If there’s something I understand, it’s the feeling of knowing you have food at home and plenty of things you could do at home, but choosing to eat out instead. For me, this starts to take a toll on my body and my checking account. How DID my credit card bill get so high last month!?
Truly, there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to go out every so often except that it can cause people to struggle internally between wanting to eat healthier and not wanting the other person to feel, “deprived.” First of all, yes you can make healthier choices when you’re eating out and no you do not have to. Judging yourself for what you do choose will only continue a guilty cycle that ain’t fun for anyone. Secondly, you don’t have to sacrifice something you want to work on just to please someone else. Go out with someone because you both want to, you’ll enjoy it SO much more.
When I first met Steve, he used to eat out 3-4 and maybe more days a week. As we got more comfortable, we started cooking more together and he would remark that he felt better eating more home cooked food. We still have the, “but we have food at home” argument but now we try to make our nights and weekends full of intentional activities to reduce the amount of times we go out to eat.
I rounded up 35+ of our favorite things to do around the house or town. You can read any of them as oh great, a board game…OR read it as let’s have a game night and turn on fun music, set the stage with lighting and let those imaginations run wild. Enjoy!
Board Games(for two) we love:
- Carcasson – this game is simple, easy to travel with, competitive and fun. Using tiles, you’ll build cities and claim land. Their instructions are straight forward unlike other games I’ve tried to learn.
- Forbidden Island/Desert/Sky – these are all variations of a cooperative game that is SO fun. In Forbidden Island you’ll work to obtain artifacts before the island sinks. In Forbidden Desert you’ll want to sift through shifting sands before the sun rises and dries you up. In Forbidden Sky you have to rebuild circuits and actually not miss your ride on a rocket. They are all super fun and if you one of you dies, the game is over. Hello, teamwork!
- Pandemic – Similar to the ones above, this is a cooperative game where you’re working to find cures for diseases before outbreaks occur across the world. Easy set-up and again, straight forward instructions which is important to me with board games.
- Bonanza – This game may cause feuds so…you’ve been warned. You’re looking to plant and harvest beans for money (not cooperatively) and get the most coins to win. However, each turn there’s a chance to barter and trade beans with your opponents.
- Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle – If you love Harry Potter you should already have this game, how true of a fan are you anyways!? But if you don’t have it yet, you want it. It’s a 2-4 person deck building game where you’ll play through each book, gain skills/spells, and battle all of the bad guys. Careful though, you can get to book seven and still lose completely. Steve and I have only beaten the game all the way through twice.
- Ticket to Ride – a competitive game where essentially all you do is collect like-color train cards and go from destination to destination before someone else takes your route.
- Codenames – You can play with 2 or more people but if it’s just you two, it’s still fun! A grid of cards with words on them will be laid in front of you. You have to get the other person to guess what card you want them to identify using ONE word. You can say, guess 3 cards and the word is _____. Trying to string together three unlikely words using one descriptive word can be difficult. We like the new “adult” version we got for Christmas 😉
Video Games (for two) we play:
- Pokemon Let’s Go
- Mario party
- Super Smash Brothers
- Kirby – any kirby game
- Mario – any duo mario game
- Mario Kart
- The latest game systems are great but every once in a wile we bring out Super Nintendo, Sega and Nintendo 64 to change it up.
Other activities (for two) we do:
- Sitting with candles lit, music on, fake fireplace on the TV and reading together (sharing a blanket, optional)
- Meal plan together – I like it when Steve gets excited about a recipe, I almost always say YES let’s cook it. It helps me feel like we’re both making the choices for meals. Okay this one kind of involves food but only looking at food.
- Pinterest/Phone game time – yea we like our nothing time and every so often we actually ask each other for it. We live in a small apartment so we are always in the same room and it’s nice to just do nothing together.
- Go for a run/walk/hike/bike ride – I’ve run a couple of full marathons and a good number of half marathons. Steve is signed up for his first half marathon for his 2019 goal!
- Sign-up for something together – If you’re into running like we semi are, it can be very exciting to be working toward a common goal/race together. Remember not to compare yourself to each other, I had to learn this seeing as Steve is 6’7″ and his stride is naturally longer than my 5″4 and 3/4″ stride.
- Sign-up for a new class – Steve and I haven’t really done this but finding a groupon for a new fitness class or arts and craft class would be a fun new adventure.
- Couples work outs! We actually really enjoy Googling workouts we can do together at home. We make it eventful with fun music, sweat towels ready and a walk afterwards to cool down.
- Pokemon Go app- No shame here, we love this game. We like that it has encouraged extra walks especially in the evening and it’s fun to boot. Not a lot of skill required.
- Heads Up! App – we like this game when we don’t have much going on but want to play something on the spot without pieces to take out or set up.
- Puzzles – When you want to take out 500-1000 pieces of cardboard and stare at them for a couple hours…I actually love puzzles so if you don’t mind all the pieces, go get a new one!
Our favorite shows right now:
These can obviously have food or drink included if you want, but when we pick a show together it gives us a relaxing thing to do and enjoy together.
- Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – great for 15-20 minutes of TV time and something that is very casual. Though this show generally makes me want coffee at 11 o’clock at night.
- The Great British Baking Challenge – okay so I’ll watch this in one room and Steve will watch his show (Jessica Jones right now I think!) in the other. We’re “together” in our activity but separate in our specifics.
- The Big Bang Theory – no spoilers please! We’ve been watching on DVDs and only just starting season 11.
- Horrible Netflix movies for as long as we can stand them. This usually happens when we don’t know what else to watch.
- Random comedian shows on Netflix too – this is what we usually turn on when we can no longer watch one of the really bad movies.
Other, other things to do:
- Stargazing – get out where the light pollution can’t reach you, take a blanket or two with you, and pack up some hot beverage or soup. We did this at the beach one time and it was magical.
- Find a seasonal activity – ice skating, sledding, or skiing is in right now for us Michiganders! Of course our favorite time since we live right by Lake Michigan is summer so we can enjoy the water…Steve’s tall and a lot of times ski resorts don’t have his size shoe.
- Go back to your favorite playground and play hot lava. Of course maybe go to a playground where there aren’t a bunch of little kids you might accidentally knock over.
- Run errands, aka go to Target and walk around just looking at random things and talking about how we’ll decorate our future home. Sometimes on this date though it’s best to leave the wallet hidden in the car.
- Talk goals – have a night where you’re both dedicate to sitting down and talking about your future. We did this when we were in the midst of wedding planning…what did we want our wedding to look like? How about life afterwards? Five years down the road? Ten? We found it brought us closer to adult together and collaborate on what we want our life to look like.
- Play any of the video games or board games I listed and build a fort to really bring back the inner child in you.
- House work night – Go around the house and find small tasks and things you could fix together.
- Go to a zoo! I love the zoo…it’s definitely not Steve’s favorite activity but it’s a fun place to walk around. Or better yet find a new place/path/park/trail to walk through.
- Declutter – we really enjoyed decluttering our apartment and bringing some things to donate and others we’re selling online.
- Think outside of the box – you might find something on Groupon or a class that you would never take on your own like rock climbing, snow boarding, or painting.
- Clean out the freezer/pantry – how many meal ideas could you come up with if you BOTH cleaned out the food storage? This can help get both people involved in meal planning and not have it fall all on one person.
I know there’s even more ideas out there for things to-do without going out to eat, there’s also plenty of fun ideas to do at home involving food! I’ll share those at a later time, so tell me…what’s your favorite thing to-do that doesn’t involve food?