We’re all about trying to find enjoyable, cheap and easy ideas for date night at home, especially for those of us with kids who’d like a little extra help rekindling that proverbial spark when we’re stuck sans sitter.
Even if it’s just a few hours off from actually being parental, it can make a big difference.
But of course, when you’re a busy parent, Valentine’s Day (especially on a Tuesday night) won’t generally involve Dom Perignon, dry-aged steak, and the penthouse suite of the Mandarin-Oriental, am I right?
So check out these ideas instead that you can actually pull off without a whole lot of money or effort — or investing 60 hours on Pinterest. Then, get ready for sexy time!
Well, if you don’t fall asleep first. -Liz and Delilah
Top photo: Lee Campbell via Unsplash
CMP is an rstyle affiliate
1. Recreate your first homemade dinner for two
A home-cooked meal that you both contribute to can be easy, delicious, and dare I say a little sexy? There’s something about getting into the kitchen with your sweetheart and the build-up to that uh…culinary release at the end that can be extremely exciting and fulfilling. Especially if it brings you back to the first time you ever cooked together.
2. Order in and pretend you didn’t
It’s still far cheaper than splurging on some overpriced prix fixe menu with complimentary glass of crappy sparkling wine. Light the candles, serve it on the good dishes, and feel not an ounce of guilt. Delilah recommends takeout sushi for the easy clean-up, and the fact that her kids don’t smell it in their sleep and wake up begging to have some.
3. Watch Netflix and chill — literally
Pick up a heart-shaped box full of chocolates to share or just get two spoons and a tub of your favorite ice cream. Turn off the phones and stash away the iPads. Just turn on a romantic movie — or heck, catch up on The Walking Dead if that’s your thing — and chill. Literally. As far as the more euphemistic version of Netflix and chill, well that’s entirely up to you.
4. Have board game night
Competition definitely gets some couples in the mood. So does a powerful display of intellect. Boggle, anyone? Or if you prefer R-rated Scrabble, that’s cool too.
5. Whip up special cocktails
If you tend to default to wine or beer, spend a little extra time gathering the ingredients for a special cocktail. Cool Mom Eats has put together 6 festive pink cocktails and mocktails that are perfect for Valentine’s Day or any date night. (Rosé Slushy Cocktail recipe via Style Me Pretty)
But hey, even a glass of champagne or one special liquor (Delilah’s man is all about Laphroaig Scotch, Kristen’s is into Crown Royal, and Liz’s will never turn away a glass of Widow Jane bourbon) will make a toast more special than usual.
6. The call is coming from inside the house
Why not go to different rooms and initiate a racy phone call or Facetime chat? It’s like the best of a long-distance relationship, only you can actually, you know, get together afterward. In person.
7. Make a “365 Things I Love About You” jar together
If you’ve got a partner who’d be into this, this sweet idea from Living Like Leila shows you how to put together a jar filled with kind thoughts. Enjoy making it together on your date night, then turn to it any day at all throughout the year when you each need a little pick-me-up or reminder of what makes your relationship work. (via Bustle)
8. Ice cream in bed
Some of you may think we’re crazy for eating ice cream in bed but hey, that’s what trays and towels are for. Grab a few favorite flavors (mmm…Talenti Salted Caramel Gelato) and two spoons. Or…one spoon. Sexy time!
9. Tease the day away
Leave your partner sexy notes via text, on the medicine cabinet mirror, in her work bag — whatever you have available to you. Provide some hints as to what’s in store for later, when the kids are in bed and the doors are locked. The build-up can be delicious.
10. Play strip poker
Seriously. Why not? Just be sure you’re wearing the good lingerie tonight. Bonus if it’s something new.
11. Put together an “Our Songs” playlist
Whether it leads to slow dancing in the living room or quiet time in the bedroom, there’s nothing that rekindles a spark quite like the songs that brought you together in the first place. (Photo: Lee Campbell via Unsplash)
12. Breakfast in bed…for dinner
Too tired to put together a major dinner? Yeah, us too! Try pancakes, waffles, bacon, an indulgent omelette. Whether the coffee is decaf is up to you.
13. Dress up all fancy. Yes, the shoes too.
Even if you’re just staying in and having Chinese take-out, make an effort to put on your swankiest date night outfits complete with good hair, makeup, and sexy shoes. There’s something about faking it til you make it here, and it works! (Photo: © Delilah S Dawson)
14. Challenge your partner in video game night
What’s your poison? FPS games? Driving? Classics like Donkey Kong? Guitar Hero? Dance Dance Revolution? Don’t worry about the traditional lovey-dovey date night ideas if you’re a geeky gaming couple; just have fun doing what you love!
15. Fill the house with flowers and candles
Get out all the votives you own, then add vases of roses, daisies, tulips, herbs, wildflowers — it doesn’t matter. This is the home decor equivalent of getting dressed up for the night, and if you follow Delilah’s flower-buying tips in her post with tons of last-minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas, you’ll see how to do it relatively affordably. (Mason jar vase decorating tutorials via Michael’s)
16. Have “hotel night”
Pretend you’re in a swanky hotel. Wear bathrobes. Eat dinner off trays on the floor. Watch overpriced video-on-demand releases. Leave the tray outside your bedroom door for someone else to clean up in the morning. (Ha, though that will probably be one of you unless your kids are wildly awesome.)
17. Pretend you’re anywhere else in the world
This is kind of of like hotel night, only with an international spin. Are you in Italy, drinking a good Barolo and watching a Fellini movie? Feigning Paris with Edith Piaf streaming on the speakers and chocolate crepes on the dessert menu? Listening to some Chilean electronica and reading Pablo Neruda out loud? If you can’t bring mama to the city, bring the city to mama.
18. Read out loud to each other
Speaking of Pablo Neruda, get a copy of Love Poems (the Kindle download is perfect for last-minute planning), cuddle up, and take turns reading out loud. Or, try Shakespeare’s Love Sonnets, Anais Nin, or heck, William S Burroughs for that matter. Just the act of focusing on your sweetheart’s words, whatever they are (okay, so don’t read Car & Driver articles but you get our point) can be incredibly sexy. For both of you.
19. Take a class for two. At home.
If you can’t get out for an experience for two that you might ordinarily be interested in, put together your own at home. Real Simple offers great tips for hosting a wine tasting party — just adapt it for two guests. Use the free Duolingo app or website and learn another language together — maybe while noshing on treats that go with your language of choice. Or take up a craft you’ve both always wanted to learn, whether it’s calligraphy or origami.
20. Indulge in chocolate-dipped anything
While feeding each other truffles right out of the box works just fine for us, try whipping up some our our impressive ideas for chocolate-dipped strawberries or other fruits. Feed each other the spoils and…well, the clean-up would definitely be worth it, right? (Dark Chocolate Coconut Dipped Peaches with curry honey mascarpone filling via Baker By Nature)
21. Take a bubble bath for two
22. Offer up his and hers (or his and his / hers and hers) massages
If you don’t own a bottle of Tata Harper Revitalizing Body Oil, you need to get on that, stat. Yes it’s a little spendy but it’s less than a bottle of good champagne, will last a lot longer, and ZOMG it smells like heaven in a pump bottle. Then, get rubbing.
23. Host open-mic karaoke night at home
Yes, really. Don’t stop believin’, mamas.
24. Enforce a “no kids talk” rule
Whatever your date night at home of choice, this is a must: No kids, no bills, no pediatrician appointments, no “oh my God we forgot to turn in the permission slip” talk WHATSOEVER. You’ll be amazed how fun (and uh, more romantic) conversations can get when you’re not spending your night solving problems or figuring out your to-do list for the week.
And if either of you break the rule? Well, you’ll have to think of an appropriate penalty.
May we suggest 5 minutes of mandatory Tata Harper oil-based foot rubbing?