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Spice it up

It's the month of loooooove and some people this conjures up feelings of giddiness and for some it brings about feelings of dread. Last year I wrote about lovin' on yourself for Valentine's Day (check it out here) and I still highly recommend making time for that. But, I also think it is so important to invest in relationships. Even though I only see individuals as clients in my private practice, one of the main topics people want to talk about is their communication and interactions in their marriages. The majority of my clients are parents of young kids and since I am also a parent of young kids-I understand how difficult it can be to carve out time for your marriage. It's easy to fall into patterns of task management and eventually end up feeling like you're ships passing in the night. Well news flash-marriage takes work...and it takes both people working to make it work! So while you don't have to do the stereotypical flowers/chocolate/dinner, if that's not your thing-it is a good excuse to make some space to spend quality time together as a couple. After working in fine dining for many years, I can tell you I will never go to a nice restaurant on Valentine's Day again in my life. BUT-I think there are a lot of other cool things you can do with your partner to celebrate your hard work! So here are two lists-one is interesting, out of the box ideas for cool dates this month. The second is easy ways to create meaningful date nights at home (because sometimes a babysitter isn't in the budget, or let's be honest-you're just too tired to change out of your sweats and put on makeup). You can still create a fun evening spending some quality time together.

Out of the Box Ideas:

1. Urban Axes-recreational ax throwing has become quite trendy and we have local hot spot in Baltimore. Get out some pent up frustrations or just enjoy laughing at each other's aim. Either way this will be a date to remember.

2. Sky Zone-or any other local trampoline park. You might think this is just a place for kids, but seriously-it is so fun! What better way to spend a night out with your spouse than jumping around like a fool?! Even better-they're running a Groupon deal right now-check it out.

3. iFly-Ok, I haven't tried this one and when I actually went skydiving, my stomach wasn't so happy. But if you're into adventure and trying new things-you should definitely check this out. Sure to be a thrilling date.

4. Theater-Baltimore has some pretty fantastic theater programs. Between the Hippodrome, Center Stage, and the Lyric-you can always catch something good. Watch for discounts or check out a matinee to get a better deal. Even better-play hooky from work and go on a weekday for a REALLY good deal. Don't forget about Toby's dinner theater-they have some pretty phenomenal actors too!

4b. Semi related to theater-don't underestimate the BSO at the Meyerhoff. Did you know they show Movies with Orchestra? We saw Harry Potter there last year and it was amazing. A totally unique experience and definitely date-worthy.

5. Rock Climbing-such an adrenaline rush and a good workout too! Check out the newest Earth Treks in Hamden and you can grab a beer at Union Craft Brewery afterwards!

6. If the above named adventurous stuff isn't your cup of tea-check out one Boordy or Basignani Winery. Both local and convenient and both offer indoor winter options for wine tasting and festivity.

And if all those ideas seem overwhelming to you, think about planning something interesting to do at home. Put your kids to bed early and spend some quality time actually interacting with each other, instead of just zoning out in front of the tv (which is certainly has a time and a place, but c'mon-every once in awhile-you need to spend real time together!)

1. Paint night at home. Grab some canvases and paints on sale at Michaels and find an online image of a famous painting. Tip from experience-try a Monet-much easier when you're not aiming to make your image look precise.

2. Make your own pizzas. You can even make your own dough if you're really feeling culinary. Otherwise, get some pre-made dough or crusts and load up on interesting toppings. Make the pizzas small so you can try them all!

3. Make your own hand-dipped strawberries. (You can add this when you finish #2!) This is surprisingly easier than it sounds and obviously delicious. Enjoy them while you zone out in front of the tv.

4. Play Pandemic. (Or another board game, but whatever you choose I strongly suggest picking a collaborative game, like Pandemic. This way you don't risk one of you sleeping of the couch from the sheer competitiveness. This game is so fun, you can et it on Amazon, and the best part?...It's designed to be played [and finished] within 45 minutes. The perfect activity for exhausted parents.

For more ideas on at home date ideas check out this article.

Whatever you do, make sure to pick something you will both enjoy. And remember the most important part is being together.

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