Great Valentines Day ideas! Cheap date nights and more

by KayLaura

Whether it's for Valentines day, an anniversary, birthday or just a date night, these fun ideas rank as my all time favorites!

Our story...

 Life happens...making celebrating that "special occasion" at a fancy restaurant not always possible.  That was our scenario this past December when our 12th wedding anniversary was approaching.  It wasn't helpful that the anniversary fell on a Tuesday, nor did it help that we have 5 children ages 10 and under and finding a sitter on a Tuesday night for them can be tough.  We had resigned ourselves to the fact that this just wasn't going to be a great anniversary for us, but that the celebration of it didn't matter as much as our love for each other.

   As my husband left for work I was thinking of cute things I could do all day to wish him a happy anniversary.  I thought of sending him various texts, a Facebook message, an e-card; the usual.  And as I thought about what we could eat for dinner a plan started to formulate that made me really excited!

   Why not make it a fun anniversary after all?  I'll prepare a fancy dinner and solicit the help of my children to pull off a wonderful surprise for dad when he got home.  We would turn our home into a restaurant and the kids would be the hostess, waiter and entertainer and my husband and I would get our "special evening" after all!

In the midst of all our planning, the doorbell rang and I received a wonderful surprise!  My husband had a bouquet of flowers delivered to my door.  So romantic and sweet!  Here is a picture of them:

The beautiful bouquet my husband sent
The beautiful bouquet my husband sent

They were not only beautiful and sweet smelling, but they were unique and lasted 2 full weeks!  He ordered them through FTD floral and paid a little more than what he usually pays when he buys flowers from local shops or from the grocery store.  But I've never had a bouquet of flowers bloom beautifully on my counter for 2 full weeks.  Well worth the extra $5 or $10.  And to have them delivered was extra special!

Longest lasting flower bouquets

FTD floral--worth every penny and they deliver too!

After admiring and caring for the flowers, the kids and I got back to work on our plans. It wasn't hard to get the kids on board for this idea!  They were super excited to be included in our anniversary celebration, after all, they are just as happy that we are still happily married as we are!  My 10 year old son typed up a menu on the computer and even used fancy vocabulary words he'd recently learned in school and added some clip art to make it cute.  He mounted it on construction paper and was very proud of his work!

   My 8 year old daughter helped me string twinkle lights around the windows near the kitchen table and also hang up bed sheets to close off the dining room to make it feel more like an enclosed restaurant.  She also helped make the salad.

   We assigned and rehearsed their parts.  My 10 year old son would be the waiter, my 8 year old daughter would be the hostess and my 5 year old daughter would provide some entertainment in the form of serenading us.  We made sure we had candles on the table, our wedding CD music playing softly in the background and we all dressed up appropriately for our parts.  The older kids agreed to take care of the two youngest children, ages 2 1/2 and 8 months, as best they could upstairs when it was not their turn to do their part.

An anniversay surprise!

When my husband got home he was genuinely surprised!  I had all the food prepared and ready to serve on separate plates so after we were greeted and seated by our lovely hostess and drinks were poured, the waiter had only to deliver the plates for each succeeding course.  It was sooo cute to see the way the kids took it so seriously.  They really tried to create a romantic, sophisticated restaurant feel (as best as they knew how!).  And even the two youngest cooperated by taking a nap at just the right time and by happily watching TV without interrupting us.  We got a whole 30 minutes to ourselves downstairs, eating our dinner, enjoying the peace and quiet and celebrating the sweet memories of our wedding day, all thanks to the help from those created from our love. 

   It was definitely a date to remember!  And a cheap one at that!  Who says you can't have fun, cheap dates?  Who says married couples with kids can't have romance or regular date nights?  You don't have to have a lot of money to date.  You just have to use your imagination and ingenuity a little!  No matter how long you've been married, it is sooo important to continue to DATE your spouse and remember how it is to just be alone and focused on each other. 

Some of the fun, cheap, unique things we've done for date nights and special occasions:

Romantic candle light dessert picnic by the fireplace.

A walk on the beach and ice cream afterwards.

Browsing at a local bookstore and sharing our book interests with each other.

Driving around nearby neighborhoods to scope out desirable areas to buy a home or to discover new places to take our kids on a later day.

Browsing at furniture stores or furniture consignment stores.

Test driving vehicles we are considering buying in the next 3-5 years (doesn't hurt to research it out a bit in advance!)

Going to the library and reading next to each other.

Creating your own "drive in" experience by taking a mini DVD player or computer and parking in a safe area and watching a movie in the back of your van or truck with lots of movie goodies--just the two of you!

Go to a small, local aviation runway and eat dinner picnic style on the field while the planes fly in over your head.

My husband and I were both very grateful for the love we showed each other by doing our best to make our anniversary special and it didn't cost us an arm and a leg.  Nor was it difficult to plan and execute.  The important thing was that we make extra efforts to show each other our love and we both felt happy about it.  Dating your spouse or significant other is important, even if it's only once or twice a month.  And hopefully with these cheap date ideas you can enjoy dating more without all the stress of the financial burden it can become.

How often do you and your spouse/significant other date each month?

Updated: 02/01/2012, KayLaura
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