Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Alternatives to Chocolate

Are you kidding, you might be thinking? Well, yes....I'm not suggesting you eliminate chocolate from your life. I've just been doing some thinking about Valentine's Day and the expressions of love we give to those around us. It's easy to get in a rut and do the same thing each year when February 14 rolls around. Although moms may relish an evening of fine dining without the children, those of you who enjoy new and creative ways to celebrate, may be wondering what your beloved has in mind for 2009's festivity. This year the 14th falls on a Saturday which gives you a wider range of time to celebrate rather than having to cram your fun into a busy weeknight.

For those who may be stressing over what to do, (you have a few days left!) there are many ideas out there. We've all got talents and hobbies. You'll be surprised what you can come up with. Are you musical? artistic, athletic, even engineering-minded? Don't discount your giftedness....it can lead to the best ideas ever.

Valentines Day isn't just for couples. You can make it a family event. Children are so energized by surprises and creativity when it comes to giving to others. Make use of your child's fun-loving spirit and tap into their ideas if you are wanting to include them in the celebration. You can make valentines, cookies, a special dessert (or take them with you to buy it if you are short on time) and include the kids in that.

Have the kids help you write a poem. With a little inspiration you might be surprised what you can come up with. You can even add music and sing it. If the kids want to dress up, go for it!

Make a list of a few people you know who are alone this year on Valentine's Day. What could you do for them to bring a smile to their faces? The joy of giving is hard to top.

Having been married 38 years, my husband and I are always looking for ways to add some creativity and new ideas to our relationship. Both our children are recently married and live several hours from us, so its just the two of us.

I have to say that I have enjoyed the dinners and the flowers I've received over the years. But this year we are planning something different for our celebration.

Being that we are now living on California's Central Coast, we decided we'd spend Saturday, the 14th, together with an opened-ended day. We're starting out by heading 20 miles north to a restaurant located in a scenic spot for a mid-late morning breakfast. We're dressing casual because there are some great walks in this area. You can hike trails which take you through hillsides or down to the water's edge. Tidepools abound so watersocks will be in order. Because we have a Jeep Wrangler we can explore some new territory in the hills. I'm looking forward to seeing things I haven't seen before. We're skipping the fine dining in a restaurant for this year, but will celebrate in some other unique environments, I think.

What activities are in your area you have never checked out before? You know they exist but have been too busy to stop and experience them. Saturday, the 14th, may be the time.

Whatever you do, enjoy the opportunity to do something nice with those you love. They are your greatest treasure. And you can even include a little chocolate in some ingenius way!

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