modern thrifter

modern thrifter

Thrifter & designer. Blogging about life in our MCM home & living on a budget. I also design things with my husband. You can see our work at The Mahoney Studio

This is one of those times during the year when a bunch of really great things all converge in the same week making for a joyous and crazy schedule. 
A few days ago I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, my oldest child turns nine this weekend, and we leave for Disneyland shortly after that. Oh, I’ve also been snack mom for the week in both kids’ class, and I will be helping with school activities all day tomorrow. 
I’m thrilled about all those things (well, except the snack mom role), but I’m learning—very slowly over many years—that somethings have to get compromised. If I don’t give up a few of the well-intentioned things planned to do, a week full of celebration quickly turns into a week of stress and frustration.
This year, I gave up on homemade Valentines. I’ve made valentines since the kids were in preschool. These were a particular favorite of mine. The problem is that I’m far more interested making these than the kids, I’m also a quality-control freak, so I’m pretty sure this kids don’t exactly love making them with me. 
Instead of taking on this silly battle and staying up all night to finish them, I picked up two boxes of pre-made valentines from the dollar section at target. I handed them to the kids with a bag of chocolate and some washi tape, and let them get to work. They were so happy and busily worked assembling them without needing anything from me. I’m totally okay with it. 

Store-bought valentines might not really sound like I’m giving up all that much, but for me it’s a big victory in the sanity department. Now I have time to make this Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake that Alden chose. Sidenote: be careful that your child isn’t peeking over your shoulder when perusing cakes on Pinterest. You’d think I would have remembered that from last year when he saw this dark chocolate and raspberry cake.  
cake photo via: Kitchen Heals Soul

This is one of those times during the year when a bunch of really great things all converge in the same week making for a joyous and crazy schedule. 

A few days ago I hosted a baby shower for a dear friend, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, my oldest child turns nine this weekend, and we leave for Disneyland shortly after that. Oh, I’ve also been snack mom for the week in both kids’ class, and I will be helping with school activities all day tomorrow. 

I’m thrilled about all those things (well, except the snack mom role), but I’m learning—very slowly over many yearsthat somethings have to get compromised. If I don’t give up a few of the well-intentioned things planned to do, a week full of celebration quickly turns into a week of stress and frustration.

This year, I gave up on homemade Valentines. I’ve made valentines since the kids were in preschool. These were a particular favorite of mine. The problem is that I’m far more interested making these than the kids, I’m also a quality-control freak, so I’m pretty sure this kids don’t exactly love making them with me. 

Instead of taking on this silly battle and staying up all night to finish them, I picked up two boxes of pre-made valentines from the dollar section at target. I handed them to the kids with a bag of chocolate and some washi tape, and let them get to work. They were so happy and busily worked assembling them without needing anything from me. I’m totally okay with it. 

Store-bought valentines might not really sound like I’m giving up all that much, but for me it’s a big victory in the sanity department. Now I have time to make this Momofuku Milk Bar birthday cake that Alden chose. Sidenote: be careful that your child isn’t peeking over your shoulder when perusing cakes on Pinterest. You’d think I would have remembered that from last year when he saw this dark chocolate and raspberry cake.  

cake photo via: Kitchen Heals Soul

Comments
DISSECTION OF A PROJECT
There are a lot of creative couples out there doing amazing work—artists, musicians, designers, architects, etc., and I know our situation isn’t exactly unique, but people often ask how Patrick and I work together. My blog is typically about home and thrifting topics, but this seemed like the best place to write out a thoughtful answer about our process, so hang in there, I’ll try to keep it kind of brief.
Patrick and I have really been unofficially working together since design school. We would critique each other’s work, brainstorm together, and honestly, Patrick did most of the mock-up crafting work for my graduating portfolio. He has an amazing attention to detail and a very steady hand. After watching me butcher a printed piece with an x-acto knife and spray mount, I think he mostly stepped in to rescue me because my sloppiness drove him crazy. 
I should clarify that we don’t work full-time together. Patrick still has a day job designing for other people, and I spend much of my day taking care of the kids and the household chores, but we spend a great deal of our evenings and spare time working on freelance projects together. I seriously dream of the day that we can work side-by-side in a larger capacity.
We each have our own styles, and our own strengths and weaknesses, so when a freelance job comes in, it’s typically pretty easy to determine which one of us will take the lead. Branding for yummy bakeries & ice cream will probably land in my court, while icon development, illustration, and the likes will probably be more Patrick. That said, there hasn’t been a a single project that didn’t involve both of us in some capacity. 
Here’s a project as an example where we worked pretty evenly. This foldable card was created for Paper Built, a client that we helped brand last year.
Sarah from Paper Built designs fantastic foldable paper crafts, and she created the foldable template. Then I sketched up what to put on it:


After that, I did a quick vector illustration, but that is not really my expertise, so at that point I turned it over to Patrick.

 He finessed my original and added all of the subtle details that made it so much better (see, he’s an obsessive detail guy).  



In the end, this piece would have fallen much shorter of our standards if only one of us had been involved.

DISSECTION OF A PROJECT

There are a lot of creative couples out there doing amazing work—artists, musicians, designers, architects, etc., and I know our situation isn’t exactly unique, but people often ask how Patrick and I work together. My blog is typically about home and thrifting topics, but this seemed like the best place to write out a thoughtful answer about our process, so hang in there, I’ll try to keep it kind of brief.

Patrick and I have really been unofficially working together since design school. We would critique each other’s work, brainstorm together, and honestly, Patrick did most of the mock-up crafting work for my graduating portfolio. He has an amazing attention to detail and a very steady hand. After watching me butcher a printed piece with an x-acto knife and spray mount, I think he mostly stepped in to rescue me because my sloppiness drove him crazy. 

I should clarify that we don’t work full-time together. Patrick still has a day job designing for other people, and I spend much of my day taking care of the kids and the household chores, but we spend a great deal of our evenings and spare time working on freelance projects together. I seriously dream of the day that we can work side-by-side in a larger capacity.

We each have our own styles, and our own strengths and weaknesses, so when a freelance job comes in, it’s typically pretty easy to determine which one of us will take the lead. Branding for yummy bakeries & ice cream will probably land in my court, while icon development, illustration, and the likes will probably be more Patrick. That said, there hasn’t been a a single project that didn’t involve both of us in some capacity. 

Here’s a project as an example where we worked pretty evenly. This foldable card was created for Paper Built, a client that we helped brand last year.

Sarah from Paper Built designs fantastic foldable paper crafts, and she created the foldable template. Then I sketched up what to put on it:

After that, I did a quick vector illustration, but that is not really my expertise, so at that point I turned it over to Patrick.

 He finessed my original and added all of the subtle details that made it so much better (see, he’s an obsessive detail guy).  

In the end, this piece would have fallen much shorter of our standards if only one of us had been involved.

Comments
TEN MINUTE WREATH PROJECT
Things have been unusually calm this Christmas season so far. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m setting the bar super low for holiday craft projects. In past years I would have started nearly a dozen random projects by now. 
Last year, for example, I carved a linoleum block to print my own wrapping paper, made three different types of ornaments, sewed A-frame tents for each of the kids, baked ten dozen cookies for a school fund-raiser, burned myself out and ended up with the flu two days before Christmas.
I didn’t intentionally limit myself this year, I simply haven’t felt as inspired or energetic. The only real project I’ve done so far has been this wreath that took all of ten minutes. I picked up the metal frame at the thrift store for $2, clipped some holly from a tree in front of our house, and tied on a simple bow from a spool of thrifted ribbon. Done. 

Fewer projects has meant more time to enjoy my family and I get to be a more pleasant person to be around this Christmas. 

TEN MINUTE WREATH PROJECT

Things have been unusually calm this Christmas season so far. I think it’s mostly due to the fact that I’m setting the bar super low for holiday craft projects. In past years I would have started nearly a dozen random projects by now. 

Last year, for example, I carved a linoleum block to print my own wrapping paper, made three different types of ornaments, sewed A-frame tents for each of the kids, baked ten dozen cookies for a school fund-raiser, burned myself out and ended up with the flu two days before Christmas.

I didn’t intentionally limit myself this year, I simply haven’t felt as inspired or energetic. The only real project I’ve done so far has been this wreath that took all of ten minutes. I picked up the metal frame at the thrift store for $2, clipped some holly from a tree in front of our house, and tied on a simple bow from a spool of thrifted ribbon. Done. 

Fewer projects has meant more time to enjoy my family and I get to be a more pleasant person to be around this Christmas. 

Comments
[ SUMMER WORK ]
Apparently, I’ve been on a bit of a blog break. It’s been somewhat unintentional, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that I’ve been working on while taking my break.
I’ve gotten back into illustrating over the summer, and after many years of very sporadic drawing, it’s taken me a bit to find my style again. The little girl and puppy above is one of my favorites that I’ve done so far.
Patrick and I are also taking part in the Cosmic Sans show put together by Constellation Co. on September 6th. We’ll be auctioning off our prints (along with designs from 24 other designers) to benefit Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. and 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring organization for kids.
Here is my letter G (as in Gordo, the space monkey launched from Cape Canaveral in 1958):

And Patrick’s letter A (Apollo):

We’ve also been hard at work on a few logo and branding projects. My favorite is our hand-lettered logo for Ice Cream Social in Tacoma (the company website is still in the works):

Besides designing and illustrating, we were finally able to sand and paint the window trim in the living room. We also hung curtains, but I still need to hem them, so no pictures for now. Soon, though, soon—or maybe not until the kids start school again and my house isn’t covered in legos from sun up to sun down.

[ SUMMER WORK ]

Apparently, I’ve been on a bit of a blog break. It’s been somewhat unintentional, but I thought it would be fun to share some of the things that I’ve been working on while taking my break.

I’ve gotten back into illustrating over the summer, and after many years of very sporadic drawing, it’s taken me a bit to find my style again. The little girl and puppy above is one of my favorites that I’ve done so far.

Patrick and I are also taking part in the Cosmic Sans show put together by Constellation Co. on September 6th. We’ll be auctioning off our prints (along with designs from 24 other designers) to benefit Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. and 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing and tutoring organization for kids.

Here is my letter G (as in Gordo, the space monkey launched from Cape Canaveral in 1958):

And Patrick’s letter A (Apollo):

We’ve also been hard at work on a few logo and branding projects. My favorite is our hand-lettered logo for Ice Cream Social in Tacoma (the company website is still in the works):

Besides designing and illustrating, we were finally able to sand and paint the window trim in the living room. We also hung curtains, but I still need to hem them, so no pictures for now. Soon, though, soon—or maybe not until the kids start school again and my house isn’t covered in legos from sun up to sun down.

Comments
[ EDISON ]
If you’ve never heard of Edison, Washington, you shouldn’t be surprised. This small town in the Skagit Valley has a mere 133 residents, according to the 2010 census. But even with such a small population, Edison has a lot to offer.

We drove up for the afternoon to celebrate our anniversary, after hearing so many good things about the cafes that line the one main road through town. Our first stop was Farm to Market Bakery for lunch, and we were not disappointed. I won’t ramble on about the food—there are plenty of online reviews—but it was worth the drive. 
We had heard a lot about the gourmet fare in Edison, but we were surprised that no one had mentioned the three or four galleries and artist studios in town, too. There was a really great printmaking exhibit at Smith & Vallee and while walking through, I turned a corner and stood face-to-face with this:

For those of you who haven’t met my husband in person, let me just say, the stranger in the print must be Patrick’s doppelgänger. I wonder if the other patrons in the gallery at the same time as us noticed it. 
The day before we visited Edison there was a community-wide garage sale (I’m still a little bummed about missing it), so there were a few leftover sales happening while we were there.  One of the best discoveries was a tent sale outside of Smith & Vallee that was filled with surplus wood slabs. I was desperately trying to think of a project that would justify a big chunk of black walnut, but I’m sure it would have sat in some sad corner of the house waiting indefinitely for me to do something with it. 

At the same sale, Patrick found a nice mat-cutter—something he’s been wanting for years —for $10. Now we have absolutely no excuse for the lack of art on our walls. 


We browsed the other shops in town which were filled with handmade art and crafts—not at all the kind you’d expect in a small farm town, but more along the lines of what you’d find in Ballard. Then, on our way to Tweets for pastries and coffee, we spotted a “free” pile, stacked in front of a little shop. We scooped up a few spools of nice yarn and a small wool cabbie hat for Alden. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to bring home a few goodies from an already delightful experience.

[ EDISON ]

If you’ve never heard of Edison, Washington, you shouldn’t be surprised. This small town in the Skagit Valley has a mere 133 residents, according to the 2010 census. But even with such a small population, Edison has a lot to offer.

We drove up for the afternoon to celebrate our anniversary, after hearing so many good things about the cafes that line the one main road through town. Our first stop was Farm to Market Bakery for lunch, and we were not disappointed. I won’t ramble on about the food—there are plenty of online reviews—but it was worth the drive. 

We had heard a lot about the gourmet fare in Edison, but we were surprised that no one had mentioned the three or four galleries and artist studios in town, too. There was a really great printmaking exhibit at Smith & Vallee and while walking through, I turned a corner and stood face-to-face with this:

For those of you who haven’t met my husband in person, let me just say, the stranger in the print must be Patrick’s doppelgänger. I wonder if the other patrons in the gallery at the same time as us noticed it. 

The day before we visited Edison there was a community-wide garage sale (I’m still a little bummed about missing it), so there were a few leftover sales happening while we were there.  One of the best discoveries was a tent sale outside of Smith & Vallee that was filled with surplus wood slabs. I was desperately trying to think of a project that would justify a big chunk of black walnut, but I’m sure it would have sat in some sad corner of the house waiting indefinitely for me to do something with it. 

At the same sale, Patrick found a nice mat-cutter—something he’s been wanting for years —for $10. Now we have absolutely no excuse for the lack of art on our walls. 

We browsed the other shops in town which were filled with handmade art and crafts—not at all the kind you’d expect in a small farm town, but more along the lines of what you’d find in Ballard. Then, on our way to Tweets for pastries and coffee, we spotted a “free” pile, stacked in front of a little shop. We scooped up a few spools of nice yarn and a small wool cabbie hat for Alden. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to bring home a few goodies from an already delightful experience.

Comments
[ CHANGE OF PACE ]

I’m still here, I promise—still thrifting, too. I haven’t picked up any big “wow” pieces as of late, but I am quite pleased with some of my smaller finds—a shiny white Karlsson alarm clock, a book by the very funny David Sedaris that I’ve been wanting to read, and the perfect pair of italian leather sandals for summer, to name a few.

Projects around the house have come to a stall, mostly because we’ve been spending our spare time working on design projects, but also because we’ve decided to get really serious with our budgeting in order to build up a larger emergency fund/savings. It’s amazing how quickly we can settle into “comfortable” and start letting extra income flit away one dollar at a time. 

It’s hard for me to not be constantly working on fixing up the house, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to find the neglected, tedious, and free things that need to be done. Yesterday we spent most of the day outside tidying up our yard [ivy jungle]. You may not know this about me, but gardening is just about my least favorite activity—cleaning moldy food containers wins the prize for most dreaded household chore, in case you were wondering. 

Yard work really isn’t that bad once I get started, and it’s not the manual labor that I don’t like. It’s the creepy crawlies that I could do without. It would seem like being a mom of a little boy would have desensitized me to that by now, but, no. The only thing that eases the anxiety about plunging my hand into an overgrown patch of patch of mystery weeds is my pair of elbow-length leather gloves (I’d get shoulder length if they made them). 

The other free chore that yields instant gratification is organizing, which is how I plan to spend the better part of this coming week. If I wasn’t so embarrassed about the current state of some of my closets, I would post before and after pictures to keep myself motivated. Maybe I’ll muster the courage to put them on twitter.

[ CHANGE OF PACE ]

I’m still here, I promise—still thrifting, too. I haven’t picked up any big “wow” pieces as of late, but I am quite pleased with some of my smaller finds—a shiny white Karlsson alarm clock, a book by the very funny David Sedaris that I’ve been wanting to read, and the perfect pair of italian leather sandals for summer, to name a few.

Projects around the house have come to a stall, mostly because we’ve been spending our spare time working on design projects, but also because we’ve decided to get really serious with our budgeting in order to build up a larger emergency fund/savings. It’s amazing how quickly we can settle into “comfortable” and start letting extra income flit away one dollar at a time. 

It’s hard for me to not be constantly working on fixing up the house, but I’m taking this as an opportunity to find the neglected, tedious, and free things that need to be done. Yesterday we spent most of the day outside tidying up our yard [ivy jungle]. You may not know this about me, but gardening is just about my least favorite activity—cleaning moldy food containers wins the prize for most dreaded household chore, in case you were wondering. 

Yard work really isn’t that bad once I get started, and it’s not the manual labor that I don’t like. It’s the creepy crawlies that I could do without. It would seem like being a mom of a little boy would have desensitized me to that by now, but, no. The only thing that eases the anxiety about plunging my hand into an overgrown patch of patch of mystery weeds is my pair of elbow-length leather gloves (I’d get shoulder length if they made them). 

The other free chore that yields instant gratification is organizing, which is how I plan to spend the better part of this coming week. If I wasn’t so embarrassed about the current state of some of my closets, I would post before and after pictures to keep myself motivated. Maybe I’ll muster the courage to put them on twitter.

Comments
[ HE IS RISEN, INDEED ]
I can only remember one or two sunny Easters in the past twelve years or so, making today a special treat. We spent the morning sipping coffee, watching the kids race around the house looking for eggs, and getting all dressed up for church.
Uh, wait, that’s never how it works out on Easter morning. Actually, the kids scarfed down more peeps and chocolate than I could count while I was rushing around trying to iron my last minute wardrobe substitution. There were tears about pajamas, socks, and snacks, grumpy words uttered my me, coffee spilled, and a late arrival to church. Thankfully, Jesus died and rose for all our sins, even the ones committed on Easter morning.
The rest of the day was mostly lovely, minus the hour long fit from a boy who had the rest of his peeps taken away for the remainder of the day and the dog poop on his shoe. We enjoyed a meal with good friends and played outside in the sunshine—girls on swings, men playing basketball, and Alden working tirelessly digging a big hole in the dirt.
I even managed to snap a few photos before their carefully planned Easter clothes were grass-stained and dirty. This year I gave each of them a little something homemade to wear. For Tula, a felt flower hair clip, and for Alden, a bow tie that I made out of the bottom of a thrifted vintage silk skirt that I hemmed.

I hope that everyone’s Easter was fantastic!

[ HE IS RISEN, INDEED ]

I can only remember one or two sunny Easters in the past twelve years or so, making today a special treat. We spent the morning sipping coffee, watching the kids race around the house looking for eggs, and getting all dressed up for church.

Uh, wait, that’s never how it works out on Easter morning. Actually, the kids scarfed down more peeps and chocolate than I could count while I was rushing around trying to iron my last minute wardrobe substitution. There were tears about pajamas, socks, and snacks, grumpy words uttered my me, coffee spilled, and a late arrival to church. Thankfully, Jesus died and rose for all our sins, even the ones committed on Easter morning.

The rest of the day was mostly lovely, minus the hour long fit from a boy who had the rest of his peeps taken away for the remainder of the day and the dog poop on his shoe. We enjoyed a meal with good friends and played outside in the sunshine—girls on swings, men playing basketball, and Alden working tirelessly digging a big hole in the dirt.

I even managed to snap a few photos before their carefully planned Easter clothes were grass-stained and dirty. This year I gave each of them a little something homemade to wear. For Tula, a felt flower hair clip, and for Alden, a bow tie that I made out of the bottom of a thrifted vintage silk skirt that I hemmed.

I hope that everyone’s Easter was fantastic!

Comments

[ WAITING ]
It was nearly two months ago that I placed my order with West Elm for our new living room rug. It was on backorder at the time, and so we waited and waited. Two weeks ago we finally received a letter informing us that the rug was out of stock indefinitely and that our order had been cancelled.
Emails keep flooding into my inbox from West Elm making other rug “suggestions” but really, they all cost more money than we care to spend right now. 
So for now, we wait, trying not to notice the dingy, too-small, wool rug that currently resides in the living room. Waiting has never been a bad plan for us, though. It has kept us from several impulse purchases, and often allows us time to search out a really great deal.
In far better news, next week we are purchasing a much needed new (used) car for our family. Our current cars are twelve and twenty-two years old—obviously, buying a car isn’t something we do very often. The last time we purchased a car we had a very different financial philosophy and it took us five years to pay it off. This time around we will be paying cash up front and it feels really fantastic not to have any loans involved.  
The car is coming from good friends who need to sell their vehicle because they are moving to Paris at the end of the month. It is working out fantastic for us all, since they will be able to drive it until just before they leave and not have to hassle with Craigslist buyers, and we are getting the exact car we’ve been wanting for a nice price, and from people we trust.

[ WAITING ]

It was nearly two months ago that I placed my order with West Elm for our new living room rug. It was on backorder at the time, and so we waited and waited. Two weeks ago we finally received a letter informing us that the rug was out of stock indefinitely and that our order had been cancelled.

Emails keep flooding into my inbox from West Elm making other rug “suggestions” but really, they all cost more money than we care to spend right now. 

So for now, we wait, trying not to notice the dingy, too-small, wool rug that currently resides in the living room. Waiting has never been a bad plan for us, though. It has kept us from several impulse purchases, and often allows us time to search out a really great deal.

In far better news, next week we are purchasing a much needed new (used) car for our family. Our current cars are twelve and twenty-two years old—obviously, buying a car isn’t something we do very often. The last time we purchased a car we had a very different financial philosophy and it took us five years to pay it off. This time around we will be paying cash up front and it feels really fantastic not to have any loans involved.  

The car is coming from good friends who need to sell their vehicle because they are moving to Paris at the end of the month. It is working out fantastic for us all, since they will be able to drive it until just before they leave and not have to hassle with Craigslist buyers, and we are getting the exact car we’ve been wanting for a nice price, and from people we trust.

Comments
[ BACK-TO-SCHOOL ]
The lackadaisical summer days have been replaced with the regimens of school, and though most schools across America have been in session for over a month, we have just wrapped up our second week. I was grateful to have a few extra weeks of summer, because September turned out to be the warmest month of the year. The downside to starting so late was that by the time we received the school supply list, the back-to-school aisle at Target was completely wiped out. 
Not to worry, though. With the exception of a few odds and ends, like markers and copy paper and a few clothing items like jeans and underwear, we are reusing nearly everything from years past. I have resisted the back-to-school hype that my children need brand-new everything each autumn. Alden’s Four Peas motorcycle backpack is going on its third year and it still has tons of life left in it. His Speed Racer lunchbox—purchased at Goodwill—is on its second year. Binders and folders are still in good shape from last year. I was even able to pick up a Rubbermaid reusable juice box at the thrift store that was brand new and still had the packaging. Hoping to avoid buying individually packaged milk and juice, I was really pleased with that find. Also, pouring juice from the larger jug allows me to water it down a little to cut the sugar content—yes, I’m that mom.
If you have school-aged kids, how do you handle back-to-school? Are there things that you’ve found need to be replaced every year? What things are you reusing?

[ BACK-TO-SCHOOL ]

The lackadaisical summer days have been replaced with the regimens of school, and though most schools across America have been in session for over a month, we have just wrapped up our second week. I was grateful to have a few extra weeks of summer, because September turned out to be the warmest month of the year. The downside to starting so late was that by the time we received the school supply list, the back-to-school aisle at Target was completely wiped out. 

Not to worry, though. With the exception of a few odds and ends, like markers and copy paper and a few clothing items like jeans and underwear, we are reusing nearly everything from years past. I have resisted the back-to-school hype that my children need brand-new everything each autumn. Alden’s Four Peas motorcycle backpack is going on its third year and it still has tons of life left in it. His Speed Racer lunchbox—purchased at Goodwill—is on its second year. Binders and folders are still in good shape from last year. I was even able to pick up a Rubbermaid reusable juice box at the thrift store that was brand new and still had the packaging. Hoping to avoid buying individually packaged milk and juice, I was really pleased with that find. Also, pouring juice from the larger jug allows me to water it down a little to cut the sugar content—yes, I’m that mom.

If you have school-aged kids, how do you handle back-to-school? Are there things that you’ve found need to be replaced every year? What things are you reusing?

Comments
[ DATE NIGHT ON A DIME ]
I’m convinced that dates don’t have to cost a fortune. I’m also convinced that dating shouldn’t stop when you get married. Living on a limited budget, having kids, and being busy can definitely make dating more challenging, though. It’s easy to slip into the “we’ll just watch a movie at home and call it a date” routine, but that gets old pretty quickly. Over the years we’ve gotten better at figuring out how to go out without going broke.
Here are some of our favorite “going out” dates:  
Museums - We like the Frye Art Museum (it’s always free, but they accept donations), or the Seattle Art Museum is free the first Thursday of each month. The SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park is fantastic, and again, it’s always free. 
Second Run Theaters - We are fortunate to live near the Crest Cinema ($3 tickets for all shows), my guess is that nearly all cities have a movie theater like this. 
Live Theater - For those of you who are under 25, many of the theaters in the area offer $10 tickets for most performances as a way to encourage young people to engage in the arts. 
Star Parties - The Seattle Astronomical Society has monthly stargazing parties at Greenlake and Cromwell Parks. Telescopes are set up at dusk and viewing is free. 
Dance Lessons - I just received a Groupon this morning for one month of swing dance lessons for $24, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time. 
Canoe/Kayaking - Once the weather gets a little nicer, check out rentals on canoes. We like going to the UW Waterfront Activities Center and canoeing through the arboretum. Canoes are rented by the hour, and the last time I checked I think the rate was $5–$10/hour depending on the day of the week and if you are a student or not.


Let’s face it though, sometimes it’s just too expensive or difficult to find a babysitter every week. Here are some of our favorite “staying in” dates (besides a movie and popcorn):  
Cook Dinner Together - This idea comes from Ashley over at Not Without Salt, and I think it’s brilliant. 
Board Games - Some people just aren’t game people, but we love them! A few of our favorites over the years have been Settler’s of Catan (the 2-player card version), Ticket to Ride, Dutch Blitz, and Cribbage. 
Wine & Cheese - We like to get a few different cheeses and accompaniments like pears, apples, crackers, etc. and just sit and talk over a glass of wine


Lastly, I want to point out that I don’t think that all dates should be cheap. We spend less on the majority of our dates so that every now and then we can really indulge in a bigger date—an expensive restaurant, drinks at my favorite little French Cocktail bar, or an overnight trip somewhere.
Do you have an idea for an inexpensive date that I haven’t mentioned? Please share!
Photo by Acacia Bergin

[ DATE NIGHT ON A DIME ]

I’m convinced that dates don’t have to cost a fortune. I’m also convinced that dating shouldn’t stop when you get married. Living on a limited budget, having kids, and being busy can definitely make dating more challenging, though. It’s easy to slip into the “we’ll just watch a movie at home and call it a date” routine, but that gets old pretty quickly. Over the years we’ve gotten better at figuring out how to go out without going broke.

Here are some of our favorite “going out” dates:

Museums - We like the Frye Art Museum (it’s always free, but they accept donations), or the Seattle Art Museum is free the first Thursday of each month. The SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park is fantastic, and again, it’s always free.

Second Run Theaters - We are fortunate to live near the Crest Cinema ($3 tickets for all shows), my guess is that nearly all cities have a movie theater like this.

Live Theater - For those of you who are under 25, many of the theaters in the area offer $10 tickets for most performances as a way to encourage young people to engage in the arts.

Star Parties - The Seattle Astronomical Society has monthly stargazing parties at Greenlake and Cromwell Parks. Telescopes are set up at dusk and viewing is free.

Dance Lessons - I just received a Groupon this morning for one month of swing dance lessons for $24, something we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Canoe/Kayaking - Once the weather gets a little nicer, check out rentals on canoes. We like going to the UW Waterfront Activities Center and canoeing through the arboretum. Canoes are rented by the hour, and the last time I checked I think the rate was $5–$10/hour depending on the day of the week and if you are a student or not.

    Let’s face it though, sometimes it’s just too expensive or difficult to find a babysitter every week. Here are some of our favorite “staying in” dates (besides a movie and popcorn):

    Cook Dinner Together - This idea comes from Ashley over at Not Without Salt, and I think it’s brilliant.

    Board Games - Some people just aren’t game people, but we love them! A few of our favorites over the years have been Settler’s of Catan (the 2-player card version), Ticket to Ride, Dutch Blitz, and Cribbage.

    Wine & Cheese - We like to get a few different cheeses and accompaniments like pears, apples, crackers, etc. and just sit and talk over a glass of wine

      Lastly, I want to point out that I don’t think that all dates should be cheap. We spend less on the majority of our dates so that every now and then we can really indulge in a bigger date—an expensive restaurant, drinks at my favorite little French Cocktail bar, or an overnight trip somewhere.

      Do you have an idea for an inexpensive date that I haven’t mentioned? Please share!

      Photo by Acacia Bergin

      Comments