10 Date Night Ideas Under $40

10 Date Night Ideas Under $40 | The New Wife Blog | Date Night on a Budget | Spending Time with Your Man | Marriage Advice | Christian Girl Advice | Creative Muse Blog | Jessica Giaimo

Happy Friday! With the weather cooling down and our schedules filling up fast, I thought it would be nice to share some fun date night ideas with you, all of which can be done for under $40. Because when you’re married, you need to be able to have a stress-free, relaxing date without all the hassle of trying to make it expensive or perfect.

So here are some of my favorite ways to spend time with my man without breaking our budget…

Olive Garden Pasta + Wine::

This one is by far my favorite! Especially as it gets colder outside, I love me some warm pasta at home watching a movie. I’m definitely a take-out girl :) We do this every so often. We’ll order a “create your own pasta” from Olive Garden, get the salad (it comes with two breadsticks) and we’ll get an order of 4 breadsticks with a side of Alfredo sauce (Jeff really likes it). Then we’ll stop at the liquor store on the way home and pick up a bottle of wine. I’m really loving pink moscato right now!

Split between us, it’s super filling without being too heavy and really doesn’t cost much. It’s a winner every time!

Movie Night with AMC::

We just recently signed up for the Stubs program at AMC, which allows us to go see up to three movies each week! If we only go see two movies in a month, it more than pays for itself. If there are some movies you know you’ll want to see coming up, then I highly recommend it. We pick up Chick-fil-a and sneak it in, while purchasing a soda and popcorn in the theatre (They don’t suspect you if you buy their stuff).

You can always do it for a few months to see the movies you want and then cancel it. It’s a great way to get out of the house in the winter!

Pei Wei Take-Out::

I told you, I LOVE take-out nights! Another thing we’re loving lately is ordering the chicken lettuce wraps and the Dan Dan Noodle Bowl with Chicken and splitting both. It’s really affordable and the Pei Wei app is always sending me coupons for free entrees.

Mini Golf::

I’m not really all that into mini golfing. But we found the most amazing place in Colorado that has an incredible course. You feel like you’ve stepped into another world! Look around your area for some fun, outdoor places and you’ll be surprised by how much you get in touch with your inner child.

Coffee + American Furniture Warehouse::

We did this a lot when we were engaged and newly married. We’d go pick up some Starbucks coffee and drink it while we walked around our local American Furniture Warehouse store. Ikea would be fun, too! It’s fun to walk around and dream of what you may want to buy, get inspired for new ideas or just have a relaxing night. The people there are super helpful but if you don’t want it, they’ll politely leave you alone. We’ve definitely had a few impulse buys there, too!

Explore an Area in Your City You Haven’t Yet::

Here in Colorado Springs, we’ve got Manitou Springs, Old Colorado City, the Penny Arcade, The Rabbit Hole (an underground bar/restaurant). There’s usually a lot to explore in your area that you have no idea existed and when you find them together, they make for really special memories.

Do some exploring and see what you think. You may just find your new favorite spot.

Recreate Your First Date (or Another Significant Date)::

Jeff recreated our first date on the night he proposed. Even though the activities weren’t a surprise, because they were from our first date, it was so exciting to recreate it. It almost felt like a mini thrill (of course I had no idea he was about to propose! You can watch him surprise me with it HERE).

Whether it was your first date, the date he proposed or the first time you said “I love you,” recreating a significant moment in your life is not only fun, but can bring up old feelings and emotions that you haven’t felt in a long time. It’s important to take yourself back there every once in a while.

Make Homemade Pizzas::

I’ve really been loving this! I buy pizza dough from King Sooper’s (you can freeze it and it keeps for a while) and get whatever toppings we feel like that night. Or, we’ll each get our own toppings and make our own pizza, trying each other’s out, too. It’s a different way to do dinner, while also spending some time together (as opposed to you in the kitchen and him in his office). You might just learn a thing or two about the guy :)

Try a new Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant::

This is kind of similar to exploring your area, but maybe there’s a restaurant that you’ve always seen but never been to. Try something new and even if it doesn’t turn out to be amazing, you’ll have a memory that you two will share together.

Make a Holiday Traditions Night::

With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s the perfect time to plan some fun new traditions for you. Making gingerbread houses, baking Christmas cookies, hosting a Friendsgiving, the possibilities are endless and they are entirely up to you.

Every year, we always take a group of our fiends and go visit a local pumpkin patch and corn maze. It’s creepy and festive and we look forward to it every year. My family always put’s up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and now I do that with my husband, while listening to Christmas music and munching on peanut brittle.

Having these special moments will stick with you forever and give you a sense that you’re spending quality time with each other, even if your schedules are super busy this season.

Those are just some of my thought on some date night ideas. Pick one and try it out soon. Dates aren’t always about making everything perfect. It’s about intentionally spending some time together and valuing time with that person. If he likes to go out and do things, try mini golfing. If you like staying home, try take-out and a movie. Mix it up so each person feels like they are getting the kind of quality time that matters to them.

What are some date night ideas you’ve enjoyed? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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6 Helpful Tips When You Work with Your Husband

This Thursday is Jeff and I's One Year Anniversary and I thought it would be appropriate to write about our story so far in a way that can possibly help someone else. And the number one thing that God has been teaching us lately is how to work well together.  You see, Jeff and I have been working together (in the same department at work) for almost 3 years now, 8 months as friends, 6 months dating, 6 months engaged, and exactly a year now married and MAN.. have we learned a thing or two.

This Thursday is Jeff and I's One Year Anniversary and I thought it would be appropriate to write about our story so far in a way that can possibly help someone else. And the number one thing that God has been teaching us lately is how to work well together. 

You see, Jeff and I have been working together (in the same department at work) for almost 3 years now, 8 months as friends, 6 months dating, 6 months engaged, and exactly a year now married and MAN.. have we learned a thing or two. 

Working together is NOT easy and as grateful as I am for the opportunity, there are a few things that I have learned basically the hard way that can help with walking that oh-so-delicate line of spouse and co-worker. I promise it does get easier and it began to get easier for us the moment I started to put into action the tips I'm sharing with you below. It's a bit complex and detailed and some people might think I'm overdoing it all. But for those of you who work together, you know that any advice is welcome advice. 

Browse the list and see what fits for you and your man. The most important thing is to never stop talking about what you want your marriage to look like, in and out of the office. 

1. Acknowledge each other as married, but respect each other as co-workers

We tend to let our guards down with our man. But because guys are so task driven, they need us to put our best foot forward at work. This certainly doesn't mean that you can't be there for each other. You are best friends, confidants, the shoulder they lean on.. But make sure that your treating them with at least as much respect as you would another co-worker. It's easy for your other co-workers to get all the best parts of you and your spouse is left to only get the frustrated and worn-out bits. Remember to sometimes tuck your own feelings aside while at work and never be too afraid of showing favoritism that you overcompensate and treat your spouse harshly at work. They are supposed to be your favorite person, and everyone knows it! 

2. Give each other some space and keep conversations at work about work

One of the first marriage books we were ever given was called His Brain Her Brain, and it went into detail about the differences between the male and female brain and how that relates to marriage. One thing that really helped me was the idea that women are natural multitaskers (especially in the brain) while most men need to focus on only one thing at a time. It's the same reason men and focus on their career and soar to new heights and a woman can manage an entire house-hold, the cooking, cleaning, children, schedules, finances, shopping, etc.. and carry on a totally different conversation at the same time. 

So this means at work, I don't discuss what's for dinner, our gym schedule, upcoming trips, or any other sudden burst of inspiration I get without him initiating it first. And then I let him drive the conversation. Don't go visit his office whenever you feel like it. I try sending emails and calling on the phone first just like I would any other co-worker. That way he can focus on his work and not feel like all these details in our lives are simply distractions. 

3. Spend Quality time together and leave work at work

No wife or husband wants to feel like they are just your co-worker outside of work. It's vital to our marriage that we learn to unplug from the duties and demands of the day and truly see the other person as our best friend, husband, lover, safe place and rest. 

When Jeff and I were just dating, we went on a mini trip to Florida to see his parents, while back at work, we were in the middle of a seriously stressful situation. It was taking a toll on both of us, him more than anyone, and we decided that we needed to remove ourselves from that situation for a while, physically and mentally! The issue back at work all ended up better than we could have ever imagined on our own. Now we look back and laugh at how we actually used to worry about that. This tends to be harder for men to mentally unplug from problems. As wives, we should encourage (not nag) them to take off the worry and trust God with the results. 

It's important to leave work at work. If your not really on a date, then give him a break and let him check his emails. Everything being on our phones makes unplugging a pretty difficult thing. But when it's official date-night time, make sure that work doesn't make it a party of 3. 

4. Define and make clear the roles and responsibilities of each

When Jeff and I were sent on a video shoot to Michigan, we shot 9 interviews! (That's 9 interviews with 9 different people!) Oh and we did this in about 3 or so days. That's A LOT of work! When we got back, people would often ask us how we did it. I would say that we determined our roles and then stuck to them. 

This particular story we were working on was Jeff's, so he was the producer and I filled in the rest. I let him give vision and I helped him figure out a way to make it happen. Another thing we decided was that he liked to be able to focus on lighting the interview set and making it look great. So I would talk to the people and keep them busy so he wouldn't have to feel responsible for that too. 

No matter what field you're in, whether it's the every day tasks or a special project, determine what role each of you will fill and then also decided how you can help each other out in different situations. That way, you can get the job done and still like each other while you're doing it :) 

5. Fill in each other's weaknesses and lend to each other your strengths

This is a truth in marriage that should be carried over into the work place. One thing about Jeff is that he can be rather blunt. While this is usually a great asset, when communicating with women it sometimes doesn't get you too far. Sometimes, he'll ask me to communicate something for him if he feels he wasn't able to get his point or heart across. Because I know him and I know his heart, I can properly communicate what it is he wants - similar to how we represent Christ to this earth. 

I on the other hand, am not a very blunt person and have a hard time approaching people when I'm nervous. Jeff pushes me to be more forward and start conversations that I'm too afraid to start on my own. We also do a lot of writing, which can get really tedious. When we're writing articles, we often edit and proof read each other's articles before we submit them. 

It's important to never point out their weaknesses as proof of their inability but instead, always approach it from your willingness to offer yourself and to help the other person when they need it. So instead of saying "You suck at this," you could say "I want you to succeed. Here's what I saw..." 

6. Refuse to see the worst and choose to see the best

It's quite easy to allow all of the little imperfections that you see everyday affect how you see and treat your spouse at work. Just like you should do with your co-workers, CHOOSE to think, speak, and expect the best from your spouse until you have a chance to discuss it in private if something is wrong. I say "choose" because it is a choice. Our emotions may come and tell us things, but we ALWAYS have a choice as to how we will handle every situation with every person that we encounter.. including our spouse. 

This is something that I am definitely still working on myself! 

If Jeff says something to me that sounds harsh, or gives me a look like he's annoyed at me, or seems to ignore me in front of other people, I can CHOOSE to think, speak, and assume his intentions were good until I can ask him about it later. Maybe he was frustrated at a project, maybe he didn't see me, maybe he though that face was sexy... When I do this, 90% of what I thought was an issue is gone before I have a chance to talk to him about it. This will seriously save you SO much stress. 

Some positive thoughts for the road... 

Before we get too overwhelmed with all of the potential bad that can come from working together, it's important to reflect on all of the good that comes from working with your husband. 

You are able to be a team at work, which brings you closer together. 

You are working together towards a common goal and can dream in a deeper way than most. 

You always have someone at work with you who can fill in your weaknesses and be there for you in a way no other co-worker can. They are always for you. 

You have a constant reminder of what your vision is and why you are working so hard to begin with! 

So whether your working in a joint office, or just working on the story of your marriage, I pray that these tips will encourage you, give you insight, and perhaps just a bit more tools in your marriage belt when it comes to working alongside that handsome man of yours. 

Build your life well, 
Jess

With This Ring...

"You may now kiss the bride..." 

Fairytales are great at helping us get together, but what happens after the vows are made, after the cakes been cut, after toasts are given, and after he kisses the bride? It's so easy to get wrapped up in the planning and preparations, the one you love and the beauty of the day, but the love we feel has to be a decision and not just an emotion; one that starts it's own story shortly following happily ever after. 

We've all heard it many times before, often recited at weddings, love is patient, love is kind. But it seemed to hit me in a different sort of way when I read these verses in The Message. 

 

Love never gives up. 

Love cares more for others than self. 

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 

Love doesn't strut, 

Doesn't have a swelled head, 

Doesn't force itself on others, 

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle, 

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 

Puts up with anything, 

Trusts God always, 

Always looks for the best, 

Never looks back, 

But keeps going to the end. 

Love never dies... 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

 

Oh... so that's what I was agreeing to when I recited my vows in front almost everyone I knew. It's easy to love people when they act lovely; we usually don't even need to decide to love, it's just our naturally reaction. We're so used to a conditional love- I'll act loving towards you when you start acting loving towards me- be what we're not so practiced at is actively loving people when they're not so lovely, especially our spouse. 

It says in the bible that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and I truly believe that it takes faith to step out in love towards someone when you don't feel like it. You have to take your trust off of yourself and out of the comfort zone that you've created, and put it into God's love for you. So that even when it's not reciprocated right away, or ever, your heart can stay at rest. 

Reading the verses above, it becomes more clear to me how our emotions can get us into so much trouble. I feel hurt, I feel wronged, what if they do it again, what if it's not enough, what if I'm not enough? Lies and fears keep us trapped in our emotional state, holding us back from acting on truth, which will in turn set us free from our negative emotions. Anytime you step out in faith, God will always meet you there. He's not in the boat after all, He's out on the water, waiting to see if you'll trust Him for something so much greater to happen in your life. 

Now when I look at my ring, I'll think Him and what He wants me to do and how He wants me to act. Making the decision to love time and time again will open up your life for so much more. We were never meant to live small lives, but rather lives that were so big and expansive that they immediately put to rest not only our own fears, but the fears of others. 

And that's how they would live happily ever after... well, sort of

Our Newest Little Giaimo + Changing Seasons

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

Isn't this little guy the cutest? Jeff and I had been wanting to adopt a kitten for several months, and as soon as we walked in and saw him, that was it. I think it's pretty obvious to see why. He's tiny and fluffy and has the greatest attitude in history! One minute, he has the be the center of your world but wait... as soon as you start to enjoy his presence a little too much, he decides that it's time to withdraw from you until you deserve another visit. What can I say, he get's me! 

Going into this second month of marriage, all of the hustle from the wedding is finally settling down and, just like the changing seasons, you realize, "Oh crap, everything about my life is so different!" Your name is different, your closet space is different, your grocery list is different, your priorities are different, your money is different... I could go on. However, your grace is different. 

I find that whenever I try to make things happen, when I put everything I have into becoming this idea of what a good wife should be, I always fall short and usually end up very frustrated. This feeling culminated one night for me when I failed to cook a delicious popcorn chicken dinner that I found online. I got out the pan and then boom... sat it down and started to cry. I was exhausted from a full day of work and an alarming lack of sleep. I looked at Jeff and told him how sorry I was for failing as his wife. With shock in his eyes (and perhaps quite a bit of laughter) he told me he didn't want popcorn chicken and we could order Chinese instead. I felt better :) but I wasn't sure how that all escalated so quickly. Feeling like a failure does't really motivate you to do better. It usually just paralyzes you, keeping you from seeing any potential or reason to keep trying. 

But what I have to realize is that I'm not failing at being married... I AM MARRIED! Whether I feel like it or not, I am Jeff's wife and the moment I relax in knowing that, is the same moment my heart starts to feel content with where I'm at. Sure I'm still learning- sometimes the laundry is behind, I forgot paper towels at the store again, and I still DO NOT want to make that popcorn chicken recipe tonight!- But I'm not falling apart over it either. The moments that make up our life are right now and we can't spend them all wishing we were somewhere else or someone else. Life (and marriage) is about the journey and about enjoying the wedding, the new furniture, the new kitten, the new job, the new friends, the new chapter or season that your in. We all fail sometimes, but that doesn't make us failures. It just becomes another chapter in the magnificent tale of the life you choose to live. Don't write it perfect... just write it.