Create your own Couples Retreat

CoupleHoldHandsBeachIn the spirit of LOVE week I want to offer you some additional ideas on making this week of love special. If you missed my other ideas check back in the archive on creating a couples bucket list, putting a little love in all you do (little ideas to share love & some great connection questions for all the people you love), Valentine ideas for those you love and so much more…I have tried to fill the last couple weeks with lots of LOVE.

Here are some ideas to make tomorrow night memorable…

How to create your own couples retreat

“To LOVE is to place our happiness in the happiness of another.”  -Gottfried Von Leibnitz

To retreat is to step away from the daily noise, to relax into another element of who you are, to look at your life with a new perspective, and to see your world through different lenses. You may approach a retreat with resistence for the time it takes, the questions, the necessary relaxation, but shift your thoughts to wonderment and necessity.

These retreat ideas are meant to bring you together as a couple, to help you reach beyond the daily and replenish your soul. It is time to be quiet, time to think, to communicate, to nurture one another.

Plan your night to include quiet time, a relaxing/fun activity, some yummy food and time for reflection.

Here are some activity ideas:

Create vision boards together (directions for this are in my archive) or write down a fun couples bucket list of activities to try together in the upcoming year.

You could have a night of Q & A to learn more about one another.

You could create a PLAY retreat, where you plan activities that would have you playing from morning to night.

You could create an evening of nothing but relaxation by giving one another a gentle massage or lying together in quiet meditation.

You could create an evening of romance

The activities are endless, but here are some ideas to help you plan a great activity…go on a walk together, practice mindful eating as you enjoy a delicious dinner you create together, write down ten things you appreciate in one another and then go out to dinner and share them over your favorite dessert, have a romantic movie night, take a moment and sway to the music, go to a flea market or thrift store and give each other $5 to buy the best present for the other, go to a wishing well and make wishes for your future together, plan to watch the sunrise/sunset, create a dessert night and make all your favorites, visit a museum or gallery and learn something new, have an evening of milk and cookies by candlelight, have breakfast in bed (morning or night), take the evening and reminisce about special moments like your first kiss, first date, when you met, etc. Take the evening and lay beneath the stars, Say I love you in a foreign language, go golfing with a fun lunch planned on the 9th hole, go to a amusement park and ride the ferris wheel, learn a new game together, cuddle…the ideas are limitless. You just need to plan it together, so both of you have an enjoyable time.

The food: After you plan a fun activity make sure you plan something yummy to eat. Food is a must in any type of retreat, it soothes the soul, it helps you to slow down and savor the moment. You could get take out for two, head to your favorite restaurant, create something from scratch or take a trip together to the store to find the right ingredients of a quiet meal at home. You decide. Are you in the mood for fondu, a picnic in the park, an outdoor bistro or a steak dinner by candlelight. It is your evening together, so take the time to plan something special.

Don’t forget the music. Your retreat should be a time of togetherness, so make sure your music selections (whether your driving in the car or lying by a fire) are in harmony with everyone. Music can break or make the special moments together. Music has a beautiful calming quality, so play it softly and definitely take a moment to pause in each others arms and sway to the quiet melody.

Time for reflection: No matter what you do together take some time at the end of the evening to reflect on the day, the moments that connected you, the close feelings you shared. Express your love to one another and be grateful for the relationship you have. Talk about what you are grateful for and share the things you appreciate most about your life together.

“Love really is the answer. We’re here only to teach love. When we’re doing that, our souls are singing and dancing.”  -Gerald Jampolsky, MD

Best wishes for a beautiful Valentines day. Enjoy those you love. -Heather
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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