Archive for February, 2010

Have you started to plan your trip for your romantic getaway? Does your spouse know you are saving $5.00 a week so you both can get away for your anniversary? If your special someone is aware of what you are doing why not have a date night to plan where you will go and what you will do.

For an inexpensive date you could go to your local coffee house where they have wifi so you can bring your laptop. Get a cup of coffee, hot apple cider or hot chocolate and sit down together and identify where you would like to visit. Once you have identified the area then research where you want to stay at. Check out Trip Advisor for reviews on a hotel or inn you are considering. Read the reviews and then make your decision.

Once you have identified the area and the hotel or inn you will be staying at research on Trip Advisor the reviews on where to go and what to do. Try to find things you both enjoy doing together. Also, research what restaurants both of you would enjoy.  Go on restaurant.com to see if any of the restaurants you were interested in have coupons listed on there. Check out the restaurants menu to see approximately how much money you will need to plan on.

Planning ahead like this will give you an idea of how much money you will need. Sometimes I will make reservations for the restaurant before we get there particularly when it is a popular one. Also, I will buy my tickets ahead of time if there is an attraction we plan on going to. Making plans ahead like this will keep you committed and excited about your romantic getaway. Don’t forget to write your itinerary down and post it someplace in your bedroom where both of you can see it.   We post ours in the closet. You will feel closer and more committed to each other.

Plan your romance together. Who knows your spouse may start saving their $5 a week too and you will have more money to spend!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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On Tuesday I was watching “The Early Show” on CBS and they interviewed Nick Waters and his wife Nicci. They are from a small town in Oklahoma.  Nick decided to watch 30 chick flicks for 30 days and document it by blogging. He wanted to become a better husband and he wanted to see if watching chick flicks could help him. He began this experiment on January 15th and concluded on February 13.


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During the interview he said that sometimes some of the movies depicted men behaving badly and he asked his wife if he ever acted that way. It made him reflect on how to be a better husband. He wasn’t prompted by his wife to watch the movies; it was just something he thought would be interesting to do.

His wife says he is a better kisser after watching the movies because he took the kisses he liked watching and tried to bring it into their relationship. At the end of all his reviews he has what he calls TAKEAWAY. There are a lot of insightful quotes that made me stop and think. Here is one I particularly liked:

TAKEAWAY: When you find the person that you choose to love for a lifetime, love them so deeply that to lose them would mean losing a part of your soul. Anything less is a half-life.

One thing he learned is not all women like chick flicks and some men do like to watch them. I guess we learn something new all the time. His blog is short and enjoyable to read. I read it in one sitting.

Whether you are a movie buff or not I recommend you read his blog. You may want to take the challenge also and watch all the movies he viewed or at least the ones he liked the most. Watch the movie and then read his review. This is another great way to connect and have a great discussion with your spouse.

30 Chick Flicks in 30 Days could change your marriage in small ways. Why not watch one tonight!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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OK, you are saving your $5 a week but you are having a hard time justifying using most of the money you have saved on a one night stay at a hotel. I do understand $260 is a lot of money but isn’t your marriage worth it? I know mine is and we have been married for almost 43 years!

Like you we were always looking for places that weren’t too expensive. It needed to be clean and a little better than the hotel with the commercial “We’ll leave the lights on for you.” Most of the time the beds weren’t comfortable and my husband would wake up with a back ache. The rest of the day wasn’t as much fun because he was hurting.

Once we started to stay at nicer hotels and inns I noticed the whole experience was different. The rooms are beautifully decorated and the beds are comfortable. They always have nice lotions and soaps available. Also, the surrounding area is typically nicer and more interesting. We were in the mood to linger in our room and the romance was memorable. Let’s just say the sparks were flying more! When we came back from our trip we had fond memories of our special time together.

As you know I used to call 200 people every week to remind them to put their money away. They ranged in age from 18 to some who were in their 70’s. One day I was visiting an office where Jack worked and we were talking about my weekly calls. You see he was a 70 year old man who was on my calling list. He told me, “You know JoJo my wife and I always went to nice places for our anniversary but because of you we are now going to even nicer places. I appreciate you calling me every week and reminding me the importance of respecting my wife and my marriage by staying at a very special place for our special day.”

Respect your spouse and marriage by spending more on a hotel or inn for your anniversary.  Your relationship won’t regret it.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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What do you do when you don’t agree on how the children should be raised? Do you argue it out in front of the kids or do you go behind closed doors and yell at the top of your lungs, where everyone can hear what you are saying? Raising children can be tricky. Each child has their special personality and they each need to be handled differently. Then when you throw in divorce and children it gets more complicated. To top it all off, children do know how to play you both if you let them, before you know it they are in control not you.

Whether you have a blended family or not, children can be trying on your marriage at times. Sometimes it is difficult to agree on how a situation should be handled. When your children are little it is physical, you are either running after them or lifting them but as they get older it becomes more mental. Whatever stage your kids are in it is tiring. Teenagers are a whole different story. They are still kids and want to be treated as adults. They are still trying to find their way in this complicated world and as a couple you are there to guide them. What do you do when you don’t agree?

When our daughter became a teenager my husband and I found a way to discuss our differences by taking a walk. In the evening after dinner we would have our daughter clear the table and put the dishes in the dishwasher while we went for our nightly walk around the neighborhood. As our daughter grew older we found out her hearing was so much better when we didn’t want her to hear what we were talking about as compared to when we wanted her to listen to us. Our evening walks gave us an opportunity to discuss any issues that may have come up that we were concern about and discuss them without her hearing our differences. There were many times we didn’t agree on how a situation should be handled and as we walked we would work it out. Sometimes one of us felt we needed to come down hard and the other felt it wasn’t that important of an issue. We would walk and talk until we both came to an agreement. The times when we couldn’t come to an agreement the other would give in because one of us felt so strongly about it. We never kept track of who won an argument or who lost we found a way to respect each other and their concerns. One thing was for sure when we walked back into our home we stood strong together, she couldn’t play us against each other.

Find a way for you as a couple to work out your disagreements with raising your children without your children hearing you argue out your differences. Stand tall together, respect each other and your children will respect you. Walking may be just the thing you have been looking for in dealing with each child and how you need to handle a situation. I know walking was not only good for us as a couple but the madder we were the faster we walked. We were getting our exercise and working together to raise a healthy, productive adult in society.

Come together on raising your children. You will notice there will be less tension in the household and your children will be happier.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Keep looking forward – new romantic adventures lie ahead if you keep saving your $5 a week.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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How is your financial situation right now? Have you lost your home to a short sale, foreclosure or are you still trying to hang on to your home? Are you a tenant who is being evicted because the house you were renting is bank owned now? Do you need to have first and last months rent before you can move? Have you or your spouse lost their job? My husband and I have lived through hard times before and we will make it through hard times again. This is why I write this blog. Most of my ideas are fun and inexpensive to do together. Don’t let hard times stop you from having fun.

Tonight it will be raining here in Santa Maria, CA and we would still like to go out. With our budget being tightened up I will plan on making a picnic dinner and we will drive up to Avila Beach and have the picnic in our car. With the sound of the rain hitting the roof of our car and the boats lapping back and forth in a protected bay you could not ask for a prettier scene and more beautiful sound than this. How relaxing to push your car seats back as far as they can go, lay out your picnic with the music of nature in the background while you eat your dinner and overlook the bay. No waiter bothering you and no one around to listen to your conversation, just the two of you enjoying a simple meal and each other. If it isn’t raining too heavy we might even take a walk on the pier.

If you don’t live near the ocean like we do maybe there is a lake nearby or you could go to a secluded spot in the hills overlooking your community and then there is always your local park. If you can’t afford a babysitter and the weather isn’t too bad, feed the kids at home and then go to a park that you typically don’t go to and let them play on the playground toys near where you parked. You can safely watch them play while you and your spouse have your moment of quiet. If you can hire a young babysitter in training to help watch the little ones and it won’t cost you as much as hiring a regular babysitter, then have him/her come along. It gives the babysitter in training some experience but with adult supervision near by overseeing what is going on.

You will find the simple pleasures are always the most memorable.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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I just finished reading “365 Nights, A Memoir of Intimacy” by Charla Muller. I first heard about this book when Charla and her husband were interviewed by Oprah awhile back. You see she wanted to give her husband a 40th birthday no one else could give him. “Sex, every day, for an entire year! When I first heard about her doing this I thought she has to be nuts!!!! Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy sex but every day for a year, that would be hard to do. With working, family, friends and the stress of everyday life sometimes we are just not in the mood. This book perked my interest. I wanted to find out how she made it happen for the whole year or did she find excuses not to participate once in a while.

With honesty and humor Charla talked about her life with her husband, Brad, the good and the bad parts of it. While reading you will find out how she has struggled with depression (which she nicked named “Little D”) off and on through the years and how Brad has stood beside her. The everyday struggles, work implosion and faking it and the questions that come with having sex everyday. Is it beneficial to have intimacy that often or does it make you resentful? All these questions and more are answered in the book.

I really appreciated the candor, sincerity and grace that Charla presented of her life with her husband and children. She is a modern woman with some of the same problems and issues we all struggle with from time to time. Take the time to sit down and read this book. You will walk away wiser and know a little more about the intricate intimacy of a marriage. And maybe look at your relationship with your spouse differently.

You can get this book at www.amazon.com.  Read it and who knows you might try to give the same gift to your spouse. If you enjoy reading together, you will want to pick this one up. You will have some great discussions.

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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I just received an e-mail from The Cheesecake Factory telling me about a contest to win a week in Hawaii!  I just thought you would like to be in the know!

The Cheesecake Factory sometimes is the setting for many a true love story. So they are inviting you to share your own love story with them, whether it’s about a cherished family member, getting engaged at The Cheesecake Factory or even your first love. They’ll choose the story that best embodies the spirit of love as the winner.

Go to The Cheesecake Factory website and on the upper left hand corner click on the “Share Your Love Story.”

Who knows you might be the winner and get a free trip to Hawaii!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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When you get mad at your spouse do you try to make up before you go to bed? Or do you go to bed still mad and try to make it better the next day? For my husband and me it depends on the situation. We don’t try to force anything on each other. I am not of the belief you have to make up before you go to bed and fall asleep. I know most psychologists say you should make up before you go to bed. As for my husband and me, we sometimes say “let it be.”

Last week I was out of town with my daughter for four days. She had asked me if I would like to go with her to Los Angeles while she attended business meetings there. I said sure! We left on Sunday and would return on Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday my daughter didn’t get out of her meeting until 5:30. We thought for sure we would be stuck in traffic on the LA freeway. It is sometimes called the LA parking lot during rush hour. To our surprise the traffic was moving and before we knew it we were on the 101 heading to Ventura.

We decided to call our husbands and see if they wanted to meet us in Oxnard or Santa Barbara for dinner. Since we had taken my car our husbands would get into our daughter’s car and drive down to meet us. Then after dinner our daughter would get her luggage and transfer it to her car and her husband would drive home. Her father and I would head home in my car. We had a great dinner at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery in Oxnard. We talked; laughed and enjoyed a delicious meal. My husband even mentioned the dishes he used to make dinner while I was out of town hadn’t been put in the dishwasher yet. We all laughed and I thought “ho well this is typical, no big deal.” While heading home I told him I couldn’t wait to snuggle up in bed with his arms around me like we usually do. I loved and missed him while I was out of town.

We got home and we were both very tired. I still needed to put my last blog on to my website for Thursday morning I grabbed my laptop and put it on the kitchen table to complete my task. When I tried to open my laptop and get online with my home wifi for some reason I couldn’t get on the web. No problem, I will just connect my laptop to the internet with my online connection but I couldn’t do that either. Now picture this I have tried this several times by both wifi and online connection and each time I am getting frustrated even more. My husband suggested that I should call our daughter to see if she could help but by then it was 11:00 PM. I knew she had to be at work by 7:30 AM and I didn’t want to bother her.

I figured OK I will just retype my blog on my computer in my office. I went into my office and turned on my computer. Brought my laptop and put it on my desk and started to type but nothing would type. Now mind you it is getting closer to midnight and I am getting more frustrated as the evening is progressing. I am walking back and forth from the kitchen and the office. My poor husband is asking if he can help and I am upset and telling him “NO” while looking at the stack of dishes on the sink, which earlier hadn’t upset me but now being tired and not a happy camper I was even mad about that. I even complained to him and asked him why he hadn’t cleaned up after himself?

It turned out I needed to put batteries in my keyboard and told my husband I needed help. He looked at me like I was nuts because he thought I was talking about my laptop not the keyboard for the computer. I turned over the keyboard and found where the batteries were but by then was too tired to change them out. I just closed the computer and my laptop and went to bed mad at my husband, mad at myself because I couldn’t put my blog up on my website for the next day until tomorrow. I felt bad because I know that some of you read my blog before you leave for work in the morning.

I was so upset I didn’t even want to cuddle up with my husband. We slept in the bed but not touching each other like we usually do. Thanks to my husband he just left me alone. He knew I was tried and there was nothing he could say or do to make it better. The next morning I got up refreshed and apologized to him for being so grouchy. He understood I was tired and we both laughed about the whole situation.

Before I even ate breakfast I retyped my blog and put it up on the internet that morning. I started to think about how lucky I was my husband understood I needed to be left alone and sleep on it overnight instead of trying to make it all right. Things would have gotten worse for no reason at all. Things would have been said by both of us that didn’t need to be said. For us sometimes leaving things alone before we go to bed is better than trying to make it right before we fall asleep. When you wake up in the morning things may look a lot different than they did at night.

For us we do better sometimes when we are mad and we stick to it until we can look at it from a different perspective. We don’t need to make it bigger than it is. We don’t need to agree or be right all the time. We can go to bed, mad and just “let it be.”

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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Hope you enjoyed your Romantic Valentines Evening as much as my husband and I had. People think it is so important to have the expensive gifts on a special day like Valentines, jewelry, roses, nice dinner, etc. What they don’t realize is the importance of spending time together and connecting in a very intimate way that only couples can do. For me all I need is a card and time together. My husband knows he is in big trouble if he doesn’t get me a card on holidays and birthday; it is all I expect from him. What do you expect from your spouse?

We did go out to dinner Sunday night but it wasn’t horribly expensive. We had a delicious dinner of a salad, Shrimp Scampi, and we even splurged on desert which we shared. We went to Creekside Brewing Company in San Luis Obispo. It was warm enough for us to sit outside on the small deck which overlooks the creek. We have had quite a bit of rain recently and the music coming from the creek as it flowed over the rocks was lovely.

Then we went home and had a nice quite intimate evening. Valentines is the celebration of the love you have as a couple. If you didn’t have enough money to go out to dinner, I hope you made a nice family dinner but made sure after everyone was asleep you took time to enjoy your private celebration under the stars with the smell of a floral garden in the air.

Please let me know what you did for Valentines. Did you enjoy my suggestion for a Romantic Valentines Evening? Did you do something different? It would be fun to hear from you!

Keep those sparks flying!
JoJo

© 2010, Surprise Kiss. All rights reserved.

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