TOP [FRUGAL] VALENTINES DAY DATES

Have you been to the store and seen the HUNDREDS of candy heart boxes and decorations lining the shelves? Yeah, so have I… Valentine’s Day is less than a month out and Cupid is making his way on February 14th whether we like it or not. Planning something on this day of love can be really a hassle, especially since this holiday can be overplayed and can very much be a “Single Awareness Day.” With that being said, it is what you make it.

Below, I will delve into what will make for an enjoyable Valentine’s Day for you and your partner or your group of friends. Make it what you will and enjoy yourselves.

STAY-AT-HOME IDEAS

✰ BAKING & COOKING

Baking is always a fun and easy, yet simple way to have a relaxing night in. Make treats for friends, coworkers or church friends and see their eyes instantly light up. We all know how much homemade treats can go a long way. If going out to eat isn’t necessarily your thing, look up new recipes on Pinterest and also try out something you’ve both been wanting to try.

✰ DIY CRAFTS

Anything that involves arts and crafts is an automatic “go” for me. Find something that is simple and something both of you will enjoy. Things such as stringed canvas art or making homemade cards are both great options.

✰ GAME & MOVIE NIGHT

My husband is very much a “game” person. Card games and board games alike are a great way to put the phone down and have time set aside for each other. Pick a ole’ faithful or find a game you’ve both been wanting to try out. Valentine’s Day trivia is another fun, inexpensive way to have a friendly competition.

Movie nights in are another inexpensive way to have a night together without dealing the bank. Rent a movie on Redbox or on Netflix and have the snacks ready to enjoy!

✰ MAKE A COUPLE’S TIME-CAPSULE

Instead of making a typical scrapbook, consider taking items that mean the most to you as a couple and putting them in a time capsule.

You can bury the time capsule and dig it up years later when you are are further along in your relationship. Put in letters to each other, pictures or other little gifts and make sure to remember where you put it. Set a time frame, like a year or five years and have an unveiling party.

✰ PLAN FOR A WEEKEND TRIP IN THE FUTURE

If you are like my husband and I, we both enjoy visiting new towns and seeing new places. Pick a place, near or far, and plan for a weekend away. Discuss the logistics of your overall budget, how you will get there and sites you want to visit. We just got back from a weekend in Dahlonega, GA and had the time of our lives. A weekend away with your significant other or with a group of friends creates memories that last a lifetime.

OUT ON THE TOWN

✰ TRY A NEW RESTAURANT OR PROGRESSIVE DINNER

If you are wanting to try this option, make sure to make reservations far enough out in advance. We all know how quickly restaurants can fill up and how long the wait times can be. For Valentine’s Day last year, Chandler and I had just moved to the Asheville area and we did a progressive dinner the weekend after Valentines Day. Restaurants weren’t as crowded and we enjoyed doing drinks and apps at a local brewery, a small entree at a Cuban restaurant and dessert at bakery.

✰ PLAN A TRIP TO THE RIVER

Most places have a local river that has a nice dock area that you can sit and just watch the water while you enjoy a hot coffee and good conversation.

If you have this in your area, take advantage of this date because not only is it inexpensive, but it is a great way merely to spend time with someone you care about. In Asheville, we have the French Broad River, which is a beautiful, breathtaking view that is perfect for sitting and enjoying each other’s company.

✰ PHOTOSHOOT

Why not get dressed up and have a photoshoot? Now is a better time than ever! I know lots of local photographers are doing cute “Valentine’s Day” sessions. I know from personal experience how I wish I had more professional pictures of my husband and I, so sign up for a shoot and go for it.

What are some of your favorite Valentine’s Day ideas? Let’s chat in the comments!

XO,

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TOP OCTOBER ACTIVITIES

We all know that October is one of the best months of the year! October means the leaves are changing, Pumpkin Spice Lattes has graced our coffee shops and Halloween is only a few weeks away!

Below, I’ve created a few of my favorite movies and activities for the month of October. I hope you enjoy it!

MOVIES

Hocus Pocus (1993)

After moving to Salem, Massachusetts teenager Max Dennison explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani and their new friend, Allison. After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees the brood of three evil witch sisters who used to live in the abandoned house. Now, with the help of a magical black cat, Binx, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal and to save all of the kids on Halloween night. To me personally, this tale of the Sanderson sisters is an all time great and is one you can watch 1000x over. Hocus Pocus also came out in year I was in born! How neat?

Halloweentown (1998)

Marnie and her siblings get a big shock when they follow grandma home to Halloweentown and find out they come from a family of witches. The town is the only place where supernatural beings can lead a “normal” life, but trouble is looming, and on her 13th birthday Marnie not only finds she is a witch, but that she and her family are involved in a fight against the evil that is threatening to take over the world.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

You’re never too old to enjoy the Peanuts gang! Get excited for pumpkin picking, trick-or-treating, and more favorite fall festivities in this sweet cartoon for the whole family. It’s a light-hearted movie that is bound to lift your spirits! Grab a bucket of popcorn and relax.

FOOD AND DRINKS

Beer

Fall means that the beer scene is spot on. Some of my seasonal favorites are:

• Oktoberfest • Nitro Series Pumpkin Spice Latte

☆ Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Apple Butter has not always been a favorite of mine, but has become a Fall delicacy in my household over the last few years! My husband is a huge fan, so I always buy an extra bushel to make him a batch. This caramel apple butter recipe is mouthwatering! The easy thing about apple butter is that you throw all of your ingredients in a Crockpot and leave it for the next 8 hours. Add some ice cream with your warm apple butter and you will be wondering why it took you so long to find out about it.

Apple Donuts and Cider

Apple Donuts from any local apple orchard is a must. They are all made in house and will melt in your mouth. The line at Sky Top is always a 20+ minute wait, but fo yourself a favor. They’re coated in a sugar mixture and are fried to perfection.

SIGHT-SEEING

Blue Ridge Parkway

Since moving to Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been one of my favorite roads to drive! It’s a 469 mike stretch through NC and VA and is such a great place to go clear your head. Now that the leaves are changing, it is one of the most breathtaking sights on the east coast! Grab a picnic basket and find one of the overlooks to enjoy the cool air and mountain views.

Pumpkin Patches

I found a local pumpkin patch here in Asheville at a local Methodist church. Granddad’s Apples in Hendersonville, NC also has an apple orchard, a corn maze and a wide array of pumpkins to pick from. Take home anything from fresh-picked apples, to apple butter or hot cider. They have an kid’s area with hay bales to climb on, slides and life-sized games like Connect 4.

Sky Top Orchard

Sky Top Orchard is hidden in the mountains of Flat Rock, NC. We went earlier in the season, so it definitely was more crowded than we had expected, but it’s always worth the wait. They have endless acres of apples to pick from. Grab a map and go find your favorites. You are able to mix and match, so it’s a great way to get apples for the entire family. Because of Covid protocols, we also got to keep the basket we picked with. That’s one positive thing from this virus, amiright? It made for a cute decoration on our front stoop. They also have an apple cannon that is /.

Carving / Painting Pumpkins

Grab a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch or from a local grocery store and get to carving! My friends and I had a craft night together last week and loved getting to pick our own designs. If you aren’t sure of what to carve, check out Pinterest for some great ideas! Roast the pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack later on! If you aren’t into the whole carving scene or have smaller children, grab some paint and go to town. I honestly prefer painting mine, anyhow!

Trunk-or-Treat
One of the many Halloween childhood favorites was Trunk-or-Treat many moons ago! People park their cars in a line with their trunks decorated with a certain “theme.” Kids would be dressed up and go from trunk to trunk for candy. It was such a fun time with your church family and the local community. Check out local churches in your area for Trunk-or-Treat opportunities this year. It’s a safe alternative and isn’t as much walking from house to house. (haha) if you’re in the Asheville area, check out this one from Elevation church!

MUSIC

☆ Halloween Playlist

We all know that music puts us in a good mood! I’ve created a playlist so you can jam while cleaning the house, doing other chores or when you’re out and about running errands.

Happy Halloween, Alex in Asheville