Date Night Ideas In The Afternoon: ArcLight UTC

Arclight UTC Cinemas

When my husband and I head out for an afternoon alone without the kids the one thing we’re looking for is easy. And we get just that with the ArcLight UTC.

We purchased our tickets online in advance and chose the seats we preferred, then we headed to the mall for a little shopping pre-movie. As we got closer to movie time we made our way over to the Arclight and settled in to their cafe.

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Family Movie Night with Disney’s New Releases

Family Movie Night Ideas

Every weekend our family loves to get together and have a movie night (or afternoon). We always let our kids pick a movie out that they want to watch together. And the only rule is that they have to choose a movie both want to watch. That can be harder than it sounds.

So we’ve started limiting their options of movies to 2-3 titles that we pre-select for them. They are pretty quick to agree on a film once the choices are limited down. So when I received Minnie’s The Wizard of Dizz for review I knew that our next family movie night selection would be an easy choice for the kids.

Then a few days later I received Oz The Great and Powerful on BluRay and had a great idea. Why not combine family movie night with date night at home? The kids watch their movie first, then we put them down for bed, and we enjoy our movie!

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Creating the Ultimate F&Easy Date Night In

f&easy date night in

The past few weeks have been quite the whirlwind for my husband and I. We’ve been busy with home improvements, visiting friends and family, keeping our kids entertained, etc. So the thought of going out this weekend for a date night just didn’t appeal to either of us.

Luckily I had received a $50 gift card in the mail to Fresh & Easy (one of our favorite grocery stores!) and asked to see just how F&Easy it is to have date night in with the help of Fresh & Easy’s convenient, fresh, and delicious foods.

Now we already knew how amazing some of the selections were in the fresh and easy pre-made meal section. My mother-in-law was kind enough to stock up our fridge after my daughter was in the hospital earlier this year and we loved the tasty treats she brought us. So when it came time to head out to our local Fresh & Easy 5 minutes away I couldn’t wait to choose something delicious for my husband and I to enjoy at home.

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Enjoying a Fun Date Night In San Diego with National Comedy Theater

NCT - Fun Date Night in San Diego

The one thing my husband and I have been pretty diligent about even after having kids is making sure we have at least one night a month dedicated to date night. I was even writing a monthly post for Date Night 411 (before the site was closed) and loved sharing my date night ideas with others who are looking for things to do.

So I’m going to start sharing the things we do on our date nights again. And this time it’ll be on my blog so I don’t lose all of the photos and the content when the websites I write for are gone (sorry… a little vent… but I’m done now!).

One place we LOVE to go to at least every few months is National Comedy Theater on India Street. I first heard about this show after being asked to check it out as a blogger. Now I love going even when I’m paying for tickets! Not only is it an awesome improv show that changes nightly, it’s also next to some fabulous restaurants!

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The Lucky One #CBias @BlockbusterExp #CouchCritics Date Night on a Budget

Date Night on a Budget

Ever since the first few weeks of 2012, my husband and I have buckled down and stuck to a budget. We plan our finances in advance and have made a large dent in our debt because of our newfound frugal ways.

One thing we don’t skimp out on is date night.

For the past year we have gone on at least one date night each month. We reconnect, enjoy our time together, and spend a few kid-free hours alone. It has done wonders for our relationship and is something we enjoy very much.

Sometimes our date nights end up costing a bit more than we planned. With dinner, activities, and childcare, date nights can be expensive. And the cost of seeing a movie in the theaters has dramatically risen in upwards of $12 for each ticket!

But with a little creativity I was able to create a date night on a budget. For only $25 my husband and I enjoyed dinner, dessert, and a movie and didn’t skimp on anything! Here’s how:

Date Night on a Budget with Blockbuster Express

Date Night on a Budget with Blockbuster Express

Since having kids, my husband and I have found it sometimes difficult to get out to see movies in the theaters. We’ve started to rent movies instead of going out and Blockbuster Express is not only affordable at $2 each movie for hte first night, it’s also convenient.

Not only are there Blockbuster Express kiosks all around town, we don’t have to return our movie to the same kiosk we rented it from. So if we’re out running errands in a different part of town we can simply return our DVD to the closest kiosk.

Since I went online to find out what kiosk in my area had the movie, I decided to sign up for a Blockbuster Express account and opted to have New Release emails sent to my inbox. Shortly after signing up I received a free movie rental code in my email. I as able to use the code to rent our movie and our movie went from $2 to free!

And each additional night is only $1. No more service charges, late fees, and endless choices! Plus when you reserve your selection online in advance, you are guaranteed the movie you’ve chosen. No more getting to the video store to find out your selection is already rented out.

Once I got to the kiosk it took less than a minute to swipe my credit card and retrieve my DVD. I was in and out and on my way to the grocery store!

Find out more and follow the latest on Blockbuster movies by following Blockbuster Express on Facebook and on Twitter at @blockbusterexp.

Date Night on a Budget Dinner for $20

Dinner for less than $20

Since we already planned on watching our movie at home, I decided to plan dinner at home as well. For $20 I was able to get the ingredients to make a delicious, restaurant-style meal. Here what I purchased:

  •  Barefoot Chardonnay – $5.40
  • Athenos Feta Cheese – $3.99
  • Barilla Whole Grain Linguine – $0.99
  • Aidells artichoke & garlic sausage – $4.99
  • Red leaf lettuce – $0.99
  • Alexia garlic bread – $2
  • Cascadian Farms green beans – $2
  • Ghiradelli dark chocolate – $3.69

Without including the chocolate, I spent $20 on dinner. And since I was only cooking for 2, I only used 1/2 of the pasta, sausage, and garlic bread! So our meal actually cost less than $20.

I served salad, garlic bread, and a delicious sausage and feta linguine. Because every dish is better with a little wine, I paired the meal with a delicious Barefoot chardonnay.For the first time in a long time we set the table and ate together without having to stop every few minutes to take care of our children.

The dinner was absolutely amazing and I made more than enough for the both of us. For $20 I could easily have served a party of 6!

To see how I kept my costs low and under budget, check out my shopping trip in my The Lucky One #CouchCritics Google + album here.

Date Night on a Budget Dessert for $5

Dessert for Under $5

After dinner I baked up some chocolate souffles. I picked up a bar of dark chocolate from the grocery store while shopping for the ingredients for our dinner and had all of the other ingredients in our pantry and fridge at home. Since it was my first time baking souffles I was a bit worried but everything turned out perfectly!

We paired this chocolaty treat with some salty stove-top popcorn. The delicious dessert and popcorn were a perfect snack to enjoy while we enjoyed our DVD rental. With a romantic movie like The Lucky One, it was nice to be able to curl up on the couch together and enjoy our dessert.

Date Night on a Budget Movie at Home

A Movie At Home: The Lucky One

Most movies my husband and I see are action-packed thrillers that leave you on the edge of your seat. These types of movies don’t leave much for hand-holding and snuggling while the movie plays.

The Lucky One is a romantic love story that follows the life of a marine after he returns home from the war and peruses an unidentified woman. As we followed the story and became more enwrapped in the lives of these two people we found ourselves growing closer to one another.

It was so refreshing to see a romantic movie. And the love scenes weren’t bad either! But the main focus of the movie and the story that unfolded definitely made date night a special one for my husband and I.

To read more about how I created a date night on a budget check out my G+ story here. And to hear more about my review of The Lucky One, keep an eye out on Couch Critics!

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All stories and opinions are my own.

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