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Family Matters

12 Ways to Do Stay-In Date Night Right

Stay-close ways to spend alone-time together-without booking a sitter!

For nights when you don't want to get a sitter, take your stay-at-home date night game up a notch. Here are 12 creative ways to make that time after the kids are in bed feel a little more special.

1. Channel your inner child. Grab a box of crayons and buy few different adult coloring books-which are all the rage right now-here, here, or here. Then open a bottle of wine, get creative, and be sure to hang your masterpiece on the fridge for the kids when you're done.

2. BFF sleepover. Never get to see your favorite couple friends now that you both have kids? Invite them over with their kids for a giant sleepover. Once all the kids are in bed, have a grown-up meal, pop some popcorn, and pull out the old board games.

3. At-home happy hour. Create a cheese plate with fancier-than-usual cheese, pop some bite-sized apps into the oven, and pour a fancy bottle of wine into your best glasses. Next, dim the lights, put on some chill music, and pretend you're meeting your spouse for happy hour (extra credit if you dress up!). The best part about this date? The happy hour special never runs out.

4. Mix it up. Play mixologist for each other. Look up a few recipes beforehand and play around with different elements: spirits, bitters, mixers, infused ice cubes, and more. Don't forget the shaker!

5. Be zen. Melt away the week's stress with a 20-minute relaxation yoga session (yogadownload.com has free ones!) together followed up by a warm Epsom salt bath for those tired muscles. Add in robes, hot tea, foot rubs, and scented candles and this date night should have you feeling more than relaxed.

6. Get creative in the kitchen. Spend a night in Paris, Rome, Santorini, or Tokyo without leaving your house. Gather recipes and wine pairings from a specific country's cuisine, visit a specialty market for fresh ingredients, and cook up something exotic in the kitchen together. Rock, paper, scissors for dish duty.

7. Cozy up. Throw on your husband's worn-in, high school sweatshirt, bring the bedroom comforter into the living room, and get tucked into the couch for a movie marathon.  

8. Walk down memory lane. Pop some champagne and relive the best night ever by looking through your wedding album or watching your wedding video. Top it off by dancing to your first-dance song in the middle of your living room.

9. Ice cream social. Open up that ice cream maker you never use and make a fun flavor together. Chocolate with potato chips and nuts, strawberry with peanut butter and chocolate chips, vanilla with crushed up cookies and sprinkles-the possibilities are endless. Don't have an ice cream maker? Buy supplies to make an epic sundae. Pig out on the couch and don't tell the kids where the leftovers are.

10. Dance party. Make a playlist for each other with songs from different moments in your relationship. Jam out to the songs, dance, and laugh at old memories.

11. Indoor picnic. Who says you can't have a picnic in the middle of winter? Lay out a blanket in your living room and make your favorite picnic eats-double-decker sandwiches, pasta salad, lemonade, and more.

12. Create a shared bucket list. Pour your favorite beverage and talk about all the amazing things you want to do as a couple or family in the next few years. Bonus points if you actually make plans to do something from the list by the end of the night