Days of the Month: February

Another month, another 29 days worth of celebrations! Here are February's days of the month and more fun blog post ideas, for those days when the creativity is lacking...

February Days of the Month + Blog Post Ideas

FEBRUARY DAYS OF THE MONTH

  1. Serpent Day - Share your worst fears. 
  2. Groundhog Day - How will you make the most of the groundhog's prediction?
  3. Carrot Cake Day - How do you make sure you get enough vegetables every day?
  4. Homemade Soup Day - Share your favourite soup recipe. 
  5. Weatherman's Day - What is your favourite season, and why?
  6. Ice Cream For Breakfast Day - Share your favourite breakfast recipe. 
  7. Send a Card to a Friend Day - Celebrate your friendships today!
  8. Laugh and Get Rich Day - What would you do if you won the lottery?
  9. Fat Tuesday - Today is a day to indulge! What is your favourite food and drink?
  10. Umbrella Day - Share your favourite rainy day activities. 
  11. Make a Friend Day - Pay tribute to the important people in your life. 
  12. Lost Penny Day - Go on a hunt for lost pennies and other loose change, and donate to a charity.
  13. Get a Different Name Day - Share the story behind your name or nickname.
  14. Valentine's Day - Pay tribute to your significant other.
  15. Singles Awareness Day - Plan the perfect girls' night and share with your readers. 
  16. Innovation Day - Have you ever invented anything? What's your big idea?
  17. Random Acts of Kindness Day - Be kind to strangers today. Share how it made you feel.
  18. Drink Wine Day - Hold a wine tasting party with friends. Share your favourite pairings. 
  19. Chocolate Mint Day - Share your favourite chocolate recipe. 
  20. Love Your Pet Day - Let your furry friend take over your blog for the day. 
  21. Single Tasking Day - How do you stay motivated and on task?
  22. Margarita Day - Share your favourite margarita, or other cocktail, recipe.
  23. Banana Bread Day - Do you like to bake? What is your favourite thing to whip up?
  24. Inconvenience Yourself Day - How do you appreciate the little things?
  25. Clam Chowder Day - Share your favourite seafood recipe. 
  26. Personal Chef Day - If you could have a personal chef for a day, what would be on the menu?
  27. Polar Bear Day - What is your favourite animal, and why?
  28. Oscar Night - Share your 'best dressed' and 'worst dressed' list from the Oscars. 
  29. Leap Year Day - How do you plan to make the most of this extra day?
February is...
Hot Breakfast Month - Share your favourite breakfast recipes. 
Library Lovers Month - Review a recent read. What is on your 'to read' list?
Heart Month - How do you stay fit and healthy?
Bake For Family Fun Month - What are your favourite activities to do with your family?

This is just a small sampling of the many interesting and fun days celebrated in the month of February.  I hope you enjoy this feature, and that it brings your some inspiration when the creative juices just aren't flowing this month!

On a sad note, this is also the last in my Days of the Month of the series. Thank you to everyone that has enjoyed reading, shared and even took some inspiration from this series! Past months can be found here:
March  |  April  |  May  |  June  |  July  |  August  | September  |  October  |  November  |  December  |  January


What will you celebrate this month?



Ask Me Anything

One of the biggest things I took away from my recent reader survey was that T.O. & fro's readers would like more posts about every day life. Done!

T.O. & fro's Ask Me Anything Series

A few years back, I tried my first "Ask Me Anything" feature. To my surprise, it was a great success. I had some fantastic questions about Alaska, Toronto and living the hockey life, among others. It was such a hit, that I thought I'd give it another shot. T.O. & for's community has grown substantially in the past year, so I find this is a great way for  new readers to get to know me. 
Do you have a burning question to ask? Fill out the form below. Questions can be completely anonymous, but I like to give credit where credit it due, so feel free to leave you name. Depending on the number received, questions will be answered over a series of posts.  Stay tuned!



Thank you to all of those that took the time to ask a question! Stay tuned for the answers in the coming weeks.

*Please note, if I receive a question that I feel is rude, offensive, etc., I reserve the right to not answer. Submissions will close February 10. 

I Asked, You Answered: Reader Survey Results

A HUGE thank you to everyone that took T.O. & fro's 1st annual survey! Overall, it was an extremely positive experience and I loved learning more about where my readers (whats you!) are coming from, what you enjoy and what you would like to see.


Here are some of the results...

Reader Demographics: Age and Gender
Learning your average age and gender was for my own curiosity. I was happy to see that there was a wide range of ages that read! However, no big surprise here that the majority of T.O. & fro readers are 24-30 years old females because, well, that describes me perfectly. 

Where do you currently call home? 
As most of your know, T.O. & fro started as a journal for friends and family when an unexpected move took my then hockey-playing husband and I over 4500 miles from home to Alaska. Having spent 3 years living in the Land of the Midnight Sun, it is the inspiration for a lot of my posts (because I'm a huge Alaska-pusher) and I was able to build a large US-based community while living there. Now that we live back home in Toronto, my Canadian readership (aside from family and friends), has begun to grow. The fact that I have readers from the other half of the world makes me so excited too!

How did you originally hear about T.O. & fro?
I am happy to see that the majority of you first heard about T.O. & fro from other blogs. I love sponsoring other blogs, and the answer to this question just goes to show that supporting others, strengthening relationships and building community is totally worth it.

How long have you been visiting T.O. & fro?
Welcome to all of those new readers! I am so happy to have you around. In 2015, T.O. & fro definitely went through a growth spurt.2015 was a good year for T.O. & fro - I published many posts that my readers enjoyed, I started monetizing my blog and, as proved by the answer to this questions, T.O. & fro’s community grew substantially. A special shout out to all of you that have been with me for over 24+ months! T.O. & fro has changed so much from it's early beginnings, so thank you for sticking with me. 

A follow up to this question was "How often do you visit T.O. & fro?". I was happy to see that the majority of you come around at least once per week. 

What are your favourite T.O. & fro posts?
It's hard to tell which post topics you enjoy the most because the posts that are currently sitting in the "most popular post" category cover a range of topics. According to my readers, the top 3 popular post topics:
1. Food/Recipes
2. Toronto/Canada
3. Alaska

These are also my favourite to write :)

What would you like to see MORE of?
I love that the #1 answer was MORE Food/Recipes! I love sharing my favourite recipes, so adding more will not be a problem at all. One of my favourite comments from this questions was "life in general". When I think about recent/past posts, there really are few where I just sit down and open up about what we've been up to, etc. Stay tuned for more on this in the coming weeks!

What would you like to see LESS of?
I was a little nervous to ask this question, but had to remember that the point of a survey is to take the good with the bad. Turns out, the results weren't bad at all. There were a lot of "nothing, n/a, love it all, etc." in the comments, but one comment really stood out to me - "It's your blog, do your thing. If I am not interested in a topic, I can come back another day!".  Thank you to whoever wrote that comment. While I love writing for my readers, I am also writing for myself. I understand that not everyone is going to enjoy what I write about and I am fine with that.


Again, a HUGE thank you again to everyone that took the time to answer my reader survey! I really appreciate it, and all your answers and comments have helped give me an idea of where to go (and not go) with T.O. & fro.

Wildlife Viewing in Alaska

One of my favourite things about Alaska was the abundance of wildlife. From moose to eagles, to sea otters and bear, in spring, summer, winter or fall, there’s always wildlife to see. But with an area that encompasses almost one-fifth the area of the lower 48 (contiguous US), sometimes deciding where to go to view the wildlife wasn’t always easy. 

wildlife viewing in alaska

Even though it is the largest city in the state, one of the great things about living in Anchorage was that we didn't have to travel very far to see the wildlife. In fact, a lot could be seen in and around the city, or just a short drive/day trip away. 

Here are my favourite spots for viewing Alaskan wildlife, all within a 4 hours radius of Anchorage.

Where to View Wildlife in Alaska


Bear Viewing

Alaska is home to all three species of North American bears - black, brown and polar. Unless you are waaayyy up north, or at the Zoo, the chances of you seeing a polar bear in Alaska are slim to none. On the other hand, your chances of seeing a black or brown bear are pretty good if visiting in spring or summer. While black bears, and the occasional brown bear, roam free in and around the city of Anchorage, to get a good view of them, you either want to head north to Denali National Park or south along the Kenai River

On any bus tour into Denali National Park, you have the chance of being graced by many of the animals that call the park home - brown bear, moose, caribou, dall sheep, fox and wolves. If it's a good weather day, you may even get a peak at Denali herself, North America's tallest mountain.

denali national park grizzly bears

The Kenai River is a famous fishing destination because of its salmon runs, which the bears are also no stranger too. It is not uncommon to see a brown or black bear patrolling the shores near the fisherfolk, looking for their next meal. 

kenai river black bear

Moose Viewing

Considering moose roam the city of Anchorage like they own it, you may not have to go very far to see the largest member of the Deer family. In fact, its not uncommon to see them strutting their stuff down one of the roads, munching on some willow trees along a trail or even taking a nap on your front lawn. Trust me, it's happened and in Alaska, is a believable excuse for being late for work.

alaska moose with twins

Marine Mammal Viewing

If visiting Alaska, a wildlife cruise out onto Prince William Sound (from Whittier) or Kenai Fjords National Marine Park (from Seward) is definitely a must. If you're lucky your eyes will feast on the sights of many different marine mammals, from sea otters to stellar sea lions, harbour seals, orcas, grey whales, humpback whales and dall's porpoises. Mountain goats, puffins and bald eagles are an added bonus.

Wildlife Viewing in Alaska

Bald Eagle Viewing

For years, Homer was the place to view bald eagles. A few hundred would congregate on the spit every year to be fed left over fish by one of the locals. Even though feeding the eagles in Homer is now banned, you will still see quite a few hanging around the Homer harbour. But, you don't also have to venture that far south from Anchorage to see this iconic bird. With its location right on the water, chances are you will see one flying over head or even sitting in a tall tree scanning for lunch.


Wildlife Viewing in Alaska

While most people come for the beauty, experiencing the big Alaskan wildlife in their natural habitat  is definitely an added bonus. But if you can't make it to Alaska to see the wildlife for yourself, there are always ways to view from afarWhen viewing wildlife, always remember to maintain a safe distance by following these important tips.

If you are planning a trip to Alaska in the near future, I recommend checking out these great resources to make the most of your trip. Also, be sure to pack appropriately

Have you been to Alaska? What animals have you see in the wild?


'Wildlife Viewing in Alaska' first appeared as a guest post on Route Bliss.

5 Unique Baby Shower Gifts

If your life is anything like mine, then a lot of people you know are having babies. I mean, a lot. That means lots of baby gifts to buy and showers to attend. Personally, I get bored with all the standard baby shower gifts, and rather than simply buy something off their registry, I like to give something more unique.

5bestuniquebabyshowergiftswithfreeprintable

1. iPood Onesie
This onesie is basically the cutest thing I've ever seen, and is my go-to baby shower gift. Of course, I usually include something else as well, but this never fails to get a laugh and is always a hit! I usually order mine from Amazon, where you can find tons of different styles and colors.

ipood

2. Spa Certificates
What mom-to-be or new mom wouldn't love a trip to the spa? This is a great gift as an addition to a baby gift, or by itself if you want to spoil mama! Be sure to pick a certificate for a spa near to where the mama lives. You may also consider a nail or hair certificate if there aren't any spas around you!

3. Moby Wrap
Every mom wants a baby carrier, but I love the Moby wrap because it can be used in so many different ways! You're not limited to holding the baby in one position, and they have some fabulous ways to hold a newborn especially. Plus, great color options!

moby-wrap-original-colors-w
4. Meal Delivery
New moms and dads always love a chance to not have to worry about meals. Consider signing them up for some kind of food delivery service such as Plated or Blue Apron that sends them the ingredients and recipes needed for a meal so they don't have to worry about planning and going shopping. All they have to do is throw it together!

5. Date Night Voucher
This is something that is my own personal creation! I love to put together a package with a gift card for a restaurant and a movie, but I also throw in this "babysitting voucher" so that everything for their date night is taken care of! I think this works best for somebody you know really well because of the babysitting, but of course you could always give just the restaurant and movie gift card without the babysitting voucher if you wanted to. I'm including the printables here...just print them out on some nice card stock and enjoy!

For a baby boy:
babyboy

For a baby girl:
babygirl

For twins (or more!):
fortwins

P.S.: I did not put my blog attribution on the vouchers because I know that would make them not look as nice. If you share them on your own blog, attribution to me is required.

This Big City guest post was written by Christine from Christine Everyday



Banana Nut Protein Bites

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StartWithJifPowder #CollectiveBias

Banana Nut Protein Bites

In my husband’s hockey playing days, chicken and pasta used to be the go-to pre-game meal. The combination of protein and carbs were needed to fuel his game and make sure he performed at his best.  So, when I think of consuming enough protein, I automatically envision a dinner plate with meat, veggies and a whole grain. While there’s nothing particularly wrong with eating animal protein at a meal, it’s also not mandatory for getting what we need. Which is good for me because throughout the duration of my pregnancy, I have had a HUGE aversion to chicken. Just the thought of it raw or cooked makes me want to gag. But now, thanks to JifTM Peanut Powder incorporating protein into the diet has never been easier for those vegans, vegetarians or even moms-to-be with a meat aversion. 

Banana Nut Protein Bites

2016 is a new year, which also means a chance for a new me. Last year, I focused on what I put on my body and took on an all natural skin care routine. This year, I plan on paying better attention to what goes into my body. That means making sure that I get the daily recommended intake of essential nutrients, including protein. 

JifTM Peanut Powder has the same amount of protein as the traditional peanut butter we all love (8 grams per 2 tablespoons of powder), but with 85% less fat and no added sugar or salt. It is the perfect way to add protein, and the delicious peanut taste, to a morning smoothie, baking and other snacks, like these easy, no-bake Banana Nut Protein Bites.

Banana Nut Protein Bites

Banana Nut Protein Bites
Yields: Approximately 12-15 bite-sized pieces

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp JifTM Peanut Powder
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut palm sugar, or light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp real maple syrup, raw honey or agave nectar
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup nuts of choice, crushed (i.e. walnuts, peanuts, almonds)
  • 1/4 cup low-fat or unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Banana Nut Protein Bites

Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, rolled oats, peanut powder, cinnamon, sea salt and sugar of choice. Mix well. Stir in your choice of maple syrup, agave nectar or honey. The mixture should now be quite crumbly.
  2. Add the mashed banana and crushed nuts. Mix well.
  3. Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, and mix until thick batter is formed.
  4. If using, add chocolate chips and combine.
  5. Using clean hands, form mixture into bite-sized balls. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or until firm, before eating.
  6. When not being consumed, keep refrigerated.
Banana Nut Protein Bites

These Banana Nut Protein Bites are delicious - they have the taste and texture of a banana nut muffin, minus the oil, butter and unnecessary fats. For those with a sweet tooth, adding the semi-sweet chocolate chips is a must. These bites are the perfect portable mid-day snack!

Jif Peanut Powder in store Walmart

JifTM Peanut Powder can be found on the top shelf in the peanut butter section of your local Walmart. The JifTM Peanut Powder lineup also includes a chocolate option, which contains semi-sweet chocolate with a dash of sugar. Perfect for those looking to satisfy their sweet tooth.

How do you ensure you get enough protein? Have you ever tried JifTM Peanut Powder? Check out more recipes using this alternative protein source here.


Slow Down Baby: 30 Weeks

28 weeks

I set the bar preettttyy high for myself with my 28 week belly shot, and have no idea how to top it this week.  So, I think it'll stick around for a little bit longer...

Today marks 30 weeks. We've finally settled into our new apartment, and things are coming together for baby. Time is flying. 

How far along? 30 weeks.

Due date? Still holding strong at March 25, 2016. The bets have begun, but I’m hoping baby makes an appearance Easter weekend or shortly after.

Baby’s size? Approximately 17 inches and just over 3 lbs. If you want to talk in fruits and veggies, the size of a large cabbage. Crazy to think it’s almost as long now as it will be when it makes its grand entrance.

What’s baby up to this week? Baby's eyesight continues to develop, his/her brain is getting bigger, he/she is starting to make their own red blood cells and and from here on out baby will be packing on the weight at a rate of half a pound per week.  

Gender? We’ll find out in 10ish weeks.

Movement? Constant and getting more uncomfortable.  He/she gets the hiccups a few times a day, so I can tell they are head down. Which also means frequent head butts to the bladder (never fun) and the odd tiny foot protruding from my side. 

Maternity clothes? In anticipation of what winter in Toronto should be, my parents bought me an amazing maternity winter jacket for Christmas. It has a zip-in front panel so it can be worn pre-, during and post-baby. Still stretching out my normal shirts and very much needing to invest in a good pair of slip on, but comfy and warm, shoes for work and the wet weather. Lace up winter boots just aren’t working out anymore.

Symptoms? Around week 28 I definitely noticed myself starting to slow down. I need to constantly remind myself that I’m not able to do the things I used to do. My balance is off, I can’t squeeze through tight spaces and I’m constantly running on low fuel. And let’s not forget the dreaded ‘baby brain’. The struggle is real.

Sleep? Frequently interrupted, whether it be from baby telling me to move or waking up to a full bladder or even a nosebleed thanks to the lovely dry winter weather.

Aversions/cravings? Still avoiding chicken. Pre-pregnancy, you couldn’t force me to eat chocolate. Now, much to my husband’s enjoyment and benefit, it seems that I have switched from salty to sweet. Having two sweet cravers in the house is bad news.

How's daddy? Amazing. He is so patient with me as I become more lazy and more forgetful. And he was a rockstar during our recent move, carrying the load because I was little to no help. 

Miss anything? Being able to remember things. (Like what I was doing before I sat down to write this update.)

Not looking forward to? Since moving into our new apartment, my commute to work has changed routes. It's often a struggle because of how busy the subway can be in the morning and evening. The majority of people have no courtesy, which means I'm often standing. Sometimes that's fine by me, but when people cram on the car like a can of sardines, I often don't feel safe standing. I'm dreading what's to come in the next few weeks as I get larger, and predict a meltdown, or few, in my future. 

Looking forward to? As much as I would love time to slow down, I’m really looking forward to meeting the little human.

Best moment of the week/what I want to remember? As we were unpacking and setting up baby’s closet, we listened to songs that reminded us of when we first met 10+ years ago (mostly Alan Jackson and Tim McGraw), and talked about how much life has changed. We're definitely not those 18 year old kids anymore.


From the looks of this closet, you'd think we were having a boy. I've been drawn to the animal-themed clothes, and sadly, those are mostly boys' clothes. Nothing wrong with a little girl wearing blue.

15 weeks  |  20 weeks  |  25 weeks


Don't forget to complete T.O. & fro's 2016 Reader Survey to take advantage of the 40% OFF ad space code PLUS your chance to win a $15 Starbucks gift card and 2 months of Small Town ad space!

Where Will 2016 Take You? // Sponsor Spotlight

After a year that saw a camping adventure, an unforgettable vacation to Italy (Rome -> Naples -> Amalfi Coast) and work trips to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Columbia, South Carolina, 2015 may be hard to beat in terms of travel. However, we do have a few adventures up our sleeve... 

2016 travel adventures

ALASKA
We're planning to spark the travel bug early in the little one. And while they may not remember it when they grow up, their first big adventure will come at 3 months old. When we left Alaska, we made a pact that we would visit every other summer. This summer is no exception. We can't wait to get back in July.

Homer, Alaska harbour

EDMONTON, ALBERTA
We're hoping (all fingers crossed) to plan a stop over in Edmonton on our way to Alaska to visit my sister and celebrate one of our very good friends getting married. 

ANNUAL CAMPING TRIP
Our annual summer camping tradition will continue this summer. However, it may be a little closer to home, and closer to the grandparents, in case of any meltdowns.  I spent two summers in University working at Pinery Provincial Park, so I think that may be our go to. And located along Lake Huron, it has a beach. A pretty beautiful one at that. 

Algonquin Provincial Par Canisbay Lake

FAMILY COTTAGE
Sadly, I have not made it to our family cottage for two summers. With a year maternity leave (thanks Canada), we will hopefully have some time to unwind there this summer. And now that my husband is certified, maybe even throw in some scuba diving.



New year, new adventures! Where will 2016 take you?

Chemistry Cachet
What are your travel/adventure plans for 2016?
I think the biggest adventure next year will be my husband graduating from the police academy in July, right around our wedding anniversary! We've been on many adventures with the marine corps, and now we get to start this next journey. We probably won't get to travel much next year, but I am excited about the next blogging adventure, I am working on some fun projects to reveal next year :)

New to Chemistry Cachet? Start here:
Getting Back To My Roots: What is the Point of Chemistry Cachet?
7 Secrets to the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie
Hot Chocolate Hazelnut Coffee in 5 Minutes

Find Alexis here:
Chemistry Cachet  |  Instagram  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin

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Something Saturdays
What are your travel/adventure plans for 2016?
In February, we will be taking a trip to Curacao with two of our close friends to see some charming architecture, explore nature, and, of course, relax at the beach. Then in May we will be taking a whirlwind trip to Hong Kong, Taipei, and Tokyo for 12 days (in total) that we booked spontaneously thanks to an amazing flight deal! And we also hope to squeeze in a couple of trips home to Newfoundland and the UK… Where all of this vacation time is coming from we’re not exactly sure!

New to Something Saturdays? Start here:
Yucatan Road Trip: 2 Days in Valladolid
Powwow Saturday
Stand Up Paddleboarding Sunday

Find Elizabeth & Luke here:
Something Saturdays  |  Twitter  |  Bloglovin  |  Trover

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Route Bliss
What are your travel/adventure plans for 2016?
Right now its all up in the air, but I hope to do a few long weekend trips this year, mostly within Texas (and at least one to visit my best friend that lives in Arkansas). Later this year I'm hoping to spend a week in a very popular southwest destination if I can snag an affordable reservation very soon! And, maybe, if it works out, meet up once again at some point in August with my long-time Austrian penpal while she's in the U.S. (it would be the third time for us to meet up; twice here stateside, once in Austria). And lots of daytrips/microadventures throughout the year to be determined...

New to Route Bliss? Start here:
Getting Started as a Hobbyist Photography 

Find Christina here:
Route Bliss |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Bloglovin

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What are your travel/adventure plans for 2016?
My 2016 travel & adventure plans are the biggest I've ever had! Two of my year long goals are to visit all 174 Florida State Parks, photographing as much flora and fauna as I can, and to complete the 52 Hike Challenge. We also have two biggish trips planned: first, my husband (who is a high school math teacher) and I are chaperoning his senior class to the Bahamas, and second, we're planning on doing some exploring in South America over the summer. Definitely excited for this year!

New to Swimming in Sunshine? Start here:
Water Stories: Finding Shangri La
Hiking Adventure: The Vandal Caves
Hello October - Bare Bones in Monochrome

Find Kelly here:
Swimming in Sunshine  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest


Interested in taking part in next month's Small Town Sponsor Spotlight? Don't forget to complete T.O. & fro's 2016 Reader Survey to take advantage of the 40% OFF ad space code PLUS your chance to win a $15 Starbucks gift card and 2 months of Small Town ad space!

I Want To Hear From YOU! // GIVEAWAY

T.O. & fro's Reader Survey

New year, new things on the horizon for T.O. & fro! And I would love to hear from YOU! 

2015 was a great year for T.O. & fro, but your feedback is what is important for its continued success. The survey below should take only 5 minutes of your time, and all responses will remain anonymous. [Survey will close at 11:59pm on January 18.] 

**survey is now closed**

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey for T.O. & fro. Make sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a $15 Starbucks gift card plus 2 months of Small Town ad space. As an added thank you, take advantage of the code THANKS40 for 40% off all T.O. & fro ad space. I would love to work with you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The Perfect At-Home Date Night + Sweet Chili Popcorn Seasoning Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MakeItAMovieNight #CollectiveBias

The Perfect At-Home Date Night

As Baby Wardo’s due date inches closer and closer, spending time with my husband, just the two of us, has never been more important. While I love getting all dolled up and going out for dinner, baby-on-the-way also means we’re on a mission to save the funds wherever and whenever we can. One of our favourite ways to combine spending time together and saving money is by creating an at-home date night. Considering the growing babe is an energy sponge and I’m usually out cold by 9:30pm, staying in is also the safest option. 

Here are 5 things needed for the perfect at-home date night:

1.. A sweet treat. Because chocolate is a must, and M&M’S® Chocolate Candies fit the bill. 

The Perfect At-Home Date Night

2.. A salty snack. And because I prefer salty over sweet, Orville Redenbacher popcorn it is. I like to kick mine up a notch by creating a delicious popcorn seasoning recipe. The possibilities are endless, but this sweet chili popcorn seasoning is a favourite and so simple to make at home. The perfect salty meets sweet, with an added kick. 

Sweet Chili Popcorn Seasoning Recipe

Sweet Chili Popcorn Seasoning
Makes: enough seasoning for 1 bag of popcorn

Ingredients:
        1 bag Orville Redenbacher movie theatre popcorn, popped
        1 tbsp sugar
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/2 tsp chili powder (*omit if you don't like spicy food)
        1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili flakes (*omit if you don't like spicy food)
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted (optional)

Directions:
1. Stir together sugar, salt and spices in a bowl.
 2. Make popcorn according to directions on the bag. Transfer to large bowl.
3. If using, melt butter and drizzle over hot popcorn.
 4. Sprinkle seasoning over hot popcorn and toss to combine.
 5. Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Popcorn Seasoning Recipe

3.. A refreshing beverage. Coca-Cola over ice is my husband’s go-to, and since I’m watching my caffeine intake, I opt for Sprite. 

4.. A good flick. Our taste in movies changes depending on our mood, but it’s safe to say we’re always in the mood for a good comedy. This time we chose the new Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser. Almost 15 years since the original, David Spade is back to reprise his role as Joe Dirt, the mullet-sporting, acid wash denim-wearing white trash janitor. In this sequel, Joe is married with triplets and suddenly finds himself transported on an epic journey back in time. If you were a fan of the original, or just a fan of mullets and rock & roll, you’re sure to get a good laugh from Joe Dirt 2.

Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser

5.. A good movie watching partner. No explanation needed.

The Perfect At-Home Date Night

Visit your local Walmart and look for Orville Redenbacher Movie Theatre popcorn in the snack aisle, Coca-Cola 6-pack 1/2-liter in the soft drinks aisle and M&M’S® Chocolate Candies in the checkout aisle. 

The Perfect At-Home Date Night

Don’t forget to take advantage of the $10 VUDU offer on your next movie when you buy the Movie Night package at Walmart, with these 3 simple steps:
  1. Buy all 4 participating products (Orville Redenbacher popcorn, Milk Chocolate and Peanut M&M’S® Chocolate Candies, Coca-Cola 6-pack, 1/2-liter) in one transaction at your local Walmart between December 22 and February 2. 
  2. Snap a picture of your receipt. Visit uploadreceipt.com/movienight to submit by February 9.  
  3. Get your $10 Vudu movie code by email. *While supplies last. Limit 1 per person.

What is your perfect at-home date night? Be sure to check out more fun movie night ideas here and take advantage of the VUDU offer!