Tuesday, May 8, 2012

10 Mothers Day Gift Ideas for Your Wife

Ink 96645mm happy mothers day

Looking for that perfect gift for your wife this Mother's Day?   Here's a few ideas that she is sure to love.

1.  A gift certificate for her at a local spa for a massage and/or pedicure.

2. Cook a special lunch or dinner for her and you take care of all of the cleanup.

3. Breakfast in bed.  Treat her to a special breakfast in bed accompanied with a card.

4. A gift certificate to a store such as Bath and Body Works where she can buy things to pamper herself.

5. Arrange for her to have a special dinner with just her and her girl friends.  

6. Prepare a special bubble bath just for her, before bed.

7. Give her a full body massage complete with relaxing music and her favorite scents and lotions.

8. A coupon book of coupons for things like free babysitting on Saturday,  free bathroom cleaning, free car wash... well you get the idea!

9. Buy her a ticket to a movie she has been wanting to see.

10. Write her a full page letter telling her how much you love and appreciate her.

Try these out and let me know if you have any favorites.  Oh and remember you are free to use more than one idea to thoroughly treat your wife on Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Date Idea #14 - Plan a Dream Date

As life continually moves on, practicality and responsibility often overshadow and eclipse the dreams we had as a couple when we first got married.   My suggestion this time is to plan a "dream date".

This date will be unique to every couple, as everyone has a different purpose and different journey.  Pick a place that you both can enjoy being yourselves and talk freely and openly.  For my wife and I, this is usually a park or some place outdoors.

Talk about the things you dream about doing together.  Here are some ideas for "dream date" conversation starters: 

What places do you want to go together?
Talk about vacations you'd like to take together, places you both want to see, countries you want to visit.  Remember, be free to dream!  Don't be afraid to fantasize a bit. 

What are your financial dreams?  
Maybe you want a house in the country or to be able to donate to worthy causes. 

Do you have dreams of a ministry together? 
 Maybe there is something God has placed in your hearts to minister to others. 

Are there hobbies you dream of doing together?   
Maybe you want to learn to dance, play tennis, garden, cook you name it.

Dream big don't worry about if your dreams are practical.   Dream together and see your love for each other flourish.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Help your wife be more comfortable naked.

As a Christian, I want to start this post out and say it is perfectly ok for you to desire seeing your wife naked.  There is a catch though - as Christian men our goal should be to provide security and trust for our wives.  Just pushing and prodding your wife toward sexual intimacy isn't the Christ-like way to love your wife - in fact it is quite selfish.

Instead, you should pursue your wife by building her trust which will lead to a deep connecting intimacy for both you and her.   Here's a couple of tips to help your wife be more secure about her body and help her be more comfortable naked in her own skin.

Compliment her and let her know how sexy she is

Many women shy away from sex because they are uncomfortable with their bodies.   Every woman has something she doesn't like about her body.  She may think to herself that she is to thin, too fat, her breasts are too small or too big.   She will compare herself to air brushed models on TV and in magazines.   Your job as a husband is to compliment her, tell her what you find beautiful about her.   Let her know that you think she is sexy.

Connect with her emotionally

While men often become more open emotionally after being physically intimate, most women need to be emotionally intimate before becoming physically intimate.   Take time to invest in your wife and pursue her emotionally.  Set aside time to talk with her, listen to her ideas and concerns.   Don't try to fix all of her problems, but let her know you are there and that you will always support her and be her number one fan.

Love your wife with non-sexual touch

It is important to take time to communicate love to your wife through touch, but she needs to know and be reassured that you love her apart from intimacy in the bedroom.   Take time to give her a hug, hold her hand, kiss her, or embrace her when you get home without any sexual intention.   It is likely to drive your wife  away sexually if you only touch her in sexual ways.    Make it your goal to re-assure her that she is loved and secure in the way you touch her throughout the day.

Never criticize her body
Never criticize your wife's body.  This will be very damaging to her and confirm the messages she is already being bombarded with.  You need to do the opposite and help her battle the messages of our culture and let her know that she is truly beautiful.

Provide security and privacy for intimacy
If your wife is shy being naked, make sure you always create a secure and private environment for sexual intimacy.   For example, arrange for the kids to visit grand parents or wait until they are in bed.   Nothing may distress her more than fear of having an accidental intruder.  Even the kids knocking on the bedroom door may be enough to make her insecure.  Help her know that you treasure her body and will keep it for only you and her to enjoy.

Help her relax before hand
This could mean letting her have some quite time by herself.   Taking care of the kids for a few minutes to help her let the cares of the day subside.  A non-sexual massage may also help her relax and feel more secure as you help her release the stress and tension of the day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

5 Dates to Beat the Summer Heat

Sunset on North Beach at Fort De Soto Park

Yesterday, I was quite surprised to see the thermometer break 100 degrees and we are not even to may yet. Well, that got me to thinking about what dates my wife and I can do as the mercury starts to rise.

So here are a few ideas:

1. Spend an afternoon at a lake or nearby beach and enjoy some swimming.

2. Go out for ice cream or smoothies for a nice refreshing treat.

3. Go to a community pool together and enjoy a refreshing swim.  Checkout your local YWCA or YMCA also they often have evenings where you can go swim for a reasonable price.

4. Be juvenile and have a water balloon fight in your backyard.

5. Go out and enjoy your favorite beverage together.  Many chains like Sonic have happy hours where you can get great deals on cold drinks in the summer.

Try a few of these ideas to keep your dates cool, and save the rising mercury for fun in the bedroom with your spouse.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to get a unique blog design on a budget

I am a business owner, husband, and father who has recently taken up blogging in some of my free time. Being a very technical person, but not always the most creative when it comes to designing graphics I started searching for ways to get nice website and blog designs on a budget. There are many sites where you can buy themes and templates for WordPress, but I was looking for a way to get a truly original design without breaking the bank. While it is ok to buy pre-made themes starting out, at some point you will want your blog to have its own unique design the helps communicate your message.

After quite a bit of searching I found Design Crowd. It is a site with over 70,000 designers worldwide. The way it works is you submit a brief that describes what you want designed and any specific details such as general color palettes you like etc. When you setup your project, you will be asked to name your budget. A basic logo starts at $240 and a small website design starts at $340. Once you complete your project setup, you may browse designer portfolios and invite designers to your project. In 24-48 hours you will usually start getting designs. As designs come, you continue to give the designers feedback to get it just right. When your project reaches its ending deadline, you pick the design you like and the money is released to the designer. Design Crowd offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Thus far, I’ve been happy with the results I’ve received and haven’t found the need to get a refund.

There are a few things to consider when setting your budget, the higher your budget the better designs you will get. I generally don't start at the minimum budget allowed, but usually increase it so that the designer will get $300-$400 out of the project. After all, as Christians it is important to pay someone what their time and skills are worth. Also, don’t expect the first designs received to be the best it is an iterative process.

I have used this on a couple of websites that I am creating and it is working great so far. I hope that other bloggers and Christian web master's out there find this useful. You can also watch the short video below for a quick overview of how Design Crowd works.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

10 Ideas for dating on a budget

With gas prices soaring and the recession lingering, I've heard of too many couples forgoing a regular date night because of the cost.   Dating can be expensive - a movie for two can range from $12-$20 just for tickets.  Dinner out at a nice restaurant is hard to escape for less than $10 a piece.  And if you have small children you can add on $20-$30 bucks for a sitter.   Here's some ideas to help you save:

10 Ideas for dating on a budget
  1. Sign up for daily deals from Groupon or livingsocial.   Don't purchase every deal that comes along, but I find that I can find one great restaurant deal every 2 months or so that often leads to a 50% savings.
  2. Check with your church friends who also have kids to see if you can swap watching each others kids.   You can also see if relatives or grandparents mind watching the kiddos.
  3. Instead of dining out, go on a picnic to the park.
  4. Visit a museum together, many are free or cost very little to get in.
  5. Have dinner at home, and then visit a coffee shop on your date.  This is often less expensive than a full dine out meal.
  6. Do a movie night at home after the kids go to bed.
  7. Go dancing at home in your own living room.  Dress up or down and enjoy your favorite selection of dance tunes.  You can do this after the kids to bed, or arrange for them to go to a trustworthy friend's house.
  8. Redeem debit/credit card points for gift cards to your favorite restaurants.
  9. Go to a drive in movie.   There aren't many of these left, but often they allow you to bring your own food and snacks in.
  10. Search your local yellow page directory for coupons on food or recreation.

I'd love to hear your ideas on how to date on a budget.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Got a Tax Refund?

Did you get a tax refund this year? Well, maybe you should treat your spouse to a nice date with a portion of your refund.  Treat your husband or wife to a nice dinner, a movie, or if you had a really big refund maybe even a night at a nice hotel.