When my husband and I were choosing how we wanted to spend our honeymoon we both agreed that we should go on a road trip up the coast of California. Not thinking about it than, but knowing it now, the choice made sense. It was actually a replica of our first date; a two hour 'road trip,' if you will, down to Orange County. And when we decided to move half way across the country, we opted to drive ourselves as well, even though planes and car shipping was considered. Even though we do enjoy our fair share of plane rides every now and then nothing beats a good ol' fashion American road trip.
And when it's just the two of you, it is a good ol' fashion ROMANTIC road trip. Hanging out together, long stretches of road before you, windows rolled down and the wind in your hair! Better yet it's a great bonding moment. A chance to catch up, be silly, discover and explore, be adventurous. I love a great road trip.
Need a weekend getaway? Check to see what advantage programs you are apart of! Do you have frequent flier miles? Are you racking up points for a hotel group? Do you have rewards that you could take advantage of? If so, use them! This is a great way to getaway for a night or two with your mate and get some much needed R&R. Pick up the phone or login to your accounts and book the getaway now!
Surprise your spouse with the weekend away...he/she will be thrilled...
I know I was!
I grew up in LA where I was lucky if more than a handful of stars peered through the oversaturated smoggy sky. And still I was so mesmerized and curious by the celestial sphere. I took every chance to look through a telescope or venture over to the Griffith Park Observatory (one of my favorite places!). I made sure to take astronomy classes in college and memorized many of the constellations that make up the great night sky. I even got a telescope for my birthday a few years back. Now that I live in Austin, I find myself wandering outside every so often in awe at the many lights that sparkle down on me.
So for my next date night, here is what I am thinking:
Late night picnic in our backyard...maybe dessert and drinks, a big blanket, some mosquito, bug repellant. I can dust of the telescope or even just print out the current night sky map (for your city sky check out here.) and we can hang out, talk, and gaze at the stars. Let's hope for a clear night!
It has been so hot this summer that any excuse to go to the pool is a good one...especially late night after the kids are to bed. Which tends to be my favorite time for a dip in the pool cus I can just relax with my guy and let the whole day roll away, if even just for 30 minutes.
Today I was doing a little research for inexpensive date ideas and came across the Homemade Hot Tub Under Moonlight date night. I couldn't help but fall apart laughing. The idea requires an inflatable pool (no real hot tubs allowed) and a hose to tap into the water heater. Moonlight and mango smoothies were also suggested.
One of my favorite bloggers, Liz Kartchner, periodically writes about date nights with her husband Collin. Every time their adventures make me double over in laughter, and it reminds me about the importance of going out and being silly with your mate.
My favorite date night idea Liz has written about was the impromptu self-timer photo shoot at the grocery store. I guess I am a sucker for pictures. Check it out though because she gives detailed instructions on how to get the multi level aisle 4 picture. She has also posted two more date nights : One where they went pottery painting - & specifically painted an aye caramba ice cream bowl, and the other a Night Out on the Town, specifically at Rooftop Concert with her main squeeze and littlest wee in tow. All are great ideas to get you thinking about how you and your (wo)man can spend your next date night.
Check out www.elizabethkartchner.blogspot.com too!
Wow, time has flown by this past week. I can't believe my last post was on Wednesday (oops, sorry!) I am proud to say however, Ramy and I did get a chance to slow down for a bit on Friday night when we saw The Tree of Life. And let me tell ya, it was definitely a slow way down kinda movie.
It was my turn to plan, and with the crazy kinda week I had, I didn't have anything really planned for date night... I know, I know... I should follow my own advice, but when I thought about what I wanted to do, I just wanted to sit down for a couple hours without the kids crying, whining or pulling at me. I mentioned movie night to Ramy, and he was right onboard and quickly mentioned how he wanted to see The Tree of Life. Without knowing too much about it (except that it was filmed in and around Austin) I agreed.
After the fast paced week we were in the middle of, it was a big transition to go from the craze of the day to this exceptionally slow (in a watching grass grow kinda way) movie. We kept uncomfortably shifting back and forth in our seats, exchanged what in the world are we watching glances, and continually filled up on caffeine. By the end of it we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves. We stood up quietly along with the rest of the audience and without a word from any of us ushered our way out the building to our cars pondering what we just had witnessed. BUT since then, Ramy and I haven't been able to stop talking about it. There are so many layers to unravel and examine; This movie is truly an artistic masterpiece. And now we can't wait to see it again. HA!
I love this quote from The Love Dare. It appears in the very first day's challenge which ultimately says for today if you don't have something nice to say don't say it at all. Easy enough until you put it into practice. Even on the days that I don't feel like I necessarily need to be prescribed The Love Dare, it is tough. Why is it that we treat the ones closest to us the way we do?... I should restate that...why is it that *I* treat the ones closest to *me* the way *I* do? It feels crazy when my answer is because I love them.
I recommend The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick and Alex Kendrick to anyone who feels like they are walking down the path in a crazy cycle with their spouse. It is a 40-day challenge for husbands and wives to understand and practice unconditional love... It's kinda like a manual people! ... a great tool to help you out of that funk.
And some days its just great to get out as a reminder to hold your tongue and heed your words and make a conscience choice to JUST LOVE!
As a couple that really, REALLY enjoys food, this date is definitely in Ramy and my top 10 favorite dates. The basic premises is to go to the market together... Just the two of you, with intentions of buying the ingredients for your next meal (don't worry about stocking up for the next week...that is not what this date is all about.)
Be inspired by what is in season and what looks fresh. And think in courses... grab something to snack on while you are cooking. (We often get some fresh bread and great olive oil and vinegar...maybe some olives.) Do a little something for an appetizer and then splurg on your main entree... Go for it... buy that piece of steak or lobster you want... it would cost 3x price if you ordered it a restaurant! And don't forget dessert. (Perhaps some fresh fruit or pastries at from the bakery)
Now make dinner together and enjoy one another in the kitchen!
This morning I got an email from my dear friend Monique titled, "Super Fun Date-Night Idea!!!" She got me; My interest was piqued. In her email she writes, "I totally thought about this last night--'is there a place James and I could go on a date and get to paint something together?' There TOTALLY IS! www.paintingwithatwist.com. You can look at the calendar to see what they're painting each night - bring your own botle of wine/beverage of choice/and paint with the instructors help! It *is* a little pricy though ($45/person)...but I think it would be a really great date night!"
What an awesome idea! Grab your mate and a bottle of wine and head over to the location nearest you! They provide the paint, canvas, brushes, and instruction and by the end of the night you end up with a one of a kind master piece! Check www.paintingwithatwist.com for more information and to locate the studio nearest you!
On another note, if you have a date night idea you would like to submit or would like to be featured as a Tried and True couple, please contact me at TiffanyAntoun [at] gmail.com. I would love to hear your ideas and share your stories!
In need of affordable babysitting? Create a babysitting co-op!
A babysitting co-op is a quickly growing trend and great way to save on childcare without sacrificing quality care. A co-op is a group of parents who take turns watching each other's kids for free. Instead of paying a babysitter, participants earn points by watching one another's children and then cash in their points when they need a sitter.
Here is how to get one started:
- Talk with other parents in your circle or neighborhood and gather willing participants. Co-ops can range in size from 3 families to 30. Ideally, you want enough families involved so you can get a sitter when you need one, but not so many that it losses its community feel. Starting small gives you a chance to see what works and what doesn't.
- Designate a secretary or coordinator. This person will handle all the calls from parents needing a sitter, sets up times and days, and keep all the information organized for the group. Often Co-ops will trade off this role with one another monthly.
- Come up with a point system. Some co-ops use tickets, poker chips, or play money. Then you are credited and debited according to the hours of babysitting you do or receive. When you are running low on points you are incented to babysit for others.
-Ultimately babysitting co-ops are based on trust. Make sure you are in a group of people that you trust with your children and have a safe place for your children to play while you are out.
By Michelle B of Brain-Drops.com: Dean and I have always loved to travel. Whether it was a spontaneous motorcycle trip to the mountains of North Carolina, spending our honeymoon camping and visiting Disney World, or going half way around the world to meet our daughter; the adventure of a new place was always exciting.
Our last big trip was actually our move cross country. We had been living in northwest Georgia for 14 years, when the job that brought us there came to an end. It turns out the next job to be offered was at the opposite corner of the country, in Seattle Washington. With all of our belongings packed into POD's, a U haul, and the car, we headed west. Taking our time, visiting Mt Rushmore, Yellowstone, and Wall, South Dakota along the way.
But since we've been here we haven't had the opportunity to take any trips, so I decided to plan a date around the world as our date night for the week. I originally started by getting out the world atlas and picking different countries that we would want to visit. I was then going to plan the dinner menu around those countries. But an opportunity presented itself that I couldn't pass up.
Having been married for 21 years and having an 11 year old daughter causes date nights take on a different tone these days than when we were first married and childless. This turned out to be one of those times. We made the decision to include our daughter on the first half, (since it was her school function after all) and then continue the second half just the two of us after we dropped her off at home.
Because the area we live in is a culturally diverse area, the school put on an "International Night" to highlight and educate the kids (and parents) about many of the different countries and cultures represented at the school. There were 20 different countries represented at the festival and we learned there are 31 different languages spoken by kids at the school.
There were performances by the school choir highlighting songs from different countries, other international groups that performed dances native to their countries, different foods for sampling, and a parade of nations to cap off the evening. What a great way to learn about other countries and sample some foods we may not have otherwise had a chance to try. This gave us ideas of places we would like to go, things we would like to see, and more foods to sample (and maybe learn to prepare too).
Next stop, the bookstore. Having learned a little more about all of these different countries, it gave us more direction of the next step we would need to take and that would be the research. Fortunately we have a good bookstore close to home, so we were able to go there after the festivities and take our time browsing the travel section. Looking at maps, travel guides and history books, helped to spur the dream of world wide travel that much more.
The great thing about this type of date night is it was free. It afforded us the opportunity to share time with our daughter, be an example of a strong marriage to her, and also gave us some time together, just the two of us, sharing and dreaming about something we both enjoy.
Bio: Dean & I have been married 21 years. We met in 1989, dated for 3 months and married in March of 1990. We adopted our daughter in 2001. While date nights aren't as regular for us as they used to be, we do try to make an effort to still go out just the two of us once a month. This date was a little different, but as I said it was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up. Regardless of how long you've been married, I would say dating your spouse is key to a happy marriage. It helps to keep the communication going and reminds you to focus on the two of you for a little while. Which after so many years of marriage and kids is easy to lose sight of. http://brain-drops.com/
Monday night was my first Date Night EVENT. Earlier this month, I was asked to take part in a city-wide project to promote and encourage the culture of date night. Loveishere.com and Committed.net joined together with churches across Austin, Tx to champion and encourage marriage investment. I was very excited when I got an email asking for help to organize my church's pilot date night. Basically our main goal was to present an opportunity...something to do... for a couples date night. Couples were instructed to arrive at Mighty Fine by 6pm and were surprised with a fully comped dinner. Though Mighty Fine dining consists of a string of picnic tables, we made separate spaces for each couple to keep things as intimate as possible. We placed candles and red roses at each setting and even had some conversation starters to get things going. Overall it was a great success!
(Austinites: contact me if you are interested to learn more about all the Date Night Events occurring throughout Austin every Monday in August.)
Okay, so this may not be the most romantic date...and in many cases may not take place at night, but it just might be a great way to connect with your mate. I say so from experience. Ramy and I are in the middle of [a 3x a week for 6 weeks] boot camp. And though it is tough, our mutual support and encouragement get us through it. Better yet, after you get over the initial shook of boot camp, it feels really great to start exercising regularly again. If you aren't up for boot camp or need childcare, hit up the gym together instead. Many gyms offer free childcare to their members and have plenty of classes you can take together. Either way, set a goal and chase after it together. Then after your goal is met, take that beach body out for a real deal date with your mate!
Dustin & Dominique are the cutest couple. They have been married for a year & a half now and the honeymoon phase they are STILL in is infectious. This last weekend they were both telling me about how they have been investing time and energy in planning each date and taking turns as the planner. I asked them to send me an email with the details of both dates they each recently planned. I got the email in my inbox and love how Dominique gives tons of detail and Dustin's plan is simply stated. Very apropos accounts of his & her date nights, if I do say so myself.
Some of the best advice I ever received was from my good friend Jenny. After complaining for probably way too long about being in a rut, tripping in a hole stuck, she said, "Why don't you do the opposite for the week?" When I asked her what she meant, she explained that if I normally wake up late in the morning to instead for one week wake up with the sun, if I would normally stay in and watch TV on a Thursday night, instead go out to dinner, if I am always punctual, try being a few minutes late. And at the end of one week, I will have gained a different perspective through these diverse experiences. I would then have the knowledge to make a better choice about what I want. And you know what, it worked.
(On somewhat of a side note, this opposite week experiment in my life occurred the same week that I met my husband Ramy... long story short, I was asked to pick up a lunch shift at the restaurant I worked at which I normally would not do... but it was opposite week so I did. Low and behold Ramy came to lunch that day and the rest is history)
Anyway, all this to say that this concept can be applied to date night too. If you and your mate are in a date night rut, take a month (or 4 date nights) and do the opposite. If you normally hang out on the couch watching Netflix, then take that movie date to a theater, if you normally go to the same restaurant, agree to have dinner somewhere you've never been before, if you always stay within a 2 mile radius of your house, venture out across the railroad tracks, if you normally go out dressed up try dressing down (or vice versa.) This list could go on and on, but you get the point. You may not love all the results, but sometimes learning what you don't like is just as valuable as learning what you do like. At the end of your 4 week date night experiment, not only will you have 4 new adventures under your belt, you will have gained perspective on what date night could be. And who knows, it could change your life forever too.
Disclaimer: I should also note that opposite dates should work towards the positive...I am not advocating anything that involves breaking the law, or doing something that makes your partner uncomfortable!
Though it has a name that might infer this is only a chick flick, I have heard that is geared to entertain both men and women alike. I can't wait to see it! Maybe for the next date night I get to plan.
Take a vote and let us know what movie you would recommend
for date night or which movie you want to see this week!
I like the idea of an hour that has intentions to make me happy. And so why not pair it up with Date Night. There are so many great perks: Get out of the house earlier, a light fare of inexpensive food & drinks, sparkling conversation, and for you married folk a chance to get home and roll around in the hay without worrying about losing too much sleep over it. Just make sure you have a safe ride home!
I have heard many call 2011 "The Year of the Baby" and rightfully so. It seems that every where I look there is a a stroller with a newborn crossing my path or another celebrity pregnant . It also might just be my impression since I recently had a new bundle of joy earlier this year... As did my sister.
My sweet sister, Whittney, became a new mother just one month ago. There is something really neat about watching her in this transition. Not only is she a great mama, but she also holds true to her title as great wife. Yesterday afternoon I got a chance to chat with her and asked if she would share a little about how she keeps her marriage going strong after the new baby.
Here is what she had to say:
Life after the baby is certainly different. There is not as much US time anymore. Craig and I can't just stop and do whatever we want, like drop everything and go out to dinner just because I don't want to cook. We also used to do our household chores together, like doing the dishes after dinner. But now, I would much rather do it on my own, so he can go keep an eye on the baby. (I don't know what it is, but I still can't rest easy if the baby is out of our sight.)
A couple weeks after having our little guy, I decided it would be a good idea to start getting him on a schedule, esp at night so I can get a little more sleep. At 8 o'clock I would begin; I'd feed him, bathe him, dress him, read to him, and finally put him down to sleep. Then I would be exhausted from the full day of activity and middle of the night feedings, and I would zonk out too, thus leaving very little time for Craig and me to connect. I could tell after a few days that this wasn't going to work. Not having connection time was going to wear on us.
I decided that I needed to be intentional about making some time for us to hang out. So I moved the baby's routine up earlier. That way I could put the baby to sleep, and we still had a moment to be together. The first night I did this Craig made a comment, something like, "Nice, now we get to spend some time together!" I felt kinda bad, like maybe I had been ignoring him.
Now, after we put the baby to bed, we make dinner together. He barbecues while I make the sides, and then we sit down together and talk. He asks about my day, I ask about his. I tell him about the baby and he fills me on how work went. We talk about our future plans and stuff we want to do. Then we will just relax. Sometimes we will turn on the tv and see what's on prime time. Though we are zoning out on television, its nice to just hold hands and know he is right there.
Even though having a baby can be sometimes stressful and exhausting, it has certainly brought us closer. I love watching him with the baby and seeing that we created something so beautiful together. It's also cool watching Craig cus I think he never thought he would have this in his life. Before me and the baby, he was set in his ways. He was happy the way things were. But once we started dating it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. And so it's cool to watch how he has grown and fallen in love with this new life.
When asked what advice I have for new parents, I say make sure you find ways to stay connected: have dinner together, write a post-it on the fridge with a sweet message, hold hands. Oh, and don't be afraid to ask for help. I tend to be very independent... I have the "I can do this myself" mentality, but it can become exhausting especially with a new baby in the house. I have learned that it is great bonding time when he helps me with the baby or whatever I am working on.
The next step? Well, Craig just asked, "When can we get babysitter and go out for dinner... just the two of us?"