Sunday, March 1, 2015

Valentine's Day Gift, A Year of Dates, and Chitchat Lucy Tag

For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to give Brent a 'Year of Dates.'  This idea isn't new or original, as it's all over Pinterest if you look it up, but since I've been wanting to do regular date nights, I though this would be a fun present.

Before Boston, we always had the luxury of doing what we wanted, when we wanted.  We still do make time to go out and do stuff, but between different work schedules, driving back and forth between Portland and Seattle, and putting our house on the market, it's still really all on the fly.

The basic idea of this gift is to plan out dates for the entire year.  Most people do 12, one for each month.  But I wanted to do something a little different, so I did 26 dates, as I'd like to go on a date every other week. In most of the examples I saw, people got Groupon deals, tickets to events, and for those who didn't want to spend money upfront, wrote date ideas on paper/cards/popsicle sticks.

With Brent's new job, he doesn't have a set schedule yet. He won't get a set schedule until he finishes his trial period, which will be on his one year anniversary at the end of July. Knowing I couldn't commit to specific days and times, I had to pick dates that were a little bit more flexible and didn't expire any time soon. With limited baby care options, I also had to pick dates that would only require a couple/few hours at a time. (Since we are currently living with Brent's parents and my parents watch Boston while I work, I try not to keep asking them to babysit all the time.  As I make new friends, this will eventually get easier.)

So basically, most of my dates are based on food or movie tickets, lol. I know, {kindof boring} but I think this will be an easy and great way to start this tradition for us. Next year, once Brent has a set schedule, I'll be able to plan more specific events like a sporting event or maybe even a concert.

I also took a more expensive route, as I bought gift cards for all of the dates. But I did do a few things to keep my budget reasonable.
  1. I've been buying gift cards one at a time. Typically, I'll purchase one every time I get paid.
  2. At Safeway and Fred Meyers, they give you double gas rewards for buying gift cards. I bought most of the major chain gift cards there. (Brent drives a truck, so any savings on gas is great for us!)
  3. I traded gift cards for other ones. For example, I used my Amazon and Best Buy gift cards that I got for Christmas to buy restaurant and movie ones.
  4. If I didn't have to buy a $25 gift card, I didn't. (For example, some of my dates are dessert only, so I'm sure $15 for frozen yogurt will be plenty. Tuesdays are typically cheap movie nights and our theater sells $5 tickets. So $10 is enough for a movie out.)
  5. I bought a few vouchers from Groupon.  (They were running a special of 20% off all Groupons for Valentine's Day, so I was able to get a pretty good deal.  These do expire, unlike most of my gift cards, but most of them don't expire until May or later.  Which should give us enough time to use them.)
  6. I didn't do this, since Brent and I are saving our miles for our 10 year anniversary, but you could trade in miles/points for gift cards. 
Our Year of Dates also ties into my word for this year, {explore}. Some of the dates I picked are local places and some are places we haven't been to before. I think I did a good job of picking some of our favorites plus the above.  I even threw in a few that are more Brent's interest than my own.

At first I wanted a really cool way to present Brent with all the dates. If you look at gift card bouquets on Pinterest, you can find some really cute and amazing ways to make these. But the more and more I thought about this project, I realized I needed something that I could reuse year after year. (And I don't want to make a new bouquet every year, lol,)

I found this really cool pattern to make a wallet that holds 38 cards. Since most of my crafting stuff is still in storage, I asked my friend Shaela to make this for me. I told her that I wasn't in a rush for it, so I don't have it from her yet.  I decided kindof at the last minute, that I would make a temporary holder for the date/gift cards, so I'd have something to give Brent on our valentines date. 

I bought this cheap wood container and decorated it. With my crafting supplies in storage, I had really limited stuff to decorate with.  But since it's only going to be a temporary holder, I'm not too worried about it.  I also bought envelopes so it'll be a surprise when he picks them out. I'm thinking at the beginning of each month,we'll draw two or three (depending on the weeks). That way we can work them into our schedule. 

I've also been thinking about how I really want to blog more. So, I think I'll be sharing our dates as we do them! I think it'll be fun to look back on it.  This is the most crafty I've been in the last few months and I hope to get back into regularly once my house sells!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!