Dates 11 – 20

Date 11: A Blooming Good Time

Every April our local museums kick off Spring with free admission and free guided tours. Our original date idea was to go to a couple of these events and enjoy a picnic lunch in-between. But then we got up and looked outside. It was beautiful! Not the kind of day that you want to spend inside a museum. So we went with Plan B – to find a trail that we had never been on and take a walk (or hike). We spent the day at Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville, where we walked the outer and inner loops (3 miles total) and enjoyed a picnic lunch while watching a group of really energetic squirrels play. Total cost = $5.45 for a sub sandwich.

Date 12: Letterboxing with the Lincolns

One thing that we love almost as much as letterboxing is collecting stamps in our National Parks Passport (well, our homemade version of the passport). On our way to Lexington, KY this weekend, we stopped at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Site where we were able to get both a passport stamp and a letterbox, along with a nice 2-mile hike. Angie particularly enjoyed the displays in the visitor’s center, which included a table made by Thomas Lincoln, Honest Abe’s dad. Total cost: $0

Date 13: All Ablaze for Good Food

It has been almost 3 years since we started working toward a totally plant-based diet. We’ve had our ups and downs. There was that week-long fling with cheddar and a few dinners at my mom’s house where meat was the guest of honor, but overall, we’ve managed to get into a groove where 90% of our meals have no animal products in them whatsoever. Our transition to better eating started when we watched Forks Over Knives, which led to other documentaries like What the Health and The Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue. For our date this week, we took a little plant-inspired road trip to Lexington, KY to hear Rip Esselstyn (Engine 2 Diet) speak at Whole Foods. In addition to signing our cookbook, Rip signed Angie’s box of cereal. Total cost: $34.17 (for the cookbook and cereal).

Date 14: Hot Tamales!

This week’s date was spent in the kitchen. A while back we bought a cookbook at Ollie’s Bargain Barn – The Pollan Family Cookbook – that contains an easy recipe for tamales, using regular corn meal and a can of no-salt whole kernel corn for the base. We love tamales! And they freeze well for quick meals later on. We spent the better part of an afternoon making our own version of the recipe. Instead of chilies and cheese, we used sauteed peppers and onions, and instead of wrapping them in expensive corn husks, we used unbleached coffee filters (soaked in water beforehand). I like to call them Cheap Girl Tamales. The coffee filters work just as well as the corn husk, by the way. Total cost to make 9 tamales: $1.75

Date 15: Hip to be Square

Free festivals make for a great date option. This week, we spent a few hours roaming through SquareFest, an annual event in our town that combines the weekly Farmer’s Market with music, craft vendors, and an antique car show. This year’s festival also happened to fall on Angie’s birthday and while she really wanted the VW camper, she settled for a bag of radishes instead. Total cost: $4

Date 16: Picnic on the Patio

For the month of May, we joined in on a challenge issued by Minimalism & Your Money to spend 100 hours outdoors. On the first sunny day we had, we combined their challenge with ours and had our date on the patio. We enjoyed salads with fresh strawberries and a homemade veggie soup. Total cost: $0

Date 17: Last Train to Mudville

This week, we enjoyed another full day of letterboxing for our weekly date. We started in Mt. Juliet, TN and worked our way to Brentwood, where we had a picnic lunch before heading off on a very long and muddy hike (uphill, both ways…or so it seemed). We found 10 boxes! For dinner, we stopped at Jason’s Deli so Angie could use her $5-off birthday coupon. Total cost: $13.09

Date 18: Pick Me! 

Our date this week involved boots, bugs, and a bucket…and no, we didn’t go camping. It’s strawberry season in Tennessee – one of our favorite times of the year (followed closely by blueberry and blackberry season). We spent the morning picking berries in the mud (what is it with us and mud here lately?!?) at Cooper Creek and avoiding mosquitoes. The end result – nearly 2 gallons of juicy, delicious local farm-fresh strawberries. Total cost: $23.

Date 19: Let’s Go Chasin’ Waterfalls

For our May Outdoor Challenge, we made a bucket list of things to do outside. One of the things on our list was to “hike to a waterfall”. A quick Google search revealed that the closest waterfall was 1 1/2 hours away at Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park in Manchester, TN so we set off on Saturday morning and made a day of it. The hike may have been short but it was not the easiest. In some places, it looked as if you could just slide right off the side and never be seen again. The falls though made it all completely worth it! Total cost: $0

Date 20: Breakfast with our Deer Friends

Another item on our Outdoor Challenge bucket list was to have a breakfast picnic so this week, Angie packed up our cooler with cereal, yogurt, and fruit and we set off to have breakfast at the park. Early mornings are a prime time for spotting wildlife. After breakfast, we took a 2.5 mile hike around the lake, where we saw a blue heron, wood ducks, a raccoon, and lots of deer. Total cost: $0.