Tag: love

10 AT HOME DATE NIGHT IDEAS

 

couple
Photo courtesy goodsophism at flickr.com

On July 22nd of this year I started to realize that my marriage had changed for the worst. My husband calls me at work and says, “happy anniversary.” Although the gesture was sweet, the problem was that it wasn’t our anniversary. To make matters worse, I had completely forgotten that it was coming up on the 23rd of July. That’s when I knew that we both had allowed the woes of parenthood and life in general to get in the way of special moments that we always celebrated. For the first time in 7 years we agreed that life was just to hectic and skipped the cards and traditional anniversary dinner celebration.

We did absolutely nothing. I had to make nothing into something. The responsibilities of raising a family was causing us to neglect each other and we had to do something about it. So, I did. With limited babysitting resources, I decided to start off doing activities together at home while the kids were asleep at night on the weekends. ‘At Home Date Night’ was born and we both decided to make it a priority.

I have put together a list of 10 of my favorite ‘At Home Date Night’ activities for you and your spouse. You will have fun and save money on a babysitter and the costs of going out. It’s a win, win!

1.Cook Together- The way to most of our hearts is food. Cooking together allows you to put your partner’s cooking skills to the test. Not to mention you can create something great together. How about cooking a meal from a different culture? Try something new.

2.Game Night- Bust out some old school games like Monopoly or Life. You can also work together to put a 5,000-piece puzzle together. What better way to work together and have fun going crazy trying to figure out what goes where.

3.Movie Night- Can you say romantic? You get to dim the lights and even make out because no one is watching. Make some microwave or home-made popcorn and grab some snacks and enjoy!

POPCORN AND WINE
Photo courtesy of Maureen Constantino at flickr.com

4.Restaurant at Home (Cooking Alternatives) – What if one of you can’t cook or both of you can’t—no worries. Bring the restaurant to you by ordering takeout. Make it special by dressing up and setting the table. Dim the lights and light some candles and sip on some wine. 

5.Paint & Wine Night- Paint and wine night events have become very popular. You can save money by painting at home and buying your own supplies and wine. This typically can cost about $35 a person. You can do this at home for well under $70.

6.Make Homemade Pizza’s- Everyone likes pizza and we all like to eat. Pizza is an easy meal to make and you can buy the crust already made. You can also have a friendly competition and have the kid’s taste test it the next day.

PIZZA
Photo courtesy of Simon Pearson at flickr.com

7.Make Ice Cream Sundaes- Making ice cream sundaes brings out the inner kid in me. This is a fun activity to do and because you are an adult now, your parents can’t tell you not to pile the toppings high. Go crazy! Carmel, chocolate, nuts, gummy bears, fruit, whip cream or chocolate candy chunks. Whatever you like!

8.Bubble Bath- Buy some scented bath oil, bath salt and of course bubble bath and have a ball together. Dim the lights and light some scented candles. Afterwards massage each other with your favorite massage oil with romantic music playing in the background. Relax and just be free.

9.Couples Work Out-What better way to get worked up and hot than a workout. Do an at home friendly couple’s workout. Check out this workout at Fitness Magazine. After you work up a sweat, take a shower together to cool off.

10.Indoor Picnic- Picnics are so much fun and very intimate. Why not bring the park to your living room? Get a blanket and dim the lights and light candles around the room. Prepare your meal of choice in advance and spread it out on the blanket. Socialize and just have fun. Imagine that you are wherever you want to be and just escape.

PICNIC

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MOMMIES PARTY TO: H.S. REUNION

HS REUNION
Me going to the 80’s party

Am I getting old or what? Last weekend was my 20-year high school reunion and I can’t believe that it has been 20 years since I was a high schooler. I was so excited to see everyone and thank God, I did not have the pressure of being fit. Why? Because I am 7 months pregnant so I get a pass. Right? That made the event even more exciting. No starving myself and hitting the gym like a ‘crazy lady’ to get prepared.

I can never really define where I fit in high school. I was very smart and enrolled in AP classes and a member of the National Honors Society. I was also the assistant editor of the paper and the Student Council President. I tried basketball and I was okay but not good, so I quit after my freshman year. Then I decided to try soccer and who knew—my need for speed and quick legs got me a spot on the varsity squad my junior year. I never cut class and always followed the rules. Now that I am looking back, I guess I was not what you would call ‘a cool kid.’ Go figure.

Friday night was a “1980’s Hip Hop and House Music Party” at Linger Martini Bar. It rained the whole night and I dreaded getting dressed and ended up laying across my bed for hours before I decided to battle the storm. I figured since I bought a brand-new dress and shoes that I didn’t want to waste—I would just go. By the time I left out it was midnight and the party ended at 2 am. My husband also decided to give me a curfew and demanded that I be home before 2 am. With about an hour to hang, I proceeded on my mission.

I saw so many familiar faces when I reached the club and it made it all worth it. The DJ was playing all my favorite hits and I was winding and grinding all in my chair as I sat in the cut. I had a blast! I didn’t want the night to end but I remembered my curfew and headed out at 1:30 am.

On Saturday was “The Famous Red & White & Blue Picnic” at Calumet Beach. It was hot and humid and I had the kids with me. I dragged my feet contemplating going several times. I waited until about 5 pm and headed out with my folding chairs and essentials for the kid’s. I drove and drove around the park area until I finally noticed a sign about the reunion. Then I saw someone I knew and finally we could sit down and get some food. I was starving! The music was blasting and the food was amazing. The kid’s played with the other kid’s that were there. They ran and played in the sand and got their feet wet. It was ‘oodles of fun.’

I can’t wait until next year because we will be doing this annually and I have already volunteered to help. My goal is to get the younger generation more involved so that this can continue for years to come. George Washington High, you are the reason that I am the woman I am today. Thank You!

How to Make a Meat-Free Sandwich

VEG. SAND. 2

Once upon a time I was a meat eater and even when I first attempted to be a vegetarian I failed miserably. No matter what I ate I always still felt hungry or unfulfilled. Then I met my husband who is vegan. When I used to visit him at his house when we first started dating he would make these meat free sandwiches and they were soo delicious—I started asking him to make me one. I enjoyed it so much and I didn’t feel like I was being deprived or unfulfilled. This sandwich led me to my current meat free life style and it may also help you in whatever healthier choices you are trying to make. So how about making the first step. Start out doing “Meatless Mondays”—being meat free one day a week.  

Here is a step by step guide on making my favorite meatless sandwich.

First you will need to gather all your ingredients. I suggest taking a trip to your nearest Whole Foods store to pick up these items or any other grocery store that sells meat free items.

VEG. SAND. 4

Here is a list of ingredients you will need:

* 4 slices of Lightlife Smart Deli Meatless Veggie Turkey Slices or you can use Tofurky hickory smoked deli slices which are my favorite

* 3 slices of Lightlife Smart Bacon Meatless Veggie Bacon Strips

* 1 Lettuce leaf

* 2 slices of tomatoes

* 2 Slices of toasted Bread

* 2 tablespoons of Mustard

* 2 tablespoons of Vegan Earth Balance Mayo or regular mayo

* 1 slice of Daiya vegan cheese or regular cheese (optional)

* Season salt or any type of seasonings you like

1. Separate the vegan bacon slices and pull out your 4 veggie turkey slices.

2. Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a non-stick skillet on low temperature and place the veggie turkey slices and veggie bacon slices in the skillet together.

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3. Add seasonings as they cook. You can add season salt or whatever you like.

4. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes.

5. Put cooked bacon and turkey off to the side.

6. Toast your bread slices and spread your mayo on each slice.

VEG. SAND. 3

7. Arrange the sliced turkey on one slice and top it with the bacon slices.

8. Pile on the lettuce, tomatoes, cheese slice and mustard, then place the remaining slice of bread on top.

VEGAN SAND. 1

Serve with chips or any other side item you like.

CHI-TOWN FAMILY FRIENDLY FESTIVALS

african dancing
Photo courtesy of flickr by Jose Luis Cernadas Iglesias

I love summer time Chi! Summer time in Chicago means festival season and there are a ton to choose from. Here is a list of some of my favorite cultural and family friendly festivals on the Southside of the city.

Chosen Few Picnic & Music Festival event features house music by Chosen Few DJ’S w/ various special guest DJ’s, July 1-2, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Jackson Park, 63rd & Hayes Drive, ticket prices start at $40.

Arts & Crafts Festival: “Here’s To You Margaret Burroughs: Connecting Black Art & History- Celebrating Excellence,” July 8-9. Noon-10 p.m., DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Free.

AFRICAN PIC
Photo courtesy of flickr by FaceMePLS

Ghanafest is an event featuring Ghanaian culture, fashion, food & music. July 29, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Washington Park, 5600 S. Russell Drive. $10.

Bantu Fest is a community fest bringing over 20 different countries and cultures together to celebrate diversity, unity & love, July 29, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Midway Plaisance (in Hyde Park by the University of Chicago), Free.

African Festival of the Arts event features live musical performances. Drum and Afro-folk village, food and various vendors, September 1-4, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Washington Park, 51st and Cottage Grove, see website for ticket prices.

Englewood Jazz Festival, various live jazz performances, September 17, Noon-6 p.m., Hamilton Park, 513 W. 72nd Street. Free.

Hyde Park Jazz Fest features the finest in local, national & international jazz artists, September 23-24, Sep. 23 from 1 p.m. – midnight & Sep. 24 from 1-7 p.m., for location details click here. $5 donation. 

AFRICAN FEET
Photo courtesy of flickr by FaceMePLS