I'm right there with you! Dh and I have a very hard time planning a date night, partly becasue of his work schedule, partly because of finances, and partly due to lack of a sitter. We aren't very good at planning ahead, and winging it doesn't usually work. But here are some thoughts:
1) In the summer time we would sometimes feed the boys early, the dh would bbq something yummy while I put the boys to bed. Then we could sit down to a liesurely supper. Sometimes we would follow that with a movie or a game of darts, scrabble or back gammon. Not very original or necessarily romantic, but it was just "us" time, and that's pretty rare. I find, though if you can leave the tv off you are more likely to have a good evening together -- conversation doesn't happen while you are watching a movie.
2) If dinner doesn't work, plan a special dessert treat. If weather permits, share it out on the deck under the stars, or in the winter, share in front of the fireplace if you have one. Even without a fireplace a picnic on the livingroom floor with some soft candles and soft music can still be quite romantic. Maybe a little slow dancing to your favourite ballads?
3) Does your hubby like to read? Find a book you'd both like, cuddle up under a cozy blanket and take turns reading to one another while sipping wine (if you drink it) or snacking on m&ms or another favourite junk food.
4) Do you own a Wii or other game systems with games that get you moving? Occassionally we'll play Wii bowling, tennis, Dance Dance Revolution or a Kareoke game. Ya, I know not every husband is into that sort of thing, but my dh is better at the Dance Dance Revolution than I am!
5) What other hobbies do you share? Does he like photography and you like scrap booking? Spend time choosing photos for you next project together. Just spending time flipping through out photograph books can be interesting and start all kinds of conversations.
6) If you are going to watch a movie, decide ahead of time which it will be rather than sit down to surf through netflix for half an hour before deciding on something that you can both live with. Maybe take turns picking. Maybe plan a meal that corresponds, think "Dinner and a Movie." (This takes some prep). Don't watch in the bedroom as odds are you will get sleepy and if you've had a long day one or both of you will start to drift off. Try to start it as early as possbile, and be open to the fact that dh probably won't want to watch the latest chick-flick or a long drama. I would suggest limiting movie nights to no more than once a month.
There are all kinds of things to do, and I think that's the point. Just do something together. Even if it's just browsing through magazines as you prepare for your next home reno project, throw on a little soft music, pour a tastey drink or break out a bag of special munchies.
I'm looking forward to hearing more ideas, and am going to go start blocking out date nights on my calendar!