Tag Archives: romance

Romantic Dinner for Two: Where Reality & Romance Collide

Did you ever try to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a budget?

My budget includes borrowing art supplies from my children and crafting a card that would rival any second grade artist, but I wanted more for this year’s love fest.

I asked myself if I could make a romantic dinner for two at home, after tucking the kids snugly in their beds. Sounds budget-friendly and doable in theory, but allow me to demonstrate a real-life romantic dinner at home.

valentine's day romantic dinner for two at home with the kids: love birds

5:30 pm – Throw several dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets in the oven, rescue favorite stuffed animal from the grasp of the dog’s jaws, inspect and sign homework papers, and throw the clean laundry into the dryer. Take the dog outside because she’s chewing on your slippers. Answer the phone.

6:00 pm – Get OFF the phone and scrape all black residue from the chicken nuggets. Serve your kids dinner.

6:30 pm – Listen to reading homework; make sure the kids shower and brush their teeth; do the dishes; don’t kill the dog; go to the bathroom.

8:00 pm – Assign your daughter the job of setting a ‘fancy’ table. Make her promise not to lick each fork to remove dishwasher spots. Send your husband down to the corner market to get the cashews for the cashew chicken.

8:30 pm – Tuck your kids into bed, and take a much-needed shower. Put the dog in her crate so she doesn’t push the bathroom door open and run off with your clean underwear.

8:40 pm – Tame your hair, paint your face, and dress in the first clean outfit hanging in your closet.

8:55 pm – Snack on the burnt crisps leftover from the kid’s nuggets.

9:00 pm – Start cooking. Again.

9:30 pm – Serve a lovely cashew chicken dinner minus the cashews, because apparently there was a run on cashews this afternoon.

9:40 pm – Light the candles and take out the crying dog.

9:45 pm – Just as your husband leans into the flickering light of the candles to smooch your lips, the dog freaks out because your neighbor decides he’s going to shovel the sidewalk. Save the kiss for later and grab the dog before she wakes up your kids.

9:47 pm – Too late. The kids filter through to use the bathroom and get a drink. It’s an emergency, of course. You can faintly see symptoms of dehydration in their eyes. Let them taste your cashew-less chicken.

9:55 pm – Explain the importance of alone time between parents and threaten their lives with ten years of morning-til-night homework, year-round school, and a chore list that stretches to New Jersey and back.

10:00 pm – Throw out the cold chicken and go straight to dessert. Assure your spouse that yawning and drooping eyelids are the latest signs of true love.

Reality says, when you have children, romantic dinners at home do not work. My heartfelt advice to you is, forget the budget and GO OUT. Beg your parents, friends, coworkers, family, neighbors, and the teenagers next door to watch your kids for a few hours. Even if you have no money, go sit in the car (without the kids) and steam up the windows. Just get out of the house!

Budget Your Love Fest

Apparently journalists are suddenly concerned with the economic impact on America’s collective love life, because the buzz has been celebrating Valentine’s Day on a budget.  It is unfortunate that my budget is not the same as Matt Lauer’s.  Valentine’s on my budget would include borrowing art supplies from my children and crafting a card that would rival any second grader employed by Hallmark.  Throw in a bag of Hershey’s kisses and a matching number from my very own smoochy lips and you’ve got Valentines on a budget.

My budget also does not include building space into my kitchen to house multiple sets of dishes and glasses used exactly once a year.  I don’t care if these holiday themed dinnerware sets come from the Pottery Barn or The Dollar Store, you need a place to store them.  Do you really pull out the red tinted glasses and heart smeared plates on the 14th or have I just lost my sense of romance?

The best budget and family friendly idea of the year is a romantic dinner for two at home, after tucking the kids snugly in their beds.

Sounds good in theory, but allow me to demonstrate a real life love fest.

5:30 pm – Throw several dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets in the oven.  Put a pot of water on to boil for a quick Mac & Cheese side dish.  While waiting for the water to boil, rescue Simba from the grasp of the dog’s jaws, inspect and sign homework papers, and throw the now clean laundry into the dryer.   Take the dog outside because she’s chewing on your slippers and you can’t shake her.  Answer the phone for the four hundredth time that night. While on the phone, go fetch the incessantly barking dog and free your sweet old neighbor who is trapped in her car.

6:00 pm – Get OFF the phone and scrape all black residue from the chicken nuggets.  Salvage whatever over boiled water is left in the pot and quickly add the maccaroni.  Finish mixing the mac and yell to your kids to set the table for themselves.

6:30 pm – Listen to reading homework; make sure the kids shower and brush; do the dishes; don’t kill the dog; mop the floor after scraping your slipper free from the sticky goo your daughter made in science class; go to the bathroom.

8:00 pm – Assign your daughter the job of setting a ‘fancy’ table for you.  Make her promise not to lick each fork to remove dishwasher spots.  Send your husband down to the corner market to get the cashews for the cashew chicken you are making.

8:30 pm – Tuck your daughter into bed, send your son to read, and take a much needed shower.  Put the dog in her crate so she doesn’t push the bathroom door open and run off with your clean underwear.

8:40 pm – Tame your hair, paint your face, and dress in the first clean thing hanging in your closet.

8:55 pm – Snack on the burnt crisps leftover from the kid’s nuggets.

9:00 pm – Tuck your son into bed.  Start cooking.  Again.

9:30 pm – Serve a lovely cashew chicken dinner minus the cashews, because apparently there was a run on cashews this afternoon.

9:40 pm – Light the candles and take out the crying dog.

9:45 pm – Just as your husband leans into the flickering light of the candles to plant a big one on your lips, the dog freaks out because your neighbor decides he’s going to shovel.  Again.  Save the kiss for the later and grab the dog before she wakes up your daughter.

9:47 pm – Too late.  The kids wake up and filter through to use the bathroom and get a drink.  It’s an emergency of course.  You can faintly see symptoms of dehydration in their eyes.  Let them taste your cashewless chicken.

9:55 pm – Explain the importance of alone time between parents and threaten their lives with ten years of morning till night homework, year-round school, and a chore list that stretches to New Jersey and back.

10:00 pm – Throw out the cold and somewhat lousy dinner and go straight to dessert.  Ensure your spouse that yawning  and drooping eyelids are the latest signs of true love.

NOW, if the media are really concerned about America’s love life, they would just send their teenagers to our house to babysit for less than ten dollars an hour.

What do you think?

Shaken Love

My birthday in mid-February marked the beginning of the roller-coaster of love.  A short time after, FringeMan, in his casual and laid-back way, dragged me into a jewelry store to determine which shape diamond I would want if at any time in the near future he may be in the market for buying diamonds.

I stood at the jewelry case looking in at little rocks throwing prisms of light in every direction. While sparkles captivated my being, my hands began to sweat and my heart beat out the rhythm of a tribal chant. I felt as if I were about to be thrown in the pot of boiling water and eaten as soup. I panicked.

I didn’t question my love for FringeMan, but I did question acting on my love. I was just twenty-two and I hadn’t been looking for a man or marriage. I knew from our first date that FringeMan was too determined.   He was a hunter from the beginning and I was his prey.

I bolted from the store and into the parking lot, filling my lungs with large gasps of cool winter air. Sensing my panic, FringeMan gave me some space. Space for my mind to wonder in a million directions. Every bad long-term scenario played through my head in those few parking lot minutes. I wanted my marriage to be the forever-after kind, the once in a life-time kind, the till death do us part kind and I didn’t want to wish for death sooner than necessary.

I didn’t want to make a mistake.

The only real reason I could think of not to consider a future with FringeMan was based on our different eating styles. You see, I was and am a carnivore. I eat meat with a side of potatoes. Everything else is negligible. FringeMan operated on the premise that vegetables were not only necessary for health, but were vital to life.  A marriage between us could never work.

So I turned my tragically love torn gaze toward FringeMan and exclaimed with open arms for all the world to hear, “We can never get married. I don’t eat my vegetables!”

For more love stories, visit Musings of a Future Pastor’s Wife.

If you’re new to the domestic fringe and you want the entire up-t0-this-point story, I’ve created a new page for you.  It can be found above the photo at the top of this blog – FringeLove.

The Gift of Love

My Love Story Continued:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Because the romance of a rose did not win my heart, FringeMan struggled to uncover my true feelings.  unfortunately my feelings were as mixed up as a milkshake.  I knew FringeMan wouldn’t settle for a casual romance.   He was looking for love or the door and I teetered on the threshold.

He beckoned me out to his truck one night after a church service and as I stood on the sidewalk beneath the stars, FringeMan pulled out an enormous, beautifully arranged bouquet.  The flowers shone under the street lamp, each bright head reaching in a different direction, but all straight to my heart.

While some woman are won with words and others wooed with gifts, my heart was melted with a sunflower.  Roses are pretty, but sunflowers were my signature.

I love sunflowers.

sunflower

There were well over a dozen miniature sunflowers, golden reeds that made me sneeze more than a December cold, and purple stalks filling in any gaps.  It was the largest bouquet I had ever seen and it was beautiful.  FringeMan says he worked in an old Italian man’s flower shop that day wiring a propane furnace.  Since Italians are known for their love of opera, meatballs, and woman, FringeMan cried the blues and the aged Italian artist created a masterpiece sure to win any good woman’s heart.

His magic worked and that night I crossed the threshold of doubt into the arms of FringeMan.  Our love, yet unspoken, was sealed with a kiss of yellow blooms.

He won my heart.

Go visit Musings of a Future Pastor’s Wife for more love stories or link your own!