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True Romance for Couples with Kids: 10 Ideas
by Susie Michelle Cortwright

In my marriage, some of the most memorable evenings have also
been the least expensive. Sure, I have enjoyed the bouquets
and the boxes of chocolate, but it is the folk music in the
ski lodge, the sips of Chardonnay on our summer porch swing,
and the nights spent reading in bed, side by side, that
really stand out.

Anyone can splurge on a formal dinner or a pricey bottle of
perfume, but it takes creativity, forethought, and time to be
truly romantic.

The key lies in personalizing your celebration. Here are ten
ideas to fuel your own creativity:

1. Empty a box of chocolate (either into your mouth or onto a
plate...) Then cut out 50 to 100 hearts from lace doilies,
construction paper, or fabric. On each cutout, record
something about him that you love. Be specific, "The way you
smell when you come to bed at night," "The way you take care
of me when I’m sick," or simply "Your recipe for pancakes."

Another variation: Write down 100 cherished memories of your
life together. Fold the cutouts, place them in the chocolate
box, and top with a red satin bow. The time you spend coming
up with these ideas will contribute to your own romantic mood,
and what he thinks is a plain box of chocolates will be a gift
he’ll keep close to his heart forever. And you can add to the
box each year.

2. Build a romantic fire. Before the kids go to bed, have fun
roasting marshmallows. After their lights are out, host your
own indoor picnic, complete with a bottle of wine and
chocolate-covered strawberries.

3. Recreate your first date together. What were you wearing?
Where did you go? Do you remember what you talked about? Spend
the evening reminiscing and reflecting on how far you’ve come
as a couple.

4. Spoon all night.

5. Choose a book in which you are both interested, fiction or
nonfiction. Read a new chapter each night before bed. This
cozy tradition will allow you to spend some quality time
together and often makes for thought-provoking breakfast

6. Make a tape of the songs special to your relationship.
Include "your song," songs from your wedding, songs from
favorite movies. Add a personal voice dedication and leave
it in his briefcase, Walkman, or car stereo.

7. Turn off the TV.

8. Kidnap your husband. Arrange for a babysitter for a few
hour--or a few days. A friend of mine had a lot of success
with this one. She knew her husband had always wanted to get
married in Vegas, but he had agreed to a large, formal ceremony
hosted by her family. So, after they had been married 10 years,
she surprised him at work with a packed suitcase. They caught
an evening flight and renewed their vows before an Elvis
impersonator in a Vegas chapel. Years later, they’re
still talking about it.

9. This one requires a babysitter, too. Next time you’re
visiting your parents or in-laws, leave the kids with their
grandparents and travel to another town, where no one will
recognize you. Check into a hotel or B&B. Dress like another
woman. Act like another woman. It’s fun to slip into another
persona from time to time.

10. Have a scavenger hunt. Write a few poems, wrap candy
kisses inside, and hide them around the house. Each poem
should be a clue to finding the next one. Make sure the
final clue lands your man someplace you want to end up
for the entire evening. A romance package, including a
bottle of champagne and new lingerie, is a nice touch.

Create a memory this Valentine's Day, not with your
pocketbook but with your imagination.

Copyright 2003 Susie Cortright

Susie Michelle Cortright is the author of More Energy for Moms
and Rekindling Your Romance After Kids, as well as the Soul
Snacks booklet series, featuring creative ways to nurture
yourself and your family in 15 minutes or less. Each of these
publications is available through, a website
devoted to helping women celebrate and embrace their diverse

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