Learning, bonding, self-enrichment

Learning something new or enhancing a current skill is priceless to the person learning and can cost little to nothing. Learning alone or with others builds stronger bonds and can even provide skills that can help you earn extra income.

While thinking of gifts for family I started putting together a list of date night ideas. As fun as cooking together, binge watching a favorite TV series, coffee shop hopping, day trip or movie night can be I think learning as a couple is a great bonding opportunity. So I decided to share a list of PIPs (Personal Idea Prompt)! I think this is for individuals, couples (great ideas for date nights), friends, groups, etc. Each suggestion could be a fun group night activity (for almost any age).

Today’s post is a little different than my typical BIP post (click here to read about BIP – Business Idea Prompt). PIPs focus on self-enrichment; bonding through learning and being creative. Again, a PIP can be done alone or as a couple or in a group. And as a bonus, a PIP can enhance an existing skill and become a possible income opportunity! Win-win; learn something new and interesting and find a new side job or full time self employment opportunity!

Technology makes it simple to learn a variety of skills at your own pace. A quick web search for step by step tutorials  on almost any subject produces dozens, even hundreds or thousands of results. Even if you do not have a computer or internet access at your home, you can visit some local coffee shops, libraries, friends, etc. for access or use the library to check out resource guides (or purchase instruction books at local new or used shops). This post mainly focuses on access to online videos/tutorials, but the suggestions could be read about in detailed instructional books.

Whether you try the list below with your partner, friend, sister, brother, parent or simply make time for yourself, your bond (or self-bond) will be deeper and you’ll have fun!  These suggestions are flexible and adaptive to a variety of situations; date nights, friend nights, self-enrichment or just an excuse to take a break for a few hours or an entire weekend!

The suggestions are highlighted by a topic and then some ideas for that topic, in no particular order. When searching the web, don’t get overwhelmed with all the results, look for a video tutorial  from popular posters and skim through to ensure the steps make sense to you, easy to access, read, etc.

Read through the ideas, pick one or three or ten, make a supply list (if needed), and enjoy your learning experience. These ideas can easily become a weekly or monthly (or ambitious daily) learning ritual. And of course, these are only a few topics, the possibilities really are endless.

  • Language – Learn a few key phrases in a day or weekend  or fluently speaking the other language(s) over a period of time. Learn a few words and how to write them in another language for creating mini works of word art, handwriting cards, etc. for family or for a part time creative business.
  • Craft/Hobby – Wood working, pyrography, calligraphy, knitting, painting, jewelry making card or paper making, magic tricks, card tricks, origami, paper quilling, crocheting, needle work, quilting, and so much more!
  • Cooking – Pastry baking, international recipe making, sushi rolling, candy making, crock pot basics and advanced recipes, chocolate tempering or advanced dessert making, and so much more!
  • Design – Web page, architectural projects, interior or exterior home design, fashion, furniture arrangement, painting and decorating, social media sites, blogs, site setup for art selling (Etsy, etc.), landscape, and yes, so much more!
  • Nutrition/Health – Yoga, tai chi, healthy eating habits, essential oil therapy, therapeutic massage (human and/or animal), meditation, exercise routines for specific fitness level, karate (martial art is a long list), herbs and health benefits, just to name a few ideas
  • Pampering – hair care, pedicure, manicure, facial, scrubs, foot soaks, bath salts, massage oils, face and body masks, makeup application, hair styles (braiding, buns etc.)
  • Writing – Poetry, hand writing, positive words, word art, art of writing, fictional and non fiction writing, etc.
  • Games – How to play….cards, poker, video game tips/tutorials, master monopoly scrabble crossword, solitaire, and more
  • Educational subjects – Philosophy, history, ethics, English, social behavior, science, math, biology, etc.
  • Masquerade/fantasy – Mask making, costume design, party theme planning, decoration making, part food, costume hair and makeup (face painting), accessory making (wands, crowns, gloves, etc.)
  • Mechanics/handyman(woman) – How to…change a tire, oil, brakes or headlight, etc. How to…repaint or wallpaper a room, install a new shower and/or tile flooring, light fixtures, basic plumping needs, new faucet, etc.,
  • Photography – Camera tips, programs, challenges/ideas, different topics (nature, people, pets, etc.)
  • Drink/Mixology – How to…make alcohol and non-alcohol beverages, fun drinks, punches, basic and advanced drinks, blended, etc. Smoothies, shakes, on ice, frozen, hot, etc.
  • Tea and Coffee – Learn the history of, steeping, recipes for mixing flavors/blends, how to serve and with suggested foods/desserts, etc. Loose tea options, grind your own coffee beans, and more!
  • Out and about – Gather info on local new restaurants, wineries, bed and breakfast, dance lessons, cooking classes, day trips, art classes, breweries, local tours, bakeries, etc. And plan a day trip/afternoon outing, etc. Spend a day planning together (or alone!) and then pick a date to explore.

There so may options I could keep typing until my fingers cramp. I hope this list inspires you to learn a new fun skill whether it’s to connect with others, find time for yourself or learn more for a possible income opportunity.

What have you always wanted to learn? I hope you make the time to learn it alone or with loved ones or friends or search out new like minded learners!




The first BIP – Business Idea Prompt

Please see the Business Idea page for information behind my BIP posts!

Here is the first Idea – and even though I have never canned any food in my life, I get so excited about this opportunity! I hope you do too. I hope you enjoy it!

Business Idea Prompt (BIP)– House-call Canning (as in canning food)

Details – More and more individuals are growing their own food, even in small urban settings. This idea is to make canning house calls to help people with gardens preserve (can) the fruits of their labor (pun intended). You can provide actual canning of their vegetables in their own kitchen, freeing them up for other activities and providing preserved food for the coming months. Or teach them how to can in the comfort of their own home; turn it into a canning party with their family and friends. Teaching provides a lifelong skill! This is a service that saves customers time, eliminates wasted food and gives the customers another option rather than giving grocery bags full of tomatoes to coworkers and neighbors!

Experience/Skills Needed – You need to enjoy and have knowledge of gardening, canning, an interest in canned foods, and enjoy sharing your skills with others. You must know food safety! This is a skill you can learn through books from the library, online videos, practice, etc., but food safety is TOP priority. Supplies;  jars, lids, pan(s), other canning items as needed. It should not be a huge investment; you may already have some supplies! This is a business that can be started while working a full time job, as additional income or eventually turning into full time. Here is a good resource for a tutorial on canning.

Marketing – Market to customers as a time saving, in home skill to learn, and less food wasted. Assure customers that they will be able to enjoy more of their garden goodness, and it’s a fun way to spend time with friends by turning it into a party! Share your experience and get the customer as excited as you are (excitement spreads fast and gets customers interested quickly!) Create pre-printed labels to put on the finished product jars with your contact information and a blank space to write what the ingredients are once finished. When setting up the in home visit ask what foods you will can and provide personalized recipes made from the canned ingredients (on recipe cards with your contact info included). You can even hand pick your customers; drive around and personally knock on the doors of those with gardens, hand out flyers or business cards offering your services. Share business cards with vendors and customers at farmer’s markets, display flyers on community boards at your local library, and share on social media! This could easily be a service promoted at craft shows, farmers markets, etc. by setting up a table and displaying decorated jars and lids for sale and introduce your canning business by handing out business cards. Follow up with customers each new year to offer your service and develop repeat-customer relationships.

Research – Price materials; canning supplies, labels, time, gas to drive to and from locations, marketing (flyers business cards, etc.). This will give you an idea of what you need to break even. Put a rate on your time per hour, choose a minimum number of hours and set your rate. This could be priced similar to landscaping, yard work, house cleaning, etc. as an hourly rate. Ask friends and community members what they would pay for this service, or give them prices and ask if that is reasonable to them as a consumer.

Bonus idea – This could easily grow into a larger business and the need to rent a space to provide the classes to groups at your own location! Or rent a kitchen one day a month. You’d just need a large open space, a few stove tops, a couple sinks, tables, label maker, jars, lids, pots, and there you have a growing business!

As with any business please check local and state guidelines to see what licenses, name registering, and other requirements may be needed (I’m working on a future article to help guide you through this!). And of course, I’m not a professional ‘canner’ so I recommend becoming extremely familiar with food safety before starting this type of business.