Novel date night idea: Fix your blog.
So yeah, that happened…
Novel date night idea: Fix your blog.
So yeah, that happened…
Tonight, we revived another of our favorite traditions: evening walks in the park. Even though it’s been Spring for weeks now, the weather has been a weird back and forth of rain and cold, so we haven’t done much outdoors. It was a bit chilly tonight still, but nice enough to spend some time outdoors together.
We’ve missed our casual evening walks. They are a nice time for us to get a bit of exercise, get some fresh air, and talk about our days and upcoming events. Tonight, we chatted about our excitement for the vacation that we planned a few days ago. We also planned a bit for a party this weekend (look forward to that post in a few days), and talked about the bachelorette party that Amanda is throwing in a few weeks as part of her matron of honor duties. We also talked about how we really enjoyed seeing some green again. Winter was the last time we were here, so everything was still dull and gray. Spring has breathed life back into the park.
Not only the plants have more life with the season change. The park was buzzing with activity. Lots of kids were out playing and practicing baseball in the various fields around the park. A few joggers and a few families were out on the walking trail. A couple of geese were also enjoying the park. The park has changed a good bit since we were there last. Another T-ball field is in the middle of construction. The old jungle gym equipment is torn out as they are working to replace it. All of the updates are causing a temporary mess, but the changed landscape actually made the walk more interesting, especially as we noticed some of the changes and pointed them out to each other. Now we’re even more excited for walks in the near future to see the progress of the updates.
Rise and shine, campers! Wait, we’ve already done that. Hello again, daters and date-ettes. Amanda and I have been ridiculously busy and have fallen behind on our dating-post responsibilities. That ends today. We’ve caught back up with life and now that the weather is nice, we have a full schedule of amazing dates planned again. We’re bringing back the oldies-but-goodies of Monday Movie Madness, Tabletop Tuesday, and Video Game Thursday. In addition, there are a bunch of great movies coming out in the next couple months, so lots of midnight premiers. Our local drive-in is back in full swing. We are finally going to make it to see the symphony (spoilers: the music of Harry Potter). Plus, we have lots more on tap. Sorry about the delay, but we’re back! Expect the first post tomorrow.
Before we had issues with buying tickets and then the weather not cooperating, Amanda bought tickets to a few events. We had sworn off buying any more since the weather had been so lousy every time we wanted to go do anything, but the last one we already picked out was a Bill Engvall comedy show. On Sunday, the forecast was calling for snow, but we were lucky and the weather stayed nice while we were traveling. On a related note, oh man, are we excited about Spring coming so we can go out and travel for date night more often.
The show was in Wheeling, WV at the Capitol Theatre. And of course, since we went anywhere, we had a minor parking fiasco. We thought there was a parking garage directly beside the theater, but when we pulled in to the small entrance, it turned out to be closed. We were kind of stuck trying to back out against traffic, but a nice stranger happened to be walking by and held traffic for a few seconds so we could get back out onto the road. Thank you, friend. We circled around and found a parking garage a couple blocks away. Not too bad.
We got inside and picked up our tickets from will call. After waiting in line for some popcorn, we sat down in our balcony seats, and waited for the show. The theater is old and gorgeous. Being up in the balcony gave us a marvelous view of the stage as well as the surrounding ornate decorations, which stretched from stage to ceiling. We didn’t have long to admire the scenery before the show started.
I’ve been a fan of Bill Engvall for a long time. His “Here’s Your Sign” routines, as well as his very down-to-earth style and family-oriented jokes, have given me many laughs over the years. I was really excited to finally get to see him live. His live show was even better than his recorded material because he was laughing a lot right along with us, which made the show even more personal. He talked about getting older (something we don’t relate to yet, but could still laugh along with), married life, family life, his time on Dancing With The Stars, and building his new house. He rounded off the show with a couple of new “Here’s Your Sign” stories, which were great audience pleasers. Our favorite bit was about how he and his wife started having date night again, but we might be a little biased on the subject. The show was hilarious throughout and we both had a fantastic time.
This was our also our first time ever using Groupon. We were nervous about getting random seats, but the price of $15 each was so great that we couldn’t pass it up. (That price wasn’t printed on the tickets, so it was not $0, like the image above shows.) Our seats ended up being the best in the section that we chose, so we’ve overcome our initial trepidations, and we’re looking forward to using future Groupons. We’ve been to a number of comedy shows, since going to the comedy club is a staple evening activity when we cruise, but this is our first one not at sea. Comedy clubs and shows make for excellent dates and we highly recommend them. Laughter isn’t just the best medicine, it is also a great way to build relationships and lasting memories together.
While looking around for things to do this last weekend, Amanda found that there was a roller derby match nearby. Neither of us had seen roller derby before, so of course we both said “Date night!” The match we went to was the Morgantown Roller Vixens vs. the Ohio Valley Roller Girls at a roller rink near us.
Since the date was a kinda last minute idea, we didn’t look up the rules of the sport, so when we went, we had no idea how a roller derby was played. As luck would have it, we ran into a friend of mine from high school whose wife, another friend of mine from high school, happens to be on the Roller Vixens team, so he described the action for us as it was happening.
The game is played in two 30 minute halves with a 15 minute half time break. Each team has 5 players on the rink at a time, 1 jammer and 4 blockers. The jammer scores one point for each person on the other team she skates past. The blockers try to prevent the other team’s jammer from getting past. The game is played in short bouts called jams.
It is a really cool sport with super interesting players, all of whom had pseudonymous personalities, with names like Abby Castabby, Madea K Jefa, Bohemian Blasphemy, and Rita Repulsa (which is my personal favorite for the Power Rangers reference). They all skated out onto the rink to personality intros read by an announcer, which got the crowd pumped up.
Since my friend was on the Roller Vixens, we were cheering for them. Unfortunately, they had a pretty rough game and lost. It was still a great time, especially getting to see old friends.
Being at the roller derby got us excited for going skating ourselves. We’ve talked about skating before, and have also chatted about the derby a bit with friends who are also now excited for skating. I expect us to be hitting the rink as a big group date pretty soon.
Tonight, we found out how truly terrible we are at Super Smash Bros. We loaded up the game on our Wii U and started playing. We’ve played all of the other games in the series, all the way back to the original for N64. For those, we weren’t very good either, but man we are awful without playing in so long.
Super Smash Bros. is the latest installment of a popular Nintendo series of fighting games that was first released in 1999. You and your date choose a character from many Nintendo franchises (this version has 58 playable characters) and you can customize your battleground, time limit, and additional rules of the game, such as items and AI difficulty.
For our first few games, we selected a character that we enjoyed from the previous versions and then chose a random location to fight. That didn’t go so well. Most of the points we got was from the other person falling off the moving platforms while trying to attack. A lot. Have I mentioned how bad we are at this?
After that, we decided to play a few Pokemon-themed rounds, where we played as different Pokemon on the Pokemon stage. And no Pokemon battle is complete without turning on only Pokeballs items and setting them to high frequency. With those, at least we were doing damage to each other with the Pokemon from the items.
Did I mention we are really bad? We need so much practice. It’s a great date because there are so many characters and so many stages and so many different game modes and so many items. No two rounds are ever the same and the rounds are very fast paced, so you’re always engaged. Super Smash Bros. is one of my all-time favorite games, so we’ll definitely get better as we spend more time playing.
I’m going to go ahead and apologize for this post being late. Try as I might, I will not be getting this post done tonight because there is just too much to say. I’ve gotten part of it done, but this is probably going to turn into our biggest post yet, including plenty of pictures. In the mean time, enjoy this preview picture:
We subscribed to the DVD plan on Netflix back in January to get La Dolce Vita. Most recently in our queue was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. We saw a huge amount of advertisements for the movie last year while we were in Italy, where a substantial amount of the movie takes place, so we added it to our queue to check it out.
This is a classic Cold-War-era spy movie. Napoleon Solo, American spy extraordinaire, takes on a dangerous mission to cross the Berlin Wall, rescue the daughter of a nuclear scientist, and then escape East Germany. He meets Russian spy <whatever the Russian equivalent of extraordinaire is> Illya Kuryakin, who is also after the woman. He narrowly escapes with his life to meet up with his handler in the CIA. The following day, Napoleon finds out (the hard way) that the CIA and the KGB have decided to team up on this mission. Guess which agent the KGB sends to be his partner? Illya Kuryakin, of course. Personalities and world views clash as the iconic American spy is forced to work with the iconic Russian spy.
When we added it to our queue, we had no idea that the movie wasn’t a stand alone piece. The movie is based on an NBC show from the mid 1960s. The series already has 8 movies made during the initial run of the show. It was a fun action movie with some cool twists. It had a very James Bond feel, but with more realistic spy gadgets, like bugs and trackers. Overall, we enjoyed it. Check it out for your next movie date night.
Happy 30th birthday, Legend of Zelda! Today marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the original Legend of Zelda game in Japan. We are both huge Zelda fans. My first Zelda game was Link’s Awakening on the original Gameboy, both of which my aunt got me for Christmas. Amanda’s first Zelda game was the actual first Zelda game, Legend of Zelda. Today, we’re celebrating with a Zelda marathon, feeding out latest addiction: Hyrule Warriors.
Ever since we played that first multiplayer game of Hyrule Warriors, we’ve been sneaking in a couple hours every few days when we have some time when we’re not doing our other dates. We’ve beaten Legend Mode on normal difficulty to unlock Hard difficulty challenges and Hero difficulty. Oh man, Hero difficulty is hard. To prepare, we’ve been working out way through Adventure Mode, which is a large series of different scenarios that you have to beat in certain ways or with certain warriors or using certain weapons, usually within a small time window. They give different power ups and other materials to advance the characters (plus more experience), which should help us finally take on Hero difficulty.
We also attempted to make some 8-bit heart cupcakes. We have a mold for the 8-bit hearts that we got for Valentine’s Day a few years ago. Amanda mixed up the batter and we poured it in, then tossed the mold in the toaster oven to bake. After a few minutes, we went to check on the progress and saw the mold was melting. We might have forgotten that it was an ice mold, not a baking mold. Woops. Misadventures in dating.
We had a lot of fun hanging out and playing video games all day. We would seriously recommend Hyrule Warriors to any couples looking for a good game to play together.
Science! It’s what’s for dinner. Our date night tonight was some kitchen mad science. We have been really enjoying falafels for dinner lately, but we’ve used the same basic recipe every time we’ve made them. We wanted to try other flavor profiles to see if we like any of them better. In addition to our falafels, we have also been craving egg rolls, so to add to our crazy science experiment, we made multiple types of egg rolls.
If we’ve learned nothing else from watching an absurd amount of Food Network, the first step in any culinary challenge is always the mise en place, which is a French phrase meaning “putting in place.” Since we’re making a bunch of different stuff, but with similar ingredients, we can prepare most of the stuff ahead of time to make assembling and cooking the final product faster and easier. We used our Ninja food processor to finely chop all of the vegetables for the egg rolls. Most of the recipes we’ve seen call for julienned or sliced vegetables, but we really like the fine chop. It blends the filling together more evenly, and also makes it easier to actually roll up inside the wrap. We also used the Ninja to chop/blend the chick peas, tahini, and spices for the falafels. Amanda found the Ninja on sale on Black Friday and it has had a permanent place on our counter ever since between making smoothies, and more recently, falafels.
We made two different flavor profiles for the falafels. The first was a lemon and garlic falafel inspired by a TaDah brand falafel wrap with that flavor profile that we found in a local grocery store. For the second profile, we mixed and matched some of our favorite spices, such as turmeric, garlic, and cumin, just to play with the proportions in the recipe. In the past, we’ve tried baking and frying falafels, but we’ve always flattened them into a patty instead of traditional spherical shape. Since we were already trying new things, we decided to attempt the round shape and fry them.
For our egg rolls, we had a lot of the vegetables for base ingredients left over from other meals this week, so we made three different batches. The first was our normal recipe which consists of broccoli, carrots, garlic, and ginger. We normally really enjoy the way those come out, but we wanted to see if we could improve upon what our process. The second batch, we used a Green Giant broccoli slaw mix containing broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots, then added a couple sections of mandarin orange, and a healthy dose of ginger. For the last batch, we did turmeric and tofu cubes.
We figured that we could fine tune the individual recipes once we tasted everything and chose a flavor direction that we wanted to go, so we didn’t write down the exact recipes we used. Once we settle in, we’ll make sure to share our finalized recipes. Our original plan was to split one of everything we made at the end, but we were tasting little bits along the way and were full. However, it will be nice to have some food already prepped in our freezer this week to make more time for date night.
Recipe science achieved!