Friday Frolic #3 – Quickie Valentine Ideas

Friday Frolic #3 – Quickie Valentine Ideas

OK…everybody’s minds back up on the curb, out of the gutter…I said ‘quickie Valentine ideas’ not ‘Valentine quickie ideas.’ Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business.

Times are tough, money is tight but there are ways to make our sweethearts feel loved and appreciated that don’t take a great deal of money. Here are my top ten ideas for making Valentine’s Day a success (in no particular order). Maybe a couple of them will work for you!

• Homemade gift certificate or coupon booklet for chores or favors around the house, e.g., doing the dishes, a foot massage, bubble bath;
• World’s Best Girlfriend/Boyfriend/Wife/Husband – fill in the blank – certificate with a single red rose;
• Breakfast in bed;
• Picnic in the park complete with a book of favorite poetry read aloud;
• Couples pedicure (you’d be surprised how many people would love for their partner to do something with those feet!);
• Matinee followed by an early dinner (save money on the movie and still have time and energy for romance after dinner);
• Make it Valentine’s Week by leaving notes and small gifts (chocolate kisses or the candy conversation hearts, for example) in unexpected places throughout the week leading
up to the big day(use the leftover Valentine’s from the children’s school packs to leave those silly love notes);
• Actually mail several Valentine cards to each other the week before so they arrive during the week of Valentine’s (extra points if they’re handmade) – there’s just
something special about receiving a card in the mail these days;
• Movie and dinner for two at home instead of out – make it special – mood lighting, the ‘good’ dishes, dress up, the works!
• Look lovingly at one another and say how wonderful it is that you finally found each other.

By the way, if you happen to not have a sweetheart this year, that’s okay. Do something nice for yourself, one of those ‘sweet of heart’ people you know, or a good friend. It’s great practice for when you do have a sweetheart for Valentine’s Day.

Now, that you have a plan in place for the big day – that’s tomorrow, you know, I’d like to hear back from you all about your most memorable Valentine’s Day. What made it so special (or awful)?

Enjoy your Valentine’s Weekend…

Ultimate Date Night?

Ultimate Date Night?

Yes, you got it, I’m referring to Valentine’s Day. At least, a lot of my friends and acquaintances seem to think of it as the ultimate date night – and here I thought I was past all of that – apparently not!

For those of you feeling the pressure of coming up with yet another unforgettable evening of fun and games for the ‘big day,’ relax, here are a few affordable suggestions to help take the pressure off:

1 – Compliments!!!
Whatever you do, remember to pour on the heartfelt compliments – focus on the positive. They’re appreciated and truly do help to strengthen the relationship.

2 – Dinner after the movie.
Plan to have dinner after the movie. This arrangement makes for better conversation for those in new relationships while giving those in seasoned relationships yet another opportunity to tune into each other.

3 – Go on your first date again.
This one is especially for those in established relationships: re-enact your first date. Re-enactments rekindle the original emotions (beware of this one if the first date was a disaster).

4 – Low tech please.
Ditch the phones…enough said!

5 – Date jar.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to launch a new traditional in an existing relationship: the date jar. Put fun and affordable ‘date ideas’ in the jar as you think of them. Pick any two when it’s time for a date and go for it! This adds a bit of fun and spontaneity back into the relationship without over-burdening the budget.

6 – Handholding.
Regardless of the activity, respectful PDA turns it into a date.

7 – Make it a double.
Maintaining a friendship with another couple helps solidifies each relationship and intensifies the attraction the individual couples have for each other.

8 – Leave sweet notes for each other throughout the day leading up to the date.
Build anticipation for the date by leaving notes on the mirror, in the car, in pockets, or in the lunch bag/box. This is also nice to do in general, not just on Valentine’s Day.

9 – Make it ‘Favorite Date’ night.
Do his / her favorite thing and vice versa. For example, she loves French restaurants (he, not so much) and he loves action movies (she, not so much) so they rarely do these things together. On Valentine’s Day, they go to an action movie then out to dinner at a French restaurant. Shared experiences build stronger relationships.

10 – Not just for ‘sweethearts,’ but also for the ‘sweet of heart.’
I like to think of Valentine’s Day as a day for those who are genuinely ‘sweet of heart.’ You know the people of whom I speak. They can always put a smile on your face, even on your worst day – maybe the pharmacy clerk who never gets flustered or the librarian who can always find the right book or the usher at church who never fails to get you to the pew on time. Remember them on this loveliest of days as well.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Let’s Have a Glass Half Full

“For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”
– Sir Winston Churchill

What an attitude!

It’s not always easy to see the bright side when all those around you are preaching doom and gloom.

Sir Winston Churchill had a good point, there’s not much use being anything else.

What say you? How about a glass half full today?

Friday Frolic #2 – Decadent Detox Bath

Time for another Friday Frolic! This time we’re going to relax, detox and get a fresh start.

Let’s be honest, we all have those days, weeks, months when nothing is going right and we feel every challenge in every fiber of our bodies. When that happens, it’s time for a nice, long detoxing bath that’s simple and easy to do with things you probably have around the house.

Keep in mind that during and after a detox bath, it’s important to hydrate well and rest. I, therefore, recommend this as an evening activity. So, gather together a few magazines or that book you’ve been meaning to finish as well as some juice, sparkling water, herbal tea or simply some chilled water as well as a candle or two to set the mood – think of your bathroom as your very own spa and develop the ambience you expect and that delights your senses.

To put together the detox bath itself you only need three ingredients:

1 Cup Epsom salts
1/2 Cup Baking Soda
10-15 drops Lavender Essential Oil

Dissolve the Epsom salts and baking soda in very warm bath water, then drop the essential oil on the surface of the water just before entering the bath. Another, add-in to try is to add one cup of dry milk powder to soften and smooth the skin. This is especially delightful in the winter when the skin is in need of extra special pampering as the lactic acid in the milk sloughs off the dead skin allowing the new skin underneath to receive the moisturizing qualities more directly.

Soak for at 20 minutes – add more warm water as time passes, if needed, to maintain a comfortably warm temperature in the tub. When you’re done soaking, be sure to rinse off the residue of the soak in a quick, tepid shower. Pat yourself dry (no rubbing), before applying a rich, creamy body lotion or cream to seal in the luxurious goodness of this treatment. Now is the time for the coziest pajamas, fluffiest robe and big mug of hot herbal tea – preferably not a diuretic variety since you need to hydrate after detoxing. Before long, you’ll find yourself nodding off and ready for bed. Don’t fight it, you deserve an early bedtime. You’ve earned it. Enjoy!

See you next Friday for another frolic…enjoy your weekend…

Unexpected Consequences

I alluded to this blog post in an earlier post last week. A post about not wasting bananas of all things.

Over the past several years, the news media has made a bit of a fuss about a certain public figure and her opinions about nutrition in public schools. In fact, her opinions have been supported by many in and out of the field of nutrition. I, for one, will not try to argue that I personally am qualified to declare school lunches nutritional enough. In fact, I was often so hungry by lunchtime I barely took the time to identify the food, let alone consider its nutritional value.

That aside, a related quandary was why in the world were there ever vending machines selling junk food allowed into schools? In many cases, they were introduced into school environments as passive fundraising opportunities. The objections came from the quality of the snacks – junk food only. Vending machines selling even marginally healthy snacks, e.g. nuts, granola bar, juice, fruit, etc. could be argued for in some circles. Consequently, it came as no big surprise to many when they were taken out of most (if not all) schools as a result of highly public figures speaking out against them, bolstered by the cries of outraged parents and dieticians everywhere.

So far, this doesn’t sound like a bad thing, does it? Now, go to your local middle school and stand by the trash can in the cafeteria and watch what the children do to get their ‘chip fix’ now. They take the lunch directly to the trash can, keep the chips and throw everything else away – the fruit, the milk, the entrée, everything! Sure, not every child does this, but even if 20% of the children do this in 50% of the schools, there’s enough food going in the dumpsters every day to feed a good percentage of the food-insecure in those same communities.

Then, the children leave the cafeteria to find the Booster Club, Sports Teams, Cheerleaders, Science Club or some other club selling chocolate bars, popcorn, pizza, nachos or any of a myriad of junk food in the halls to raise funds for their many worthy causes. The same halls where the vending machines used to stand doing the same thing – raising funds for worthy causes at the school.

Could anyone have seen this coming? Is there anything that can be done to fix it? I certainly don’t have the answers, but I do have a question: Were the vending machines really that big of a deal when compared to kids throwing away their lunches as a means to getting a bag a chips?

Remember, waste not, want not

February Goals

Good morning, everyone!

Another Monday morning, another new month, another opportunity to set some goals for the next few weeks. Perfect timing since I’m writing this blog now and participating in The Daily Post’s Blogging University Blogging 201 course and our first assignment is to set three goals for our blogs.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think of this blog not just as a place for me to spew forth my thoughts on the printed page but, rather, as a community of sorts where we can share thoughts and ideas. As such a community, goals affect the members since the members affect the goals. Also, as a community, I have an obligation to you to let you know what to expect from me.

To be honest, the thought of setting goals for the blog gave me pause because it felt a little ‘corporate’ but, then I thought about it and realized it’s no different than planning to do anything else. When I need to go to the grocery store, I have a plan so why shouldn’t I have a plan for this activity? Without a plan, things don’t happen so here goes with the goals for this blog for February:

1 – Write daily and publish here at least three times weekly (once will be the Friday Frolics Feature).
2 – Read and comment on other blogs at least three times weekly.
3 – Increase the followers of this blog by 50% by February 28th.

Now, that I’ve set some goals for the blog, there needs to be some follow up (accountability) as well. To that end, on the first Monday of each month I will update you (the followers of this blog) on:

1 – The previous month’s results versus goals.
2 – Recovery plan for any shortfall(s) to goal(s).
3 – The new goals for the new month.

I’m looking forward to growing this blogging community to share more thoughts and ideas as we grow.

“If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. If you go to work on your plan, your plan will go to work on you. Whatever good things we build end up building us.” – Jim Rohn