Those of us married, those of us with kids, and those of us with any combination of the previous stated milestones know the rut that I'm talking about.
Hell, they even made a movie about it. Date Night, the hilarious comedy starring Steve Carrell and Tina Fey.
When tying the knot, continuing a dating life might have seemed laughable and absurd. However, to those who have passed their honeymoon stage, it's vital to keep that dating relationship alive.
I think most couples have good intentions on trying to make quality "us" time throughout the week/ month but with everything else that comes up, "US" time seems to be the first thing that gets pushed to the back burner. For us - with a toddler, coming into his own personality and testing the waters at every turn, and a 6 month old who's not sleeping through the night - snacks on the couch, an episode of Suits and an early bed time seem to be as much as I can handle.
However, for our anniversary this year, I'm making it a point to bring dating back up the importance ladder; back into the limelight. I've created a "Date Jar" with 21 different dates of varying time and cost that will sprinkle through our life over the next 365 days.
This is how I did it.
First, I found inspiration on Pinterest. I got many ideas from here, here and here. I wrote down the ones I liked and separated them into three categories.
$- Inexpensive and requires a little planning
$$- Moderately expensive and requires some planning
$$$- Splurge dates and requires a lot of planning
*planning to me means finding sitters for the appropriate amount of time and probably getting everything figured out 3 days to a week before the big date.
Then I thought, "How can I make this better?"
Instead of buying pre-coloured jumbo Popsicle sticks, I bought the plain ones. This was so I could have as many ideas for each category as I wanted. It also meant that I had a cleaner surface to write on and that they all looked pretty uniform.
However, the paint from my paint pens absorbed too well into the Popsicle sticks creating bleeding. I like sharp clean lines so I thought I would add some co-coordinating washi tape to decorate and hide the imperfections.
There, that looked better to me.
Then I wrote an unique date idea on a stick with the coordinating colour.
Next, I wanted to jazz up my mason jar with something more than hand written labels. I don't do scrap-booking however, I picked up a pre-made kit a while back at the dollar store to have on hand just in case. Low and behold, it had a lot of awesome-ness for this project. I created a lid label and a tag to hang on the mason jar explaining the gift.
After that, all that was left was putting it all together. From start to finish, this project probably took me 2 hours to do. (Including research) I would put a list of all 21 dates I included, but every couple has different interests and live in different areas that have a variety of things that are available to do. Instead I suggest just brainstorming yourself and make choices that would best fit your individual dating style. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, I am completely in love with this list of unusual date ideas. Some of my favourites include:
Go to your favourite book store and leave notes for future readers in copies of your favourite books.
Try to visit as many people in one night, and turn as many things upside down in their apartment as you can, without them noticing.
As a side note, I really hope we use this for many years to come. Because of it's simplicity, we can add new date ideas to the jar and take ones out that didn't work as planned. The whole project cost would have been about $25 if I had to buy everything new. However, the only thing I needed to get was the jumbo popsicle sticks as I already had the other materials. So this awesome anniversary present came to the big ticket price of $1.50. *Although some of the dates inside are pretty pricey so it's the most inexpensive, expensive gift ever.*
AND- if you don't feel like doing any of this yourself, let someone else do it for you with this great Etsy shop! Pre-made and ready to send.
Hope this gives some inspiration to light your fire and refuel your own dating relationship.
What's your carp ?