Grandma Says: Date to Mate


Yes, there is life after baby! As a mom of four kids, now ages 29 to 16 I’ve had my share of disaster dates. I’ve always told my kids, “date to mate!” I mean if you could never see yourself marrying this person don’t go on a single date with them. That means zero dates, but friendships are always wonderful. I also remind them once you’re married date your mate! Date night in America is overrated once you have kids. Those kids, tiny ones, need a very special babysitter. I’d never leave my infant with anyone until they were at least three-months-old. But that’s me and that’s where we begin the creative process in dating.


When those tiny ones are literally attached to you through nursing, the fact of romance and nursing is such a different life. (That’s for another time.) But we wonder what can we do when the baby is so small. Ideas! Home Café!  Throughout the day, when the baby is sleeping set up an area like a café. It doesn’t cost much, because keep in mind some cafes are just a table, chairs and a candle. Plan a pizza to cook and Italian music. Well, you get the idea. Dating in your own home isn’t quite the same as going out, but it’s a start!


And now we think to when we’ve finally found a babysitter we can be comfortable with, so let us GO! Time is of the essence. I mean let’s not overwhelm the sitter with six hours of exhaustion, so be prepared ahead with a plan of action.


Broward County, in Florida, just like most communities has places where you’d better bring your wallet! Our go-to has been the Council Oak at the Hard Rock Casino. No ordering the $125 steak, but rather cocktails and a delightful Dale Power’s Band. We’ve been there so often; Dale refers to us as the Council Oak dancers. Yes, you can dance there.


Now to take that down one more notch, Jimmy’s Chocolate wine tasting. Snuggled up to US1 in Dania Beach this intimate setting isn’t super cheap, but super CRAZY good for the decadent chocolate lover. Several wines and several chocolates and you might need to Uber home.

Our date night doesn’t have to center around wine, but that’s always a plus for us. Another beautiful wine tasting is located at Dania Pointe, Cooper’s Hawk Winery. 


For a small fee, you’re sampling some pretty fantastic grape squeezing of perfection. But don’t stop there, Hollywood’s downtown is a mecca of options. Parking garages are the best, then stroll through downtown for an excellent selfie background with one of their murals! One restaurant after another as you walk hand in hand romance, it’s tough to choose, but you can!


Let’s step back one moment and see what you can do for free on date night? The obvious is the beach. Either Hollywood or Ft. Lauderdale makes a romantic night even more kissable. When’s the last time you did take that long walk on the beach under a full moon? Oh, wait? We do this EVERY month because we created our own club. “Full Moon Blood Suckers!” otherwise known as the “Luna Ticks.” (Lunatics if you didn’t get the joke.) 

Yes, it’s a real club my husband and I started because hey, we live by Hollywood beach and love it! Once a month when the full moon rises we’re sure to be waiting for the peek on the horizon of the giant ball of cheese emerge. (Remember lunatics?)  Often we’ve invited other couples to join us as we howl and watch the moon rise. Howling is the most fun! You’ve gotta try it sometime. (Adult beverages are encouraged.) One note, wherever you live the moonrise so you have no excuse. Just HOWL!






Creativity is key. Groupon’s rock. This way you’re saving money and if it’s a horrible experience you have a great story at half the price. Rock-climbing, Go Carts, bowling, bonfires the list could be endless. Just remember, what made you fall in love with that guy to begin with? Is he adventurous or romantic or lets you choose constantly? Any date is a great date with your mate when you can recapture the love. Love is an action and take action, ask him out!


Now back to the baby. I’ve always kept in mind that when we return from our adventures, I don’t want to hear how awful my kid cried, but rather I’m just glad they’re alive and in one piece.

(Don’t judge me, because simply we know as a mom, we’re the best caregiver.) Be ready for kiddos to breakdown in tears. I think they save them up for our return. You’re a great mom because you’re taking care of your marriage…date your mate!

Take some advice from this blue-haired granny of four kids, stop dating, start growing old. We may have to be the ones to sweep our husband’s off their feet with a plan of action. Be pro-active and not reactive. Remember all that lotion you bought for half price when Bath and Body Works had their 75% off sale, use it. And I don’t mean to simply rub your own feet!

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Deena McDaniel
Coach Deena has been teaching fitness since 1991 and currently is also a dance instructor at Starlight Theater Company. As a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, she and her husband of thirty-two years are those extreme football fans you hear about. Boomer Sooner! Deena’s a brand-new grandmother and wait till you hear how this granny is taking life by the “horns down.” She’s a stay at home mom, who has homeschooled all four of their children. She’s excited to share her granny knowledge and teenage drama secrets to help you get through life. Deena McDaniel is the creator founder of Christmas Near The Beach, a premier Christmas show in Hollywood, Florida (Est. 2007). In 1996, Deena began writing her weekly column Positively Beautiful, which is published in a local Missouri paper and more recently in a blog form on Facebook. Her background includes TV commercial production, Evening News promotion and hosting her own radio request show, “Sunday Drive.” She has a passion for fitness. It has been a life long adventure, from bodybuilding to mime ministry you’ll see this mom of four teaching fitness of almost any style. She and her family are active members at Palm Vista Community Church in Miami Lakes, Florida. “Remember you’re never able to quit the job of motherhood, rather the dynamics keep changing and your employment is for life.”- Coach Deena


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