Valentine’s Day is almost here, which means couples will have to decide if they will fall into the “stay in” or the “go out” date night category. While I always welcome nights out and find that they are a much-needed part of marriage, I completely understand why many parents pass on going out for Valentine’s Day. For one, these dates tend to be more expensive than your average night on the town, since many restaurants create a prix-fixe menu or book special entertainment. Add in the fact that, for many of us, babysitters are not cheap or easy to come by.
But never fear! There ARE ways to enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day evening without the extra cost. Put the kids to bed early (ha-ha), try one of these five date-night ideas, and embrace being part of the “stay in” crowd.
Put a new spin on a traditional dinner date with a “Chopped” show theme. If you aren’t familiar with the show on Food Network, it’s about a group of chefs competing to make something delicious out of a basket of surprise ingredients. First, decide what you will be making for your date night challenge (appetizer, a dinner entree, or dessert). Then each of you will buy two ingredients without letting the other know what you have chosen. You can find shopping list ideas with a quick search on Pinterest. After your challenge is complete, have some fun mixing pairing cocktails and judging each other’s dishes based on presentation and taste.
Bring the cozy factor to dinner by surprising your significant other with an indoor picnic, complete with candle light and a dish reminiscent of your first dates. A fondue theme is a fun addition — there are plenty of recipes online for appetizers, main courses, and even dessert. Check out some ideas for fondue fun at Organized Island. Nothing like a warm chocolatey drizzle over some fruit and bread that’s perfect for a cold romantic night in. You may even forget you are in the same home with sleeping children.
If you are a parent of young children, it’s likely been awhile since you sat down to watch a movie. Use Valentine’s Day as a good excuse to shut down all devices and create a romantic movie night atmosphere complete with buttery popcorn and ice cream sundaes. If you are feeling especially motivated, use your blanket-fort skills (typically reserved for the kids) to make a cozy nook. Then watch your flick surrounded by twinkle lights and pillows. Better than any movie theater I can think of!
Wine or chocolate tasting
If you love wine, you may have become a creature of habit in the brands and types you typically buy. Take a trip to your wine store and ask for recommendations for delicious new flavors. Then create your own mini wine-tasting menu! Do a quick online search to see what cheese pairings work best, and then rank your favorites with your tasting partner. Chocolate lovers, the same idea applies and makes a great dessert idea.
Game night for two
You would be amazed at the number of two-player card and board games out there, and you can even place some wagers on who has to do the bedtime routine the next week. Check out a list of old fashioned faves at Dates by Design. Even if you only have the mental energy to play a game of Go Fish, it’s always fun to switch things up from a classic TV night. Game night is also always better when accompanied by a homemade pizza for two.
So whether you decide to cozy up at home or hit the town with the hubby, here’s hoping we can all block some quality time out to appreciate our loves this Valentine’s Day!