfect kind of date.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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One thing that I’ve come to realize since having kids is that alone time with my hubby is a precious commodity. And date night is something that we literally have to plan even if it means locking the bedroom door to let the kids know that “mommy and daddy are talking” (whatever that “talking” may be at that moment).

With us working opposite schedules (he works at night) and homeschooling the kids, we definitely have to be creative when it comes to spending time together. Up until recently, I viewed “date night” as something where we got a sitter, got dressed up and went out for a night out on the town. But seriously, we don’t always have time for all of that. So we are learning to be creative.

We’ll be celebrating nine years of marriage this year, and I know that in order to continue celebrating for decades to come, dating is an integral part of our marriage that we can’t afford to let fall by the wayside. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and all of the demands. But when I really think about what’s important in life, when I think about what matters the most…it’s my family, and the unit of our marriage that holds it together.

The words, “Date night” just mean, are you taking time to truly connect with your spouse in an environment that fosters love and communication? Once I understood this, I let go of the “date night” expectations that I had allowed to take over. It’s taken the pressure off both ends to simply view date night as quality time. Regardless of if we plan to do something, or plan to do nothing, the time spent together is all that is needed in that moment.

Here are a few easy ways to sneak date night into your marriage regularly:

Appetizer Date

Time is of the essence, I know. So if carving out an extra hour a day leaves your palms sweating, then start out by taking baby steps. Try 15-20 minutes of time set aside that is non-negotiable (unless it’s life and death). Think about the most important client meeting you’ve ever had or would like to have: just like you wouldn’t miss that one, intimate time with your spouse shouldn’t be missed either.

Breakfast Date

I am by far not a morning person…at all (especially since I work late into the night). But since hubby gets home by 7am, and the kids don’t generally wake until closer to 9am, it’s the perfect time for us to connect without distractions and interruptions.

Lunch Date

If you have the ability to do so, try meeting your spouse for lunch. If it’s too far, then see if you can meet halfway. Since life can get even more hectic in the evenings, a lunch date might work out best. Lunch dates can work well if both spouses either work from home or are both home during the day…there’s always room for dessert.

After Dinner Date

If you have smaller kids, set aside a schedule to tag team with your spouse to get them fed, bathed and in the bed at a decent time so that you can take advantage of the quiet house afterwards. Use this time to catch up on the best part of your days, and any pressing matters that need to be addressed.

While it’s nice to connect at the same time every day, I’ve found that flexibility is also key. Depending on our schedules, we may have to do a combination of these dates during the week.

QUESTION: What about you? How do you define date night in your marriage?


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blast the music

Blast the Music – a Practical Fun Date Night

I really hope I am not the only one that feels a little overwhelmed by all the Christmas decorations needing to be put away, or the presents still needing to be organized now that all the holidays are over!

I did not think so. :)

Sometimes I think we as couples get into a routine, I know we do around here.  It can also get a little stale with all the mundane things.

We do not have kids to keep us busy, so unless you count the MANY times of getting on our dogs – reminding them they are not 10lbs but close to 70… then its pretty calm and um… boring? 

OK, I said it. We can be boring!

This may not be an Einstein-like idea but come on… stay with me.

I was brainstorming on how to do things differently around here when the mundane things get … well mundane. (giggle)

So I’m going to share what we do around here.

I’ll be willing to guess that putting away your decorations, presents, or even cleaning the house is not what you want to do for date night, right?

Moving the furniture back to its pre-Christmas locations or rearranging things for the New Year is not romantic either.. I know this.

So why not make it be?

Hear me out. This is how we do it here…

1. Get a game plan – this can be just you and the hubby or you can get the kids involved. Decide what room to tackle, or maybe you split up? Kids do their room and the parents do one… whatever the case may be, HAVE A PLAN.

2. Make it FUN – I’m not even in the same category as June Cleaver, so I know cleaning and organizing isn’t glamorous nor could I tackle it in heels. But when the hubs and I crank some 80′s music and start dancing around, now THAT is fun!

3. Have a reward for a job well done: Shower together and go ahead and give a massage while you’re there. Then go OUT for dinner (don’t dirty the clean kitchen), whatever suits you!

So you see, it is not all that bad right? Come on… Can’t you see yourself dancing to Dead or Alive’s “You spin me round”?

You know you want to Youtube it now.. go ahead! It is one of my favorites!

Now it’s your turn, go ahead, Blast the Music!

Come visit me over at Aunt LaLa!

Christmas Date Night

Christmas Date Night

Christmas is such a busy time of year, it’s easy to let your marriage take a backseat to all the festivities and events that are taking place in December.

Even if you don’t have time (or funds) for a fancy dinner and movie, you can still take time to relax and connect with your spouse in a fun way. 

Here’s one Christmas date night that won’t break the bank and can even be the start of a new yearly tradition!

All you need is:

  • Your car (unless you are willing to walk in the cold!)
  • Mugs of Hot Chocolate 
  • A Notebook
  • Each other!

Whip up some hot chocolate and go for a drive (or walk) together.  Find the fanciest neighborhoods in your town and look at the beautiful light displays that they have in their yards.

Try to find the most extravagant decorations and come up with awards for the houses based on their decorating charm, or beauty, or even cheesiness!

“Most Traditional” or “Master of the Inflatable Machine” etc. Be sure to take notes on which houses are receiving what title so you don’t duplicate an award.

Have fun getting creative with the titles!!!

If you want to add a bit of competitive fun, you could try seeing who can spot the most Santas or snowmen, or even make it a “double date” with another couple, competing to see which husband & wife team can find the most exciting lights throughout the night. 

This is sure to be a fun date night that you will not soon forget!


holidays with your hubby

5 Ways to Get Ready for the Holidays with Your Hubby

Decorating and planning for the holidays has traditionally been a domestic role left to women. Thankfully, gender roles have come a long way in the past couple of decades. As a matter of fact, the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect and have fun with your hubby as you prepare for the festivities. If this sounds like something your marriage needs, take a look at these five activities you can enjoy with your hubby to get ready for the holidays.

Decorate the House Inside and Out

Nothing puts you more in the holiday spirit than decorating the house. The decorations are a constant reminder of the season. You can’t help but think about it every time you walk by your Christmas tree, in all its glory, or any of the other decorations that are spread throughout your house.

When it comes time to decorate this holiday season, get your husband involved. Don’t banish him outdoors to put up the lights — instead, spend time putting up the tree together. You’ll have a lot of fun reminiscing about past holiday seasons and what you can do to make this year just as great.

Plan a Holiday Party or Event

The holidays are the perfect time to get together with family and friends. This is another place you can use your husband and have fun together as a couple. Even if he’s not too interested in the details, such as invitations and meal ideas, he may still have some really good ideas about when to have the party and what entertainment to plan. Spend a date night deciding what you’re going to do and how you can make it the best party or event ever.

Here are some holiday party ideas to get you started:

  • Get family and friends to participate in a progressive dinner.
  • Have everyone bring a white elephant gift and have fun with the exchanges.
  • Go Christmas caroling or host a holiday karaoke night.
  • Decorate cookies and other baked goods for neighbors and friends.
  • Do a service project for less fortunate families in your community.
  • Watch a classic holiday movie with signature cocktails.

Do Some Charity Work as a Couple

Every community has a need for volunteers, whether it means serving food to the homeless, participating in a “Sub for Santa” project, or just spreading the holiday spirit around your neighborhood. This is an excellent holiday activity to do with your husband, and even with the rest of your family. You have the opportunity to give back to your community, help make the lives of others better, and share the experience together. There are dozens of national and local charities you can get involved in that are either year round or specific to the holiday season. Find one close to your family’s heart and spend the day with your husband giving back. 

Make Gifts for Family and Friends

No list on planning for the holidays would be complete without a post about holiday DIY. A great way to spend time with your hubby is to make gifts for the holidays. Plus, it’ll save you money on your holiday budget. Even if your husband isn’t particularly interested in crafts, there are ways to get him involved that may be more in his wheel house, such as painting, building, designing, or anything else you think he might like. You might be surprised how much fun you have together, and having him complete some of the more difficult tasks is certainly a healthy ego boost.

Here are some easy gift ideas you can make as a couple:

  • Baked goods (ex: peppermint bark, hot coco kit including hot chocolate mix and marshmallows in a mason jar with a mini Bailey’s bottle tied on, homemade doggy treats, or mini pies)
  • Spruced up spirits (take a wine or champagne bottle, cover in adhesive then roll in glitter)
  • Custom ornaments (buy glass ornaments and fill with paint and roll around, or fill with glitter or pom poms)
  • Instagram picture tile coasters (buy bath tiles and use Mod Podge to adhere favorite photos)
  • Monogrammed wreaths (buy large wooden letters and wrap them in twine, or hot glue ornaments on)
  • Custom mugs (use Sharpies to decorate mugs then bake them in the oven)

Build a List and Go Shopping

Unfortunately, most people don’t have time to make all the gifts they need for the holidays. Even more unfortunately, it is a necessity for almost everyone to brave the masses and do your gift shopping. To make it more bearable and get some quality time, you can make a shopping list with your hubby so that nobody gets forgotten. Be sure to include alternate gift ideas along with your list just in case you have trouble finding a particular item. Then get in the car and get the shopping done. You can divide and conquer or rely on each other to find great holiday deals and stretch your pennies to the max. Make a day out of hitting the malls, grab coffee and lunch together to break up the crazy crowds and catch up on any other holiday planning you may have. 

Don’t let the busy holiday season be a strain on your relationship. There are plenty of things you can do together as a couple to make the holidays memorable and your relationship stronger than ever.

What are your favorite things to do during the holidays and how do you get your husband involved?