Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Dates can be fun AND FREE!

I will be the first to admit it. My husband and I? We are cheap!
We love having a good time but this work a little, have fun a lot lifestyle doesn't leave us with much of an entertainment budget.

And the extra money I do have tends to be blown on restaurants with the fam. 

I want dates to be special with The Ogre, so I have to do a bit of sleuthing.
If a date opportunity suddenly presents itself my first step is to check the best Twin Cities frugal events blog, PhenoMNal. We have found out about so many great restaurant deals on that blog. A couple recent dates spawned from quick searches on PhenoMNal included comedic improv with a focus on democracy at the Hamline Library and "I am Kindness" an art show at Chambers where beautiful pieces of art were bid on with good deeds instead of money.

We are also frequenters of live theater, our favorite being Pillsbury House Theater. Their shows are Pay-What-You-Can and most tours include a show or two with free licensed child care and/or a post show discussion. Their shows always get you thinking, AND talking! The Gospel of Lovingkindness opens May 29th and we plan to go early in June, let us know if you are interested in accompanying!

Last Saturday I surprise The Ogre with a low key date day. We started off the day by bringing the kids to their final gymnastics class then The Ogre dropped me off at a baby shower for my cousin's wife. While I attended the shower he brought the kids to my in-laws for the afternoon.
After he picked me back up I led him back to St. Paul and the Culver's parking lot. For lunch? No! To give blood! 
We gave blood together a few months ago and it felt good taking the time out of our busy schedules to do something for others. I thought at the time I would get some girlfriends together to make a routine of it but never had so when I heard the bus would be stopping at a nearby Culver's on the afternoon of our date I had to pencil it in. 
I almost was too low on iron, but that third time was a charm, and good thing it was, because afterwards we both received a pint of ice cream as a thank you for our "gift." 
Only complaint I had was that the mint ice cream was green. Unnecessary food dye alert!! Consider yourself warned! Still though, that ice cream is totally gone by now.
After returning to our house and doing some much needed yard and house work (teeny tiny dent) I told The Ogre to dress up because we had more plans. Over to the James J. Hill house we traveled for Yelp's Mystery Masquerade. 
If you looked though your peep hole and saw this, would you open the door?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I am new to the Yelping thing, but consider me a convert. I had read about these invitation only parties on PhenoMNal before, but it really was an almost too good to be true event. 
Most of the Yelpers knew this and came REALLY dressed up with fancy masks they had purchased for the event. The Ogre and I, new to the game, made our masks at a booth they had supplied with craft material for such slackers as us. We enjoyed the craft though and The Ogre's mask was so creepy he was stopped a few times for photo opps. We must've looked like we knew what we were doing because a couple fellow Yelpers thought we worked there. 
There was a scavenger hunt that led us on an intimate journey through the James J. Hill House and earned us a prize bag, a table with Yelp swag (flasks, stainless steel water bottles), free tarot readings I didn't notice until too late, a photo booth, and food bountiful food, drink glorious drink.
My faves included steak salad from Cafe Bonxai, my first taste of Cambodian Food from Cheng Heng (anyone want to check it out with me?), the Craftmade thai lime toffee The Ogre convinced me to sample, and for drinks the Bittercube booth (delicious and non glutenous unlike all the beer booths!)
The Ogre was pleased with my date planning and I will definitely be keeping my Yelping up.
What do you like to do for a fun, affordable date with your sweetie?*
I can't get enough of this creepy mask

*Adopting the term "sweetie" now that I realized it isn't just cute, it is non-gender specific!

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