6 Stay-at-Home Date Night Ideas

By Sarah Parsons

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Whether you've got a little one or not, going out for date night can be tricky. Maybe you don't have a babysitter, maybe you had a long week at work, or maybe you're on a tight budget this month. Whatever the case may be, date night goes to the wayside...again. 

But let's not accept defeat so easily! Investing in your marriage is so important. Without intimacy, your relational flame will dwindle. You may even feel like it's blown out altogether. But there are ways to keep your spark alive! Some good, old-fashioned quality time may be just what the Love Doctor ordered. So, here are six stay-at-home date night ideas that will help put the pep back into your marital step!

Creative Date Nights at Home

1. Drinks by the Fire.

I don't know about you, but firepits make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The flicker of the flames, the sound of crackling wood, the smell of campfire on my sweater. Mmmmmm. Add a glass of wine and my honey, and the scene is set for the perfect evening! (Coffee, tea, or hot cocoa also make perfect campfire sips.) 

Enjoy the peace and quiet just being close to each other. Relax, you deserve it. 

2. Board Games

Come on, give board games a chance; they are an awesome way to connect. A little healthy competition is great between couples. Personally, we tend to take the competition to an extreme. And when I say "we," I mean "me."

But we still have a great time. 

One of our favorite games to play together is Gin Rummy. It's a card game, so it takes up minimal space and is super easy to clean up! A win win! If you've never played Gin, you can check out the rules here.

3. Take Personality Tests and Compare the Results.

This is a fun one! It may sound a little weird, but give it a try. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised to discover new things about your spouse. 

Ryan and I both took this free test based on Carl Jung’s and Isabel Briggs Myers’ personality type theory. It was really neat to compare our personalities and see where we work well together and where we might clash a bit. 

4. Make Milkshakes or Sundaes Together.

Myyyyyyy milkshakes bring all the kids to the yard, but they're asleep! So the shakes are all ours... *mom dance for the win.*

You really can't go wrong with ice cream! Unless you're lactose intolerant... then this could really ruin your night.

But for the rest of you this takes the cake! Take a trip to the grocery store and load up on all your favorite ice cream, toppings, and cookies, then come home and GO NUTS! This is a NO SHAME date night. Throw caution to the wind and eat away all the stress of the week. 

If you're up for a challenge, try out a milkshake recipe. We love Oreo's in our house, so this is our go-to recipe.

5. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane.

This one's my favorite and we do it often. I absolutely love looking through our old pictures together and hearing Ryan tell me how he remembers the moments. Even though I've heard the stories a hundred times, for some reason, hearing him tell them again and again never gets old. 

Talk about a way to rekindle some love!

6. Take-Out by Candlelight

There's only one thing better than a romantic, candle-lit dinner at home, and that's a romantic, candle-lit dinner at home you didn't have to make! So have fun dressing up your table. Grab any candles you've got lying around the house, pull out your wedding china (or even some cute paper plates for easier clean-up), and order your favorite take-out.

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We’ve found “favorites” to be a fun conversation topic. We’ve been married for almost 5 years now, but sometimes it’s fun to get back to the basics with questions like, “What’s your favorite color?” “What’s your favorite song? “What’s your favorite Bible verse?” Ryan started asking me these and more today while we were on our way to lunch. It feels so nice to have your spouse interested in your likes and dislikes. 

I hope something here has sparked your interest! Date night should be a priority and hopefully, this makes it seem a little more possible. God loves marriage and wants to see yours thrive—don’t let this busy life go too fast. Cherish the time you have with your spouse once your kids are down for the night. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in tomorrow’s to-do list, the bills that need to be paid, or the groceries that need to be purchased. Just be present. 

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
— Matthew 6:25-26, 34


Sarah Parsons found an online outlet for her gift of exhortation when she started her mommy blog. She writes from her home in California for the sole purpose of encouraging and inspiring women. Married to Ryan and mother of Harley Wren, Sarah shares adventures and advice to make family more fun. 

Website:, Instagram: @mrs.parsons

Enneagram Basics for Motherhood, Marriage, and Friendships

By Mollie Talbot

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My husband and I will celebrate four years clean/sober on March 10th. My journey to and from that date has taught me more about God, life, love, and grace than I ever dreamed. But even more, is what facing rock bottom taught me about my identity. One of the life-rafts I was thrown in early sobriety was a tool called the Enneagram (any-uh-gram). My friend suggested it as a means of helping me find the voice God set within me before I began silencing it with vodka and pills. The Enneagram provided language to explain not only my behaviors but the motivations beneath them. Knowing this helped me work toward health and growth while beginning to embrace the pieces of myself I’d pushed away for being different. I began to recognize that "different" is exactly where God wants each of us because our different pieces fit together to make the body of Christ.

A brief background: The Enneagram is a few-thousand-year-old tool used for personality typing that sees us as nine interlocking types. A great description for those who feel this is too confining is to think of it more as nine different colors. There are countless shades of each and thus, room for growth.

Disclaimer: I never got caught up in fear of whether or not it was “evil” or had roots in mysticism and here are the reasons why:

1. I have confidence in the Holy Spirit’s guidance and discernment,

2. Nowhere in my studies has anything conflicted with the Word of God, and

3. I recognize that the more I learn of myself and others, the more I learn about my Father. After all, we are His image-bearers, created uniquely to fulfill a purpose He set out for us. To me, the Enneagram supports this truth.

Here’s a rundown of the 9 Enneagram types attached to the different aspects of God’s character that they each display.

1 “The Reformer” -- the goodness and rightness of God

2 “The Helper” -- God’s love and care

3 “The Achiever” -- God’s hope and radiance

4 “The Individualist” -- God’s creativity and depth

5 “The Investigator” -- God’s wisdom and truth

6 “The Loyalist” -- God’s faithfulness and courage

7 “The Enthusiast” -- God’s joy and abundance

8 “The Challenger” -- God’s power and protection

9 “The Peacemaker” -- God’s peace and oneness

This is not an introduction to the Enneagram or a how-to piece on discovering your type. As I said, you can resort to Google for further exploration if you wish. Instead, I want to use this opportunity to provide a few examples of how the Enneagram has helped me work toward health as a mother, wife, and friend. We can agree that as long as we’re on this side of Heaven we’ll continue to grow and change. The Enneagram teaches that working toward self-awareness while developing empathy for our differences can help us achieve harmony. I write this because, in addition to harmony, I’ve found confidence in the role God created me to fill.

The Enneagram and Parenting

As a parent, the Enneagram helps me identify patterns in my boys while providing a possible “why” behind their behaviors. Practically, this allows me to step into their perspective in order to communicate more effectively. For instance, my step-son Brady is the most helpful and peace-seeking pre-teen I’ve ever met (thank you, JESUS!). While we’re grateful, if we continuously praised these characteristics he might perceive his value limited to the times when he’s self-effacing, out of the way, agreeable, or serving others. So, instead of the blanket praise for these amazing traits, we empower the opposites. We have to remind Brady that while we appreciate his help, it’s not his job to parent his brother--that he gets to be a kid too. Then, because of his tendency to merge with whatever is going on in order to remain agreeable, we give him control. “What would YOU like to do tonight?” “How do YOU think we could be doing this better?”

Another crucial step we’ve taken is in empowering his feelings. Not just identifying them, but expressing them. That right or wrong, he’s safe with us and so is his feelings. Brady needs to remember that who he is on his own (i.e. his needs, feelings, desires, and dreams) has a place within the Kingdom that no one else will fill in the way he’s meant to and that he is a helper and peacekeeper by simply being himself.

If you have some Ennea-knowledge you can see that we’ve trended tendencies of the 2, helper and the 9, peacekeeper. This doesn’t mean that he’s a 9 or 2. He’s 12 and has plenty of changing to do but because of our awareness of the types, we’re getting a jump on helping him round them out. If he’s 15 and struggling with self-absorption, isolation, reality-escaping, and frequent emotional outbursts, we’ll love him best by empowering the awareness that he’s not an island. That his thoughts, feelings, and self-awareness are made even more valuable by the knowledge that they belong to a greater whole. (At this point Ennea-friends, he might be showing tendencies of the 4 and 5).

My toddler, on the other hand, is currently a tornado of the 7’s joy and experience-seeking mixed with the independence and stubbornness of the 8. I frequently ask for his help to show him that it’s okay to ask for mine. I explain that I NEED his help with the laundry or dishes because he’s strong and brave and can do hard things… and then I melt when I watch his fulfillment come with such joy that he holds me which is unlike him, or when he runs to climb the couch and jump off of it, which is very much like him. Disciplining him needs to be the removal of the “fun” aka timeout. I try to encourage him to express his feelings when he’s upset, with WORDS and then when he throws things, we remove the fun until he can calm down. Timeout doesn’t work with a withdrawn child. I personally LOVED it growing up. ;)

Enneagram in Your Friendships

You can see how a basic awareness of the 9 types helps you communicate more effectively with people who don’t (and aren’t supposed to) see things as you do. Additionally, when it comes to our own inner-frustration, mounting resentment, or anger that we feel when our husband or friend lets us down, it provides the reminder to step out of ourselves. To remember to take a deep breath and think. What else do I know about this person? What are they showing when they know you’re going through a lot but keep personalizing your distance as something wrong in your friendship? What seems to be some other big stressors in their lives? How can you meet them in the fear they’re experiencing while still respecting your boundaries?

Or on the flip side--when you see a friend who is withdrawn and struggling, try to touch base and show love in a way that feels out HER needs rather than what YOU would want if you were struggling and withdrawn? The Enneagram helps us give other people room to see and do things differently than we do.

The Enneagram in Marriage

My marriage is the most beautiful place I’ve seen the Enneagram show up and bring with it the gift of grace for us to sit in, unwrap, and laugh when the realizations fell into place. My husband and I are a hilarious combination of seemingly opposite types. It has helped us identify the differences that we can better respect in one another while showing us there are certain things that actually unite us more than we realize. I am an introverted 5; a withdrawn, energy-conscious, cerebral, innovator-type who leans into the logic behind my feelings to come out on the other side with a lesson to teach. Kyle is an extroverted 7; he is joy incarnate. A perpetually-moving collector of happiness, goodness, experiences, and accomplishments who kicks anything that hurts pretty far under the bed.

I’m grateful that we discovered the Enneagram early because a combination of these two types without understanding or valuing the other person’s type could’ve been disastrous. Of course, we still bump heads but we remember on the recoil “Ohh Mollie, I shouldn’t have sprung that on you; I forgot you need time to process” or “I’m sorry Kyle, I didn’t mean to accuse you of not caring; it’s just that when I talk about feelings, I want your support even if you can’t relate.” What was great was discovering that 5s and 7s both spend a lot of time in their heads. 7’s thinking about what they could do or should do next and 5’s thinking about… well, everything. With this knowledge, we’ve been able to grow together while we work on being more present for our own self-health and for our family.

There’s power in recognizing that our unique gifts would be without purpose if it weren’t for the different and complimentary gifts of others. 1 Corinthians 12:12 says:

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

The Enneagram has been a practical tool for helping me appreciate this verse in a whole new way. My hope is that you feel nudged to dig a little deeper today. If it’s not into the Enneagram then dig deeper into what makes you, you. I believe that being created in God’s image means that by exploring ourselves further, we’ll not only find more love for the differences we see in others but fall more deeply in love with the diverse and majestic characteristics of our Creator.

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7 Ways to Show Your Husband Love

By Brittany Rust

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When you’re married and have kiddos, Valentine’s Day is often a bit harder to make happen. Ryan and I use to make these grand plans on V-Day, get all dressed up, and go out on the town. The two years we’ve had a kid we haven’t gone out once. True story. Both years at least one of us has been sick on the day we were going to celebrate and couldn’t get a sitter to reschedule. So, we’ve had to get creative!

Here are some fun ways to love on each other at home and special ways to show your man some attention.

How to love your husband this week (and every week).

1. Make a special V-Day breakfast.

Start the day off with a little love in the house! And this is something your kids can join in to feel special as well. Maybe make some heart shaped pancakes or your husband’s favorite breakfast. You can also leave a note and gift at each place setting that is unique to each person in your family. Your family will no doubt start the day off feeling loved.

2. Meet your husband for a romantic lunch.

If your kids are in school or with a sitter, make plans to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day over lunch. It worked for Pam and Jim, although you might want to hold back on that much booze! This can be a nice opportunity to have some one-on-one time without fighting the crowds, sitter schedules, and sky-high dinner prices.

3. Flirt throughout the day.

This is a must! Guys like to flirt and love it when a wife gets a bit flirty—it makes them feel like a man. Put a special note in your husband’s lunch. Send some sexy texts (pics included)! Call him and just say you’re thinking about him. This will get your husband incredibly excited to get home to you!

4. Plan a special dinner.

Somewhat like breakfast, this can be a special meal for the whole family. A favorite meal or special entree not usually on the menu. Both years we haven’t been able to go out we’ve stayed in and made fondue. It’s easy, yummy, Roman gets a kick out of it, and there is an element of romance in it. And don’t forget dessert!

5. Tell him how much you respect and appreciate his hard work.

The words men often most cherish are respectful and express gratitude for hard work. Guys can put so much of their worth in work and feel the burden to take care of the family financially. Look your husband in the eye, tell him how much you respect him, and appreciate all the hard work he invests to take care of the family.

6. Put on something special and see where the night goes.

Am I going to talk about sex? Yes! And why? Because sexual intimacy is incredibly valuable in a marriage and we don’t talk about it enough in the Christian world. Sex is part of a healthy marriage. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul wrote that a husband and wife should fulfill their partners sexual needs and not abstain unless for a short and agreed upon time to pray.

If the fire has been dwindling, now is a perfect time to reignite the passion. Put the kids to bed, put on something you feel sexy and confident in, and enjoy each other.

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.
— Proverbs 5:18-19

Honestly—just read Song of Solomon (which is packed full of love between a man and woman) and you’ll see the importance (and excitement) of sexual intimacy with your husband.

7. Share in emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual intimacy.

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There’s more than just physical intimacy—and we all prefer certain intimacies over others. Connect with intertwined bodies but also connect by sharing your deeply felt emotions, over intellectual conversation, and in prayer together. There are many ways to find each other’s souls and connect—find what your husband prefers and seek to connect with him there.

It goes without saying but hard to do—show special attention to your husband on all the normal, average days as well. You’re tired and depleted—yes. But if you don’t invest into your marriage now when the littles are running around, there may not be much of a marriage to enjoy when they’re grown and gone. Your husband and marriage must be a priority if you’re going to grow old together in a world that seems to do nothing but tear you apart.

The same goes for your wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs.
— 1 Peter 3:1

5 Things I Do Everyday (to keep my sanity with a toddler)

By Lindsay Barnett

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If you have a toddler at home, you know that you can never really prepare for what kind of a day lies ahead. Between spontaneous temper tantrums over the wrong color sippy cup, cleaning pen marks off your white cabinets, and the never-ending snack requests, it’s easy to feel like you’re losing all sanity.

There are a lot of great blogs out there from moms who share their toddler’s daily schedules and list certain things they do every day with them. An example of this might be: read every day, get out and enjoy nature, encourage independent play, etc. I turn to these often to help come up with new activities to keep my 3-year-old busy and off a screen. But these 5 things are less about what my kiddo is doing, and more of what I need to do for MYSELF every day.


I wish I could say that every morning I dive deep into the Word and spend a said amount of time in prayer. But in reality, my morning looks more like this: nurse baby, change diapers, feed toddler, clean up after toddler, run errands, repeat. The quiet mornings are few and far between. While I’ve accepted this season of survival mode and I’m learning to give myself more grace in that, I couldn’t use that as an excuse to stop connecting with my Savior. Just as I need that cup of coffee to keep up with my 2 little ones, I need those few moments to simply just pause and say Thank You Jesus.


I didn’t really appreciate the gift of having girlfriends until I had my first baby. Before I became a mom, friendships seemed effortless. It was easy meeting up with a girlfriend after work or for brunch on the weekend when I didn’t have tiny humans needing me. That shift in priorities became isolating, and I longed to have those deep, meaningful conversations again. I am so blessed to have found some incredible godly women I talk to almost every single day, who push and encourage me to be a better wife and mother. And mostly just remind me that I’m worthy and my identity lies in Christ. “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”- Proverbs 27:9.


Worshiping through song is when I hear God’s voice the loudest. You won’t ever hear me on the radio, and I’m not trying to win any singing competitions. But as I’m getting older, and hopefully wiser, I’m caring less about my ability and more about my heart and giving it all in worship daily. “I will sing to Lord all my life I will sing praise to him as long as I live.” -Psalm 104:33


My husband and I were married 7 years before we decided to start our family. We got to have a lot of fun together during that time, but right now is our messy season. Sure, we have a 3-year-old who gets into everything and a 6-month-old who is just starting to explore eating solid foods; but the mess that we get into is when we give each other the leftover energy at the end of the day. It’s not likely I’ll be able to stay up late after the kids go to bed to snuggle up and watch a movie without falling asleep, but a simple text or phone call during the day goes a long way to keep us communicating so we can make it out of the messy season without any built up resentment, and enjoy our time together again when our kids become more independent.


My favorite part of the day is after dinner, right before lights out. As a family, we crawl into bed and talk about our day. Some days we may have had a rough day of temper tantrums and frustrations. But no matter how the day ended, it is always said, “we don’t always love the things you do, but do you know why we love you?”…. and she replays, “because I’m your daughter!” Just as our sweet girl doesn’t have to earn our love, we are reminded that our Heavenly Father loves us the same and we end the day in love.

Dating Your Spouse

By Brittany Rust

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It took Ryan and I six months after Roman was born to go on our first solo date. SIX MONTHS! Needless to say, when we finally did this mama was ready for it! Thirteen months into being parents and it still isn't easy finding time we can steal away with each other. And I'll be honest, it can be hard sometimes. Not getting out there as a couple to have fun, connect, and make special memories is a challenge. Maybe you're in the same place. And maybe, if you're anything like me, perhaps sometimes that leaves you feeling invisible or boring. The excitement of a date is gone and replaced with Netflix or early nights in.

I've learned something very important over the last year: dating your spouse is vital to the health of a marriage. Those long days of parenting often direct most energy towards our kid(s) because they need us to survive, right?! Because of this, as moms, we often feel depleted at the end of the day, which means there is little left for ourselves or our husband. It's incredibly hard and not conducive to dating our spouse.

Let me be honest: before becoming a mom I couldn't imagine being too tired to love on my husband. But don't we always know better when we're not moms (J/K, obviously)! I just loved my guy so much that, of course, he would still get lots of loving. But then I had a baby and after a day full of diapers, feedings, chasing after my son, writing, and keeping up with the house, I just felt flat out empty. This would often manifest into me snapping at my Ryan over something trivial, not feeling confident in my own skin and pulling back from him, or retreating to bed after dinner out of pure exhaustion.

So, for the mama feeling the same way, know you are not alone!

Motherhood is exhausting and it can often leave you feeling low in the fuel tank. Finding time to spend quality time with your husband can be difficult and low on the priority list (if on there at all).

However, let me be the first to swallow my own words while sharing it with you: we cannot let our marriage play second or third or fourth fiddle in life.

The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.
— 1 Peter 3:1-4 (MSG)

The Bible is full of verses about marriage and how couples ought to love each other. This one in particular reminds us wives that our husband must always be a priority. Here's simple the breakdown:

God > Husband > Kids > Everything Else

This may shock some: "But my kids NEED me! They have to come first!'

I hear you love your kids; I'm right there with you! But God has a different approach for you and it may be hard to maintain. He, above all else, of course. Then your husband, and then your kids. I know this might seem such a challenge when your whole world can get wrapped up in your kids and their needs, however, it's just not healthy for your marriage, your heart, or your kids.

You must be intentional about reserving some of that love and attention for your husband. For me, that might mean putting on some makeup and combing my hair before he gets home so that as I prepare the outside, my heart gets excited for his return home. Or it might be lighting all the candles and cleaning the house so that he comes home to a place of rest and comfort. It surely means letting him know often how much you respect him and appreciate all that he does for the family. And certainly, it means carving out time for him.

I know dates can be a challenge to accomplish sometimes. For us, we don't have much family or friends surrounding us so finding availability is hard. Or, because I just transitioned to be a stay at home mom and income is a bit more limited, I know finances might not be there to pay for a babysitter. I get all the reasons it doesn't work.


Haven't I given you better reasons for why you should make it work?!

If you don't have much family or friend support, make some connections and find someone in a nanny group or at church. If finances are low, try a babysitting share with another couple or two, that you can rotate with for dates. Point is, find a way! I know that's easier said than done but if something is important to you, you'll make it happen.

Ryan and I don't go out on dates as often as we used to, but we try to when we can. And if we can't, we make a special date at home, after Roman goes to sleep. Sometimes we'll get excited throughout the week and talk about a Friday night in. We'll collaborate on what yummy dinner we're going to cook up and some snuggle time on the back porch.

The more time I'm a mom, and I see how much harder you must work at your marriage in some seasons, I see the value in being intentional in loving my husband.

Here's what I'm asking you today: how are you doing at loving on your husband? What could you do to be intentional in showing him attention? And how can you get some more dates in?

Marriage is a beautiful gift from the Lord; the closest representation we have of a union between Christ and the Church. God's design for all marriages is that they would flourish and be a place of intimacy. And the wonderful thing is that as you model a godly marriage in front of your kids, they will grow up to be humans with healthier relationships. Your kids don't suffer as a result of the time and energy you pour into the marriage; they will flourish under the love and safety a healthy marriage cultivates.

Resisting the Urge to Parent Your Husband

By Brittany Rust


It happens so often I can even pick one example to share. One glimpse into my imperfect attempt to be a perfect wife and mom.

Before having a kid, I'll be honest, I didn't understand why it was so common for marriages to become secondary. I was naive about a lot of things before having a child, haha. I just loved my husband so much I couldn't comprehend the difficulty that could come with expanding the family.  Especially since pregnancy brought us closer than we had ever been before.

Bringing a child into the world is one of the most beautiful things and a true gift. But it sure ain't easy to all the things that come afterward for a lifetime.

I make a lot of mistakes as a mom and wife, but one I do real well is parenting my husband. Do you do that, too?! You know, make comments about how you think your husband should do something. Correct how they dress the kiddo or feed the baby. I mean, we all have done this a time or two, am I right? Please say I'm not crazy!

Part of learning to parent and love your spouse well in balance is learning to never parent the spouse. Here are a few ways we could do a little better in this area.

  1. Take a breath and move on. In other words, let it go. Pick your battles. If it's not a game changing decision or throws your household into a chaotic mess, take a moment to realize it's not worth causing disunity for one snide remark. Take a deep breath and move on.
  2. Ask questions instead of assuming. Extend some grace. Maybe your husband has had a rough day and just isn't all there. I mean, I've had mom brain more times than I can count and I really appreciate the understanding. Don't just assume your husband had bad intentions to get back at you or didn't care to give it his best.
  3. Don't assume your way is the only right way. As moms we sometime assume our way is the best way (and only way) to handle a situation because of that motherly instinct and all the research we pour into. But I'll be honest--there were times I wanted to resist the way Ryan wanted to do something and realized he actually had a great idea!

I hope this helps give you a bit of perspective when it comes to being a mom and a wife. I know it's something I certainly need to be reminded of.

Tonight, let your husband know how much you value him as a husband and father. Share with him all the wonderful ways he contributes to the family. And be a little more open-minded about co-parenting with him; showing him respect as a father and resisting the urge to parent him.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
— Ecclesiastes 4:9-12