Local Love: Valentine’s Plans

Hi guys & gals! The Hubs is away this week, so I am looking forward to getting some take-out with my Mama this Valentine’s Day, but my brain was a’storming with ideas for those of you who might need some last minute creativity for doing something special with your lerve this weekend. You don’t necessarily have to spend a wad of cash to have a great evening with your  sweetheart or even just hanging with some friends – here are some of my favourite ideas for enjoying a moment together.


{This is a little something I doodled up with a picture I liked from our first Valentine’s photo session. Do you like it?}

I decided to make this list locally oriented but universally applicable — here’s hoping more of you dear readers and friends will come visit so we can meet in real life!! Some of these do have more of a married couple-leaning, but I kind of think married couples don’t always make it a priority to celebrate staying in love... so I think that’s a good thing!

{If you ladies want to forward this to your hero hubses…just try to do so nicely…}

1. Spend an Evening at Her Service :: If the sweetheart in your life spends a lot of time in the kitchen or the laundry room, you can bless her heart (and perhaps her hands and feet) without breaking the bank this Valentine’s. Set the table, light the candles, make (or order in) a dinner she’s sure to like, pour her a drink and let her relax. Make sure you finish strong by doing the dishes! You won’t spend much, but you’ll earn big points in the process.
2. Treat her to a spa day :: if you’re looking for a great gift idea, this is a great way to impress. She’ll be proud of you for darkening the door of a ladies’ salon or spa just to buy a gift certificate. A facial… a manicure… a massage… there are heaps of great choices to make her feel fabulous. Drop by Oasis Hair Salon & Spa in downtown Washington and she’ll be able to enjoy that getaway without leaving town!
3. Hit a local gem like The Bank for a slice of culinary delight — their set menu for Valentine’s Day includes Ahi Tuna, Prime Rib or Rich Chicken, Creme Brûlée and a wine perfectly paired with your choices! (Apologies to you out-of-towners… but this is one more good reason to come visit!)
4. The humble picnic basket is far-too-often neglected when it comes to a romantic outing. Grab extra blankets in case the weather’s still chilly, plan a walk at Goose Creek or perhaps a bike ride downtown, grab an easy-to-eat dinner and the perfect cheese and wine accompaniments and you can enjoy some time just the two of you, just about anywhere.
5. If your sweetheart enjoys a fine wine or two, why not create an at-home wine tasting experience? Pull out extra glasses, create a peaceful ambience with music and candles, and make a sweet memory. The folks at Wine & Words (downtown Washington) can coach you on great wine choices to pair with dinner or hors d’oeuvres — take notes of the descriptions of your selections and you’ll impress with your skills as a sommelier!
6. Add in just a little something out of the ordinary. Before dinner, stroll through the Estuarium or go for a dig at the Aurora Fossil Museum. (Be sure to check their opening times before you make plans!)
7. Sometimes the best way to spell love is T-I-M-E. Stretch out your time together just doing a little strolling or shopping. Stop by the Inner Banks Artisans Center downtown and check out the Quiver Tree Gallery! 🙂
8. Turn into an American Picker! Go thrifting for a special piece that can grace a perfect spot in your home. Remember to look for potential, even if you don’t have the inclination to handle a paint brush. If you’re in Washington, the gals at Cottage Junkies can refurbish or paint that special find for you! Every time you see it, it’ll be a sweet memory.
9. Go all-out for an all-inclusive experience. Quiver Tree Photography is offering a Sweetheart Package this February for just $299. Combining a sunset photo session in downtown Washington and a three course dinner for two with a bottle of wine at a great new local restaurant {Have you tried Zaitona yet?} is sure to create a Valentine’s to remember. We’re even taking care of the roses.

Do you have any special plans this week? While you’re enjoying them, say a prayer for la casa de Collie! It might get a little wild around here before HH gets back!


Weekend Goodie Basket

I‘ve been storing up some quality posts to share with you guys… I feel like a chipmunk that’s been storing up nuts for weeks. I’ve finally got enough to share, it’s time for a chipmunk party! That totally didn’t work, but I think I’m just gonna leave it and we can celebrate failure together.


Thanks to a friend of mine, just last week {or was it the week before?} I came across a site I hadn’t visited before called Pennington Point. This awesome Mama-of-9 {straight up Mama of nine, y’all — no twins or adoptions or blended families — this lady gave birth 9 times! Not that there is anything wrong with other methods of becoming a mother…I just think that’s amazing…!} has a great series going on called Intentionally Parenting Your Toddler. I don’t think I’m the only Mama of small kiddies around here, so I thought I’d share in case it might be an encouragement to you, too! The most recent post in the series, Part Four, went up on June 25th.

I sometimes feel like I’ve read every suggestion ever written on these here internets about living on a budget, but this gal over at Blissful and Domestic has some very good recommendations in a post called How Does She Live on a Budget, where she talks about how her family of four lives on $14,000 a year. Even if you’re just skimming, be sure to check out the links at the bottom to other posts that get more specific, like Cutting the Grocery Bill in Half and Fresh Produce All Month Long. (Still working my way through that last one.)

Lord help us to change the way we live with a heart to change the way we give!

An “internet friend” of mine, Lisa-Jo Baker, or “the Gypsy Mama,” {who is awesome and has written me some real-life emails of encouragement as I navigate the path of a marriage divided between two home continents} guest posted over at Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience last week. Her post felt like it was just for me, but I thought it might also be for you, too. Is there anything in your life you’re avoiding instead of embracing? Please enjoy How the Size of Your House Has Nothing to Do With the Size of Your Life.

I’ve since really started moving into the house we’ve lived in since December. Good story for another day.

Also from A Holy Experience… Ann spoke so many of the words in my heart, words I have been forgetting, things I have been struggling to try to remember, about the body of Christ worldwide, what it looks like, what it could look like, after her recent trip to Haiti. So, Read this to get messed up.

And just a quick reminder… if you’re in the wee Washington area and thinking about hopping down to Music in the Streets for a wee while tomorrow night, look for the Bear, the Tiger, the Hubs and yours truly, because we’ll be passing out flyers with Quiver Tree $10 off coupons! It’s a good chance to score a little Quiver Tree plunder!

Stay cool this weekend…