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Category: Date Nights

Date Night on the Fly

Date night on the fly? We were gifted a childless night this past weekend when Little Miss was asked to sleep over at her bestie’s house. But there were lessons to plan and blog posts to write and last-minute touches as we gear up to release Hail Marry Blog’s Guide to a No-Spend Lent on Thursday (yay!). Still, knowing how rare these nights tend to be and how much rarer they’ll become once Belle is here, we decided to do something…except, we didn’t know what.

Rachel, too, has experienced this. Three p.m. All the chores are finished and the puppy is over at Grandma’s (thanks!). These unexpected couple of hours of free time with my husband are what I like to call the “golden hours.” But, since my planner was consumed by chores, now there’s nothing planned…

Nothing to Do?

A few weeks ago, we asked on Instagram and in the Hail Marry Hangout for suggestions on how you’d spend an unexpected child-free night with a gifted $50 and most people responded with “dinner” or “Star Wars!” or “dinner and a movie.” This weekend, we struggled for what to do, so…we turned it into a blog post to share our ideas with you in case you stumble into your own child-free date night!

Luckily, there are a ton of things available to do with little-to-no planning. Cities have parks and, often, free events (especially on the weekend). There are new restaurants to try, new movies to see,  and areas of town to explore. You can also do a date night in with dinner and a movie (which is ultimately how Superman and I spend our evening). Still…those can feel old pretty quickly, if they’re your go-to dates anyway.

Date Bucket

Prepare for spontaneity (even though that’s a tad oxymoronic) by creating a date night bucket or jar. Write down date night ideas that are newer to you and place them in the bucket or jar. Then, when the opportunity does present itself, you’ve got choices that don’t feel stale. Rachel likes to keep 24 date activity ideas and 24 date place ideas, usually for free, inexpensive, or places where they already have gift cards in-hand.

Window Shopping

We’re always fans of this, in both our homes. We pick an outdoor shopping area or a mall and pretend. We imagine we’re decorating a new house or going on a shopping spree. This is also an excellent communication-builder, since it’s just the two of you, holding hands and making believe together.

New, Old, a Bit of Both

When we were throwing around ideas this weekend, we talked about having food delivered and not leaving the house. The problem is that I have food allergies and that doesn’t really work for me. We also talked about having a picnic. We ended up combining the two. We went on a quick jaunt to Kroger, bought frozen pizza for him and picnic-y foods for me, brought them home, and ate in bed while watching Evolution on Hulu.

This is totally okay. So what if you decide to stay in and watch a movie? Time together with your spouse is never wasted.

Date nights don’t have to be about the experience of going or doing; we’d much rather enrich our friendship and deepen our understanding of one another. Fall deeper in love with your best friend. Regardless of how you do it, isn’t that what it’s all about? What would you do for a date night on the fly?


I Can Only Imagine: A Film Review

I love the song I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe. It came out when I was in high school and I knew it first as a Christian song, then a phenomenon that even the popular radio stations were playing. It played everywhere. For months.

Haven’t heard the song? Take a listen really quickly and then come right back.

Its lyrics hit home for a lot of people, and I have always loved the honesty of asking the questions of what it will be like in Heaven. I never imagined (see what I did there?) that the story behind it was so powerfully moving.

The Film: I Can Only Imagine

I was placed on a list for Christian movie previews a few years back (I’m not sure how, but I love it!) and have attended some pretty great Christian movies. I’ve also watched several cheesy ones on Netflix and through Redbox. Usually, I convince Superman to watch with me, and he does so,  expecting cheese, bad acting, and a contrived plot.

Not so with this film.

“I Can Only Imagine” is a true story, featuring real characters in real situations. It’s the story of a boy whose father is abusive. A young adult whose path is sure, but filled with the debris of his past. It’s the story of two men, experiencing the redemptive power of God’s love.

The characters have moments that made the packed preview audience laugh, audibly gasp, and cry. The emotions displayed on the screen are emotions we’ve all felt.

Now to the part my husband usually dislikes most: the acting. Simply put, it was stellar. Broadway’s J. Michael Finley stars as Bart Millard and the man is a vocal powerhouse. He’s funny, relatable, and (dare I say?) a bit quirky. His Bart is raised by Dennis Quaid’s Arthur. Dennis Quaid is a fine actor and this film proves no exception. Other players are Trace Adkins, Cloris Leachman, and Madeline Carroll.

When Can You Watch It?

You have a while before “I Can Only Imagine” comes out (March 16, 2018), but please do yourself a favor and go see it. As Christians, it’s a story that we all need to be reminded of what Jesus can do. As Catholics, the timing of the release of this redemption film, during Lent, is ideal.

It’s early now, but as we approach the release date, we’ll be rerunning this post. It really is such a good film; better than I had imagined. I hope you’ll check it out! In the meantime, head over to the movie website and explore. In the comments, we’d love to know what you think about the song, as well.

Dating Your Husband: Our 5 Favorite & Fun Spring Dates

Spring time brings longer days, warmer weather, and more opportunities for spring dates with your dashing husband. Rachel and Kristi came together to pull their ideas for the best (cheap) dates for this beautiful season.

Picnic in the Park/Walk it Out

When the weather is just gorgeous, it’s hard to resist getting out in it and soaking up the beauty. And when you’re hungry, it’s hard to resist the growling in the empty pit of your stomach. You can combine both of these endeavors with a picnic in the park. The best part of this is that you can make it as fancy (think wine and cheese) or as casual (sandwiches or snack foods) as you wish. Top that experience off with a sunset walk together. There is something romantic about sunset and holding your spouse’s hand. Just the thought sends chills down our spines! This is also a great way to communicate about things that you want to chat about (like words of affirmation, plans, daydreams…you know, the things that keep us in love).

Dream a Little Dream of…Home

Superman and Kristi love using their imaginations in most situations. It’s free fun. Sometimes this looks like a jaunt to Home Depot to imagine their future backyard using the lawn furniture displays. Other times, it’s going to model homes. There’s endless fodder there for imagination; you can pretend you live there or get some great ideas for décor or landscaping.

Hail Marry Spring Dates

Spring Scavenger Hunt

The colors of the spring are stunning and vibrant; thus, we put them to use in our spring dates! You can make little boards that resemble a bingo board or use our Spring  Color Scavenger Hunt Date Night Printable. You can either find flora and fauna by color together or, if you’re a competitive couple, you can race to see who can fill the board first.

Porchside Game Night

Whether it’s nice outside or if it’s raining, sitting outside on your porch is a good time. Make a pitcher full of lemonade or cups of hot tea (depending on the weather), then go have a sit on the porch and play a card game (our favorites are Rummy and Skip-Bo). While egging each other on, we recommend taking turns flirting to make your husband play a bad hand.

Our Date for All Seasons Date Night In

We’re big fans of our libraries here at Hail Marry, because they help us nurture our love of books, film, and frugality. This date is perfect for those really nasty windy and rainy spring nights. We head to the library and peruse, until ultimately we find a movie at the library (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime all work, too). When you do it, we suggest that upon your return, you lower the lights, light some candles, and make a dinner or dessert to eat while snuggling under a blanket on the couch and watching your selection.

Hail Marry Spring Dates

Any time where we can find time to be together is time that precious. “Dating the husband” is the probably our favorite thing about our marriages. It’s a wonderful time to learn new things about him, and often we surprise ourselves, our spouses, and vice-versa. Invest in your marriage as often as you can, regardless of when that is. It’s a beautiful thing.

Valentine’s Day from the Heart

It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of Valentine’s Day. As young marrieds, we try to conserve resources as we save up for things like buying our own home, buying a second car, expanding our family, etc. yet still fall prey to the temptation of the sales and marketing people that tell us we need to shower our husbands with things rather than affection. We’re here to tell you that you can have a Valentine’s Day from the heart that is easier on your budget and worth so much more.

Both Rachel and the Scientist and Kristi and Superman tend to value quality over quantity. The main thing that we both want in our marriages at all times is investment in the relationship. The more you invest in your relationship the stronger it is. Both of us agree that we’d rather spend our money on things that will be lasting memories. Who really wants that 10′ tall Teddy bear who “loves you beary much!” or $100.00 worth of beautiful-but-dying roses?

Rachel & the Scientist | Kristi & Superman

Those are our adorable valentines!

Here are our tips on how to do Valentine’s Day in a simple, memorable, and reasonable way.

  1. Get Creative. Rachel and the Scientist love to make cards for each other. It’s a big thing in their household, to outdo each other with homemade cards. They use things around their house to create these masterpieces: file folders, crayons, markers, newspaper clippings, quotes printed off the computer, etc. They schedule time in the evening to make our cards and turn it into a fun date night. This is a big thing to both of them, as they love to receive love letters from one another. Kristi and Superman have made cards as well (Superman is a fabulous sketch artist and Kristi likes to think she has a way with words). They save them to look back on as reminders for those days when marriage is hard and reminders are needed.
  2. The Stomach is the Way to the Heart. Both of us are foodie couples. We love to eat, love to cook, and love to do it with our spouses. We plan, shop, and cook our big Valentine’s dinner together. Honestly, that’s all that Kristi really wants for Valentine’s Day this year: a home-cooked meal that she and Superman prepared together. Rachel has a degree in culinary arts, so she and the Scientist love to make elaborate fancy meals for special occasions at home. We both feel that we can have a more meaningful and intimate time in our own home. Rachel and the Scientist usually start planning a couple weeks in advance what they would want for that night, then make a timeline for cooking and decorating our table. A couple of days or a week before, they buy the ingredients (usually things that are on sale and with coupons). Kristi and Superman like to have a basic outline (i.e., chicken and vegetables) and then be spontaneous in the kitchen that night. Sometimes they use a cookbook, but mostly, they wing it. Whichever way you choose to do it, cooking together brings us so close. We have great, quality time filled with laughter and conversation.
  3. Make it special. Rachel is also a master crafter, so they make their own decorations for our dinner table! She finds the more they invest in the nigh, the better it becomes. They usually do themes (“because they are dorky”) and save about $15.00 in our budget to buy things at the Dollar Tree to finish out our night because they truly love to make the night special. So it’s not like any other night, she tries to design the night so it will be a memory maker. Kristi is a decent crafter, too, but the way she interprets this is to add candles and Winking Owl, with music playing in the background.

But…what about presents?! Well…that depends on you and your husband.

Rachel—We have rings that reminds us of our covenant with God, so what we like to do is either save up money to go on a picnic or an experience later on. If we are in a no spend month, we like to make our own gifts. It could be a cute coupon books with things like massages, draw a nice relaxing bath, your turn to pick out the show on Netflix, etc. The Scientist’s hobby is actually making clay jewelry. I have gotten some amazing pieces over the years. I sometimes make him decorations for his work or for his office; something cute and fun.

Kristi—We actually decided against gifts for one another this year. I’ve gotten a lot of flack for it from those close to me, but I want to just enjoy the evening with my husband. We did, however, decide to give a small gift to Little Miss. We’ve arranged for a sitter and then we’ll eat our homemade meal, slow dance in our living room, and then enjoy some Netflix or Hulu magic.  Last year, I made a book filled with reasons why I love him. He sometimes draws me pictures. Those were sweet, too…just not what we’re picturing for us for this year.

We would love to hear from you, what are your ideas for a meaningful Valentines Day?

Frugal Date Nights!

Today we’re talking about our FAVORITE topic: dating our husbands (frugally)!!! Dating was an awesome time. We were getting to know one another, exchanging glances and cute little texts. We were going on fun mini-adventures and making memories. Our husbands are amazing, fun, and hilarious both then and now. Why should dating be any different than our courting phase now that we’re married? We say: it shouldn’t!

We love going out to eat, taking in a movie, or doing an awesome Wine & Craft night at the library with our best couple friends, but we also like doing “date night in.” These date nights get us out of our ordinary, everyday routines. It adds strength and value to our marriages, too. Here are our ideas for some fun (but still frugal!) date nights with your hubby that are tried and tested by us, the Hail Marry team.


There we are with our hubbies (all dolled up for some nuptials!) whom we still like to date!

Frugal Date Nights: Wine & Dine

Superman and I love to get creative in the kitchen. Actually, the first time I met some of his closest friends, we had them over to my house and cooked. He handled the chicken, raiding my spice cabinet and making a delightful rub using herbs de provence among other things.  Since then, we love to cook together while enjoying a nice glass of wine. And then we eat, while enjoying a nice glass of wine. It’s cost-effective, fun, and romantic.

Another way to do this date night in is to have a wine and cheese night. The Scientist and I play some soft music in the background, talk, and be intellectual with one another. Our secret is Aldi: cheap and delicious Winking Owl wine (only $2.99 a bottle!), some fancy cheese, and a box of crackers. If we’re feeling super fancy, we can add grapes or strawberries. This keeps our date night under $10 easy. What a steal!

Frugal Date Nights: Game Night

We also like to pull out one of our board games, card games, or a puzzle and have a game night. We do these solo, but we also love when Rachel and the Scientist come over for a game night. We play Scene It Battle of the Sexes and Cards against Humanity…with dinner and a nice glass of wine. It’s never dull, always hilarious, and definitely a fun time. We’re also lovers of puzzles. Sometimes we time ourselves and try to beat the clock while we solve it.

Frugal Date Nights: Scavenger Hunt

Early on, one of our favorite dates was a scavenger hunt. I had an unused gift card to Half-Price Books and we decided to go and spend it together. We went to one of the larger stores nearby and took our time, perusing each section. Ultimately, we each bought a book to read, a movie to watch that night, and a Star Wars adult coloring book to color together. We didn’t use the entirety of the gift card, but we spent a lot of time in there, bonding over topics, genres, and authors.

Frugal Date Nights: The “It’s On Us” Date Night

Save all of the gift cards you receive from birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, etc. That’s a date night on someone else’s dime! We like to make them stretch, too. The Scientist and I are amateur foodies. We love to eat out and try new restaurants. When we go to a restaurant using a gift card, we order a large appetizer or an entree and have them split it into two since most restaurants these days give you so much food. This allows us to try new restaurants and foods. Sometimes, we put them in to-go containers and bring it home and eat it while watching a movie, saving money, cooking time, and dish-cleaning time. Score!

Frugal Date Nights: Movie Nights

We’re all four huge movie buffs and there are multiple ways we approach this. Kristi has some mega food allergies and follows the autoimmune Paleo diet, so even going out to the movies at peak times means saving on snacks. Usually, though, we leverage our movie times with matinee pricing and Stubs card rewards.

Movie Nights in are great, too! We use Redbox, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime to make these happen. These are simple dates to be sure, but there’s something to be said for cuddling up with your husband on the couch under a blanket. We like to add warm drinks like home-brewed coffee or homemade hot chocolate to the mix, too.

Frugal Date Nights: Walk it Out

Rachel and The Scientist love to talk while they take their puppy, Lennox, for a walk. Superman and I like to walk around the neighborhood or if it’s cold…we like to go to the mall and walk around, window shopping and chatting. This is a great date because it is totally free and helps you gain quality time and burn calories. Another score!

What frugal ways do you like to date your husband? Leave us a comment below!