Last Friday, Mike and I were able to sneak away for a quick date.
I made us a simple dinner before we left – fettuccine noodles tossed with braised red onions and kale, marinated mozzarella, and kalamata olives – one of my old standbys. I had a fresh loaf of bread and some homemade dipping oil to go with it. (To make my favorite dipping oil I combines EVOO, basalmic vinegar, fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, and garlic.)
As much as I love to go out to eat, sometimes we have to get creative about how to make a date night possible on a limited budget. Eating at home saves us money, is healthier, and allows us to stick to our budget – even for dates!
A local orchard recently built a beautiful new barn on their property to serve wine and cider made from the fruit grown in their orchards. We stumbled upon this discovery earlier this fall when we were looking for an affordable weekend activity for the family and checked out the orchard during peak apple picking season. I’ve been wanting to visit their cider barn ever since, and it seemed like a nice way to get out together without spending too much.
The barn overlooks the beautiful orchard, but since it’s winter in Ohio, it was pitch black when we arrived. The barn itself is beautifully built and modernly decorated.
Their wine wasn’t ready, so we did a sampling of their cider. I wasn’t sure that I would like it but it turned out to be fantastic with interesting flavors and a light, refreshing taste.
Mike and I enjoyed sitting together in our quiet surroundings. Sometimes it’s just nice to be quiet together when life around you feels so hectic and crazy.
We talked about our week, the good and the bad. I felt a little scattered, like I couldn’t focus on one topic for more than three minutes. I was feeling the effects of homeschool brain big time. It’s requiring all my brain power and presence of mind, and I’m constantly rerouting, regrouping, re-re-re. I explained this to Mike with a little embarrassed half apology. I’m not usually scattered.
“It’s ok babe,” Mike said to me. “I’m used to it. I teach 6th graders.”
We both laughed, because it’s true and what else are you going to do? Life is funny.
We didn’t stay too long. We were both tired and were ready to get home and into comfy clothes for the evening.
We returned home and while I cleaned up the kitchen quick I also made a batch of browned butter rice crispy treats with cracked sea salt (yes. THEY WERE AMAZING. Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.) We settled onto the sofa to watch some Netflix and unwind.
It’s funny. When we were first married, all I wanted to do was get out of the house. I wanted to go on dates, go out to eat, and be on the go as much as possible. But we couldn’t, because we were poor college kids.
As time has gone by, I still want to go on dates and I still love going out to eat. But now there is a new sweetness in just being home together. In our home. In this home. The home that we’ve made together.
Dates are important. But not nearly as important as simply enjoying being with the one you love. When you can do that, it doesn’t matter where you are – it’s always a date.