Unclutter Your Life

No-frills Date Ideas

Is this how you picture date night?
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Is this what your date night actually looks like?

article-2479786-093DE434000005DC-837_634x527Kids, work, stress, health issues and just plain LIFE can sometimes get in the way, right? Every couple that I talk to tell me that date night is important but especially for a frazzled parent even if they struggle to fit it in.

It was easy pre-baby (or kids) days, right.  Now, it isn’t easy or even possible to go anywhere or do anything planned, sometimes you just have to have things ready for a moment’s notice to take advantage of the situation.  Date night can sometimes be “date lunch”.  Maybe it is some “afternoon delight” – just spending some time together while the kids are at school or at a play date.  The key is learning how to make the most of those down times and that doesn’t mean squeezing in more errands.

Check your calendar – schedule your date just like everything else.  When we write it, it will happen.  Here are some ideas for day or night that can actually coexist with parenting.

#1 – Lunch or Dinner at an Ethnic Restaurant that Neither of You Have Tried

Step out of your comfort zone, eat with your hands or sit on the floor, depending on the norms of that particular culture. Does spending money on food you have never tried scare you?  Have a lunch date.  Prices tend to be lower and with the kids busy at school or play dates or activities, no cost for a baby sitter.  Who knows you may like it and want to go back for dinner.

#2 Have A Picnic On the Beach or at the Lake

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Picnics on sunny days are always a good idea, but even better when there’s a body of water close by. Being close to the water is not only calm and refreshing to your senses, but you can even go in for a dip afterwards if you want.  Is it a rainy day? You can always have an indoor picnic – remember the fun you used to have as a kid doing this?

#3 Play Tourist 

When we think of sightseeing, we think of fancy getaways, majestic natural wonders, and cultural sites in faraway lands. But the truth is, we may be missing out on some pretty awesome local landmarks.  “We Can See Them Anytime”, right?  The truth is that we seldom do and sometimes never get to them. Google local tourist spots and plan a day trip to experience them in your area.

#4 Go to a Local Comedy Club or Open Mike Night

There are lots of amateur comedians or artists that try out their skills on local stages.  They are usually nervous and unsure BUT they have a dream. Chances are that they are pretty good but lack confidence.  Your encouragement can put a smile on their face. This idea is also fun as a double date or maybe even a family night with your older kids.

#5 Volunteer at a local Charitable Organization 

Performing random acts of kindness for others can be a strong bonding experience. Spending a day helping others receive a meal, or assisting with building a home for the less fortunate will bring your own blessings into stark relief. Take pictures with the people you helped or with the other volunteers to show your kids. This is also a great family project.

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#5 Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Have some cake, cupcakes, or anything that satisfies your sweet tooth at a bakery close by. After you’re done, take a relaxing stroll back home.

What are your favorite date ideas for couples and parents of children who need a day/night out?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Gives Program

Bringing Hope and A Smile to a Child

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June was the start of a NEW ThirtyOne year.  Every year, I reflect on the past year – goals made and accomplished as well as those where I missed the mark.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I want to make a difference in the lives of others.

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My passion and my purpose will come together this year in a way I never thought possible.    I am on a mission of:

Bringing hope and a smile to children, reminding them they are special and worthy

Yes, the giving campaigns (chemo comfort bags, etc) will continue.  In addition, I will be donating 10% of my sales every month to a local organization that works with children.  Children who are hurting because of no fault of their own ensuring that for even a moment they know that someone cares.

In July, it will be “Lunch Break” whose mission is:

to alleviate hunger and lead those we serve to self-sufficiency and healthier lifestyles.  We serve everyone, with compassion and dignity.

I had the opportunity to meet with their staff last week and was impressed with their programs and their commitment.  This groups humble beginnings in Red Bank has grown in safe haven for those in need.  I saw smiles on the faces of children. I saw women feeling better about themselves.  I saw them making a difference in the lives of families who are struggling.

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Last year, we provide 31 children with THERMAL LUNCH TOTES filled with healthy snacks. The totes also contained a note of encouragement for mom as well as some inexpensive lunch ideas.  Let’s be honest, the FREE lunch program doesn’t always have kid friendly foods. No hate mail PLEASE because I know that there are some places that have great meals but let’s be honest, not all of them do.

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This year for $20, you can sponsor a thermal tote for a child in need. If you want to help BUT you don’t have $20, donate what you can – $1, $2, $5, or $10. Maybe finances are tight BUT you know a business that may want to help, GREAT! Let me know or forward this information to them. I will supply a list of business sponsors in every thermal tote along with blogging about them – FREE advertising for helping out a great cause. Where else could they get FREE advertising for $20 or $40?

Won’t you help to make a difference today? You can fill out the form below or contact me directly. I will be happy to invoice you. Let’s bring a smile to the face of as many children as we can this school year. The deadline is July 18th!

Have ThirtyOne-derful day!

Weigh to Goal

Simple Wellness Tips

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It’s Saturday!!!  For those who work the traditional work week, today is catch up day.  Time for laundry, errands, sports, time with family and friends… I could go on but you get the idea.  In the midst of it all, here are some quick and easy ways to get and keep well….

loveyourself_miniPractice some #self-love today.  It could be 5-minutes or hours – the amount of time doesn’t matter, just that you do it!  You deserve it!  Put yourself at the top of your to do list every single day and the rest will fall into place.

imgresEverything in moderation.  Want a taste of the chocolate cake?  Have a bite! Has it been forever since you had (fill in the blank)? Have some and satisfy the craving.  The more you deprive yourself, the greater the chance of over-indulging when you do have that treat.

clockWhile you were thinking about doing it, you could be done. Set an alarm, get it in and enjoy your day!!!

2015-04-10 08.40.12Surround yourself with as much positivity as possible, and try not to let self doubt hold you back.

urlWater, water, and MORE water!!!  We have all heard this a zillion times but how often do we do it.  I do okay in the warmer months but in the COLD, it isn’t happening.

a million thanksAlways seize the opportunity to make others feel good. It creates a glow from the inside out, that even the best creams or tonics can’t give you!

Lemon3Starting the day off with hot water and lemon!  I have been doing this for a year now and I do feel better after the initial pucker power.

What is YOUR best WELLNESS tip?  Share for a chance to win a FREE gift.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Gives Program

How Brighten Someone’s Day

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“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping in a tent with a mosquito.” ~African Proverb

I love to people watch. Growing up at the Jersey shore that was “our thing” especially in the summer.  Sit on the boardwalk and just watch people.  We got to witness snippets of pure, genuine connections – some loving, some angry, and some a little crazy.  During the winter, we would stroll the mall and do the same thing.

People watching took on a whole new meaning when I entered social work.  I learned that one small gesture could make a difference in the lives of others.  It could be as simple as a smile to someone walking in the door of the office or sharing words of encouragement as they struggled through health issues.

As I reflect back, I find it VERY strange that it wasn’t until I started looking past the outer shell of the people I was watching that I realized how simple gestures can make such a big difference.  As the years passed and I left social work, I again went back to just “watching” people.  Those little gestures sometimes fell by the wayside as I was self-absorbed in my own stuff.  Yes, I will admit it.

Lately, I have been thinking about how can I brighten someone’s day within my the realm of my business.  No strings attached just the warm feeling that I get when I see someone smile.

With the help of Krista Butler, I want to share some with you.  I’d love to know your ideas in the comments.

1. Leave inspirational notes in random places.

In books in the library (yes, people still go to the library), on people’s car window, under your lover’s pillow, wherever.  Things like “Make it a great day” or “You are AWESOME”.  Try it and see how  awesome you feel by just leaving one note.

2. Thank someone.

I don’t mean that flat, auto response “thank you”.  I mean how about thanking someone who has positively impacted you – Maybe it is a teacher, your mom, your brother, an old neighbor, or a coach? Why not reach out to them with an email or better yet snail mail.   Share a memory and your gratitude for the difference that they made in your life.

3. Send a handwritten note.

Surprise someone with a handwritten note just because. I can almost guarantee they will smile ear-to-ear when they receive it.

4. Do something for yourself.

Sounds crazy, right?  The truth is that when you fill your cup with some self-care, it will give you enough love to share.  Your cup overflows, so that overflow is the love that flows to others. It’s a beautiful thing.

5. Take it to social media.

This is awesome.  I started doing this and the results have been surprising.  Instead of spending time stalking Facebook, pick three people to give a shout-out to! Just stop by to say “hi” and let them know you’re thinking of them.

When you brighten someone’s day, you are simultaneously stirring up positive energy within yourself. And you’ll carry this energy with you throughout your day. It’s a great feeling.

I challenge you to do something today that will surprise and delight someone else?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Gives Program

An Act of Kindness

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Today’s blog was inspired by Lori Deschene….

As we approach the last few shopping days till Christmas, I have noticed a few things: tempers are shorter, people are in a hurry, while store employees are tired and feeling unappreciated.  The happiest time of the year has become the “let’s just get through this season”.  No, I am not being Negative Nelly just stating some observations while I was out shopping the other night.

The holiday season has taken on a new meaning for me.  I can’t explain it – hubby would say it is old age.  LOL.  I have found myself NOT just being a gift because I need to get something.  I am NOT spending tons of money to show how I feel about someone.  I have found myself showing compassion and understanding more than ever before. I am surprised at their response.

Over the years, I have been shown kindness in many ways from friends and family but the kindness of strangers has taught me lasting lessons.  Think about it as you check out at the register.  Smile and greet the cashier.  Ask them how they are doing.  Maybe give someone a tip that they weren’t expecting.

They all have struggles, and dreams, and goals, and responsibilities, and they too could benefit from someone showing them patience, kindness, and understanding if they’re a little slow or less than friendly.

The other day I was with hubby as he stopped for gas.  He ALWAYS pays cash.  The total was $16 and he told the attendant to keep the change.  Okay, so $4 isn’t a big deal but the smile that spread across the attendant’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t thank us enough.  A random act of kindness made a difference in someone’s day.

The world is a better place when we see people beyond their nametags, and visualize everyone as someone who truly is doing their best.

We’re all a little scared and a little rough around the edges.

We’re all looking for love, support, acceptance, and appreciation.

And we can all get and give these things every day, one tiny act at a time.

Has the power of tiny acts of kindness, forgiveness, and acceptance made a difference in your own life?  Here are some suggestions from Tiny Buddha’s 365 Love Challenges of small acts that we can all do:

Be patient and understanding with people who serve you, especially if they have a lot of customers to tend to.

Compliment someone who serves you in some way (for example, a waiter, barista, or bus driver) on how well they do their job.

Empathizing instead of criticizing is a big thing. Getting up to help instead of sitting back and judging is a big thing.

Keep an eye out for someone who looks sad—a friend, coworker, or even stranger—and say something that might make them laugh or smile.

It may seem like a tiny thing, but sometimes the tiny things are the big things.  And it’s big things like these that help us all feel seen, appreciated, and loved—and far happier for it.

What Random Act of Kindness will you do today?  Share it with us and let us all celebrate the spirit of Christmas this holiday season.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!