When I wrote my blog post about “Dating and Finding Love Again,” I wasn’t really sure how much more I’d be sharing about my dating life. I was very open and honest in my initial dating post, and I have continued to post about my travel adventures with my boyfriend, Douglas. Some friends jokingly have said they wanted to go on adventures and trips like we do, but while it’s something we really do enjoy, we don’t always go out of town or do fancy nights out. That’s not really sustainable or realistic with our busy work schedules and kids. 

One thing that I’ve learned is that whether you’re in a marriage or just dating, you have to continue to date and try new things together. It’s not really about the grandiose moments where you get to really know each other. I have so thoroughly enjoyed my dates with D, and have been asked repeatedly for relationship advice (even though I am clearly not an expert and still figuring it out a day at a time), so I thought it would be easier to just share some old fashioned, simple, date ideas.

Starting with….the picnic! 

Picnic in the Park Video

I’ve changed so much as a person over the last few years, but something that has always remained the same, is my love for a good old fashioned date. As nice as it is to be wined and dined and taken to a restaurant, that can get boring real fast. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely a foodie and love going out to dinner, but I also love spending quality time in unique settings. I also love saving money!


It was a beautiful, sunny, summer day and the weather was just perfect and in the 70s. When you get a day like this in the midwest, it is best to take advantage of it! So, we packed up our picnic basket, grabbed the dog and headed to Holliday Park.

Holliday Park Video

Before we left, we decided to cook a Purple Carrot meal and pack it in our picnic basket.  We’ve been getting Purple Carrot delivered every other Monday and that alone has been a fun date night at home.  We love to cook together, and it’s even better when you can try out new recipes. We made Mushroom Cheddar Black Bean Burgers and Watermelon Summer Salad.

We brought a bottle of champagne, water for the dog, and baked my favorite chocolate chip cookies for dessert. 


Holliday Park is full of trails along the river, a great playground for kids, and lots of grassy space for a picnic! It was sweet to spend some nice quality time together outside in the fresh air!

When you’re planning dates, it makes it a lot easier if you find activities that you both enjoy. We both are nature lovers and foodies, so this was perfect for us. Summer is so short and nice summer evenings that aren’t super hot and muggy are rare. Take advantage. 

Studies show how being in nature positively affects your mental and physical health. Whether it’s a picnic, a walk on a trail, sitting on your patio, taking the dog for a walk or just sitting outside talking, get outside if you can. Picnics don’t have to be complicated. You can even set up a blanket and have a picnic in your own backyard. If you don’t want to cook, save time by grabbing something to go,  throw it in a basket, and go! Picnics are just one way to enjoy the outdoors and each other. Stay tuned for more fun date ideas!