a peek inside the fishbowl

22 Mar, 2011

Bringin’ back Date Night

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy|parenting

In my post the other day I mentioned the idea of date night.

I used to pooh pooh the idea of planning a date night with my husband, the way that is perpetually recommended in magazines. Alas, I was a naive newlywed at the time, one who had no idea how much children, sleeplessness, stress, and General Lack of Energy would kill her lifestyle. 

Friends, I’m here to tell you that date night is important. I get it now. If we don’t make time for ourselves, we will never find the time. Yes, date night costs money. And sometimes it requires finding, keeping, and trusting a babysitter with our wee children. BUT IT NEED NOT BE SO.

Here’s the solution: Friday night kids cooking classes at the Real Canadian Superstore. (My friend Leah turned me on to this idea, so I can’t take all the credit.) And I know a few other sneaky parents who have caught on to this too.

Shall I give you three reasons why this is a good idea?

Exhibit a) the classes are two hours, just long enough to reconnect over dinner and a glass of wine.

Exhibit b) they are reasonably priced. It’s only $12.00 per kid. This covers childcare (for children age 6-11) AND they make their own dinners. And hopefully they learn something and have a bit of fun along the way.

Exhibit c) you can FINALLY book the classes online. (!)

Methinks this is an awesome deal.

Last time the girls went to one of these cooking classes it was “Canadian Diner-Style Gourmet,” in which they made homemade burgers (they even got to make the patties – BONUS), poutine, and lemon poppy-seed cake.

There are other classes that are a little more diverse. :)

Mark and I dropped the kids off went across the street for a double date at Juniper. Dinner was deeeevine – unforgettably delicious – and only a wee bit rushed. (Sadly for me, this kind of dining experience costs more than we can reasonably afford. Therefore, we will be having future dinners at other nearby and cheaper restaurants. Boo.)

What’s important here is we had a great time, and the girls did too.

Anyway, what do you think? Is this a great idea for date night or what??

12 Responses to "Bringin’ back Date Night"

1 | Connie

March 22nd, 2011 at 9:31 am


Love the date nights! Our kids are a bit young to leave with a sitter over the dinner/bedtime shift (hell, we can barely handle it!). Solution: invite my university-aged niece over for dinner, put the kids to bed and sneak out for wine and dessert. We’ve also done the “stay-cation”, where we take a day off work, leave the kids in daycare, and spend a day together. Very nice!

2 | Patty

March 22nd, 2011 at 10:31 am


I suppose this idea is better than no date night, but I’ve tried it, and it feels rushed – more like a “quickie date night”. We usually get the kids ready for bed and feed them an early dinner, and all the sitter has to do is brush their teeth and get them in bed. We head out for a late dinner (7:30ish) and then we aren’t pressed for time and we come home to 3 sleeping children – the whole evening is relaxing and we can savour our meal and time together.

3 | Marianne

March 22nd, 2011 at 10:32 am


Awesome idea. If only they took 3 year olds and infants, lol!

Tomorrow my husband is taking the day off work and we are leaving our 3 year old and 4 month old daughters with my parents while we head to the Nordik Spa for the day. We’ll leave after morning rush hour and return in time to have a pizza dinner with my parents so they dont’ have to deal with the evening crankiness. We haven’t had a date since about last August, so we are long overdue and I’m really looking forward to it.

4 | alicia.fagan@hotmail.com

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:24 pm


Sounds like a great idea. I hope they still have it running when my son is old enough to attend :)

5 | Paula

March 22nd, 2011 at 8:41 pm


This is such a good idea! Glad that you are able to take advantage of it and have that *date* night. They are important for sure!

6 | Megan

March 22nd, 2011 at 9:48 pm



You seem to know so much about what’s going on in the city — was wondering if you know of any places to take art/photography classes?

7 | andrea

March 23rd, 2011 at 9:34 am


Patti – I agree, this is a “quickie date night” idea … but it’s better than no date night at all! :)

Megan – I’ve had great success with photography classes at Algonquin. You could also look into http://www.spao.ca/

8 | radmama

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:24 am


With three kids and very busy schedules, our trick is to be prepared for snap date nights. Stowing a movie we want to watch or a game we want to play together and some indulgent food or drink in the cupboard early in the week. When the toddler goes to bed early we do any chores with the big kids, they go to bed and we whip out our date night supplies, snuggle up and pretend any other chores, responsibilities, mess does not exist.

9 | Karinny Cezar

March 23rd, 2011 at 10:57 am


I also love expensive restaurants so now I am taking advantage of the groupon kinda coupons around the city to go out and try new restaurants. What is your opinion about these coupons deal? Is it a good or a bad thing for business? I am not too sure about supporting it…

10 | Joy

March 24th, 2011 at 6:34 pm


Thanks for noting that registration now can be done on-line. That’s awesome – I didn’t know that!

11 | Chantal

March 29th, 2011 at 11:50 am


That is a great idea, although it doesn’t work for me with our 15mo. But our local day care (Tiny Hoppers) has a date night service, although it is usually on Friday nights and my DH and I are usually too bagged on Friday nights to consider going out. But it is nice to know it is available if need be.

12 | andrea

March 29th, 2011 at 11:54 am


Karinny – I don’t see the harm from a consumer perspective. The businesses sign up for it, so go for it!

Chantal – But it will someday! And it’s good to know that Tiny Hoppers has this service! Might be easier just to find a good sitter though!

comment form:


Stay in touch

Me and my pet projects

Ottawa Bucket list

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Lynn: Excellent to hear! Every person who reports getting the shot makes me feel hopeful, like we are one more small step closer to good times again. Our
  • a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive I got jabbed! #TeamPfizer - a peek inside the fishbowl: […] the same day our youngest turned 20, I got my first Covid vaccine. For the record, my next one is scheduled four months from […]
  • andrea tomkins: Heeeey! I'm glad it was a good experience for you! Thanks for letting me know. :)
  • Kylie: Thanks for telling us about the SavvyCompany fondue party! We signed up with relatives across Ontario as a fun (virtual) way to celebrate my mother-in
  • Charlotte: Thank you for this awesome post. it’s a very informative blog thanks for sharing with us.
  • andrea tomkins: I don't own any Miik items, just seen those pretty dresses from afar! :) I didn't know they made leggings and am intrigued...
  • molly: Have you purchased Miik before? I have a couple of dresses and I wear them all summer - like, twice a week - and they wash beautifully. And so so comf

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

If you'd like to contact me, please use this form. If you're so inclined, you can read more about me here. Thank you for visiting!


Connect with me at these places too!

On the nightstand

All hail the mighty Twitter