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!

 

Travel Tips

Healthy Eating AND Travel – Better Together

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How many of you think “I’m on vacation, I will worry about eating healthy when I get home”?  The truth is, you can eat healthy and still enjoy your vacation.  For most of us, when we are traveling, nutrition is NOT on the top of our list.

Since dealing with health challenges, I am realizing that knowing what to eat when I travel will not only affect how I enjoy the trip, but it also affects my overall health. I have to be careful not to fall into the fast food trap of fast food, simply because it is convenient.

Here are some tips that help me when I am traveling:

5. Eat Like The Locals.  Watch and see what the locals are eating. Which restaurants have the longest lines? Be careful of street food because it’s not always the healthiest choice, and under-cooked street food can be dangerous to your health.

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4. Foods to Fight Jet Lag.  Whether you are traveling to a foreign country or just across the country, food can contribute to common travel plights such as jet lag. Don’t shoot the messenger BUT you want to avoid anything with caffeine, because they can dehydrate you which is a common cause of jet lag.  Remember to drink plenty of water throughout your travel experience.

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3. Don’t Over Eat.  Foods that are high in fat or salt, or foods that are rich can make travel harder.  Salt not only increase water retention during air travel, but it will make you feel sluggish and tired. Fatty foods are the same as well as any snacks that are high in fat or salt, such as chips or trail mixes. On a LONG flight, water retention can be even more of a problem and can result in swelling.

2. Bring Your Own Food.  I know who wants to bring their own food when they travel, right?  It is actually a good idea – an alternative to airplane food, or healthy snacks while you tour around. Maybe some fruit, peanut butter (or peanut butter sandwich), or a nutrition bar. Can’t bring your own food, plan your meals.

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1. Never Forget Breakfast.  No matter what, make time for breakfast.  It is not only the most important meal of the day when you are home BUT also when you are traveling.  In a hurry, grab something quick like something high in fiber, or full of whole grains, like oatmeal or cold cereal.  The best option is a balanced breakfast, combining carbs with proteins and grains. Stay away from muffins, cookies, and doughnuts. Greasy on the go breakfast foods are a big no-no too.

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What is YOUR best tip for eating healthy when you travel?  I have found that it is so much easier to eat healthy when it is a road trip versus flying but I would love to hear from you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!