Date Night—No Reservations Required

 

DIY Pizza Night

 

 

Turn the kitchen into a pizzeria, complete with drippy wax candles and checkered tablecloths. Make individual pizzas to suit your tastes. You’ll need some toppings separated into bowls (try a variety of sauces, cheeses, veggies and fruit, and meats), two portions of dough, and two baking sheets or pizza stones. To make your own dough, plan ahead one hour so it has time to rise, or take the easy way out and buy it at your grocery store. Once you’ve kneaded out the dough (don’t worry about a perfect circle) and topped the rounds with your choice of ingredients, pop them into the oven and wait for the crusts to start to brown and the cheese to bubble. Presto!

 

 

 

His & Hers Double Feature

 

 

He picks his movie. She picks hers. Before you press play, make popcorn and set out other theater-style snacks to munch on during the movies. Bring out plenty of blankets and pillows for the couch before you settle in for the evening. Throw on a comfy sweater and a pair of soft leggings.

 

 

Game On

 

 

Games aren’t just for kids—kick date night up a notch with some healthy competition. Think: poker, a silly truth-or-dare board game, a video game; as long as you’ll laugh over it, it’s perfect. Lay a soft blanket on the floor and set out the games. Keep score on a pad of paper—loser has dish duty!

 

 

Break a Sweat

 

 

Don your play clothes for this date night. After all, a couple that sweats together stays together, right? Warm up with a short jog around the neighborhood to get the blood pumping. Then return to the house to attack your list of moves. Try a rotation of jumping jacks, sit-ups, lunges, push-ups, and planks. Take turns holding each other’s legs steady during the sit-ups. Finish the workout with a few soothing yoga moves, focusing on breathing and form, and relax with a post-workout snack.

 

 

Picnic Indoors

 

 

Bring the picnic inside during the cold winter months (and leave the ants behind). Cozy up on the floor—no shoes allowed—on a pallet of blankets and pillows. Pack a picnic basket with your dining essentials, including cheese, fresh fruit, and fresh bread. Feel free to feed each other. Yes it’s goofy, but it’s not something you’d do with just anyone. Fill an ice bucket with the beverages of your choice so there’s no running back and forth to the kitchen. If you’re able to set up by a fireplace, bring s’mores supplies for a yummy treat. Use shish kebab skewers to toast the marshmallows, and keep a stack of chocolate bars and graham crackers in the picnic basket.

 

Control Your Kudos!

Compliments—they’re everywhere! And sure, it feels good to give ’em, but receiving them has perks, too. Research shows that they can not only boost your confidence and task performance but also ease bad moods. So why not snag some accolades for yourself? Here’s how.

Manipulate your family. Relax, it’s for good, not evil: Whether you cook dinner once a week or every night, plan meals with your kids and significant other. You’ll be sure to serve up hits and get praised in the process. Who knows, maybe they’ll offer to clean up afterward.

Brighten up. Wash your tablecloths, shower curtains, sofa throws, and comforters with laundry detergent that will help maintain their brightness and freshness. Visitors will give you props for having such a sparkling home (and never guess how easy it was). Be sure to check labels for washing instructions.

Smell extra nice. Hey, you notice good aromas and others will too. Spritz perfume on your ankles so that the scent floats up over your body. And launder your clothes in a deep-cleaning detergent made for fitness apparel.

Praise a stranger. Speaking of the gym, you know that woman who gives 200% in cycling class? Or the one who burpee’d her way to arms of steel? Let them know that their hard work motivates you. Chances are, they’ll return the praise when they catch you working your hardest.

Receive accolades graciously. When someone flatters you, respond with a warm “Thank you!” Accepting a compliment is essentially a compliment in itself because it tells the other person her opinion matters to you. It’s a win-win!

Rainy-Day Activities for the Whole Family

The good times don’t have to end just because of a little rain. These activities make it easy to enjoy fun and games—regardless of the weather. 

Great skates! Who says you need actual skates to go skating? Just place an empty shoebox on each foot, then glide around the room to some upbeat songs. Your kids will have a blast, and you won’t believe how much exercise you’re getting. Crank up some Top 40 tunes to feel like you’re really at a skating rink.

Pitch a tent. So what if your cozy campsite just happens to be in the family room. Spread blankets across chairs, side tables, and couches. Then equip your pretend tent with games, flashlights, and a snack or a picnic lunch. 

Bag of tricks. Go to your bedrooms, kitchen, family room, or basement, and place five things in a paper bag. Then use the items in the bag as the inspiration for a play or story. The challenge: making sure each and every one of the items is included in the plot.

Water play. When all else fails, make going outdoors the game.  Get out your most serious rain gear—including rain jackets, waterproof pants, and rubber boots—and go puddle jumping or frog hunting with your kids. See how long you can stay out there without wanting to run back inside. 

Off to the races!  Use a couple of rolls of masking tape to create a giant play racetrack for your kids’ toy cars, boats, trucks, and airplanes. Have the kids place the toys at a starting line on the track, and delight as they race them to the finish time and time again.