I need this list as much as you do. Between limited time, energy and finances, date night can feel like a distant fantasy. For parents, the cost of childcare alone makes date night feel burdensome. Yet date night must happen for the sake of your relationship. I came up with a list of 10 ideas for at home dating. Check them out!

1) My in-laws had date night every Friday night.  Movie, popcorn and a bottle of champagne – all in bed. Simple, intimate, fun.

2) Cook together. If you have kids, try to send the kids to a sitter if possible. Choose a recipe with flavors that appeal to your senses – think sexual. Something velvety? Robust? Silky? Savory? Pair this with a nice wine or favorite beverage. Don’t forget the senses of sight and sound – choose the right lighting and music. Eat slowly. Enjoy your sensual experience.

3) If it’s been a hectic day and energy is limited, do a puzzle together. Working on a puzzle can bring you both calm and focus. Shared quiet time can feel intimate and connecting.  Drink some tea, listen to soothing music and wind down together.

4) Recently, at a bar, I had a fantastic margarita that I now plan to replicate on cocktail date night! Convert your kitchen counter to a mini bar and learn to make cocktails at home!  Take turns playing bartender. You will need some basic bartender supplies such as a shaker, strainer, shot measure, ice and a bartender’s guide. Drinks anyone? Don’t forget to tip your hot bartender!

5) Strip poker. ‘Nuff said.

6) Get creative with the dinner and movie standard. Think far away places like Spain, Italy or France. Watch foreign films such as Volver, Cinema Paradiso or Amelie and prepare foods that link to your films country of origin.  Example: for dinner, cook a fresh pasta dish paired with an italian wine or serve desserts such as cannoli accompanied by espresso or an italian liqueur. If needed, simplify further and order take out. Challenge yourselves to stick to your theme.

7) In our home, baseball is our favorite sport to watch. Get into your competitive spirit for sports date night! Don your favorite team’s jersey, serve up sinful snack foods and root for your favorite players.

8) Share your date night with other couples.  Game night offers a simple, fun and lively time for all.  Pair up with your partner or purposely compete against each other. Most importantly, enjoy your friends, enjoy each other and have fun.

9) Watch stand up comedy. I don’t know about you but I love to laugh. Choose a few of your favorite comedians and bring them home via DVD or online. Feel your intimate connection through shared laughter. Buy a joke book and take turns reading it aloud – an easy and interactive alternative to video.

10) Dance.  That’s right. Put on some music, fast, slow, whatever fits your mood and dance. If free style feels too intimidating, rent an instructional dvd and try something new – salsa, swing, waltz, tango. The nice thing about video is that you can hit rewind often! Two left feet? No worries, this is not a competition. Dance brings in new energy and an opportunity to learn something together.

I admit that I had fun putting this list together. It forced me to get my own creative juices flowing. I’m ready for date night, are you? If you have at-home date night ideas, I’d love to hear from you, just share them in our comments section!

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