Create a signature cocktail. Have fun experimenting with ingredients such as lavender, rosemary and mint. (look around on the internet for inspiration)
Date nights that are cheap or free:
Embrace the great outdoors by going on a hike or stroll along the beach, river, or local nature spot.
Wash each others cars together while blasting your favorite tunes. (if it’s warm enough, add a little water fight too!)
There is nothing more romantic than cooking a meal together. Do everything as a team, from choosing the dinner, grocery shopping, prepping and cooking.
Pamper your significant other. Example: Let them watch their favorite t.v. , play video games, eat their favorite bad foods, GUILT FREE, while you make them food, always have a cold drink for them, do a few of their chores, give a little foot rub…you get the idea.
Garage sale or flea market date. Designate $10 and have fun searching for a gift for one another.
Follow a local food truck to have some gourmet grub on a budget.
Pay it forward together. This might be the most bonding date. (tidy your elderly neighbors yard, babysit for a single parent, deliver a surprise dinner to someone sick or depressed, have a fund raiser such as a garage sale for someone in need, volunteer locally such as a beach clean up, help friends have their emergency kits together, I could go on and on…)
Attend a free concert in the park or movie in your local community. (usually a summer activity)
DIY spa day. Create a spa atmosphere with soothing music, water with cucumbers and lemon, low lighting, favorite candle scent…and give each other scalp, hand, foot or neck massages. If you have a tub, draw a nice bubble bath for the other with a tray of a few of their favorite things. (book, bubbly, soaps) Throw a towel in the drier so it’s nice and warm for them when they get out.
Game night, such as chess or scrabble.
Get some household chore done, such working in the yard. It might not be the most romantic date, but you will get something accomplished TOGETHER. Make it enjoyable by taking a break and having some cold beer and chips/salsa together.
I think these suggestions should keep you busy for a while. Please feel free to share your ideas in my comment section to share with everyone!! I’d really appreciate your creative input.
I am going to show you how to put together an entire year of dates. This is a unique idea you can arrange for your significant other or as a gift for that couple who has everything. I came up with this idea for my sister’s 20th wedding anniversary. To get a quick idea of how this works, click here to read the letter they were given. Remember you can customize this idea to fit your needs. Perhaps a year is too ambitious or expensive for you. You can alter this idea for 3, 6 or 9 months very easily. I accomplished this by using a scrapbook that had “dates” in envelopes inside the pages. For their last date they would get to compile their “year of dates” memories and photos.
Items you will need to assemble your date scrapbook:
Scrapbook or photo album. (with enough pages for each date)
Shipping tags (2 3/4 x 1 3/8 is the size I used)
Large envelopes. (enough for one per date and an extra one for the memorabilia at the end of the book)
Tiny envelopes that will hold your “date topic”. (enough for one per date)
Printer and 8 1/2 X 11 paper.
Optional items: fun scissors for paper edges, stickers, etc… (see photos)
(click on photos to make them larger to see details)
What you need to do:
Create a budget.
Make a list of date ideas you have. Ask yourself what their hobbies, likes and dislikes are. One date might be fancy and the next casual. (and even free) Think ahead and take seasons and weather into account when planning as well. You wouldn’t want to give them a date to snowboard in June or an outdoor picnic in December.
Purchase the gift certificates, gather any “date” specific items you may need (ex: map to a secret picnic spot) and money envelope
Write your “date night topics” in WORD (or whatever program you use). Print them out, cut and stick them in the tiny envelopes. (see photo for example below)
Print maps, directions, menus, etc… that you will need for the dates. You can provide suggestions in addition to the main date. For example, if they were going to the Kings Hockey game for their date, you could give them a list of cool restaurants nearby with links to reviews, prices and menus. I took screen shots to help me provide more information and cool photos.
Create the finishing touches for each date and put them in their individual envelopes. Be sure they are labeled.
You need to include a cover letter explaining the gift and how it works. Here is a sample of the letter I included for my sister’s gift of “dates for a year”.SAMPLE LETTER
This idea can be used for almost any recipient whether single or married.
Remember it’s the small details that make a difference. For example, I photo-shopped my sister’s face into the Date Night movie poster for the cover of the scrap book. This worked out perfectly and was very custom since it’s about date nights and my bro-in- law happens to look like Steve Carell.
If you need to stretch the budget, add some no cost dates in the mix. It’s more about making them take the time to relax.
Here is my latest idea on how to gift money other than stuffing an envelope with a check or cash. My co-worker was moving away (sob, sob) and it wasn’t practical to burden her with more “stuff” to have to move. There was no doubt in my mind money would be the best gift. I like to add a little whimsy when gifting dough. Since my co-worker is a serious chocoholic and moving away to college, I came up with the shadow box idea.
Supplies you will need:
shadow box (can be found at most stores that carry frames such as Michaels, Target, etc…)
chocolate or choice of treat your recipient would like
small envelope to hold money
four coins (pennies matched my decore best)
paper to print “In Case Of Emergency Break Glass”
safety glasses (can be found at Home Depot for a few bucks)
What to do:
Hot glue your coins onto the envelope that you put your money in.
Print out the “In Case Of Emergency Break Glass” onto your paper of choice, then cut it to fit the frame size.
Hot glue your envelope and your chocolate bar onto the print out.
Assemble inside the shadow box. From the back side I hot glued the frame shut so that she really would have to smash it open to get to the goods!
I’ve written a lot of posts on how to “gift money”. This is my latest idea with a sweet twist to it. Start by getting a box of See’s (or your favorite) chocolates. Go to a store like Cost Plus that has novelty candies. Find any money themed chocolates to add to your box. I purchased gold coins and chocolate dollar bars. As you can see how I did it in the above photo, randomly put the money chocolates with the See’s candies and then of course add the real money. This is a simple, but thoughtful way to gift money for all occasions. I created this one for a graduation celebration.
On the card you can add a fun quote like, “Life is like a box of chocolates…” finish the quote with something appropriate for the occasion.
Recently, my sister asked me to come up with a creative idea for guests to sign my nephew’s graduation party book. In addition, I was also in charge of the photo gallery. I thought the obvious thing to do was have everyone sign a guitar (the party theme was music / The Beatles), and also have a photo collage, but that just felt too predictable and lazy. It seems like when I have a deadline, ideas never come, but when I have nothing going on, the ideas flow endlessly. Anyway, I was having a serious case of creativity block, and even looking at Pinterest while drinking wine wasn’t helping. Fortunately for me, my genius son (yes, I’m one of those moms) came up with a brilliant idea! He said to combine the photo album with the sign-in book using thought bubbles. How perfect! Not only did it meet my sisters criteria, but it was whimsical and fun! It ended up turning out great, and it was also a good way for the diverse guests to mingle with one another as they had fun reminiscing over old photos and trying to come up with clever comments. I’m happy to report it was a huge success!
Here are the basic steps:
Gather all the photos you want to use into an album on your computer (I personally use iPhoto)
Create thought and speech bubbles in Photoshop or similar program
Then place thought bubbles on your selected photos in Photoshop
Finally, I used Blurb to create my photo album (Blurb is more economical than iPhoto books, but a little more complicated if you’re a rookie)
In order to do it my way, you need to know how to use Photoshop or have access to someone who can help you. It’s very simple if you do. Otherwise, you can create the same type of album but you will either have to hand write the thought & speech bubbles, use a stencil or stickers.
I left several pages at the end of the photo album for more autographs. I titled each page differently as you can see in the photos.
I couldn’t decide what should be on the back cover, if anything. Then it hit me, a photograph of the back of my nephew! Think outside the box…it’s fun!
I used a photograph of my nephews party invitation as the cover for the guest album. I also mixed in many photographs without thought or speech bubbles throughout the album. (as seen in photos at top of article) I will be honest, this isn’t a project you whip out in a few hours. It does take some careful planning when gathering photos, Photoshop work, and putting it all together. However, if you’re looking for a one of a kind unique gift or keepsake, this is a sure winner that anyone will appreciate for many years to come. I hope this guest book idea whets your appetite to create an unforgettable guest book for your next special occasion.