So if you read my last post, Six Years: Four Lessons: One Marriage, you know that my husband and I just celebrated six years of marriage on April 6th. If you haven’t read that article, allow me to plug myself real quick. I would highly suggest going and reading it. I went over the four main things I’ve learned along the way in my marriage and I really strived to be as honest and raw as possible, even if it was kind of hard to talk about.
Anyways, I started to wonder how we were going to celebrate properly with all this COVID-19/quarantine stuff going on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m like the queen of in home dates, but man, we are running out of ideas, and man, am I getting sick of being indoors. This date really needed to feel special, too, since it’s our anniversary. So because it’s my turn to plan date night, I began brainstorming things we could do that would make our night still feel special.
He came home and surprised me with my favorite color of flowers, my favorite Starbucks drink, and my favorite ice cream flavor. I’m a lucky girl.
If you’ve read any of my date night idea articles before, they have definitely been adult rated dates. No, I don’t include anything provocative in them, so don’t get excited. It’s just not the kind of date you’d want your high schooler to participate in, generally speaking. When I went to plan this date, I started to think about previous anniversary dates we’ve had and I began to see a pattern. Unlike our Valentine’s dates, which are very romantically charged, our anniversary dates tend to be just an incredibly fun adventure. From going to the Mall of America to staying overnight in a random place to having a staycation and exploring our local surroundings. So with this new realization I set out to plan a really fun date. I really hope this gives you things to do and gives you something to look forward to as well. This really helped me.
Making A Pizza
There are very few memories I actually enjoy reliving from childhood, but making pizzas with my family of origin is one of them. I remember my step-dad would always make the dough and he was so happy doing so. He would get it all stretched out by tossing it up into the air and catching it with his fists a few times. By the way, is that even a real thing? I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the only reason he did that was to have us in awe of him. At any rate, he would get the dough stretched out for each of us and then we’d pile our pizzas with whatever toppings we wanted. I’m not even sure if our pizzas tasted good, but I do remember how fun the process was. That’s how making pizzas together became a thing that I thought would bring us great joy on our date and I wasn’t wrong.
Pro Tip #1: Buy a premade crust
Okay I know I just told you my favorite thing about this whole process as a kid was watching my step-dad make the dough, but the key word here is watching. I love to WATCH people make food. At first I tried really hard to find a quick, simple recipe for pizza dough but as much as I tried I couldn’t find one to fit my needs. To be honest though, I wasn’t too upset about it. I’m not a cooker or baker, so while I was buying toppings for our date I also picked up some premade crusts.
The crusts I bought for date night came with normal marinara sauce, but I decided to buy another jar for Jordan in case he needed more. He did not need more. What comes with the crust was more than enough unless you like extra sauce like me. Also, since I made a breakfast pizza, I used an alfredo sauce as my base instead of traditional sauce.
When I asked Jordan what he wanted on his pizza, I expected him to say something fun, like pickles which are his favorite food, but no. My husband went with one of the most generic pizza possible, sausage. Plain ol’ sausage. What the heck. So in the end he made a regular sausage pizza and I made a fantastic sausage BrEaKfAsT pizza! Also, I’m obsessed with breakfast. Both pizza’s turned out great and I would highly recommend using the crusts we did. The crusts cooked fast and were super easy to use, we got ours at Aldi.
Pro Tip #2: Cook the ingredients beforehand
I don’t know if this is common sense and can be left unsaid or not, but since I’m not much of a cooker, I thought I’d add it in for all my fellow “box cake” mama’s or papa’s out there.
This activity takes a little pre planning, because not only will you need time to cook the toppings before you get started, you’ll also want to leave enough time for the items to become cold again. Yes, I said cold. Not cooled down. Not lukewarm. Refrigerator cold. If you put hot or warm food on your crusts and then put it in the oven, the toppings may become overdone or burnt. If you don’t cook the food beforehand, you risk your toppings being raw or the crust being burnt because you had to cook your pizza so long to get the top up to temperature. Think about the oven time as you warming up your food not actually cooking it.
Gosh, thinking about this is making my mouth water. They were SO good!
In hindsight, pizza making was my favorite part of this date. In this activity I was able to nourish the creative part of me which, in all transparency, is kind of being neglected at the moment, but we were also able to talk freely and eat the end result. Does it get much better than that? The answer is no. No, it doesn’t.
I’ve done this in another date too, but that was before I started documenting our fun times for all you lovely people. So I thought I’d circle back around and explain how we got there and why I thought this would be a good idea.
I absolutely love having picnics. I think they are one of the most peaceful things to do under the right circumstances. There are a few things that get in our way when it comes to us having a traditional picnic for one of our dates. First, let me start off with the obvious, COVID-19. We can’t go anywhere or do anything right now. At least not until the safety of our country is restored. Secondly, even if life was back to normal we would have to hire a babysitter or have the meal in our backyard. If I’m being honest, I hate being outside in our neighborhood. We are in a super busy part of town, so I feel like everyone is watching us when we’re outside, and I happen to live in one of the worst parts of our town too, which doesn’t help. Lastly, I live in Iowa, and it’s the beginning of April, so it is still super cold when the sun goes down. So no thanks. I don’t like to be cold. I picked a great state to live in, huh?
Our picnic included our pizzas, potato salad, a meat and cheese tray, sparkling cider, and cheesecake. Also don’t mind Juniper’s mess in the background. We’re on quarantine so we are staying a little messier than normal.
I came up with a pretty bomb solution if I don’t say so myself. We were going to have an indoor picnic. I grabbed some blankets, threw them on the floor along with an excessive amount of food, and that’s where we ate and I really enjoyed it.
Pro Tip #3: Turn off the lights and get some lit candles
In the first date I tried this, I wanted us to be in more of a romantic atmosphere. So I “set” the mood, and shut off every single light I could and lit every single candle we owned, which was a lot. It turned out super cute though, and gave it the super sexy, romantic vibe I was looking for. As for this time though, I wanted to create a more of a friendly feel so I left the lights on and no candles were burning.
Also, something that probably isn’t necessary for you to know, but I’m going to tell you anyways. I LOATH eating in the dark. That one time we did have a candlelit picnic, while it was cute, made me very uncomfortable.
The Not So Newlywed Game
So I got this idea from The Love Nerds and I’ll link it for you. On their website it states this game can be played as a couple or at a game night with multiple couples, so it is versatile which is kind of cool. I did not read the directions for a multi-couple game though, so if that is something you are interested in, I would suggest going to their website, which is linked above, and looking into it.
Pro Tip #4: Use my directions
As I was initially reading the directions for this game I thought it sounded easy enough, I mean they even provided you questions for free. I now understand why we got so confused while playing the game, though. I have read through the directions again and I’m going to try to explain the game as clearly as possible so hopefully you are able to play more effectively. Also we made some slight changes to our game that made it a little more fun that I’m going to include for you.
Not So Newlywed Game
- After you print the list of questions they provide you, cut out said list and place the slips of paper into a bowl.
- Now pick ten different slips, one at a time, out of the bowl and write down how you would answer each question. Make sure you keep the questions in order, that will be important later in the review.
- Once you have gone through all ten slips, your partner is going to guess how you answered each question. Whoever has the most questions correct wins. They also list a ton of questions so feel free to play multiple rounds.
Questions: What was the the first gift you ever gave your spouse?
My answer: I gave him a pack of burnt CD’s
*Nine other questions later*
Jordan would now try to guess my answer. He doesn’t necessarily want to guess the right answer. Jordan needs to try to guess what I wrote down.
He says: You gave me a pocket knife first.
While this answer is also, technically correct, he got it wrong because it’s not what I had written down.
Jordan and I played three rounds in the end before we moved on. We probably would have been done playing after the first round, but we kept ending in a tie. I said it above and I’ll say it again, the directions The Love Nerds have on their website confused me so much. We actually started to get super frustrated while playing, so go to the website I linked above to read the multi-couple directions or to print the questions off. Do not try to play this game on their directions alone. Come back to my site and read the directions and personal modifications that made this game a lot more fun to play.
I know what you are probably thinking, “Mallory, you already told us about your Youtube dance fiasco in ‘Valentine’s Day.’ Are you seriously trying again?” Yes, I sure did tell you about that epic fail of a time we had a couple months back, but this isn’t like that story. This time no instructor was trying to help us, there weren’t any confusing dance move, the furniture didn’t get in the way, and my feet stayed smooshed free!
As far as I can remember, wherever we are that year, we play our wedding song on our anniversary while we slow dance like a couple of middle schoolers. It’s just him and I and an amazing song. It is so special to me for multiple reasons, obviously it’s my wedding song, duh. By the way, quick side note, I’m not really sure what defines your “wedding song” but to us it’s the first song we ever danced to as a married couple.
Anyways, I remember this being the last “important” number we needed to figure out for our day to be complete, but every song we came up with just felt wrong. Then one day Jordan came home from work, showered, and said “Hey I think I found a song that may just be perfect, come here.” At that moment, he grabbed me and we slow danced to “When I Said I Do” by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black for the first time. I fell in love all over again and every time since then too. Whenever I hear it playing, it reminds me of how he feels about me and how he feels about our commitment we made to each other. It’s a beautiful thing.
The first time we ever danced to our song as a married couple, featuring my bridesmaid, Amanda, in the background.
Pro Tip #5: Have a tradition
You don’t have to highschool slow dance to your wedding song like we do, but I would encourage you to start some kind of tradition if you don’t have one. I love having something to look forward to, and I love being able to look back and remember all the times we’ve had since we last danced together. It’s so special and I love it so much
That’s our anniversary date. If I’m being honest it wasn’t the grandest date I’ve ever put together, and it wasn’t the greatest date I’ve ever been on, but I think given the circumstances (COVID-19) it was pretty fantastic and fun. That’s what I was going for, right? I hope you guys enjoyed.
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