This is something we have tried to do for many years. When our kids were tiny, it was not too hard, as both sets of grandparents lived close by. As our kids got older and we moved an hour or so away from those fab grandparents, it got harder - more expensive, etc. We also ran into an unexpected problem - sometimes we'd come home and find out the poor babysitter had been in tears because of our little monsters! As our oldest kids got to be that 9-10-11 age, not quite old enough to babysit themselves, but a definite problem with their attitudes with the chosen "teenager in charge", etc., we found it wasn't necessarily the babysitter's actual age, but HER attitude and her ability to "not take crap" from our little darlings. As they got a little older, we started leaving them "alone" (with 5, it wasn't really ever 'alone') and paying them to "be nice" to each other, that worked pretty well for a long time, until they were all old enough to take care of themselves for a set time period.
Last year, we realized that even though we spent a lot of time together, running errands, hanging out, etc., we weren't "dating" anymore and we decided that we missed it. We started setting Friday night (usually) aside for "date night" and taking turns planning the outing. This has been so fun! In late fall last year, we had gotten a bit of snow down here, but not too much. Stacy knows I love the snow, so he took me up to "The Foundry Grill" at Sundance, where it was snowing in abundance! Many cars were having a really rough time getting up the canyon, but we were fine in the 4 wheel drive, gas-hog, monster. We ate a beautiful, delicious (expensive) meal, while watching the snow fall outside. Afterwards, we took a little walk and got even snowier! It was so fun. Last weekend, we drove the Alpine Loop to see the fall foliage, followed by dinner at Mimi's (2 for 1 coupon), and a dip in our friend's (Thanks Laura!) spa with a great view of the stars and city lights. The pic in this post was from last month when we borrowed a DVD (Major Payne - a classic around here!), and did take-out from California Pizza kitchen with fresh raspberries - from the yard - and cream for dessert.
We've done the 'regular' stuff too - like movies, dinner, etc., but it is so fun to look forward to a date with my sweetheart every week, I highly recommend it!