With a busy three months of house guests, friend drama, and other unexpected twists in the plot of our life, we were running a little behind on our monthly “destination” dates. So back around April, we finally got around to our January date, which was an “Antarctica/ Ski Lodge” theme… basically, we needed a destination, which was Antarctica, but we obviously didn’t want to sit around on icebergs freezing to death, so we pretended there was a ski lodge there and we were cozily bundled up inside!
Here are some ideas for a fun date with some theme along these lines:
- Dress up in winter gear. It was legitimately about 40 or 50 degrees in our home on this particular date night, so it felt good to bundle up.
- Decorate with throw blankets, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. Pull up a space heater as a “fire.”
- Drink hot chocolate or simmer apple cider or apple juice on the stove top with cinnamon sticks and cloves to make the house smell warm and wonderful.
- Make some kind of comfort food… chili, grilled cheese, some kind of your favorite sandwiches, etc.
- Set up a sauna and massage center. Run the hot water in the shower as hot as you cana get it, close the door and block the space underneath the door with a towel to let the steam build up. In about 10 minutes, you should have a decent steam room.
- Watch an Antarctica documentary.
- Watch a movie with an Antarctic or winter theme. We settled for Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Other options include 8 Below or The X Files- The Movie.
In April/ May we had an at-home date with a Thailand theme. Songkran is the Thai new year festival.
A little background on the festival: The celebration traditionally involved sprinkling of water to signify respect, welcome prosperity, and was away bad luck. In modern times, this sprinkling has turned into water fights in the streets.
Here are some ideas for visiting Thailand and/or celebrating Songkran at (or near) your home:
- Fill water balloons or water guns for a battle outside your home. (If you live on China, the roof of your building may work!)
- Eat pad thai, satay, papaya salad, green curry and/or cucumber in vinegar. Unfortunately, I don’t have any “tested and approved” recipes to share here; we were in the process of moving, and I ran across some packets of mixes for preparing Thai food, so I just used those.
- Watch a documentary about Songkran.
- Watch a movie set in Thailand. Some options include Anna and the King of Siam, The King and I, and The Impossible.
- Watch an instructional video about doing Thai massage and then practice.
Our date-around-the-world dates this year have been much lower key than last year’s but have been lots of fun. Most of them have lined up with some kind of festival or holiday that’s going on in a given country in a given month. In early May we “traveled” to New Caledonia for the Avocado Festival, which was held there from April 30 through May 2 this year. We mostly celebrated through food. Here are some ideas from creating your own Avocado Festival experience:
- Have lots of tropical fruits for eating and making various drinks and dishes together.
- Watch a commentary or other video about New Caledonia.
- Dress in something tropical or beach-themed.
- Make guacamole. Serve it with corn chips and fresh veggies.
- Make smoothies with tropical fruits and avocado.
- Play tropical music or something from New Caledonia.
- Relax with avocado facial masks (or a different green avocado-wanna-be mask). We opted to eat all of our avocados rather than using them on our faces, so I can’t recommend a certain “recipe” for making a face mask, but there are lots of simple ones out there on the Internet.
Well… It’s been a while. Earlier this year we had several house guests, some short-term and others not-so-short-term, which kept us busy. Then there was my computer breaking, which has made it a major task to even check e-mail, never mind uploading pictures, linking posts, and blogging. Then there was finding out that we’re going to be having a BABY and the traveling and appointments away from our city, so yes, I’ve been adequately distracted. However, I’m back and ready to continue sharing some of our China experiences, ideas, resources, etc. from time to time.
We’ve been continuing with our second year of date-around-the-world monthly dates. In June we traveled to Japan. We had a whole lot of good food & a great time.
Here are some pictures of our experience and some ideas for creating your own at-home Japan date:
- Wear some sort of Japanese-themed outfit, something that looks like a kimono (or a bathrobe will work, too!)
- Decorate with paper fans or lanterns.
- Sit on the floor with a mat. We used an old bamboo mat that came with our apartment.
- Watch a karate documentary and do a karate lesson together.
- Do origami. This site has lots of great printable instructions.
- Listen to Japanese music.
Well, here I am catching up on writing about dates that happened several months ago. This post’s date was from back in February when we celebrated the Carnaval de Barranquilla, a Columbian festival. The carnival is a very important festival in Columbia and is one of the biggest in the world. During the days of the celebration, the streets are full of activity, parades, and dancing including the cumbia and the garabato dances. So we rolled all of this up into one fun at-home Columbia-themed date!
Here are some ideas for creating your own at-home Columbia-themed date:
- Dress in something “Columbian.” We have no idea what that would be, and we know this is totally inaccurate (and probably offensive- sorry!), but we always gravitate toward dressing like gangsters or drug lords. So here we are…
- Watch a commentary on the Carnaval de Barranquilla.
- Learn to dance the cumbia and the garabato.
- Eat some Columbian dishes such as papas chorreadas, sudado de pollo, bananos calados, or Columbian breaded pork.
This month on our Date-Around-The-World Tour, we traveled to the Wild West. This was a really fun date. Here are some ideas for creating your very own Wild West date night.
- Dress up as a cowboy/ cowgirl. We didn’t have any cowboy hats, but we scrounged around the house and found a bandana, a gun (that we’ve used as a prop for so many dates this year!), a flannel shirt, and a pair of cowgirl boots.
- For decor, Google some pictures with a Wild West theme. I printed off a saloon sign, a few saloon posters, and made this “Wanted” poster with our two faces posted on it. Our date night took on a wild-west-meets-country-picnic theme with red and white checkered tablecloths, drinks in glass jars, and straw baskets.
- For food, try hamburgers, barbecue french fries, barbecue baked beans, and a good old chocolate pie for dessert. Some other ideas we considered were pulled pork sandwiches, chili nachos, or hamburger quesadillas. Pile hamburgers high with toppings of barbecue sauce, caramelized onions, fried eggs, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese, sauteed mushrooms, veggies, ketchup, mustard, etc.
- Play western/ country/ cowboy music of choice in the background.
- Pick up a dart board and play darts. (We got a magnetic one to avoid holes in the wall.) Or make it into a game. Ideas: Certain areas of the dart board award certain toppings for your burger– or your partner’s. Or certain numbers of points can buy certain toppings.
- Dance a couple of line dances. We did the Tush Push (a little more challenging) and the Cowboy Boogie (easier) using these YouTube videos.
- Watch a movie with a western theme.Here are some ideas: Fievel Goes West, Unforgiven, Maverick, The Alamo, True Grit, Rango.
This year I decided to plan a year worth of dates that took us “around the world” to experience different cultures, food, drinks, etc. January’s destination was Russia.
- Dress up as Russian mobsters or in traditional Russian dress, etc. I knew we were going to be playing a version of Russian Roulette later in the evening, so I made the dress code “Russian mobsters.” We had no idea what we were doing but just had fun with it.
- Play some Russian music. Watch a Russian dance performance like this one, this one, or this one from youtube.
- Learn a Russian dance. We had a lot of fun following along with the “Just Dance” versions of Rasputin and Moskau.
- Make some Russian food. We tried some Russian beef stroganoff and Russian cabbage and egg pirozhkis with some small adjustments and really liked them both.
- Play a version of Russian Roulette with whatever rules you choose. I got a cheap toy gun and placed it on a plate in the middle of a circle of paper Russian dolls. Each doll can hold fun drinks, Russian-themed snacks, candy, something really good or something really gross, etc. Simply spin and eat, or incorporate some fun element like “Truth or Dare,” a dance-off, etc. between each round to determine who spins.
- Finish the evening with watching a movie. Some movies we got in preparation for the evening are the animated version of Anastasia, The Hunt for Red October, and K-19: The Widowmaker (starring some back-in-the-day versions of Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson).