Thursday, June 23, 2011

ABC Date Nights "I"

So....I have mentioned that sometimes I cheat when thinking of ideas but when I think about it, it's not like we ever set a rule that stated our ideas must be completely our own.  So technically, I guess I don't really cheat.  Hitherto and henceforth, I'll call any idea(s) that I don't come up with all by myself "borrowed" or "adapted" instead of "cheating." In any event, the original idea for our "I" date night isn't mine!  
Sometimes, when I do have an idea, it just doesn't sound that fun at the time. For example, for the letter "I" I had considered going ice skating.  We actually have an indoor ice skating rink within minutes of us, but for some reason I just didn't wanna!  Which is weird, because I have always wanted to learn how to ice skate. Correction.  I've always wanted to learn how to ice skate without falling every 2.3 seconds.  I even own ice skates that were given to me for Christmas when I was a teenager!  My memories of that winter and trying to ice skate are pretty fuzzy but they pretty much all involve falling.  Over and over. Meanwhile, my siblings, who also received ice skates that Christmas, merrily skated all around me.  I have eleven siblings so that means at a minimum, at least four or five of them were already mastering a figure eight while I was still picking myself up from my one millionth fall.  To this day, I wonder why they all found it so easy and I was the token awkward one!?  In addition, hubby is a remarkably good teacher/coach in anything sports related so, in a way, it's odd to me that I didn't choose ice skating. Hmmm.  
Instead, I went looking to "borrow" an idea.  I frequently visit this website, The Romantic Vineyard, and came across a post for an I.Heart.List.  The basic idea of the I.Heart.List is to create a list of things we would love to do someday (much like a bucket list).  I was intrigued!  Ironically, the author of this post gives credit for the idea to another great date night website, Project 52: Date Nights. (guess I'm not the only one who borrows ideas!) Now that I have given proper acknowledgement to all, on with our "I" Date Night.   
I have always thought it would be fun to make homemade ice cream so it was at the top of my list for the night.  Beautiful Daughter #2 just happens to have a pretty fancy ice cream machine and I borrowed it from her.  Basically, you just mix the ingredients together and turn the machine on for twenty minutes!  After that, you freeze it for two hours and abracadabra--Ice Cream!  The actual process of making the ice cream was SO simple that I almost felt a little cheated out of the "homemade" part!  
While the ice cream was churning, we moved on to making Italian Four Cheese Margherita Pizza.  It was super easy and super delicious!  
After dinner, we went for a walk and when we returned, we started on our I.Heart.Lists. I found some prompts (by googling, of course) and we both proceeded to go through a list of questions.  We answered each question for ourselves and also what we thought the other person's answer would be.  For instance, one of the questions was "What have you always wanted to do but not done yet?"  For me, one of my answers was learn how to ice skate!  For hubby, it was oil painting....This was one of the easier questions.  Needless to say, some of the questions are pretty thought provoking and revealed some surprises about us!  I knew my hubby would enjoy antiquing across America but when one of the questions asked "what event would you want to witness in person?" I would have never guessed his answer!  Bear with me as I explain. We have welcomed into our family a single father and his daughter who have resettled here after years of living in a refugee camp in Kenya.  We enjoy spending time with them and helping them with a myriad of things that they wrestle with as they continue to adapt to life in America.  Eighteen years after our friend fled from his country, he discovered that his mother, brother and sister were okay and still living in Ethiopia.

I.Heart.List 2011
My unbelievably kind and caring hubby, in answer to the above question, wrote, "to see my friend reunite with his family."  Our lists revealed many things about each other but none were as revealing as the size of my hubby's heart! Granted some of the things we wrote were silly, and some were just big dreams but it really opened our eyes to so many possibilities and helped us to focus on how or if we were going to make any of those dreams come true! One of things that I included on my list was that I have always wanted was for us to consider becoming foster parents. A couple of months ago we had picked up an information packet at our church about becoming a Safe Family for Lydia Home.  After completing our I.Heart.Lists, we finally filled out our application form, and have now finished our home study and interview.  A few more steps and we will be approved! Another amazing blessing from God as we continue to look to Him for the next step in our marriage!

Oh, and I didn't forget the ice cream.  For a bonus we added some Reese's and Snickers to make it even better.  You can never go wrong with a little extra chocolate!  A great finish to a pretty wonderful night.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

ABC Date Nights "H"

How lovely it is to be the one planned for.  As much as I enjoy planning our dates I always look forward to the nights when hubby does the planning!  I have to admit that often I cheat a little a whole bunch and do some online hunting for date ideas.  Hubby usually just wings it.
When I first came into our dining room, Hubby was scurrying about and asked me if I wouldn't mind going back outside and doing yard work for a little while longer!  Hmmm.
When I was finally summoned, this is what I found:  A group of pictures on my dining room table all arranged with the picture side down.  I was instructed that this was the "Hand" match game and my instructions were to match each picture of someone in our family with a picture of their hand.  I only got mixed up once when I incorrectly matched the son-in-laws hands!

Pictures of all those I love and their "hands"

With that game quickly over, I was now advised that there was something new in the house and I had to "hunt" for it.  Wonder of all wonders, this actually took a bit longer.  Evidently, finding things is not my specialty!  (see "G" date night for further explanation!)  I think I went throughout the house at least three six or seven times trying to find the object.  I was close to resorting to an old-fashioned game of hot and cold when finally I looked up and found that hubby had added a new pitcher to a group of dishes I have above my cupboards.

It's the pitcher on the right!
One thing I can pretty much count on is that when it's hubby's turn to prepare we will be going out to eat!  (No complaint here!)  We went to Huckleberry's Pizza where as usual, we had yummy, cornbread crust pizza!  But, Date Night wasn't over yet....Apparently, my husband does cheat a little and had googled a recipe for cookies that start with "H."  He previously bought all the ingredients, so we proceeded to make dessert---"Haystack Cookies" together.  There are so many versions of this recipe and this is the one he chose:

They were pretty good and EASY!  We are still so surprised how fast Date Nights speed by.  (Kind of like life!)  It was almost 10:00 before we could eat these and by that time we were fading fast!  What can I say?  We're getting old!  We are also still amazed by how much this intentional planning of time together has brought us closer together.  It really doesn't matter what we do, it's just enjoyable to be doing something different whether you're the one planning or being planned for!  God is indeed doing a "new thing" in our marriage and for that we are both truly grateful.  One thing I can be certain of is that God is not surprised at all.  Turns out that being obedient to Him is a direct path to being blessed!

Zechariah 4:6 says, “You will not succeed by your own strength or power but by My Spirit, says the Lord.”