Awhile ago Andy and I started having Friday night dates. It has been so fun to reconnect on a one-on-one level with a grown up!
Growing up my parents had a monthly date to play cards with friends and quite often they'd get together and go to dinner with my dad's college buddies and their spouses. I kinda hated it when they went. I was usually left in charge and sometimes that was hard to control the chaos, but it taught me a lot. One of the most important things it taught me was that just because you're married, that doesn't mean you have to stop dating. Of course, you can only date your spouse, but if you chose the right one, then that's ok, right??
So since we have a lot of small kids who we can't leave alone for more than 5 minutes, we've had to come up with some creative ways to spend quality time together, and not break the bank. Luckily I have awesome parents who are very supportive and take our kids often so we can have a break. THANK YOU PARENTS! I also have awesome neighbors who are willing to kid swap with me. Thanks girls!
Since we can't always farm the kids out, we do some dates at home, after the kids go to bed. This sounds lame, but we've done a lot of fun things. One of my favorite is getting Chinese take out and renting a redbox movie. Redbox has awesome free rental codes (http://www.insideredbox.com/) that you can use to rent one free night. Check your local library and you can reserve and get movies free there too.
Also there are tons of food coupons in money mailers, newspaper and Happenings books--if you don't have one of these get one. They are about $30, but are loaded with coupons you will use. The address is http://www.entertaiment.com/ and if you want you can specify your local school to send a portion of the funds to your school. If there's a specific retaruant you enjoy often they have specials and coupons on their websites, or a punch card if you visit often--something like buy 9 pizzas or sandwiches get the 10th free. Anyway I love being at home, eating out of the chinese cartons and watching something without Elmo, Angelina Ballerina or Princesses in it.
We also do stuff like play air hockey at Nicklecade--again coupons on their website and nearly every game is .05 to .50 cents to play. Sometimes we go shopping--which sounds girly, but it can be very theraputic--grocery shopping DOES NOT count. I am talking about a walk around Gardner Village or Gateway just to see what's there. Another cheap date is the Farmer's Markets. There are some amazing things at these places and I think it's great to support local businesses. We also love to play the Wii together--we are not normally very competitive, but give Andy a golf club or a bowling ball and all bets are off. So the fact that I have a near perfect score on Wii Basketball drives him crazy, but all in all it's good fun. We also love board games. Another cheap idea is going to get ice cream or yogurt.
One of our most favorite dates is going to the U of U football games. I am a proud alum of this fine school and after 10 years of our being together, finally converted Andy from blue to red. Save your comments for why they should or shouldn't be in the PAC-you can direct those to UTEFANS. It's just plain fun to go and scream at the top of your lungs for 3 hours at guys that can't hear you, and enjoy a Cowboy Corndog. This is not a cheap date, but I figure Andy is a great provider and husband and father, and this is the least I can do to help our relationship. We do share our tickets with some of the kids and it has become one favorite family tradition.
Doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're together. And most of all, while we're on these dates, we try not to talk about money issues, kid issues or work issues. Kind of feels like we're young(er) and reminds me why I married him in the first place. Remember it's not about things, it's about time together.