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Top Ten Tuesday: Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas

Top Ten Tuesday Stay At Home Date Night Ideas-logo

When was the last time you had a date night? Are you stuck in a rut or simply too tired to even bother? Sometimes the logistics of scheduling a romantic night away from the kids is just too stressful to even make the experience enjoyable. Then, there's the cost of the date and the babysitter... Don't let this get you down, guys! Romance and fun don't have to fizzle when you're in the throes of parenthood! This week's Top Ten Tuesday gives you ten stay-at-home date night ideas that are easy, mostly free, and most importantly they're FUN. We at Fred Parent dare you to try each one on the list and bring a little light-hearted romance into your life. Bonus points if you turn off your phones during the date. No texting or social media allowed!

P.S. These are all dates that my husband and I have had, or our friends have had, so I can vouch for all of them! 

Stay-At-Home Date Night Ideas


1Cook an adventurous meal together. It doesn’t have to be crazy, but cook something you’ve never made, or even thought of making before. Think outside the box! Grab a crazy ingredient from Wegman’s, The International Market, the butcher, or Farmers Market and get inspired! Try something like ox tail soup, homemade kimchee, octopus, or sushi.


2Learn about your spouse’s hobby. Never been a fan of baseball? Don’t get what the big deal is about wrestling? Spend an evening letting your partner teach you about their hobby. Find out how they got into it and why it’s so exciting for them. You may learn something new about your loved one in the process. This door swings both ways, by the way. Next week, it will be your turn to show off your fun hobby! I know a few men that have taken up crocheting because it’s actually a great way to meditate and relax. It’s time to share your passion with the one you love!


3Set up a photo booth. A strange phenomenon happens after kids are born. We stop taking pictures of ourselves. This is sad since some of my all time favorite childhood photos are of my parents. When was the last time just the two of you were in a picture together? So! Set your camera up on a flat, steady surface and have some fun. This doesn't have to be a serious photo session. Natural smiles are always the most beautiful. A tripod obviously works best, but use what you got. Just make sure you’re using a camera with a working timer. Bonus points for adding in silly props or a background of some kind!


4Play cards or a board game and bet real money. Playing cards is fun, BUT when you start making wagers it really gets interesting! Winner gets to spend the pot on whatever they want. No questions asked. Blackjack, Crazy Eights, and WAR are great, simple card games that two people can play.



Learn to juggle.  Believe it or not, You Tube has tons of videos on this subject. Juggling is such a silly yet strangely relaxing activity. Just make sure not to wake up the kids with your laughing!


6Workout at home together. You can very easily find free workout videos through On Demand, Netflix, Hulu, You Tube, and the library. Might I suggest yoga, Richard Simmons' Sweating To The Oldies, and belly dancing? The couple that sweats together stays together!


7Do a tasting. In a nutshell, pick a food theme then grab items to sample and foods to pair them with. As far as WHAT to taste, I suggest craft beer (if you indulge in adult beverages), chocolate, cheese, artisanal olive oil, or coffee.  I’d suggest wine, but that would be a bit expensive. As far as craft beer goes, Hop and Wine is a great resource if you’re stumped on what to buy and what food pairs with which beer. Cheers!


8Marathon watch that show you never have time to see. Have you both been meaning to check out that crazy new show called Mad Men? Never had time to watch Breaking Bad or Orange Is The New Black? Well, grab a snack, throw on something snuggly, and fire up the ole’ Netflix account. I suggest getting a babysitter for this one. It could take all night. Also, make sure it’s a show you BOTH want to watch. It’s not fair making someone sit through 8 hours of The Kardashians if they hate reality TV.


9Start a book series and read out loud to each other. This is something a few of my friends do that I just think is so sweet, dorky, and just amazing. Basically, you pick a book series you both are interested in and take turns reading out loud to each other. If you’re stumped on what to pick, you really can’t go wrong with The Game Of Thrones or anything by Tolkien. Reading a book about personal finance or a current social issue would be a great way to start important dialog as well.


10Have a sandwich making contest. Pick a sandwich and throw down the gauntlet! Who makes the best Rueben? How about the best curry chicken salad? You can even get creative and bring exotic ingredients into the mix, Top Chef style. The options are endless and delicious! Make sure to Instagram pictures of your creation once the date is over.


Have a great stay-at-home date night idea we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments! Spread the love!


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Top Ten Tuesday: Pick-Your-Own Farms!



One of the best things about Fredericksburg is its amazing location. We are near two major cities and many family friendly, pick-your-own (PYO), farms. It’s seriously the best of both worlds!

Currently, we are in the thick of berry picking season and the orchards are ripening up with sweet, juicy peaches! Soon we'll transition to apple picking, pumpkin picking, and Christmas tree cutting. To make life a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of ten local (though some farms are a bit of a hike) pick-your-own Farms!


Top Ten Pick Your Own Farms

1Braehead Farm  Braehead Farm is located right inside Fredericksburg and is open June-November. They offer PYO veggies, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and in the fall, they have a pumpkin patch. Braehead boasts a play area with animals, play barns with hay, swings and slides, sand piles and corn pit with trucks and toys, games and trikes. The play area is $5.00 per person for admission (age 2 and under are FREE!). Season’s Passes are also available! Braehead also has a small market on site with fresh dairy milk, cheese and ice cream, eggs, honey, seasonal produce and more. Check their website for fun events.

2Sneads Asparagus Farm  Snead's Asparagus Farm actually owns Braehead Farm. While their summer PYO is strictly at Braehead, they offer a fantastic PYO Pumpkin Patch and hayrides in the fall, and you can cut-your-own Christmas tree, in the winter.  Year round, they have chickens you can feed, horses to pet, a zip-line and swings in the hay barn, and best of all a play area for the kids and lots of space to run around. Snead's also has a CSA for tasty, local, year round produce.

3Westmoreland Berry Farm  is a bit of a hike from the city of Fredericksburg, but totally worth it! They offer pick-your-own berry fields (with many kinds of berries), and in the fall, PYO pumpkins. They have an overhead goat walk and the young animal petting zoo, as well. In their Country Store and Cafe, they offer a broad range of items including homemade goods. They also participate in farmer's markets within the region.

4Miller Farms Market  has PYO blueberries, strawberries, raspberries. and blackberries. They also offer a hayride and PYO pumpkin patch, in the fall. Miller's has an expansive Marketplace and Gift Shop with spices, mixes, decor, flowers, plants, meat, dairy, you name it! For the kids, they have an impressively large sand hill with toy trucks and tractors. There isn't much shade, so be sure to pack sunscreen and hats. Miller Farms Market also has an active CSA.

5Graves Mountain Farm As far as apple picking goes, there really aren't many orchards "close" to town. You will find that just about all of them are located near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Graves is no exception. The views and the experience, however, are exceptional. The pick your own apple orchard opens the third Saturday, in September, and closes the 3rd Sunday, of October. They have over 10 varieties of apples to pick, plus more at their packing shed. Fall festivals run the 1st, 2nd & 3rd weekends in October, and feature pumpkins, cider, preserves and more. They also have goats, sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, peacocks, ducks, and horses, on site.

6Carter Mountain Orchard is located a half mile from Monticello, Michie Tavern and Ash Lawn and has just about everything you could ask for in a PYO farm. I'm talking scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Piedmont, observation decks and picnic areas, hayrides on weekends in October, school tours, an Apple Harvest Festival with hay rides, live music, and crafts, and even a vineyard! They are famous for their fresh cider, PYO orchards, and renown apple cider doughnuts. Carter Mountain has PYO apples (12 varieties) available mid- August all the way through December. They also have PYO peaches mid-June through early September.

7Hollin Farms  is located in Delaplane. So it's another farm that's a bit of a hike...but totally worth it! Hollins is a PYO farm with a unique twist. They offer beef and pork raised right there on the farm! During the summer, you can PYO peaches, plums, berries, and veggies. In the fall, they have PYO apples, peanuts, potatoes, and a 10 acre pumpkin patch. You can even buy hay there.

8Belvedere Plantation  We would be totally crazy if we left out Belvedere Plantation. It's practically a Fredericksburg icon! Their pumpkin patch is more like an Autumn themed amusement park then anything else. They open during the Fall, with lots of fun activities, rides, pig races, and numerous other attractions. Enjoy Fall harvest time with pumpkin picking, bonfires, evening hayrides, and even a cornfield maze!

9Clark’s Farm is a fun Stafford farm that focuses primarily on the holidays and family. Think: farm animals, a hay mountain, large maze, face painting, pumpkin painting, pumpkin bowling, cutouts for photos, a moon-bounce, climbing tires, penny pit and pony rides on weekends, in the fall. Clark's also sells Christmas trees and Christmas decor, in winter. The trees, however, are pre-cut and sent in from Floyd, Virginia. Clark's does offer a fresh cut on the base before you take your tree home, so it will last through the holidays. There is also free hot cider to help put you into the Chrismas spirit!

10Belmont Christmas Tree Farm  It's only fitting that we end this list like we end the year: With a Christmas tree! Belmont is an adorable farm that offers cut-your-own Fraser Firs, Blue Spruce, Norway Spruce, White Pines and Scotch/Scots Pines. They also supply saws and assistance in tying the tree to your car. Also, if you bring ONE Belmont colored picture (available via their website) with you to the tree lot, or tree farm you will receive $5 off any tree purchase. Don't forget the hot chocolate!


**11** Bonus Farm!  Mt. Olympus Farm  This family owned farm offers PYO berries and an assortment of fresh, on-site heirloom veggies (not PYO). They also run a garden center where you can browse and buy shrubs, flowers, herbs, etc. For those unable to get to the farm, Mt Olympus sells their produce at various farmer's markets in Northern Virginia. 


Where are your favorite places to PYO?


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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.