Monday, December 10, 2007

Date Idea: Build a Snowman

The Power Of Love :)
Originally uploaded by !!! Monika !!!
In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say 'Are you married ?', We'll say 'No man,
But you can do the job when you're in town.'
-- Winter Wonderland

Playing the snow is fun for most everyone, kids and parents alike. Building a snowman can be a great activity for just the two of you or for the whole family. Of course, there will need to be some snowballs thrown in the process. Don't forget to warm up after with a blanket, hot chocolate and laughter.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Advice to couples

At my granddaughter's wedding, the DJ polled the guests to see who had been married longest. It turned out to be my husband and I. The DJ asked us, "What advice would you give to the newly-married couple?"

I said, "The three most important words in a marriage are, 'You're probably right.'" Everyone then looked at my husband. He said, "Yeah, she's probably right."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Romantic Welcome Home Ideas: Part 2 Attract the Senses

two pumpkin pies
Originally uploaded by strph

This is the third in a series called Romantic Welcome Home Ideas.

The aroma of pies fills the house. Not just any pies, pumpkin pies. My wife makes wonderful pumpkin pie and she also knows that I am the original pumpkin pie fiend. Every once in a while, she will surprise me with fresh home-made pumpkin pies.

Making it Real talks about how the more senses you can involve, the more strongly the message is received. In brief, the human brain receives all its information from the 5 senses. Each sense contributes to a complete picture of what is real, true and sincere. If you say "I love you" with a frown on your face, the message is confused. What the eyes see does not match what the ears hear, diminishing the intensity of the message. This is where the pumpkin pie comes into play.

The simple, if not time consuming, act of cooking pumpkin pies sends the message "welcome home" to all 5 senses. The first to get the message is the sense of smell as the nose smells the wonderful aroma. Then the eyes see both my wife's smiling face and the beautiful pies. Next the ears are treated with "Welcome home. Guess what I made." A welcome home hug and kiss are felt. Lastly, the eating. All five senses have received the same message and it really feels good to be home.

Of course, you do not need to bake a pie to attract all 5 senses. It is easy to send a welcome home that is seen, felt and heard. A simple "Hi sweetie" with a hug and kiss will do that. The trick is to address the remaining sense: smell and taste. Here are some ideas:

  • Leave a trail of Hershey Kisses, M&Ms or other favorite treat that lead to a rose.
  • Get dressed up and where that favorite perfume or cologne.
  • Prepare a favorite dish.
  • Fresh baked bread with honey
By making a little extra effort to attract all the senses, you can create a memorable welcome home.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Do something

You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind. Your
mind gets bored and therefore tired of doing nothing. Get interested in
something! Get absolutely enthralled in something! Get out of yourself! Be
somebody! Do something. The more you lose yourself in something bigger
than yourself, the more energy you will have.

Norman Vincent Peale

Doing something is very important in a marriage. Keep the relationship interesting by talking, dating and flirting with each other. Do not become dull.

Friday, November 02, 2007

3 Easy Steps to Boring

Many people can related to "Life in Eight Easy Steps".
  1. Wake up
  2. Drink coffee
  3. Drive to Work
  4. Work
  5. Drive Home
  6. Watch TV
  7. Go to Bed
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 until death occurs.
We all have a glass chicken coop we live in called a "comfort zone". Life is comfortable in the comfort zone. Life is nice in the comfort zone. Life is also boring in the comfort zone.

Thanks to my chosen vocation, I have become an expert on boring. Some people are the life of the party, I am the death of the party. For an unfun time, try this at the next party you attend: When someone asks what you do, answer "computer programmer". The eyes go vacant, the smile leaves the face and the tumbleweeds roll through the mind. Instant boredom.

As an expert on boredom, I will now present to you my 3 step no-fail process for boring. The 3 steps are: Lack of Vision, Fear, and Procrastination.

Lack of Vision

Disney's Jungle Book is a great movie, one I have liked since childhood. There is a fun story and an assortment of interesting characters like the snake, the tiger, the monkeys and the vultures.
The vultures sit around all day and do nothing except ask, "Whatcha wanna do"? How boring can you get?

The other day my wife and I were in that same sort of mood. Our plans fell through and we were asking each other "Whatcha wanna do"? Fortunately, my wife was editing my book and came across a date idea of Geocaching which is a modern day treasure hunt. We ended up having a fun time with the kids.

Over the past few years, I have posted a bunch of date ideas including:
Another good way to avoid having the "Watcha wanna do"? moment is to create a date jar. Write on pieces of paper the things you would like to do on a date. Place the papers in a jar and when it is time to spend some time together, pick one at random and do it.

Jonah 1:1-3
1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
Just so we get the geography right, Joppa is in modern Israel, Tarshish is probably in Spain and Nineveh is in Iraq. Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh but set sail for Spain instead. He really didn't want to go to Nineveh. Of course, he got to see the insides of a large fish to help him overcome his fear of Nineveh. He found something even more frightening.

In the end things turned out well for Jonah and Nineveh. He did go to the city, they repented and were spared.

People are silly critters. We do not like repetition, it is boring. Yet, we also fear the unknown, the new, and the different. As FDR said during his Inaugural Address:
So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

Fear keeps us in our own little private glass chicken coop. What will people think? What if I fail? How will others treat me? All these little fears work against us and keep us boring. Learn to set these nameless fears aside. Be bold, be brave, be romantic.


Take a moment and think of a famous procrastinator. Go ahead, I'll wait .....
Did you come with any? After a long time searching, I was only able to come up with two.

The second most famous procrastinator is Shakespeare's Hamlet. At the beginning of the play his dead father gives him the task of killing Hamlet's step-father and uncle, the new king of Denmark. Hamlet then spends the rest of the play not doing it. During the course of which, his girl friend goes crazy and dies, her father is accidentally killed, Hamlet's school chums meet their fate and finally at the end Hamlet's mother, his girlfriend's brother, the king and Hamlet all meet an unhappy end. To top it off, Denmark is invaded. The moral of Hamlet is "Procrastinators: Ye Have Been Warned"

The most famous procrastinators of all time are kids and their homework.

Scene: Late Sunday night as the family heads to bed
Kid: Dad, I have a book report due tomorrow.
Dad: That's nice, what book.
Kid: Some stupid book that nobody ever reads.
Dad: You have a book report due tomorrow for a book you haven't even read? How much more do you have to read?
Kid: All of it.

The outcome is about the same as in Hamlet, without the swords. People who procrastinate tend to be boring, except in those few moments when everything goes boom, which is fun to watch but it isn't much fun to be a part of the explosion.

People often think: Someday I will get around to it. Here is a "round to it" so you can do those things you should be doing.There are so many thoughtful things that can be done. A few day back I stopped and bought my wife a dozen roses. No special occasion, just because she likes them. The gals at the store assumed I was getting flowers as part of an apology. When I explained it was just because, I became the most thoughtful guy in town. Not much competition apparently if it is that easy.
Some other things you can do quickly and without spending a lot of money:
  • Buy roses or flowers in the off season when they are cheaper
  • Hide treats in places where they will be discovered later or over time.
  • Arrange to have lunch together
  • Send a love letter or a card. The card store has lots of romantic greeting cards if you do not feel up to a whole letter.

Boring is a romance killer. The most boring place to be is in the glass chicken coop we call the "comfort zone". A good way to spark romance to make a goal of being more romantic, ignore your fear and get around to it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sweet Deals: Halloween Specials

These merchants have lots of fun Halloween ideas and some are even on sale.
Just Because Baskets

Personal Creations
Look to Lillian Vernon for all your spookylicious favorites for Halloween! From must-have costumes for the whole family to personalizable treat baskets and frighteningly festive fall decor
Save on all your spookylicious favorites for Halloween with $4.99 flat rate shipping using media code 587860100

The Popcorn FactoryOriental Trading Company, Inc.Monthly Special: 50% off iPulse Stereo with any purchase: expires 9/30/07

The Power of Gratitude

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings,
turn routine jobs into joy,
and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

William Arthur Ward
Over time, many marriages lose that romantic spark. In Expressing Gratitude and Appreciation you can read:
The importance of gratitude cannot be overstated. A marriage that is full of gratitude is also full of romance. A marriage devoid of gratitude soon loses its flame.
The same article also includes several ideas for expressing gratitude.

Gratitude is most important in any relationship. That goes doubly so for a marriage. Thanksgiving is a great time to express gratitude for your sweetheart. Back in 2004 I wrote the 25 Days of Thanksgiving. The idea is to write the things you are thankful for and then share them with each other on Thanksgiving day.

Another way to express gratitude is Sweetie Appreciation Week. Declare a week to show how much you appreciate your sweetie and do something special everyday. the article will give some ideas.

Other ways of expressing gratitude:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Holiday Gift Buying that Makes a Difference

The holiday buying season is coming up. We all want to give gifts with meaning. This year, consider a gift that is not only very nice, but also benefits those less fortunate. As I mention in my other blog, there are some companies dedicated to helping people rather than exploiting them. One of these is called My Princess Pearls. Not only do they pay a decent wage, they also collect donations to be sent to help the families further.

From their website:

The Mission of My Princess Pearls is to improve the living conditions in third world countries while helping women accessorize their wardrobes with Genuine Handmade Jewelry at amazingly affordable prices.

Our genuine pearl jewelry comes directly from Asian women who have been trained in the jewelry making process by our source . Now, previous non-income earners are able to sustain their families. By offering unique financial opportunities to Independent Distributors worldwide, we continue our goal of improving the standard of living across the globe.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Making it real

spin it
Originally uploaded by antpix
What is real? Ponder that for just a moment. As you ponder that, consider that with optical illusions and the works of Escher, what your eyes see your brain knows cannot be. Some illusions make us see motion in a still image. While others present straight lines that look bent, dots that flash on or off or even a picture of Jesus where this isn't one. The question then is: Can I trust my own eyes?

People are equipped with 5 senses: sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. These 5 senses, combined with memory, form our perception of reality. Almost all we know and perceive as real comes to us through some combination of the senses. The human brain processes the sum total of what the senses perceive along with what is remembered to decide what is real and what is not.

We know that, unless you live a Hogwarts, pictures on paper do not move. Our hands touch the paper, our eyes see the paper, you can smell or even taste the paper, we remember paper. We know it is paper. Only our eyes see the illusion. Weighing the evidence of all the senses against the conflicting evidence of just the eyes, we come to the conclusion that our eyes may have been deceived.

By applying the same idea to romance, love can be made real. The trick is to involve as many of the senses as possible in combination with memory. One sense can be easily dismissed. The greater the number of senses involved, the greater the perception that it is real.

Saying "I love you" involves only hearing. A written note that says "I love you" involves both sight to read the message and touch to hold it. Thus, a written note seems more real, seems more sincere. Adding a small chocolate or other treat adds both smell and taste making the message even more real. The simple act of writing "I love you" on a card and attaching a candy will reinforce the spoken "I love you" and make it real.

Keep in mind that the brain combines the senses to form perception. If you say "I love you" with a scowl on your face, the brain will be confused and decide either the spoken word or the scowl is an illusion. Talk is cheap so the scowl is given more reality. Smile as you say "I love you" so all the senses are getting the same message.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saying I love you in different languages

Love is all you need
Originally uploaded by a_cherished_memory
I love you
I love you
I love you

Phrases oft repeated, often lose their punch. I love you is one of the most common phrases your spouse will hear. If not, it should be. But after years of hearing it, it becomes common.

Take that old, worn out "I love you" and give it new life. Make if new by speaking it in a new language. There is a website with lots of translations:

Here a just a few:
  • Hawaiian : Aloha Au Ia ʻOe, Aloha No Au Ia ʻOe
  • Latin : te amo
  • French: Je t'aime
  • Scots : Ah loove ye

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Originally uploaded by nascity
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier
-- Mother Teresa

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bible Verses for Couples: 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I Believe...
Originally uploaded by Ange's photos
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong doing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I normally read the King James version of the Bible, but sometimes it is helpful to read other versions. Replacing the word charity with the word love makes one reconsider the scripture. Charity, being the pure love of Christ, is what I think of for the world at large. Love is what I tell my wife everyday. When I tell my wife I love her, is this what I mean by love?

When I say I love you it means:
* I will be patient with you
* I will be kind to you
* I will not be envious but will rejoice with you
* I will not be arrogant but will be humble
* I will not be rude but will speak and act with kindness
* I will not insist upon having my own way but will seek our mutual happiness
* I will not be irritable or resentful but instead forgiving and good natured.
* I will stand by you.

Three little word: I love you. How do you know I love you, by how I treat you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How to make a man happy

To make a man happy, fill his hands with work, his heart with affection, his mind with purpose, his memory with useful knowledge, his future with hope, and his stomach with food. -- Frederick e. Crane

Marriage wisdom from kids

Kissing Kids
Originally uploaded by friend_cuttack

You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming. -- Alan, age 10

No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with. -- Kristen, age 10

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then. -- Camille, age 10

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids. -- Derrick, age 8

Both don't want any more kids. -- Lori, age 8

Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough. -- Lynnette, age 8

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that Usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date. -- Martin, age 10

I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns. -- Craig, age 9

When they're rich. -- Pam, age 7

The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that. - - Curt, age 7

The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do. - - Howard, age 8

It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. -- Anita, age 9

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there? -- Kelvin, age 8

Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck. - anonymous

Monday, October 01, 2007

Make a Jigsaw Puzzle

For a fun surprise, try making your own jigsaw puzzle and sending it to your sweetie. It is easy to do. Simple go to the website, Flash-Gear, upload your image and select the size puzzle pieces. The puzzle is created with the code to either embed it in a web page or to just send the URL.

Here is one of my dog.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Halloween Costume Ideas for Couples

Halloween is a fun time of year. Even the adults get to pretend to be something or someone else for a little while. Here are some ideas for both husband and wife to go as a couple. Some are free and others are costumes you buy.

First, Shrek and Fiona:

Costumes at Walmart


Other Halloween Costume Ideas

Friday, September 28, 2007

Free Online Halloween Stuff

Over at, they have a thread on where to get free Halloween stuff. The list includes fonts, crafts, screen savers and even sound effects. I am sure you will be able to some fun ideas to share with your sweetie and kids. Be sure to check back as the list will continue to grow.

Some other halloween ideas:

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sweet Deal: Sweetest Day

I like holidays especially ones that are good excuses to do something for my sweetie. I even make up my own, for no reason holiday. I just found out about another made up holiday, only I didn't have to make it up.
The Sweetest Day of the year is Saturday October 20th. Originally, Sweetest Day was created by the candy industry solely to increase the sales of candy. Sweetest Day now largely involves giving small presents to loved ones.
Isn't that nice? Of course the timing is a bit off because Halloween is just a week or so after, but oh well.
Personal CreationsPersonal Creations

Sunday, September 23, 2007

To Be Appreciated

I will smile at friend and foe alike and make every effort to find, in him or her, a quality to praise, now that I realize the deepest yearning of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Og Mandino

Smiling and appreciation, what a powerful pair of concepts.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Romantic Welcome Home Ideas Part 1: Decompress and Destress

Snow Crossing
Originally uploaded by robbroccoli
This is part one in a three part series on Romantic Welcome Home Ideas.

Many couples have a rule that the first 10 or fifteen minutes after getting home from work are for relaxing. This time is used to take a few minutes and decompress from the day. It is a moment spent as friends, no problems, to-do lists nor homework. It need not be long, just long enough for everyone to catch their breath before starting the evening.

Work can be stressful and the commute home even more so. Giving each other a few friendly minutes to unwind will improve the whole rest of the evening.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sweet Deal: $10 off from Spa Finder

Spa Finder, Inc

What better way to pamper your sweetie than a nice spa treatment! These gift certificates are now accepted at over 3,800 spas worldwide. They are convenient and practical - ideal for any occasion, or no occasion at all.

Save $10 at SpaFinder on orders over $125 through September 30th and get a Free Digital Subscription to Luxury SpaFinder Magazine!

Romantic Welcome Home Ideas, Introduction

Welcome to San Francisco
Originally uploaded by eee.xeroid
Every so often it is fun to see what searches bring people to this site. The 10 most common are:
* romantic tips
* printable love coupons
* married couples
* free printable love coupons
* hobbies for couples
* romantic bible verses
* foot rub
* romantic idea married people
* shmily
* bible verses for couples
Most of these are not that surprising, although I admit I did not expect to see the "printable love coupons" show up so much. As I look further down the list, other, less obvious search terms appear. These are things like "the 10 cow wife", "an old farmers advice", and "water heater basement flood". A group of these less common ones impressed me because while it is a subject I have written about several times, never have I really pulled it together. The subject is "Romantic Welcome Home Ideas" and people found this site by searching for things like:
* Romantic Welcome Home Ideas
* welcome home surprise party
* sweet way to welcome spouse home

Now, in three parts, how to welcome a spouse home in a romantic way. The three areas to be covered are Decompress and Destress, Attract the Senses and Be a Friend. I firmly believe that one of the most important times of the day is when husband and wife greet each other after work. Those few moments set the tenor of the rest of the evening.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Date Idea: City Council Meeting

Courtroom One Gavel
Originally uploaded by Joe Gratz
If you have never been to a city council meeting or if it has been a long time, make a point of going together sometime soon. It is a wonderful thing to see your local government in action. Attending the meetings lets you get to know the issues in your town and the people addressing those issues. By attending as a couple, each of you will have noticed different things and by discussing the meeting later come to a better understanding of your city and each other.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Happy Constitution Day - Sept 17

I saw in the news this morning that today is Constitution Day.
On Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by thirty-nine brave men who changed the course of history. Now Constitution Day is a time for us to continue their legacy and develop habits of citizenship in a new generation of Americans.

Take a few minutes today and check out the amendments with your sweetie and family. The first ten are the "Bill of Rights" and refer to the rights that citizens of the United States of America hold. Check them all out. If you haven't you might be surprised at what you find. Feel free to comment, I will feel free to moderate the comments.

Other Constitution Day Resources:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Anatomy of a friend

Sundays Ultra
Originally uploaded by Escape Vehicle
Will always see you for the way you really are, your true self.

Will always have them open to listen.

To always tell you the truth and give their opinions, tell you when you mess up or do something good.

Will offer when you need one to cry on and will be your strength when you find it hard to carry yourself. Will always let you lean on them.

To love you for who you are and not judge. Will always have a place there for you.

To hold yours when you need a little guidance, to lend when you need help, and to help you up when you may fall.

Will always make you feel comfortable in them and to offer hugs when you need one. Will try to warm when you are cold.

To walk with you throughout your life and be the best friend they can be.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Sweet Acts of Kindness

I stumbled upon a posting of a wife expressing her gratitude to her husband for a "sweet act of kindness:
The Parkits: Sweet Acts of Kindness: "I came home yesterday from a long day of work to some really sweet notes from my husband! He put them in very creative places so I would find them as I went about the rest of my day!! What an amazing blessing the Lord has given me!!!!!"

Go check it out. I'll wait.....

Post it notes: 23 cents
Pen to write note: 23 cents (probably already have one)
Time to write and hide notes: 10 minutes
Instilling a sense of gratitude and appreciation in your relationship: priceless.

As I have mentioned before, it is the small and simple acts of kindness that make a relationship beautiful.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Date Idea: Laser Tag

Originally uploaded by dingadingdang
This can be a great night with other couples or with the whole family.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Kind Words

Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is.

- Blaise Pascal

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Why gripe?

A Droplet Of Time
Originally uploaded by MINDFLAME
I came across this quote:

My days of whining and complaining about others have come to an
end. Nothing is easier than fault finding. All it will do is discolor my
personality so that none will want to associate with me. That was my old life. No more.

Og Mandino

Thing is, my sweetie and I were just discussing complaining and what it does to a relationship. No one likes to listen to a complainer. People would much rather associate with positive people.

There are basically two types of things to gripe about: those you can control and those you can't. If you do not have any control over it, why complain? People do not like listening to gripes and it won't solve anything anyway. On the other hand, if you can fix it, why complain? Stop complaining and start acting.

It is too easy to find faults and to point them out. Rather, find things to praise and point them out. It might be much harder, but most things worth doing are difficult.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Catch a falling star on Saturday Morning.

Did you see the lunar eclipse a couple of days ago? There is already another celestial event in the works.

2007 Aurigids - The Aurigid Meteor Shower Observing Campaign: "This very rare shower will occur again on 1 September 2007. A brief shower of tens of meteors will radiate from the constellation of Auriga, many as bright as the brighter stars in the sky. The Earth will be in the thick of it during the one hour centered on 04:33 a.m. PDT. The shower will be visible by the naked eye from locations in the western United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, from Mexico, and from the western provinces of Canada."

Get up early with your sweetie and go see if you can catch a falling star.

Here are some viewing tips:
Best viewing is in high altitude locations, where scattered moonlight does not brighten the night sky. Watch towards the East and NorthEast.
Check out the 2007 Aurigids website for more info.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Send an eCard

Vintage Christmas Cards
Originally uploaded by Picnic by Ellie
As a married couple we spend a lot of time apart. My wife and I really only see each other after work and then it is a lot of running around. There isn't much time left for romance. Here is an idea of how to have a romantic moment even when you are not in the same location.

Send an eCard. An eCard is an email you send that has an electronic greeting card. They are often animated and have music to go along with the message. You pick the card you want, the email address of the recipient and then enter a personal message. These are fun for all sorts of occasions or just because to say "Thinking of you".

Here is a sample card I sent from the Hallmark website.
There are lots of free ones as well as premium ones. Some of them even let you add your own photo to personalize the card even more.

Take a few moments and let your sweetheart know that even though you aren't not together at this moment, you are still thinking of them.