Date Night: 8 Ways to Find Romance At Home

We all love (and fondly remember) those romantic candlelit dinners and nights out on the town, but these days, date nights are few and far between, leaving you longing for some serious one-on-one time (and I don’t mean with your toddler)! If you can’t snag a sitter, no worries! I’ve got a few creative (and romantic) tricks up my sleeve to give you and your hubby the date night you deserve…at home!

Classic Candlelight

You can’t go wrong with this classic. Dust off your finest silverware and linens (no plastic forks or placemats here!), turn down the lights and switch on your flameless candles to set the mood. Conversation is the key here. As hard as it is, refrain from bringing up hot topics like kids, work, schedules, etc. Stick to stuff you’d talk about when you were first dating. (Can’t remember? Try travel, goals, fave movies/books/shows, the crazy outfit your neighbor was wearing…whatever!).  Notice I didn’t mention the menu. Fancy steaks and fine wine are fabulous, but your candlelit dinner can be just as romance-inspiring with mac and cheese or Chinese take-out.

 date nite4

Bring on the Board Games

They may conjure up images of cheesy family nights or trendy coffee shops, but board games still made our list! Spice up Monopoly or go deep with a question game. No grown-up games in the house? Candy Land and Mouse Trap can work just as well. Or for an awesome selection of adult games, from simple to sexy, check out Nookii.com. Game on!

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Italian Night (Parisian Night, Islands Night, etc.)

It’s the classic candlelit dinner, Italian-style (or any country of your choosing). Transform your home into a Spanish vineyard, Italian pizzeria or a beach cabana. Create your menu around that theme and pick a movie to go along with it. Examples: Italy: Homemade pizza, Chianti & gelato followed by classic Italian movie. France: Baguettes, cheeses, fruit and dessert crepes, followed by a French movie (I love Amelie).  Mexico or the Caribbean: Fish tacos and pina colodas (don’t forget the cheesy paper umbrellas).

Parisian Picnic

Parisian Picnic

Spa Night

You don’t have to book a couples massage to enjoy the spa together. Pamper (and get pampered) at your in-house oasis. Replace tub toys with bath salts, candles and flowers. Add fresh berries or pineapple to a glass of chilled champagne, soak, and enjoy! Now is the time to dust off those massage oils. Don’t have any? Make your own (recipes here). Top your night off with some chocolate dipped strawberries and lavender-scented sheets.

 

Sports Night

Your man will love this one. DVR a game (preferably of a sport you both enjoy), throw together a meal of nachos (complete with Velveeta cheese), hot dogs and cold beer, and get comfy on the couch. Root for your team together or make things interesting with a few bets.  It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’ll have you both cheering for more at-home date nights.

 

Fort Campout

As a mom, you’ve probably made your share of pillow forts for the kiddos. Put your expertise to work and help you hubby construct an adults-only fort in your living room. Spruce up your cozy castle with twinkle lights or candles, turn on some mood music and grab your coziest pj’s. Set up a picnic and make S’mores for dessert (recipe here). Talk, scheme, giggle…make it a slumber party for you and your man! No kids allowed!

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Scavenger Hunt

These aren’t just for summer camps and birthday parties! Keep your partner guessing with a scavenger hunt, a la date night. Hide clues around the house, each one containing a piece of the date. Can be anything from popcorn-and-movie date to one of the date nights listed here!

 

DIY Date Night

Date nights don’t need to be all high heels and romance. Show your handy side and tackle a household project that’s been on the back burner for weeks (or years).  Much needed paint touch-up in the living room? Always wanted to distress that coffee table or bookcase? Roll up your sleeves, get the paint brushes out, turn on some tunes and have some fun. Hey, one more thing to cross off your to-do list!

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What are some of your favorite at-home date night ideas?

Seattle’s Sunset Beaches: 3 of the best places to watch the sun go down**

We’ve been enjoying some pretty spectacular sunsets lately here in the Pacific Northwest.  Before cooler weather sets in, get out there with the kids and enjoy one and, better yet, do it at a beach!  Here are 3 great spots to watch the sun go down with the sand between your toes:

Alki Beach

Here’s a place where postcards come from.  There’s a photo opportunity from anywhere you stand, and a ferry boat or two will most likely make it into one of your shots.  This long stretch of sandy beach boasts magnificent views, from the Olympics to the glittering Seattle skyline.  Take a stroll along the pedestrian path or pack a picnic and some sand toys.  When the sun goes down, pop in to the award-winning Bakery Nouveau on California Ave and treat the kids to something sweet.  Choose from rich mousse, delectable tarts and the best twice-baked almond croissant outside of Paris.

As I did not have any sunset photos from Alki, I’m using this one. It’s from the San Juans. It’s the same sun.

Golden Gardens

Here’s another Seattle shoreline worthy of California beach status.  Along with perfect conditions for sand-castle building, Golden Gardens is home to wetlands and some great hiking trails.  The views aren’t bad either 😉

For a delectable treat, head over to Hot Cakes on Ballard Avenue.  This molten chocolate cakery (I love those words) features specialty cookies that have been featured in Bon Appetit and Wall Street Journal (think bacon-oatmeal-raisin cookies and pocket pies).  Cinnamon rolls and milk shakes are big hits as well as, of course, molten chocolate cakes (baked to order)!  You can even get a take-and-bake molten cake, packaged in a mason jar.  

This is not a molten chocolate cake from Hot Cakes. I don’t have a photo of that. But this is what I imagine it would look like being eaten.

 Kirkland Park Marina

This Eastside marina beach is a magnet for kids.  On any given day you’re sure to see the little ones feeding ducks, watching boats and chucking rocks into the water.  The beach is large enough to enjoy but small enough not to have to spend your day or evening chasing toddlers.  A grassy lawn and covered cabana set the scene for a sunset picnic, and if you didn’t have time to whip up sandwiches, grab some to-go at Jimmy John’s (just across the street).  For dessert, try Sirena Gelato on Park Lane.  Nothing tops a beautiful sunset like stracciatella!

 **While writing this post I realized this could also describe a great date night.  So, if you are in need of a night off from the kids, just take this post and replace “kids” with “new dress,” “heels,” “blow-dried hair,” “actual makeup” or “wine.”