Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Hand Modeling, Date Night & Mega Mind

Date night is a state of mind.

Sure, it's fantastic to hire a babysitter, leave the house and explore the world out there without four needy children in tow. Actually, I think it's a must for all parents! But, if you are like us and have been taking advantage of this wonderful concept of leaving your children with a responsible teenager a little to often, then you know it adds up quick. After the monthly tally of nights out starts to get high and we realize how much we have spent, we don't give up on our time alone, we get creative! We are selfish. Date night out isn't enough. We also like to have a few date night in's.

Like I said, date night is a state of mind!

We are blessed to have a wonderful downstairs area in our house that allows us to say phrases like, "You're driving me crazy, everyone downstairs. Now!" Phrases like that tend to leave my mouth between the hairy hours of 4 and 6. All you parents know of the "hairy hours." Why the heck is everyone in such a horrible mood between the hours of 4 and 6?

"You had a nap, I gave you a snack, you have more toys to play with than you should, and the darn t.v. is on. What is your problem? Snap out of it!"

So after a loud (okay screaming level), "Enough. Get downstairs. I can't take it anymore!" I quickly follow it with a quiet, sweet, soft sing-song voice saying something like, "you will have fun using your imagination! I'll call you up as soon as dinner is ready, love you! " I'm hoping that the later phrase will be the one that sticks in their mind years down the road and not the former freaked out mom yelling in her high-octave voice. The odds are they are bound to remember a few, but best to limit them as much as possible!

Saturday was going great. Beautiful weather, relaxing, enjoyable. We got a late start, which we love. Slept in, had a nice big breakfast and then headed to Denver. We had some errands to run, but more than anything it was nice to get out. It was nice for about three hours. Then the kids were getting antsy, tired, hungry. They began fighting, yelling, hitting, and protesting about being in their seats any longer. After they got over their frustration caused by being shut up in the car for hours on end, they decided it would be a good idea to unite together in song. On the third round of jingle bells, Erik and I looked at each other and said, "date night!"

After that, it was very easy to drown out the noise in the backseat. We were focused on the night that was ahead. We started planning! Elaborate steak dinner that we would prepare together in peace and quiet. Dessert. Movie. Wine. The perfect night in!

We break the news to the kids. We go about it in a very manipulative enthusiastic way. "Guess what kids, you get to have a movie night! We are going to buy you a new movie, you get to have pizza and popcorn and your very own bottle of juice!"

We understand that the years of excitement over this kind of party are soon coming to an end. A bottle of juice will get us the "are you kidding me," look. And we will no longer be able to get off that cheap.

Making water the only drinking option in our house is not only for health purposes. It's so we have a bribe in our pockets at all times. We are very aware of sugar's highly addictive properties and in certain situations it lends itself to some amazing benefits. "Juice, juice, who wants juice? Okay then, but you have to stay in the basement the whole night!"

The popcorn was popped, the movie went on, the rules of the night were implemented and the gate went up!

For those of you that want to judge us right now, you might be in need of a date night!

They have food, shelter, bathroom facilities, entertainment and a fierce guard dog. We have no guilt.

Okay, so we were interrupted a few times during our date, but again it's a state of mind. We quickly tended to the need and then pretended like it never happened.

Just because I don't love to cook doesn't mean I can't. Cooking all a sudden becomes a fun, exciting, joyous adventure instead of daunting task.

Yes, we cooked enough food to feed an army. We were excited. We went a little overboard.

The stuffing for the mushrooms

My favorite way to eat broccoli, roasted!

Extra garlicky

Ceaser salad

Juicy, fatty, amazing steak

One of the things I really dislike is cutting onions. It's just painful. But, I came up with a solution. I keep these babies in my knife drawer.

I know it's geeky
But, it totally works. See, no tears!

Date night is always an option if you get creative!

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  1. Okay, I'm seriously jealous of you basement. That is like a dream of mine to have. But our world has changed a little since we got a tv in our room. Definitely helps! And all I have to say is holy cow food! You guys could have fed an army! So much fun! Date nights in are the best!

  2. PS: You look like Bailey with those googles on! I had no idea that worked! Thanks for the tip!

  3. I'm with Heather....really quite jealous you have such an awesome basement! I'm totally stealing your water only idea (we have a diet soda issue in my house). And I totally need those goggles! Love the post once again!

  4. I'm with you on the water only idea. I love pulling out the capri sun treats!! WOW we get a capri sun?? And I am also very jealous of the basement. We live in a one bedroom 900 sq ft tiny place. My only saving grace is the 500sq ft deck right off the kitchen but it only works in nice weather. Can't wait to see you again, love reading your posts:)

  5. Date Night is the best ;) I hope my kids remember my "sing-song" voice too, because I do the same thing!! Also, great food pics :) especially the palms full of juicy steak- you crack me up lady!

  6. Perfect movie for the kids! That movie is SO darn FUNNY! And I love Matty's face the BEST! Those hands LOOK like professional model hands!...really, they do!! :-) What a great date night!!! Made me want to eat with you!!!! And you look so cute w/ the goggles...I'm sure Erik was totally turned on. hehe. LOVE the blog!!!

  7. Date night is overdue at our house! Looks like it worked out great! Love that goggle idea--have to try it next time. I tried burning a match or candle next to the onions when I'm cutting them but it doesn't always work. Great movie too! Kudos to you!

  8. So your post totally reminds me of a date night in that Rod I had many many years ago (before kids) we were too broke to go out. I raced home from work and managed to find some chicken and a box of shake and bake! When he got some I was waiting at the door with a dish towel over my arm, in between totally cracking up I offered to take his coat and show him to his table. I had prepared menus listing wonderful options all crossed out leaving only the "special". He totally played along and we were cracking up the whole time. We eat our nasty chicken and then I presented him with two tickets to the "theater" we grabbed a blanket cuddled up on the couch and watched "Titanic", it was one of our best date nights ever!

  9. Hilarious!
    When we were saving up for our daughter's adoption, we did date nights "in" for a whole year. We'd feed the kids and put them to bed -- you're a much nicer mommy. Then, we'd cook a late night dinner, eat it in front of the fireplace and play battleship. Really. Once I only missed 11 times! Maybe we played too much battleship.

  10. What a neat trick with the onions!! They always make me tear up SO bad...I'll have to give that a try next time I attempt to cook. :)

  11. Wow. Can I come over on date night?

    I really, really, really need a downstairs like that.

  12. I adore Matthew's face at the bottom of the stairs. He cannot hide his feelings about date night. I love that you put the gate up and I don't judge you at all, however, I would like to be invited to date night sometime, if that's all right. The food looks amazing and I would just really like to see you cut onions in goggles in person.

  13. I'm a huge fan of date nights in, and here's a post for more ideas:

    Another way to cut down on babysitting costs if you're yearning for a date night out is to organize a parents night out group - it's simply a group of friends that take turns watching the kids!

  14. I love it! The "fierce guard dog" actually caused me to laugh out loud - so cute there on the couch!

    My parents used to flip it on us. They'd send us off to bed and then go watch a movie in the basement together. I distinctly remember having to call down from the top of the stairs, or flick the light switch, to let them know my brother
    1. wasn't feeling good,
    2. was annoying me,
    or just to ask
    3. can we at least stay up and read in bed?

    All three of these things were pretty much just to be annoying, myself, as my brother and I ONLY had difficulty falling asleep when it was obvious our parents wanted some alone time.

    ...damn. I guess I'm asking for it when I have my own kids!

  15. So cute! I am lucky to have a basement playroom where all three are playing, somewhat quietly, as we speak. Ahhhh.

    I am also lucky that my kids go to bed pretty early, so if my husband and I are so inclined, we can put them to bed and have dinner and whatever else after! Probably won't last too much longer as they are growing so fast!

  16. Love the googles!!!! We do this with our kids all the time and they are 8!!! We use TV like you use juice boxes. So anytime we want a date night in or to have another couple over for dinner we simply feed them early and then tell them they can watch TV upstairs for TWO HOURS! They go crazy!!

  17. Oh, I absolutely love this. A little creativity is all it takes. And the goggles? BRILLIANT! I need them, desperately.