When Matt and I first got married we got SO MUCH ADVICE from couples who had been married for awhile about the importance of scheduling time together, especially in the midst of adding more and more babies to the family. I have to admit that at the time I thought we wouldn’t need to “schedule” date night, or even pay attention to how much “alone time” we had to reconnect because we already did nearly everything we could together. Plus, I had already had Gabbi and we kind of had a little routine going on spending time together going out on those nights when she was away at her dad’s house. Fast forward to when we were celebrating our second wedding anniversary last October, with having bought a house, added 2 new babies to the family and the crazy work hours Matt had for so long and we realized that we hadn’t left the house alone together in OVER 6 MONTHS! Whoa! Its not like we weren’t spending any time together, we tried to order take out and watch movies together when we could, but it became very clear that we had let our one on one relationship drop WAY down on the priority list. Ever since that night, we have made a tremendous effort to take time out as a couple, even if most of our date nights are at home after the kids go to bed. We even met with our Pastor and his wife to find out how we could communicate better, so that little time that we had alone together would be much more effective at strengthening our marriage. Things have been fantastic, and we have gotten so much closer all over again. Marriage can be tough work at times, but the rewards are so worth it!
Now, most Friday nights are devoted to spending time together after the craziness of our long weeks. Because of Matt’s work hours, we don’t get much time to see each other, let alone talk about anything other than what we did that day, from Tuesday night until Friday when he comes home. It makes for some seriously long weeks, and by Friday night at 830, I am so ready to reconnect with my best friend. But, during the past few weeks I have noticed that we seem to be slowly sinking back into a routine of watching a movie or ordering some take out and I wanted to shake things up a bit before potentially falling into another dull spell.
Thank the Lord for Pinterest and all of you crafty mamas out there! It only took me about 15 seconds to find the idea for the date night jar, and about as much time to make it! I like to pretend I am a crafty person, but the truth is my life is full of half finished projects because I just don’t have the time or skill to do half of these ambitious craft projects that I set out to do. I was so glad to find something so easy! The original idea is from a wonderful blog and can be found by clicking here. I just took out one of our mini mason jars that we had lying around, spray painted some wooden popsicle sticks and wrote some fun ideas on them!
The blue sticks are for date nights at home and include things like: movie night, make sushi, play a board game, create a bucket list, indoor picnic and other fun things like that. I had a really hard time coming up with some of the ideas!
The pink sticks require someone coming to watch the kids for a short time and get us out of the house without spending a lot of money and include things like: dessert out, go for a walk at Hamlin Beach, go out for coffee, go ice skating (when I’m not pregnant anymore…) and those type of things.
The purple ones are things that require more planning, getting a sitter for a longer time and are more expensive. They are things like: get dressed up and go out to a really nice rest, go away for the night, dinner and a movie out (which we have only done once because we never want to be gone that long!), and go to a show at Geva or Eastman.
I put all the sticks together in the jar, added a cute little label and that was it! It was so easy and I can’t wait to use it!
On the back of the label, I wrote out what all the different colored sticks stand for, in case we forget!
One of the best things that we can do as parents for our children is to work on our marriage and ensure that our marriage will not only help to create the foundation of the home that they are growing up in, but also be a great example of what a working marriage is like, so that they can begin to understand what it should be like for them in the future.
After I made the Date Night Jar for us, I came up with an idea to make one for the girls too! Matt and I have been talking about taking each of the girls on one on one dates starting in September. Our family has grown so quickly that in our house it is really hard for the kids to get a lot of one on one time with each of us. We try to make the time for it, but things always seem to be popping up. We finally sat down and decided to make a schedule that allows us to each take two of the girls out each month (once Emerson arrives) so that they will each get one date every month. We had come up with a little list of things that might be fun to do, allowed us to spend time connecting with each of them and that didn’t require us to set aside an entire day, but rather an hour or two of quality time. I decided to take this list and turn it into a “Daughter Date Nights” jar as well! I assigned a color to each of the girls, and then added activities to those popsicles that would appeal to each of them individually:
Autumn is blue and has things such as: go on a picnic, go to the playground, go out for ice cream, visit Country Max (her FAVORITE store) and go to Chuck E Cheese
Scarlet’s are pink and have: Springdale Farms, trip to play at the play room at the Y, outside date (park, walk etc.), trip to library and those types of things…
Gabbi has purple and she has things like: bowling, ice skating, pedicures, out for coffee, trip to the mall etc.
Because we have Strong Museum and Zoo memberships, each girl has a popsicle stick for a trip to those places as well.
I also added some sparkly nail polish to the tops of those activities that Matt wouldn’t want to take the girls to go do:
That way they will know not to pick the sparkly ones when it is his turn to take them .
The jar turned out just as cute as the one that I had made for Matt and I , and I am so excited to begin this tradition of taking our girls on dates. I truly hope that this will help to add to the foundation that we are trying to build for them at home. I want to enjoy each of them now while they are young, and ensure that we have a trusting bond that will allow them to continue to be open, honest and forth coming with us in the future.
Each of these jars have a lot of blank popsicle sticks in them because I had such a hard time coming up with ideas to put on them! If anyone has any great date night or daughter date night ideas, please leave a comment!