Valentine’s Day Romance

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Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of the best Valentine’s Day gift ideas cost very little, since they come from the heart. Making someone feel loved and appreciated can come in many forms, on any day of the year. So what can a pennywise couple do to celebrate Valentine’s Day without breaking the bank? Here are some of our ideas:

After 25 years of marriage,  we have learned that romance can come in all forms, from the traditional candlelit dinner to a massage, a bubble bath, or gifts of appreciation.

A gift of time is my favorite gift. Whether my time was freed up when my husband did chores for me (without being asked), or he did something thoughtful that came from his heart. In the past, he has taken my birthday off to clean the house, so when I come home everything was already done. On other occasions, he has made me breakfast in bed, given me a couple of hours to do my crochet while he watched the kids, and photographed a re-enacted a part of “our song”. A gift of time, in whatever form, is an incredible gift that I always appreciate.

Another year, he gave me a love letter he wrote himself instead of buying an expensive card.  A card you created, (look on Pinterest for ideas), a love letter you wrote expressing your love and appreciation for your spouse, a poem you wrote, or even a card from your local dollar store will work if it expresses your heartfelt love.

Buy a Journal at the dollar store, office supply store, or create your own with a composition notebook, some scrapbook paper, and glue.  Write a love note for your spouse and ask him or her to write one back.  Write notes to each other all year long.  My husband and I did this one year, and every time I saw the journal on my pillow, I knew another note of appreciation or love was there — written expression of your love will help him or her to feel blessed and loved again and again.

Make breakfast in bed, or bring your spouse a cup of coffee or tea. There is something special about not having to get out of bed to enjoy your first cup of coffee.

Make your own Chocolate Covered Strawberries with dipping chocolate and a pound of strawberries.  There are many YouTube videos that will show you how. You can do this ahead of your celebration, so they are ready, or make a fondue and dip strawberries, marshmallows, and pound cake together. Just be sure to kiss each other every time you lose an item off your fondue fork!

Buy a coffee cup  with a nice sentiment on it and fill it with Hershey Kisses, Miniature Chocolates, Jelly Beans, or whatever small candy your spouse loves — you can even wrap it in the special cellophane that florists use, if you desire.  Buy the cellophane at your local craft store, and tie the cellophane at the top with a ribbon.

Buy a photo album at your local dollar store and fill it with nostalgic pictures. You and your spouse can spend time going through the pictures together, remembering the special times you have shared.

I found some other inexpensive gift ideas at PTMoney.com, some of my favorites are:

Make your own Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt. Write clues and hide them all over the house for your Valentine to find! At each station, put a gift you bought from the dollar store, or something you made yourself — a stuffed animal, a candy bar, a Valentine card, etc (ptmoney.com).

If possible, arrange for a babysitter, who isn’t at your house, grab some microwave popcorn, and a movie from your local library, a thrift store, or your local “Redbox” and enjoy some special time together (ptmoney.com). There are couples out there who don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day–my husband and I are one of them. We prefer to show our love and appreciation on alternate days. On Valentine’s Day, we stay home with the kids, eat pizza and watch movies. Perhaps a couple you know does the same, or maybe you could trade nights babysitting each other’s kids if you want to go out, so you could save the cost of babysitting.

On that note, if you really want to go out, and can’t afford either the time, or the cost of dinner, go out for a Valentine’s breakfast, or lunch, and then spend the evening with the kids watching a family movie.

Place a love note somewhere your significant other will find it –in their briefcase, on the bathroom mirror, in a pot — anywhere (ptmoney.com)

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be expensive. Some of the best Valentine’s Days come from the heart. Making someone feel loved and appreciated can come in many forms, on any day of the year. Here are some of our ideas.

Use bamboo skewers and strawberries to create a “bouquet” of roses that you can eat!  Couple this gift with a pot of chocolate fondue, whipped cream or some melted chocolate and enjoy! (ptmoney.com)

What are some of your best pennywise ideas? Please comment below.

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Holiday De-Stressing

I don’t know about you, but I really start to feel the stress of the holidays right after Thanksgiving, and up until Christmas Day has ended. Don’t get me wrong — I LOVE the holidays, in fact, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite holidays of the year, but that doesn’t change the fact that the holidays are stressful.  You not only have the stress of cooking all day with family in town and little kids running afoot while you’re preparing turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and gravy all at the same time while you’re family is watching football. Or, there is the stress of things like the “Thanksgiving Creep” — where Black Friday creeps so far into your thanksgiving celebration you either have to ensure your family dinner is early, and I mean early, or you have to skip family dinner in order to shop. I see this as a travesty of justice — a way to put you in the middle of having to choose between your family and saving money for that special toy your child wants that you cannot afford.

Even though I am Pennywise, I choose not to even look at Black Friday ads for stores that are open on Thanksgiving. I won’t support them. I refuse. Life is too short to choose family over shopping, in my opinion. Family is only in town for a very short time, and you are already spending all day in the kitchen cooking to prepare the perfect meal. By the time you get the food on the table, it would be time to go Black Friday shopping, if you were so inclined, and you’d miss sharing special time with your family, or you’d have to rush through dinner to be able to get out the door in time. Like I said earlier, life is too short for me to want to do that. I’d much rather spend time preparing the meal in the morning/early afternoon, and then spend the rest of the afternoon/evening enjoying the company of  family and friends from near and far.

Honestly, it’s easy for me to choose family over finances. I hate, and I mean HATE Black Friday shopping. Yes, you can get great deals, but it’s just too crazy and I don’t mean a little crazy either.  I mean you stop at a light and without moving more than a car length ahead, your light turns red, and the other side’s light turns green. Once you get to the store, people are rushing all around you, trying to get their holiday shopping done, and they see you grabbing for the last Hatchimal and elbow you in the eye so they can get it first, only to find out afterwards that you were just reaching for a Lalaloopsy doll and weren’t in competition for that Hatchimal after all. I just feel that life is to short to compete for gifts, to give up family time on Thanksgiving Day, or to fight the traffic that never seems to move. 🙂

Whatever you decided this weekend, you’re likely all stressed out from Thanksgiving, holiday shopping, and putting up Christmas lights, so I thought you could use some ideas for relaxation and de-stressing. Of course, I’d love to hear your ideas, so please comment below if you have any other ways that you like to relax:

Take Time Out for Yourself

Take some time out for yourself. Think for a while about what makes you feel good, and then do it! Do you like to cuddle up with a good book, by the fire? Or, perhaps you are the type who would rather paint your nails, or light some candles and take a bubble bath? Maybe there is a great movie you’ve been wanting to watch, but haven’t been able to because of all the things you need to do. If you find that you are too busy to take time out for yourself, talk with another busy friend to see if you can do things to give each other the gift of time, such as prepare twice as much food for dinner one night (giving one meal to a friend and keeping the other for yourself), so your friend could have a couple of hours to herself, and then a night, or two later, she could prepare twice as much food so that you will have time to read a book, paint your nails, or take a bubble bath — doing whatever you really enjoy that will make you feel good. Not a cook? Not a problem! Try trading babysitting with each other to provide a few hours for each of you to do something special for yourself. Spending a few minutes — even a few hours — by yourself after so much family time will often help you recharge and feel rejuvenated, and none of it has to cost much.

Give a Gift of Time

Gifts of time are my favorite gifts — they don’t cost you very much at all – often, just your time. If there is a cost, it is generally nominal. My husband takes a vacation day on my birthday every year just to clean the house! This gift, though to others may not seem like much, means the world to me! Though I have appreciated this gift for the past 15-20 years, I appreciate it even more since I was t-boned two years ago, and I have a much harder time cleaning than I used to.  Gifts of time are always the right size, always the right color, and they never have to be returned — they are my favorite, perhaps because of the thoughtfulness of the giver.

Spend some time with a friend you haven’t talked with in a while. This is the time of year when people, especially older folks and single moms, feel lonely and/or overwhelmed, especially if there aren’t a lot of people who call to check on them and see how they are doing. Single moms, especially, love to have the gift of a babysitter, a meal they don’t need to cook, or housework they don’t have to do. Older folks, especially widowed people, love to just have someone come and visit them — their favorite gift of time is company — someone to share a piece of pie and some coffee, or tea with.

Another gift of time is volunteering. This is the time of year when many places are looking for people to volunteer to help them — the Salvation Army often needs bell ringers, people to work in their stores, and people to help create and distribute food baskets; rescue missions need volunteers, pet shelters need volunteers — even your local Goodwill is likely getting more donations than they can handle! Helping others makes you feel good and makes you forget about your own troubles, as you see others who probably are worse off than you are. Plus, when you help others you feel like you’re really doing something worthwhile — you see how happy you are making others, and even what a difference you are making in their lives and it makes you happy, too! Many people will thank you for your service and will really appreciate whatever you do for them.