Category: Frugal Living

Frugal Gift Ideas for Important People

Hey, Don’t forget these people!

You know the ones that make your life easier… every day.  Don’t take them for granted!  These are the people:

Postal Worker:  They brave all conditions to bring you bills and junk.  But they also bring you good things too, and hey, don’t blame the messenger.  Postal workers must abide by certain laws in accepting gifts.  The full details are here.  Basically they cannot accept cash, or cash equivalent (that they can exchange for cash) over $20.  And the gift should fit in your mailbox.

Sanitation workers, trash collectors, recycle, etc:  Those garbage people take your heaps of smelly garbage, moldy forgotten science experiments from the back of the fridge, and other too gross to think about things.  If you can’t catch them, try to put the gift on top of the trash can clearly marked so that it is NOT trash.  Also try to do this as close to the time that they arrive so no one will steal it.  If someone does steal it… that karma is on them.

School Bus Drivers:  Every year my grandma sent me out of the house and onto my school bus with a token for the bus driver too.  Driving your kids around is an important job.

Teachers and coaches:  You might think about the school teacher, but, and I might be a little impartial to this, also think of all the other teachers in your child’s life.  The lessons that are taught in the classes your children attend, whether it is dance, karate, fencing, soccer, football, tennis, piano, music… whatever it is, are more than you can ever know right now.  I teach plies, and tendus, but I also teach young minds to critically think about problem solving, and build confidence, morals, and discipline in dance class.  We love your kids almost as much as you do.  Any small token is very much appreciated, even if it is a Christmas card with you and your child telling us thank you.

Landscaper:  I have a guy who comes every week in the summer and every other in the winter.  In Florida, with the bugs, and sun, and heat, and dog poo that I might not see to pick up in my yard… the man deserves a little recognition around the holidays!

First responders:  The police, fire, emts…. they are there when I need them, and that’s enough for me.

Current Military:  Try to find a reputable organization to donate to those that are deployed or overseas, or ask around for a local military family who might need some extra cheer.  It’s hard when your spouse isn’t with you during the holidays, because they are doing a service to benefit others.  Military children, and spouses can use a little magic too.

Veterans:  They did their duty, and they deserve some extra special attention.  Again, ask around.  There are so many veterans around us, we can’t even begin to realize.  A card, a handshake, or a thank you might be all they need.

Daycare, Elder Care, Pet Care:  Anyone that cares for something you consider priceless in your absence needs to be remembered!

Hairdresser, Barber, Manicurist, and anyone else that does a personal service for you.

Neighbors that you feel close to, or would like to build a relationship with.  It’s much better to feel like a community than a street of total strangers.

These are the ideas.  Any of these ideas below would make a great gift for any of the important people above.  Make it personal by including small items for a particular person, or career.

Gallon size ziploc bag stuffed with all kinds of snacks, and trinkets.  What shall you put in?  Think lunchbox style of granola bars, trail mix, small bags of coffee, hot cocoa packets, candy canes, gummies, etc.  Keep it fun, and include a lot of variety.  Other ideas are trial size items like hand lotions, lip balms, perfumes, and tissues.  Make it personal to the recipient.  Include a Christmas card with a handwritten thank you.

Lotto ticket.  Not only are you giving the gift of thoughtfulness, but the anticipation of winning!  The only rule is that you can’t be sour if they win. (Might be a little odd to get a total stranger a lotto ticket, but you do what feels right to you!)

Homemade baked goods, candy, or fudge.  Again, this day and age it may be strange to give a complete stranger something you made.  Make sure they know you a little, or you include your info.

Jar of old fashioned hard candy, jar of mixed nuts, holiday wrapped candy like kisses placed in a glass dish.  You can get pretty glass at Dollar Tree or Thrift stores.  Tie it with a ribbon, and include a gift tag.

 

e.l.f. Haul and Reviews: Metallics and Glitter Galore

I got myself some e.l.f.  That’s a hashtag waiting to happen right there….

I wait until I need my favorite brow pencil.  Bet you can’t tell from this photo which one that is….

And because e.l.f is a super awesome company, they usually have a free shipping sale happening and I don’t have to wait long to get extra savings.  I got free shipping AND half off this order.

Here we go…

I’ve been wanting to try some of the rose gold eyeshadow techniques that I have been seeing.  In order to do that I needed some metallics, and they are all the rage now.

Take for instance these makeup transformer gels.  They are supposed to give you a pop of glitter alone or you can layer it over a powder for extra pigment.  It promises glitter and that’s what’s in it!  When I opened the package, I thought the tube was a little thin.  But a little goes a long way here.  It removed easily and left no spot welded glitter behind.  Here I got rose gold, and golden glitz.

              

Next is the eye primer transformer, matte to metal.  You can take a matte shadow and transform it right on your eyes, and before your eyes, into a metallic look.  I bought Taupe, Silver, and Gold.  I tried it on my arm alone, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it is highly pigmented.  It has a handy doe foot applicator to get precise applications.  It’s fairly non smudging and to remove I had to give a few scrubs on my arm with a baby wipe.  There was NO shimmer left behind.  Impressive.

         

And these eyeshadows…long lasting in soiree, confetti, and toast.  They have a bit of an oily texture to them, but dry when applied.  The soiree was the most pigmented.  These are also smudge proof, were easily removed, and left no shimmer behind.

     

This last photo… is my non-ringing endorsement photo (save for the blush and bronzer which was a repurchase for me.)  There’s no swatch here of that, and I didn’t mention the navy liner, which IS swatched here.  It’s a good smooth, non tugging liner… nothing else to say.

The baked eyeshadow, in pixie, is hard to apply.  I have a baked shadow metallic palette from e.l.f which is essentially the same thing.  I find that the product is hard to pick up on my brush, and then there is a lot of fall out on the face, causing you to have highlight in areas you might not want to be highlighted… like right under your eyes.  You can see here it’s barely visible.  This might make a good highlighting bronzer too.

   

And this velvet matte lipstick called vampy violet is… well… vampy.  You can tell by this photo it looked black.

And you can tell by this photo, it looked nearly black.

It’s a Halloween lip color for me personally.  I’m too pale to pull it off all year.  The application was a bit streaky for me too, less smooth than my other colors in the same product.

Conclusion:  I LOVE my metallic and glitter products, which can actually be used all over the face as a highlighter or even a lip shimmer.  I don’t love the lip color, and I’m indifferent to the baked shadow.

Here’s a look I did with MOSTLY e.l.f products including the Taupe eye primer transformer, and the soiree eyeshadow.  The photo doesn’t do the metallic shadow justice.

Get yourself some e.l.f.!!!

Broadway Colors Lip Cream Review

I ran into Dollar General for some eyelashes.  I don’t normally wear them but I had a special occasion to go to, which I’ll explain a bit later.

Husband and I wanted to go to the next stop on our list of errands, but they hadn’t opened yet, and so by him telling me to “take my time” I ended up buying a few lipsticks.  I know, you can hardly believe it.

The brand is one I am not familiar with, but decided to give it a shot after I was so displeased with the Colour Pop lip creams I purchased a while back.

Today’s review is on the Broadway Colors buttery matte lip cream in the shade, Hello, Sunshine.

The product is very affordable, at only $3.  That’s half the cost of the Colour Pop matte lip creams.  I’ve had a hard time going back to lip creams since then.  Those lip products were very drying, and had a chalky, uneven look.

But… I was killing time and that led to lip color purchases.

First, the product states it has mango, shea and cocoa butter in the formula.  The scent is light mango and refreshing.

The wand has a precision tip, which is quite useful.  I was pleasantly surprised that the product was buildable, unlike others that just wipe off more when you try to fill in that pesky spot.  One coat was all I needed to get a nice pigmented color.

And once you have it wiped on your mouth… well it feels comfortable and easily wearable.  I even forgot I had lipstick on at one point.  A dangerous move, as you can easily end up with it wiped clean across your cheek without a helpful friend to point out your faux pas.

Here’s the product before

And here it is right after lunch, a while later

I liked that the product did not bleed, and would only need a slight touch up after eating.

This one is a winner for only $3 at your local Dollar General!

oh yeah, and what did I need the lashes for?  Well I performed at a wedding, alongside my aerial friends, in the lyra and poured champagne during cocktail hour.  Here’s my makeup look for that day:

October Thrift Group

This is Lydia Deetz

Now here’s my Deets: (The next thrifter’s group details that is…)

The Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group October Meet Up is Saturday the 14th at 12:30pm at the Pawsitive H.O.P.E Thrift Store.

Lydia, can hardly believe the fun I have planned… I mean just look at her expression.

The first ten thrifters will receive a trick or treat bag, and then start looking around.  At 12:40pm you can report to the front of the store, where a checklist for an in store scavenger hunt will be handed out.  Participants must have a cell phone in order to take photos of their finds.  You know I love a good pun, or out of the box idea, so I will be awarding bonus points if you make me chuckle with your finds.

The winner will get this super cute gift bucket!

I mean come on, what more could you ask for?  Community, fun, Autumn themed, savings, treasures, support for a local animal charity.  I submit there is not a better time to be had!!!!

Come out and join us!  Plus get your membership so you can get one item of clothing at 50% off! (exclusions may apply)

 

 

 

Cheese Board under $25

Fall seems like a good time to talk about a cheese board, doesn’t it?  I’m not sure why, because cheese is great any time of year, but it seems like we want to get more earthy and aromatic when the air gets a little chilly.

I like entertaining, and I occasionally like to get a little fancy.  I got this cheese board for my wedding over 3 years ago, and I was way more excited than anyone should be to use this darn thing.  I’ve not had a cheese board worthy style party at my home yet… more like cookouts and really laid back shindigs.  So when one of the studios where I work was having a little graduation ceremony and we all were bringing some food to eat, I looked at that cheese board and said, “it is your time to shine!”

Of course I didn’t know what you actually put on a cheese board to make it all swanky like… except for cheese, and I didn’t know any cheese rules.  I don’t like stupid rules anyway.  Some are meant to be broken.

After researching all about cheese boards, I felt I knew enough to throw the rule book out and do my own thing.  Plus if Aldi didn’t have it, it wasn’t going on that board anyway!

Here’s how I did an Aldi cheese board for under $25.  $22.11 to be exact.

A cheese board should consist of at least a few things.  Cheese.  Cheese in a can is a no no.  Fruit.  Made with real fruit, doesn’t count.  And something else.  The something else can be salty, sweet, or savory.  I made sure I had a few different textures and layers of tastes for the palate.

Cheese board deconstruction is as follows:

You know my mentality… it doesn’t all have to be expensive.  Heck none of it has to be expensive, but you don’t want to look like you didn’t care enough to not just rush and throw some stuff together and pass it off as caring.  People can see right through it, and I take pride in my work.. be it a dance piece, or a simple cheese board.

Did you know Aldi has some fancy things in their store?  Yeah, if you take the time to look.  I selected this “high end” roasted garlic and tomato basil cheese, to pair with a regular swiss and cheddar block cheese.

   

The fruit… simple grapes, dried apricots, and a trail mix with nuts and dried fruit.

The something else….thinly sliced prosciutto, plus crackers (not pictured).

The presentation:  The tomato cheese was all pretty and marble-like.  It looked great on its own.  I cut the rectangle cheese block into some triangular wedges.  Leave the grapes as God created them, and slice the prosciutto in small strips and roll them up into bite size pieces.  A ramekin, or any other small dish can hold the dried apricot and trail mix so guests can add some sweetness to their taste buds.

Grand Totals:

Roasted garlic tomato basil cheese  $2.99

Cheddar Block  $1.79

Swiss Block  $1.79

Prosciutto  $2.49

Dried Apricots  $2.79

Trail Mix  $4.99

Red Grapes  $1.98

Six Cracker Assortment  $3.29

Drum roll please….$22.11

It’s also worth noting that all of the food is not pictured here, and I could have easily made two or three cheese boards with the above products.  That’s enough to replenish your board all the night through!

Don’t have a cheese board?  Use a cutting board!  No one will even know the difference, and remember… no rules.

You rebel you!

 

Top Ten Thrift Tips: 10 Thrift store shopping tips to adopt

Whether you are a self proclaimed thrift store junkie, or new to the thrift store game and still a bit apprehensive, (see: only poor people thrift shop, every thrift shop is dirty, and other horrible thrift shop stigmas) there are still many tips to be reminded about when browsing and shopping.

Here are my top 10 thrift store tips to keep in mind:

  1. Have a plan:  Especially if you are new to the game, and eager to find savings, this can be an exciting new world of bargain bin items that you might have never known existed.  It’s easy to go a little super market sweepstakes, and gather up everything you think you might want.  But hold your horses there buckaroo.  Narrow your thinking to what you actually need.  Back to school essentials, decor for a specific room, a table with specific measurements….whatever it is, reign it in.  Make a list, and stick to it.

  2. Or not:  “Wait, but I thought you just said….?”  Yes, I told you to reign it in, BUT there can be items to be found when you’re not searching too.  Keep an open mind.  You might find a little gift for someone else, (my favorite thing to do at the thrift store) and a little gift for you by the thrifting gods.

  3. Go Often:  It’s best to go frequently.  Inventory at stores, especially with high volume, have a quick turnover.  If you see it and you like it, truly, get it.  This is when you have to have a hard talk with yourself.  See tip number 6.  But going often will allow you to see the inventory, as opposed to only a sampling of what they have on that given day of the month.

  4. Go on a Monday:  A case of the Mondays might not be the truth for thrift stores.  The most popular day for yard sales is Saturday.  Most people who have just done all the work of a yard sale, want nothing more than to just throw the leftovers in the car, drop it off at a thrift store, and run with their arms flailing back to their car while screaming, “Good Riddance!”  So, most inventory from those yard sales are making their way onto the floor by Monday evening.

  5. Check Everything:  Check, then double check, then do one better than Santa, and check again.  I’ve been a victim to this sooo many times, so heed my warning.  Don’t get all excited, toss that into your cart, and not look at it again until you get home and find there is a big hole, then try to think how you can fix said hole, hoard the item for too long, then toss it.  Sound like I’ve been there?  I have.  Sometimes, I find something I have been looking for, or fall in love with, and we all know that love is blind.  But, you have to take a deep breath, and stop to really examine.  Look everywhere, three times or more.  I know, now I’m adding even more system checks.  Look for holes or stains in clothing, damaged appliances, more wear and tear than you want to deal with or fix, etc.  My elusive pink leather jacket, was found at the Goodwill.  It had something all over the shoulder.  A quick search proved that Leather is pretty hard to treat when it has that kind of damage, so I passed on it.  I’m still on the hunt.  

  6. Will you really?:  Ask it.  Challenge yourself.  Will I really like this piece of clothing tomorrow?  Will I really paint this furniture to match my living room?  Will I really youtube to learn how to rewire a lamp, and have enough confidence in myself that I won’t set my house on fire over a $2 lamp?  If the answer is no, leave it.  Do not pass go, do not look back.  Another question to really ask; Does this item bring me joy?  If you don’t need it, it’s not a bargain.

  7. Konmari Method:  One in, one out.  I tend to do some in, and a lot out.  I like the therapeutic feeling of purging a lot of items at once, looking at my massive pile, and either donating or yard selling those items.  If you want to stick to one/one, make a bin somewhere, and when it’s full, donate or sell.  Either way, you must get rid of some in order to keep from outside looking in, as my grandma always said.

  8. Cash is King:  I like to negotiate, but I hate negotiating at a thrift store unless an item is something I really want and is insanely overpriced.  I’ve been honest with store owners before by telling them I could get a new one at the price they have it listed, but would rather support their store.  If you have cash to use, it makes the blow a little less painful for a store that is getting hit with high merchant fees on top of your haggle.  Not many, but some stores out there, are cash only stores.  Inevitably you will find just the thing you need at a cash only store, with zero cash on you.  If you know you will be thrifting, get some cash.

  9. Thrift Kit:  I gave away free swag bags to our first ten thrifters at our first thrift store meetup group this past Saturday.  It contained a thrift kit of items that are helpful to have with you if you are thrifting.  A notebook and pen to jot down your wish list, measurements, or ideas you might get while thrifting for inspiration on other projects.  Socks for trying on shoes in store.  I clean everything before I wear it, thoroughly.  It’s hard when you find a pair of shoes, and don’t want to stick your bare foot in there to try it on.  This is Florida, and most people, myself included, live in sandals.  It’s nice to have a pair of socks in your bag.  Hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean when you are digging through and touching many items.  I also have hand sanitizer in my car for after I touch the gas pump too, so thrift stores shouldn’t get a complex over this.  And gum, for when you need a little boost of refreshment while you are hunting.

  10. Join a community:  You might not have a super awesome person in your community to spearhead a Thrift Store Meetup Group like the lucky residents and visitors of the Space Coast (wink wink) but you can be friendly with the thrift store employees at the store you shop.  Either way it’s nice when you have some connections.  When I’m thrifting, and I find the perfect item for a friend, and it’s super cheap, I’ll pick it up for them as a gift.  Four eyes are better than two, six eyes are better than four, and you get the idea.  Plus store employees will tell you when sales are, when is the best day to come, and maybe even call you to let you know your perfect mid century pink stove just arrived at the store.

You’re a lucky duck if you live in, or visit the Space Coast, and want to join a community of thrift store friends, AND get some extra discounts along the way.  Check out our community of thrift store fanatics.  I have sooo many plans for the future of The Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group, and I want you to get on board ASAP to take advantage of everything that’s to come.

Seriously, I get the excited butterflies in stomach the morning we are going to Disney feeling when I tell you that this group is created to treat you like royalty.  This group is all about what I love, like free stuff, giveaways, advice, thrift stores (duh) mail swaps, special holiday events, strong communities, charity, spreading kindness, positive vibes, and self care.

So what are you waiting for?  Join the list for free here:

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First Ever Space Coast Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group Meetup

It’s this weekend.  We finally made it!  Lots of hard work, running around, and selling my idea so that industrious thrift store party people can come together and search high and low for treasures along the Space Coast, is finally here!

This weekend is our first ever meetup in, what I hope, to be a long line of meetups.  I have lots of ideas for our frugal loving community over the holidays and I really need your help to grow that community fast.  Like warp speed fast.  Let’s get this going y’all!!!!  A party’s not very fun if you’re all by yourself.

Our first meetup is at the brand new location of the Wuesthoff Auxiliary Thrift Store located in Rockledge, this Saturday Sept 2nd, at 2pm.  We are among the first customers to step foot in the store and definitely the first official group to do so.

If you are one of the first ten members to show up, and find me, (I’ll be the one that looks anxious to meet you all outside of the front door) you get a free swag bag filled with essentials every thrifter should have with them when shopping.

There might be an extra special surprise hidden in one lucky bag too!  Will you be the lucky one?  Trick question… you’re already lucky if you are coming to the Nicolyndime Thrifter Meetup!!!

If you can’t make this one… no worries!  There will be others.  Be sure to sign up for the email list so you know instantly about the next one!

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The Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group Premium Stuff. Is that all you get for your money?

Advertising is well under way for the Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group located on the Florida Space Coast.  We are the first, and right now the only!  The OG.. woot woot!!  I’m trying to sneak this into conversation pretty much with everyone I meet because I want this group to be successful, not only for my own selfish reasons, but because the 11 stores that have put their belief in me, and the various Space Coast people who love to thrift, deserve it.
I don’t often market a product before actually making one.  When I began introducing this idea to thrift stores, there was a clear distinction between those who “got it” and who didn’t.  There was no gray area.  I got, “this is such a great idea” or I got blank, puzzled, and vacant stares.  The ones that got it and believed in it are the ones you see advertised HERE.
That being said, I concocted this idea to make a key tag, without fully knowing that it would work out the way I had planned it.  But good news… those key tags are a lot stronger than I thought they would be, and it worked on the very first try!!!  It was meant to be.
I hand make each membership key tag and ID card when they are ordered, then I send it off in happy mail.  Who wouldn’t love seeing a decorated envelope in their mail among bills and junk?  From the moment you get your membership, I want it to bring a smile to your face!
You get your key tag, all prepped with a key ring so you can just pop that right on and get to saving.  You also get a wallet ID card, in case your tag meets an ill fate.  You also receive a welcome letter, terms and conditions page, a sticker, and a little piece of art from me to you!
That’s what you get in the tangible sense.  But what else do you get?
Well….
You get access to a super cool thrifting group that is a community to shop and share.
You get discounts at the Nicolyndime Thrifter’s Group participating stores.
You get out of the house, socializing during our monthly meetups
You get to save the environment by shopping at thrift stores.
You get to keep money local, benefiting local charities and groups, improving the very town in which you live.
You get more money in your pocket.
You get more people to help you find what you love.  More eyes in the field mean that you can get the best finds.  At our meetups, I have you pick a buddy to share what they are looking for.  If you see it, flag down your thrifting buddy to let them know!
I’ve got more ideas for the future too… but I’m keeping those cards hidden for now.  (Spoiler alert: Giveaways you are automatically entered into with your membership ID number.)
Interested?  Order your membership here
Please spread the word, share this page, tell your friends, tell the person in line with you at the grocery checkout, so we can get this group a movin and a shakin.

 

$2 Mascara

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I needed a new mascara and my all time favorite is Loreal’s Double Extend Beauty Tubes.  Because it works so good, I often have the tubes all over the bathroom sink.  So I wanted a quick one to just throw on my lashes and run out the door.  I was using an e.l.f cosmetics mineral mascara that I really liked, but I didn’t have any trips to Target planned, or an order for the internet.
While at Walgreens I wanted to just check their many choices of drugstore mascara, and I was intrigued when I saw Wet n Wild’s mascara for only $1.89.  I’ll try that!
It claims to condition lashes with proteins and is enriched with acai oil.
I’ve used it twice and here’s what I think:
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For under $2 it does the job, but don’t expect to have any huge fake looking lashes.  It doesn’t lengthen, and it doesn’t add volume, but for a natural looking definition, it does the trick.  I think it’s great for everyday.
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It removes easily with my facial cleanser and water, and it stay flexible and lightweight through out the day.  No running, and no flaking.  It really DOES feel like it could condition, but that would be a long term assessment.  I give it a thumbs up!
Remember, this is not a sponsored post, and I purchased this with my own hard earned two $1 bills!  These thoughts are my honest opinion… I’d never lie to you.  🙂

 

Easy, Affordable Valentine Dinner with Dessert for under $30

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Hey all!  If you take note of the post schedule… I’m late.  But mainly because I was asked to do this guest post on a blog, and was unsure of when the post would go live.  My post on their blog isn’t up yet, but I didn’t want my readers to miss out on my Valentine Dinner plus Dessert for under $30 idea with V-day right around the corner!
So here it is:
Sometimes simpler is better. But when relationships are new, sometimes money is no exception, and we pull out all the stops with lavish gifts and elaborate dates. Then one day you may realize it’s the simple things that should be cherished.
Eating out, especially for Valentine’s Day can be really really expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the food, but also gratuity and the cost of getting to and fro. It’s an expense that can be too much for those that are watching their bottom line, and most everyone is these days!
So, let’s cut out the middle man and make a date night in, super easy and super special! You can even get all dolled up if you want to… or not…. whatever is your fancy.
So, you know I’m going to talk about my #1 budget conscious grocery store option… Aldi. I love Aldi so much! Even the employees are nice, which makes it even easier to shop there.
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With Aldi shopping, a “surf and turf” meal plus dessert for under $30 (yes that’s for the two of you) can be on the menu for your date night in. Assuming you have a few cooking staples, your Aldi bill will be under $30. So, what’s on the menu for tonight’s dining? Tender beef filets, shrimp, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, sparkling water with frozen fruit as beverage, and cheesecake for dessert.
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Yes, you do have to cook this yourself, but I promise you, it’s one of the easiest meals to make, but looks so indulgent you won’t even believe it!!
Ingredients:
Exact pricing may vary by location, product type, and season.
Cattleman’s USDA Choice Bacon Wrapped Beef Chuck Tender Filet. 2 in a package for approx. $5
Sea Queen Easy Peel Raw Shrimp. Varies based on size and area approx. $5
Fresh Garlic 99 cents
Bag of potatoes. Varies by type and area, approximately $4
Broccoli $1.69
La Vie cans of sparkling flavored or original water, approx. $5
Frozen strawberries $2.09
Two pack slices of frozen cheesecake $2.09
  1. Wash and chop your broccoli. Toss with a few teaspoons of oil and add some garlic salt (optional). Place on baking sheet and roast in 400 to 425-degree oven until roasted to preferred doneness. Start this first as it can take the longest.
  2. Chop potatoes and place in large pot of salted water to cover the potatoes. Boil until soft. Drain water from potatoes when done. Heat milk and add the warm milk and butter to potatoes. Use a hand blender to whip potatoes and make them soft and fluffy. I add a little milk at a time until I get them to the consistency I like. You can also add a nice chunk of butter to melt in too. Again, start this along with your broccoli, as this can take the longest.
  3. Thaw per package directions and remove the shells and legs from the shrimp and rinse them in cold water. In a small glass dish, spray the bottom with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray or coat with oil. Lay shrimp in single layer, and add some dots of REAL butter, along with some minced fresh garlic. Place in preheated 375-degree oven, and bake until pink. They get done fast so save this for after your broccoli is done. You can keep your broccoli in the oven while the shrimp cook to keep it warm.
  4. Cook the beef filets per the directions on the back of the package. I like to use the grill pan, but you can use a skillet and/or finish them off in the oven to your preferred doneness. Make sure to let them rest before cutting.
  5. Pour your sparkling water and add frozen strawberries
  6. Be sure to take cheesecake out of freezer to thaw with ample time before consuming.

Here are some ways to make it extra special:

Shop your home for a special tablescape. Add an appropriate tablecloth, or even a fashionable scarf to your table.
Bring out the “good dishes” and wine goblets.
Do you have cloth napkins? Bring those out too!
Add some non-scented or complimentary scented candles. Everyone looks romantic in candlelight!
Lastly, take a cue from your elementary school days. Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half to cut out a heart. Take a minute to write down the things you love about your partner. We always enjoy hearing the specifics about what our partner loves about us, and it’s important to let them know too.
Bonus tip: Leave the dishes and the mess for tomorrow! Enjoy your night together, and don’t fall back into your old routine, at least for one night. Take this night as a time out, to enjoy time spent together!
(Photo credits: Aldi.us and morguefile)