I’ve mentioned it several times that if I were to choose a word or theme to be my focus word for 2015 that “connect” would be it. After spending several months at the end of last year in a bit of chaos, I declared this was the year to reconnect with my friends and family.
In an effort to “connect” more, I decided that Eric and I should go on more dates. Not that we don’t do things all the time and spend time together, but I wanted to actually put some thought and effort into our date nights. You know, like actually planning something to do and creatively asking Eric out on a date, like we did 9 years ago!
Inspired by all the basketball hype going on this time of year, I came up with a fun, inexpensive “Basketball Madness” date night!
For us this date night was completely “out of the box” because we are not HUGE sports fanatics. Yeah sure, we keep up with everything enough to carry on conversations and enjoy going to sporting events a few times a year, but other than that, sports normally aren’t our thing. That’s why I thought it would be fun to come up with this date night.
To get things started I created this basketball themed gift basket and used this as the invite. In my gift basket I included a the official invite (that you can download here), basketball, water bottles (that if you have time, you can replace the original label with basketball paper labels, using basketball scrapbook paper or stationary), mini toy basketballs, whistles, and a few snacks, including a homemade Pepperoni Pizza Snack Mix and the new Cheez-It Crunch’d in cheddar and hot and spicy.
For the actual date, I had planned for us to take the basketball from the gift basket and head over to our local city park and use the basketball courts there to play a rousing game of H-O-R-S-E (remember we aren’t that sporty, lol!). I also packed a picnic lunch (sandwiches, cookies, carrot sticks and hummus, the Pepperoni Pizza Snack Mix and Cheez-It Crunch’d) for us to enjoy after our game. While we ate lunch we filled out our “Basketball Madness Date Night Brackets” for things to do after playing some basketball and eating our picnic. To do this we each had a side of the bracket and filled it out with things we would want to do (ice cream, movies, bike ride, etc.) and then narrowed down our choices as we further filled out the bracket. In the end, we each got to do something “extra” at the end of the date. Or if you are super competitive, you could fill out you brackets before playing a game of H-O-R-S-E and then the winner’s activity could be the prize at the end.
A few other ideas for a basketball themed date could be actually watching some of the basketball games happening right now at home on TV, going to a basketball game (for a local college, professional or high school team, if capable), watching basketball themed movies, making basketball themed snacks (like the recipe I am sharing below) or treats like basketball cookies, etc.
Another twist would be to make this a couple’s date, and inviting another couple (or two) to join the fun and to play a more “official” game of basketball. Just don’t forget to drop a basketball gift basket on their front porch!
I am happy to report that our date was a huge hit. I had a ball (HA! Pun totally intended!) planning and thinking of every detail and Eric was totally surprised and had a ton of fun!
Now about this snack mix. Most of the time when various sports seasons roll around, I get more excited for everyone else who is a fan and all their hype and all the snacks than anything else. Since sports watching (and date night) wouldn’t be complete without some good snacks I whipped up this Pepperoni Pizza Snack Mix, full of all those tasty pizza flavors we love! This snack mix is super easy to put together, and luckily I was able to get everything I needed to make it, when I picked up all my supplies for the basketball gift basket at Walmart.
Since I am totally digging this themed date, I am wondering how you would change it up? What snack’s would you share, what activities would you add to your brackets, etc.? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!
4 cups corn or rice cereal
4 cups Sunshine® Cheez-It® Mozzerella
3 cups Sunshine® Cheez-It® Grooves White Cheddar
3 cups pretzel twists
1 cup mini pepperoni
½ cup butter
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons dry spaghetti sauce seasoning mix
Stir together cereal, crackers, pretzels and pepperoni large microwavable bowl.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter uncovered on High for about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in cheese and seasonings. Pour butter and seasoning mixture over cracker mixture; stir until evenly coated.
Microwave cracker mixture uncovered on High for 3 minutes, stirring after each minute. Spread snack mix onto a waxed paper lined baking sheet to cool. Serve immediately, topped with additional grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Store leftovers in airtight container.