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Hanging out with friends is important. We are, after all, social beings, and spending time with friends is a great way to unwind and enjoy yourself. Sometimes just sitting around drinking coffee (or wine) is all you need to have fun with your bestie, but then there are times when you want an activity to do together. The problem is that neither of you wants to shell out too much money to have fun. Since you always have a good time together you’ll enjoy anything you do, and there are plenty of fun things you can do for free! Here are 10 ideas:
- Potluck dinner. You don’t want to spend the money on a restaurant but you can still enjoy a special meal together. Choose a theme to give it a fun spin.
- Dance party. Crank up your own playlist and just dance, dance, dance! Or find some videos on YouTube and learn some new moves together.
- Go for a bike ride. Good opportunity for exercise, too!
- Join a book club. Most book clubs meet once or twice a month, so you know you’ll see each other at least that often.
- Movie marathon. Or bring out the popcorn and binge watch a series together.
- Craft party. Get together and go through your Pinterest boards. Then actually make something.
- Host a yard sale. Pool together all the stuff you no longer want and make some money in the bargain!
- Clothing swap. Clean out your closet and get some new clothes for free.
- Volunteer together. Spend time together helping others.
- Free day at the museum.
Try these free activities and you’ll see that you don’t have to spend money to have a good time with good friends.
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Let’s talk about exercise. No- don’t click away! I’m here to help you. We all know how important exercise is for physical and emotional health, yet most of us don’t get enough exercise. Lots of people really hate it, but even those of us who actually enjoy exercising don’t do it often enough because we just don’t have enough time. If you think exercise is only about sweating in a gym, think again. There are many creative ways to get in some exercise. Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Walk it. Don’t be so attached to your car! Walk or bike when you can. Take along your earphones and listen to music or a podcast and think of this as time to yourself and make the most of it.
- Take the stairs. Yep, don’t get in that elevator- walking up stairs is cardio. If you want a bigger challenge take them two at a time.
- Don’t get the best parking spot. When you do have to drive somewhere park a little farther from your destination and walk the rest of the way. If you’re taking a bus or train get off a few stops early and walk.
- Housework. Not the most exciting tip, I know, but if you use your housework time to help reach your fitness goals you might feel better about it. Sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, and other household chores are actually great calorie burners. Play some upbeat music while you work to make it more fun.
- Use your waiting time. In today’s impatient world there’s nothing more annoying than waiting- waiting in line to pay, waiting for the bus, waiting for anything. We don’t have time to waste, so make use of that time by toning up. Squeeze your abs for a few seconds, release, and repeat. Do calf raises or stretches and you just made good use of your time.
- Take a lunchtime walk. It’s a great mid-day break and it will give you a boost for the rest of the day. 15 minutes is great if that’s all you can manage.
- Tone at your desk. If you feel like a lump sitting at your desk all day, try sitting on a stability ball. It will tone your core and help with posture.
- Use TV time. We all need our couch potato times, and that’s okay. Other times watch while you walk on a treadmill, stretch, or lift weights.
- Make the time. It’s hard, but not impossible, to carve out the time if you really want to. Wake up just a few minutes earlier to get in some exercise and you’ll feel good about yourself the rest of the day.
- Get together with friends. It’s easier to do lots of things when you have the company of your friends. Call a friend and go for a walk, go dancing, or take an exercise class together.
- Fidget. Sounds weird, but it’s true that people who fidget tend to weigh less than those who don’t. Pace while you talk on the phone, tap your feet, swing your legs. Hey, movement is movement!
- Play with your kids. They’ll love you spending the time with them. Go for a family bike ride, get involved in their sports, or just run around together and have fun.
See…not that hard to sneak some exercise into your usual routine, and some of these suggestions are actually fun! When you think of exercise as a whole big deal it’s overwhelming and you think you can’t manage it. Believe it or not, a little bit here and there really does add up, so try these little tricks and feel yourself getting fitter!
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There’s something perfect about freshly baked bread, isn’t there? It’s comforting, satisfying, and delicious. But what happens when that bread is not so deliciously fresh anymore? Do you find yourself throwing out bread and then feeling terrible about it? Well, we’re here to help- don’t throw that bread away! There are some really special things you can do with leftover bread- so special you might buy or bake more than you need just so you can have these treats!
- Breadcrumbs: Okay, everyone knows about this, and you might not think you have enough Martha Stewart in you for homemade breadcrumbs. But think again because it’s really so easy, and that much tastier than store-bought. Break bread into chunks and whir in the food processor ’til crumbly. You can toast or not before grinding, and season with garlic and herbs- all depending on your taste. Then store in a zip top bag in the freezer and use as you need them.
- Croutons: Homemade croutons are so good you’ll never want to buy them again, and they’re actually better to make when the bread is not so fresh. Cut into cubes, toss with a little olive oil and whatever herbs and seasonings you want, and toast in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, checking and tossing so they don’t burn. You can even skip the oil if you want.
- Bread Pudding: An easy, classic dish where your leftover bread can be the star!
- Panzanella: Panzanella is an Italian tomato and bread salad that bursts with flavor, and it’s perfect for the summer. Try this recipe for the Italian classic.
- Bruschetta: This is an easy and yummy appetizer! Slice baguettes into thick-ish slices, brush with olive oil and toast in the oven until golden. Then top with chopped tomatoes, garlic, and basil; sautéed mushrooms and shallots; mascarpone and herbs, or anything you have around.
- French Toast: Another classic way to turn leftovers into something special.
- Stuffing: Who says stuffing is just for Thanksgiving? Leftover bread is the perfect excuse to make it any time of the year!
- Fondue: Cut bread into cubes for dipping into cheesy fondue.
- Strata: Strata is bread pudding’s savory cousin, and if you’ve never tried it you’ve got to give it a whirl! Start with Food & Wine’s Zucchini-Tomato Strata.
These are all really easy to do, but if you’re too busy and you’re afraid the bread will get moldy before you get to use it, you can save it in zip top bags in the freezer until you’re ready.