Freelance Writer

Tag: sam dobson writes

5 Podcasts To Inspire Your Inner Boss Lady

5 Podcasts To Inspire Your Inner Boss Lady

I’ve been on a podcast kick lately. I think it’s because I’ve been putting as much free time as my baby will allow into my side hustle. Ever since my maternity leave came and went like a flash of light, I have been actively working […]

How To Let Go Of Working Mom Guilt

How To Let Go Of Working Mom Guilt

Today, I came home from work and immediately went to greet my beautiful baby, as usual. As my mother-in-law held her, my little one gave me a nice big smile and I held out my arms to her. She reached out and I grabbed her, […]

10 Unique, Low-Cost, At-Home Date Nights

10 Unique, Low-Cost, At-Home Date Nights

Having a baby brings so much joy, but it also brings all kinds of new challenges to a marriage. I’ve often preached about the importance of keeping the romance alive, and now that I’m a new mom this sentiment has taken on a whole new meaning. It’s no surprise that the first few months home with a new baby don’t offer a ton of opportunities for romance. In between the diaper changes and midnight feedings, you’ve got to find time for date night. I’m not talking about dinner with a party of six where conversation is flying in all directions. I’m talking about one-on-one dates with your boo. Setting aside quality time to spend with your hubby with no distractions is like an insurance policy for your relationship.

When you have a new baby, getting out for date night can seem damn near impossible. To make date night more feasible, stay in! Put the baby (or kids) to bed and crack open a bottle of wine to start the night off right. To keep these in-home date nights interesting, you’ll want to mix it up and try new things. Not only are in-home date nights more cost effective, but you can also get very creative. Here are some fun ways to make your date night romantic, entertaining, and low cost.

1cheap date night. Living Room Camping

This is one has sentimental value to me. When my fiance and I first started dating I was going through a rough time in general and the bad days at work didn’t help. When I’d had a particularly crappy day, I would come home to find a good old fashioned fort in the living room. The outside was made with sheets and furniture; inside he made a comfortable cushioned floor using pillows and comforters. We would take refuge inside the fort and forget about all of our problems. Don’t knock it until you try it! Light a fire or some candles to set the ambiance, roast some marshmallows, and tell ghost stories. How does that not sound like a good time?

2. Outdoor Dining

If you’ve got a backyard, use it! Set up a small table for two outside, complete with candles and a bottle of wine. Put on some nice background music and have a good old fashioned backyard dinner. It’s very romantic. Unlike eating on the patio of a restaurant with twenty other couples sharing your moment, this makes for a very private and intimate setting. Think your backyard or patio doesn’t have the ambiance needed for outdoor dining? An easy fix is to hang cheap outdoor lights. It’s amazing how one little detail can work wonders to set the mood.

3. Boudoir Photo Shoot

Okay, so if you are a little more on the reserved side (cough, prude, cough), this one may not be your cup of tea, but hear me out before you rule it out completely. Date night is supposed to be all out coming together with your significant other and getting intimate. I think this is pretty intimate, not to mention fun for all those involved. Start by choosing a designated back drop like a free wall, a hanging sheet, the bed, etc. Pick a few different pieces of lingerie to change into. Give your guy a camera (prob best if it’s not a camera phone, don’t want these pictures accidentally getting posted on Facebook or Instagram), and let him take control of the photo shoot. You’re the model, he is the director; or get behind the

cheap date nightcamera and flip the roles. Enjoy (insert winky face here).

4. Wine Tasting

If you and your guy are wine-os, you’ll love this one. Use your kitchen table, bar, or coffee table. Set out a few different bottles of wine and glasses. Make sure to set out some food that pairs well with what you’ll be drinking, think cheeses, veggies, bread, etc. No food equals getting drunk way too fast, passing out early, and a nasty hangover. That being said, take your time as you would if you were in Napa on a rustic vineyard. Swirl, sniff, sip, and then discuss your favorites. Obviously I am not well educated on wine specifics, but you don’t have to be to enjoy this. It’s just you and your boo, no wine snobs to make you feel dumb. If you are a wine snob, great! You’ll have fun with this one too and there won’t be any amateurs to slow you down. Remember to light some candles and put on background music!

cheap date night

5. Game Night

Game night can go one of three ways and I’ll leave it up to you to try one or all three. The first is nostalgia game night. Choose your favorite childhood board games (mine are Candy Land and Operation) and laugh at the memories over a bottle of wine or your favorite beer. The second is adult game night. This includes a more grown up version with games like Cards Against Humanity. The third is x-rated game night. Head on over to Amazon and search for an intimate adult game. There are tons to choose from involving blind folds, melted chocolate, and roll of the body part dice. Whether you choose PG, x-rated, or all three, game night with your handsome babe is sure to be loads of fun.

6. Project/Craft Night

cheap date night

With all of the hours we spend pinning cool crafts on Pinterest, this option seems very appealing. But please, for the love of god, do not make your significant other do something he will hate like knitting or scrap-booking. Choose a house project you’ve been meaning to get around to or a fun DIY you can both be involved in. Make sure this is an activity that interests BOTH of you, not just you and not just him. You’ll also want to make sure this is something that is more fun than it is hard work, remember you are doing this as a date. Order a pizza or take out, and of course you can add alcohol to the mix if you fancy. Put on your favorite Pandora station and get to work. My hubby and I worked on a monogram cork craft. It turned out awesome, and we had a pretty good time working on it together.

cheap date night

7. Do A Puzzle

At first thought you might write this one off, but when’s the last time you actually sat down to do a puzzle? We recently got a puzzle in the mail from Dowdle Puzzles and decided to bust it out for date night. We put a pizza in the oven, opened a bottle of wine (are you sensing a theme here?), and got to work. It was actually really entertaining, and I can be a bit competitive so I ended up getting totally sucked in, determined to finish it. The best part is the ability to hold a genuine conversation over a puzzle. We were able to really talk to each other, which is a luxury when you have kids.

8. Spa Session

cheap date night

I know what you’re thinking, “my manly man won’t even get in a bubble bath”. First of all, that sucks for him. Second of all, he will end up truly enjoying this one if he approaches it with an open mind. Okay ladies, don’t torture your men! No matter how tempting, no tweezing, waxing, or anything else that is painful and/or will change his appearance. That’s how you’ll send him running and screaming out of the bathroom.
Instead, make this a relaxation effort, not a make over. Run a warm bubble bath with salts and essential oils. While you’re waiting for the tub to fill, start with a face mask. I like the warming ones, they immediately send my mind into relaxation mode. Help your beau apply and rinse off his mask. Slip into the tub together and just relax and talk. For added romance, carefully place a few candles safely around the tub and bring a glass of wine (surprise, surprise, here’s the wine again) for each of you. Just don’t get so relaxed that you fall asleep, because after the tub you’ll want to move it into the bedroom and take turns giving each other back massages. Stop by a body shop like Bath & Body Works for some aromatherapy massage oil. Best spa session ever.

cheap date night

9. Cooking Class

I know I said “in home” and I meant it. When I say “cooking class” I don’t mean attending an actual cooking class, I mean doing your own cooking class with just the two of you. Choose a recipe from your favorite celebrity chef, or to make things really easy, order a meal in a box from Blue Apron. Work together to prepare the meal, and don’t be afraid to have some fun while cooking. Let’s be honest, when you have kids, indulging in anything other than Mac & Cheese can feel like a gourmet meal. Put on your aprons and help each other chop, season, and stir the ingredients. When you’ve completed your edible masterpiece, it’s time to dig in. Sit down to a table set for two and cheers each other to your cooking accomplishment.

10. Star Gazing

It’s back outside for this date night. Some times all you need is star-filled night sky to add that little extra bit of romance. If you have a cozy backyard (and ideally a fire pit to keep you warm), take a thermos filled with hot cocoa or spiked cider, a blanket, and your loved one to do some star gazing. Do some research before hand and make a game of trying to spot certain constellations. If you have an accessible roof that’s stable and flat, set up some lawn chairs and enjoy the view from up there. Just be sure to take caution when climbing up and down!

No matter what you choose to do on the rare date night, make sure you are focused on each other. Make it about you two and nothing else. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to try something new with your partner in crime. Maybe one of these unique date nights will start a spark and you’ll be truly glad you branched out. If nothing else, simply relish in some one-on-one time with your loved one.

For another simple at home date night idea, see my posts 20 Question Date Night and More Date Night Questions. And if you’ve got a sitter and are looking to get out of the house, check out these 5 budget friendly dates that are sure to be lots of fun!

What’s your favorite in-home date night activity? Give me the details in the comments section below!

***I received a Dowdle puzzle to try my hand at, and post about if I enjoyed it. I did, or else I wouldn’t be telling you about it. As always, I would never promote a product I didn’t believe in.

A Simple & Stress-Free Pregnancy Annoucement

A Simple & Stress-Free Pregnancy Annoucement

One of the most exciting parts of a pregnancy, is making the big announcement. Aside from revealing the gender (click here to see some super cute gender reveal ideas), announcing to the world that you’re expecting elicits the best kind of emotion and reaction from […]

How To Survive Traveling With A Baby

How To Survive Traveling With A Baby

Last Friday, my husband and I packed up the baby and all of her gear and headed out to the desert for the long weekend. We rented a house with a group of our closest friends, and planned to spend the whole time by the […]

The Roller Coaster of Motherhood

The Roller Coaster of Motherhood

It’s 9:30 in the morning, and I’ve just now gotten a moment to myself to drink my coffee and vent through the keyboard. Last night was rough, and this morning hasn’t been any easier. For whatever reason (everything’s a mystery these days), my seven month old was particularly fussy all night long. I woke up extra tired to a beautiful smiling baby. She’s always happy when she wakes, I figure it’s her apology for being such a pain in the ass at night. Well, this morning the happiness didn’t last.

The smiles faded before I could even get out of bed. We started our day with a serious case of fussiness. I attempted to distract her with her favorite movie (Finding Dory) while I quickly threw on some clothes and brushed my teeth. Not even baby Dory could make this kid happy today. We went downstairs where I set her down in her play yard with a few of her favorite toys. While I poured a much needed cup of coffee, she cried and demanded my attention. I set my coffee aside and pulled some pureed green beans out of the fridge. I attempted to feed her a food she usually quite likes, but she flailed her arms and batted the spoon away, making a nice little mess for mom to clean up.

Clean diaper? Check! Milk in her belly? Check! We tried Dory, we tried favorite toys, and we tried solid foods; all to no avail. Nothing left to do but make this kid take a nap. She cried and fussed as I tried to put her down and let her fall asleep on her own. You know, trying to create good habits. Well, good habits can suck it today. I picked up my hysterical baby, gave her one of her favorite pacifiers, and rocked her in my arms. She was out in less than a minute. Hallelujah! I carefully transferred her into her pack and play to sleep, turned the floor fan on high for white noise, and slowly backed away.

Now I sit at my desk, drinking my cold coffee and thinking about the roller coaster that is motherhood. As I opened my bloodshot eyes this morning, I told my husband “she’s sucking the life right out of me.” As I finished that sentence, I turned over to see my beautiful baby girl looking at me with the biggest smile spread across her face.  In that moment, I couldn’t have felt more love for her. Ten minutes later, and I was back to thinking “you’re killing me, kid.” And now that she’s sleeping peacefully and I’ve had thirty minutes of quiet, I look over at her and think “what an angel”.


This whole parenting thing really is like a roller coaster.

First you’re down, then you’re up, and before you know it, you’re down again. How quickly we go from silently pleading for some quality sleep, to happily thinking that it’s all worth it. No wonder so many moms suffer from the baby blues. The best thing to do is ask for help when you need it, and to remember that this crappy moment is temporary. Yes, more crappy moments will come, but so will the wonderful happy moments. Whether its an inconsolable teething baby, a poop blowout with only a few wipes left in the pack, or a mess of pureed green beans in your hair; try to remember that a happy moment is right around the corner. When my nerves are shot and I think I’m at my wits end, I try to remember that soon I will see that beautiful toothless smile and hear that adorable little giggle once again.

Oh! She just woke up. Duty calls.