Put a little LOVE in all you do.

Image“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it.” – Tom Hanks, Sleepless In Seattle

Sticking with the theme of LOVE for the upcoming, grand occasion of Valentines, I have put together some tiny things that we do around our house to show our LOVE. Hope these ideas spark other little ideas to spread love in all you do.

Keep them cuddly: warm up robes and towels when they get out of the bath or shower. Throw a cozy blanket in the dryer when someone just needs to be bundled.

Do something sweet: write a little note (on the napkin or a tiny card) for someone’s lunch–add a fun joke, a sweet treat they will enjoy or a tiny surprise that is unexpected.

Hand writing: When my little girl is nervous about something at school, I draw a heart on her hand to remind her that my love will always be with her.

Hearts & flowers: We are big Dasani bottle drinkers (don’t worry we recycle!) so I write messages on my families water bottles…hearts, flowers, their names, love notes, feel betters, etc.

Dedications: Dedicate a song while you are driving or buy a special song that reminds you of someone you love and share it with them.  (Some good ideas off the top of my head: Bruno Mars “Just the way you are”  Rihanna “We found Love”  Christina Perri “A Thousand Years”   Usher “Without You”   Harry Connick Jr ” We are in Love”   Train “Marry Me”   Colbie Caillat “I do”   Joy Williams “Charmed Life”)

Sign Language: Have a fun personal language that you share with each other. Our family does XO with our fingers or signs I Love You or infiniti hearts, you get the idea. Make your own and make it yours. The love will follow.

Nicknames: Have fun, loving nick names that you call one another.

Make food with love: blow kisses into the meals you make, make heart pancakes, heart shaped brownies, swirl your soup in heart shapes.

Basic Care: make them take their vitamins, drink lots of water and wear their seat belt. It is the funniest thing to watch my parents fight over taking their vitamins, but my Dad simply looks at my mom and says, it’s because I love you. Who can argue with that!

Love Notes: leave little notes of love and appreciation anytime and everywhere. Leave them on the bathroom mirror, the car window, computer screen, under a pillow, etc. A cute text says you care. A fun note taped to their toothbrush that says, you make me smile=LOVE.

Pray and give thanks: pray always with a grateful heart for the little things you receive every day…for running water, for good health, that your child made it home from school, that your husband has a job, that you can run, walk, see the blue sky.

Thank you: Write a nice note on the envelopes of your bills, or on an email to your service providers thanking them for the services you receive. Thank them that you have power, heat, the Disney channel!! smile. smile.

Affection: ALWAYS give hugs and kisses, special rendezvous and intimate getaways

Surround your family with good things: Having beautiful things around helps your heart sing. Your heart=LOVE. Have pretty music playing, buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers, have inspiring quotes posted throughout the house, allow lots of light in through the windows

Quality time: I can’t stress this enough!! Go on walks, have reading time together, play games and talk.

Connect: Everyone needs to feel connection in their life, so our relationships are key. Take the time to connect. I am going to include some good Q& A topics to discuss with those you love:

Connect Questions for the one you LOVE:

1. What is something that makes you feel good about yourself?

2. What are 5 things you want to do in your life?

3. Has there ever been anything you were afraid to do? How did you handle it?

4. Some of your favorite things?

5. What trait do you feel people like most about you?

6. Do you feel it is easy to make friends? Do you feel you have good friends?

7. Do you feel you like to be social or would rather be home? 

8. What is a truly great memory for you?

9. What does perfect mean to you?

10. What is a favorite gift you have received?

11. What would you like to do more of every day?

12. Answer this…I am happy when…

13. What do you love about your family?

14. What do you love most about your relationship?

15. Think of a tough time in your life…what did you learn from it?

16. Is there anything you worry about?

17. What do you desire most out of our relationship? (good things, things to work on)

18. If you could do anything, what would it be?

19. What is one thing you would change about your life? 

20. What would be your ideal Valentines day?

Connect Questions for you to ask your Kids:

1. What is your happiest memory? 

2. Why do you like being a kid? 

3. One word to describe you would be _______. 

4. What advice would you give your parents? 

5. If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? 

6. What do you like to do for fun? 

7. Tell about a funny time in your life. 

8. What is your favorite thing to do? Why? 

9. What is your favorite thing to do with your friends? 

10. What do you love most about your sibling (or being an only child)? 

11. What was the nicest thing you did for someone? 

12. What do you think you will be doing 10 years from now? 

13. What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? the winter?

14. What would be the ideal allowance? Tell me how you would use it. 

15. What do you think makes a person good-looking? 

16. Name two things we should do as a family on the weekend. 

17. What is the grossest thing you can think of?

18. What is something you love about your mom and dad?

19. What is your favorite vacation we have been on?

20. What are 5 things you would like to do by the time you are married? (or in your life)

Well, I hope these tiny ideas have inspired you to think of little things you can do to spread the love in your world.

Lots of LOVE to you and yours.    -Heather

1 Act of Random Kindness makes a difference


Hello and hope all is well in your world!! Today I wanted to share one of my favorite weeks in the whole year…RAK (Random Acts of Kindness week). Each year the organization randomactsofkindness.org has a week that inspires people to break away from the norm and share kindness in the world. It is usually a week in February (the month of love–fitting). This year it is FEBRUARY 11th through the 17th!! So I wanted to share some ideas and getting you thinking and planning to do this with those you love. Make it a fun event—plan for it & share it with friends & family, get out and make a difference in your community, your neighborhood, your family, your world!

I was lovingly reminded that this RAK week was coming up as I was watching the sweet movie “Evan Almighty” with my little daughter. It reminded me as Morgan Freeman spelled out the words ARK…1 ACT of RANDOM KINDNESS will make a difference.

So, in the spirit of LOVE, HAPPINESS and making a DIFFERENCE, here are some thought and ideas to enjoy your RAK week…

If you have read my blog you know I have a nine-year-old daughter who is an only child and one of my greatest fears is that she is going to grow up and be selfish!! Especially after reading an article about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who was an only child and personally admitted how selfish he had been. Every red flag went up, Am I doing enough to help this little person think of others??? 

Ever since she was little we have done random acts of kindness…made brownies for the fire department, created hand made valentines for a local old folks home, handed out teddy bears to crossing guards, bought cookies for the McDonald’s employees…

I am always trying to think of ways to get our little family out of ourselves and doing something for someone else. Hopefully we are heading in the right direction, it is an ongoing, loving lesson for our lives. When we think of others, the world is better for it! Our family is better for it!

This last year (during RAK week ) was especially fun because we got others to celebrate RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) with some neighbor girls.  We made a 15 foot banner filled with kindness ideas kids could do & we hung it at their school. In the true spirit of RAK week I made a flyer and sent it to a large local email list in hopes that people would feel the giving spirit & it worked! I received a call from one of my neighbors (that I did not know very well) and she was filled with enthusiasm at the idea of RAK week!

She expressed how her 38th birthday was this particular week and that she decided she was going to take her family and do 38 random acts of kindness in celebration of her birthday!!.

Outstanding idea!

I saw her the next week at a school function and she lit up!! It was soo wonderful to see someone so excited to share in their experience. She told me how they handed out quarters to kids at a local hamburger restaurant so they could use the candy machines. They bought food for the people behind them in the drive-thru, they took a bunch of water bottles and handed them out at a local rec center…the enthusiasm was infectious. I loved it!! Then she got really quiet and she said, “but the best part of it all was that my son (who I struggle with) truly got in the spirit of giving. He is kinder today, he was writing notes to our family, he was moved more than anyone by this experience.”

That was the best part! She even said that he wanted to do the same thing for his birthday!

What a beautiful thing!!

If we can do one thing for our kids…it is to be an example of love, get out and do something random for someone else. Teach them to write thank you cards, help them each week think of some way to serve someone else. Make a dinner for someone in need, take a batch of brownies to someone you don’t know, say thank you to EVERYONE! It is truly the little things that make a big difference.

Here are some additional ideas from the RAK website and other sources:  Clean up graffiti, Donate used books to a library, Give care packs to the homeless (or a blanket), Share your talent of music with the elderly, Help someone with yard work or snow removal, Let someone go in line in front of you, Write a note of appreciation to a teacher, Mentor a child who needs a friend, Pay for a coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks, Return shopping carts, Thank your police or fire department with a fun note or treat, Write a letter or email to someone who made a difference in your life, Visit an animal shelter, Take a bag of dog or cat food to your local shelter, pick up trash at the beach or nearby nature trail or neighborhood, Send a nice note thanking a soldier, Be a designated driver, Give someone flowers, Visit someone who is sick, Collect canned food and give it to your local food bank, Donate $1 to your child’s favorite charity, Start a charity day at your work & give the money to a good cause, Help someone with their groceries, Give hugs, Leave a nice note for your local mail carrier, Thank your child’s bus driver or crossing guard, Plant a tree, Give compliments, Send something inspiring to those you have on your email list, Be a nice driver on the road, Take shorter showers this week, SMILE, Start a piggy bank for a cause, Share something yummy with coworkers, Say thank you to your school principal and office help, Tell your parents (or send a letter or email) how much you appreciate them & everything they’ve done for you, Let your staff leave a little early from work & thank them for all they do, give flowers to be delivered with meal delivery programs, Make valentine hearts for the elderly home, Give someone a “heart attack” on their door (bunch of paper hearts that say nice things), Invite someone new in the neighborhood over for dinner, Have your child take a bunch of fun stickers or suckers and hand them out when the final bell rings & remind everyone that it is RAK week, genuinely thank your waitress for doing such a good job, make and share kindness bookmarks or give them to the school library to give away, Leave a $20 in an envelope and leave it for someone in need, give freely, spread LOVE everywhere you can…

-Spread Love, Heather

–not sure who to credit the picture, but thank you.

Valentine ideas for those you LOVE

Purple heart in the handsSince Valentines Day is very close I wanted to make sure to create a fun list of thoughtful gift ideas to give to the ones you LOVE.  The following are some ideas I have done for my little family over the years, so I hope there will be something that will inspire you to LOVe those special people in your life.

Have a thought or theme that inspires your gift giving: One year I cut out about fifty paper stars and wrote, “For every Star in the Heavens, there is a reason I love you.”  I then wrote things I loved about my husband and hung the stars with fishing line all around our living room. I made a huge bed on our living room floor, we ate take-out, picnic style, had a warm fire, watched movies and had a wonderful evening.

Make something that is handmade or Personalized: One year I got a glass bottle and etched a message on the outside. Inside I had a special love note…Message in a bottle.  Another year I created a sheet that had things from the year my husband was born (#1 song on the charts, News Headlines, Best selling toy, candy, funny facts from the era). Make a cd of his favorite music, buy a basketball or football and have the kids sign and decorate it, etch a frame or a pair of goblets, beer or coffee mug, you get the idea. Make it personal and from the heart.

Share all the reasons you love them: Scream it! Sing it! write little notes and gift them in a jar, write them on a poster and hang it on the bedroom door. Whatever you do…Tell them you LOVE them.

Give them something special: Is there a hobby or collection they have? Mu husband had a father who collected toy cast iron cap guns, so he inherited the collection from his father. One year I found a small pistol to add to his collection. My husband also has a love of western movies (prob watching them with his father as a kid), so this year I found some fun replica coins from a brothel house (good for one night) & I am going to add sweet notes with each one & gift them in a neat jar with a good, western movie classic.

Do something sentimental: Make a Q & A journal to do together, then each evening or specific night of the week take some time, enjoy a special dinner and take the time to fill in the journal. Another idea that I have done that my husband loved—his mother’s cooking!! I took a day and went to his mother’s house and she shared all her secret family recipes, which I then put into a personalized cookbook with pictures, quotes and the special ingredients to all her yummy goodness.

Give a themed gift: What does your love enjoy doing? My husband enjoys triathlon racing, so one gift I gave him was a runners magazine, a waterproof iPod, a water bottle filled with hershey kisses, packaged in a nice workout bag with a towel. He also likes to BBQ so another gift I gave him was a nice set of BBQ utensils, a personalized apron and a grilling cookbook.  Make sure, no matter what you give, that you add some cheesy note to make them smile…something like…”Your Hot”  “You really know how to spice things up!” Have fun with it.

Make something yummy: Make a night of his/her favorite recipes, gift their favorite chocolate covered strawberries or make them a special batch of carmel pretzels. Whatever they love to eat, take the time to make it memorable.

The following are some fun gift ideas to make Valentines special for the Kiddos

Quality time: Make a Q & A journal to do with your kids. Take the time each week or each evening to talk, listen, and ask questions. This will be guaranteed quality time, with the questions leading to answers and stories that will be memorable.

Fun gift ideas:

Nail polish or lipgloss (in shades of pink and red) wrapped in a cute bag with a note that says “You shine.”

Personalized PJ’s or T-shirts: Use fabric paints, Tye dye or use iron on sparkles to make something personalized and all your own. A gift that will be appreciated.

Charm me: pick a cute charm with your child in mind, add a little necklace chain or bracelet and start a special charm collection for them. Add a little note why the charm reminded you of them. Every once in a while surprise them with a new charm that has a special meaning.

Give them something handmade: hair accessories, quilt, scarf, hat, a beaded animal, etc. Something handmade always says it is made with the heart.

Start something new: Give your child a fun apron with a special cooking lesson and coupons that include: make a cake together, make pancakes for Sat breakfast, make a spaghetti dinner for the fam… or you could give them a little garden kit with a package of seeds and a pot they can decorate.

Boo: the cutest plush dog. I am a sucker for stuffed animals, but I think this one would make any child smile. To personalize it, make a bead collar, add your child’s name or bandana. I got one of these darling dogs when my daughter was in the hospital, we took it home and beaded a collar and leash. It is adorable.  Here is the link for it on Amazon   http://www.amazon.com/Gund-Boo–Worlds-Cutest-Dog/dp/B006U4SHMS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359059855&sr=8-1&keywords=Boo

One last FUN idea:  Make a fun fort out of a sheet and personalize it for your kids with iron on patches. Then the week of Valentines, put it up and surprise them. Have a fun pizza party in the fort. To make it extra special you could buy a small lantern & attach a note that says “you shine.” or “you light up my life.” Another fun detail, make a cute fleece pillow and attach a note that says “sweet dreams.”  It would be a Valentines to remember.

It’s the memories that count the most, so put some thought into the little, loving gestures you do for the ones you LOVE.  Hope these ideas help.

Good luck in spreading HAPPINESS and LOVE   -Heather

Lessons from If Only

Image“I have to tell you this and you need to hear it. I loved you since I met you, but I wouldn’t allow myself to truly feel it until today. I was always thinking ahead, making decisions soaked with fear… Today, because of you… what I learned from you; every choice I made was different and my life has completely changed… and I’ve learned that if you do that, then you’re living your life fully… it doesn’t matter if you have five minutes or fifty years. Samantha if not for today, if not for you I would never have known love at all… So thank you for being the person who taught me to love… and to be love. ”  -Ian Wyndham, If Only

Have you ever noticed the longer you have something in your life, no matter how special it is, it seems to be taken for granted.

Yesterday I was not feeling very well, so I took the day and relaxed with a couple of movies. I popped in a movie I had never seen before, If Only, with Jennifer Love Hewitt. It was an emotional ride, but a ride worth taking. It left me in tears thinking about the incredible man I am married to and thinking about how differently my life would be if he were not in it. I balled my eyes out even more. So, needless to say, I am writing my post today about learning to appreciate the one you LOVE.

The movie was a sweet reminder that no matter how well we think we are at appreciating those we love, we can always be a little better. It is a choice we make every day.

So, here are my thoughts inspired by the movie:

Be Present: (In the movie Ian was never present, too busy with work) Take the time to truly listen and care about one another. Ask questions, inquire about what is important in their life. No matter the time, how long you have known them, there are always going to be pieces to uncover. Be there for the good and the bad days. Love should be unconditional. People grow and change–seek to find something new and listen. Be interested in them and what is important to them.

Praise and Appreciate: (In the movie Ian tells her how much he loves her music) their work, their writing, their strengths, the little things they do for you. Get excited for one another for the positive things that happen in daily life. i.e. My husband was so excited when I told him that I just had my first UK follower on my blog. He was genuinely excited and that made me appreciate him even more. Thank the one you love for making your day a little better by just being there.

Try new things together: (In the movie Ian takes Samantha to do something she had always wanted to do, but was too afraid to try) Step out of your comfort, go do something. It doesn’t even need to be something that scares you—just something together. My husband’s father collected electric, lionel trains when he was a boy, so I knew my husband had a interest in trains because of his father. There was a train show last week, so I suggested we go. We had never been to anything like it our entire marriage. It was fun to see my husband look at some miniature train sets and think about his father. His eyes lit up as he said, “My Dad would have liked that.”

Open up and share new things: (In the movie Ian takes Samantha to some childhood places and shares some heartfelt memories with her) Share your hopes, dreams, wishes and heartaches. In sharing there ties a deeper connection.  This may be a good time to mention: Make a Couples Bucket list—see my blog post on this. Great way to connect!

Little things make a beautiful difference: (In the movie Ian gives Samantha a charm bracelet to remember the day & the details of their relationship) Think of things that your love would appreciate. Here are a few ideas from my home: my sweetheart warms my robe when I am taking a shower. I will stick mini chocolate bars and notes in his suitcase when he goes out of town and he leaves a little mini note for me and my daughter on our mirror. You could also send a picture of a fun day/trip and thank them for such a special, memorable day. Attach a cute picture with a thought and text it to those you love. Give good, long hugs.  Burn a cd of their favorite songs, make a special memory book of your memories together…For my husband’s birthday I had friends & family write him a personal letter and I compiled them into a special book with pictures and bound it for him as a special gift. The ideas are endless. Think of something they would love and appreciate.

Do something special to show you care and do listen to their needs: (In the movie Ian arranges to have one of Samantha’s music pieces played at the concert) Share something with the one you love that shows you truly understand them. Maybe give them a special gift that reminds you of them. i.e. My husband in his travels picked up a beautifully carved wooden quail because of my deep love for the wild quail that run through our yard daily. Give a book that you have read that you think they will enjoy and write a sweet note inside. Give them a note list of all the qualities you LOVE and appreciate about them.

Tell them you love them: (In the movie Ian tells thanks Samantha for teaching him to LOVE) Speak the truth without fear. Genuinely share your hearts desires and the love you feel for one another. Set LOVE free.

Well, those are my thoughts inspired by a beautiful, emotional movie. If you decide to rent it and watch it, be prepared to cry. I know it will leave you yearning to appreciate and hug the ones you love just a little more.

Thanks for reading and following. Have a beautiful day.   -Heather

Fun ideas for a Couples Bucket List

Wow, Valentines is just a couple weeks away, so I thought the next little while I will post things like couple bucket lists, great information on love languages and fun ideas on how to spoil those you LOVE! Cheers to LOVE WEEK(s)!!

I am going to start with a fun idea that can bring any couple together…a COUPLES BUCKET LIST!! What a great time of year to sit down with the one you love and create a fun list of things you want to do together…for valentines, for the month, week or year.

Take the time to connect. This is a great opportunity to see where your other half desires to be—where they want to go, what they want to do, what aspirations they hold. Sharing hopes and dreams will bring you closer, it will help you focus on one another and the future you would like to create. This is your life together, so take the time to create it, to include those things that matter most and make it a life you will LOVE together.

Here are some ideas I came across in my search…


Here are a bunch of ideas I found…enjoy! Take a nap together, Couples Massage, Go on a spontaneous road trip together, Write one another a love letter, Walk the beach under the stars, Take a bubble bath, Cook a fun meal together, Make pasta from scratch, Swim at night, Fly a kite together, Travel to exotic places together (you decide where), Share random gifts, Go on a cruise, Visit a piano bar, Go to the symphony or ballet, Make a homemade Thanksgiving dinner together, Make a special dessert like Creme Brûlée, Watch an entire television series together (you decide), Hike the Grand Canyon, Train for a sports event together (Marathon, Triathlon, etc), Ride in a hot air balloon, Read a book together, Get a couples massage, Have a picnic on Lake Louise (or another Lake of your choice), Hug a Redwood Tree, Dance under a palm tree in Hawaii, Learn to surf together, Dress up for Halloween in themed costumes, See a live concert together, Build a fort, Take a specific class together, Release floating lanterns, Let go of a balloon with a wish attached to it, Kiss under mistletoe, Spend a day in cuddling, Make snow angels, Kiss at midnight on New Years, Write our own love story, Drive route 66, Visit a rainforest, Make a video montage of our life together, Sleep under the stars, Learn a new language, Adopt a pet, Take photos in a photo booth, Participate in a flashmob, Color a coloring book, Ride a tandem bike, Go to a music festival, Create nicknames for each other, Stay up all night, Go on a specific roller coaster, Kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel, Take a tram ride, Have a pillow fight, Hike every National Park, Have special couple kisses, Sing together, Skinny dip, Learn to Tango or Ballroom Dance, Go on a motorcycle adventure together, Ride in a sailboat, See whales or dolphins in the wild, Kiss under the Eiffel Tower, Sleep in a hammock together, Learn to truly LOVE…

The list of ideas is endless, so take the time to create your own list with the one you LOVE.


Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry,Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939, translated from French by Lewis Galantière

A Special Happily Ever After

One of my last posts was about Your Happily Ever After and creating the life you want with someone you love, so I thought this would be a good addition. This is a great love story, so if you haven’t seen it—take the time. It is worth it!
He is also one of the main characters in the movie “Butterfly Circus” that is an inspired short film. If you have not seen this movie—take the time. It is also worth it! It is on my blog. enjoy!

Your Happy Family

ImageFamily is a loving gift to me. It is the people who complete our lives. It is only me, my husband and our nine-year-old daughter, Kate that complete our circle, so we are “the three musketeers.” We have a lot of fun together, but with an only child you also get moments of question.  I have literally had people tell me how cruel it is to only have one child, that she will grow up spoiled and alone, so needless to say, there are times when I wonder if we are doing it right, if we are enough to guide her along to the life she needs.

In Utah, you rarely find anyone who has less than four children, it is truly amazing and I commend every mother and father out there who takes on the challenge and makes it a good ride. Cheers to you!! But there is something fun when you meet someone who has been an only child, you instantly want to get to know them, to hear that their life was good and that your child will turn out great despite the fact that she is the only one.

We met a nurse at our local hospital who had an instant connection with Kate because he was an only child. He talked about how fun it was growing up so close to his family, going on great trips (because they could afford to with less children), he enjoyed being an only child. There was a moment of relief for me as he told us about his childhood experiences. There are always the positives and the negatives in everything, so it made me realize, that it is the quality time together that in the end matters most. I knew that, but seeing a grown, only child who spoke of cherished moments with his parents really hit home. No matter what, it’s the time together with one child or ten. Those are the moments that will stay with them, that will teach them as they grow, that will nurture them into the beautiful people they will become.

So here is to our families…here is a compilation of tips, tricks and things to bring your family together to make special memories that will be remembered.


Make memories together out of any occasion: at our house we try to create an occasion out of many things…when we bought our daughter her first pair of roller-skates, we celebrated with a fun movie night of popcorn and ‘Xanadu’—classic rollerskating movie musical!! She loved it! Pulling a tooth may require a special drum roll on our keyboard. We create special made up songs for different holidays and sing them during the special month. We play pretty music and light a candle for a bath or shower to make it a special occasion. We bundle up and go on winter walks during the first snowfall. We pile up fall leaves and make a nest for a special family picture…the ideas are endless, you just need to make the occasions special with your family in mind.

Make sure you take the time to eat together: With crazy schedules and mad dashes to the local market or tennis practice, are you making time to eat together? Whether you plan a special Saturday breakfast or you eat dinner together (at least once a week), make it a priority. We have a special Saturday breakfast where we make muffins, scrambled eggs, hash browns. We sit around the table and ask each person what they are grateful for and it turns into a weekly Thanksgiving. Make your meals memorable. Have the kids help set the table & let them make handwritten place cards (my little girl loves this). Have fun themes for special occasions. Enjoy the time being together.

Plan a fun family weekend getaway: Whether it is to a town two hours away you have always wondered about, a local museum, amusement park, air show, train show, etc. Find out about fun activities going on around you. Try and stay within a few hours of your home and seek out great camp spots, art, music, watermarks, beaches, FUN!! Discuss with everyone where they would like to go and plan a weekend trip. Try to include at least one thing everyone would like to do—get a carmel apple, hike Mt. Timp, have breakfast at Kneaders, etc. Someone may want to sleep in or go on a hike, try to plan something that gets everyone excited for the weekend. Most importantly, have a great time together!!

Create family traditions: See my blog post on that.

Have a family night: Each week or at least once a month have a fun family night–play games, go to your favorite local pizzeria, get chinese take-out, visit the grocery store and buy all the ingredients for a new meal to try together. You can even shake it up and let someone in the family decide the activity and be in charge each week or each month.

Have Quiet time: No matter how old your children are, scheduled quiet time is a good idea.  Set a specific time for everyone to turn off the television, computer, video games and either talk, read, tell a story, share things that were highlights from the day, things you appreciate about one another. Schedule a time that will not interfere with homework, friends or activities–most likely before bed or if you find it too hard—try it once a week on Saturday or Sunday morning. Take the time to tune out noise, to get quiet.  We do a couple of different things…write in a family gratitude journal three things we were grateful for during the day. Then we either tell a story, read a book or a small devotional just before we go to sleep and then say a evening prayer of thanks for the day. We try to also schedule in reading and quiet time.  An interesting fact: The CEO of Disney read for an hour a day when he was a child.


Creativity is a celebration of one’s grandeur, one’s sense of making anything possible. ~Joseph Zinker


Look for inspiration in all you see and do: To believe and then truly see inspiration in all things is a gift indeed. Whether you notice the pattern of a leaf, see the texture of bark, watch the wind blow across a corn field, see a work of art in a winding stairwell or hear a song within the subway—look, listen and live the inspiration that is all around you. The textures, the colors, the shimmering beads, the torn magazine pages, the sky, the sand at the beach…inspiration is everywhere!

Take time to explore nature: When you step into nature there is a world of inspiration ready to unfold. Take the time to pick up pinecones, acorns, leaves and see their pattern and textures. Feel the grass, pick up feathers, touch the branches of a tree, watch the water glisten, draw in the sand.

Be inspired by all that is around you and begin to understand your smallness in the infinite & know inspiration and creativity are a gift. Embrace the very thought that you are creative and that you are creating with forces that are bigger than you can imagine. You are creating for many, you are giving of your gifts. Teach your family to feel within and take inspiration from all that is around them.

One fun thing about nature is the magic of possibilities. One thing my daughter and I did was collect little acorns, twigs, small pebbles, leaves, etc and made a special fairy house that she loves and adores. We will always have the treasured memory of finding things in nature and then making something magical.

Family drawing and writing time: I love this idea. Make time each week, or every day to sit down with your family and let go creatively. If someone wants to write or color, or paint…have some time around the table to chat, enjoy colors, look at flowers and create. Give opportunities to explore different mediums of chalks, charcoal, watercolors, calligraphy, ink, colored pencils, crayon, etc.

Family music time: This is fun. Let go. Either turn on some fun tunes and just dance, sing or play funny grooves on the keyboard. Let go!! Shine.

Display your family art pieces: Have a special area to display your art. Whether you pick your best and frame them or you have a special magnetic gallery, a hallway or book. Have a special place to enjoy your art. One thing I love to do is to save up ten of my little ones favorites from the year and then I scan them into my computer and have a special yearly book made with her beautiful art pieces and favorite photos from the year. I write a note of Thanks for her being in my life and for all the beauty and creativity that she shares and I give it to her for Thanksgivig. It is a special tradition with great meaning & it makes giving thanks even more memorable.

Family arts & crafts show: Have a annual or bi-annual family arts and craft show. Have extended family join in the fun and have a show. Make it a occasion with a brunch or goodies. Have all the grandkids share their art and explain the meaning of their piece of art. You could also have a small, personal family show for family night or a special occasion within your home.

Take pictures: This advice is good any time. Taking pictures is good for inspiration, memories, images you want to be creative with, or just want to share with those you love. There is beauty all around and photographs are a good way to capture your inspiration. Just have fun!


Movie night is always a classic fun at our house, so I am including some of our favorites and then a list from a few other sources. Enjoy!!  Some of our favorites:

The Family Man (2000) is a great movie that is about a man who truly learns what is most important .

The Princess Protection Program (Disney 2009) is a great movie that teaches many good morales–kindness, believing in yourself, helping others, being princess like.

The Game Plan, Nancy Drew, Dreamer, Ever After, The Wizards of Waverly Place Movie (adventure), Nim’s Island, Nanny McPhee, The Parent Trap (old and new versions), Ella Enchanted, I could go on and on…The Kid, Freaky Friday, Tangled, and National Treasure Series (gets you thinking and kids interested in American history)…

According to Parents.com their Top 10 Family Movie Classics

1 Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) 2 Ella Enchanted (2004) 3 E.T. (1982) 4 Freaky Fiday (2003)

5 Harry Potter 6 The Sound of Music (1965) 7 Spy Kids (2001)

8 Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) 9 Whale Rider (2003) 10 Wizard of Oz (1939)

An article from Belief.net lists Family Movies that Teach Values

This article lists: It’s A Wonderful Life (teaches responsibility), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (teaches Integrity), A Man for All Seasons (teaches Courage), Babe (teaches Courtesy), Remember the Titans (teaches tolerance), Toy Story 2 (teaches loyalty), Akeelah and the Bee (teaches learning), War Games (teaches Peace), A Little Princess (teaches Helping Others), Holes (teaches Fairness)

According to IMDb they listed the top “Family Titles”. I will list their top 10 1. Up (2009) 2. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) 3. Wall-E (2008) 4. Anand (1971) 5. Some Like it Hot (1959) 6. Safety Last (1923) 7. Vuk (1981) 8. The Cameraman (1928) 9. The Wizard of Oz (1939) 10. The Kid (1921)


Family vacations are a must to create happy family connections and memories. Here is a list according to TravelChannel.com — they listed their top ten family destinations as:

1. Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas    2. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Snowbird, Utah (been here & love it!)    3. Tanque Verde Ranch, Tuscon, Arizona    4. Hilton Waikoloa Village in Hawaii    5. Kingsmill Resort, Williamsburg, Virginia    6. Circus, Circus, Las Vegas, Nevada    7. Out ‘n’ About Treesort, Takilma, Oregon    8. Club Med Ixtapa in Mexico    9. La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, CA    10. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando, Florida

Would love to hear about any of your family favorites. We just went to the Redwoods this past summer with our daughter and her cousin. They loved staying on the ocean (the cool Oregon coast, which can be sunny & then rainy–they loved it) and then visiting the giant Redwood trees. It was a great trip!!

A funny thing about kids is they just want to be together, having family quality time. We take our daughter to Disneyland each year, but when you ask her what her favorite trip is…she will say going to the Canadian Rockies (which it was fall & freezing) and staying in a tiny cabin on Moraine Lake where we had a fire and made a log cabin out of blocks. It is the quality time that really matters most.

No matter what you are doing, planning, or creating with your family, just take the time to incorporate being present and the moments will last a lifetime.

Cheers to your Happy Family.

Your Happily Ever After

Image”We need a witness to our lives.  There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything.  The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day.  You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.  Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”                                          -movie, Shall We Dance

I have always loved this quote because it has such truth, such depth about why our relationships are so important in our lives.  I just had a moment of reflection and thought I would expand on it. A couple days ago I asked my husband of almost 19 years (in a month) what he would say were keys to a happy marriage. It was strange, my mind seemed to jump from the conversation to images that began to whirl in my mind of an article I wrote ten years ago. It was an article on “Keys to a Happy Marriage.” It was my first article to be published and I was truly excited about the happening. I couldn’t believe it, it was surreal and my heart was so high at the thought that my words may touch someone—anyone!!

The very next day after the exciting news, my husband had news of his own, he had been emotionally cheating on me. His words began to run through my mind and I couldn’t believe what was happening. Not my husband!! I would never have imagined in a million years that this was my husband, the father of our year old daughter, the man I had spent every day with for the last ten years. Then it dawned on me, “How could this be happening. I am having an article on marriage published. How could I not know. How could I be so deceived…” My heart broke!  It was broken, hurt, and didn’t trust…for a very long time.

My point in telling this story is how funny life can be, how a very phrase can whirl images of events that bring back a time of heartache, but also a time of growth. Relationships are never perfect, they take time to learn as individuals, to grow as a couple, to build again after something shakes it to the core. I would never have traded that time in my life for anything. I learned so much about my spiritual self, what I needed, and how to begin again.

My husband is an incredible man that I would do anything for, he is truly my best friend and the one I lean on for anything. It took time to re-build trust, to find loving communication, to let go of blame and heartache, but in everything you do there is a give and take, a flow of what life needs you to learn, whether it is about yourself or the one you love, as individuals and as a couple. True love will work to endure, it will find a hope for forgiveness, and a light of understanding. We both have learned a lot through our journey together and would never trade the ups and the downs to where our life is today. You have to take everything that comes with love.

So here are my thoughts on what helps a marriage become your happily ever after…

Don’t take the gift of LOVE for granted: be grateful for the relationship you are in, for the opportunity to grow together, to learn from your other half, to have a best friend, to have someone who builds and believes in you, someone who cares about your needs, someone who is a ‘witness to your life.”

Respect one another: Relationships include two INDIVIDUALS working together…I love this analogy…What is the definition of a True Relationship? If you break down the word Re-la-tion-ship: “Taking a journey on a ship with your partner and learning how to relate to one another.  It is a journey to relate or learn from each other and from everything around you. You are taking this life journey together, creating magic moments and working through the hard or tough times, and most importantly growing stronger together. It is like you are consciously merging to become one—not just getting along–which is what I see a lot of my private clients and couples doing today.    Unfortunately they learn about relationships from their parents. And with the divorce rate at close to 50% for first time marriages and 80% for 2nd marriages, it is not a good thing. They also learn from what they see on TV or in the movies, but unfortunately that is not real. This type of learning is make believe and they go  their whole life looking for something that does not exist. That is why there is so much infidelity. They are trying to find this everlasting so-called love or soul-mate, but have mistaken lust for love–which are two different things. So a relationship is the path where 2 consciousnesses merge. It is the journey on a ship to relate to each other. If you have not built a strong relation-ship, then all you have is a Relation-Canoe, and it will sink like the other 50% already do.  -Dr. Dan

Remember: you are two individuals coming together. You need to learn to love yourself before you can offer your love to another.

Invest in one another: Push one another to stretch, to grow, to try new things, to go beyond comfort. There is nothing like being surrounded by someone who is striving to become better at some area of their life. Whether you want to begin reading a book a month, you want to go on a family walk three times a week, or learn something new at a local community class. You will admire and learn from one another. People striving to become better individuals=better relationship.

Be gentle with one another: Keep in mind people come with baggage, a hard childhood, a broken past, etc. Be gentle and lovingly nurture.  “When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”  -Barbara Bloom

Spirit: Pray, meditate, get grateful, go to church, etc. Find a place where you can both be spiritual. Every relationship is different. You may have different feelings about what religion to be part of or not feel comfortable attending a community church. I have found through our differences that as long as you are both seeking some kind of spirituality, love will shine in. Take the time to pray together and give thanks in all you do. Be an example to your children of hope, faith and gratitude.

Healthy Communication: Just talk. No one can read minds, so it is obvious that we need to share feelings–good and bad. It is all in the approach of the conversation, the ability to truly listen and to try to understand where the other person is coming from. Try to see their point of view and if you can’t grasp it or you get angry with the conversation—take a break, breathe and then come back to the conversation. Nothing good comes from anger or frustration. Do a personal ‘feelings’ check—There are only two TRUE emotions–FEAR (frustration, anger, greed, envy, all the negative emotions stem from fear) and the other emotion is LOVE (all the good emotions stem from a loving place). If you are feeling any emotion that is negative or bad–step back, take a break and come back when you can be clear and willing to lovingly listen.  My husband suggests: Give the other person the benefit of the doubt. People can find anything to fight about if they are looking for a fight or they need to be right. Sometimes it is better to let the other person have their way and be right. Is it worth coming to blows over something trivial?  One last thing…never ASSUME…you will make a ASS out of U and ME!

LAUGH often: When things get really tough, laughter seems to be a great medicine at our house. Have a good stash of comedies or funny movies that will bring you out of a negative state.

Connect: On a physical and emotional level. Emotionally be there for one another, truly listen, have meaningful conversations (and lots of plain fun ones), truly care and want the best for one another, encourage, praise, build, be present, be patient and always think of the other first. On a Physical level have fun together, flirt, text, leave love notes, send a fun pic, let go of all your personal insecurities and explore one another, plan a fun lunch date, do things “just because,” think of the other person in all you do, share spontaneous gifts, and make sure you take the time for special getaways together. This is a MUST!! Time alone is a necessity in any relationship and should be planned at every opportunity. Talk about one another’s needs. This is good communication!

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of the other is essential to your own.” -R. Heinlein

 You both need to work at building a happy relationship. It takes two to make things work. If one is working and the other doesn’t=one sided relationship. There will NOT be a healthy relationship balance.

Date Nights: try to incorporate at least one date night in a week. This is time to touch base, to eat something yummy, to connect as a couple.

Be Present: All you are guaranteed is this moment. Live it it!! Don’t get caught in the past or past experiences or mistakes. Think of it this way–you wouldn’t think of driving down the road only looking in you rear-view mirror. It is one thing to glance back and remember where you have been and what you have learned, but constantly looking back will cause an accident for many involved. The past is over. It is a day that is done. It is a chapter that you do not need to re-read over and over. It is done. Do your best to go forward daily.

FYI–My husbands keys: Great communication in all you do, Do fun things together, and make sure to fit in getaways.

“Mature love comes when each person has grown with the other’s help, and when both know how to give and receive–it’s the lifetime achievement award.”  -Harville Hendrix & Helen Hunt, Receiving Love

Well, that is all that I have right now. This is an endless topic that needs lots of attention, so I will continually write about relationships and how we can continually strive for our Happily Ever Afters. I would love any of your thoughts on this topic. Thanks for reading.

Have a Happy Day! Heather