Inexpensive Date Ideas

Dates are a great way to add fun and excitement to your marriage, but once you have kids, the expense can create a barrier to doing this as often as you might like. Not only do you have all the expenses that come with children, you also then have to pay for babysitting in addition to the cost of the actual date. But theres no rule saying a date requires spending lots of money, or even leaving your house. With a little creativity, there are many inexpensive date ideas to be enjoyed.

Why date your husband?

You might be thinking that dates were a part of the season of life before kids and marriage, and that dates don’t need to be happening now. And this is true – you don’t have to go on dates!

But there are plenty of benefits to continuing to ‘date’ your spouse:

  • Spending quality time together
  • Growing your friendship
  • Allowing space for intimacy to thrive
  • Having a good conversation
  • Having fun together and making memories

It does take a little more effort to make dates happen after kids, but I think it’s worth it! Think of it as an investment in your marriage.

At Home Dates

These are dates you can do together at home without the need to get a  babysitter. When you think creatively and approach the time with a fun, light-hearted attitude, doing any activity with your husband could be considered a date! Here are some ideas for dating at home:

  • Watch a movie or TV show
  • Declutter a room of the house together
  • Pretend to be on Masterchef, have a cook-off and judge each other’s creations
  • Make a new recipe together
  • Lie outside on the grass and look at the stars
  • Have a backyard fire with toasted marshmallows and wine
  • Read a book together
  • Have picnic on the lounge-room floor
  • Play a board game
  • Build some Ikea furniture

Out of Home Date ideas

Okay, so you’ve got some child-free time, but still not a lot of cash to splash. There are lots of things you can do for little or no money. Here are some cheap date ideas for when you can get out of the house together:

  • Go for a bike ride together
  • Walk along a river
  • Climb a hill or a mountain
  • Explore the streets of a new suburb
  • Explore an abandoned building
  • Have a picnic in a local park
  • Climb some trees
  • Serve together at a church event
  • Attend a free talk or seminar
  • Go to a live music event
  • Try an Op shop date – choose an outfit for each other at an Op shop, then wear the outfits on your date
  • Pretend it’s your first date

Conversation Ideas

Maybe you’re all good on the date ideas front, but you find yourself sitting face-to-face with the love of your life, and… all you can think of to talk about is the baby’s nap schedule.

Good conversation takes effort. Don’t be worried if it’s not coming naturally. It’s not a reflection on your relationship, it just means you’re probably out of practice!

Below is a list of ideas for conversation starters you can use on your date. Memorise one or two of them, and you can use them to spark a conversation if nothing else is coming to mind. I mean, don’t be weird about it – act natural, guys! But it will help if you have something interesting to talk about stored away if need it.

  • Remember when… (and reminisce about a time when you were dating or newly married)
  • I really appreciate… (tell him something you appreciate about his character or recent actions)
  • I’d love to… (share a dream or a wish)
  • The other day I read…
  • What was the best part of your week/day?
  • What’s something God’s been teaching you lately?
  • What’s your funniest memory from when we were dating?
  • Tell me something I don’t know about you yet.
  • What is the most scared you have ever been?
  • What was your worst injury?
  • If you could spend 24 hours doing anything in the world, what would it be?
  • My favourite memory of us is…
  • What was your most embarrassing moment?
  • Tell me about what you’d like to accomplish in life?
  • Is there something you’d like to do, but you’re too scared to try it?
  • What was the happiest you’ve ever been?
  • I wish I had learned to…
  • What was your first impression of me? Was it accurate?

Now, what are you waiting for? Go, plan a date with your husband and write it on the calendar!

Jessica Harvey

Jessica Harvey
Creative Activities Coordinator, Tuggeranong MOPS

Good is perfectly okay!

The day I left the hospital with my first born I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t just a case of the baby blues. It was an overwhelming sense of my own imperfection and the many ways I would fail her. We all know none of us are perfect mothers, and over the years I’ve had to learn that being ‘good’ is perfectly okay!

Continue reading “Good is perfectly okay!”

Caring Conversation with Your Children

When my son was young, he wanted me to lie with him at bedtime for “two minutes” every night. Of course, he would drag these two minutes out as long as possible. Sometimes he was just delaying going to sleep. Though this was often a time when he would share with me, ask the harder questions and our conversations would go deeper. So, in a way I didn’t mind that this practice lasted into my son’s high school years.  I knew that this time was not going to last forever. It’s so important to value and create caring conversation with your children. Continue reading “Caring Conversation with Your Children”

The comfort of home

Despite the eye rolls from my husband, it’s important that my home is a comfortable place where we can relax, refresh and connect with family and friends. I can wear my stretchy pants, fluffy socks and have ‘I don’t care’ hair. As Jane Austen writes in her book Emma, “Ah! There’s nothing like staying home for real comfort.” For me, comfort in the home means cushions!  Continue reading “The comfort of home”

The creative art of mothering

I’ve had a few ‘creative phases’ in my life. In high school, it was writing. Later, it was designing and sewing children’s clothes. More recently, I’ve taken a brush to canvas. In each of those creative activities, I have particularly enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that comes when the end product turns out as I’d hoped. If the poem is satisfying, I will repeat it to myself often – just because it pleases me. When a little girl’s dress or a baby’s playsuit is finished, I like to put it on a hanger where I can see it – just for the satisfaction it brings to me. (It doesn’t need to meet anyone else’s standard – just so long as it pleases me.) There is also a creative art to mothering. Continue reading “The creative art of mothering”

A diagnosis was the biggest gift we didn’t think we wanted

I was driving home from dropping Eliana to her weekly social skills, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy session. I began to think back to how far our sassy six-year-old has come in the last four years. It seems not all that long ago that a diagnosis was the biggest gift we didn’t think we wanted. Continue reading “A diagnosis was the biggest gift we didn’t think we wanted”

Love Languages for Self-care

The book Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman has been around for a number of years now, and you can now read books on how his theory relates to your spouse, children, men, teens and singles. My husband and I read the couples version after we received it as an engagement present many years ago. The love languages are something I have tried to keep in mind when interacting with my husband and in raising our kids. However, until recently I had never considered how it might be beneficial to apply the love languages for self-care. Continue reading “Love Languages for Self-care”

Know the size of your plate

It is common knowledge that we, as mothers, wives and homemakers, put incredible pressure on ourselves to “do it all”. It took me almost 10 years of marriage and 8 years as a mum to realise this is not only impossible but completely unnecessary! It’s important to know the size of your plate- how much you can take on-  and to adjust accordingly.

Continue reading “Know the size of your plate”


When I was pregnant with my first child, I spent hours reading books on pregnancy and about the first year of a baby’s life. I wanted to ensure that I knew how to get everything ‘right’. I even read books about parenting boys and girls into their teenage years, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything important along the way. However, it only took a very short time for me to face the reality that parenting, and life with children in general, is imperfect. It is wonderful but also messy, chaotic, unpredictable and rich with learning opportunities (aka mistakes).

Imperfect People

I have three children, my eldest is in high school now, and I still find myself floundering as each new age and stage brings with it new challenges to navigate. I’m someone who is not afraid to admit when I’m wrong and the greatest lesson that being a mother has shown me is that I am flawed, my husband is flawed, and my children are flawed. We are all imperfect; it’s just a fact-  and that is ok.

Learning Opportunities

When my children were younger and I’d mess up (as we all do), I would lie awake at night feeling immensely guilty. Sometimes even crying myself to sleep, feeling like I was failing and doing “damage” to my children. As they’ve gotten older, and I’ve matured, I have come to realise that sometimes it is through our imperfections that our children learn the best lessons. They see us fail, they see us apologise, and they see us trying again.

As parents we aren’t able to be everything for our children. It’s an impossible ambition and one that is not expected of us. What we are called to do is to parent each day to the best of our ability. We don’t expect our children to be perfect; all we ask is that they try their best.  So why then do we expect ourselves to be perfect? We need to do our best and let God be our source of strength and comfort each day as we grow and learn and become better mums. Life isn’t perfect and it’s ok for our homes and families to have imperfection in them too.

“It’s actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others…”- Dr.Brené Brown, parenting author and researcher.

Be kind to yourself

The greatest advice anyone has ever given to me (at a time when my young Type A personality was crushing me), was to be kind to myself. And it’s something that I remind myself of daily. So be kind to yourself and encourage your mum friends as we walk this motherhood road together. You’re not perfect and that’s completely ok. Sometimes, it’s even a good thing.

Catherine Begley

Lead as a mum- because you already are!


Have you ever considered stepping up to lead, but didn’t? What held you back? Often is the lack of belief in our own skills and abilities that holds us back from stepping up to lead.

Continue reading “Lead as a mum- because you already are!”