Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Year of Dates

Throughout the almost 8 years we've been married,
we've tried to make a weekly date a priority.
We haven't been perfect about this, but we have been relatively consistent.
Sometimes our dates are creative, sometimes they're more traditional,
sometimes we go out and sometimes we have a date at home after the kids are in bed,
and sometimes dates cost little or no money while sometimes they have a little more invested in them.

Because I rely so much on having a predictable schedule,
I've found that it works best for us when our dates are planned ahead of time.
Otherwise, we're more likely to be hemming and hawing on Friday night trying to decide what to do.
We usually take turns planning dates,
but because Sam's work is sometimes really consuming,
this year for Valentine's Day I decided to plan a full year of dates we could look forward to!
I knew from the get-go that we wouldn't follow the outline exactly
and that adjustments would be made as appropriate,
but it has helped a lot to have a plan in place.

We scheduled in a temple date once a month,
and then most months we have planned two additional dates out and one or two dates at home.
My awesome sister (who is a SENIOR this year?!?) agreed to work out a flat monthly rate to babysit our kids, which helped me to budget our activities for the year. So even if we end up only going out once during the month, we still pay her the same amount. She has been so great about babysitting our kids so much. I don't know what we'll do when she heads to college next year!

I thought I'd share some of our planned dates for any of you Utah people who may be looking for some fun activities with a date, with your family, or on your own!

Date Night Out
(click titles for more information on each activity)
Family Discovery Center-This has been called "The Museum of Me." When you walk in, you are given an iPad to use. You sign in with your Family Search account, and then when you dock your iPad on the different booths in the Center, they are customized with information about you and your ancestors! This was a fun place to go as a couple, and I think it would be especially fun for kids aged 8-12.

Symphony Concert-Sam's mom plays in a local symphony and they have free concerts throughout the year. I love going when we can!

Pottery Class-My sister gave us a pottery class for Christmas last year. Sam and I had so much fun going and learning a little about how to use a potter's wheel and then making cups to bring home! This was such an interesting, unique date night. For all you get, the prices are pretty reasonable.

Thai Curry Kitchen-We just tried out this little restaurant on Saturday! I had a gift card and it was cool to see all the different types of curry they had. I had never heard of Thai Curry until I met Sam, but it's one of his favorite foods, so I make it often now.

Sub-Zero Ice Cream-I've heard this ice cream is pretty delicious, but I've never had it. Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen? Sounds pretty intriguing to me!

Red Butte Garden-Since Sam is affiliated with the University of Utah, he gets in free, so this will be a fairly inexpensive date. I was hoping to make it there in the spring but we missed that one. We'll have to go soon!

Millcreek Canyon & S'mores-Millcreek Canyon has lots of gorgeous, woody picnic areas with fire pits. I was planning on going up around my birthday but things got crazy and then Sam gave me a fire pit for my birthday instead! So we've kept our s'more making to our backyard so far, but we may still go up this fall.

Clark Planetarium IMAX-Our first date was to the IMAX at the Clark Planetarium the day after my birthday, and we've tried to celebrate my birthday/our first date at the IMAX every year since. It's a fun tradition to look forward to, and the movies are always really interesting!

Sill's Cafe Bike Ride and Breakfast Scones-A cute little mom-and-pop diner several miles away from us has renowned scones. I thought it would be refreshing to ride our bikes along a beautiful tree-lined trail nearby and enjoy scones for breakfast.

Kayaking on a Pond-We have a couple of ponds nearby, and my parents have some kayaks we enjoy each year at Bear Lake, so I thought a moonlight boat ride around the pond would make a lovely evening!

Cherry Hill Concert-Cherry Hill is a local waterpark, and each summer they host free concerts each Friday and Saturday night. We never made it to one, but maybe next year?

Cherry Hill Mini-Golf-Cherry Hill also has mini-golf available. We frequently get BOGO coupons in the mail, so this made an entertaining, inexpensive date right after Maxwell was born. We strapped him into the carrier and had a lot of fun on the course!

Kneader's Breakfast & Tennis-Sam loves tennis and I am rather pathetic at it. I thought it would be really fun to go to Kneader's to enjoy all-you-can eat french toast and then hit the tennis court where he can help me improve...or just show off his skills, because I won't be returning many balls. :)

DI Book Hunt-I browse the DI for new books just about every month! There are so many old treasures there. I usually pick up a book or two I think Sam would enjoy, but we've never gone to browse together. This will be a fun outing, and it'll be a little easier to browse sans kids!

Beyond Glaze-I'm not a huge donut lover, but my family tells me these donuts are incredible. They have pretty creative flavor options, so I was interested enough to put it on our list despite my lukewarm feelings toward donuts in general.

Volunteer at the Cannery-Our church has opportunities to volunteer at local canneries and home storage centers. Sam and I have volunteered before, but we've always had to go separately. I thought it would be a fun date night to go together!

Sweet Tooth Fairy-I usually like cupcakes about as much as I like donuts (not so much), but these cupcakes are another matter entirely. Not only is the owner a fellow BYU Cougar, but she won Cupcake Wars! They are soo tasty, and Sam has never tried one.

Snowshoeing-We spend a lot more time in the mountains in the summer than in the winter, as we're not avid skiers ($$$), but I'm hoping to go snowshoeing on a date this winter! If you don't have access to snowshoes, I hear sporting goods stores rent them out for a low price.

The Canyons Gondola Ride-The Canyons ski resort has a scenic gondola ride that costs money, but I've heard there is a smaller one by the parking lot that is free, though I've yet to call and check on it. This made the list for our winter dates as well!

Date Night In
Sudoku, Classical Music, and Cheese & Chocolate Sampling-Never mind the fact that we could enjoy this date night while lounging in our pajamas--we still felt kind of high class as we listened to some classical music and sampled various cheese from foreign countries while we played Sudoku. Our local grocery store has a cheese counter where you can purchase small sample wedges for a dollar or two, so I picked up a few of those and a couple of small chocolate sampler boxes after Valentine's Day. It was a fun, low-key evening!

Cokeville Miracle & Gelato-Have you seen the Cokeville Miracle? It's definitely an inspiring movie! We really enjoyed it, and some Talenti gelato is the perfect companion to a good movie!

Yoga & Green Smoothies-I am weirdly flexible. Like, stick-both-of-my-legs-over-my-head-at-once kind of flexible. And I love yoga, but I hardly ever do it. I thought it would be fun to do a yoga lesson with Sam and then enjoy green smoothies! My favorite yoga website is here, and one of my favorite green smoothie recipes is here.

Video Game Night-Sam spent a lot of time playing video games as he grew up and then had a complete reversal in desire, to where we've never even owned a TV. BUT, he still enjoys playing a game every now and then, and he hasn't lost his old skills! My video-gaming is only good for a laugh, but we had a fun date night at my parents' house with my younger brother while we played some rounds of Mario Kart. I think I made it to second-to-last place once, and I was excited!

Snow Cones & Water Balloon Toss-This was on the list for this summer. Water balloon tosses are always good for a laugh, and although we don't have a snow cone maker, you can make your own snow cones using a blender and then top them with a homemade flavored syrup.

Homemade Root Beer Floats & Old Fashioned Games-There is something about homemade root beer that always makes me feel nostalgic. This would be really fun as a double date so there is some competition, but I thought it would be fun to practice our 3-legged race skills, compete in gunny sack races, and play some other classic games before enjoying root beer floats with homemade root beer!

Croquet Tournament-Growing up, my neighbor and I would play croquet for hours in the summer. I got a little too competitive for my own good, but after taking a break for quite a few years, I've toned things down. I scored a never-used croquet set at Goodwill one year for Sam's birthday, and we love playing in the backyard!

Couples' Book Club-This date night is coming up soon, and I am excited about it! Sam and I have differences in what we typically read, so I thought it would be fun for us to each choose a book for the other to read and then have a book club night complete with discussion questions and snacks to go along with our respective books. I chose The Alliance by Gerald Lund for Sam to read (pretty intense science-fiction--he stayed up most of the night reading it!), and Sam chose A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for me to read (hello, hot chocolate and Biscoff cookies!). I'm getting close to being done reading it, and then we will have our book club night. We plan to repeat this activity at least 2-3 times each year, as it was really fun to select books we thought the other might enjoy!

Adult Coloring Books & Cookie Baking-Adult coloring books are all the rage these days with their intricate designs. And I always love baking up a batch of cookies with Sam! Spending time baking together is something we pretty much only do on dates, and it's always enjoyable. I'm planning on printing off some coloring pages or picking up a coloring book at the store and then we can color while the cookies bake.

Little Kid Night-Because we're kids at heart...the plan for this is to enjoy Happy Meals, draw with sidewalk chalk, and read a stack of children's books from the library. Children's literature is one of my favorite genres, and it's always fun to discover new favorites!

Homemade Donuts & Carve Pumpkins-I'm hoping to make this date night happen this fall. Carving pumpkins is always a good time, and I feel like homemade donuts scream "fall." There are some pretty yummy-looking recipes out there with fall flavors like apple cider donuts!

LEGO Night-Thanks to our kids for sponsoring this night...it's fun to get try to be as creative as we used to be as kids and build something! Sam has made me laugh and laugh with his creations, and if we do this for a date night we might be able to have a conversation at the same time instead of building for our kids' benefit (which is also fun!).

Homemade Mugs & Hot Chocolate-My friend Amberly posted a while back about making mugs, and I think it will be a fun date night activity, along with enjoying our favorite hot chocolate recipe! (Side note: Amberly is super devoted to strengthening marriage through date night. I love reading her Date Night Bucket Lists. They've even made time for date nights while they've had a preemie in the NICU and a toddler at home!)

Classic Christmas Movie-The perfect, simple date night for the busy holiday season.

Ice Cream Ball & 36 Questions-We got this fun ice cream ball one year for our birthdays, and the 36 Questions always make for interesting conversation starters.

So there you have it!
It's been a great year of dates thus far, and I'm looking forward to the next few months of our planned dates!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Funny story, we're actually making mugs this weekend as part of date night :)


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