Monday, September 19, 2016

10 Fun Dates If You Are Over 50

When we were young, going on dates was easier. All our friends were also young and it was easy to know where to go on a date. We just went where ever everyone else went. We could double date with another couple, we could take a date to the movies. We could take a date to a get together with our crowd. There were endless possibilities.

The whole dating thing was pretty routine back then because everyone was doing it.

But now we’re over 50 and we suddenly find ourselves back in the dating game.

Unfortunately, when you are of the older generation, it feels like dating is for the young. By the time you reach this age, the majority of your friends are married with children and grandchildren, so they don’t know the ins and outs of dating any more than you do.

Even if you are asked on a date or want to ask someone on a date, at this age, you probably have no idea where to take a date.

Dinner and a movie is the old standby. But, isn’t that a little… how shall I say this…BORING? Plus, at dinner, you are going to be sitting across the table from someone you don’t know and conversation is going to probably be halting and uncomfortable since you are both going to be trying to think of things to say. Then, in a movie, there will be no conversation, but what if you are like me and can’t stay awake throughout a whole movie in a dark movie theater? What if you fall asleep and, God forbid, SNORE? At least that might make it a little amusing for your date, unless they are snoring, too and don’t notice.

But, you don’t have to take a date to dinner and a movie. There are lots of things we older folks can do that are fun and don’t take a lot of energy. I once had an older gentleman ask me on a date to go water skiing. When I told him, no, I’d never be able to handle it (not to mention the fact that I’m not getting in a bathing suit for anybody!) , he said, “Oh, thank God, I don’t think I could handle it either, but my son said I should ask you to do something out of the ordinary so you’d be impressed with my creativity!”

Here are some fun things you can do with a date that you might not have thought of:

1. Play miniature golf. Putt-putt golf takes no energy and the potential for laughter is high.

2. Go to a drive-in movie. Take 2 lawn chairs and sit outside the car under the stars while you watch the movie. Don’t forget to get snacks that are bad for you from the snack bar and pig out while enjoying the movie and the night sky.

3. Take a picnic lunch to a local lake. At our age, sitting on the ground on a blanket might be uncomfortable, but there are always picnic tables to sit at and usually grills to cook on. Scout out the area beforehand so you know what you should bring besides food and utensils… charcoal, blankets for on the bench, table cloth.

4. Go to an auction. Get your date involved in bidding on something one of you would like to have.

5. Flea Markets are always good dates for all of us older folks. Not that we need any more junk in our houses, but its fun to just scope out all the junk other people want rid of.

6. Go to a petting zoo. Petting zoos are great because the animals are warm and fuzzy which makes your date feel warm and fuzzy about you!

7. If you have a fair sized lawn, bring your date to your house, barbeque on the grill (or cook any kind of meal you can enjoy outside) and then play croquet on the lawn. You remember croquet, right? Big mallet, wooden ball hit through wire hoops. Croquet is always the most fun with more than 2 people, so you might invite another couple to play, too.

8. Take your date to watch one of the kids in your family play whatever sport they are involved in. Get them involved in rooting for the kid.

9. Go to an amusement park, fair or carnival. Too old, you think? Don’t be silly. Play the games, test your skill with the darts or rifles. Try to dunk that obnoxious guy in the dunking tank. Eat hot sausage and ice cream at the same time. Win your date a prize. Definitely go for a ride on the merry-go-round. It’ll bring back so many memories. And, if you dare, see if you can get your date on the Ferris wheel!

10. Take your date fishing. Take lawn chairs. There’s nothing like a relaxing day along a crick bank (that’s right, I said crick, not creek), enjoying the sunshine and hoping for a bite. If your date doesn’t want to fish, have them bring along a book or their crocheting so they can enjoy the time outdoors while you fish.

These are just a few examples of things we older folks can do with each other that aren’t so out of the ordinary that your potential date will think you are a loonatick for even suggesting them.

May all your dates be fun.

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10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood is one of the most successful actors and directors in the history of movies. He has been nominated for two Academy Awards for his acting, for the movies Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby. As for his directing, he has received two Academy Awards for best director, for the previously mentioned movies.

Here are 10 fun facts about the Hollywood legend:

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #1:
He has owned many properties throughout the years. Some of the properties that he has owned have been an inn in Carmel California; a golf club in Carmel Valley; and he is one of the owners of the Pebble Beach Golf Country Club.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #2:
Another interesting fact about Clint Eastwood is that he has received a commemorative Cesar Award in Paris, France for his lifetime work.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #3:
Empire magazine ranked him as the second movie star on their list of “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time.”

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #4:
He has a reputation for being a very organized director. In fact, he often directs movies in the minimum amount of time. For instance, he directed the 1997 movie Absolute Power before the movie was planned to be finished.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #5:
Eastwood was a lifeguard and swimming instructor for the U.S. Army in the early 1950s. He was working at Fort Ord in California.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #6:
One random fact about the Hollywood legend is that he once owned the largest hardwood tree in the nation for a number of years. It should be noted, however, that a larger version of the tree was found in 2002.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #7:
He is of European ancestry. More specifically, his ancestors are from England, Scotland, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Germany.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #8:
He became the oldest director in the history of movies to win the Best Director Oscar for Million Dollar Baby, on February, 27, 2005. On a side note, his mother, who was 96-years-old at the time, was one of the audience members at the ceremony.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #9:
Out of all the movies that he has watched, his favorite is John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley.

10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood #10:
The last fun fact about Clint Eastwood is that he has spoken highly of libertarianism. In his words, “I like the libertarian view, which is to leave everyone alone. Even as a kid, I was annoyed by people who wanted to tell everyone how to live.”

Sources:

“Clint Eastwood,” Clint Eastwood.

“Clint Eastwood,” Yahoo! Movies.

“Clint Eastwood Biography,” Biography.com.

Tags:10 Fun Facts About Clint Eastwood

10 Fun Facts About Weddings Around the World

Truth: getting married is still in style. Across the globe, couples that love each other tie the knot. The only differences involve the traditions surrounding this event.

Ten fun facts about weddings around the world:

  • According to English folklore, Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day. Yet, in modern times, it’s the most popular day of the week to conduct this type of ceremony.
  • In Czech, peas are thrown instead of rice at the bride and groom. A member of the legume family, peas are a sign of fertility.
  • White wedding dresses are rare in Eastern cultures. Why? The color white is worn for mourning a sad occasion.
  • Brides: want a sweeter union? Act like the Greek – place a sugar cube into your wedding gloves. This custom ensures years of happiness with a husband-to-be.
  • Wives-to-be in Morocco purify themselves prior to wedding ceremony by taking a milk bath. Although no proof exists of its cleansing properties, health experts believe that this kind of soak softens the skin.
  • Why did grooms begin carrying brides over the threshold? They wanted to protect them from evil spirits lurking below.
  • As corny as it sounds, Las Vegas is the top destination in America for weddings. What city comes in second? Hawaii – U.S. citizens adore getting married on a tropical island.
  • In Sweden, brides put a silver coin from their father and gold coin from their mother into their shoe. The reasoning? They believe this helps them always be prosperous.
  • In the United States, seventeen tons of gold are melted down annually to create wedding rings. Surprised? Despite the growing trend of wearing silver jewelry, gold is still a go-to metal.
  • Ancient Romans examined pig entrails to predict the best date for a wedding. Pig entrails have graduated from this use into a food delicacy called chitterlings.

As you can see, the activities leading up to marriage vary depending on location. Regardless, the parties who make lifelong (or temporary) commitments to one another go through a lot to commemorate the day. For more information on trivia regarding marriage check out 77 Interesting Facts About Weddings.

REFERENCES:

  • The Knot
  • Benefits of Milk Baths
  • 77 Interesting Facts about Weddings

Tags:10 Fun Facts About Weddings Around the World

10 Fun Fall Photo Ideas for Your Child

Like the seasons, your little one is changing fast and now is the perfect time of year for a fun outdoor photo shoot to celebrate the colors of fall. Here are some idea’s to help you get creative with a fall photo shoot for your little one!

1. Pumpkin Patch – Take your little one to your local pumpkin patch and let the scene do all the work! If you have an older child, take pictures as they explore the scenery then have them pick “their favorite” pumpkin in the patch to sit near for a few photo’s. If you have a crawler/stander, take photos as they move from pumpkin to pumpkin and get some as they lean on pumpkins for support. If you have an infant, you can either bring a blanket or boppy pillow to prop them up on, or try propping them up on two pumpkins. Be sure to take both close-up and scene shots as well.

2. Perfect Leaf – Search around your yard or a local park and find the biggest, prettiest leaf you can find. Have your child hold the leaf by his/her face as you take close-up. If you have an infant, hold the leaf yourself. Try covering up different parts of their face – and let them do some improving as well. This is a great way to get creative with your photos!

3. Apple Tree – Head out to your local you-pick cider mill and find the fullest apple tree you can find. Have a friend/partner help your little one in the tree so you can take photos. Take photos of your child picking and biting apples, and also portraits of them in the tree. If you have an infant, find a branch that is angled so they can “lay” on the branch. Try and pick a spot with lots of leaf’s and apples in the background. Make sure someone is there to hold your baby/child so they don’t fall!

4. Harvest Fun – Go to your local farmers market or cornfield and take pictures of your little one with different fall harvest vegetables. Indian corn is a fun one, and there are many fun-shaped squash available this time of year too. Take your photos with the vegetable of your choosing in front of a cornfield for a great backdrop. Tip: Put your child in a bright color, like red or orange to stand out.

5. Painted Pumpkin – Let your child pick out a pumpkin, and take it home to decorate it. You can paint their name on it, their age, initials, a funny face, make a jack-o-lantern or write their birthday on it. Then head to the backyard and let them proudly pose by their pumpkin. If you have a baby, prop your little one up with a blanket or boppy pillow.

6. Cutie in a haystack – Hay is plentiful in the fall, so go out to your local provider and by a stack. Take photos of your little one climbing on it and have them sit still for a few portraits as well. You can also head to your local cider mill – most of them have a hay tower your child can climb or pose on.

7. Pile of Leaves – Before you put that pile of racked leaves in a bag, take photo’s of your child playing in it. This is a great way to get fun action shots of your child. If you have a baby, just place them in or near the pile. You can also pose your baby on their stomach on a boppy pillow and strategically place leaves around them.

8. Letter’s with leaves – Rake your yard and in a clean area of your yard, write the first letter of your child’s name or spell their whole name with the leaves. Have your child or baby lay next to the laid out letter.

9. Big, Red Apple – Find the most perfect, juicy, big red apple you can find. Shine it up and give it to your little one. Take some photo’s of them holding it first, then allow them to take a big bite with you click the camera away!

10. Giant pumpkin – Go to your local pumpkin patch and have your child climb on the biggest pumpkin you can find! Take pictures as they climb over it, peak from behind it, and sit on top.

Have fun shooting your “little pumpkins” this fall!

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10 Frugal Summer Activities for Kids

Many people are suffering from a depressed economy, and money is tight for necessities, let alone luxuries. During the summer, kids have extra time on their hands, and many parents want to find ways to create lasting memories. Fortunately, it doesn’t cost money to have a good time. Here are some ideas for frugal summer activities that will keep your kids from getting bored this summer.

Read a Book

The library is free, and books can keep kids interested for hours in the summer. Even better, many libraries have summer reading programs, where your kids can earn a prize for reading books. Over the summer, some libraries host movies and hold other special activities for kids of all ages to have fun. Arrange a weekly trip to the library, and you have one afternoon a week where you don’t have to hear your kids say “I’m bored.” Even better, if you know another family with kids, invite them to your weekly library trip, and they can get books and see their friends at the same time.

Break out the Sprinklers

One of my childhood summer memories was running through the sprinklers. Have your kids put on their swimsuits, turn on the sprinklers, and have them run through the yard. If you have a lawn, you’ll have to water it anyway, and this is a cheap way to entertain the kids for a while.

Set up the Proverbial Lemonade Stand

My daughter asked me the other day how she, as an eight-year-old, could earn money. If you have a bored child that is also looking for a way to earn money, encourage them to be an entrepreneur. Not only will they stay busy, but they will also earn some money (or at least get a good business education). They don’t have to actually set up a lemonade stand; they can be creative and think of their own ideas. Can they mow lawns for neighbors? Sell on eBay (they’ll need your help for that one)? Collect aluminum cans? One suggestion that I gave my daughter was designing t-shirts. Determined kids often get their start in business at a young age.

Visit the Park

Parks are a cheap afternoon of entertainment for many kids. There are slides, swings, and plenty of open space to play a ball game. Most parks are free, although some charge for parking. Parks are also a great place for kids to meet new people. You might want to arrange park visits with your friends.

Exercise Together

There are often plenty of opportunities to exercise in the summer. Go on family bike rides. Even infants and toddlers can go on family bike rides with the bike trailers that are available. If your family doesn’t have bikes, you can always go on walks together. You can walk around the neighborhood on cool evenings, or venture out further on the weekends: most people live within driving distance of some place to hike. If walking or bike riding aren’t your thing, you could always play your family’s favorite sport in the backyard.

Go Swimming

One of my favorite summer activities is swimming. You might have a pool, know a good friend that does, or have access to a pool at your apartment complex. If not, there might be an inexpensive pool in your area. Kids love to splash in the water, play Marco Polo, and swim. Younger kids can start to learn to swim.

Movie Night

Spend an evening as a family watching a movie together. For a free night, watch a movie that you already have, or watch a movie on television. If you have a little bit of money to spend, rent a movie for the evening. Pop some popcorn, turn out the lights, and enjoy the movie together.

Family Game Night

For a frugal evening where your family interacts, hold a family game night. Most people own at least one board game, and if you don’t, you can find inexpensive board games at garage sales or Goodwill. The littlest children may not be able to play games that are more advanced than Candy Land, but older kids can play games like Monopoly, Life, and Clue. Kids also can learn card games like Hearts. DVD games like Scene It are also fun.

Camp Out

If you have a tent and sleeping bags, take your family on a camp out. You may want to find a National or State park in your area, or if you’re really tight on money, camp in your backyard. Campouts can take some prior planning, especially if you are driving a ways away, but they provide lasting memories and are a relatively inexpensive way to spend a weekend.

Find out about Community Activities

Almost every community has free or inexpensive activities throughout the summer. There might be a Fourth of July parade or fireworks display, an arts and crafts fair, or a community event that commemorates a local hero. To find out what events are going on in your local area, look up your local newspaper or television station’s web site. Most have community calendars that will let you know of events in your local area that you and your family can attend.

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10 Fun Animal Facts- Hamsters

When most people think of Hamsters, the first thing they may think of are the memories of their first classroom pet when they were a child. Many teacher’s have hamsters and other small rodents as classroom pets to teach children compassion, responsibility, caring and ultimately about death.

1. Hamsters are nocturnal, meaning they mostly sleep during the day and are active at night. But many hamsters will divide their days with periods of waking and sleeping, which makes it easier to play with them during the day.

2. Syrian hamsters or teddy bear hamsters as some call them are solitary animals and should be kept alone in a cage. They will sometimes fight to the death if kept in a cage with another Syrian hamster. Dwarf hamsters on the other hand are social animals and will live very happily in a group of other dwarf hamsters.

3. Roborovski Dwarf hamsters are the fastest hamsters of all the species.

4. Hamsters have pouches inside their cheeks and can stuff a large amount of food into them.

5. Female hamsters are called Sows, male hamsters are called Boars and babies are called pups.

6. According to Simple Pet Care, ” Hamsters were first discovered in Syria in 1830 when an Israeli Zoologist working in the Syrian Desert found them burrowed into the sand and captured them. He brought three hamsters back to his lab and was successful in breeding them. Many years later, in 1839, they received their modern day name of the “Golden Hamster” by a British zoologist named George Waterhouse. All common household pet hamsters are descendants of the Syrian desert hamsters.”

7. Back in the 1990”s someone thought hamsters were so cute that they created a website called “Hampster Dance” where several rows of animated hamsters danced over and over to a cute squeaky voiced song.

8. Hamsters are very curious animals and can squeeze their bodies into very tight spaces. They can squeeze their bodies through any space they can get their heads through.

9. There are Hamster Shows, much like Dog Shows where hamsters are given ribbons and awards for size, color and the coat (hair or fur) of the hamster.

10. Hamsters need a wheel in their cage. They will run in their wheels for hours each night, taking breaks to eat and drink and rest in between.

Sources:
http://ift.tt/2ckgfHf

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10 Fun Facts About Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an annual holiday in the United States that is in honor of the men and women who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Here are 10 interesting facts about the holiday:

Memorial Day Facts #1:
The reason that the holiday began is that some people in the country wanted to make a holiday to celebrate the lives of the soldiers who passed away while in the Civil War. It should be noted that members of both the Union and Confederacy have been honored.

Memorial Day Facts #2:
Another interesting fact about the special day is that it was once referred to as Decoration Day.

Memorial Day Facts #3:
Although the holiday is mostly in existence to remember the lives of brave American soldiers who died while serving, it is commonly used by people as a reference for the beginning of the summer. On a side note, Labor Day is unofficially the end of summer.

Memorial Day Facts #4:
Many of the people who have lost friends and relatives in a war visit the gravesite of that special person.

Memorial Day Facts #5:
It should be noted that Memorial Day and Veterans Day are celebrated for different reasons. As previously mentioned, Memorial Day is a holiday to remember members of the United States Armed Services who were killed in war. Veterans Day, on the other hand, is a holiday that is in honor of all veterans of the United States.

Memorial Day Facts #6:
An old tradition that still is still practiced on Memorial Day is some people decorate tombstones with flowers. These people are usually loved ones of the deceased, but they could also be volunteers.

Memorial Day Facts #7:
Another fun fact about Memorial Day is that the flag of the United States is lowered to half-staff at noontime. After noontime, the flag is raised to its original position.

Memorial Day Facts #8:
An annual concert takes place on the lawn of the United States Capitol. This concert is called The National Memorial Day Concert. It is broadcast on PBS and NCR.

Memorial Day Facts #9:
One of the most exciting NASCAR races of the year takes place on the holiday. The name of the race is the Indianapolis 500.

Memorial Day Facts #10:
The last fun fact about the holiday is that there is a movie that is named after the day. This movie stars James Cromwell. It came out in 2012.

Sources:

“Memorial Day Fast Facts,” CNN.com.

“Memorial Day,” History.com.

“Memorial Day,” US Memorial Day.

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10 Fun Facts About the Moon for Kids

Ever look at the Moon and think about a bunch of questions you may have in regards to the Moon?
The Moon is a mysterious thing, it is part of our solar system, you can look up in the sky and see it almost every night but yet do you know all the cool and fun Moon facts?

There are tons of interesting Moon fun facts that anyone would enjoy especially if you are a kid. If you are working on a report for school about astronomy or the planets, here you will find 10 Moon fun facts for kids that would really be a great addition to your report.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 1: Temperature on the Moon

If you think it gets too hot or too cold outside where you live, think again because you could burn up or be frozen on the Moon! The temperature during the day on the Moon can get burning hot, the Moon temperature can rise as high as 250 Fahrenheit and maybe even hotter. The Moon temperature at night can as low as -380 Fahrenheit and even colder sometimes. Yikes, you will be much more comfortable staying on Earth!

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 2: Tides in the Earth’s Oceans

Who would think that with the Moon being so far away it could make our ocean water move but it is true, the Moon can do it. The Moon causes most of the Earth’s ocean tides because of the force of gravity between the Moon and Earth.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 3: Bright Moon

The Moon looks like a switch is turned on at night and lights up like a light bulb, but that isn’t really what happens. The Moon lights up because it reflects the light from the sun, the side of the Moon that is bright is facing the sun and the side of the Moon that is dark is away from the Sun.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 4: Moon Circles the Earth

It takes the Moon approximately 27 days to go all the way around the Earth or sometimes another word used for going all the way around the Earth is called: “orbiting.”

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 5: Long Days

One day on the Moon is 27 days, 7 hours and 43.2 minutes long. If you think you are having a long week on Earth, can you imagine how slow time would go on the Moon?

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 6: Moon is Old

The Moon is very old, about 4.5 billion years old. Earth and our solar system are also about the same age as the Moon.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 7: Moon is Moving

Each year the Moon is moving about 1 inch further away from Earth.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 8: Where is the Man in the Moon?

You may have heard the saying, “Where is the man in the Moon?” but there is not really a man in the Moon. There are darks spots or patches on the Moon and some people say the dark spots look like eyes and a smile, so that is why some people say there is a man in the Moon.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 9: Moon Moves in a Direction

The Moon rises in the East and sets in the West and it also moves towards the East in the sky about 12 degrees each day.

Moon Fun Fact for Kids # 10: Moon is Bumpy

The Moon surface has craters, valleys and mountains so it is very bumpy. You would need to be very careful riding your bike on the moon.

The Moon has a lot of fun and interesting facts, if you would like to learn more about the Moon be sure to click on the link below to visit the NASA Moon page.

Sources:

http://ift.tt/1h9WKhf

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10 FUN LOVE SONGS

Don’t feel like dying for your lover, or selling your soul to the devil so he or she won’t leave you? Here’s an idea: Throw a little dance party and use some of these great songs to communicate that love is fun, wonderful. Make some happy memories, dancing the night away to some fun songs that say ‘I love you” in a happy way.

One of my favorites is SUGAR, SUGAR by the Archies. I confess that I thought this song was dumb when it first came out, but it just grows on you because it’s not only a fun song, it’s very catchy. All of the male voices in SUGAR, SUGAR are being sung by the very versatile Mr. Ron Dante. It’s one of the most loved songs from the bubblegum craze of the 1960s, and sure to put a smile on your face. The song, which was written by producer, Jeff Barry and singer, Andy, Kim, has stood the test of time very well.

Speaking of Andy Kim, his hit, BABY I LOVE YOU, is pretty cool. Yes, it was a remake of the Ronettes, featuring Ronnie Spector’s signature woa-oh, woa-oh oh oh. Andy’s has that fun and sexy little “c’mon baby n-n-n-n-now” part. ROCK ME GENTLY is another Andy Kim hit that really rocks.

I’VE GOT YOU BABE by Sonny and Cher: “I guess it’s so we don’t have a pot, but at least I’m sure of all the thing we’ve got, babe.” You can make up your own lyrics to this song for the ones that don’t apply. “Don’t let them say your butt’s too big. I don’t care if you eat like a pig,” if you and your honey have a sense of humor about it. (Don’t get mean).

BLUE MOON by the Marcels: Lyric-wise, this really is the same Blue Moon as Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Elvis and many others crooned, only the standard version doesn’t have the “ba ba bom ba ba bom a dang a dang dang ding a dong ding” doo-wop beats that make this version of Blue Moon the ultimate fun. Take turns being the lead or the bass. Yeah-h-h-h.

While we’re in the doo-wop mode, let’s not forget to mention HEART AND SOUL by the Cleftones. This rocking version of the Hoagy Carmichael standard will have you and your sweetie on the dance floor in a heartbeat.

YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT from Grease by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta is a great dance song. Ooh ooh ooh, honey!

YOU MAKE ME FEEL LIKE DANCING by Leo Sayer. You’ll put a spell on each other and really wanna dance the night away to this great 70s tune.

It won’t hurt your dance party one bit to throw in a little Tom Jones. JUST HELP YOURSELF … to my lips, to my arms just say the word, and they are yours,” is a hot one. How about LOVE ME TONIGHT? What a great beat that song has!

Those are my 10 fun love song suggestions. Hope you will find a few to like and add some of your own fun picks. Then maybe you can finish up the evening with something very romantic, like Roberta Flack’s FEEL LIKE MAKING LOVE.

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10 Free Things to Do on Valentine's Day in Washington, D.C

Somewhere between the roses and the tiramisu, Valentine’s Day can get really expensive. The bill is even higher in the city, where the potential to impress can bully would-be romantics into over-doing their celebrations. However, Washington, D.C. has a multitude of free activities for lovers this Valentine’s Day. Whether you and your sweetheart are long-time residents or just passing through, this list of ten free things to do on Valentine’s Day in Washington, D.C. will hold something new and romantic for you.

The grounds of the Franciscan Monastery

One of Washington, D.C.’s better kept secrets, the grounds of the Franciscan Monastery nestle hidden in Washington’s Brookland neighborhood. Though you may see more flowers in spring and summer, a stroll around the grounds is a quiet way to enjoy your Valentine’s Day away from the bustle of downtown business and tourists. The Monastery grounds, located at 1400 Quincy Avenue NE and a short walk from the Brookland metro station, are open from 10 am to 5 pm.

Chocolate of the Americas Demonstrations

No Valentine’s Day celebration is complete without chocolate. From 11 am to 1:30 pm on Valentine’s Day, the National Museum of the American Indian hosts Richard Hetzler and Diana Xochitl Munn, who’ll be demonstrating chocolate-making and discussing the history of the cacao tree, respectively. Access the National Museum of the American Indian from the National Mall (Smithsonian Metro); the demonstrations are on the 1st floor in the Potomac Atrium.

Nature’s Best 2007 Photography Awards

Every year, the Windland Smith Rice International Award winners are on display at the Natural History Museum. This collection of nature photography will wow you and your significant other with the magic of the world you inhabit. The pictures will provide fodder for discussion and laughter, putting you in a perfect date mood. The Natural History Museum is open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

Mexican Cycles: Festival Images by George O. Jackson de Llano

The Natural History Museum is also home to the temporary exhibition Mexican Cycles: Festival Images by George O. Jackson de Llano. By Valentine’s Day, this photography exhibition will be in its final days; explore the cultural diversity of Mexico and capture the spirit of its festivals while you enjoy your own celebration.

Theodore Roosevelt Island

Looking for a secluded, natural setting for your Valentine’s Day? Spend a quiet day in the shade of Teddy Roosevelt Island. The shady foliage makes this spot seem very private, while the water and the nature trails imbue a sense of peace. To access this small island, take the metro to Rosslyn Station, walk towards Key Bridge, and turn right onto the bike trail past the I-66 exit.

Worthy of the Nation: Planning America’s Capital

Valentine’s Day 2008 is the final day of the exhibition Worthy of the Nation, which displays photographs that focus on the challenges of planning the Washington D.C. that exists today. This exhibition, perfect for couples visiting the capital over Valentine’s Day this year, is on view at the International Center, accessible between 10 am and 5:30 pm through the Ripley Center next to the Smithsonian Castle.

Sunset in Washington, D.C.

On February 14, 2008, the sun will fall behind the horizon at 5:44 pm. There are a number of likely spots in Washington, D.C. to enjoy the sunset. Some include: the Key Bridge between Georgetown and Rosslyn, Virginia; Washington Harbor; the stair-step hill behind the Lincoln Memorial and next to Memorial Bridge; and from the Capitol grounds facing the National Mall and the Washington Monument.

Kwame Alexander: Evening of Love and Poetry

Visit historic Alexandria’s Black History Museum for an “Evening of Love and Poetry” with readings from Kwame Alexander’s recent book “Family Pictures: Poems and Photographs Celebrating Our Loved Ones.” The event begins at 6:30 pm and lasts until 8 pm at the Black History Museum at 902 Wythe Street. Afterwards, take Alfred Street six blocks south to stroll down King Street in Old Town Alexandria to the harbor on the Potomac. The Black History Museum’s closest metro stop is Braddock Road, and King Street metro station provides the best access to Old Town Alexandria’s King Street.

Tanka poetry of Fukushima Yasuki

The Kennedy Center Millenium Stage, a nightly free performance at 6 pm, hosts Fukushima Yasuki on Valentine’s Day this year. Fukushima Yasuki will be sharing his tanka poetry, 31-syllable poems that describe a moment through musical combinations of words.

Monuments by moonlight

There is nothing in Washington, D.C. that is more romantic than its monuments and memorials shining against the night. Take a moonlight monument tour, starting by walking south on 23rd Street NW towards the Vietnam War, Lincoln, and Korean War Memorials. Continue to the F.D.R. Memorial, which leads visitors through low-hanging trees around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial. Finally, loop around the Tidal Basin towards the Washington Monument and back towards the World War II Memorial and a serene view of the Reflecting Pool.

These free events in Washington, D.C. will give you and your sweetheart priceless Valentine’s Day memories. This Valentine’s Day, put away your wallet and show your significant other how you feel with the gift of a meaningful and enjoyable outing, sharing your company rather than your cash.

Sources

“Chocolate of the Americas Demonstrations.” Smithsonian Instutition.

“Event Details: Kwame Alexander: Evening of Love and Poetry.” Office of Historic Alexandria.

“Franciscan Monastery.” Franciscan Monastery.

“Kennedy Center: Millennium Stage Artist Details for Yasuki Fukushima.” The Kennedy Center.

“Mexican Cycles: Festival Images by George O. Jackson de Llano.” Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History.

“Nature’s Best 2007.” Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History.

“Smithsonian: New and Upcoming Exhibitions, Ripley Center (International Gallery).” Smithsonian Institution.

“Sunrise and Sunset in Washington, D.C.” TimeandDate.com.

“The Smithsonian International Gallery: Location/Hours.” Smithsonian Institution.

Tags:10 Free Things to Do on Valentine’s Day in Washington, D.C

10 Fun Things to Do when the Electricity Goes Out

Your electric power can go out for many different reasons. When the lights suddenly go out you realize how much you depend on electricity. Here is a list of 10 fun things to do when the electricity goes out.

Play a board game. Parcheesi, monopoly, scrabble, and checkers are good games to have on hand. It’s a great time for the family to do something together.

Read a book by candle light or kerosene lantern. This always reminds me of Abraham Lincoln studying by candle light. You can wrap up in a warm blanket, relax and enjoy a good book or magazine.

Pretend you are members of a pioneer family. You can give each person a character to play. Characters from Little House on The Prairie are always a good ones to use.

Make up a story – the first person says 1 or 2 lines, then stops and the next person continues. This game can go on and on until someone ends the story. It can be played with 2 or more people.

Sing songs – little kids love this activity. Come up with funny songs you sang as a kid and teach them to your children. Let your children teach you some of the songs they sing in school.

Play card games. If you’re alone – play solitaire. There are lots of card games you can play. This is a good time to learn a new game or teach someone a card game they’ve been wanting to learn.

Work on a jigsaw puzzle. This can be done alone or with others, and can be extra challenging in the darkened conditions.

Take pictures or make a family video. Make up a title like “The Day the Lights Went Out at The Smiths”, this can be lots of fun and a great use of imagination. This can be done with both still photos or making a video. If you take photographs, decide on a caption for each one, right before or soon after you take the picture.

Play charades by candlelight. It will add a whole new dimension to the game when you have to stay in a tiny circle of light.

Build a tent in your house by putting blankets over tables and furniture. Use flashlights and pretend you’re camping.

If it is dark out and you need to use candles, be sure you take the proper safety precautions. Use flashlights when possible, especially if you have small children around.

Tags:10 Fun Things to Do when the Electricity Goes Out

10 Games that Should Be Made for the Nintendo 3DS

The software library for the Nintendo 3DS is currently thinner than Kate Moss. Sure, there are some quality titles out there, but what if you could have any 10 games for the system? What would they be? Would you want more sports games? Platformers? A GTA clone?

Here’s our picks for 10 games that must be made/ported on the 3DS.

10: An NHL game: A hockey game in 3D doesn’t have that much appeal, so forgive me for being selfish. There’s never been a decent handheld hockey game on a Nintendo handheld. Time that that’s changed.

9: An original Kirby: He’s not nearly as mistreated as Pit, but this guy needs his own 3DS game. What’s the holdup?

8: An original Donkey Kong: Something in the vein of Donkey Kong Country would be awesome for the system. If it could take a page from Super Mario 3D Land and mix both the elements from the 16-bit and 64- bit additions of the series; it would be a must-own.

7: Fatal Frame: This game is meant to be played on the 3DS. A lack of horror games and a built-in camera make for an even more enticing offering.

6: Squids: Easily one of the best iPad games available from an up and coming French development team, Squids would be a fantastic addition to a 3DS library in dire need of intriguing RPGs.

5: King of Fighters Collection: Tekken, check. Street Fighter, check. This just makes sense. Can the 3DS handle the complex button inputs KOF is known for? Who knows. But with touch-screen controls, this could turn this niche fighter into a game everyone can enjoy.

4: A real Pokémon RPG: Nothing against Pokémon Rumble Blast 3D, but 3DS needs a traditional Pokémon game. With Streetpass, trading Pokémon could be a snap. Put Pokémon you don’t want anymore in a queue and once you walk by another person who has the game that has a Pokémon you want [which would be managed in another list] and boom. Simple, intuitive and ingenius. It’s exactly what a Pokémon game on the 3DS should be.

3: A 3D Classics compilation: All those great old-school titles in one? Where do we sign up?

2: A new Smash Bros: This, you would think would be a no-brainer. The game is reportedly in development, but we’re not holding our breath.

1: A Fallout spin-off: We started this list off selfishly and we’ll end it that way. The Fallout series is arguably one of the most important franchises in the industry today. If some version of the series was available on the 3DS, it would give millions of hardcore gamers a reason to own the system. Much like Grand Theft Auto’s Chinatown Wars, it could change the way people think about handheld gaming.

Tags:10 Games that Should Be Made for the Nintendo 3DS

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