52 Dates a Year

Having fun together!

Dinner & a Movie June 14, 2010

Filed under: Inexpensive ($),Just Us,Out & About - Minneapolis/St Paul — Nikki @ 10:23 am

Dinner & a movie. Pretty common date night, we know. BUT…it’s a good one and it can be relatively inexpensive if planned properly! Monday through Thursday at AMC Theaters you can see any movie for just $5! There is an additional charge for 3D & IMAX, but only the same charge that is added if you see those types of movies at regular price.

We had dinner at California Pizza Kitchen (free, thanks to a gift card) and then saw Kick-Ass at the Southdale AMC (also free thanks to a gift card).

Chris’s Review
Nikki and I had a quick, but pretty nice date doing the standard dinner and a movie. We hit California Pizza Kitchen for dinner and split a couple of pizzas with some old gift cards we had, and then used more gift cards to watch a movie. Overall a ‘free’ night for us!

Kick-ass is definitely not a date movie, but I enjoyed it overall. Nikki and I have been watching more and more comic book movies over the last few months, but I think this one was a little over the top for Nikki. Definitely need to find some better summer movies that both of us will enjoy.

Best Part: Dinner and just not having a rushed night.

Worst Part: The movie choice… Next time a better date movie will be picked!

RATING: 3/5

Nikki’s Review
Dinner and a movie is a great combination. We were able to sit and have a nice conversation over dinner and then just relax and watch the movie afterward. Kick-Ass isn’t a movie that I planned on liking, at all. However, I didn’t hate it so I figure that’s a win!

Best part of the night: Dinner – CPK is delicious and having a chance to sit and talk to Chris is always good.

Worst part of the night: The movie. I won’t ever watch it again, but I know Chris liked it and so that’s good.

RATING: 3/5

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Moose Mountain Adventure Golf March 15, 2010

moose mtn

On Monday, February 22, 2010 we headed over to the Mall of America for dinner (at Ruby Tuesday) and some miniature golf at Moose Mountain Adventure Golf. The golf course has construction on hole 6, so we got a $2 discount on our round of golf which made it <$15 total for both of us!

Here are a couple photos from the “adventure”:
first hole

chris

Chris’s Review
Miniature golf was fun, it was almost like we were back to some of our early dates together. The course at the mall is actually pretty well put together, and on the week night that we went we had no problems going through the course at a nice slow pace. It was alos nice to be able to sit down to dinner, without much of a wait. Overall a weekday night at the mall is pretty nice.

Best Part: No crowds! and it was cheaper since they were working on one of the holes, definitely worth 25% off to only play 17 holes. Overall it was actually pretty cheap.

Worst Part: Nikki schooled me on a couple of holes, and I am pretty sure that she had the only hole in one…

RATING: 4/5

Nikki’s Review
It’s weird, but MOA is now my “home” mall. It seems like Chris & I always have better conversation when we’re out at a restaurant than at home, which I guess is something that we should work on. It’s nice not having the distractions of the kitchen at home! I knew the mini-golf was at the Mall but we’ve never tried it & I figured it was at least seeing what it was like. Also, I needed to get my wedding band cleaned/inspected for the warranty so this was a practical trip too. 🙂

Best part of the night: Getting a hole in one! Chris beat me by 4 strokes overall…but I was the only one to get a Hole in One!

Worst part of the night: Lugging our coats through the mini-golf course. A coat check would be a nice thing to offer.

RATING: 3/5

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Policy & a Pint – Thomas Goetz February 22, 2010

On Thursday, February 18, 2010 we attended our fourth Policy & a Pint session. In the past we attended sessions on Education, the Environment and Justice. This session was about Healthcare and our individual responsibility for our own health.

From The Current website:
“Policy and a Pint” is an ongoing series co-sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio’s 89.3 The Current and Citizens League. The series’ goal is to provide an informal setting for the public to come and discuss important policy issues with community leaders and thinkers.

Policy & a Pint is hosted either at the Varsity Theater or at the UBS Forum at The Current Studios. We prefer the setup at The Current Studios over The Varsity for a few reasons:
1. Free parking in St Paul (some meters stop being monitored at 4:30)
2. The “pint” is included at the UBS Forum (in fact, it’s 2 per person!)
3. The food is higher quality and greater quantity at the UBS Forum

The speaker was Thomas Goetz, executive editor of Wired magazine and author of The Decision Tree.
Thomas Goetz
Thomas is educated with a Masters in Public Health and has obviously reviewed a lot of studies as well as human behavior. He said that only 3% of Americans follow 4 basic health guidelines. THREE PERCENT. You’d think these guidelines were impossible, wouldn’t you? Here they are, you judge for yourself:
1. Maintain a healthy body weight
2. Get some exercise
3. Eat vegetables
4. Don’t smoke

He also said something like “every decision we make affects our health.” EVERY decision…what you eat, how long to sleep, how much TV to watch/video games to play, drinking & driving…all day, every day. Almost everything has an impact on your health. I bet that’s not something that most people think about.

Chris’s Review
Policy and a pint will always get you thinking. Nikki and I agree on a lot of major issues, but it is fun to discuss some issues more in depth after hearing a different take on an issue. The night started out with some great appetizers and a couple beers, and afterward we found ourselves talking all the way home. It was great to talk and connect on something that we normally wouldn’t talk about. Great date night for a couple if they find the topic interesting.

Best Part: Having time to really sit and talk with Nikki before and after the policy talk.

Worst Part: None, awesome night.

RATING: 5/5

Nikki’s Review
I think I would attend almost any P&aP that is held at the UBS Forum because the food is so good! I have enjoyed all the speakers we’ve seen and recommend these events to people who like to think a little bit harder than normal every once in a while.

Best part of the night: Thinking about what my responsibility is for my health & how that will affect our lives together. Also, I loved the concept that EVERY decision we make throughout the day affects our health.

Worst part of the night: There were a couple questions that were awkward because it was someone looking for recognition rather than asking a question. For example: “I quit smoking 4 days ago, yep, it’s been 4 days since I had my last cigarette.” Good for you, buddy, get on with the questions!

RATING: 5/5

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Games! February 6, 2010

Filed under: Home Sweet Home,Inexpensive ($),Party of Four — Nikki @ 8:44 am

AcquireOn Friday January 22 our friends Liz & Casey came over for dinner. We tried a new recipe (after getting their permission) and it was a hit! Dinner was Pomegranate Beef in the Crockpot with mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls on the side. After dinner we played a competitive game of Acquire. As the scores were being tallied, we served up the delicious Chocolate Oreo Cake that Liz & Casey brought. In the end, Chris ended up running away with the game due to some wise investing in American and Worldwide!

Chris’s Review
Making dinner for our friends is always a good time. We ended up making dinner pretty much from scratch, but using a crock pot meal was great. It was nice to have most of dinner done before we got home from work.

Best Part: We played acquire which is one of my favorite games, and it was good to play with some new people, especially ones that used to play it before growing up.

Worst Part: None, great night!

RATING: 5/5

Nikki’s Review
Eating in is such a great way to save money & have a more relaxed evening. We were able to enjoy a delicious meal for 4 people for probably less than $20 and all the alcohol consumed was way cheaper than at a bar too! Acquire is a strategy game and this was only the 2nd time I had played. I’m looking forward to trying out new strategies in the future and, maybe someday scoring higher than Chris!

Best part of the night: Catching up with Liz & Casey over dinner.

Worst part of the night: The icky weather that they had to brave to make it home.

I look forward to having game nights with Liz & Casey (and anyone else!) in the future. RATING: 5/5

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Minnesota Monday @ Grumpy’s NE February 5, 2010

Grumpy'sOn Monday, January 18, 2010 we headed over to Grumpy’s in Northeast Minneapolis for a very casual date night. Grumpy’s holds a weekly event titled “Minnesota Monday” where from 7-9 the beers brewed in MN are half off (think Surly, Summit, Grain Belt) and the music is all local artists. Rumor has it that bottles of wine are half off as well from 6-8 for non-beer drinkers. My brother, Josh, happens to host one Monday a month with his co-bloggers at Reviler.org, a local music blog that you should check out, and that’s why we were there.

We arrived shortly before 7 and grabbed a table to chat for a while before playing a couple rowdy games of darts. Chris & I played Cricket ourselves and then we recruited Robyn and their neighbor John to join us in a 4 player round. OK, the games weren’t exactly rowdy, but there was some fierce competition & Robyn has a wild style of playing darts (you’ve been warned)!

Chris’s Review
Fun night out, especially for a Monday. Grumpy’s is a NE staple, that we were pretty sure Nikki’s Grandma had frequented in her hey-day.

Grumpy’s is now updated with some great beers, and a good music Mix on Monday nights. We played darts and hung out with a decent sized group. Nice and relaxing night.

Best Part: The beer, and being able to just hang out. It’s nice being able to head to a bar just to talk with friends.

Worst Part: Pretty packed by the end. Not the most romantic night, but fun.

RATING: 4/5

Nikki’s Review
The first time we went it was just to support Josh, but now I think we’ll keep going back because it’s a fun way to spend a low key Monday evening and still get to bed at a decent time.

Best part of the night: FINALLY hitting a double bulls eye after so many rounds of missing.

Worst part of the night: The bar isn’t huge & we were a bit crowded by the dart board.

Overall, it’s a fun, inexpensive way to spend a Monday night. RATING: 4/5

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A hard puzzle and bad movies January 14, 2010

Filed under: Home Sweet Home,Inexpensive ($),Just Us — Nikki @ 9:11 am

Our first official “date night” of 2010 was a little unique in the fact that we ate leftovers and Nikki had to work at 9:45PM, but we still had a good time!

For dinner, we had leftover Pulled Pork from the weekend and (inspired by Metrodome concessions) Chris thought we could turn it into a good meal on a wrap. He sauteed up some onions and green peppers, mixed in the pulled pork and eventually topped it all with some Munster cheese and it was delish! We had a salad on the side and homemade peanut butter cookies for dessert.

Puzzle

After dinner, we got started on the puzzle Chris had purchased at Target. He went a little crazy and picked out a 1000 piece puzzle with lots going on and no real pattern…definitely a good challenge! So, we set up the card table and got started on the border. Meanwhile, we decided to put in a movie to watch while working on the puzzle. Nikki happened to have Camp Cucamonga from NetFlix and since Chris hadn’t seen it (and really wasn’t looking forward to it) this seemed like a great time to watch. Camp Cucamonga was a made for TV movie from 1990 and it’s still as good/bad as it was back then! Of course, Chris got to pick the second movie and he found National Lampoon’s Vacation on the NetFlix Instant View list. By the time Nikki had to start working we had finished 99% of the border and were slowly making progress on the interior parts. Here’s hoping that card table isn’t in our living room for weeks to come!

Chris’s Review
Well, the night was fun, but a 1,000 piece puzzle definitely takes too long for a date ‘night’. Also, it was good to have some distractions in the background since the puzzle was so hard. We ended up watching a made for tv movie from the 90’s, where Urkel was the jock… pretty awesome.

Best part of the night: Having to sit next to each other to be able to work on the card table we had setup, was able to steal a kiss or two when we were working across from each other.

Worst part: Not finishing the puzzle… it took a couple more days to finish, and I kind of gave up. 500 or 750 piece would be a much better idea.

I would recommend this for couples that have been together for a while, and are comfortable with a lazy night in. Definitely get a smaller/easier puzzle. I think having the puzzle finished by the end of the night would have been much better. RATING: 3/5

Nikki’s Review
I was expecting maybe 500 pieces, so when Chris came home with 1000 pieces I knew we were in trouble. We were able to find the border pieces fairly easily & then just started looking for things that were easy to identify. I enjoyed the “bad” movies in the background as a little distraction when the puzzle pieces all started looking the same too.

Best part of the night: Chris’s face when I started singing along with the Camp Cucamonga song! I still maintain that Camp Cucamonga is better than Vacation…but I’m also fairly certain that I’m standing very alone on that. Oh well!

Worst part of the night: Not making very much progress on the puzzle.

This is a perfect date for the middle of Minnesota winters! We’re thinking next time we’ll hit up Savers or Goodwill for a puzzle rather than paying full price at a store like Target ($10) and definitely a smaller puzzle that could possibly be finished in one evening. RATING: 3/5

What do you think? Is this something you would enjoy doing together?

UPDATE
As of 10:00PM CST on Sunday January 10, 2010, Nikki finished the puzzle!!
completed puzzle

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