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Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

Hey friends, happy weekend! We all made it through another week and whether this is your weekend or not, it’s worth celebrating and setting time aside to rest and enjoy the ones we share life with. Right? We have plans for a leisurely breakfast with some outings and some serious rest time, it’s been a long week. If you’re curled up with a hot cup of coffee, here are some great articles for your reading pleasure.

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Producing and Consuming // The Art of Simple :: Such a great article on the balance of (you guessed it!) producing and consuming and how rest helps us make better life choices and contributions.

What Does Ethically Made Mean? // Wildly Co :: I love all the this company stands for and as I replace items in my girls’ wardrobes (I’m looking at you leggings!), I want to order everything from them. This post has some good thoughts to a hip phrase and provides easy action steps for anyone wanting to make a difference.

Book Club 101 // Modern Mrs. Darcy :: I’ve been tossing around the idea of a book club for a good while now, Anne did all the legwork and research of how to go about having a book club. Now I just need to start one. P.S. If you’re a local reader and want to join, let me know!

Woman are Scary // Coffee + Crumbs :: I’m fascinated by the way we make friends as grown ups and especially as mums and this  article (and her book!) defined it all well.

 

Make it a beautiful weekend, friends! XO

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A couple weeks ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up right along with so many of you. This book has popped up in my instagram feed, my blog feed and my real life conversations.

I read it in a week and I didn’t immediately apply her action steps. I have small children and I know my limits.

For those who haven’t read this book, Marie Kondo is a professional declutterer and organizer. She’s made a career of helping people organize their belongings and by default their life. For those of us who don’t live in Japan, she wrote down her methods for us to read and integrate into our daily lives.

She has several different ideas that I haven’t heard before such as folding your shirts vertically like a file folder so as to be able to see the entire drawer at first glance. She suggests that in order to declutter  properly you should empty your entire closet/cupboard/bookshelf and handle every item before deciding to keep it or toss it while asking yourself if it sparks joy.

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We tend to be on the minimalist side of living, we’ve moved every couple of years and we have had to handle every item in our house. I purge on a regular basis and I’m pretty good on getting rid of things we don’t need. I have had a series of methods, some of which work and some don’t. The Konmari method is one that will stay.

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The sparking joy mentality has been carried over into other areas of my life, not just if I should keep a sweater or not.

I bought a new winter coat recently. I tried on a lot of coats, there were ones that fit perfectly but were a boring colour. There were some that were a great price and I could have made them work. But then there was the one that I bought. It’s red, it’s comfy and as soon as I put on, I smiled.

It sparked joy.

Making decisions is not my strong point, even simple decisions of getting dressed, planning menus and organizing my week. Or big decisions like should we go for this opportunity or that one? They exhaust me and I’m always looking for ways to simplify and streamline the decisions I have to make.

This question has become my go-to.

Does it spark joy?

When I handle it, does it make me smile?

It’s saving my mental energy for those big decisions that I do need to think through from every possible angle. It’s making my daily choices simpler and my days that much more happier.

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Have you read this book? Do you have a method for making your decisions?

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The Gift of the Winter Storms

If I’m being honest, I kind of like these winter days. After I get over the demoralizing fact that we have more snow then I have ever seen in my life and that it won’t melt for a month.

The transit closed down for two days last week because of a snow storage issue. My husband’s work closed down for a day. And during those days our car was in the shop. We were snowed in and stuck. If I thought too far into the future, I would go crazy.

the gift of the winter storms :: This Vintage Moment

But this is the gift of these winter storms. These winter storms that just keep coming in the Maritimes. Their gift to us is that life is not in our control. We make plans and dreams and hopes and then we execute them with patience and flexibility.

One of the first bad snow storms in February, my five year old and I lay on the couch and read Little House on the Prairie. 7 chapters in one go. Her face was shining and she asked for more and more. We made cookies and I’m not a cookie baking mum. We’ve made more cookies this winter then we have for a long time.

One this most recent storm, the one that closed down our transit system, I pulled out Narnia. 7 chapters later, I needed a throat lozenge and my daughter wanted more about Lucy and Mr. Tumnus. We made more cookies and ate homemade pizza by candlelight.

the gift of the winter storms :: This Vintage Moment

These storms, they’ve been all kinds of awful and derailed many plans but they’ve also been a gift. I’ve come to a sort of acceptance of the lack of control I have over some parts of my life. I’ve enjoyed the cozy days and started to just settle into them rather then griping about the snow.

I’ve made a point to keep the fridge stocked, menu plans made and essentials taken of so that when we wake up to two feet of fresh snow, there’s coffee and milk and fresh fruit.

the gift of the winter storms :: This Vintage Moment

We’ve lingered over both breakfast and dinners together, asking our favourite dinnertime questions. We’ve watched some good movies together and we’ve played games. I’ve rearranged the girls’ room and the office. We’ve hung pictures and tackled big piles of paperwork. We’ve slowed down. We’ve spent more time as a family foursome because work has been closed and schedules have been changed.

I anticipate the Spring. My feet are itching to walk on grass and dirt, we have plans for a little garden and fort building. I can’t wait for all the good things of the next season but for now, I’m okay with winter being slow. We’ve made a sort of peace even if it’s taken 6 feet of snow and a whole month of cancelled plans.

the gift of the winter storms :: This Vintage Moment

Tell me about your winter, what are your favourite ways to stay cozy and slow down?

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Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

Happy weekend, friends! We had two snow storms this week which left me feeling both demoralized by the sheer amount of snow and grateful for the two snow days we had where the city basically closed down. There’s a faint melting of the snow and the skies have been all kinds of gorgeous blue and I believe that Spring might be shyly peeking around the corner.

Here’s what I’ve been reading the last while waiting for the snow to melt.

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10 Rules of Writing :: Lisa Genova // This advice lends itself to so much more then just writing and I loved a bit of a behind the scenes from a current favourite author.

The Apple Slice and Social Media :: Design for Mankind // I read this a few weeks ago and it’s stayed with me.  “…if my words are causing vibrations that are running opposite to the truths you hold – sound waves striking dissonance or resistance or choppiness in the good and worthy balance you’ve been working. ” Just so good.

Blood Orange Panna Cotta :: Simple Bites // One of those desserts I’ve always wanted to make but never have because it seemed intimidating. Aimee makes it seem simple and perfect for date night in.

The Post about How to Make Friends :: Jaime’s Rabbits // I needed this post a couple years ago when we moved across the country and I struggled to find my people. 2+ years later, I’ve found them and held tight to the ones I’ve had for decades.

Flora Foraging with Stella McCartney Kids!:: Flora Forager // I’ve been following Flora Forager for a couple months now on Instagram and this was the first time I clicked over to her blog. Do yourself a favour and follow her (@floraforager ) on Instagram and then fall down the rabbit hole that is her blog. It’s brilliant creativity and I can not wait for spring to try this out with my girls.

Have a beautiful weekend, resting and eating and being refreshed!

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Have Courage. Be Kind.

I held their hands as we walked up the stairs. I smoothed their little buns and tied bows in their slippers. I gave them a kiss and sent them off to join the circle.

“Be brave”, I whispered to the littlest sister. “Help her and be kind to the other girls” whispered in the big sister’s ears.

Every week for 45 minutes, they sat in a circle and danced across the room making star shapes. We smiled and took pictures and gave reassuring kisses to the littlest ones.

I loved seeing my girls take a ballet class together. I loved packing their leotards and pulling their hair back. I loved playing Swan Lake and The Nutcracker for them during the week. After having started our oldest in ballet the previous year with the well-known Halifax Dance Company, we were excited to find an intro to ballet class closer to home and for a bit more of an affordable price.

All ten little girls were taught to leap and practice plies. I may have been a little surprised when they finished the first session off with the hokey pokey, but it was cute, and I laughed along with the other mums. But then it happened every week and sometimes took the place of the ballet steps. And then one week it was the hokey pokey and the chicken dance. I admit I was a little disappointed with the class, but decided to continue anyway. There is more to learn in a class than just ballet technique.

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Have Courage. Be Kind.

I still told them that every week. I still tied bows in their slippers and made sure their hair was neat and out of their eyes.

More than once, I contemplated stopping the class; I had paid for an intro to ballet class, and this wasn’t really turning out to be that way. But we stuck it out.

The girls laughed their way through each class, and every time one little girl ran back to her mum for reassurance, all the other little girls would follow suit, in a cute domino effect.

In the end, even though the class wasn’t what I thought it should be,  my littlest daughter learned the plie and she learned to be brave. My extroverted five year old learned the names of nearly all her classmates and reached out to each one.

They didn’t know that I had to quiet the tiger mother to a quiet purr, they just knew that they got to dance with eight other little girls all dressed up in ballerina outfits once a week. And that was more important than perfect ballet technique or perfect classroom order.

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They laughed together. They learned new steps to add to their dance routine at home.

They were kind together.  They were courageous together.

And they saw their classes through innocent eyes; they saw the good in the other little girls and in their teenage teachers.

My girls learned the hokey pokey right along with plies and tendus. They giggled their way through the chicken dance and they did reveille. They saw the good in each other and went each week with courage.

And in the end, it really was a magical eight weeks. And even though I was the one whispering ‘have courage and be kind’, it was my girls who showed me to look at the good in everyone and make a magical experience.

Tell me about when you had to quiet the tiger mother (or is that just me?) and see the magic through imperfection.

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Names for the Sea by Sarah Moss

A family packs up their life in London and moves to Iceland for a year, prompted by a desire for something more and a trip to Iceland when Sarah was nineteen. This was a fascinating read especially as the snow flew thick in February. It gives some background history of Iceland- what has shaped the nation and what their government is like. I found myself skipping those pages, mostly because I wasn’t interested in reading about details on government revolts in Iceland. The most fascinating part of this book was all the different cultural things – most of the food is flown in and therefore very expensive. The crime rate is very low because it’s an island and there’s no place to run- babies are left outside in their strollers while the parents visit coffee shops or run errands. The conclusion of this book for me was that it’s possible to gain an understanding of other countries without settling there permanently and there are so many benefits to doing this. Iceland is high on my list to visit.

Secret Life Of Pronouns,The: What Our Words Say About Us by James W. Pennebaker

An absolutely fascinating read on what the use of our pronouns reveal about us, our feelings and our thoughts about those in conversation with us. If you’re any kind of word nerd, you’re going to want to read this book. If you’re any kind of student of people and their habits, you’re going to want to read this book. My biggest takeaway from this book was to listen, listen, listen. And then analyze and ask pertinent questions.

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Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Charactersd by Mallory Ortberg

I’m not sure if I like this book or if it’s utter ridiculousness but regardless it gave my husband and I quite a few good laughs. It’s all the classics (Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Bronte Sisters, Edgar Allen Poe etc) with their stories retold in a modern text style. Only funny if you know the original story well.

100 Days Of Real Food by Lisa Leake

I’ve followed her Facebook page for years but never actually read the book. It’s a great primer on what real food is, how to avoid the crap food, and how to build good food habits. There’s a lot of references and statistics as well as personal stories and a whole bunch of recipes. I appreciated her seasonal menus  and knowing that we’re on a great track for a good, wholesome food life.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

I have so much to say about this book that it requires its one post on another day. For now I will say that I’m a cynic of anything that says it’s the best or life changing and partway through reading the book, I changed my tune. She’s right, it is kind of life changing and her method of tidying up does answer a lot of the clutter and storage issues we all have. I loved the pretty edition I had and the simple layout. It makes it very easy to read a section and then go do- like going to refold the shirts and socks in a way that gives you more room and is easier to access.

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Love Anthony by Lisa Genova

I read two of her other books years ago and didn’t realize she had written any others until Anne mentioned it, they went on my request list and I read this one in 24 hours. It’s a beautiful story of healing, redemption and finding hope again after deep, deep loss. I could tell you it’s a story of a boy who had autism and then died and how his mom found hope again through a writer who wrote of autism but it’s so much more then that. As with all of her books, this one rang true with experiences, reality and knowledge. And as with her other books, bring a kleenex box.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catherina Ingelman-Sundberg

Such a fun and hilarious read! Right along the lines as the 100 man Who Climbed Out the Window, this story details a woman in a rest home and her cohorts as they commit crimes to get them landed in jail. They book hotel suites, take cruises and steal art all for the sake of adventure and life better then what they have in the nursing home. It’s a fantastic read and it’s set in Sweden which is close to Iceland in case you are obsessed with that country like I am.

 

Tell me about what you’re reading and then go check out the post at Modern Mrs Darcy for more Quick Lit Picks!

**this post contains affiliate links, thanks for supporting TVM!**

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Ten on Ten :: March 2015

We are three days into our staycation. It has been wonderful and a most welcome break from routines and schedules. It’s also been a little stressful because I tend to stress over the perfect everything and love to maximize our time with schedules and times. Vacation schedules, it’s my jam.  My husband is not like me. And I love him for helping me to chill out a little more this week and let even the vacation schedule go.

I love the monthly habit of taking ten pictures over ten hours to notice the ordinary beauty in our days. It’s been a great perspective shift for me.  I took all the photos with my big camera and I  remembered why I love this medium so much.

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Folding laundry before breakfast with my big girl.

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Crepes, whipping cream and blueberries. And coffee, always coffee. Made by my husband. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.
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The drama of finding the right leggings with the right outfit.

 

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She is a hard core collector these days, anything small and cute goes in her tin. And before we realized it, she was colouring everything pink.

 

march 2015 ten on ten Going on a stay cation in March when there’s still plenty of snow and ice on the ground means museum visits. This one was so fabulous, we’ve added it to our list of things to do for all future visitors. My girls loved running around and seeing all the ships, we loved the history and learning more about this city we call home.

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Goofing off on a replica of a deck chair from the Titanic.

 

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We finished off our Atlantic morning out with fish and chips. And not just any fish and chips but the best in Canada (or so their sign says). It was such a fun experience, we watched them fry up the fish three feet from our table.

 

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Hey there! It’s a mirror and I have a camera and I was waiting for little people in the washroom.

 

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All that fish and chips needed some balancing out so a smoothie for supper it was. I threw in bok choy since I was out of spinach and no one knew any different.

 

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Story time with Mary and Laura, we’re three chapters away from finishing this book and I can’t wait to read the next one. I almost read to the end but tonight is date night and I wanted sleepy babes for the babysitter.

 

And that was our day! Thanks for sharing it with us. For more inspiration of noticing the beauty in the ordinary, head to the link up with Rebekah of A Bit of Sunshine! 

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Weekend Links to Inspire and Encourage

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside // Quartz – “Reykjavík’s biggest shopping street fills with babies sleeping in their strollers in summer. They’re there in the winter, too, napping in sub-zero temperatures.” Iceland is fascinating to me and this practice no less fascinating, even if it seems so strange to my Canadian ways.

A Season of Lightness // Jess Connolly – “I’m learning to be thankful. I’m learning to accept that His burden is light. I’m learning to shake it off. ” This is an older post but I’ve been listening to this song a lot in our winter dance parties and I love this take on it. It’s a good one.

I went on a blind date with a book // Modern Mrs. Darcy – “The blind date concept lets the store’s employees (they all get to play) choose exceptional books to put in their readers’ hands. You have to be confident about a book to let a customer buy it sight unseen.” I would love my bookstore to  do this, I also think it would be so fun to be the one wrapping the books up.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Won’t Stop Talking (a book review) // The Little Book Place ” If you are an extrovert, this will help you understand the “other side” better, and even encourage you to take a few pages from their book, you don’t always have to be “life of the party,” sometimes it’s okay to just be quiet.” I love this book. And this is a great review of it with some good wisdom shared on both introverts and extroverts.

Happy weekend, friends! We’re starting a week of staycation and I’m so excited (and so ready) for some days of rest and fun with my loves.

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March is a Waiting Month

 

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The second day of March started with a snow storm. Big, fluffy flakes were coming down before we even woke up and covering the heaps of snow with a fresh, fluffy blanket.

In a winter of more snow then I can remember in any of my winters, this new snow gave a whole new fresh look to the landscape.

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I delighted at the flakes. They were so pretty and I don’t think I’ll have get tired of watching snow fall. But I also sighed. It was the second day of March and I wasn’t expecting an overnight thaw complete with daffodils blooming but I was hoping for a little sign that Spring was coming.

The girls begged to go outside and I said yes. Why not? This winter will end and we’ll be glad we played in the snow.

We’ve gotten a ton of snow this winter (have I said that already?) but this snow was different. It was fluffy and wet, the perfect snowman building snow. We took some toys out, the girls mimicking the heavy equipment they’ve watched from the living room window. Shovels, dump trucks and tractors.

 

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march is a waiting month

I started rolling balls. We made an Olaf, we made a snow bear and we threw many snowballs. I started a snow house. The wind was quiet and we stayed warm, shedding layers as the morning went on.

If February is a month of cozy days and fighting the winter gloom then March is a month of waiting and looking for Spring.

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Waiting isn’t fun. Just ask any woman in her last trimester of pregnancy or anyone waiting to hear back about a job interview or sitting in the room, waiting for a doctor. Waiting for a wound to heal, for the wind to change, for the phone to ring.

The thing about waiting is that you can’t rush it. You can’t skip it. You can’t go around. You’ve got to wait. You’ve got to go through it.

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Sometimes it can be a dragging of the feet and heavy sighs. And sometimes it can be saying yes to what is right in front of you and living in the right now. A looking for something good about this moment. I’ve done plenty of both this winter. But  even in all the waiting, there is always good. Because God is good and I believe that He is orchestrating my days. Even the waiting. And yes, even the snow storms.

Tell me how you wait, for Spring or the other events in your life?

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15 Date Nights to Jazz Up Your Marriage

The night was crisp and cold, the kind of night that makes you glad you wore an extra pair of socks especially when slipping your feet into skates.

We laced up and hit the ice, hand in hand. I know I smiled like a Cheshire cat for most of the evening. We glided along for awhile, just holding hands and keeping pace. Occasionally looking over at each other and saying “isn’t this SO nice?”

We took some pictures and then split up. Our legs remembering how to skate backwards and do crossovers from years ago. We shared memories of how and when we learned to skate and went for a couple more laps around the oval before finding a cozy cafe with hot cider to warm up.

It was one of my favourite date nights this year.

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We’ve sat down at the beginning of each month to plot out our goals and that includes scheduling our date nights.We plan two dates out and two dates in each month, tweaking it according to needs and budget. It’s kept things fresh and fun and has actually inspired a whole section of our 30 before 30 bucket list.

For most of our marriage we’ve stayed in the safe zone of date nights with dinner out or a movie or a coffee shop. Call it parents of small children fog but I didn’t really think out of the box for these evenings together until this winter. It may be due to the fact that my children are old enough to sleep consistently and don’t cry every time I leave.

As long as there’s ice on the Oval in Halifax, we’ll be there. But I’m not sad (at all!) about the warmer temperatures coming because we have a whole list of super fun, out of the box date night ideas for the rest of the year.

Lucky you, we’ve done all the brainstorming. Book your babysitter and choose your own fun adventure!

Date Night Out 

Swimming – no one needs to watch the children; so swim, soak in the hot tub and do the slides if that’s your thing.

Skating- whether it’s an indoor or outdoor rink; this can be a super fun and active date. Warm up after with hot cider or mulled wine.

Skiing or Snowshoeing- Nova Scotia has one ski hill in the province and while it’s not the mountains I grew up around, it’s still a ski hill. We’re going to try to make it there while the snow lasts.

Rent bikes along the harbourfront or wherever your city has them – I have always wanted to do this and it’s a fun way to play tourist in your own town.

Rock Wall Climbing- out of the box? Totally! I’ve never been but I think it could be super fun and relationship building.

Kayaking/Canoeing- obviously this one requires a little bit of forethought and planning, it’s our list for the year so it may be a date afternoon.

Airport Date- we’re travel junkies so this may only appeal to us but head to the airport, find a good vantage point (with a good drink) and watch the people. Make up stories about them or get lost in your own travel memories.

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Live Theatre – this is something we’ve never really done together but we found a play to see and it will be so great! Check out local theatres or high schools, some of my favourite dramas were by high school students.

Sports Event – neither of us is a big sports person and we’ve only been to one football game together but we’re going to find something to go to and make it an event.

Ethnic Food Hop Night – some of these are tailored for us and this is one of them. We’re going to try as many different types of ethnic food in one evening, small portions and plenty of sharing bites.

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Of course some nights we’ll stay in and we’ve learned the secret to making those nights special- plan an intentional evening together.

Date Night In

Indoor picnic – get some nice cheese, bread, a good bottle of wine, charcuterie and a picnic blanket. Birdsong soundtrack, optional.

Foreign Film night- pick a couple foreign films, and order takeout from that country of origin. We did this with Indian food and film and it’s super fun!

Games night- we’ve played the NewlyWed game and a couple other ‘get to know’ you games. It’s fun and sparks good conversation.

Make dinner together – put the children to bed and make a special dinner together. Simple and classic.

Music video night - pick your favourites off Youtube or just watch a concert. Coldplay? Yes. Please.

And now, I’d love to hear how you keep your date nights fresh and what out of the box ideas you’ve come up with! 

 

 

 

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