In the early days of my relationship with my husband, we loved the fun and excitement of dating. You know, getting all "gussied" up and trying to impress one another and then heading off to some fun locale to drink fancy drinks and watch movies in a nice, cold movie theater, or eat dinner by candlelight, or go for long walks on the beach.
You know those days. The early, butterflies-in-your-stomach dating days. Those days are the best!
I remember in our first year of marriage we loved going on fancy date nights. We had this whole "52 in 52" thing where we tried a different restaurant every week for the first year we were married. It was so much fun!
My husband and I have been married for over four years now and I truly believe that our relationship is better and more fun now than it ever was when we were dating. It has only gotten better with time. We have two kids now, ages 2 (almost 3, going on 35), and 3 months. We love our kids so much and we can't imagine our lives without them!
I will say this about life with kids... ESPECIALLY life with two kids... date night? Yeah, that's a thing of the past (sort of). I think in the past three years we've gotten a legit babysitter MAYBE once.
If the grandparents offer to watch the kids we might go out to dinner, but we haven't been on a fancy date in so long. Seeing a movie in a theater is a foreign concept. Late nights out are out of the question.
And while we should, quite honestly, get better about getting a babysitter, the truth is... IT IS HARD!
Finding someone we trust to watch both kids, feed them, change them, and get them to bed? That's like asking to win the lottery. And, we'd need to win the lottery to get a babysitter because the going rate for a good, reliable babysitter these days is like $193,000 an hour. Exaggeration. But you get the point.
Even though we don't go OUT for date night all that often, my husband and I really try to take at least one night a week to have an "at-home" date night that's cheap (or free!), fun, romantic, and doesn't require forking over a ton of cash for a babysitter!
Not that I'm saying we are experts or anything, but we've done enough of these at-home date nights that I thought I'd share some of my favorite ideas with you!
16 At-Home Date Night Ideas that DON'T Require a lot of Money or a Babysitter!
- Play Netflix / Hulu plus / DVD / TV roulette: Take the remote, open your favorite tv-watching service together, and flip through till you land on something totally random that you can watch together! You might discover a new show or movie!
- "Build" your dream house together: John and I play this one all the time. Each of you take turns “building” a feature. Start from the outside and work your way in. How many acres of land? What does your yard look like? Landscaping? Porch? House features? Go big or go home!
- Recreate the meal from your first date / wedding night / other important occasion: Head to the grocery store and get all the accouterments for making a memorable meal!
- Pull out old photo albums and share stories: I love reminiscing and telling John stories from my childhood and I LOVE seeing pictures of him as a kid!
- Learn to play a card game: We LOVE games – go buy a pack of cards from the store and look up a card game you don’t know how to play.
- Rearrange or do something to redecorate a room: This one is a favorite of my project-loving husband.
- Midnight picnic (in the backyard): Pack a midnight picnic, go out to your backyard, and stargaze! (You can bring the baby monitor outside with you!)
- Build a fort! I’m talking old-school, kid-like fort in your living room!
- Come up with a love “bucket list”: create a list of 10, 20, 100 things you both want to do before you die! Bonus if the item is something you can do together!
- Turn your backyard into a movie theater. Grab a blanket, pillows, some popcorn, and bring your laptop, iPad, or even your TV outside and watch a movie in your backyard underneath the stars! Really go all out and make the area super comfy and relaxing and enjoy a movie together.
- Play Redbox roulette. Go find your nearest Redbox, cover your eyes, and start pointing. Find a random movie you would have never thought to rent and check it out! You’ll either have something to totally make fun of because it’s that bad, OR you may discover a hidden movie gem.
- Create an at-home spa. You can go two routes with this… the splurge or the save route. For the splurge route, hire an in-home masseuse to come give a couples massage. For the save route, get all the necessary supplies like massage oil or lotion, roses, bubble bath, and chocolate and set up a “spa” in your living room or bedroom! You can really get creative with it!
- Have a board game night! Either bust out an old favorite like Clue or Scrabble or hit up Barnes and Noble and buy a new board game to bring home and play.
- Have a splurge dessert at home. Visit the bakery section of your grocery store or local bakery and get a really indulgent, decadent dessert. Bring it home, grab ONE spoon or fork, snuggle up on the couch, and enjoy!
- Enjoy a “black out” night. There’s something fun about a house when the power is totally out, but don’t feel like you need to wait for a thunderstorm to make this happen. Turn out ALL of the lights and turn off anything that has power (yes, cell phones count, too). Light some candles and play in the dark. Whether it’s just sitting and talking, enjoying each other’s company, or reading by candlelight.
- Create a “date” jar. Over dinner or lunch or coffee, sit down and write down a bunch of things (sky is the limit) you would like to do together. Write them on slips of paper, put them in a jar, and when you’re feeling uninspired, pull one out!
Now what do you think? Which ideas were your favorite? Any that you'd add to the list?