7 Free Date Night Ideas

We are celebrating our 9 YEAR ANNIVERSARY this week. NINE–wow, that’s close to 10.

We are getting old….And, let it be known, I am THE luckiest. Our lives aren’t perfect and I’m not perfect and the mister isn’t perfect-BUT there is no one else I’d rather trail with in our journey. Love him and he pushes me more than anyone else. Anyway, that being said…let’s talk cheap date ideas because we are going to need to be doing a LOT more of those in these upcoming weeks and months.

Money is tight right now {family vacation/school starting/4 children/new van/residency budget-enough said 😉 } and so I have been racking my brain trying to think of fun ways I can spend meaningful time with my man that won’t break the bank.

For us right now we pretty much have been doing babysitters for the first time ever [don’t get me wrong swapping is great but 8.5 years of swapping gets old and complicated]… So having a babysitter is A-MAZING and dreamy to me and my kids LOVE IT, but it still adds to the date price–because if you eat out and go to a movie and pay for a babysitter-we’re talking BIG BUCKS here} So, these date ideas are ideas where you can JUST pay for the time of a babysitter and nothing else {or at least not much else}.

FYI–We are NOT on a date by ourselves in this picture-this was yesterday playing as a family on our anniversary- but, look between our heads-HA HA!!! We saw this and started laughing out loud…little Sass squeezed in there and now this is a new favorite picture. Cracked me up!

Anyway, SOooo here is my doable, affordable, yet hopefully FUN and memory making date list::

1. OUTDOOR DATES.

  1. This is a huge category with endless possibilities.

    • Here are some of my ideas {not exhaustive, but just to get your ideas flowing}

    • pack a picnic for 2 by a lake and talk/bike around it/watch the stars and talk each other’s ears off without children

    • Go on a hike together WITH your cameras and take attemptively artsy pics and enjoy nature together

    • Go swim in a river {you know how we LOVE our rivers and exploring here in Texas}

    • Explore a new park or river or lake you’ve never been to before.

    • ANYTHING active–exercising, swimming, sports, roller blading [we still want to get some], whatever…

    • Rent those free bikes downtown and ride around together and hit up some new stores to window shop

      THE IDEAS ARE ENDLESS!!!

2. RETRACE MEMORIES DATES.

This idea is on my mind mostly because it’s our anniversary this week and we get to go down memory lane later this week with family. But, it is super fun to have a date that is similar to one of your first ones….where you met, the restaurant you use to love together, or re-live one of your first dates, visit the school you used to go to, the first place you kissed, all those things…..!

3. SCAVENGER HUNT. 

Something about the planning of a scavenger hunt makes it oh so fun and purposeful. Totally doable with a babysitter and gives you something to d-o opposed to get someplace and leave and be done. My man made me a birthday scavenger hunt once and it was THE Best birthday EVER because of the thoughtfulness that went into it. Fun memories… it almost doesn’t even matter the destination because it is the effort that makes this special…also fun with groups and group date races, etc.

4. COOKING TOGETHER date night in–no babysitter needed.

It is SO fun to cook together….as a woman, you aren’t fully responsible if it tastes good or bad when you do it as a date {which is a perk if it goes wrong}, and it just is more fun when you are cooking with your best friend! And, B is actually great at cooking he just doesn’t have the time. Date night in is a great way to get him to explore this rarely used hidden talent of his…..and when we do this when kids are in bed we can cook something they would hate and we would love 😉

5. YOUTUBE DANCE LESSONS.

You heard me. You know you have the best husband when….. you learn a choreographed dance together one night on Youtube. We haven’t done this in forever….probably 2 years ago we did this to a hip/hop routine and it was hilarious and awesome…and I married a good dancer so it was super fun. DO IT PEOPLE. No-one will even know you did. We would always tell each other how we should randomly bust out and do this little choreographed dance we learned suddenly in front of our family, but we never did. That would have been hilarious though-I think we need to learn another one….

6. LET YOUR SPOUSE TEACH YOU SOMETHING HE/SHE is GOOD AT DATE

Ok, again-possibility’s are endless here. I’m imagining going to a music store with the mister in a soundproof room and      we could sing/jam together my style. Teach him some harmonizing, etc….OR having him teach me how to play a sport together like basketball, fly fishing, surgeon knots 😉 or something he is good at. It’s fun to do something one of you is good at and play student and see and learn about each other’s passion.

7. Dressing up our DATE NIGHT [Netflix] IN.

For us our Netflix binge Fridays and Saturdays are fun, but if that’s the only dating we do it loses its fun over time….so every now and then we need to put more effort into it and “dress it up a little” so it seems more  special than pressing play.

Ideas to “dress it up a little”::

*Make special treats/snacks before to eat during the movie/show watching,

*get extra cozy with extra blankets and pillows for snuggling,

* grab some thoughtless board games you can play when y’all are starting to get tired but still want to stay awake and watch…

AKA:: You work at the hospital around the clock so you are tired {him} or because you are chasing around 4 children all day {me}…. our favorite board games to do while movie watching are Sequence and Scrabble. ;).

Hope these cheap date night ideas save some pennies and add some memories. If you have any other free or cheap date night ideas PLEASE comment with them….I need to add to this list for the next few months. 

PS-just for fun- Here’s a throw back pic to one of our old cheap dates when we were kidless and newlyweds where we were egg tossing back and forth scooting further and further back till one of us lost…..clearly I lost here-so funny! Evidence that you don’t need to spend money to have fun and make memories.

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15 Days of Mommy Play Toddler Edition

One of my new year’s goals see here was to be a more present mom, so I made this little challenge for myself to motivate me to make a habit of spending time with my kids each day–specifically my toddler. The challenge was to play for 15 minutes a day with my toddler for 15 days straight. I already completed this challenge and had this challenge on my instagram, but wanted to have it all in 1 spot for future use for me and anyone who didn’t do it and may want to.

I chose TOTALLY easy, not complicated things to do so it was doable and easy to actually accomplish. No random props, craft supplies, or store runs needed. I just had to make the time to do it. I figured it doesn’t matter what we do as long as I make time for him each day. I’ll be honest, there were a couple times when life would get crazy and I missed my plan for that day and had to do it the next day so it ended up being almost 15 days straight, but what can I say? #reallife 😉 #newmommaof4problems Don’t let it get you down, and pick up and do it the next day. A good real-life set up is to do it M-F with Saturday and Sunday as catch up days. {so it’ll be 3 weeks}

I started out focusing on my 1.5 year old because since having my new baby I was MOST worried about him feeling left out since he was my baby for such a short time. I am so glad I started with him first {he soaked it right up} and it was fulfilling for everyone. My big kids would sometimes join in which was great and just fine. I just kept my focus on my toddler so he felt like “the center of attention” while doing whatever we were doing. When B and J would join they naturally started cheering him on and making him feel even more like the life of the party. It was a blast. Enough Mandy ramble, let’s get to the actually 15 day round up.

Pick a day to start, and grab your toddler and play! Here we go::

 Day 1:: PLAY IN THE SPRINKLERS “with” your toddler today. {for at least 15 minutes} Nothing says summer more than sprinklers. I don’t know about y’all, but usually I set the sprinklers on and let the kids go at it while I go inside and get things done.  Not today! As you can see this was kind of spur of the moment–no bathing suit even {for either of us actually-but it was too hard to get a selfie in when we were both wet, lol} P was so surprised and excited that I was actually going to go IN the sprinklers and get wet WITH him.  He was thrilled and kept taking my hand and going through them over, and over, and over again.  It’s the little things and it was a blast.  
Day 2:: PLAY TRAINS. Amidst the hustle and bustle of the day, make time to play trains with your little one. This is nothing novel, but quality time doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs to be there.  My little guy LOVES trains.  So we connected multiple trains together, pulled them apart, and pushed them again and again for 15 minutes and it made him oh so happy.  And consequently, it made me oh so happy too. You can never her “choo choo” enough. 🙂
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Meet Baby #4

He is finally here and I am oh so happy that he is.

Baby #4 was born Friday, May 12th and weighed 9 lbs. 3 oz! Can you believe that?! No wonder I felt so huge this time around. 🙂

Proof!! There I am the morning of at 40 weeks. The swing dress hangs a little further back than my body actually goes, but you get the drift. Check out that belly! I guess I did grow a Texas sized baby….and YES, I am getting to this post a MONTH later to the day that this little boy was born….let me tell you, 4 is amazing and amazingly c-r-a-z-y for me so far. Hence, I am behind in most everything right now. Ha. Anyway, back to baby O’s big day.

I was scheduled for an induction that morning, on my due date, because my babies NEVER come before my due date. And, let me tell you, I was d-o-n-e with being pregnant this time around. This pregnancy towards the end was just the toughest on  my body. It was hard to get around because I was my biggest and heaviest ever, this was my sickness pregnancy and I got multiple bugs and flus throughout+ a sinus infection the last month….I was ready to get this baby O U T!!

We really wanted to bring our oldest {our one and only daughter} to the birth. This is our last baby and it just seemed like the perfect final birth in our mind if we could have her there. We knew it wasn’t quite protocol to bring her in the labor and delivery room being only 7 and all; but, I had mentioned it to my rad doctor that I wanted her to be there. She’s my only girl and I thought it would be a special mother-daughter bonding time and a glimpse into womanhood and the amazingness of child birth. He told me to sneak her in and to NOT ask. We did JUST that. We woke her up at 5 a.m. and drove in the dark to “Daddy’s hospital”  to watch her last baby brother come into the world.  She was loving it all-waking up when it was dark, getting 1:2 time with us, going through the employee section of the hospital, everything. Then, upon arrival, we had about 5 different people tell us she had to leave. I was getting pretty worried thinking it wasn’t going to work out..and then, when I finally got into our room they said it was up to my nurse and the head of the nurses {can’t remember the official title right now} for the final decision. The mister and I were getting doubtful at this point that she could stay, but were trying to stay upbeat.

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