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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Healthy, Inexpensive, & Fast Valentine's Day Ideas



So, Valentine's Day is Friday...of course you already know that because unless you haven't left your house in six weeks, you have seen Valentine's products EVERYWHERE you go.

My sweetie and I have each lost quite a bit of weight over the past few years. I lost 60 pounds and hubby lost 120 pounds. We both make much better eating choices than we used to in our nachos and pizza eating days. Boxes of chocolates aren't exactly on the gift giving list with the changes we have made!

With Valentine's Day approaching, I was wondering what to do for Joe this year. As I was walking through the grocery store today, a nice bunch of bananas caught my eye and I knew right away what I was going to put together for his gift!

I am going to make him a fruit basket with a funny little homemade card tucked into it. I am going to include bananas, a couple of pears, strawberries, oranges, and perhaps a pineapple. The card will say something like, "Hey baby, I hope you know that I am BANANAS about you. I think you are the BERRY best thing that ever happened to me. I try not to PINE(apple) away too much when you are gone. I think we are one of best PEARS I have ever known. Will you be my Valentine?"

If your sweetheart is an outdoorsy fitness buff, you could create a nice basket with bottles of vitamin water or Gatorade, a variety of protein bars, a cute towel for mopping a sweaty brow, and some sunscreen from the dollar store.

For a gardening spouse, a basket with some new gardening gloves, tools, and seeds would be appreciated! Or put all the gardening items in a new gardening hat! Your gift can be very thrifty (think Dollar Store or thrift store) or you can splurge on items you know your sweetie would not buy for himself or herself.

The point is that we can show our love and appreciation for our loved one without breaking the calorie bank! And if we can do it inexpensively, how much better is that? It really isn't the money you spend but the thought and effort that you put into a gift that makes it appreciated.

My honey REALLY loves tostadas as a meal and we do bean tostadas so they are pretty healthy, too. I think I will make tostadas and guacamole for dinner this Valentine's Day. I am still trying to decide on a dessert that is gluten-free, dairy-free, and healthy. Suggestions are appreciated!

What gifts are you giving this Valentine's Day? How will you celebrate the day of love? (keep it PG, people!)






Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And the Oscar Goes to...


Oscar season is upon us! My youngest son and I are starting our quest to watch as many of the Best Picture nominees as we can before the Academy Awards air on March 2.

Recently we watched Captain Phillips. May I just say that I don't understand why Tom Hanks wasn't nominated for his very superlative performance? His performance was gripping!

I bought some Alamo Drafthouse movie tickets through a wonderful Groupon offer so that we can go see the movies that are still showing in theaters. We are debating on what to go see: American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street are at the top of my list but my son isn't sure he wants to see a movie that may have sex scenes in it with his mother...Twelve Years a Slave is still in theaters as is Frozen, and Dallas Buyers Club.

If you have not had the opportunity to watch movies at Alamo Drafthouse, I strongly urge you to give them a try. The cost of the movies is often less than at other theaters and the movie going experience is much better. If someone in an Alamo theater pops out a cell phone during a movie, the staff at Alamo Drafthouse will pop them out of the theater! Also, they have a strict no-children policy that I very much appreciate. I love children and have often felt very uncomfortable seeing young children at adult movies. This is not an issue at Alamo Drafthouse.

I also want to see Philomena as I adore Judy Dench in just about everything. I saw the actual Philomena on The View. I am a sucker for stories that are based on real people and events; it is the journalist in me. I think that true life is way more interesting than fiction. Unfortunately, Philomena doesn't seem to playing anywhere near me and the DVD doesn't come out until two days after the Oscars. So, I won't be able to see it before the show but I do plan to see it as soon as I can.

We are going to rent Gravity and Nebraska when they are available on February 25. Can you tell that we take this Oscar stuff very seriously?

We find this to be another way we can live large on a small budget- for more on how we roll at my house see my post Tighten Your Spending Not Your Living. We get our movie tickets as inexpensively as possible, rent movies from Redbox, print the ballots (Printable Oscar Ballot) to fill out before the show, decorate the dining room table creatively with movies and other things we have around the house, and serve special snacks for our own Oscar party. The person who does the best at choosing the winners gets a prize too. Last year I found an instrumental CD of Oscar nominated movie soundtracks at the Dollar Tree for our prize. So, even our prize was inexpensive AND it went with the Oscar theme!

Do you enjoy the Oscars? What movie do you think will win Best Picture? Let's discuss below in the comments.