dinner at eight :: valentines day

It felt like the perfect week to start this new project with the silly + sweet holiday of love and all. I mentioned in my last post that our date with narrowly ruined by the intense lack of sleep we got the night before but I figured that most likely something will come up every time I try to plan one of these special dates and so I needed to power through and make it happen. I do want to make sure and point out though that my house was: 

a. not entirely clean 
b. the kids were entertained by the television while I did some prep work 
c. I was wearing my sweats until about ten minutes before Chris arrived home 
d. the kids were not exactly angels and asleep when we sat down for dinner..

but we had the best time, seriously it was so much fun!

For our first date I wanted it to be super romantic and special and on valentines day since I knew there was no way we would be able to find a sitter. I also wanted it to be different enough from the norm so that it would feel like a real date. A few days beforehand I borrowed a card table from my step mom specifically so that I could set the dinner table out in our front room by the fireplace. 

I love our front room space so much and it is also the easiest and fastest to clean so I focused my attention on making that room look special and did not worry about the rest of the house (my house has yet to be entirely clean since baby number three arrived for the record).

I set the mood by hanging a string of Christmas lights from a hook that was already in the ceiling. I added some doilies to a few of them to give it a valentinesy feel and of course had to add my heart strings bunting to it. But it was still missing something and I remembered some hanging lanterns I made last summer for our deck. The perfect thing to add to my little scene so I ended up making a super simple mobile with a metal hoop I found in my studio and some vintage fabric and yarn. It is kind of hard to see in the photos but definitely added a nice candle light mood.
Dinner was easy both Chris and I decided to use what we had on hand. The menu was one of our favorite meals: Cesar salad, french bread,  salmon, mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. I love this meal because Chris is so hands on in preparing it that we totally tag teamed it and I didn't feel the least bit stressed about the food - a plus when trying the get the kids to bed early.

The kids were very interested in our special date and wanted to know why they couldn't eat out in front of the fire too but we promised they could eat breakfast at the special table and got them in bed. The boys came out multiple times and there were some tears in there but for the most part by the time dinner was in full swing they were behaving themselves and in bed. Josie was not as easy and needed to be fed mid date but it wasn't really a big deal at all since I was having so much fun!
When Chris and I finally sat down together it truly felt like a real date. 

We toasted the special evening and chatted about valentines day's past. I remembered the time Chris had his brother Jeff help him make me a loaf of the Gough families traditional almond bread in the shape of a heart as a gift and he had memorized our song on his mandolin..we laughed and relaxed and really truly enjoyed dinner and afterwards sat and talked for a long time in front of the crackling fire that Chris built for us!

Dessert was also a yummy treat, molten lava cakes per Jenny's recommendation and a movie to end the night. We watched the Social Network which I thoroughly enjoyed!

I feel like this first really super intentional date at home went miraculously well considering. I also learned a couple of things, especially that I need to lower my expectations on all the details. I am really into the details but it isn't necessary to truly enjoy each other. I will say though that spending a bit of extra time did make it feel that much more like a true date night. It was a treat to say the least to be with my sweetie and focus on each other for a change! I loved it and am already super excited about our next date!!

I also want to thank everyone who left a sweet comment about Andi and my new adventure in dating our husbands it was fun to see it spark some ideas for your own date nights in! Now head on over to Andi's place and check out her first dinner at eight!


  1. Oh, that is so sweet! I love your lantern idea... looks like a beautiful evening!

  2. What a wonderful idea - it's way too easy to forget the ones we loved first. You set a beautiful evening.

  3. lovely touches to make your date at home fun and special! i wanted to let you know that i was praying for you and andi (and your families) throughout the weekend and through the day monday, too. you ladies are really putting your hearts and marriages out there, and i felt like "things would come up" as you noted above, as you prepared for the intentional time with your husbands. i'm proud of you for pushing through, because i think satan really does oppose us as we seek to love our families and our spouses deeply and well, and especially if we are changing out old habits for new and better ones. i think it is his aim to discourage us and exhaust us and tear us down through our everyday circumstances. but once we recognize that's what's going on i think it's easier to stand firm, set our eyes on our Hope and the love and power of Jesus FOR us and truly get excited about the fullness and beauty of life, even if just in our day ahead. i love you and chris, and am so glad you two had this special valentine's day date together! (did chris get dressed up, too? i love your self-portraits in this post!) xoxo

  4. What a great idea. I LOVE your room set-up. I definitely think the mood sets everything. My hubby and I are very intentional about doing date nights. But recently, he's been underway and gone so much that when he's home we don't even go out until 8 because we feel that he needs to spend lots of hours with the kids. Thanks for the inspiring idea. My daughter would actually probably love to help me set up for a date night too.

  5. Love love love each and every detail! You seriously have such a gift in decorating, dear friend. Every little peek I get of your home is so inspiring! And that picture of you? Absolutely BEAUTIFUL! I am so glad that you + Chris had such a sweet first date at home!

  6. Ha ha, I almost thought the "no" box was checked!

    Love how much you work the details! Doilies on the lights? How do you have the patience? And I made 3 heart strings and didn't have the energy to cut out half as many hearts as you...you are a crafting queen!

    I hope chris realizes just how blessed he is (I'm sure he does).

    Thanks for the inspiration. Anyway I can borrow that lantern? I have an event coming up that it would be perfect for. ;)

  7. What a great in-home date night! Thanks so much for sharing all your finishing touches. I am inspired. :)

  8. this is so, so fabulous! i just discovered your lovely blog through andi and am so excited about your collaboration on this little challenge. i love the setting so much! great job with the sweet heart garland and lights. i'm also head over heels distracted by your aqua colored ceiling! i can't wait to borrow your idea and do a date night in front of our fireplace.:) oh and i was so tickled to see the rose regale champagne! that is our absolute favorite. we served it at our wedding and have cracked it open for subsequent celebrations. isn't it so sweet and yummy?

  9. Thank you for sharing Rebecca! I love this idea and love your reflections!
    I really think you should submit your special valentines day to this contest http://mastinstudio.com/blog/2011/02/seattle-engagement-photography-giveaway-win-free/

    Seriously, it's such a great idea and I bet you'd win!!

  10. ..this idea is brilliant. BRILLIANT.
    ..i love all your details. twinkle lights make everything better.
    ..i'm so doing this.

  11. I love your pictures! this blog is amazing! I want to ask: is there a tutorial how to make a flower like the one in your hair? :D Thanks!


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