John and I used to go out quite regularly - we had symphony tickets, and we went out a few other times a month as well. Then, I went back to school and we had to re-evaluate. The symphony tickets lapsed, paying for a babysitter meant paying for someone to watch the kids the one day a week John had to work late and I had class, and our one family we swapped babysitting with didn't need to do that anymore. So, what do we do?
At home date night!
Sometimes it hasn't been that simple to 'turn off' all the 'stuff' that needs to get done at home. Sometimes we've both been so tired that opting for an early bedtime was far more appealing than a date - even one at home.
Sometimes we just had too much other stuff going on to take the time - though we really tried to take at least an hour for each other in spite of that.
We decided this year that we'd really like to have symphony tickets again, so that's on the savings list for this year. And our church has begun a free babysitting night once a month as a way to strengthen relationships between parents - ages 12 and under (the age when kids can legally be left home alone here is 12). So we have added blessings with that and, God willing, we'll meet our symphony ticket savings goal and have more dates out. But, in the meantime, at home dates are 'the norm.'
So, what do we do?
* Assemble a puzzle together while enjoying a special drink or desert. We just started this one and enjoy it greatly.
* Play a board game with popcorn and hot cocoa or cider.
* Watch a DVD - usually from NetFlix, borrowed from a friend, or from the library. Sometimes we dig through our stash and find one we own that we haven't watched in a while.
* Read a book out loud - taking turns reading.
* Just cuddle on the couch and talk, usually in the candle light.
* Indoor picnic on a blanket in candlelight - we usually save this for special events like birthdays, Valentine's day, etc.
What's my favorite one though?
* A fire in our outdoor fireplace with marshmallows for toasting or s'mores.
There's something just wonderful about sitting out on the patio without the kids, watching the crackling flames and quietly chatting about our hopes and dreams. The kids are in bed, so we have no interruptions. Most of our neighbors retire early in the evening, so it's usually quiet as well.
I especially like it in the fall, when it gets dark early, there are stars up above and the air is nice and crisp. On my 'must have' list for our next house (whenever that may be!) is to have a real fireplace - not the gas kind, but the kind you put wood in. That way we can enjoy a crackling fire in the middle of January when it's 20 below zero out!
What do you do for date night? And what do you enjoy the most?