Like most parents of young children, there is little in life I love more than going out on a date for some quality alone time with my husband. Dates don’t happen often, but when they do, they’re pretty great. Last month Robbie and I had plans to go out for some drinks and food, and when discussing where to go, we realized that since having our daughter four and a half years ago, we had not had a single evening alone in our own house. Not one. We’d gone out to movies and for dinner and to see live music with friends, but we hadn’t enjoyed time at home as just the two of us in close to five years. I mean, I love my kids with all my heart, but that’s a little ridiculous, right? So we decided to try something different. We made a call and rearranged our date night out so that the kids would go to my mom’s for a few hours while we had a nice evening date in. And you guys, it was glorious.
Since then, we had another stay-at-home date, this time in the afternoon to celebrate the fact that warm weather had finally arrived to the Chicagoland area. It was so nice to just relax (both outside and inside with the windows wide open!) and have a casual evening enjoying our favorite wine and snacks, toasting to the upcoming summer season.
A couple of weeks later I was out with some girlfriends and was telling them what a wonderful time we had, and several of them mentioned to me that they’d started doing more date nights in as well. We ended up sharing our tips and ideas for stay-at-home dates with one another, and there were so many great ideas that I thought I’d share some of them here with you too – specifically summertime-inspired casual date-in ideas, since summer is (woohoo!) right around the corner.
1. Have a summer movie marathon. One of my friends has an actual movie screen set up in her backyard that her family uses to watch movies in the summer. (I am very jealous.) The first weekend it warmed up this year, she and her husband had a date night at home, snuggling on a blanket in the grass with popcorn and watching movies together. I thought this was a pretty fantastic idea, and although we don’t have a movie screen in our yard, we’ll be recreating it in our living room with our windows open and a marathon of our favorite summertime flicks.
2. Cook (and eat) a summer-inspired meal together. On our first at home date night, we made our favorite summertime pizza (pesto sauce, mozzarella, olives, and fresh tomato) together and enjoyed it together, slowly and blissfully uninterrupted! And it was so refreshing not to have to deal with reservations or noisy restaurants or overpriced bills. We just had a patio put in (you can see some sneak peeks in these photos; full reveal coming soon!), and I can’t wait use our grill and (hopefully!) have several summer date nights in cooking and eating dinner out there.
3. Enjoy a summer concert in the comfort of your own home. Because Robbie works in the music industry and works at well over a hundred concerts each year, when he’s off duty, he much prefers to watch them from home by live streaming. (As someone who has been to many hundreds of concerts and music festivals myself, it’s hard for me to admit this, but these days, so do I.) It might not feel quite the same as actually being at a live show, dancing on the grass under the stars, but I can confidently say that there is something pretty awesome about being able to stretch out on your sofa, cuddled up with your significant other, just the two of you. (And there are no lines for the bathroom!)
4. Take a long romantic walk. I guess this isn’t technically something you do at home, but after our recent afternoon stay-at-home date, Robbie and I took an hour-long walk around our neighborhood as the sun was setting, and it was kind of magical. There isn’t much more romantic than a sunset, and it was perfect for having real conversation away without the temptation of screens, while enjoying all of the things that make spring and summer so wonderful.
5. Have a backyard picnic. We have picnics with the kids all the time, but it’s been years since we’ve had one by ourselves. One of my girlfriends and her partner recently did this and said it was on her favorite date nights ever. They threw a blanket down in their backyard and ate cheese and fresh bread and olives in their bare feet under the stars. I mean, how romantic is that? It’s definitely on my summer to do list.
6. Open a bottle of your favorite summer wine and just relax. This one is my favorite, and it’s exactly what we did on our most recent stay-at-home date. Robbie and I are both constantly going (I’m sure most of you can relate), and even when he’s home and not on tour, we very rarely have even a few minutes of down time to spend together. When we were trying to decide what to do for our date, we both agreed that a couple of glasses of Cameron Hughes, some super easy summertime snacks, and some time to just hang out outside together sounded absolutely blissful. And it was! For us, there is nothing better than a casual, simple date. And we love Cameron Hughes Wine for the same reason – it’s all about what is in inside the bottle. There’s no fancy label, their website is simple and easy to navigate, and the wine is high quality and delicious but still affordable. And Cameron himself samples thousands of wine samples a year (they say “he tastes the bad stuff so you don’t have to” – love that) and only selects the best wine to bring to his customers. That’s my kind of wine company. And this is my kind of date. (Psst… Use code INEEDWINE18 for free shipping when you purchase 3 bottles of wine at Cameron Hughes!)