Thursday, May 27, 2010

Budget Friendly Date Night

Last Friday, Benny and I had our first date night in several weeks, which was so much fun. :) After coming home, changing clothes, and playing with Lavender for a bit, we headed out for two of our favorite places... Panera and Lowe's Home Improvement.

Dinner was totally budget friendly, since we used a gift card we'd received for Christmas. We both did the you-pick-two option and had water, so we could save the rest of the card for a yummy breakfast treat this summer. I tried their black bean soup for the first time, which was very filling with the Greek salad (one of my favs).

Then, we were off to Lowe's to browse the garden center and feed my need to get some veggie plants in the ground. (I picked up some organic tomato plants at EarthFare a while back which are doing well, but I wanted some peppers to add to the mix.) We picked up so many pepper plants, I think we'll be eating them for months, but there were too many varieties to choose from and they all sounded good... Anaheim, Pablano, Jalapeno, Sweet Baby Orange, Green, Banana, etc. The cool thing about many of these was that they were grown in compostable pots, either of peat or coconut fibers, so when I planted them, I just had to tear off the bottom of the pot and tease the roots out. I love it... no waste! We also picked up some herbs for pots on the porch (basil and cilantro to add to the parsley, thyme, lemon balm, and chives we've already got), so we'll have fresh herbs all summer for meals. Some of the herbs were as cheap as $0.99, so I bought a few and may go back for more before the summer's over. They're doing great in the pots on the porch.

To compliment the edibles, I couldn't pass up a few flowers for the garden, so I picked up a mounding perennial blanket flower and some groundcover plants for the bank behind the house. I also found some hostas (yes, I actually bought some hostas) that were unlike any I had seen at anyone's home (i.e. I couldn't beg them for a piece to take home) and will fill out the back bed nicely. Of course, I had to hit the clearance cart (yes there is one for plants), where I found a cute houseplant for $1 that needed a little TLC (really just a good trim and some water), so it's now in our home helping to keep the indoor air nice and purified. (Did you know house plants help with indoor air quality? All the more reason to decorate with live plants!) The best part of this Lowe's date night was that it was all funded on a graduation gift card, so it was free to us and I loved being able to add the things to our garden!

What are your favorite date night excursions? Do you find yourself continually "sucked in" at Lowe's or another home improvement place? How do you do it on a budget and keep things green? I'd love to hear from you! Here's to living and saving green!

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