4 Moms: How to spend time with your husband without spending money

It’s Thursday again, and today the 4 Moms have agreed to reveal the secret to spending time with the husband without spending money.


Today, my husband also agreed to let me tell you that when he’s with me, we always spend money.

Well, that hasn’t always been true, and it’s not quite true now.  Over the years we have discovered plenty of ways to enjoy each other’s company without spending money.

In-home Date Night

When all the kids were little, we used to have an in-home date night.  We would feed the kids a fun & easy dinner like chicken nuggets & fries, then haul the TV and VCR (VCR?  What’s that?) into their bedroom and put them to bed early.  Then the fun began.  We cooked together, talked, sipped drinks, played games, watched a movie of our own after the kids dozed off, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company.

Errand Dates

Now that the kids are bigger, we have built-in babysitters who delight to see us leave.  Maybe I should install a secret camera to find out why, or maybe I just shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  These dates aren’t technically free since we have to count the cost of gas and whatever it is the kids do when we’re gone, but since we often turn an errand run into a date, we’re not burning extra gas.
 I always said I didn't believe in dating, but that day I went on not one but two blind dates. I really like the guy I went with. He was nice, funny and handsome. Oh, and he's married to me. We agreed to meet up again soon.

In-store Dates

A variation on the errand-date is the one in which we leave the kids in the van (keep in mind we have big kids) and go into a store alone together.  Does that phrase make you giggle like it does me?  As we pull into a parking lot, 3 or 4 of the kids invariably start calling out from the dim recesses of the van, “Can I go in?  Can I?  Please?  PLEASE?”  Then we give each other The Look, and one of us answers: “No.  We’re going on a date.

Exercise Dates

Our family recently took up jogging.  It’s not at all uncommon to find the kids far ahead, while Perry lags behind with me.  Call me desperate, but I consider this a date.  Any time spent alone with my hunney is quality time!

More Dates

There are a few more obvious options: we have been known to stay up insanely late after the children are in bed, just because we enjoy each other’s company.   I know what you’re thinking.  No, I’m not just talking about that. Sometimes we sit side by side in the dark living room, sending each other messages on googletalk.  Sometimes we watch a late-night movie in bed on a laptop.  We might just sit out on the deck and chat til the wee hours.  The point is that we don’t have to leave the house to enjoy some private time together.

We have also learned over the years that a co-ed shower in the morning goes a long way.  🙂  In a small house, privacy can be hard to find during daylight hours, but this is one place it’s nearly guaranteed.

See how the other 3 Moms and their respective spouses answer the question:

  • DeputyHeadmistress @ The Common Room
  • [email protected] Olives
  • Connie @ Smockity Frocks
  • What’s your secret?  How do you and your spouse spend time together without spending money?  Besides that, I mean.

    A Sonnet for my hunney on his birthday

    Unlike my oldest daughter, I am not a poet and have never really tried to be one.  I do, on occasion, enjoy poetry, but the deeper sorts leave me lost.
    I think we all know the first line of the sonnet below, but parts just didn’t click in my brain so I’ve taken a few liberties, in the hopes that my sweet husband will recognize my own feeble influence in the results below.
    I offer my apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
    A Birthday Sonnet for my Beloved

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    Of the chocolate you bring each night,
    For the coffee flavored Hagan Daaz.
    I love thee to the level of every day’s
    noise level, as high as the jet-engine thundering in flight.
    I love thy silly faces, as men strive for right;
    I love thy passion, thy sweet words of praise.
    I love thee with a passion put to use
    In ten labors past, and another in May.
    I love thee like the drunkard loveth his booze,
    ever loving you more, — I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

    Happy Valentine’s Day

    I posted on Facebook that hubby and I had gone out to dinner and a movie with our pastor and his wife on Friday night.  I also mentioned on Facebook that after we parted with the pastoral couple, I was waiting the van in a WalMart parking lot while my hunney went inside “for a surprise.”

    What would it be?  Chocolate, probably.  Maybe chocolate and flowers.  Or maybe strawberries and whipped cream.

    When he finally came out carrying a WalMart sack, he wasn’t ready to show the surprise yet.  Instead, he suggested we go check showtimes on a second movie.  The night was young and I had misunderstood our plans for the evening, mistakenly telling the kids we’d be out til after 1 AM.  We had time to kill.  I jokingly told hubby that since we had to come town again the following day, we could save gas and stay the night in a seedy hotel for about the same price.  He chuckled a little, I think.

    Instead of returning to the theater we had just left, we headed farther into town toward a new fancy theater.  I needed to find a restroom but assured him I could wait til we got there.  I had never been to this particular theater so I didn’t notice when we missed the turn.  We looped around on the frontage road and when I looked around, we were pulling into the parking lot of a very nice hotel.

    A few possibilities came to mind: were we stopping somewhere with a nice restroom?  Was he going to propose staying here for the night?  Or…

    We headed toward the side of the building and he pulled a key card out of his pocket.  As he handed it to me, I wondered briefly if you could buy those at WalMart these days.

    He followed, directing me from behind.  In the door, up one flight of stairs, turn to the left, room 302.  I opened the door.

    Inside, I saw a bouquet of balloons, flanked on either side by clear glass bowls.  One bowl had blueberries, and the other was full of strawberries.  Each bowl rested on a glass plate, surrounded by chocolates.  On the table was a bottle of champagne and 2 wine glasses.

    In the bedroom was a dozen red roses.  Chocolates lay sprinkled on the pillows, and a bowl of dark chocolate M&Ms were on the nightstand.

    The refrigerator held cream cheese dip and whipped cream for the berries.  There was also yogurt and more fresh fruit.  In the freezer were 2 containers of Haagen Daz ice cream, coffee and chocolate.

    I nibbled on the strawberries and blueberries, taking all this in, as hubby pulled vanilla candles from his bag and lit them in the living room and bedroom.   He pulled out a jar of lavender bath salts and drew me a bath.  I followed him to find a bottle of massage oil on the bathroom counter.

    The best part may have been the attention to details – the particular details that he knew would be important to me.  He knows I don’t mind wearing my clothes a second time, but he made sure I had fresh underclothes, a toothbrush, and dental floss.   He remembered matches to light the candles, and bought a whole case of them since we go through them like crazy at home.

    He even took into consideration that the bottom line was important to me.  He had splurged on the “important” things to make the evening incredibly special, but shopped at the Dollar Tree to save wherever he could, and made sure to buy things that I would be able to use at home.  He even chose a night between 2 days that we were obligated to be in town, saving us $30 in gas since we didn’t have to go home in between.

    I take it back.  The best part is that he still manages to utterly surprise me after all these years.  I knew I was married to a romantic, but I never suspected what he was up to.

    Apparently I surprised him too, because he’s still laughing at me.  He insists he woke several times during the night to the sound of M&M’s clinking against the glass bowl.  I decline to comment on the matter.

    He’s back!

    My hunney was gone for nearly 2 weeks – the longest we’ve ever been apart – and now he’s back.  😀

    I can’t stop grinning.  😀  See? 

    Can you tell we like each other?  😀

    My hardworkin’ man

    I just have to brag him up a bit, because he won’t do it for himself.

    He was scheduled to have Friday and Saturday off this year – he and another guy take turns running a crew on either Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving each year.  He was still bruised and limping a little from Saturday’s game, but he knew it would be busy so he bandaged his leg and brought the 4 older girls to Vision Forum on Friday and let them help the rest of the Friday crew.  This is their idea of fun, and the two older girls get paid.  🙂

    When he arrived and saw how bogged down they were, he worked for the rest of the day, on his “day off.”

    Then he decided to bring in a crew on Saturday morning as well, starting at 7 AM.  This means that he and the girls left the house at 6 AM on his weekend off.  They worked from 7-3, plus an hour drive on each end.

    And then…

    He dropped the children off at a cousin’s birthday party and rushed straight to Plymouth Rock Ranch to help our friends with their big projectThey worked until 3 AM.

    But wait!  There’s more!  Our friends were in a race against time and still hadn’t reached the finish line.

    He arrived home at 3:30 AM, showered and napped for a couple of hours, and we headed to Plymouth Rock Ranch again at 7 AM.  I dropped him off and took the children to church.  We picked him up at 4 PM on Sunday afternoon.  The job was nearly done and relatively fresh volunteers were willing and able to finish it.  He finally came home and got some sleep.  This morning he was able to sleep in a bit and leave for work at 8 AM.

    He never complains.  He never whines, or wonders if there’s a way out.  He just does it.  When I try to tell him how much I admire him for working so hard and so willingly, he always looks just a little puzzled.  “What else would I do?”  I love that he doesn’t see a second option.

    Happy anniversary to us!

    Today hubby and I celebrated our 17th anniversary.  We met when we were 12 years old.  We were just 17 when we got engaged, and 19 when we were married.  Such a long time ago!

    Our first child was baptized on our first anniversary, and our 7th was born on the 14th anniversary of our engagement.  Yes, I like to keep track of these things.

    If you’re interested, our first child was born on my father-in-law’s 40th birthday.  Our 2nd was just 2 days from my own dad’s birthday.  Our 3rd was born on All Saint’s Day, the 4th on Memorial Day, the 5th was a millenium baby (1/1/2000), the 6th was born on a great-aunt’s birthday (hi, Aunt ‘Vonne!).  Sweet Sarah was born on Flag Day, and I already told you about #7.  The Boy, #8, was born on my mom’s birthday.

    And #9 was born on her soon-to-be aunt’s birthday, just a few weeks before the wedding.  Yes, we welcomed Aunt Roxy into the family by having a baby on her birthday.  She kindly reciprocated by having a baby on one of our children’s birthdays.  If you read about how we met in the link above, you might like to know that the groom was hubby’s little brother who got a magnificent bloody nose so many years ago.  We still have it on video somewhere.  The bloody nose, that is.

    But I digress.  I just wanted to make sure you all knew that I’m married to the sweetest and most handsome man in the world.  He’s strong as a bull, generous to a fault, hardworking, and the sight of the back of his neck still gives me shivers after all these years.

    Sorry, y’all.  He’s taken.

    Happy Mother’s Day

    I’ve been treated like a queen today, and I hope you have too.

    Of course, I’m treated like a queen nearly every day.  What can I say?  His momma and daddy raised him right.


    A few highlights:

    • The perfect gift. Exactly what I was secretly hoping he meant when he gave me a cryptic clue!
    • A surprise cake. Two of the girls sneaked over the hill to my brother’s house on Saturday afternoon, and baked a Mother’s Day cake in my sister-in-law’s oven.  They brought it home, hid it in the freezer, and stayed up late decorating it after I was in bed.  Chocolate, of course.  Did you really have to ask?
    • A clean house, when hubby and I came home from Saturday errands.  They even scoured the stovetop and rearranged the kitchen bookshelf.
    • Breakfast on the deck, including strawberries, bagels, cream cheese/jam, and all things delectable.
    • BBQ at Mom’s house with the extended family. We had bbq chicken slow-cooked over a woodfire with Rudy’s bbq sauce – the best in the world!  I’m sure there was other food, but I had 3 pieces of chicken.  Dessert included a grand and glorious chocolate cake (see above), 2 more cakes, a huge bowl of strawberries, and plenty of Bluebell Vanilla ice cream for all.  10 of my sibs were there, with their 8 children and 2 spouses.  Yes, we’re a little light on children and spouses.  Some of my sibs are still young and unmarried.  Especially the 11yo and two 13yo’s.

    Happy Birthday to my love

    Today is my hunney’s birthday.  Since he didn’t tell my age in his birthday post for me, we’ll do him the same courtesy.  Those of you who are curious will just have to guess.  I wonder if there’s any significance that the kids and I are sharing exactly 36 reasons we love him?

    Just a few of the many reasons I love him:dsc03830-medium

    1. He brings me chocolate.  Lots of it.  Good chocolate.  Wait, am I shallow to say that first?  What I meant to say is that he’s hot.  Just the sight of the back of his neck makes me feel quivery.
    2. He loves me, and tells me often.  And he proves it by bringing me chocolate.
    3. He is a leader to me even though I have a tendency to be stubborn and proud and I always think I’m right.
    4. He’s a good dad who strives to win and keep the hearts of his children.
    5. He loves to give: gifts, time, chocolate, and whatever else is needed by those in his life.
    6. He’s not afraid of hard work, either mental or physical.
    7. He’s equally at home shoveling snow in shorts in the Ohio winter, or roofing in jeans in the Texas summer.
    8. Deanna:dsc_0179-medium

    9. I look like him.
    10. He lets us ambush people with Airsoft rifles to get revenge on them.
    11. He introduced me to Lord Peter Wimsy and Bertie & Jeeves, and Stephen R. Lawhead.
    12. He taught me the easy way to do division when Mom and Spectrum Math were making me cry every day.
    13. He subjected himself to horrific sunburns while he was building us a house.
    14. Kaitlyn

    15. He has been taking us for birthday lunches for as long as I can remember.
    16. He takes us to work with him.
    17. He built a house for us.
    18. He’s got a great sense of humor (see picture to the right).
    19. Lydiamike-said-i-could

    20. He lets me buy my own copies of books that we already have (even if we have 4 copies already).
    21. He let me read ‘Thank You Jeeves.’ (P.G. Wodehouse)
    22. He is letting me keep Sestra and he has decided to let Megan keep a snake just like Sestra that she found last night.
    23. He let me buy a dried alligator head.
    24. Megan:

    25. “Dad is great!  He gives us chocolate cake!”  Extra points if you know the comedian who said it first.
    26. He introduced us to British comedy.
    27. He lets us keep a lot of our own books even though our house is small.
    28. He convinced me to read Lord of the Ring.
    29. Natalie:

    30. He takes me out for birthday lunches.
    31. He buys me candy and gives me money sometimes.
    32. He got me Scottish Seas and Heartstrings.
    33. He taught me to paint.
    34. He lets me go to work with him.work-with-dad-medium
    35. Becca:

    36. He is nice.
    37. He tickles me.
    38. He bought Kung Fu Panda for Natalie’s birthday and for me too because I finished my math book.
    39. Rachael:

    40. Because he sleeps on the couch with me part of the night when I fall asleep there.
    41. He tickles me.100_2786-medium
    42. Perry IV, aka The Boy:

    43. I love Dad to fight with me and I like to punch him in the tummy.
    44. Bethany:

    45. pppppbbbtthhh! [drool.  giggle.] Daaaaad!

    I have to admit that at first I was a little disappointed that most of the kids’ reasons were about what their Dad has done for them, or the treats he has given them, or the literary taste that he has helped them cultivate.  They seemed a bit shallow, and a father is supposed to present a picture of Christ in the home.

    But as I thought about it, I realized that this is exactly what the children were telling me in their own childlike ways.  They see their dad as a provider of cake and all things yummy, a shepherd in math and teaching them to love British comedy and books, a loving and benevolent leader who fights with them and lets them punch him in the tummy, all with a deep and sacrificial love – remember the horrific sunburns?

    No wonder we all love him.

    Blogger in training…


    In which I do not whine, even though it might sound like I do.

    Some days I still feel like that tired young mother years ago:

    First, I stayed up too late.  I was stalling because it looked like the dog was in labor.  She was pacing, and cramming her swollen body into every odd nook she could find.  She usually sleeps under the children’s bunkbeds but doesn’t seem to fit anymore.   Serves her right for letting her boyfriend dig an escape tunnel so she could get out of her out of her outdoor run while we were at church nearly 2 months ago.  Let’s just say Lady is no lady.

    I fixed her a bed/birthing room in the corner of the living room, where she often naps during the day.  It’s a rather private little nook where two sofas meet, but evidently wasn’t private enough.  She kept trying to get into our bedrooms, desperate to try out the closets or see if she could still fit under the bed.  Not this time, Lady.

    I checked to see that the bedroom doors were all shut so she couldn’t get in, and I finally crawled into bed.   It was well after midnight.  What was I thinking?  Bad idea, Kim.  Almost as bad as me sitting here at 1:30 AM composing this post.  If it’s disjointed and rambling, don’t blame me.  Blame the clock.  But I digress: it was well after midnight…

    Then the baby woke up to eat.  She started sleeping through the night at 3 days of age, but something happened around 3 months and she’s been hit-or-miss ever since.    This time she woke earlier than usual, around 1:30.  I had been sleeping for less than an hour.  When she finished, I put her back in her bed and dozed off.

    An hour later, I heard Becca calling me.  I ignored her, hoping she was dreaming and would quiet down, but alas it was not to be.  She kept calling, sounding neither groggy nor scared, but sad and persisent.  My hopes were dashed when she came to my door.  “Mom, I puked.  In my bed.  And my hair.”

    After an undetermined amount of sanctification time, Becca was clean and settled into a comfy bed on the couch with a saucepan close at hand.  I glanced in the direction of my bedroom and right on cue, the dog decided that she really had to go out RIGHT NOW.  I’ve been pregnant enough times not to argue.  I know what it’s like to have one baby sitting on a full bladder; I can’t imagine 9 or 12.  I waited for far too long while she did whatever it is that dogs do.  I suspect her of tracking deer, but in her condition the deer must have been laughing.  She finally waddled back to the door, doing her best to look innocent.   Considering the fact that our pedigreed Golden Retriever is about to deliver an unplanned litter of mongrels, I wasn’t buying the innocent look.

    Hmm.  My groggy brain is now wondering if there was a punchline to this story.  There was supposed to be humor in it, honest, and no whining.  Can you just laugh and pretend I made it sound funny?  Because it was funny in my head, and I wasn’t feeling whiny about it.  I was very grateful to have plenty of energy for the long, busy, exciting day ahead, and we lived happily ever after.  Honest.  And the dog didn’t have her pups yet.  Are you laughing yet?  Come on, just a little one?  It’s the holiday season; what better time to ho-ho at your friend’s lame jokes?

    But I wasn’t going to end there:  I was going to tell you that the girls and I left the house at 1 to go help with orders at Vision Forum, and then I was going to tie it into the fact that my Hardworkin’ Man is on his 2nd day of double shifts.  Yesterday he worked from about 8 AM to after 1 AM, plus an hour commute on each end of the day.  Today, he started a bit later but plans to work til 3 AM.  Did you hear that, people?  Three.  A.  M.  All this without overtime pay or a hint of compaining – just a dedication to getting the job done on time.

    If you placed a last-minute order with Vision Forum, you might say a little prayer of thanks for my man when your package arrives.