Day Date Brings Unexpected Fun

The photo does not do this burrito justice-it was huge and was full of fresh flavors!
The photo does not do this burrito justice-it was huge and was full of fresh flavors! This will not be our last date at La Juanita’s!

Last week my husband and I went on a day date. With the busyness of the holidays and raising two kids, we haven’t had much alone time lately. So, when my husband called me at 11:30 AM the other day asking if I wanted to meet for lunch, I eagerly accepted. I was spending the day cleaning and running errands, so this was an unexpected and welcome distraction. Although I knew the reason for the date was because his truck was in the shop and he needed a ride, I was glad he was making some time in his busy day for me.




I scrambled to get ready (I was in sweats and needed to become somewhat presentable) and formulated a plan. We typically have a difficult time deciding where to eat, so I took it upon myself to at least have my idea well thought out this time. Soon, I was headed downtown to meet my favorite guy.

Once inside La Juanita, you'll have to check out the murals. You can find many parts of our community on the walls.
Once inside La Juanita, you’ll have to check out the murals. They add a special touch to the burrito eating experience!

I suggested we try La Juanita‘s for lunch, and he obliged. He hadn’t been there since his college days, and it had been a few years for me, so it was about time we checked it out together! La Juanita’s is known in Storm Lake for incredible food, especially their burritos. And, let me tell you, they did not disappoint! We each got a steak and cheese burrito and were glad we did. Maybe it was because I forgot to eat breakfast in the rush of getting kids ready for school, but that burrito was AMAZING! I could tell it was made with fresh ingredients and a bit of cooking magic. The prices were reasonable too. For a little over $12 we each had a huge burrito and a drink.

Check out all these amazing treats at Delicias Bakery! They make tamales on the weekends. I cant wait to try those soon!
Check out all these amazing treats at Delicias Bakery! I can’t wait to stop by on a weekend and try their tamales!

We had a chance to chat a bit and enjoy the atmosphere before it was time go the second stop on our day date. We walked along Lake Avenue to Delicias Bakery. This is another great locally-owned business. The owner, Diego, is very friendly and is pro at making fun treats. The lineup of treats is huge! And, if you haven’t been there before, Diego will explain what he has made for the day.

I’ve been to Delicias Bakery a few times, and although there seems to be a little different selection each time, I knew whatever we picked out would be fun to try. (Helpful hint: Once you get to Delicias, grab a tray and tongs at the front counter. Then, head to the back, and fill up your tray before paying for your treats.) The sugar coated and fruit-filled pastries and breads don’t break the bank either. For less than $2 we enjoyed some new-to-us sweets.

Here are the treats we enjoyed on our trip to Delicias Bakery.
The treats at Delicias Bakery were tasty!

We opted to enjoy our treats in the bakery. There are only a few tables in the front of the store, so feel free to take your goodies home for enjoyment if you feel so inclined. The baked items are more ‘bready’ and less sweet than the doughnuts and cookies than I’m use to but would be great with a cup of coffee if that is your sort of thing.

We shared our treats and enjoyed a bit more chatting before my guy walked me to my car. It was lightly snowing, which added just a touch of romantic ambiance to our walk. While I didn’t start my day expecting a date, it was a fun way to spend a little extra alone time with my guy. It didn’t take more than a lunch hour and $15 to add something special and unexpected to our day. An extra bonus was not having to find and pay a sitter. I have a feeling we’ll be having more day dates in the future!

Double Date on the Green

Double Date on the Green
A double date at the golf course was a great way to spend time with friends and my hubby!

A date night post is long overdue! It is hard to make date nights happen with our busy family schedule. If you’ve found tricks to make date nights happen on a consistent basis, let me know your secrets! But until we are empty-nesters (only 13-plus years from now), we will do the best we can to fit adult time in with the craziness of kids!

We did manage a double-date with our friends earlier this summer (busy life also means I am behind on posting a few things!). They asked us to golf with them on a weeknight. We found a sitter and happily agreed! This was an activity we knew the guys would even enjoy.

The husbands golf together on a local league, so they get plenty of practice and enjoy extra time on the course. My friend had been a golfer before kiddos and was looking forward to time on the links again. Then there was me. Prior to this date, I had hit golf balls at a driving range a few times and had only ever played a hole or two on an actual course.

Fore!
Giving golf a shot! Do not judge my form-I am still learning!

But I was ready! I had golf clubs; pink ones at that! I had tees and brand new golf balls; all pink as well. And, I had a coordinating outfit (any guess on the color?!). I figured if I didn’t know what I was doing, I was going at least look good and make people think I’d done this before! Sometimes it is a lot more about having a positive attitude and focusing on fun rather than worrying about skill level or performance!

We had a great time! We devised a variation of best-ball as our scoring plan. None of us really cared about our score though. We were just looking to have fun. And that we did! I found that I am NOT a natural born golfer, which was really not a surprise. I learned a few things though and had some much needed adult-time with a group of amazing people. One of my shots was actually used, so that was an added bonus!

Golf Night
Great night. Great friends. What more can I say?!

After finishing 9 holes of chasing golf balls, we had worked up an appetite. We grabbed a bite to eat at a local establishment before we called it a night. It really didn’t matter where we golfed or where we ate, it was all about having fun with great company! So whether it’s actual golf, mini-golf, Frisbee golf, or even ‘golf’ the card game, grab a couple friends and book a sitter if you need one. A week night date might be just what you need to recharge and get your fix of fun!

P.S. Since this double date on the green, my husband and I have managed to golf two more times sans kiddos. We golfed on our anniversary, which was more about having fun than being romantic!

Taking Time to Relax
I found time to relax a bit while on our double date night. It was pretty great!

Then, over the weekend we found ourselves without kiddos when they were invited to their very first birthday party without us (EEEK!). Instead of reminiscing about how they grew up way too fast, we hit the links again. Three dates on the golf course within the matter of a couple months must be some kind of record! My golf skills are improving, and while I am far from being a master golfer, I will be ready for more golfing fun, and dates, in the future!

Storm Lake Staycation Proves You Don’t Need to go Far For Fun

“What do you want to do?” “I don’t know; what do you want to do?” Does this exchange sound familiar? My husband and I often have this conversation before a date night or in this case, when deciding on a vacation. This summer these words were said quite a few times and before we knew it, our kid-free weekend loomed near. We needed a plan, and quick!

Great Date Night
We had an amazing time at the White House 220 Cupcakery! We didn’t have to go far to have fun!

We wanted to do something fun for just the two of us, it needed to be within driving distance since we had two nights of free childcare (we were cashing in a Christmas gift from my parents-a way awesome gift for parents with small children), and we wanted to do or go somewhere different from previous trips. We crossed more things off the list than we added, but then suddenly, in the final hour, I had a plan! We were going to have a staycation!

I must admit, my husband wasn’t as keen on this idea as I was. He wanted to get away, but I was determined to show him that staying at home could be a vacation too. Hey, we weren’t going to have kiddos around for two whole nights-that is a vacation right there! I found many positives in this situation. We could sleep in the comfort of our own bed, sleep past 6 AM if we wanted, we didn’t need to spend time packing, we would save a bunch of money on gas, and we could do some of the things we’ve always wanted to try in our town of Storm Lake, Iowa.

I figured we hit most of our must-haves. We would have fun, be within driving distance of home, and minus staying in our own house, we would be doing something different. I started making a list of the things I wanted to try. By the time my list was done, there was more on it than we would accomplish, but we had options!

My list went a little something like this:

If anyone says there’s nothing to do in Storm Lake, give them this list. It will take a little while to accomplish all of these. This isn’t even a comprehensive list-it was what I could come up with 5 minutes of spare time. With more time, I could find things to keep someone busy for a week!

Anyway, with our kids safely deposited with grandparents, it was time to start our very first staycation! Our first stop was the White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta. You can read my blog post about this amazing experience here. We picked up a few extra cupcakes and enjoyed them later that night with neighbors over a bottle of wine.

Breakfast Gazebo
This gazebo was the perfect spot to enjoy our breakfast from the Storm Lake Farmers Market!

We slept in the next morning. It is amazing what a little extra sleep can do! We decided to head to the Storm Lake Bakery for donuts before heading to the Farmer’s Market. The bakery was out of everything breakfast-ish. I guess that’s what happens when you sleep in! After deciding that cookies probably aren’t the best way to start the day, we continued on to the Storm Lake Farmer’s Market. We checked out the vegetables, farm-fresh eggs, honey, jellies and jams, and baked goods. We picked up some amazing local honey and a couple cinnamon rolls. We walked a few blocks and enjoyed our breakfast in a gazebo on the corner of Lake Avenue and 4th Street.

After a trip to Wal-Mart, (I know this is not an amazing stay-cation stop, but going to a store together without two extra helpers was enjoyable), we made a picnic lunch to enjoy by the lake. Another thing checked off the list! We went for a walk and checked out the water rentals by Kings Pointe. We were bummed to find out the water bikes were out of commission for an undetermined amount of time. So, we resorted to plan B and borrowed our friend’s jet ski on short notice. It had been years since we had been on the lake, and it was so much fun! I don’t think I ever really appreciated the enormity or beauty of the lake as much as I did when I was actually in the middle of it! If you don’t own a boat or other watercraft, here are a couple places to check out in Storm Lake: Kings Pointe and Storm Lake Marina.

After an afternoon of water fun, we cooked ourselves a yummy meal to enjoy in our backyard. We watched a movie at home and called it a night. The next morning we took advantage of the time to ourselves and we accomplished a few jobs around our house. The draw back of a staycation is you don’t really get away from the things you know need to be done!

Storm Lake Municipal Band
Bring your own chair or blanket to enjoy the Storm Lake Municipal Band at the Sunset Park Bandshell. Make sure you put them on your summer 2016 schedule!

Another afternoon leisurely stroll on the walking path led us to Sunset Park where the Storm Lake Municipal Band was setting up for an afternoon concert. We stuck around to hear them play awhile before heading home. The group of musicians did an exceptional job entertaining the crowd. We saw one of the last concerts of the year, so be sure to check them out next year. You can find their schedule here.

By the time we got home, our kiddos were back again too. They were excited to tell us about the ‘vacation’ they had with their grandparents, and we were excited to see them. There was no luggage to unpack or mounds of laundry to tackle, so we had plenty of time to hear their stories.

I’d say our staycation was a success. We crossed 6 of the 12 things off our list. Not too bad! The others will be saved for another day-perhaps even another staycation! So, if you find yourself wondering what you are going to do for a date night or even a weekend vacation, start to look around your hometown or surrounding communities. You may just find there are plenty of new and fun things to do without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Living Deliciously at White House 220 Cupcakery

White House 220
The White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa offers a menu of yummy breads and cupcakes on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Yummy! Fun! Those two words pretty much sum up the date night my husband and I had at White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa. The cupcakery, owned by Peg Hinkeldey, is an adorable venue-both inside and out. The cupcakery opened less than 2 years ago and has proved to be a delicious adventure.

The cupcakery sells gourmet cupcakes on Friday and Saturday mornings each week from 9 AM to 12 PM or until the cupcakes are sold out. During the summer, the cupcakery is open from 6:00-9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday evenings. So, when my husband and I found ourselves kid-less (thanks to my parents), we decided to try out the mini cupcakes, bread, and sangria we’d been hearing about.

We stopped in the store and picked out some cupcakes to enjoy. With no kids we might as well go for dessert first, right? The flavors are different each night, but the Monster Cookie and Upside Down Pineapple we tried were pretty fabulous! We sampled the house-made sangria (which was so good we each decided to fill up our glasses-mine with added fruit and his without), and made our way to the backyard.

Inviting Outdoor Seating
The outdoor seating was inviting, relaxing and super fun. It can be romantic, too, if you are looking for that sort of thing!

I must say, walking into the backyard at White House 220 Cupcakery was like walking into a different city. The brick backdrop, music, and outdoor seating was reminiscent of downtown Iowa City or Old Market in Omaha, not what you think to find in small-town Alta, Iowa. Old chairs serve as swings and an old door hanging from a tree is a table. A life-size Jenga game sat in a corner, inviting visitors to have fun. I’ve also heard a bicycle built for two often sits in the yard just waiting to be taken for joy ride.

Peg and her husband, Bruce, are host and hostess Friday and Saturday nights. Although they each have day-time careers, they are perfect for these jobs! It was like being at a backyard party with friends instead of being at an eating establishment. Peg brought us a bread menu, and Bruce shared info about the craft beers and local wines with guests. The menu had a handful of specialty focaccia (Italian flatbread) and fresh baguettes to choose from. We chose the Focaccia Italian Alfredo.

Playing Jenga
Trying to beat my husband playing Jenga in the backyard at White House 220 Cupcakery.

While we waited for our bread, we sipped our sangria and enjoyed each others company in the intimate atmosphere. I eventaully talked my husband into a match of Jenga. I’m competitive and had fun trying to beat him. (I secretly wanted to put my name on a Jenga block if I won.) It was harder than I thought. The stack of blocks was eventually taller than me, it slowly stated to sway more on each turn, and then, as I was pulling a block from the stack, it came clattering to the ground in a huge heap. He won. He signed his name. I think we need a rematch!

Yummy Food!
Yum! Words cannot describe how delicious this was!

We enjoyed our Focaccia Italian Alfredo which was topped with creamy alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, melty cheese, chopped tomatoes, and green onions. It tasted as amazing as it sounds! You need to try it for yourself! We totally recommend it.

Before we left, we were already talking about our next trip to the White House 220 Cupcakery. The atmosphere, food, and service were top-notch. We want to bring our friends and our kiddos (that’s two different trips). Peg shared that the neighborhood kids often come with their parents and have a blast playing Jenga. Others come to enjoy a glass of wine and relax with a good book. Groups of friends come to hang out or try new wines and beers. The backyard is perfect for all kinds of fun.

The backyard is also open during regular Cupcakery hours. So feel free to enjoy your cupcake inside or out. Peg shared that the little cupcakes freeze well, so you can get your cupcake fix any day of the week. If that’s not a good reason to buy a big box of yummy cupcakes, I don’t know what is!

Great Date Night
We had an amazing time on our date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery!

The White House 220 Cupcakery hosts parties, special events, and can make cupcakes for all your special occasions. Check them out on Facebook to stay up to date on their schedule of events and most importantly, the current list of cupcake flavors!

We had a memorable date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery. We tried something a little different and had a great time just hanging out. You never know what fun you’ll find when you try something new. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to stop by the cupcakery on a Friday or Saturday to live deliciously!

Game Night: Group Date Fun

Looking for a fun date night idea? I have an idea for you that involves fun, laughter, and friends. Recently, my husband and I hosted a game night at our home and had a blast! And yes, even though we were in our home and our friends were over, I count this as a date night. Our kids were in bed, and we were doing something other than cleaning or watching TV. That has to count for something!

Apples to Apples Game
Apples to Apples is a favorite at game night!

For the last year or so, we’ve been getting together with three other couples for game night. The hosting couple gets to choose the games and menu. We’ve done all sorts of things such as playing card or board games, eating out at a local restaurant, and having a family-friendly backyard party complete with s’mores. When the group first started, some of us didn’t know each other very well, but over games and food, we have developed friendships. (Which is a great benefit in small town Iowa.)

For this particular game night, everyone brought snacks to share. We ate yummy goodies and played a round of Apples to Apples, a hilarious board game of comparisons. The laughter and conversation started rolling. The game ended, and I pulled out a secret game I had been saving just for this occasion. I scored a never-opened copy of The New Newlyweds Game, copyright 1986 for just $2 at a thrift shop. It proved to be big time fun! The object of the game was to have the wives guess the husbands’ answers to Memory, Personality, Sensuality, and Potpourri questions and vice-versa.

The New Newlywed Game
This game was definitely worth the $2 I paid at a thrift shop. The laughter didn’t stop!

I’ll apologize now; we were laughing so hard that I completely failed to snap photos. (Plus, due to the content of the game, I’m sure my friends would appreciate having their identities hidden!)  The game was straight out of the ’80’s; before being politically correct was a priority, and before TV doctors included McSteamy and McDreamy.

We all quickly learned that we don’t know our spouses as well as we thought. To the defense of all of us, the questions were really tough. This was not a multiple choice test! We learned a lot. Like, one of the husbands would like to break out his MC Hammer pants. (Pretty sure we will hold him to that!) More than one of the participants got schooled on the meaning of whoopie, which has nothing to do with Whoopie Goldberg or whoopie pies, in case you are wondering!

The Newlywed Game Questions
The questions in The New Newlywed Game had us rolling in laughter and learning a thing or two!

Two rounds of the game left our cheeks hurting from laughter. That vintage game sure added a little spice to game night! I will be on the hunt for more of those gems but plan to bring out The New Newlywed Game at future game nights. So be prepared if you ever find yourself at my house for an evening of games!

How fun would it be to find other games and go all out to have an ’80’s-themed night?! Just imagine the big hair, neon colors, and playing cassettes on a boom box. A vintage game night can be made family-friendly too. We recently acquired a marble game called Avalanche which was made in 1966. After finding the rules online, my girls and I been having loads of fun.

The great thing is, you can break out a game and make it a family affair, group date, or a night at home for just the two of you. So, keep your eye out for those old boxes tucked away collecting dust and revive them. You never know what fun and laughter will come from opening the lid and sharing a game with others.

Get these games for yourself:

      

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