Sweet Escape: Valentine’s Day

Wishing you and your honey were heading to a quaint B&B for Valentine’s Day? Dreaming of boarding a plane to Paris for a romantic getaway? Needing a day of relaxation and pampering at a spa?

Yeah, me too, but with young kids at home we often only dream about those kinds of experiences. Real life is usually not that romantic or dreamy. If you have kids at home or a shortage of funds (or both), any dream of a real escape this Valentine’s Day will likely result in disappointment (or will at least require a lowering of expectations!)

Finding contentment and creative solutions in the life we have is part of finding beauty everyday. We can’t all pack our bags and head off on romantic getaways, but if we rev up our creativity, Valentine’s Day can be anything we imagine it to be!

I’ve always been a romantic at heart. Many years ago, with two young girls under foot, no money to spend and Valentine’s Day looming, I had to get creative in order to have my heart-shaped cake and eat it too. There would be no date night with my beloved out on the town—that was quite evident.

So, being a determined young woman with a fanciful imagination, I rummaged around the house gathering up anything I could find that said ROMANCE. Picture the ambience I whipped up that night: Twinkling lights. Votive candles. Soft music. A small round table
covered in lace pulled up to the fireplace and two chairs nestled side by side, draped with tulle and ribbon. I put the kids to bed, added a package of pudding, some pound cake, fruit and whipped cream to a fancy bowl and voila! I had a romantic date!

Who says a date night has to involve consuming big bucks in a crowded restaurant? Why do we torture ourselves into thinking romance has to include over-priced handpicked chocolates, $100 worth of roses or glittering heart-shaped diamonds? Why not make the best of what we have–a roof over our head and a little ingenuity–to create a memorable evening for any occasion.

A home shouldn’t just be a place to store our things. Our homes provide an opportunity to create the life we really want. Everyday life might not seem romantic, but it is all in the perspective. Life doesn’t always hand us our dreams on a silver platter, but with a little creative energy we can imagine life to be just about anything we want it to be. Work with what you have to create your dreams under your own roof. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

Craving a vacation? How about a little Parisian rendezvous after the kids go to bed? The library has wonderful travel CDs you can check out to see thesplendor of just about any travel destination. Dim the lights, butter up some croissants, whip up some instant cappuccino and you’ll never know you didn’t spend the night in Paris. Well, at least it will be a close second to the real thing!

Need a day at the spa?  While your girlfriend’s husband might plunk down a fortune for her to be pampered on Valentine’s Day, you can feel like a queen in your own home.  Gather up a fluffy towel, a good book, bubble bath and a cup of tea, lock the kids out of the bathroom, dim the lights (so you won’t notice the dingy tile!) and fill up that bathtub to soothe your cares away.

Want a little adventure in dining? How about a progressive dinner in your own home? Try some new recipes (or order takeout!) and create a different restaurant in several rooms of your house!  Have appetizers in the living room, dinner in the bedroom and dessert in the den. Play different kinds of music in each room to create the perfect ambience!

Dreaming of a night at a quaint bed and breakfast inn? Set the stage for an overnight getaway in your own private B&B! It’s the little details that willmake this special. Write out a description of your charming hotel, where it is located and its amenities. This will really set the stage for picturing your ultimate getaway. Give the B&B a name, label the bedroom door, wrap up some chocolates for the bed, put a small bouquet in the bathroom and have a tray set up with tasty delicacies for nibbling. If you really want to feel like you got away for the night, set up a guest room somewhere else in the house! Don’t forget to be prepared for the morning breakfast — cinnamon rolls and coffee at a quaint corner table!

Need a little sunshine to escape a cloudy day?  How about wearing sunglasses in your bathing suit sipping tropical punch through a tiny straw in a glass with paper umbrellas? Ok, well, maybe I am getting a little carried away here, but you get the idea. This is all about creating an experience, and sometimes you just have to use your imagination! Creating and using your imagination is half the fun of life. We just forget to try it sometimes.

Unrealistic expectations of what holidays, dates, birthdays and even everyday life should look like can leave us feeling deprived or lacking. Even our own friends’ ability to live the high life while we are just struggling to get by can be a bit depressing.

But with a change in attitude and mindset, a focus on the blessings that God has given us, and a dose of creativity and fun, our lives can be every bit as rich and fulfilling as our neighbors’ who can just hop on a plane to spend Valentine’s Day in a romantic restaurant 3,000 miles away. Create a place that nurtures your spirit, rekindles your love, and renews your energy right under your own roof.

That is a fairytale life! I can’t think of anything more romantic than that.

originally shared with CWO

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Comments

  1. Your writings are always so inspiring! Have a great day!

  2. Thank you for this Melissa. So much of enjoying a holiday is how we decide to participate. We can create wonder and fun without spending a dime or getting on an airplane. It’s fun to exercise an imagination!!

  3. (deep sigh) I just love this month….the holiday that is filled with such sweetness that takes us through the dreary months of winter into the warm arms of spring! Now for a bit of that chocolate goodness :) thank you Melissa..
    julia

  4. My mind is racing with ideas! Thanks for the suggestions here and at CWO. We’ve already decided to eat our Valentines’ dinner like a picnic outside on our land.

  5. Emily-Sarah says:

    I read the link, and to quote you, “[W]ith a change in attitude and mindset, a focus on the blessings that God has given us, and a dose of creativity and fun, our lives can be every bit as rich and fulfilling as our neighbors’ who can just hop on a plane to spend Valentine’s Day in a romantic restaurant 3,000 miles away. Create a place that nurtures your spirit, rekindles your love, and renews your energy right under your own roof. That is a fairytale life!” This is so true — and NOT in a lower your expectations or this is reality so accept it, kind of way. Thank you for the needed reminder, Melissa! Indeed, if we’re more deliberate and proactive in what we do (and the thoughts surrounding our actions), aren’t we doubly blessed?!

  6. …my favorite love poem…”him that i love i wish to be free, free even from me” anne morrow lindbergh

  7. hookedonhouses says:

    Melissa–
    I really enjoyed your articles on CWO. Your writing is so refreshing. Thanks! -Julia K :-)

  8. Great article Melissa, I hae often had to resort to imagination in order to overcome a tight budget and you know what I have found? A little effort goes a long way and it isn’t where you are so much as who you’re with. Now if I could just get rid of the teenage girls for the night!

  9. Very Well Said Melissa…I love the simplicity and yet the encouragement in it as well…you have such a beautiful gift of tying things up into such a beautiful package!

    xoxo,
    Melissa ;)

  10. I love, love, love your article on celebrating Valentine’s Day. The authenticy of your ideas appeal to me so much. My husabnd and I have been married for 11 years. I think that part of our romance is kept alive by reminiscing about the early years of our relationship. One of the most meaningful Valentine’s Days my husband and I had was one where we each picked three spots in our home town that were meaningful to us (where we first met, the hospital that my daughter was born, where we got married etc.). We went for a drive and visited each of these spots and it was so romantic to reminisce and celebrate our love for each other and the life that we share.

  11. Penny, Mosaic Artist says:

    Hi Melissa! Some great ideas in the article at CWO! Thanks….
    Penny

  12. Hi Melissa, we enjoyed your articles in CWO, and all your wonderful Inspirational posts. Thank you :) Anf that photo is making us peckish for a piece of chocolate! Jenn and Jacqui xo

  13. Hi Melissa, we enjoyed your articles in CWO, and all your wonderful Inspirational posts. Thank you :) And that photo is making us peckish for a piece of chocolate! Jenn and Jacqui xo

  14. Well said, Melissa! And I so enjoyed your article at CWO. I think I’ll start cooking up a B & B at home for Valentine’s evening! Thank you for the inspiration!

  15. Great CWO article, Melissa! A few years ago I spent a 3 day weekend in Provence…right in my own home. Shortly before my “trip”, I gathered videos, music, cookbooks, and ingredients for a wonderful, inexpensive, relaxing vacation…I spent lots of time outside at a little cafe table, surrounded by potted lavender plants, reading, relaxing, and listening to music. It was wonderfully restoring. Maybe Tuscany this year!

  16. Thank you all for your encouraging words!

    xo

  17. Hey Melissa,

    Yummy post! I will be heading over to check out your article now.

    Love,
    Deb

  18. You have a wonderful inspiring blog, thank you for sharing your insights and beautiful photos.
    Judith

  19. Hi Melissa,
    I just love all of your tips. It’s so true – we can’t always get out for an expensive dinner, pay a babysitter and then maybe not even have the greatest night out (we recently went out for our anniversary, nice restaurant, babysitter and needed to have our table moved just as our food was arriving to get away from the large table of drunk men that were so crude), it really ruined the night. It’s more fun and a lot less expensive to create that special night at home. You have such a great gift of writing too!

  20. Hello Melissa–hope you’re enjoying a little blogging break–you certainly deserve it after such a wonderfully successful Inspiration Week!

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