If you’ve had any personal communication with me over the last few months, you know its been a crazy summer for the Hallahans. With my impromtu trip to California in June, a week working at summer camp with the whole family in July, immediately followed by a week heading up the preschool Vacation Bible School at our church, then a week at my parents while Dave took our youth group on a missions trip to Boston, finally ending with a leadership conference in Lancaster, PA, we settled back into our home last week for what felt like the first time all summer. Man, just writing that paragraph makes me sleepy.
Even after settling in at home, it was a crazy jam-packed week for Dave, who was trying to get caught up at the office after being away so much over the summer. We barely saw each other last week.
Being 8 months pregnant and full of hormones, I hit my limit last Sunday night. I needed some quality time with my husband. Riley has been an absolute angel these past several weeks. She’s been so flexible, excited about getting ready for our new baby, and just generally loves being around her mama. As much as I enjoy my time with her, I needed to sit down, talk, and connect with Dave. I didn’t even care what we did, as long as cell phones and laptops were away and he was 100% focused on me…. needy much??? I blame it on the hormones…
I wanted to make a fun date out of it, to really be intentional about our time together. Being on a super tight budget as of late, we didn’t have the money (or a babysitter) to go out to dinner. I decided to make a picnic for us. Riley goes to bed around 7:30 which still gave us some time where we could be outside in the daylight (yay for summer!). While Dave gave her a bath and put her to sleep, I made a few munchies and packed them up in our picnic basket, took them outside with some blankets and pillows, and voila! A sweet and delicious date that cost us practically nothing!
What we ate:
I bought a loaf of french bread from the food store and sliced it up along with some tomatoes and mozzarella. I stacked the tomatoes and cheese on top of the slices of bread and added some olive oil and fresh basil. Sooo yummy. I also brought out some hummus with pita chips and carrots, and I quick dipped some chocolate-covered strawberries for something sweet. We drank water with lemon out of pretty wine glasses, but if you’re NOT pregnant, a bottle of wine would have been perfect for this little meal.
It was just enough for a later dinner. We had eaten something small around 5:00 when Riley had her dinner. Oh yeah, we’re old farts that eat dinner at 5:00 every night and get a bit cranky if we haven’t eaten anything by 6….don’t judge us.
Moral of the story is, we were able to have amazing quality time together without going anywhere or spending any money. Making time for the people in our lives who matter most is so important. In the midst of the crazy lives we lead (which, let’s be honest, you probably all have had a crazy summer too), if we don’t slow down and commit to being intentional about our relationships, they will suffer. And we don’t need to spend a lot of money (or ANY money) in order to make these special moments happen.
If you’re looking to throw a picnic for a friend, child, or loved one in your life, here are a few tips to make it successful:
- Get a picnic basket. This one from Amazon is beautiful.
- Bring some blankets- the more you layer, the cozier you will be! This one from Target is shown above but this one has a water-resistant backing- good for grass that can sometimes be a bit wet.
- Pillows are a must for lounging- but can be a lot to lug around if you’re having your picnic somewhere other than your backyard.
- Pick up a few fun (and out-of-the-ordinary) foods from the food store. This could be a great time to try foods you don’t normally eat or don’t buy very often. If you’re just snacking, buying some gourmet pita chips and a yummy dip like guacamole or hummus could be just enough to make the meal feel special.
- Closed drinkware is crucial- otherwise you will have spills (like we did). Mason jars like these work great!
What are some things you do to be intentional with the loved ones in your life? If you would like some more ideas of inexpensive or free activities to do with family and friends, comment below and I’ll create a post just for you. Here’s to “making time” during the few precious remaining days of summer! Enjoy!!