by Nelson Barrett
My wife & I have committed to making many of our gifts this year. Here's one idea that I came up (See ladies, not all men shop at Kmart at 4:30 on the 24th of December).
My wife & I enjoy experiencing exotic foods but are at that point where the total evening's cost, including babysitting and bribery (via treats for the kids), defeats somewhat our enjoyment of the night out. Hence, one of my gifts to my wife this year is a "Romantic Culinary Passport".
I've taken her passport and scanned the cover and a few pages into my computer. Using a simple graphics program, I've added phoney entry visa's, immigration control stamps, and associated travel document stamps for 12 countries (one per page). On each page, I've added a few hand written notes from the "immigration officer" giving a hint about a place to get a great meal and providing links with experiences we're had in various countries and a little bit of humour here and there. I've printed the pages, done some trimming and assembly, and voila, I have a pretty good passport imitation.
I have used the internet and the local library to get recipe ideas for 12 three course meals, one per each country in the passport. When my wife decides she wants to use her passport, she need only give me the page one day in advance and voila, she'll be eating in a Greek taverna, a Paris cafe, or a German Gashaus the next night. The "Romantic" part of the gift comes from my selection of the countries (they're all places we have found memories of) and the restriction that the passport can only be redeemed after the kids are asleep for the evening!
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We're still paying off last Christmas and worry how we'll afford the holidays this year without charging it again! Tell us: Yes, we could use help getting out of the debt trap we're in! or No, debt is not a problem for us but I'm always looking for ways to trim my family's expenses further!