In November of this year, my husband turned 34. To celebrate his birthday I didn’t want to get him a tangible gift – I’m not much for wrapping video games and other quick-purchase items when it comes to him. I’m more in the business of gifting him experiences.
For his 33rd birthday I took him to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium to tour it and see the locker rooms, etc.
All in all it was a excellent Birthday for him.
We even got to meet Michael Downs, a former Dallas Cowboys safety.
Since Patrick is the “Ultimate Cowboys Fan” (which, I’ve learned, all Cowboys fans think they are), I knew this year had to be impressive or it wouldn’t stand up to last years surprise.
One thing Patrick always tells me is that he wishes we went on more dates. We do go out often, but we have a whole list of places we’ve been wanting to go see, or things we’ve been wanting to do. So this year for Patrick’s Birthday I decided to give him 34 consecutive dates to celebrate his 34th birthday. They would each be pre-planned and pre-paid, so there would be no excuses to not complete a date. So I started by compiling a list of 34 dates. Things we’ve either been putting off doing, or thing we love to do together.
For the delivery, I designed a deck of cards for Patrick and put them into an old Moo Business Cards case I had. Each card had one side that was color-coded based on the duration of the date (with his work schedule often changing or requiring overtime, I needed to be sure that he was choosing dates that were possible to complete before he had to leave for work), a place for weather requirements, expiration dates, notes, and more.
On the reverse of each card described the date we would be going on, and an envelope number. The cards would be in the box with the color-coded area facing forwards, so he would select a card based on the requirements of the date, and only after settling on a card for the day would he know what the actual activity was.
Any dates that required ANY information (Gift Card, Cash, Maps, Directions, Hours, Notes, etc) noted an envelope number on the bottom of the card. I had envelopes with corresponding numbers printed on them, so when he chose a date, he could quickly locate the envelope with all pertinent information for that date.
The dates ranged from romantic (Dinner and a Movie) to goofy (putt putt), and from quick (geocaching) to long (day-long scavenger hunt). They ran the gamut of dates, and really covered all the bases of things we wanted to do together.
It took me about 3 months to design everything, print it all up, collect all the necessary information, and save up the cash for each date without piquing Patrick’s attention.
I’ve been asked a lot about where I got the cards/envelopes, or how I made them. I designed them in photoshop, based on a set of cards a friend had received as a gift. I liked the neutral color scheme, and simple lines, but wanted to add a little personality to each card, hence the mix of designs. I made sure to make most of the cards something cheeky/funny, though, b/c that’s how we are with one another.
To print the cards, I used Avery Printable Business Cards #8869. Be sure you get the 2 sided, print-to-edge cards with a clean-edge perforation.
I made a template in photoshop with the different designs for the top and bottom portions as different layers that I could turn on or off as needed, and then just edited the text of each card. Read to the end of the post for a link to download your own set of cards.
Along with his date cards, I included some “instructions” cards, so that the first time he opened the box, he would know what his gift was, and how it worked.
We started our dates on October 6th. He drew his first card at 12:59am. Can you tell he was excited to find out what his gift was?? I had been talking about it incessantly for a month. He asked for a hint at one point, and the hint I gave him was “It involves a dog, a golf ball, and a stripper”. How’s that for a hint? Ha!
Here’s a quick (or as quick as 34 days can be) outline of our dates. You’ll notice all of these photos are cell phone photos from Instagram. That’s because we wanted to focus on enjoying ourselves, and worry less about getting perfect photos (something I struggle in finding a balance with). So our happy-medium was iPhone photos and Instagram. 😉
Date 1: Canasta
Envelope included a new deck of cards.
Date 2: Dallas Arboretum
Envelope included directions and map of gardens
Date3: Feeding the ducks
Envelope included $5.00 for bread.
Date 4: Food Truck Dining
Envelope included directions to Klyde Warren Park, and $25.00 in cash for lunch.
Date 5: Frozen Yogurt
Envelope included cash.
Date 6: Dallas Holocaust MuseumEnvelope included directions and a Groupon for tickets to the museum.
Date 7: Movie night
Envelope included a gift card to Harkins Movie Theaters.
Date 8: Photoshoot
Envelope included a groupon for a photoshoot appointment.
Date 9: Trip to the Arcade
Envelope included a print out from a local arcade, and $25 cash for unlimited play.
Date 10: Sushi
Envelope included cash for lunch.10 points for the FRIENDS fans who catch the Unagi reference.
Date 11: Dinner and a Movie
Envelope included gift card to Fandango, and print out of movies playing at AMC Dine in Theatres
Date 12: Cupcakes
Envelope included Groupon for $20 worth of baked goods from a local bakery.
Date 13: Inside Joke that we keep private. 😉
Not everything can be public knowledge!
Date 14: Take donations to the animal shelter
Envelope included a $25 gift card to PetSmart to buy supplies.
Date 15: Geocaching
Envelope included 2 Travel Bugs
Date 16: Scavenger Hunt
Envelope included a list for our hunt.
Some of our favorites from the hunt…
Date 17: Top Golf
Envelope included a gift card to Top Golf.
Date 18: Drive in Movie
Envelope included cash for tickets, and a print out of the menu and directions to the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth.
Date 19: Icecream
Envelope included cash.
Date 20: Trip to the Farmers Market
Date 21: Movie Trading Company
Envelope included cash.
Date 22: Texas State Fair
We weren’t able to actually go on this date, due to inclement weather on the date it was planned for, and then working around ill children. Bummed, but maybe next year!
Date 23: 150 years of Fort Worth museum
Envelope included directions and information about the museum.
Date 24: Bahama Bucks
Envelope included $10 in gift cards to Bahama Bucks.
Date 25: Putt Putt
Envelope included a Groupon to a local putt putt/go kart place.
Date 26: Trip to the dog park
Date 27: Trip to the Stockyards
Envelope included information about upcoming events at the Stockyards.
Date 28: Angel Tree
Envelope included $25 cash for gifts
Date 29: Dallas Zoo
We were not able to complete this date due to inclement weather.
Date 30: Redbox Movie night
Envelope included red box gift cards
Date 31: GoKart Racing
We were not able to complete this date due to inclement weather.
Date 32: Water Gardens
We were not able to complete this date due to inclement weather.
Date 33: Drinks at the Reunion Tower
Envelope included cash for drinks.
Date 34: A night at the NYLO Hotel.
Patrick has been saying for months and months that he wanted to go back to the NYLO. We once stayed there following a Rangers game, but I’ve been putting it off because I knew I wanted to tie it into his birthday gift. This was the one date he’d been repeatedly asking for, which is why I saved it for last.
Envelope included reservations for a room at the NYLO. We ended up cancelling the already-made reservations that day, and booked through the app called Hotel Tonight for same-day reservations at steep discounts. It was great, the room was the exact same room we had original reserved, but instead of being out-of-pocket $119, we were out-of-pocket $41, and you can’t beat that! If you download the app, enter referral code “JSPIVEY7” and you’ll instantly get a $25 booking credit in your account.
So that was our month of dating! At the end of the month, our reactions were vastly different.
I was ready for a day, staying at home in my pajamas, and Patrick was like “Lets keep going!!”
The only thing I would have changed would be to have more <30 minute dates (b/c those fit best into our schedule in case Patrick has to go into work early, or I’m volunteering up at the school, etc, and to have more indoor dates. We were going to start his 34 dates ON his birthday, which would have taken us almost to Christmas, but I was concerned that the weather would have inhibited too many of the outdoor dates. Starting to early so we ENDED on his birthday was my compromise to accommodate the weather, but even then we had a few that were “rained out” on us, and since we were to the end of the stack, we didn’t have any indoor options to use instead.
The experience was awesome though, and I’ll tell you, it was probably one of our more stress-free months. 🙂
Download your PHOTOSHOP-READY CARD TEMPLATE here
Download the CARD BACK for <30 minute dates here
Download the CARD BACK for 30-90 minute dates here
Download the CARD BACK for >90 minute dates here
If you decide to do this for your significant other, please take a moment to comment on the post letting us know.
If you enjoyed this post, please pin it on Pinterest, or share on facebook!
On Thursday night, a storm blew into North Texas that resulted in one heck of an ice storm. Dallas and Fort Worth were covered by up to 1.5 inches of ice – not snow, ice – on Thursday night, resulting in most schools closing on Friday.
The kids were stoked to have a snow day, so we made sure to go out and place in the “snow” a bit.
Since it was actually all ice, we had to hop around a bit to break it up, making it able to be picked up and played with.
Even Mia got to go out and enjoy the cold weather with us!
The kids had fun breaking the icicles off the fence, collecting frozen leaves, and making ice-angels.
After we were sufficiently frozen, we ran back inside to warm up by the fire, then decided to do some unplanned for smores. And by unplanned for, I mean unprepared for. We used mini marshmallows (meant for Hot Cocoa), and Nature Valley Granola Thins with Chocolate. Hey, man… You work with what you’ve got!
A few hours later, we headed out for round two, and Brendan promptly knocked a huge icicle down off the back porch, which the kids just HAD to eat.
The only downside to this gnarly Texas weather was that Patrick, of course, still had to work today. Which means he had to weather the nasty roads – and inexperienced drivers – for his normally 30 minute drive to work. Luckily once he got there, he was good to go for 8 hours, but that puts him leaving work after the sun has been set for a while, temperatures have had a chance to drop significantly, and ice has been given time to re-form. Oh goody.
Overall, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed – and put to good use – our Snow Day. Tomorrow morning, it’s Christmas tree time!
Today it’s in the low 30s here in Texas, and we have a “Significant Winter Storm” coming our way. For those of us in Texas, this means icing of the roads and potential for some snow. That might not seem like much to some (heck, I learned to drive in a city that is consistently ranked in the top 5 cities in the country for snow fall each year!), but in this area, where local governments are grossly unprepared to manage icy roads, it can be extremely dangerous.
So aside from sending Patrick off to work for the day – since we don’t really have a choice in the matter – the kids and I are keeping ourselves cooped up in the house with the fireplace blaring and activities to keep us busy like movies, snap circuits, our WWUSA prgramming, and more.
So today’s post is going to be a quick printable for your family. Here goes!
You want to help me more?! SURE! Here’s a load of laundry!
About 3 months ago, I made the kids to a quick “to do” list on some scrap paper. Their lists included things like “pick up all the clothes in your room” and “put barbies/legos back in their place”. It was small, quick jobs that helped get us closer to that larger goal of an organized play area, without overwhelming them or causing bickering. To my surprise, they happily crossed off all their items and brought the lists back to me, begging for more ‘jobs’.
Another thing my kids love to do is use our home-made dry erase board to write/draw on, so I decided to combine the two, and make them each a cute, permanent fixture in their rooms to keep track of their responsibilities.
Brendan’s is Blue/Grey to coordinate with his room colors, and Lily’s in Pink/Brown to go with hers. We included a few blank lines to fill in responsibilities that might occur once in a while (or even just once) but aren’t common.
The chores listed on each one are representative of what we expect of them based on their ages and our current needs, so feel free to edit the downloadable PSD file to make the chore list better suit the expectations you have for your kids. You can also easily personalize each one with your child/s name in Photoshop.
I printed ours at Kinko’s as an 11×14, trimmed the excess paper off using their table-top paper cutters, and then framed them in the ultra cheap document frames from Hobby Lobby or other craft stores. Quick and easy!
You can download the PINK CHART HERE and the BLUE CHART HERE.
If you enjoy this printable, please consider pinning it on Pinterest or sharing on facebook! Thanks!
What I’ve learned since becoming a Parent is that shopping for multiple children is HARD. You have to be sure everyone has at least close to the same amount of gifts to open. You can’t spend obviously more on one child’s gift, lest their feelings get hurt. And lord knows if one kid gets the awesome gift, bickering will ensue.
This is the first year we will have all three kids with us on Christmas Morning, which makes equality in gift giving that much more important.
Keeping three lists of wants and needs separate, remembering what we are asking Santa for, and what we are asking Mom and Dad for… well, it’s a challenge.
So this year I’ve given into my Type A tendencies and I’ve created a spreadsheet to keep it all straight. Organized by child and approximate price-point (Small, Medium or Large gifts), I can now be sure that I’m buying one gift for each kid that is approximately equal before moving onto the next set of gifts. There’s also a stealthy “S” column for the gift designated for the big guy 😉
Ours below is an example. It’s basically their wish-list typed out. While we likely won’t buy all of these items, it’s nice to have a list put together so I’m able to quickly reference what they’ve asked for.
If you like the look of our Christmas Shopping List, you can download a Photoshop-Ready Version here, which can be edited to include your kids names. Or a PDF file here, which can be printed and filled out by hand.
Now, to figure out what Hayden wants from Santa…
The kids did their annual Fun Run at their school. It’s a yearly PTA-managed Fundraiser where the kids get to collect donations from family and friends, and then see how many laps they can run in 30 minutes.
This year, Patrick and I volunteered at both class times (though P had to cut out a bit early during Lily’s run in order to go to work), which was a lot of fun because we got to be right there, cheering on the kids.
Brendan’s class went first, and our official job was lap counters. I have many more great photos but I don’t want to post them without permission from parents, so I’ll limit it to just a few.
Brendan completed 36 laps in around 24-25 minutes (he had to take a bathroom break at one point, which ate into his running time)
A few hours later, it was Lily’s turn to take to the track. She completed 35 laps in 30 minutes.
Between the two kids, they raised $100 for the PTA.
We are so super proud 🙂
Last year it was time for new Christmas stockings for the kids. H was staying with her Mom on Christmas, so I knew I needed – at a bare minimum – two stockings done by Christmas Morning.
I went out hunting for fabric and wanted something different, that I knew I would like for several years. I spied some cute gold fabric with sequins on it, and pictured it with a white fur cuff at the top. I loved the look, but the fabric was a jersey knit which means that as it was loaded up with presents, it would stretch out.
I quickly found some quilted batting type material, and thought that would make a cute lining for the knit fabric, and would protect it from stretching. I bought enough of all 3 fabrics to make 6 stockings: One for each kid, one for each parent, and a spare for any future Spivey Baby we might have.
Prior to Christmas, I was able to knock out two stockings, but couldn’t find the type of monograms I wanted for the cuffs. I didn’t want to do full names, but just a first initial for each. I decided to forego an initial for that year and just put small tags on each stocking with names.
This year it’s time to crank out the rest, and I want them initialed before Christmas. Of course, I pitched the home-made pattern I had made for last year. I can’t fathom why I would have done that and I’ve been kicking myself all week for it… but I was able to quickly make another using measurements from last years stockings.
This week I set to cutting out the pieces for each stocking, which is probably one of the most time consuming parts, so I thought I would share the pattern and how to assemble them for anyone interested. It’s very simple, quick, and you can fancy them up however you please! Not including fabric cutting time, I timed how long it too me to make one stocking, start to finish. Without distractions, it took me 27 minutes and 10 seconds to do one full stockings. Granted, I’ve made a few at this point and know how to do it, but that does give you an idea as to how simple this project is.
Before we get started, I’m just going to keep it real and say “don’t judge my table”. This is my $5 craigslist find that is used and abused for all of our messiest crafts, to save our prettier surfaces from the wear and tear. I promise you this isn’t what my real furniture looks like! 😉
First things first. Print out the Pattern located HERE.
Cut it out and assemble as directed.
(Note: Since I had to use a lining b/c my outer stocking fabric was stretchy, there were a few extra steps. Those steps will be noted in Blue with a ** around them. If you don’t use a lining and instead just do one layer, please disregard those steps)
Lay out your fabric and cut out 2 pieces of your cuff fabric, and 2 pieces of your stocking material.
**If you have to (or just choose to) use a lining like I used, cut out 2 of those too.**
Lay stocking pieces with right sides together.
**If using lining, pin lining to “wrong” sides of fabric, then take each set of fabric pieces and place them “right sides” together.**
Using your sewing machine, run a straight stitch around the sides and bottom of the stocking, leaving the top open. Your stitch should be about 1/4-1/2″ away from the edge.
Take Cuff pieces and place right-sides together.
Sew along both “long” edges, making a tube.
Turn stocking right side out.
Determine where on your stocking you want the cuff to start. Mark that line using pins. Leaving cuff wrong-side out, slide down over the stocking, lining up one end of the “tube” slightly higher than your marked line on the stocking. Pin in place.
Using your sewing machine, sew a straight stitch along your marked line.
Now, when you turn your cuff right side out and fold it into itself, it might be a bit bulky… This next step is optional, but i had better luck when I did go ahead and do this (and it only took a few extra seconds.). Inside of the line you already stitched along the long edges of the cuff, sew a second line. It will be at an angle, making the open side of the cuff slightly more narrow than the part that is sewn onto the stocking. You can see better below, what I mean.
Flip cuff up, revealing right-side.
Fold excess down into the stocking until you have a 5″ tall cuff (or larger if you prefer). Once measured, pin, turn cuff down over stocking, and sew a running stitch along the bottom edge of the cuff to the hidden seam allowance inside of the stocking. This will keep it from unfolding when gifts are removed.
Flip cuff back up, revealing your finished stocking!
You can also use a small piece of fabric to add a loop to hang your stocking on.
From here you can embelish how you want. I have a friend who is embroidering some initials for ours, and those will be added soon. In the meantime, I’m just glad the stockings themselves are done!
I hope you enjoy the tutorial and pattern. If you make a stocking, please share a link to your blog post about it in the comments here. I always love finding new blogs to read. Or if you Instagram it, please tag @Jackie_reivey so I can see it there! Happy Holidays!
Happy Halloween from the Reitz-Spivey Household!
Dorothy and Wolverine