Date Night Box Swap with Charlene from Enduring All Things

Last month, Charlene and I had the fun idea to plan a date night, purchase the supplies needed and mail the supplies and instructions for the date to each other. The week before we'd planned to post about our dates, there was something going every night so we weren't able to fit ours in like I'd planned. (Remember the month when there was no time for date night?) Charlene and Pearson were experiencing a lot of rain, making their date activities a little bit difficult. We decided to postpone our posts for a week, but then Miss Emmy made her early appearance and once again, we had to postpone.

These dates may have been planned as summer dates, and Joe and I may have rushed to get ours done one night between Bensen going to bed and Emmy needing to be fed, but we still had a lot of fun! (Side note: Date night is difficult when you are still adjusting to a routine with two kids and when your newborn has to eat every 90 minutes to gain weight.) The date that Charlene planned for Joe and I was an ice cream date. But it wasn't just any old ice cream date, we made our own ice cream and decorated the mugs to eat the ice cream in. I loved the creative spin on a regular date night activity. I do have a confession though, we didn't eat our ice cream out of the mugs that we made.

When I was planning this date originally, I'd planned on our date happening one afternoon while Bensen was napping and Joe didn't have to work. We would have had three or four hours to decorate our mugs, bake them, make the ice cream, play a game while our ice cream froze a bit and the mugs cooled down and then enjoyed eating our homemade ice cream from our mugs. With our time constraints after bringing our baby home from the hospital, instead we decorated our mugs and then made and enjoyed the ice cream while our mugs baked. The date wasn't as long as we'd planned it to be, but you do what works and take any time you can in order to make date night happen during the crazy times of life.

Decorating our mugs just right took the most time on this date. Joe spent a lot of time finding the perfect saying to put on his and I spent a lot of time writing and erasing and writing again until I figured out exactly how I wanted to lay out my mug. Sometimes I wish I had better handwriting or more patience to make my mug perfect, maybe that's a skill that I'll work on. 

Joe was really secretive about his design while it was in progress and then super proud of it after it was done. He decided that his was the best of both of our mugs, since apparently we were having a contest that I was unaware of. (Side note: 10 points to whoever knows where the saying on my mug came from!) You can find instructions to decorate your own mug in this tutorial here.

While I finished designing my mug (I told you I took forever), I had Joe start on the ice cream. The ice cream was really simple and tasted delicious! Joe wasn't the biggest fan of having to shake the ice cream for five minutes, but he survived. I think the next time we do this, we'll put the ice, rock salt and the bag with the ice cream ingredients all inside a bowl with a lid instead of a bag and see if that works. We got a little too vigorous with our shaking and tore little holes in the bag, so as the ice melted, water dripped out. Joe doesn't like to get wet and there was water everywhere after his ice cream was finished. I shook mine over the sink after learning from Joe's mistake and that worked out well.

If you want to make your own ice cream, follow the instructions below. Thanks Charlene for the yummy recipe!

Supplies
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbls sugar
8 cups ice cubes
Rock salt
2 gallon size ziploc bags
2 pint size ziploc bags

Instructions
1. In each pint size bag, put 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
2. Seal up each bag after adding the ingredients and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready for them.
3. Add 4 cups of ice cubes to each of the gallon sized bags and then add 1/2 cup of rock salt to each.
4. Put one prepared pint sized bag into one prepared gallon sized bag of ice and rock salt. Make sure all the bags are sealed shut.
5. Put on oven mitts or wrap the bags in a small towel and shake the bag for five minutes, feeling the bag of cream every couple of minutes to see if it's firm enough.
6. Once the ice cream is firm and a good consistency, it might help to leave it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
7. Put the ice cream in the mugs, add toppings and enjoy.

Head over to Enduring All Things to see the date that I planned for Charlene and Pearson to enjoy! If you're ever looking for something fun to do, or want to add a little variety to your date night, swap planning date nights with a friend! We set a budget for how much we wanted the date to cost, both how much we were going to spend on what we sent each other and how much we wanted the other person to have to spend on supplies before the went on their date. We decided on a theme, but that's not necessary to do. I'm looking forward to the next date night box swap and hope that nothing gets in the way of us carrying it out in our planned time frame.