Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Envelope Gifts

Look at these colorful envelopes just setting up on the wall!  Surprise your spouse with Envelope Gifts: inside each envelope is a gift card to one of their favorite stores, a love note, a drawing from the kids, money, coupons (back rub, foot rub, favorite dinner/dessert) or whatever else you can fit in there!


I did this for my husband for his birthday week ( five days), and each day he would spin to see if he got to open 1, 2, or 3 envelopes that day.  Almost all the days he got to open 3, since his awesome wife put more 3's than any other number on the spinner ;).  You could just as easily use dice, or less envelopes.  This game creates tons of anticipation, which makes everything more fun, while gift giving! Have fun with this, there are so many directions you can take it!  Inspiration for this gift idea from www.thedatingdivas.com.

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shutterfly Gifts

My awesome friend Robyn, told me about gifts from shutterfly.com, specifically the Videogram.  You can make a videogram that has all your pictures of you and your family or spouse, put music to it, and   give it as a gift all for $4.00-$10.00!  It's such a good deal, and a really nice gift for your loved one that you'll want to keep forever!  My husband did this for me of all our engagement pics, and I loved it!  Shutterfly.com also has a whole list of gift ideas you can do through them that are worth checking out, and they make it so easy!


Photo Mugs
They also make stuff like mugs, desktop plaques, iphone cases, and much more!  Look how cute this looks!
iPhone Cases

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Favorite/Easy Family Dates: Pizza/Movie/Camping

One of our favorite things to do on a Friday night with our family, is order pizza and watch a movie together.  It's so fun to just relax and share time cuddling with our kids on the couch!  Sometimes we do this once a month or even longer in between, so it's super special when we get pizza and redbox a movie!
link for picture here

Another great family date, great for the summer, is to set up your tent in the back yard and camp out! Do everything you would do for regular camping, so roast up hot dogs over a fire pit or bbq, make smores, play outside and look for crazy nature bugs, bring out the hot chocolate at night by the campfire (if you have a pit), bring playing cards and board games in the tent along with stories, and don't forget your flashlights!  I have heard of great success from other families doing this, we tend to only make it out in the tent for a couple of hours and then move everyone back in the house because some of our kids a just too young, but it's another summer and the kids are a little older, so we will try again!  At least we always have fun, up until bedtime!
 link for tent picture here
  

A third option is to combine the two plans into one, which we have done with great success!  We set up our tent in the family room, set out the sleeping bags, ordered pizza, and rented a movie.  The kids thought it was so fun eating pizza in the tent while watching "Smurfs" as a family!  Then we put the younger kids (and ourselves) to bed, and let the older kids sleep in the tent all night inside! Perfect combo.

What variations do you do with movie night, or camping with your family?  What are some of your other favorite family dates?

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Friday, June 8, 2012

Presenting dates for a YEAR!

With Father's Day coming up, I wanted to share a couple of ideas for gifts that you could give your husband if you want to give him something a little creative and memorable.  (They are both alike, and yet have there own unique qualities, so check them both out) This first idea, I did year ago, on Valentines Day, when I enrolled my husband in "The Date of the Month Club".  It was his favorite gift -to this day- and filled with many memories for the both of us.  I found this idea on the Love Actually blog and switched a few things around and made my own homemade version.  Below is a picture from Love Actually that shows you can purchase your own personal digital version from them, to take out a lot more work on your part.  It's only $20 bucks to buy the personalized version, but then you have to print out everything still.


The idea is to enroll your husband in the Date of the Month Club, which means he will receive:

*One creative date (set up by you) per month for a year
*Two vacation getaways within the year (homemade or real getaway destinations-whatever your budget allows)
*Coupon tickets to use anytime throughout the year (examples: breakfast in bed, massages, make his favorite dessert)
*A bag of Hershey kisses, redeemable for the real thing!

So you would choose 12 date options for the year (making sure that at least half are things your spouse likes to do) and then a separate paper with all the months in the year, and he gets to pick which date he wants for each month.  Also come up with coupons your husband will enjoy using.  This is a great way to ensure that you have dates (bonus for you) and gets your husband excited and anticipating dates.  Plus he'll just feel so loved that you put all this effort and thought into him!

Personally, some of things I did in my homemade Date of the Month Kit for my husband were the following:

*Presented the kit in a photo book, and put our picture on the front of it
*Slipped a congratulations letter in the photo slots about how he had been enrolled in the club and explained what to do and what was included in it.(above)
*Some dates I chose were: Pizzeria night, Bowling Date, Game Night, Chinese Date, Tickets to entertainment at the college campus, Spa Night, Chef's delight, Golf Day, Wild West Night, Envelope Date, Trip to the Theater.  Many of these dates can be found on the Love Actually Blog, and others are just things we like to do.
*I included the Hershey kisses, which I enjoyed eating when they were redeemed.
*I included 16 coupons like the examples above.
*I didn't include vacation getaways this time.
*In the rest of the photo book I would put pictures of us on all our dates so that we could always remember the fun time we had.  Sometimes I'd put ticket stubs or invitations that I made for him too.

I just found another awesome idea like this on The Dating Divas blog, in which they were featuring one of their readers who came up this idea of "The Passport to Love" (picture below). They have great printables if you go to their link, and detailed instructions on how to put this gift together.  


The idea is the same, to provide one date a month for the next year, but this time, "traveling" to different locations around the world.  Her ideas for making each location in your own home are amazing and sound fun, and easy! Check it out, it's worth it!  I'm going to have to use this idea sometime soon!  Hope you enjoyed these gifts ideas!

Happy loving, 
Rachelle

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's Just My Nature ~Book Review

It's Just My Nature, written by Carol Tuttle, is a guide to knowing and living your true nature (along with your spouses, and everyone you associate with).  This book helps you identify your primary personality traits, thought processes, body movement, natural gifts, and much much more.

I have always loved and have done many personality tests and quizzes (including the four color groups: red, yellow, blue, and white) just because it fascinates me, but I love this book the most because it goes so much deeper and further than just personality traits.  It really can better help you understand how your or your spouse's mind process gets from A to B, and other things like what might motivate one person and how it differs from another type.  My husband and I have found this information extremely helpful in our marriage, knowing each other better, and knowing that it's okay that the other doesn't move and accomplish things exactly like we think it should be done ourselves.  We are so much more understanding of why certain situations would make us feel certain ways or react differently than the other, and we can "let things go" more easily.

So I would in a heart beat, recommend this book especially for marriages, but also for yourself, or any other relationship that you have with people. OH, and it's helpful with children also, even though it's not really tailored to children, as parents you'd probably be able to figure out their true natures too and have it help with parenting.  I can't stress it enough, read the book, both my husband and I have seen so much valuable knowledge for our marriage from it!  And if you want to borrow mine, I'd be happy to lend it to you!

Here is a link to purchase your own, It's Just My Nature




Happy loving,
Rachelle

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sherlock Holmes ~Date

Back in January, when the second Sherlock Holmes movie came out, I planned a whole weekend date involving Sherlock!  It was wonderful and really exciting to look forward to a whole weekend of things to do together.  On Friday night I gave my husband an invitation that read:

My dearest Watson,
we have come upon yet another case
that needs our attention.
Meet me tonight at 7:00 in our "thinking room".
We must make great haste!  A life depends on it!
But as always...
"It's elementary my dear Watson, elementary"

Sincerely,
Sherlock Holmes

This invite can be found at The Dating Divas blog.  So on Friday, we watched the first Sherlock Holmes movie at home, and thoroughly enjoyed it of course!  Then on Saturday night, we had a friend babysit for us and we went to the theater to watch the second Sherlock Holmes movie, which in my opinion, was equally as good as the first!  It was really great to watch the first movie right before, so we could be reminded of the story that continues into the second movie.

On Sunday, we began playing a Sherlock Holmes game together that we purchased and downloaded from Big Fish Games.  It was a really fun mystery game that ended up taking a few weekends to finish.  The difficulty was medium to hard and required lots of creative thinking.  I love playing these types of games with my husband and it topped off the whole theme for the weekend!

This date was inspired from The Dating Divas website. (link above)

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chinese Date Night


 Any night is a great night with Chinese food right!?  A couple of weeks ago I prepared this Chinese Date for my husband and myself, inspiration coming from the Love Actually blog, and it was great! Fantastic food and cultural entertainment make this date really special!


Prep:
No using table and chairs for this date, bring it to the floor on a rug or mat if you can find one.  Find any and all oriental decor to set the mood for dinner, focusing on red, gold, and black colors.  I found bamboo place mats at Walmart, red napkins and red plate at the Dollar Store, free chopsticks at our local Mandarin Restaurant, and red candles and Chinese decor at Family Dollar.  It is really fun setting up this date and what's even better is that you don't have to spend much money!  Discount stores have plenty of decorating options.



Food:
You can definitely try your hand at cooking your own Chinese cuisine (we used Schwan's frozen food - I love their chicken egg rolls!) or you can make it easier on yourself and just order take out!  Eating together with chopsticks is a must for this date!  And, don't forget fortune cookies,  maybe slipping in your own creative fortune in it to see how the night will turn out!


Entertainment:
After dinner, we watched Kung Fu Panda 2, but any movie set in China would work perfectly, there are tons of options!  After dark it would be so romantic to light a Chinese Wish Lantern and watch it float up in the night sky!  I purchased (here) and surprised my husband with a Wish Lantern for us, but it's pretty windy where we live, and we decided to wait until winter to light it (when there is snow on the ground), since we live by many fields and trees.  Basically it's best to light one up in a huge concrete or dirt area, just in case, so it doesn't start a fire if the wind knocks it over or it malfunctions.  But I hear people do it for weddings and special occasions and I imagine it's beautiful! We are just extra cautious!  Anyway, have fun re-creating this unique date!

 (please use responsibly, and check your local laws regarding the use of these lanterns)

Happy loving,
Rachelle


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Big Fish Games

Big Fish Games has a lot of computer games that you can download within minutes for cheaper than it would be in the store.  I think games are fun to do for date nights, and my husband and I especially like to do a couple of mystery games together throughout the year.  They have medium to hard puzzles and outside the box thinking is required.  (We always choose the "no hint" option to make it challenging)  Plus depending on how much you play it, it takes several weekend nights to solve and for $7.00- 10.00 it gives you plenty to do for a few dates.


 ***These games can be addicting, but I recommend saving it for dates, or at least on the weekends so that you can get the bills paid and laundry done still during the week! :) 


If you are a first timer with these games, you can use the promo code NEW299 (currently going on), and buy your first game for $2.99! (They also have a daily deal for $2.99 everyday)  What a deal!   They also allow you to try any game for one hour to see if you like it.  Sometimes we just download the free trial, so that we for sure stop after one hour and go to bed on time!  Hope you enjoy exploring this site too!  Have you already played big fish games? Do you have any games that you would recommend?

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Monday, April 16, 2012

Western Date Night

Some of you may remember me posting this date on my family blog about year ago.  I was 8 months pregnant then, and this was the first at home, themed date we ever tried.  It was so much fun, and I've been hooked on themed dates ever since!  This post definitely belongs on this blog so I'm re-posting it over here.  Seriously, you've got to try this date!


This date was a fun break from always going to see a movie or going out to eat.  I had a blast preparing for it and we just put the kids to bed so we didn't have to pay for a babysitter!  I spent only $20.00 for it and the biggest purchase was the photo paper I wanted to buy.  Have to give credit for this creative idea: go tohttp://loveactually-blog.blogspot.com/ for this and more ideas.
(again, I'd recommend for married couples)

So first we got dressed up all westerny and took our western photo shoot.  You know how at Knott's Berry Farm and other places you can dress up and take an old fashioned photo like your from the old west?  I always wanted to do that so this is our home-made rendition.



I'm posed next to my wanted poster.  The hats I purchased from D.I. and I was wearing the best outfit I had for the night, a blouse, skirt and boots.  These are just a few the shots we took.




 Dan next to his "wanted" poster.  He looks a little wary with his first western photo shoot, but soon gets into it. :)  It's cheesy, right?!




Dan likes using photo shop, so right after we changed the pics to old western brown colors and printed some out for keepsakes!


And then we framed our favorites for a good laugh to always remember this off beat date together.  These frames were purchased from the dollar store.  I don't decorate my house in western style, so I call these bathroom worthy and have them set up in our bathroom.  I do chuckle every time I see them.


 And what's a good ole western time unless you play a little poker, playing for keeps with homemade poker chips.


Lastly, we visited the Wild West Saloon and Theatre where we snacked on rootbeer, chips, and dips and watched a western, Shanghai Noon, with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson, pretty awesome!  So what can I say, it was definitely different and fun, you might want to try it out!  Go to the blog above for a few more ideas and details for this date and others! 

Happy loving, 
Rachelle

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cold Stone Winner!!!

The winner for the $15.00 Cold Stone Giftcard Giveaway is.........


Katie Ukorebi!!!

Congratulations Katie! I'm so excited for you!  You can email me your address at thehymasfamily@hotmail.com or message me on facebook and I will mail you the gift card right away! Start planning your next ice cream date with your hubby!

Thank you everyone who participated in this giveaway!  I have really loved offering this gift and will be doing a few more this year, so check back!  And, of course I'll be posting more ideas on romantic and fun marriages!  

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cold Stone Giftcard~ Giveaway!!!

***This Giveaway is closed.***  Check back for more giveaways!

Giveaway Time!!!

I feel like ice cream just makes any date special, whether you are curled up watching a movie, needing dessert after dinner, or just going out solely for that creamy goodness!  My favorite place to get ice cream is....Cold Stone!  So that's what this month's giveaway is! 

Win a $15.00 gift card to Cold Stone!

Entry rules are so simple:

1.  Become a member of this blog!
2.  Post about this giveaway on facebook!
3.  Must live in the 48 contiguous United States.
4.  Leave me a comment telling me you've done so, and what your  favorite ice cream flavor is!

This giveaway will close after one week.  Your last chance to enter will be on Monday, April 9th and the winner will be announced here on Tuesday, April 10!  So check back to see if you are a winner!  Good luck!


Happy loving,
Rachelle

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hale Centre Theatre ~Salt Lake City, Ut

Another favorite place we went to on our anniversary trip last year was the Hale Centre Theatre!  It is a great theater experience for an excellent price, $26.00 for adult tickets.  It is done on a round stage so really anywhere you sit, you have a great view of the performance.  The actors are trained to move all about the stage so that you never feel like you can't see. 

We went to see, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and I didn't know this musical at all, but this theater made it so humorous and my husband and I both loved it!  Reasons why I'd recommend seeing a show at this theater:

          *  Excellent actors/energy
          *  Anywhere you sit you have a great view
          *  Very inexpensive for a great quality show
          *  Very humorous scripts

You can check out their 2012 shows and purchase tickets here.  They are currently performing, Zorro the Musical!  I bet it's awesome!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Little America Hotel ~Salt Lake City, Utah

Last year for our 7th anniversary, my husband and I went on a really fun overnight trip in Salt Lake City.  My husband let me pick out everything for the trip (it was definitely filled with elegance) and I discovered some new places that quickly became my favorites, but for this post, I'll just start with the hotel... 

Little America Hotel


We stayed in the beautiful, four star Little America Hotel.  Reasons why I loved the hotel:
         * 4 stars = gorgeous throughout (chandeliers, grand halls, ballrooms)
         *  Luxurious and Classy
         *  Surrounded by classy people and security (which means you don't    have to worry about your car getting broken into; yes, we have had that happen before)
         *  Great hotel specials
         *  Amazing service from staff
         *  Wonderful hotel restaurants

We got on awesome deal on their getaway special which included a night stay in a tower room, a gift basket full of fruits and goodies in our room, a $60.00 credit in their restaurants, and turn down service all for $159.00!   Most four star hotels cost that much or more just for a room! 


For dinner we got dressed up and used our credit in their steakhouse which was a very fun experience.  The staff treated us like we were royalty and waited on us for the slightest thing we might need.  Their food was expensive (who cares, we had credit!) and delicious and when it came time for dessert, I was blown away!  They brought a platter of several fancy desserts to choose from and went in depth explaining about each dessert, we felt like we were on the food network!  Literally, one of them had a sugar sculpture on top of the dessert, just like they create on food shows.

This hotel has other specials currently available that are worth checking out:
Sunrise Buffet Package
Romantic Getaway
and of course the one we got: Getaway Package

I would recommend this romantic hotel in a heartbeat!! It is definitely a favorite and I can't wait to go back!  Have you been to this hotel?  What did you love about it?

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Babysitter Issue

Getting a babysitter for date nights can be a challenge for a number of reasons.  Do your children get anxious and upset if you leave?  Sometimes it seems too expensive if you spend money going out, plus you have to pay a babysitter for staying with your kids.  Or, maybe one or more of you children are really too young to be left with a teen-aged babysitter.  I decided to write down a few ways that help me out with these issues:

1.  Swap free babysitting with your friends or family.  I have done this many times with my other friends in the same situation as me.  I think it is easy enough to watch your friends' kids once a month while they get a night out, and then swap on another night for your chance to get out.  If you want more free babysitting, you can find a couple of friends that want to do this with you, or maybe your siblings and in-laws too!  This is extremely helpful when you have a young baby and you really need another mother that knows how to take care of them well.

2.  At home dates when the kids are in bed.  This works if you have young children that can go to sleep by 8pm.  I do this the most often, and the creative dates I've found for at home are really fun and enriching.  Plus they are really fun to plan!

3.  Spend little to no money while going out.  If you want to get a babysitter, and need to keep the date budget friendly, choose something that is free to do, such as playing Frisbee in the park, or going to a local free event.  Or, getting ice cream or hot chocolate while you spend time talking in a restaurant still gives you time to reconnect without the cost of buying full dinners.  Then, go window shopping and get ideas for upcoming birthdays and such.

4.  A babysitting kit.  Perhaps your children have issues with you leaving them with a babysitter.  Try making a special babysitting kit that can only be brought out if there is a babysitter coming over.  Your child can help you put the bag of games and books together to get them excited and ease the stress of you leaving.  Examples of items you could include in your kit:  play dough, books, games, coloring items, special treats, stickers, alphabet fridge magnets, puppets, movies, and toys. (All these can be found at the dollar store!)

Most of the time it doesn't matter what you do for a date or where you do it, the important thing is that you take a time out with your spouse from the chaos of life and just focus on your love for each other.  It's really important to reconnect with your spouse often, so that's why I think it's beneficial to repeat Love Tip #2 here in this post - it fits perfectly into this topic as well!  You can see where I've used it before here.

Love Tip #2: "Date Frequently. You and your spouse need time together to renew your relationship. New perspectives come with time away from the mundane. That means dating is essential. If you have children but few resources, look for creative ways to go on dates. ...Above all, recognize that a babysitter is cheaper than a divorce."
(Ensign, January 2012, What Happily Married Couples Do, pg. 13)

Do you have more tips when it comes to getting babysitters for your dates?  What other issues do you come across for date nights?  Please share, I would love to hear about them!!!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Twister...

 ....bed sheets.  I saw this idea on The Dating Divas blog.  I'm sure any husband would love this gift...nuff said.

twister 2
(Make your own, or purchase here)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Family Zoo Date

I originally saw this idea posted on the Love Actually blog you can check out here, and I've also made some tweeks when I did it with my family.  In the winter time our zoo is not open, so we had a fun time bringing a zoo filled evening to our house!

First, we colored zoo animal coloring pages:
                           lion color page, tiger color page, plate, coloring sheet,printable coloring picture

(zoo coloring pages, animal coloring pages)

Second, we watched funny and cute animal clips on you tube. These can get you started: smart bird, baby pandas, elephant slipping.

If we had time, we would have gone to this site where they have information videos that teach you facts about the animals at the San Diego zoo.

Lastly, we watched a movie, The Zoo Keeper, as a family and really enjoyed it.
Other movie ideas:
Madagascar 1 or 2. ( I love the second one!)
The Wild

 We also had "zoo snacks" to munch on during the movie.  We had animal crackers, gummy bears, and peanuts. The kids thought that it was an amazing night and it's so nice to do special dates as a whole family every once in a while!  Try this out soon with your family!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gift list

Do you find it hard to know what your spouse wants for their birthday or Christmas and such?  Do you wish that your spouse would read your mind about what you would like for your anniversary or Valentine's Day?  No matter how much we think our spouse should know us, none of us are mind readers...so let's make gift giving and receiving even easier and better this year! 

How about each of you keep a list somewhere safe in the house, that you can write down the things you would love to receive for such occasions.  Throughout the year, when you think of something you need or want, just write it on the list, and when your spouse needs a hint of what to get you, they'll know where to look, and vice-versa.  You can do this with a lot of creativity (ex. make cute boxes to store ideas or pictures) or simply write a list, but either way, it's super helpful if you add details of where to get an item or how much it is, to give your spouse a better idea.  If your spouse doesn't really get into keeping up their wish list, it's still beneficial to keep one for them.  Notice what they say is cool or get excited for and write it down, so that by Christmas time, you will have an easier time recalling the things they like.

I am pretty particular in what I like receiving, and so I often just ask for money so that I can pick things I like.  But I kinda like my husband to surprise me too sometimes.  It makes me feel like I was thought of.  So if I make a list for my husband of all the options I would love, I still get surprised on the things he actually picks from off the list!  Win - win.

And, because I've listened, no matter how much I want to buy my husband more ties (I love ties, they are one of the only accessories for men), my husband does not want to receive one from me, for his birthday!  I...must...resist...the...urge!  But it's really helpful to me to know what type of camera my husband wants and have it written down, so that if we should ever have the money for it, I can surprise him, and get it right!

I really hope this helps, so that gift giving can be fun and special during those exciting times throughout the year that you celebrate your love and appreciation!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ultimate March Madness Date

I cannot wait to have this date with my husband next week when the March Madness games begin!  If you already watch sports games with your husband, he thinks you are cool, but if you add in the details for this date he will think you AWESOME!  (My husband is going to think I'm really awesome, since I don't normally sit and watch sport games with him on TV.)

Preparations:
1. Ask your husband which game he is most excited about during March Madness which he wants you to watch with him.  Tell him you two will have a date watching that game together. (He will love that alone!)

2.  Find appropriate attire.  If  two you have sports jerseys you could wear that for the date, or you could make your own March Madness shirts to wear like I did.

I bought Fabric Transfer paper and printed designs on them, then ironed it on the shirts.  Transfer paper is $8.50 at Walmart for 6 sheets.  Below is to show the free designs we created for you to use.



 


Here are the links to the free designs: Blue optionPurple optionOrange optionPink option. (**NOTE: They are all ready to print and will show up mirrored, so that when you iron them on the shirt they will read correctly.)  Just make sure to print with the best quality your printer can do.

3.  Gather some yummy concession snacks to eat throughout the game (soda, nachos, candy) and make him "pay" for the food with kisses, compliments, flexed muscles, and whatever else you like.  Throw in as many decorations as you would like to create the game atmosphere.


4. After the game is over, play your own one-on-one game of "Around the World".  You can find directions of how to play here.  You probably have, or could buy those little nerf hoop and ball sets (which men still love because it's nostalgic from their childhood) that hang over the door.  I bought mine off of Amazon.com because ours broke over the years. 
Nerf Basketball Hoop - Nerfoop

Before the date, print off and cut out these game prize cards, and you and your spouse can fill out what prize you get if you are the winner of your "Around the World" game! (Example: massage, foot rub, ice cream run) Also, remember that the original format of the prize cards will correct itself when you download.

5. Optional:  If you would like, you could say that each time your team makes a shot, you kiss each other.  If you are rooting for different teams that's a whole lot of love!  But get into the game and pay attention to it the whole time!  Your husband will love having you cheer and get just as into the game as he does!  This date is sure to score points with your loved one!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

March Madness Pick'em! ~Group Date

Every year my husband and I fill out March Madness brackets to guess which college basketball team will come out on top!  To add a little more fun into the whole month, why not try competing as couples, against family or friends, to see who scores the highest points with their brackets!? You might even want to watch a few games together taking turns at different houses with your participating group to really get into it!  Then, after it's over, go out to dinner and the winning couple gets to have their dinner paid for by the rest of the competing group!  Brackets will need to be filled out after selection Sunday (March 11th) and before March 15th, so get ready for it!  Set up your brackets here

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pot o' Gold ~Date

With March settling in, it got me thinking about Saint Patrick's Day!  If you are wanting to celebrate a little differently this year try this Pot o' Gold date...a hunt to find your leprechaun gold at the end of the rainbow (with surprises along the way)!

This is how it works.  Each clue that you give your spouse will lead them to a location in your house, and they will find a little holiday surprise along with the next clue.  At the end of the hunt, you two can enjoy the pot of gold (popcorn and other treats) you found, and watch the movie, "Fools Gold", with Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.
 Preparations:
1. Get some type of leprechaun attire for the two of you to hunt for your gold in.  The Dollar Tree has awesome hats and you can find lots of other cool items in just about any store right now.

2.  Print out the date invite and clue#1, clue#2 and clue#3, clue#4 and clue#5, and clue#6.  (Click File, download, and  print)  Remember, the font and text spacing will correct itself once you download.  I'm new at this, and working out the kinks.  Below is the example of the invite for your spouse.
4. Next you will need to put the clues where they go, along with a little surprise with each one.  After giving your spouse the invite, hand him/her clue#1 which will lead to the pantry.  The surprise in the pantry could be this cute jar filled with gold coins, miniature Reese's peanut butter cups, or Hershey's gold nuggets.  Found this idea here.
 Lucky_pail_2
Clue #2 should also be in the pantry and it will lead you to your spouse's shoes which you could fill like this:

(idea from Love Actually)
Clue#3 then leads you to the car, where they might find a bag full of Rolos waiting for them.
(Idea from Love Actually)




Clue#4 leads to the refrigerator which could contain "Irish Pub Mugs", and Root Beer or Cream Soda.  I found these glasses at the dollar store just a few days ago and my husband thinks they are awesome!


Clue#5 leads to the microwave which should contain your popcorn, I mean pot o' gold!  And clue#6 leads you to the couch to watch your movie with all your snacks!

A couple other ideas for surprises you could use on this date:
(found at loveactually-blog.blogspot.com)

If you want a cheaper route, you could just leave a few Rolos or Reese's at each location with the next clue.  Or you could give clover coupons and write down on a clover what the coupon is good for!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Importance of Dating

I think often in marriages, women still want to court their husbands by going on dates and do fun things like they did before the marriage, but men don't think it's necessary-they already did that, and now that you are married, it's not required.  Or perhaps the issue is that you both want to go out, but don't have the extra money or time to do so.  The truth is, dates are not meant just to do fun things or meant to put a strain on the budget.  Dating is a specific time where you let the troubles of the world go, put everything else on hold, and focus on your love with your spouse.  It's nurturing your marriage, just as if you were going to feed your children breakfast in the morning, your marriage needs to be fed too!

This is especially important if you have children, if you are both going to school, both working, have a home to keep up, schedule way too much in a week, all of the above, or basically live in this day and age.  Because we live in a time period where we think it's normal to take on way more in life (and do it faster and better) than ever in the history of mankind, we usually exhaust ourselves and barely leave time to recuperate.  That leads to zoning out in front of the TV or computer at night, and being too tired to actually interact with our dear loved one for maybe weeks on end!  Maybe this is just me and my life, but I have a suspicion that this could be a universal problem!?!? 

That is why planning a time where you re-connect with your spouse is so important; so that LIFE doesn't over take you.  What happens when you don't nourish a flower with sun, water, and soil?  The flower dies.  When we let life get in the way of nourishing our marriages, they too will wither into nothing.  However, if you regularly care and give attention to your marriage, at any state that it is in, it will grow bigger and more beautiful than ever!!!

Dates are one way to provide opportunities to spend time with your loved one,  to continue to get to know (understand)  them, and allows you to enjoy life together.  Being reminded of why you fell in love in the first place over and over again, through dates, sounds delightful to me!  Who wouldn't want that?

Now, dates are not just defined as going out and spending money together.  As you will see in this blog, many dates I will post about are simply staying home, spending little to no money, but most importantly, focusing on each other.  What a date meant to us as newlyweds, was getting a Jamba Juice and $5.00 pizza to share at the end of the week, and we looked forward to it!  We didn't always have money for that either, and so we have played many card games throughout the years (which we still like to do).  Now, I am thoroughly enjoying discovering new creative dates, that provide new experiences and conversations!  Love tip #2 comes from Douglas Brinley featured in the Ensign magazine, January 2012 issue and I have been loving this lately!

Love Tip #2:  "Date Frequently.  You and your spouse need time together to renew your relationship.  New perspectives come with time away from the mundane.  That means dating is essential.  If you have children but few resources, look for creative ways to go on dates. ...Above all, recognize that a babysitter is cheaper than a divorce."
 (Ensign, January 2012, What Happily Married Couples Do, pg. 13)

What have you learned about dating in your marriage?

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Progressive Dinner ~Date

Since it's still the month of February, I was thinking about what other Valentine's dates I've experienced in the past.  I remember last year really stuck out to me because a group of my friends and I did a Progressive Dinner with our spouses and it was a hit!  I've also heard of families doing this as a tradition for Thanksgiving, but it is fun anytime of the year! 

A Progressive Dinner is done at a number of houses in one night, with the first house usually hosting an array of appetizers, the second house with a main course, and a third house with desserts.  When I did it with my friends, we had four houses hosting appetizers, salads, main course, and desserts.  We ended the night playing "minute to win it" games and it was a blast, and complete with humorous prizes for all the couples!  The food was amazing; just be sure not to fill up at the first house!  The entire evening lasted for about 4 hours I think, maybe longer, and I would definitely do it again! 

Minute to win it games are great for a group, I've even heard of them been done at baby showers.  If you would like to do minute to win it games at your next event, here is the link to the nbc show website with how-tos on every game: Minute to win it list .

I love food, so a Progressive Dinner is something I really enjoy with lots of food and great company!  I hope you enjoy this date too!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Elegance in White.~Date

For Elegance in White, it's all about the mood.  You will be sharing delicious white treats in a breathtaking white atmosphere.  This date is one that you can do at home when the kids are in bed, if you don't have much time, or if you want to tack it on at the end of another date when you get home.  This also might be good for your anniversary, as white can reflect memories of your wedding. 

Preparations/decor:  The idea is to set up a location in your house before hand with white luxurious sourroundings.  Some ideas include: white candles (putting them on mirror candleholders creates a very romantic effect), white rose petals, sheer white curtains, white table cloth, white canopy (if your location is the bedroom), white flowers, pillows, ribbon, and/or gather any white decor you already have in the house as well!  If you go to the dollar store or Walmart and look in the wedding section you'll find these and other great white decor ideas for cheap.  Black and white photos of you and your spouse would be beautiful too!  Below is a vision picture of what you could create that I found on pinterest.  If you follow me on pinterest, I've collected some more beautiful decor ideas for this date there.

(original link for this picture here )

Preparations/food:  Then, you'll want to prepare or buy white lavish food such as cheesecake, white chocolate, white truffles, white cake (re-inventing your wedding cake), white chocolate covered oreos, sugar cookies, lemon bars with powder sugar on top, powdered doughnuts, and/or double berry cheesecake ice cream (Albertson's brand) for the date.  If you really love white chocolate and have a chocolate fountain, you could get an assortment of food to dip into the flowing chocolate too.  Also, I recomend getting sparkling cider or another variety that they have (I used sparkling cranberry), and serving it in glass champagne glasses for your beverage.
Make sure you have on white attire as well.


(Ignore the bites already taken out of the cheesecake!)

Yummy Recipes:
Oreo Truffles (except using white chocolate coating)
Mini Cheesecakes
Creamy Lemon Bars

Be sure to download one of these special invitation options: invite#1, invite#2, invite#3  Once you download the font will change to a pretty cursive.  For some reason these invites didn't keep the original cursive font when I uploaded them.
 (Click on file, click download original, enter in specific info, print)

Set all these things up prior to the date so when the time comes, you can savor and enjoy Elegance in White with your loved one for a complete luxurious experience!

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Friday, February 17, 2012

OOOh baby you know what I like!!!-Date

***NEW GROUP AND SPOUSE INVITATIONS ADDED TO AT THE BOTTOM (available to download)

Wow, my husband is so clever.  He came up with this catchy date name, and what can I say, I like it! You can  make this either a group date or a couple date depending on what you want.

This date is all about making choices for your spouse and is sure to spark conversation about what you already know about each other and what you still have to learn!

1.  Pick out the outfits.  Each person picks out what they think their spouse's favorite outfit is to wear on the date.
2. Go out for dinner and order for each other.  Choose everything for your spouse and vice versa, including drinks, meals, and desserts. (If you are out with a group (and have friends like mine), can you just imagine the conversations that will spring up about each other?)
3. Play the Newly Wed Game.  After dinner, return home and play this lively game with friends or as a couple.  This game is fun whether you are newly weds or been married for a while. Instructions:  Take turns asking either husband or wives  a question, and they have to predict what they think their spouse's answer would be.  And example question for husbands could be, "How many pairs of shoes does your wife own?".  A good way to keep track of this is to have both partners write down their answer on paper so they can't change it.  To find which questions you want to use, go to these helpful links here and here. If you are playing with a group, this can be really funny and you could pick up some gag gifts at the dollar store for the winners!  If you are playing as a couple, write down a service prize that your spouse can do for you if you win, or what you will do for them if they win (30 min. back massage, foot rub, husband makes dinner, day without changing diapers, etc).  Trust me, incentives make games more competitive and fun!
 Optional:
 I've learned that surprises make everything more fun on a date, so if you want, you could just tell your spouse that you have a date planned on Friday at 6pm and lay the details on him that night.  Also, going the extra effort to make invitations to give to your spouse or friends, starts anticipation for the date and that's sometimes half the fun...and makes the fun last longer around any memorable date.  Here are some free download invitations that we created.  (Group Date Invitation) (Spouse Invite) After clicking the link, go to file and then click download original.  From there you can add information for your date and print.

 So there it is, all through this date you have learned so much about your loved one, or proved you know them best and it can be a very enriching night!

If you try this, or have any additional ideas for this date, comment and let me know! 

Happy loving,
Rachelle

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Welcome Friends!!!

Welcome to my new blog, Live Romantique!  The word Romantique is to suggest the art of romance, or loving someone.  I am very excited to have a place to store my many ideas and discoveries that adds fun and romance into my own marriage and hopefully to yours too!  My vision for this blog is to include all things from date ideas, gifts, romantic destinations, food for thought, and basically anything that I find of value for strengthening and maintaining happy (totally fun) marriages!

AND SINCE IT'S VALENTINE'S DAY.....
I first wanted to thank the most important person in my life for loving me and continually striving to make each day better, my husband, you sincerely amaze me!  This Valentine's he gave me many gifts I didn't expect and that I of course adored.  But what I appreciated the most was how he took care of me and our family this past weekend while I was sick along with the two youngest children.  He had planned a Valentine's date for us this weekend and I was of course dissapointed that I didn't feel well enough to keep our plans.  He cheerfully went to the store to pick up things for the sick kids, and came home with surprises for all of us.



A dozen roses, chocolate bar, and a red (my favorite color) crockpot for me.  We needed a bigger crockpot, but seriously, he scored points because he bought the red one.  It's so pretty!  Weird that it brings me happiness, but I love that he knows me!  And the kids got new coloring books and sweetheart candy (Dollar Store).  He also borrowed some movies for us to watch over the weekend.  Despite being sick, this turned out to be a fabulous weekend seeing just how loved I am.  My husband did laundry, at least 5 loads of dishes, cooked the meals, cleaned up vomit from children, helped me get up with the sick baby at night, made cookies, painted our daughter's nails when she requested it, let me take a 3 hour nap, and continued to ask what he could do in advance to help make my Monday easier if I was still feeling sick!  When our house could have so easily been turned upside down, I was shocked to see the kitchen sparkling clean Sunday night and the beautiful roses on the table, and I thought, I am so very lucky to be loved by my husband!!!

 A lot of these things aren't really out of the ordinary for my husband to do for me and the family, but I was grateful that my eyes were opened to see that these things were his way of showing his love and concern.
  Love Tip #1:  Open your eyes and discover the way your spouse shows their love for you daily! 


Happy loving,
Rachelle