Saturday, April 30, 2005

Gift Cards

My sweetie loves to shop, but doesn't often go shopping for herself. With what kids need, car and home repairs, medical bills and so forth, there isn't a lot of money to go shopping with and she often feels guilty if she spends anything on herself. Even if I give her cash for birthday or Mother's Day, she will often spend it on something the kids need or want.

One thing that works are gift cards from a store where she likes to shop. Sometimes gift cards feel impersonal. They seem to say "I don't really know you well enough to choose a gift you would like." For that reason I try to avoid giving gift cards to people. But in the case of my sweetheart, it works out well. First, I spent the money so she doesn't have to feel guilty about it. Second, since it can only be used at a place she likes to go, she can't spend it on the kids. Third, she likes me to accompany her when she shops so it makes a nice date night for her. Lastly, it lets her know I am paying attention to what she likes.

Of course, getting a gift card is lots easier than trying to decide which size and what color to buy. Works out nice for both the person giving the card and the person receiving the card.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Eight Gifts That Don't Cost a Cent

I usually refrain from posting other people's words. However, today, is a rare exception. I found the following floating around the Internet and it is worth sharing exactly as it is. Thanks to Anonymous who wrote it:
The Gift of Listening
But you must really listen. Don't interrupt, don't daydream, don't plan your response. Just listen.

The Gift of Affection
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

The Gift of Laughter
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

The Gift of Solitude
There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

The Gift of a Favor
Everyday, go out of your way to do something kind.

The Gift of a Written Note
It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime.

The Gift of a Compliment
A simple and sincere, "You look great in red," "You did a super job," or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition
The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone.

Work to give your sweetie at least one of these gifts a day.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Double Date

Remember when you used to "double date" in school? Once we did a double-quintuplet date (10 couples al together) while dating in high school. We had fun, even when all the girls went to the powder room together.

While generally not as "romantic", a double date can still be a lot of fun. One idea is to go to a baseball game together. Baseball tickets are still reasonably priced. Enjoy cheering for the home team and stop for ice cream on the way home.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Peppermint for the Tootsies

A couple of previous posts, How About a Foot Rub and Sweetie Appreciation Week talked about how wonderful it can be to get a foot rub. My sweetheart is particularly fond of them.

One way to improve a foot rub is to use peppermint foot lotion. It feels great and soothing without making your sweetie's feet cold.

Tip: When applying lotion, put some on your hands and rub them together. This will warm up both the lotion and your hands, making the foot rub them much more enjoyable.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Sweet Deal: Free Slice of Ice-Cream Cake

On April 25th from 5:00 - 8:00pm, guests will be treated to a slice of Make-A-Wish Cake. In exchange for the free cake slice, customers are encouraged to make donations to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. One slice per customer, of course.

See the Cold Stone Creamery web-site for more details.

We went last year. Its yummy and for a good cause.

Sweetie Appreciation Week

Declare some week to be Sweetie Appreciation Week. Mark it on your calendar a couple of weeks in the future so that the anticipation can build. Then, each day during the week, do something to show that you appreciate your sweetheart. Mine would look like:
  • Monday: Footrub
  • Tuesday: A note of appreciation
  • Wednesday: Her favorite treat
  • Thursday: 1 hour of "sweetie" time
  • Friday: Her favorite meal and video
Also send a card romantic card in the mail on Monday so your sweetie will get it at some random time during the week.

Sweet Deal: Code 82M at

Mother's Day is approaching. Here is a sweet deal for giving flowers and other gifts to your mother and to your sweetie. They can even handle last-minute orders, if you choose to put it off. Don't put it off too long though. The deal is a coupon code for 15% off your order.

Save 15% on Mother's Day Flowers & Gifts at Use code 82M at checkout

Buy 12, Get 6 (234x60)

Family Vacation

We had a family vacation this past week, which explains why the posts were so few and far between. I will be posting details on my Random Notes blog. Now back to the regular tips.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Be an All-Pro Dad

Men, romance, in part, comes from being attracted to each other. Did you know that one thing women find attractive is confidence? Its true. If you are confidence in yourself and your abilities, that confidence will make your sweetie less stressed. Less stress means she is feeling better about herself and your relationship.

One way to build confidence in ones abilities is to improve those abilities. How can you improve in your roles as husband and father? At All-ProDad they have a mailing list with advice to fathers. The advice runs the whole gambit. Some of it is useful and some less so. On the whole, its great way to add some tools and advice to your fathering toolbox.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Sweet Deal: Mother Day's Gift Idea

Mother's Day is coming up. For a unique gift she will appreciate, try Shutterfly, where you can Get 15 FREE prints PLUS get 20% off your order at Shutterfly!. You can get a greeting card, calendar, notecard, apron, tote bag, mug, mouse pad and other stuff all with your own picture on them. Shutterfly also allows you to share your photos on-line, if you want. Best of all, they are having 15% or maybe 20% discount.New Prospect Offer

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Fixed Patterns

All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.
Bruce Lee
As you probably know, Bruce Lee was a martial arts expert as well as a movie star. He even created his own form of martial arts.

In martial arts, patterns are fixed routines, similar to a choreographed dance routine. A pattern consists of a set of movements and are an important part of the study of martial arts. Part of receiving an advancement to the next belt rank involves mastery of a new pattern.

Bruce Lee recognized that, while patterns are important, they are only a tool. It would be foolish to expect to follow a pattern in a sparring match or a real fight and expect to win. Facing an opponent requires moving outside the pattern and reacting to the reality of the situation.

A marriage relationship has set patterns as well. Get up, go to work, come home, yard work, kids' homework, etc etc etc. Yet, as Bruce Lee noted, the truth is outside these patterns. Patterns, while important, become boring. Make time to move outside the patterns of life and into the romance.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Quiet Date

Have a quiet date. The point is to be able to talk and enjoy each other's company without the pressure of being somewhere or doing something. Examples:
* Talk a walk in the park
* Go and watch a little league baseball game.
* Take the dog for a walk.

Enjoy the simple pleasure of time spend with a good friend.

Does this make me look fat?

Guys, Has this ever happened to you? You are getting ready to go to a social engagement. You're all ready, the wife is looking good and putting the finishing touches on. Then, out of the blue, it happens:
Does this make me look fat?
The novice husband will answer either yes or no. Sounds like a "yes or no" type question, so it makes sense to answer with one of those. The novice husband then gains experience, but is left wondering why she is upset.

The more experienced husband realizes that neither yes nor no is the correct answer, but wonders what it might be. A primordial grunt usually suffices to keep one out of hot water. In a later posting, we'll revisit this subject on why yes and no are both wrong.

Ok, what is the answer to the question? The answer is to not answer the question. Let me explain. When your sweetie asks "Does this make me look fat?" or some other such loaded question, use a bit of redirection.

Stop, look her up and down. Tell her to turn around slowly one direction, then the other. Have her walk a few paces away and turn again. Undo one of her buttons and do it back up. Then have her turn around again. Have her lift her skit up and check out her slip. Make some adjustments to her hair. Have her move under the light so you can get a closer look. Keep this up for a couple of minutes, really making a show of inspecting how show looks.

Finally, walk up to her, look her in eye and say "YOU'RE GORGEOUS!!".

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Getting Messy

Ever notice how much fun kids have getting messy? They are attracted to puddles and mud like moths to a flame. Today, let out that inner kid out. Go for a walk in the rain, splash and laugh. Maybe have a whipping cream fight or make a cake with plenty of sugar and chocolate.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Date Idea: Progressive Dinner

The other night we had a great time. We participated in a "progressive dinner". Pick one place for an appetizer, another for the main entre and another for dessert. For a little more fun, choose places you have never been before.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Watch a Solar Eclipse

If you are lucky enough to be able to observe the solar eclipse on April 8, 2005, make it a point to do so together. There is something in the quiet power implied by an eclipse that makes one ponder the imponderables of life.

Remember that looking directly at the sun, even during an eclipse can hurt your eyes. Be sure and read the Nasa Eclipse Eye Safety page for information on safely enjoying the eclipse.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Be Benevolent to Each Other

In Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure Bill, or is it Ted, advises the people of the future to:
Be Excellent! ... to each other.
That thought, by itself should be sufficient a posting. But wait, there is more.

In 1 Corinthians 7:3, Paul advises the saints in Corinth:
3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
What, then, is benevolence?
One definition is: The disposition to do good; good will; charitableness; love of mankind, accompanied with a desire to promote their happiness.In other words, a desire to do nice things to make other people happy. It is the ability to find joy in making other people happy. It is the very opposite of "what's in it for me?"

Benevolence, then, is what romance is all about. By doing acts of benevolence for your sweetie and by recognizing and appreciating benevolence when directed at you, you will discover the very heart and soul of romance. Indeed, the very key to keeping the fire going and the honeymoon alive. Amazing how things haven't really changed in 2,000 years.

Be Benevolent! ... to each other.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Sweet Deal: HearthSong Discount

I like HearthSong as a place to get fun ideas like HearthSong Valentine Kit. Valentine's Day is long gone. Yet red hearts and the like are always romantic and can be hard to find after Valentine's day. If you order more than $50.00, don't forget to enter the code HSASPR at checkout to get $10.00 off. Coupon 2

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fools Day

Ok, most of us think of Valentines when we think of romantic holidays. But April Fools day can also be romantic, with just a little thought. The essence of April Fools is to surprise your sweetie. Instead of pulling a practical joke, pull an indirection instead.

A couple of ideas:
  • Remove the light bulb from the bedroom and call sweetie back to fix it. Use your imagination of what to do in the dark.
  • Bring take out dinner home and put it in the oven. Tell sweetie you slaved all day making their favorite. Bring out the dinner, still in the take out boxes.
  • Tell sweetie the power is out and have a cold dinner by candlelight.
  • A romantic gag gift
  • Get a romantic card or a suggestive card and write April Fools on the envelope and put "Since we have some time alone, let have lunch at ________" on the inside of the card. Drive somewhere within walking distance of nice restaurant. Call sweetie and say the car broke down and that you need a ride. Make sure sweetie finds the card. Have lunch.
    • If you are home during the day and sweetie can get away from work, have the mock emergency at home.
Turn the practical joke into a romantic gesture.