How to have a great date night at home
When your sitter cancels, or you don’t feel like going out: Tips to make the best of a date night in.
By Tina Whobrey
I have come to discover that when our son goes to bed at 7:30, life becomes ours again. We make use of this time in many ways…working, cleaning, watching TV, futzing online, etc. Often, however, we make it a date night.
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For starters, there has to be food. Sometimes it’s dinner, and sometimes it’s snacks, but there is always food! Are you going to prepare the food together, as part of the fun, or will one of you get it ready before the festivities begin? Either way, opt for something slightly out of the “norm”. Make pizzas from scratch with specialty toppings. (Easy Pizza Dough recipe) Make sushi together. (Here is a Sushi Rice recipe, and you can get fish at Cheese And Crackers, but make sure to contact them to order specialty fish ahead of time!) Have a late-night steak and salad dinner with sweet potato fries.
If you’re not looking to spend time making food, you can order from one of your more ‘fun’ take-out restaurants (for us that means Tara Thai, Pizza M, or Maize). We also try to have a few pizzas in the freezer, too, in case we want to make it a date night spontaneously. For our Reader’s Recommend the Best Pizza in Champaign-Urbana, click here. For the Best Thai Food, click here. For the Best Mexican Food, click here.
Dinner doesn’t have to be a part of the date, of course, but if it isn’t, then snacks are a must! Chips and Salsa, cheese and crackers, veggies and dip…whatever you chose, arrange it like you would for a party, using your fun or fancy plates and bowls.
Popcorn is also fun and easy! If you don’t have an air popper, make it on the stove so you can add toppings. (Put the popped popcorn into a paper bag, add the toppings, and shake it up!)
We like drinks around here. Coffee is typically at the top of the list, because, well…we’re parents, we just ate dinner at 8:30, and we want our date to last past 10:00. Make it “Irish” to turn it into dessert. When we are in the mood to get a little silly, we also like hot toddies, rum-and-coke, beer, or wine. Some of our favorite evening drinks, when we’re not trying to tie one on, are tea or fizzy-juice (which is just soda water mixed with whatever juice we have in the fridge).
Some of those I’ll leave up to you and your date. And if I may be so bold, I suggest focusing on some things earlier in the evening so that you don’t get tired from all the fun and… well…miss out on bigger fun.
My husband and I love games. We play board games, cards, video games, you name it. I should note that he is a total game nerd, and I am not. I have learned to become a very gracious loser. I have also learned a lot about certain games and what I like! Interactive video games like the Wii Fit or Super Mario Party 8 usually go over best, though he has found a variety of counsel/computer games that can hold my interest. Right now, we’ve been into playing Forbidden Island and Forbidden Desert, which we got at Armored Gopher. The games are totally unique and we work together to compete against the game, not each other. When we play cards, we typically end up throwing in a little truth or dare. Whoever loses the round of Speed, Poker, or Egyptian Ratscrew has to choose truth or dare. In the beginning of our relationship there was a lot of learning each other’s background stories (and nudity). These days, while those are still completely acceptable, we also make each other ride around on our son’s rolly-bug toy or answer questions you might find in The Book of Questions. What’s great is the laughter or deep conversations that result from our goofiness.
Mix it up!
Sometimes we just end up watching a movie or part of a TV series. Other times we start off with one thing and jump around (which is the best way to keep me awake!) Most importantly, though, we mix it up. We enjoy a night of what might have components of a ‘typical evening’, but we add to it to make it into a special, fun-filled, memorable date.
Tina Whobrey moved to Chambana with a friend in 2000. Since then she has attended Parkland, ISU, and finally the U of I, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Education. She taught middle school Social Studies for five years, married her favorite person in the world and moved to NY state. They decided C-U was “home” and moved back to have their son, who is now 1 ½ years old.