Summer Dates You Will Want to Repeat

Summer is my favorite season! With the warm weather life seems to open up again. The possibilities grow as we are able to get outside, move, and soak up the sun.

In this favorite season of mine, I’ve also noticed favorite dates play on repeat. Here are the Summer Dates we come back to time and time again.

RepeatDates

Ice Cream Dates

Ice cream is simply delicious and especially refreshing on a warm day. Repeated nearly weekly, Tappy and I will sit down and enjoy some icecream together.

This is Summer’s version of a “coffee date” for us. It gives us a treat while we unwind, share dreams, and update each other on our week. But there are some ways you can spice up your ice cream dates! Try to…

  • Make Homemade Ice Cream
  • Make Sundaes or Root Beer Floats at Home
  • Try a New Ice Cream Parlor
  • Order Something Different off the Menu

 

Sunset Walks

Unwind from work, eat supper, and then right before Dusk put on your walking shoes. The sunset not only offers a lovely backdrop for a romantic walk, but it also offers a break in the day’s heat.

Walks are great, because men enjoy side-by-side activities. As you move and the blood gets flowing, your brain starts moving too. Tappy can’t deny that he talks more on walks than sitting down at a table. There is just something about moving together! Plus it’s healthy!

  • Walk Your Favorite Neighborhood
  • Walk the Trails at your Local Park
  • Visit a Botanical Garden or Zoo

 

Outdoor Grilling

We love grilling so much, that we have done it in the rain and snow before… But let’s face it, it works much better in the summer! Our favorite thing to grill is Kabobs. Although, we won’t turn down a BBQ hamsteak, corn on the cob, burgers, or sausages either!

Keep your partner company while they make dinner, eat it outside on paper plates, and enjoy the relaxing nature of it all.

  • Try a new Grill Recipe (Kabobs, Grilled Pizza?)
  • Invite friends over for a cookout
  • Use this marinade recipe we love!
  • Make it a Picnic

 

Visit the Lake

Tappy and I love to take out the family boat. Being on the lake reminds me of God’s hand in all of creation. I admire His work, and think about the blessing He has given us to enjoy it in such neat ways. Who thought of being pulled by a rope attached to a speed boat just to skim the surface of the water on sticks?! I’m pretty sure God gave man that idea.

  • Swim in the Lake
  • Lay on the Beach
  • Go Boating, Tubing, Skiing
  • Kayak or Canoe

 

What Summer Date Ideas do you play on Repeat?

Give us some suggestions for our next date night!

Best and Most Challenging Parts of Marriage

A couple-friend of ours is engaged and currently doing pre-marital counseling. They were told to interview three couples (in different stages of marriage) with three questions.

And guess who was a lucky winner?! Tap and I!

We had a lot of fun mulling over these questions, and discussing them with our friends so I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. What is the BEST thing about marriage?
  2. What is the most CHALLENGING part of marriage?
  3. What is your #1 best piece of ADVICE?

Photo Courtesy – Kevin Curtis at Unsplash

Tap and I have been married for 4 years on the 10th of December, and we are still learning just as much as the next couple…. But here are the few insights we were able to give.

What is the BEST thing about marriage : Friendship

Tappy and I probably could have said this in unison… we BOTH feel that this is just truly great.

We love that our team-mate, friend, and lover is always there. We don’t ever have to be alone, we have each other for all the hurdles and celebrations of life.

From this day forward, for better or worse, you always have someone there to go through it with you.

What is the most CHALLENGING part of marriage : Fighting Fair, Balance, & More

To be honest this question came with more than one answer… In the four short years we’ve had together we’ve seen different challenges… and I am positive it’s only a glimpse of the challenges yet to come.  But for each year of our life, I thought there was a challenge worth mentioning.

Year 1: Comparison

In year one, we compared our reality of marriage to our imagination of marriage. We had to learn what the difference was between our ideals and what was. But comparison went further for me… it was comparing myself to other women and specifically Tap’s ex’s. I had to learn confidence and grace for myself, and trust in how God made me, and trust what Tap said when he complimented me.

Year 2: Learning to Fight Fair

This is really more of an every-year thing… We still pull the gloves off every now and then and fight dirty, but the earlier you can drop the bad habits the better!

Tap and I have learned that we cannot go to bed angry, otherwise we can’t sleep.  However, this doesn’t work for everyone. It’s usually best to give yourself a “time-out” to clear your head, minimize the emotion, and get back down to business.

Another great thing for us is to remind ourselves we are a team… whatever we are fighting about, it should be us fighting together to tackle the issue. Try not to forget you are a team.

Year 3: Balancing Life

We don’t have kids yet, but we still had to learn to balance our lives: house chores, work, church, friends, alone time, and date time. It only gets harder when more things add to this list!

Because Tap works in ministry, there was an added dynamic to this.  It is wise to prioritize your life in this way: God, Wife, Kids, Work. But if Tap works for God (in ministry) then this list gets a little blurry. We had to define what items on his Job Description were “God things” and which were “Work things.” It was hard to define this line…. God’s work is important, but it is also important not to become a workaholic and to give your family the proper time they need.

What is your #1 Best Piece of Advice : Dating & Communication

It surprises me how many couples are scared to be vulnerable and honest in a culture that seems to be so “out-there.” Conversations can be tough, but if you can be courageous to discuss things and humble enough to listen it will save your marriage a lot of heart-ache.

Tap said Dating is his best advice… “Happy wife, happy life!” But really, dating allows you to stay connected, keep in touch, and grow together. It’s important to always invest in your relationship.

Tap didn’t realize this until he was married, but he opens up best when we go on walks.

In my studies I learned that men connect “Side by Side” while women tend to connect “Face to Face.”  While I can sit over coffee and talk for hours, a man typically prefers to bond through doing something… fixing a car, playing basketball, etc. So try to connect through doing… go on a walk, kayak, work on a project he’s passionate about, etc.  Don’t always expect him to open up by facing him directly (and possibly intimidatingly). haha.

See some great date ideas at TheDatingDivas.com or the book 10GreatDates, got a budget try $10GreatDates!

What questions would you ask? How would you answer these questions? Engage in the discussion!

Catching Fire and Lighting Trees

It has become quite rare for my husband and I to go to the movie theatre.  Between the quality plummeting, and theatre prices skyrocketing, it simply doesn’t make the cut for date night.  However, there are still those shows we highly anticipate, and simply must see on the silverscreen.  Catching Fire was one of them.

Hunger Games Date Saturday 23 Nov

While we were dating we had both read the series.  The suspense kept us flipping the pages, the characters made the stories real and full of emotion, and the plot was worthy to fight for.  After seeing the first come to life, we just simply had to see that new arena and how the characters from the book would come to life through this second installment.  Even though the movie was two in a half hours long, we thoroughly enjoyed it and did not find a single scene to drag (quite an accomplishment!)  The only problem was that it left little room for quality bathroom break opportunities.  However, I made it through full bladder and all!

If you are wondering how we could afford such a treat, I’ll let you in on a little tip.  One we put our marriage before our budget.  We realize budgeting and stewardship is important, but money does not last forever.  Our marriage, if properly invested into, will.  So we have budgeted for such romance, fun, and adventures- to keep our marriage alive, healthy, and growing.  BUT! on top of that, we’ve found that – even the nicest theaters – have deal days or times.  We go to the RAVE at a beautiful shopping center called the Greene.  Their normal evening tickets cost anywhere from $12 – $18.  Their matinee is still steep at $8.25.  However, we go to their first showing of the day on Saturday with the grand Early Bird price of $5.25 a ticket!  So we get the small town rundown theatre price at the grand RAVE where arm rests come up for the honeymoon cuddlers, and the seats lay back a few inches, and your butt doesn’t fall asleep from the worn down cushions!  Definitely something to look into.

Ahi Tuna Tempora Roll Cheesecake Factory

Ontop of this luxurious treat, we had a giftcard for the Cheesecake Factory where we split our favorite Ahi Tuna Tempora Roll appetizer.  Then browsed the shops and enjoyed the Christmas decorations. While we were window shopping we had several shopkeepers ask if we were staying for the lighting of the tree.  We didn’t even know what it was! So we had them fill us in on the details and decided to go… It was the perfect romantic snowy night.  The wind was harsh and cold, but the snow was beautiful against the dark night sky.  We sipped on Teavana samples as the parade rolled through, and then we went out to countdown Santa’s lighting of the tree.  It was so fun, and the best part is we simply happened upon it!

Cold Winter DateThe above picture was my favorite from the whole day.  It was so beautiful to see the white snow collect ontop of everyone’s heads and on everyone’s coat.  My husband couldn’t stop telling me how much he loved this date.  He even mentioned today how he loved to hold me in the cold while the snow swirled around us.  My favorite part of snowy dates like this, is feeling his warm lips on my ice chilled face in the midst of such a cold dark night.  He’s my favorite.

Lighting of the Tree

The Small Town Date

Tap and I have been living in Ohio for almost nine months now.  Our town is surrounded by several smaller towns, and has a few metropoli within two hours reach in all four directions.  We have yet to scrape the surface of each of these venues, so we decided to dive into a new one.

This last Saturday, my husband and I went to Tipp City.  They’ve been trying to birth newly paved streets and sidewalks since we moved in, and had finally delivered!  It was the first time we could really go without detours from the construction, and the first time we wanted to stay and mosey.  The strip was cute and quaint.  It was full of mom & pop shops, hole-in-the-walls, and vintage storefronts (like Sam & Ethel’s).

We spent a good amount of time in the toy store, Cairns. It is rare to find a quality toy store anymore, with the onslaught of the digital age, but Cairns stood out.  It was stuffed full of books, board games, several tables of playmobile, action figures, and more.  It was fun to see toys of our past, things we would have begged mom and dad for, and things we thought our nieces and nephews would enjoy.

Continuing on, we decided to stop in an off-the-strip coffee shop.  It was old, and nostalgic.  It felt like a place your grandparents would own, and the owner was the sweetest lady!  We sipped on a nutty-irish latte, discussing the last sermon we watched, while the “Norm”s of the town flowed in and out – some greeted with a hug!  It’s fun to observe small town life, in a small town that is not your own…

With coffee for him, there had to be a cupcake for me!  We found a tiny cupcake shop that had the most unusual assortment of cupcakes.  From Sweet Potato Casserole Cupcake to Very Cherry Cordial, Boston Cream to my choice- The Bella Nutella. It was very tasty, rich, but a good choice!  In case you want to snag one, the name was SWEET by Kristy.  Although I am biased for “my” bakery in Troy, I do want to go back to try the Cuckoo for Coconut!

Overall it was a fun, relaxing, play-it-by-ear kind of a date. Tap loves to get out, and it was a nice brisk day to walk around a downtown strip to keep us entertained!  There are always new sights to be seen, treasures to be found, and adventures to be discovered.  So if you’re looking for a new scene for a date, try the town next door!

Birthday #24

Have I mentioned lately, how stinking awesome my husband is?!  Well, in case you forgot, he is absolutely wonderful!!  This year Tappy blew me away with his thoughtfulness.  In fear of missing my expectations, he did ask for a little input, but I thought the man did a fantastic job! So let’s start at the beginning.

Breakfast : Served in bed.

Birthday Breakfast IN BEDKnowing that it was a very special treat to get crepes, my hubby learned how to make them!  He was extra careful to make them as thin as possible, like I like.  Then he gathered all the fixings, so that I had a little buffet in bed.  We had creamy strawberry-banana-blueberry crepes, and Nutella fruit crepes.  mmmm, I was stuffed just in our first meal!  These crepes are addicting! He used this simple recipe here, and had the batter ready overnight for a quick fix in the morning.

Once I was full to the brim, he gave me a small present. I unwrapped it to find bubble bath! He filled up the tub and told me to enjoy, while he ran some errands.  When I got out, and came downstairs I found a single red rose sitting next to a buttercream birthday cake from our favorite local bakery, Brittney’s.  He had asked me to choose the cake beforehand, but made the arrangements himself on how it was to be decorated.

Come What May 24

“Come What May… I will love you until my dying day” are lyrics from a Moulin Rouge song that played at our wedding.  Then he chose the rose, to match the rose he planned on getting me.  In the pink bag was sidewalk chalk, which we played with next!

Sidewalk Chalk

We each drew our favorite memories of our relationship.  Our pictures varied from the proposal, waterskiing, snowskiing, kayaking, and our honeymoon!

Lunch Time : We made a new recipe together and ate it. NOM.

Then Tap hid my present, and I had to hunt for it.  Not my favorite thing to do, but he said it was payback for all the times I’ve done it to him.  After finding it very cutely wrapped, I opened to see that he had gotten me two new fine art prints for our bedroom (which is the only room in our house with bare walls!).  We then took a nap to get ready for our long evening out.

Evening : Dinner at Seasons 52 and Live Piano music in downtown Cincinnati.

Tap dressed up in a dashing suit, and I put on my little black dress for a romantic evening in the city.  We ate at a loved restaraunt called Seasons 52.  They make every plate balanced and within reasonable calories, and are the originators of the shot glass dessert.  We shared delicious blue cheese and steak flatbread, Kona-Crusted Porkchops, and then each our own shot dessert.  Afterwards, he swept me downtown to listen to live piano music.  Once the sun settled, and the moon was high, we went for a walk towards a lovely park full of water features.  We watched the city lights reflect off the river, and walked around the spraying fountains.

Cinci 24

It was the perfect evening, with the perfect man for me.  Hello 24!