Category: Marriage & Relationships

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, romance is a hot topic these days, but when you’re in a relationship (especially if you have children), romance can often be hard to come by.

Date night for a lot of couples usually consists of going to dinner or a movie. Not a lot of romance or sexiness there. So how are couples supposed to keep the ‘spark’ alive with ho-hum dates sprinkled sparsely in between bedtimes, midnight wake-ups, work and carpool?

I started trying to think up sexy date ideas and ways to spice things up in a relationship but realized I needed to include a man’s opinion (since my idea of ‘spice’ can be a little different than the male species).

So I sat down with my hubs and asked him what his ideas was of a truly sexy date. After some blog-inappropriate suggestions, he gave me some good ideas (thanks love).

Try one (or all) of these ideas for spicing up any date night:

Try a sexy flick instead of your standard rom com or Nicholas Sparks book-turned-movie. Try ’50 Shades of Gray’ or one of these 11 movies sexier than 50 shades. Whether you’re at home or at the theater, a hot movie can be a great way to set the mood for a fun date. And I’m not suggesting that you have to watch porn (but if that’s your thing, go for it), I’m just saying think outside of the box a bit.

Send a racy pic during your date. If you’re planning on wearing something a little special underneath your date night outfit or after the date, snap a photo before you go and send it to him during the date. This doesn’t have to be something over sexual, but more of just a little something to peak his interest. Think a shot of lace on your thigh or the strap on your non-beige bra. Just enough to let him know that you put some thought into doing something different and special for him.

Get a tattoo in a secret place only he will see. If you’re not willing to go under the needle, I totally get it, so fake it. Fake tattoos have come along way from cheesy skulls and crossbones to more subtle realistic and even metallic styles. Place it on you hip, buns or even in the side boob region. He’ll be surprised (and turned on) once you reveal it. You can even send him a pic during dinner without revealing it’s location to get his imagination going.

Try role playing. Does your husband have a celebrity crush or a fantasy girl? Indulge him a little bit by showing up to your date dressed as his favorite actress or Natalia the Russian Spy (or whatever does it for him). Don a wig, change up your makeup, try out a new accent. If you think he’ll go with it, keep it hush hush until he shows up but if he’s not so big on surprises, you might want to give him a heads up so that you don’t get a ‘what the hell are you doing?’ look when he gets there. It will be different and exciting for both of you, plus you get extra bonus points for satisfying one of his fantasies.

Get naked. OK I know what you’re thinking. This one sounds a little extreme (I thought the same thing when my husband suggested it). But, while it may not be for everyone, it will no doubt spice up an ordinary date night (at home of course, get your mind out of the gutter people). It does require for your kids to be out of the house so send them off to Grandma’s or a friends for a sleepover. Try cooking dinner together in the nude (just practice safe cooking, nothing can sour a date night faster than a trip to the ER). Or grab some fluffy, fuzzy blankets, your favorite cocktail, and cuddle up in front of a fire or a hot movie. This is a sure fire way to create a sexy mood (and it’s budget-friendly, since you can’t exactly go out).

Keeping the spark alive is important to any relationship. Remember to take time to show your spouse how much they really mean to you and that they still ‘do it’ for you.

I will be trying out these ideas for upcoming date nights with the hubs (though # 5 is going to require a bit more planning, a maybe an extra glass of wine).

Any other ideas for spicing up ordinary date nights?

You always hear the saying ‘Happy wife, happy life’ but what about the husbands? I’m thinking about changing it up to something like ‘Happy spouse, happy house’. Okay, it’s kind of hokey but my point is that maybe the secret to a happy home isn’t a clean house or well behaved children (ok I’m sure both if those would help) but a happy spouse who feels loved and respected, and that includes husbands.

I remember a few years ago, shortly after having my first child, I told a friend (a mother of 2) how  overwhelming it was trying to make everything work, making sure the house was clean, my daughter was happy and fed, and trying to find quality time with my husband. She said ‘Make sure your husband is happy and everything else will follow’. At the time, I liked the idea but was so overwhelmed with my new baby that I didn’t really grasp the idea or why it was important.

Fast forward four years (and another kid) later, I stumbled up on this article about spoiling your spouse on Pinterest. I read it and a little lightbulb went off in my head, remembering the conversation with my friend from many years previous. I guess if you hear something more than once, it’s probably worth giving a shot right?!?

I am totally guilty of putting my kids above all. I guess I felt like if I didn’t put them as my top priority and do everything for them, who would, ya know? This meant that my poor husband often gets put on the back burner, which is pretty uncool considering he was in my life first and is pretty much the reason my little rugrats are here.

The article also makes a great point that spoiling your children and doing everything for them “can lead to self-entitlement and teaches selfishness”. No one wants their children to be selfish. I mean come on now.

As one of my New Year’s resolutions, I wanted to make sure that I was showing my husband daily that he was loved and a priority in my life. This idea kind of stemmed from the ‘spoil your husband’ concept.

So, in honor of spoiling my husband, here are some things you are probably already doing for your kids that you should be doing for your husband:

  1. Take them to do something they want to do – you’re always taking kids to park, dance class, soccer practice or wherever their little heart desires. Now do this for your husband. Pick something
    he enjoys doing and go do it together. This shows that you pay attention to what he likes and are making an effort to take part in his interests. Go to a sporting event, movie or restaurant that he likes. Maybe there’s a boat or car show in town he’s dying to go to. Whatever it is, suck it up and go with him (and no matter how bored you are, pretend you’re loving it).
  2. Solve his problems – you spend hours solving problems for your kids every day (“I have an owie”, “where’s my purple dinosaur?”). Figure out what’s bugging your husband and find a solution. Is he stressed at work? Try bringing him lunch or getting takeout delivered. Is he having a hard time finding something? Help him look for it or find it for him.
  3. Give him a bro-playdate – your kids enjoy it when you take them to spend time with their friends (or your friends kids). Sometimes your guy just wants to go out with the guys and do guy things. Give him a night (or day) off to go do something with the boys (and make sure to not make him feel guilty about it before or after).
  4. Buy him the thing he wants – you’re always giving in to your kids when they ask for things (because honestly, sometimes it’s easier than saying no), so when your husband says he wants or needs something (a new suit, get his car detailed, tickets to an event) just get it for them. He’ll appreciate the gesture and he’ll know that you’re listening.
  5. Make him his favorite meal (or get takeout from his favorite restaurant) – if you’re anything like me, you probably cook special food just for your kids. Your husband deserves the same treatment every once in a while. Try making one of his favorite meals once a month, or if he says he likes something you eat at a friend’s or family member’s house, get the recipe and make it at home. Does he dream about chicken satay from the local Thai restaurant (my husband does)? Get take out for him on a night when you don’t have time (or the energy) to cook.

Now, it’s my turn to practice what I preach.

I started writing this post according to what I thought guys would want to see under the tree this year. I asked my husband to take a quick look to get his opinion. Next thing I know, he’s adding his own commentary and basically taking over my post (thanks dear). I guess who better to tell you what guys might actually want for Christmas than a guy, right?!

So, with that, here is my guy’s guide to gifts for the men in your life.

Fun dress socks – we’re not talking white athletic socks like his mom used to buy him. Think argyle, stripes, masculine patterns that fit his personality. These are also an easy gift for kids to pick out for dad that he might actually wear.

Stan: First of all I agree with the entire socks thing. However, funny how the picture my wife chose has basically zero of the features she describes as cool. This is basically the opposite of what to do. This pair of socks features zero argyle, more of a dot than a stripe and those are masculine patterns?! On a serious note, good idea. Go crazy. Most of what us men have to wear for work and social occasions is pretty conservative. We view you, our female campadres, as the “cool fashion gods” so show us what you got.

Tickets to his favorite event – tailor this gift to his interests. A sporting event, concert, comedy show, musical, whatever strikes his fancy. My guy is hoping for tickets to the NCAA National Championship Football Game or Mumford and Sons.

Stan: Or Matthew Kearney!!!! Do you not listen to me woman? I agree with this but here’s the thing, and this might hurt your feelings ladies, if it’s a sporting event –  you should not go. Let him take a fellow married-with-kids buddy. He’ll really appreciate you for allowing him a night out with another buddy who cant get out often to get away from it all.

Sports equipment or accessories – again, tailor this gift to his particular sports interests. Think lessons, apparel, gear, shoes or gadgets. My guy is a golf fantic so he’s hoping for this golf bag organizer for our unorganized garage.

Stan: This better come pre-assembled. If not it quickly becomes simply the next chore I have to do around the house. And guess who’s project chores come last? Yep…Enjoy staying in your comfy never opened box in the garage. But hey, has a pretty picture on the box right?

Drinkware –  if your husband occasionally enjoys a good drink, get him a nice bottle of his favorite adult beverage and some nice glasses with some of these extra-large ice cube molds. The larger cubes melt slower and won’t water down his drink.

Stan: You want to make this really cool? Get some initials on the glasses. And no. Not your initials or his or your children. The man wants some JR initials. As in JR Ewing people. The coolest man to ever lay foot on this planet. Not a second passes as I take a sip of some fine bourbon and not wish I was standing there in an awesome cowboy hat, cigar in the other hand and a Cheshire cat grin on my face. JR Freaking Ewing. Awesome.

Techie stuff – guys love gadgets and gizmos so things like a tablet, a Fitbit, GPS watch, GoPro camera or some Beats by Dre headphones can make great gifts for him.

Stan: Yep. Just wait for the Apple Watch. It. Will. Change. The. World.

Foodie stuff – while my husband would say this means ‘Get him a Traeger’ that may not be in everyone’s holiday budget. I mean actual food, like a Salami of the month membership from Olympic Provisions (what man doesn’t want a monthly delivery of meat) or the Sausage Sampler from New Braufels Smokehouse.

Stan: Let’s get straight to the point here ladies, this means less cooking for you.

From the kids – my advice here is to go to Pinterest (follow us while you’re there), and search ‘kid gifts for dad’. Something they made (or you made and they basically scribbled on) will mean way more than an Mickey Mouse tie or something equally silly kids would pick out.

Stan: 100% true. We are secretly the same as you. Even though we did not bear these children, I have watched boys become men simply as a result of being a father. No greater honor. These kinds of gifts mean a lot to us.

There you have it. And my guy makes some very valid points (the food gift totally gets you off the hook for at least 1 or 2 meals). Hope this helps point you in the right direction for a gift your guy will actually be happy to receive this Christmas.

Need more holiday gift ideas? Check out our gift guides for kids and moms.

I mentioned last week that one of the holiday traditions that my husband and I have is to watch our favorite holiday movies together. This means that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we watch 20+ holiday movies (don’t judge, there is nothing else on between those two holidays). I always look forward to sharing this with my husband, as we have our own inside jokes and personal favorites.

I thought I’d share our list and see if there are any classics that we’re missing that we should include in our list for this year.

Here are our favorites (in no particular order):

  1. Family Stone
  2. Bad Santa
  3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  4. Home Alone 1
  5. Home Alone 2
  6. Miracle on 34th Street
  7. Home for the Holidays
  8. Family Man
  9. The Holiday
  10. Love Actually
  11. Nothing Like the Holidays
  12. Elf
  13. Serendipity
  14. It’s a Wonderful Life
  15. Just Friends
  16. The Santa Clause
  17. The Santa Clause 2
  18. The Santa Clause 3
  19. A Christmas Story
  20. This Christmas
  21. Fred Claus
  22. Four Christmases

Now this list does not include any of the kids favorites, since the point is for us to share these movies together.

Let me know if there’s a must watch flick that we’re missing.

Once you become a parent, the holiday season (and your life) quickly becomes all about the bass babies. And just like in life, you must remember that it’s important to make time for your partner as well. The holidays are the perfect time to make memories with your spouse and show them how much you appreciate and love them.

My husband and I have a holiday tradition that involves watching all our favorite holiday movies together. This means that we watch about 20+ holiday movies between Thanksgiving and Christmas (don’t judge). We also have specific movies we watch on specific nights, like Christmas Eve is always ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘A Christmas Story’.

Here are 9 traditions to start with your spouse this holiday season:

  1. Dinner and shopping – during the holidays, it can be hard to find time for a date night (who are we kidding, it’s not easy any time of the year). Find a night to sneak away from the kids (maybe have them make holiday cookies with Grandma) and tackle two birds with one stone. Get your shopping done together sans kiddos and then grab dinner and a drink (or three).
  2. Hit up Starbucks and then go light seeing – there’s nothing better than a warm drink and Christmas lights. Turn on some Christmas music and get ready to be super judgy about the light stringing skills of your neighbors.
  3. Watch Christmas movies together – I’m not talking the Christmas cartoons you watch with the kids over and over, I’m talking about grown-up Christmas movies. Whether you like comedy (think ‘Christmas Vacation’ and ‘Bad Santa’) or more sentimental classics (‘Family Stone’ and ‘Miracle on 34th St’), make special time to snuggle up with a glass of wine or hot cocoa, just the two of you to share a movie (or like 30 in our case). Bonus, if you decide to watch ‘Christmas Vacation’, here is a fun drinking game to get you in the holiday spirit.
  4. Buy your spouse festive PJ’s – buy each other special pajamas for Christmas eve, wrap them up and open them after the kiddos nod off. Maybe they’re naughty, maybe they’re nice. (Looking for the lady in your life? Try some of my favorite cute and cozy pjs)
  5. 12 dates of Christmas – if you’re able to get away more often, plan 12 mini-dates for the days leading up to Christmas. Meet for pancakes before work or try fondue for dinner.
  6. Be creative with your spouses stocking – try a theme or gag gifts. Here are some stocking ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
  7. Holiday love letters – write a love letter to your partner, expressing gratitude for all that they do and other mushy stuff. Exchange them Christmas Eve after the kiddos go to bed.
  8. Make their favorite meal or treat – show them you care by making them their favorite meal, cookies, cake, whatever they really love, no matter how much work it means for you (even if it means calling your mother in law to get the recipe). It will mean a lot that you took the time to make something special just for them.
  9. Exchange gifts on Christmas Eve – With kids, Christmas morning is usually a blur of toys camera flashes and massive amounts of wrapping paper. Make Christmas Eve about the two of you and exchange gifts after the kids head off to dreamland so your gifts don’t get lost in the rush of Christmas morning.

Already have traditions with your spouse? What’s your favorite?

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