Day 272: Subterranean Life

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I have seen crayfish fight. This is NOT a picture of two crawdaddies fighting. I’m sure but I would bet a bubble gum stick they love each other. Very, very much.

I was pleased to find this tank of fish and crayfish. Not because of their habits–which was fscinating–but because these are eyeless crayfish and eyeless fish (Mexican tetra, I believe).
I work at a cave so I am obligated to nerd-out whenever I see anything related.

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For comparison, these two crayfish were fighting. I laughed at first because the smaller crayfish had unevenly sized pinchers. Upon further inspection I realized the smaller crawdaddy had won the fight and was eating or brandishing his prize.

So much activity in the corner of one little tank.

We moved on because in the Congo room the decorator had anchored functioning Congo drums at child height…and boy were there children.

Stay-In Valentine’s Day Plans for Playful Couples

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I designed this stay-in date night for my sister-in-law and have decided the plans are too good to keep to myself.
This is a Valentine’s Day date designed for the broke-college students, kids at heart, vegetarians and those wishing to break the stiff candle-lit dinner traditions.
If this is you, read on.

Keep in mind these are plans for adults and they often do adult things together. If you are offended by couples with healthy/happy relationships both physical and emotional then this is your warning to get outta Dodge.

Set the TableMake a blanket fort

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I know it may have been years since you last made one. Just get started and your inner child will fill in the blanks. If you’re timid to try, here is a link to help get you started: School of How To.

Fill your fort with blankets and pillows to lounge on. Then put a string of Xmas lights or a small night light inside instead of a candle–a touch light or battery flameless battery operated candle.
Eat dinner then push the dishes out of the fort and get to snuggling.

Make Dinner

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All Recipes has a fantastic recipe for Black Bean Stuffed Bell Peppers. This is a vegetarian recipe but you can easily modify it. Fry up some bacon til crispy. Cool and crumble it into your mix. Also, this is a special dinner so if you have fresh onions then dice and saute half an onion (at least).

Cook dinner together. If you don’t think cooking as a couple is romantic then try this: Turn off the phones, turn on music you both love, lock the doors, draw the blinds and get naked. If you’re a little weird about cooking in the buff, then keep on your underwear and apron.

Dessert for Chocolate Lovers

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Fun desserts are messy. I’m working the mathematical correlation now. I recommend fondue or a s’mores lab.
Contrary to popular belief you DO NOT need a fancy fondue pot nor double boiler to make fondue. Just be careful to melt slowly and stir often. Crock pots come in handy if you have one.

This is the same Groovy Fondue recipe I used for my birthday party. It was a HUGE hit. Pro-tip: You can make truffles out of the chilled leftovers. You’ll thank me later.

The tasty alternate dessert is to create a s’mores experimentation lab. Grab plates, ingredients and get ready to create a franken-S’more. A Lot On Your Plate blog has Ten S’mores Recipes that should inspire you to get creative. Marshmallows in the microwave are just hysterical anyway.

Games/Activities

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The first two activities are more passive, but as you will soon find that they are awesome to add to the list.

The Couples Q&A. There are literally tons of these questionnaires on the interwebz and a quick Google search will turn up plenty of results. This list is just to get you started. Keep in mind–Some lists are designed for deep emotional probing that is probably inappropriate on a fun night.

The second activity is for dreamers. Kit and I love making lists like these. Here is an example of a Couple’s Bucket List to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a notebook and dream big!

Minute to Win it Games.These are fun and can be adapted for two instead of a group party. Most of the materials are super cheap–to save even more money, do these games the day after V-Day and buy the sale candies.

The games from that blog that I chose are: Heart-a-stack, Marshmallow Toss, Love Spot (use paper cut outs instead of expensive craft pom poms), and Heart Pick Up. I have seen the Face Cookie on every M2W party blog and am exhausted with its overuse.

How to Get Your Spouse to Play Along
If your partner isn’t the playful sort then I don’t have much hope for you. However, if you’re gamer sweetheart is just a little shy then this is a great date.

Kit doesn’t do well with surprises so I typically spill ALL my surprises. Some guys or gals are like that. They need to be mentally prepared for fun so they can be excited instead of reluctant. Give them really obvious hints. Tell your partner that you will be playing some mini-games similar to Mario Party and that you’ll be making supper together. If you want to keep it a guessing game, tell them some of the ingredients to dinner or dessert.

If you use any of my date night ideas please let me know how your night went!
(You don’t have to share the gritty details).

Day 271: Aquarium Tickets

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We finally made it to the ticket office.The line wasn’t long but it felt long enough because, as you may recalled, it was still freezing outside!!

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The lobby really fascinated me because someone took the time to Christmasify their huge hanging sharks, seahorses and whales.

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I really wanted to ask an attendant if the seahorse was to scale but I held back because I wasn’t sure if the coat check lady would have a sense of humor.
I have a feeling that whale was too small for a real one too.

Have you seen a cooler looking lobby area? I was quite impressed. We moved on quickly because we desperately had to pee.
Lola and I were disappointed the classifications were Mermaid and Trident. Those are not opposites, boys and girls.

This trip to the aquarium was a wedding gift (we we’re so late to cash it in!) From Lola. One year and three months after the big day we finally enjoyed our wedding present. We also made this part of our Adventivities.

Day 270: Paying for Parking

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Apparently, I am an epic hillbilly. I have NEVER seen this style of paying for parking. Hence, the photographic evidence. This is my nurse friend, Lola. In addition to living in the “city”, she heals people with her magical nursing powers and breaks people with her equally awesome Roller Derby powers. Lay Em Lola–Look her bitching self up.
This entire parking lot is based on the honor system. In a city. Laughable, I know. You park in a spot with a big spray painted number then roll on over to the huge panel of numbers, find your slot and shove in some money. See Lola, shoving in the dough.

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For those hard to cram dollar bills there is a special tool that you can see attached to the metal wire for pushing the money into the numbered slot. This is fascinating. How would you be able to tell someone hadn’t paid? Insane, but that is city folk for you. There was a bone chilling cold wind blowing so I had to snatch some pictures quickly before we started our walk to the final destination of our December trip. The Newport Aquarium!  I don’t quite know how to explain how exciting this trip was. My husband and I simply love aquariums. Zoos are alright but they are much more weather dependent. I still fondly remember our special trip to Sea World. We love them. I can’t wait to share our pictures and memories from the Newport Aquarium.

Day 269: Bell of Newport

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On our road trip North we grabbed my nurse friend (Lola) and drove to Newport. If it wasn’t so bitter cold we would’ve walked right up to this bell boxed in glass. The wind was whipping harshly and I was so glad our destination was indoors.

We drove a couple of circles around the aquarium not because we thought we were lost but because someone with a van too tall to enter the aquarium parking structure. He also had a trailer and couldn’t back out of the situation. We found cheap parking lot just a breezy block away. More on the parking lot is coming soon.