Even Google wished me happy birthday!
Today is my birthday! Huzzah! Birthdays are supposed to be fun. It’s a day all to yourself, on which you get gifts and people spoil you and your husband take you out to dinner. When times are tight, however, it can be tempting to find the celebrations less than fun. It’s not hard to feel, sometimes, as though stuff = happiness, and if we can’t afford the stuff, we can’t buy happiness.
That is half true: you can’t buy happiness. You have to find it, and you need to invest time in doing so. All the marriage experts advise us to “date our mates“, but sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how to go on a date when you have kids, and very little else ;). So, here are my
Top 10 Tips for a FABULOUS Date Night
– no matter how tight your budget is.
Sleep overs rock
First things first: tonight is about you and him. Whether you’re staying in or going out, having a reliable, trustworthy person watching your angels will make the night a lot more fun for you. If you choose your babysitter well, the kids will be so excited to go, they’ll think it’s all about them! Everyone wins. We often call on my loving sister, who adores the girls and also gives them a night of fun and laughter while we’re out.
You’re making supper anyway, right? Add a couple of candles, some flowers and a little music, and it’s a date. Turn off the TV (and put away the computers), and spend some time reconnecting with your spouse.
We always eat less when we get take-aways than we do when we sit down in a restaurant. In fact, my very favourite way to spend Date Night is to split a Chetty’s Chicken Curry with my man – at home.
Coffee shop it
If you can run to it, it really is fun to get a little dressed up and go somewhere nice. Coffee shops often have a lovely ambience, and for some reason bought coffee always tastes nicer, no matter how good my at-home brand may be. There’s no need to order a bang up meal with cake and lots to drink. A cup or two of coffee (find a pace that does bottomless!) provides a sense of luxurious leisure, and a stress-free zone to catch up with your man.
Desserts: stressed spelled backwards for a good reason!
Perhaps you could just go out for a piece of cake (if you’re not gluten intolerant 😉 ) or some fruit salad. Frozen yoghurt or smoothies or good, old-fashioned ice cream. “Date” doesn’t have to mean “dinner”. And let’s be honest, aren’t desserts the whole point, after all?
Movies at home (or YouTube)
Movies are loads of fun. Papa Bear and I love a rollicking action flick or a side-splitting comedy. We often play something light in the background while we work at night. Date night is an opportunity to engage in the movie (and each other) a little more, without the distractions of work and kids and technology. If you have the bandwidth, look up comedians on YouTube and explore new territory. Enjoy laughing together, holding hands and just being together.
Picnics and outings
A picnic costs nothing. Well, nothing more than lunch, which you were going to have anyway. There’s little in the world to compare to the happy ease of sitting outside, enjoying the gorgeous weather and just being.
Scrabble. Cranium. 30 Seconds. The art of combat is ignited, battles are fought and won (by me!) and in the process we laugh and chat and reconnect.
Is there something you both feel passionate about? Why not take a couple of hours to make a difference in your community, and at the same time get closer to one another? It’ll be fun!
Every night could be date night
We’ve found that any night that sees the kids in bed and us together – maybe on the couch sharing a cup of cocoa, or sitting at the desk together while we both work, with comedy on in the background, can be “Date Night” if you choose to see it that way. Quality time is a love language because it really is a way to express love – even if not a word is spoken.
The real key to having successful dates on a regular basis is to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way. View the challenges as part of the adventure. View the easy patches as a welcome (and deserved) reprieve. Above all, laugh together, and enjoy one another.
And don’t forget to DATE YOUR MATE as often as you can.
Lots of love,
This week, Goldilocks hit double digits! I can’t believe we now share a house with a TWEEN – and I really can’t believe that I’ve been a parent for so long. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and a wonderful privilege.
Her Ladyship had a whole day of activities planned. For one thing, she was very specific about the kinds of food we should have: fudge, birthday cake (WITH frosting!) and, of all things, lasagne. How could I achieve all of this on SCD? And would there ever be enough for all of us?
I was worried.
I had thought to use the food preparation part of the day as a substitute for school, since we would surely all be learning a lot from the process. However, this idea was thoroughly vetoed by Goldilocks, who was determined to wake up to a surprise birthday cake, as is our family tradition.
As a result, I was up till 2am making meringues, fudge, birthday cake (with frosting), and chocolate. On the day, I made cheese crackers and lasagne. All of it was a resounding success, with left overs to last nearly a week! We had such fun: playing scrabble and monopoly (I was thoroughly trounced in both!), then hosting an elaborate tea party for Grandpa, followed by delicious lasagne and The Hunchback of Notre Dame II.
Everyone was satisfied and, in fact, full for the first time since we started this nutritional adventure. And three days later, none of us has yet had an adverse reaction.
Recipes to follow.
What an amazing milestone, Goldilocks. I’m so proud of you!
Another busy weekend. We haven’t stopped, and the pouring rain hasn’t helped, either. DH is still under the weather, but thanks to the awesome GNLD vitamins the girls and I are taking, we’re ok. (Normally it’s the other way around!) He will insist on only taking one a day, whereas the rest of us take as many as we need to stay well.
Anyhoo, today it’s his birthday. We were supposed to be going to Nottingham Rd after Church for baby cousin’s fourth birthday (already!) but between the rain and the flu and the realisation that we’d only get there after 1pm, only to have to turn around and come back an hour later, we decided to stay in. I’d baked macaroons (remember I raved about those in May?) to take along, and we had a chocolate cake and crisps. So we improvised a little birthday party, with candles and singing and cake and crisps, and even a present (a Sharks jersey, of course!).
Then we all huddled under a blanket and watched massive amounts of TV. It was awesome.
Happy Birthday, my love.
Wow! I can’t believe my sweet little baby girl is nine years old. It’s hard to comprehend, frankly! For her birthday, we took her to Spur in Hillcrest with a few of her closest friends. I will definitely be doing that again! For starters, because the girls are Spur Secret Tribe members, and because we hadn’t redeemed DD#2’s birthday voucher yet, they both ate for free. The other kids cost me R34/head, including meal, desert and party pack. AND I didn’t have to clean up! Score!
The exquisite cake was provided by uber-talented Bronwen (ask me for her details – she’s amazing). It was a castle with a dragon out front, as requested by the Dragonish Goldilocks. And the totally brilliant invitations were written, designed and created by yours truly. I totally rock, too!
Poor DH was sick and spent the day in bed, but the rest of us had a blast.
The highlight for the birthday girl was that her BFF from Scotland not only came to the party, but had a sleepover during the week, too – AND I kept HRH out of school for the day as well, since it’s a really big deal when your BFF from Scotland spends the night for the first time in 2 years!
All-in-all, it was fabulous, and I still can’t believe I’m the mother of a nine-year-old.
This evening we had a Royal Extravaganza at the home of DD#2’s BFF. The girls’ birthdays are 6 days apart, and they share friends to a large extent. We’ve often organised their birthdays as a joint affair, and this year was no different.
We had cute little invitations (which I made painstakingly, and which we forgot to hand out!), and everyone had to dress like a Princess. (Only one mommy did, though. Kudos, Tracey. Loved the fluffy slippers).
Come to my Party - more useful if printed and distributed 🙂
Looking at the invite again, I can why it may have been “forgotten”.
Our very clever and talented friend Heather made a stunning cake, which I sadly did not photograph. I’ll have to see if BFF’s mummy has a pic of it anywhere.
All in all, it was a lovely way to celebrate the birthdays of two very special little ladies. I can’t believe how fast they’re growing up.
(And my little princess is most perplexed at her lack of loose teeth, hee hee).
I can’t believe my baby angel is six! Today is that day and she is over the moon! We went to Spur with her granddad, as you may recall. I spent half the night making what turned out to be a not-terribly-pretty mermaid cake, and I don’t even have a photo to show for it. My darling little girl LOVED it and was so excited to be the centre of attention at school.
Everyone sang to her and blew out candles and she feels most pomp-and-circumstanced. Her party is next weekend, with her BFF. They’re having a most elegant Royal Dinner, and no boys are allowed. Cute, right?
I still can’t believe my baby is 6! How did that happen, and where have I been?
The girls and I had such a lovely lunch with DH’s dad today. For reasons that don’t really bear repeating (but which have been recorded nonetheless, just in case), DH wasn’t there. But we had fun. The girls LOVED the outing, and afterwards we went to see some new release (can you believe I’ve already forgotten it’s name?). It was a sequel, an hilarious. We all loved it.
What a fun day and great pre-birthday outing for DD#2. Just wish her daddy could’ve been there, too.