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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

5 Fresh Date Night Ideas For Mom And Dad (Featured Guest Blogger)

5 Fresh “Date Night In” Ideas
I am honored to be featured on this amazing blog! I began Relentless at Heart on June 1 of this year and I have loved every minute of sharing life and ideas with my readers! There are so many gracious readers and fellow bloggers out there! I hope you enjoy reading my feature below but I hope you also can find time to check out more fun shares on my blog! Visit me by clicking HERE! Some of my readers’ favorite posts are shown below - click on each picture to visit that post individually!

baby blanket


Farm to Table

So what inspired this post…well my oh so handsome hubby and I have been married for 2 years come this October 19! We have a beautiful 7 month old baby girl who we adore with all our hearts. Being a parent is such a joy and celebration every day! But we have tried every day to be very intentional at keeping our husband and wife relationship as a focus. It isn’t always easy because of the parent guilt that I am sure we all experience and it isn’t always affordable. Ya know, those dates nights out like you did before aren’t always ideal. Even if you have to pay a babysitter or not, the cost to go to dinner and a movie for two is a small fortune! So why not get creative and have a date night in every once and awhile too!?! These next few minutes of your time will not be wasted because I am going to throw some 5 fresh date night in ideas your way! In no particular order of importance…

  #1 Guest Room Getaway with room service This idea my husband and I can now incorporate because we just moved into our first single family home and have a guest room. A guest room is a different room than you normally sleep in and we have tried to make ours an airy, rustic, and special space for family that visits because 99% of our family is out of town. So why wouldn’t we take advantage of the space from time to time. And to me, staying in a guest room is like a hotel (if you’ve done your room up right) so keep with the theme and order food in, so it feels like room service. How fun, right! No dishes, no fuss…just yummy food and some special one on one time with your honey! Here are some shots of our guest room charm we tried to incorporate for guests and ourselves! Keep in mind we moved in just a few weeks ago so we are still working on our reclaimed wood headboard - it will be a post on the blog soon! But we love our simple clean white bedding for our guestroom getaway. And it is all about the details - notice the shabby chic ladder as our towel and toiletry holder and WIFI password info! On the other side of the bed there is a vintage nightstand with bottled water and a yummy candle. All features we feel would be in a nice hotel so perfect for our guests...oh and the hubby and me on date nights in!

guestroom getaway

I understand not everyone has a guest or spare room so this idea isn’t totally all inclusive. But I have a solution! Take turns between you and your spouse making some element in your own bedroom special! Change up the bedspread or some décor in the room for a night, fill the room with candles and music, get in your jammies early and kick on some fun movie with yummy snacks! Essentially, just make it a special time in a special environment.

 #2 Sushi, Wine, and Games This fun idea I stole from a lovely co-worker of mine who said her friend and her husband do this for a date night in and I thought it was fabulous! My husband and I love sushi and have good memories of date nights out at fun places in St. Louis but now not so much time for that! But what is doable is our local grocery store – it’s kind of fancy – and has great pre-made sushi daily! So why not pick up some of those yummy sushi trays (and pay 1/3 of the price), grab a bottle of our favorite wine and once the lil one is asleep…break it out! And don’t stop at the sushi and wine time – extend the quality of time with some fun board game or card game together! And for the non-sushi lovers, the point of this date idea is getting something special and gourmet you might go on a date to get but pick it up for the date night in! It can even be a favorite restaurant you pick up an order from…because you still save on the tip and drinks by taking it home!

#3 DIY Date Not every couple might love doing fun DIY stuff at all or even together, but if you are crazy like my husband and I…here is an idea for you! We all always have projects we need to be doing around the house. So mix it up and find a fun creative DIY project - whether you go antique shop for a piece to use or having something old at home you aren’t using. Make sure you both WANT to do it so it isn’t a chore. And then set aside a night with some pizza and yummy drinks – because you need nourishment of course – and then get the project going! Make sure you always do before and after pictures too! Always fun to see the transformation.

  #4 Cooking Challenge This silly idea was born out of a time when my husband and I were watching the cooking competition show, Chopped. We were getting bored that night just sitting watching tv and we decided to take to the kitchen. If you have watched Chopped, they get random ingredients and are expected to make an appetizer, main course, and/or dessert. We decided to just do a dessert by picking 4 random ingredients – I think we used Rice Krispy treats, chocolate sauce, popcorn, and peanut butter. We each had 10 minutes in the kitchen in secret to do our prep/cooking. Then we exchanged our treats to see and taste our creations. It was so random and fun! My idea to elaborate on this would be to do 3 courses (appetizer, meal, and dessert) all as a Chopped challenge…sort of! So the wife chooses ingredients for an appetizer and her husband surprises her with a unique appetizer, the husband chooses ingredients for a dessert and his wife surprises him with a unique dessert, and then they collaborate and cook together based on a random selection of ingredients for the main meal. To help with ingredient combinations for all of the courses, see a couple suggestions of mine for each course below! * remember on Chopped and in your date version, you can use other ingredients in addition to the required…that helps make it a tad easier at times! Appetizer option #1 Bacon Honey Shrimp Red Pepper Flakes Appetizer option #2 Spinach Strawberries Fresh Jalapeños Candied Pecans Main Course option #1 Steak Poached egg Avacado French bread Hot Mustard Main Course option #2 Ramen noodles Mushrooms Cucumber Hot sauce Cashews Dessert option #2 Almonds Apples Chocolate Rum Dessert option #2 Oatmeal cream pie Raspberries Plain potato chips Whip cream

 #5 Recreate a “First” Don’t we all reminisce on our firsts together as a couple! But with this date, go beyond the brief mention in passing from time to time…attempt to recreate some first in your relationship at home! A few example ideas from my husband and mine’s relationship firsts… For our first date, we went to a St. Louis Cardinals game and he spoiled me rotten with awesome seats! So to replicate that, we could plan to make hot dogs, nachos, buy some beer to drink out of plastic cups and watch a game together with our ball park cuisine! Obviously a wedding is a first, so you can intentionally set aside some wine and chill time some evening to look through all your wedding pictures and/or watch your wedding video! These photos are two of my favorite memories - our pre-wedding letter exchange and then our pre-reception photo shoot! Loved those wedding moments with just the two of us...and the photographer!



 Honeymoon is another obvious first special moment together as a couple. No matter where you have been, you can find a way to recreate some portion of it! We went to Costa Rica so it is always fun to look through the photo album I made, maybe make some fun tropical drinks or wine to reminisce and find a fun moment in the photos to try and recreate in some way!

  DSC02144 DSC02183 

There are lots of more firsts in a relationship…so don’t be limited to these! Be creative and just enjoy the time alone reminiscing together! That about wraps it up! And notice all of these date night in ideas are in the evenings only…hence date “night”. It isn’t that kids wouldn’t be fun to share some of these times with…but it is so good to have just husband and wife time! So some of these might make for a later night, but it won’t hurt every now and then! What other ideas do you all have for fun and unique date night in ideas? And please don’t forget to pop by my blog to see more about my life and my tinkering ways at Relentless at Heart!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Simple Bird Themed Birthday (Baby Girls Turns One)

This secret to doing a birthday just right is keeping it simple, cheap and still making it feel extra special. This little cutie is only one years old and going all out and crazy on her birthday would not only wear mommy out but be to much for her as well. There are simple things you can do to make your toddlers special day amazing and memorable without going overboard. Thats part of why having a bird themed birthday is just perfect for a one year old. 

We started this little sweet girls day off with filling her crib with big yellow balloons. Then off to breakfast under a heaven of paper birds. Next, birthday photo-shoot of course! After a really good nap we were off to the Tracy Aviary for a fun filled afternoon with some feathered friends. Then we ending her special day back at home with some close friends and family and some very yummy pizza and a bird themed lemon poke cake. 

I kept the decorations cheap by printing out some different colored bird shapes and hanging them on the ceiling along with two paper bird houses I found at the dollar store. Then I put up some streamers for her to crawl under and through. 

She just loved coming into the dinging room and seeing all the little birds hanging from the ceiling on her special day. She stared at them the whole time while she ate her breakfast. 

Below is a FREE simple bird shapes printable. 
Just print it on different colored paper to add an extra fun touch.  

I like to keep birthday cakes simple, quick and cute. Anyone can make this bird themed cake with just a few little touches. To get the full Bird Themed Cake tutorial just click here

And of course she needed her own little high chair birthday banner right?! High chair birthday banners are a fun way to glam up those super cute birthday cake eating pictures. 

You can get this bird themed "ONE" banner right here just click on this link

We were at the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake City for almost three hours and she just loved every minute of it! Normally nothing keeps her attention that long. If you don't have a bird sanctuary near you try just your local duck pond. It will do the trick as well. 


Simple Bird Themed Cake

Special occasion cakes need to be... well kind of special. But Im not a cake decorator in any shape or form so that is why I try to keep things as simple as possible while still making it "special". 

I came up with this sweet little birdy cake for my baby girls first birthday and it was a hit. Plus no need for yucky fondant for this cake. 

Simple Bird Cake Decorating

For The Decorations You Need:
Wooden Skewers For The Birds
Chocolate Frosting In A Tube
Chocolate Sprinkles
Mini Eggs

1. Make and frost your favorite cake for the occasion. Then you want to first start with making your little nest. To do that just squeeze out round circles with the chocolate fronting in a tube to form the nest. 
TIP: No need to fill in the middle because your chocolate eggs will cover the bottom. 

2. Now simply shake the chocolate sprinkles over the nest to add texture like twigs and such. Now the nest are ready for you to add your eggs.  

3. When adding the birds to the top, glue two bird shapes together with the wood skewer in the middle. That way it has a little more support on the stick, plus it looks nicer. Also try staggering the birds on your cake to make it more visually interesting. 

You can use my bird printable here for the cake or just try to wing it on your own. I find it easier to have a template or outline to work with. 

To check out more fun things we did with this sweet bird themed birthday check out the birthday post here. And please share your pics on my Facebook page. I love seeing what you guys are creating.