Monday, February 1, 2010

Creative Valentine Planning

I have a plan to make Valentines Day a special remembrance this year. I have been married almost 40 years, and it's about time to retrieve a celebration out of our own history to help create a new memory this year. First, let me share with you what I did for Valentines Day almost 23 years ago. Then, I want to invite you to help me plan my tribute this year by way of a little contest with a PRIZE! I will share that at the end of this post!

Twenty-three years ago, I wanted to do something special for my husband for Valentines Day. We were pretty broke but I longed to get away on a little overnight. If you had 6 boys and the youngest was 6 months old, wouldn't you? I knew it wouldn't be likely we could afford much and shared that with my mother. She suggested that we could trade houses for the evening and overnight -- and she would throw babysitting into the mix. That set me to doing some brainstorming.

Of course, I planned a nice meal and thought about candles and a great movie we could watch. But, I was a little frustrated that it might not have much pizzaz just going to my parent's house even then. That's when I got to thinking of something my husband had done that was really romantic when we were dating. He would pen little notes and hide them in fun places that would lead me to a gift.

I knew a lot of the people where my husband worked, so I collected a bunch of leftover kiddie Valentines and wrote little messages on them. I took them to his work and distributed them around, including taking one to a flower shop nearby where I purchased a single long-stemmed red rose. I baked the last message into a heart-shaped cake and took it with special instructions for his office mates.

On Valentines Day morning as I kissed him goodbye, I told him I knew there was a message for him in his mailbox he needed to check right away. He was a bit puzzled, but did as I requested. That message led him to all the other messages different co-workers had for him, and finally to the rose and then to the cake. His instructions then were to share the cake with everyone to help him retrieve the final message. When he discovered it, he was led back to his mailbox (he was to arrive no later than 5 p.m.)  -- just in time for a friend to walk in carrying a silver tray lined with a doily. On the tray was a chocolate and a goblet with wine. She announced, "Limo for Mr. Brandow!" and proceeded to whisk him to her little Honda Civic.

She played the part royally! He was told he was being whisked off on a romantic rendezvous. When he worried he hadn't packed, she told him his suitcase was in the rear. They pulled up to a number of luxurious hotels and inns, after which she would state simply, "no, not this one." Finally, he arrived at the door of my parent's condo where I was dressed to the nines and had soft music playing and candlelight. It was most memorable -- in fact, so memorable, I have not been able to top it!

Now, I think it's time. It's another one of those years when the money is very tight -- but we need some special time together more than ever! So, I have decided to have a contest. If in your comments on this post you would leave me suggestions on inexpensive or free ideas for my Valentines Day evening this year, along with a way to contact you, I will put them into a drawing to be done on Saturday, February 6th this week! The winner will receive one of my handmade Valentines -- zipped off in the mail right away so you have plenty of time to give it as a token yourself. You can see more in my Etsy shop -- and you will have your choice of any of the 6 styles of "Secret Message" handmade cards there. Pass the word along! I really need lots of suggestions to help me out! And, of course, others reading the comments will enjoy discovering some special ways to do some creative Valentine planning themselves!


  1. oh Judi, I could not come up with anything to top that. You two sure have a special relationship, you're one of the lucky ones. XO

  2. Well I'm stumped for a timely solution, but here is an idea for future reference:

    1. If you've provided 8 hours of volunteer service (church counts too), Sage Hospitality offers a free one-night stay (or 50% off) in one of their hotels such as Marriott. It's called Give a Day, Get a Night. More at

    2. Stash Tea has an ongoing promotion: buy three boxes of their teas, send in the UPCs and a small fee, and they'll send you a coupon for 2-for-1 night's stay in any of their participating bed and breakfasts around the country! Find out more at