D is for the Dollar Store and Dessert Date

This is what happens when you have no “direction” for a “date”!  We figured the “Dollar Store” was as good as anywhere to begin our adventures.

photo 5







We like to “donate” at this store, by sticking “dollar bills” to the toy shelves, leaving them for children to “discover”.  This random act of kindness brings such “delight”.

photo 4(3)


“Determined” to have fun, we walked around the store, I “dared” my husband to “don a dinosaur” mask , he obliged.  We are such “dorks”!  We were laughing so hard, we “drew” attention to ourselves and people began to question what we were up to, so we  “decided” it was time to move on.



We couldn’t make up our mind what to eat for “dinner”, so we settled on “dessert”.   We had forgotten to bring our letters into the restaurant, so we used the “doily” to make the letter “d”.

photo 4(1)

After telling our waitress what we were “doing”, she kept running to the kitchen to tell the staff what we were up to.  They ended up “donating” our treats to us, because they thought we were “darling”.




Our marital secret is to “delight” in the little things.

B Is For Burgers and Baskets



Some nineteen years ago, around the time our youngest son turned two, we had committed to a weekly or bi-weekly date night.  When our children were young, I didn’t like to leave them.  Occasionally we hired a sitter but mostly we just made time for each other at home.  We learned from early on in our marriage, that time was the most precious thing we could give each other.   During those early years,  Alan worked 90-120 hours a week, trying to establish our new company.  Continue reading

A List of ABC Date Ideas

Do you ever tire of the same old dinner and a movie date?  Sometimes you have to put a little adventure into your relationship.

We started using the alphabet to set the theme for our dates.  We are dedicating this month to sharing the various  dates we have created.

We are always building ABC lists so check back often.

Here is a list of the words we have used to generate our ideas for a super date night:

A-al fresco, art, ATV, Axe Throwing

B-, biking, bowling


DDollar Store, Drive In, Dine, Darts, dessert

E-Escape Room

F-Fall Color Tour



I-ice cream



L-lake, Lavender Farm






R-rent a car, river, raft

S-sledding, skiing, snowboarding

T-tea tasting, train, tubing

U-U Pick

V-vineyard, volunteer

W-wine tasting, work out




ABC Dating-10 Reasons to Plan an ABC Date With Your Partner



“Us” after 35 years of marriage!

I remember skipping down the road, holding my husband’s hand.  As we were crossing the street, a woman  was coming toward us.  Obviously scorned by love she said,  “you won’t be doing that in a few years”.  I stopped and asked her how long she thought we had been married.  “You must be newlyweds”, she replied.  In fact, we had already been married for 12 years!  After 35+ years of marriage, we still skip and act silly.  This man is still my best friend.

Dating is what has kept our marriage fresh.  Here are a few benefits to “dating” your partner.

  1. Dating prioritizes your partner.  Even if you only spend an hour a week “together”, this tells your partner that they are cherished and worthy of your time.
  2. Dating is attractive.  As we look at and listen to our partner, it gives us the opportunity to admire the physical and mental attributes which draw us to them.
  3. Dating is intentional.  It says to your partner that they matter enough to you, to create special moments.  It shows that you are continuing to invest in your relationship.
  4. Dating around a theme is unique. By thoughtfully designing a date, you will soon find yourselves sharing experiences unlike anyone else.   The memories you create together become stories to be revisited as you age.
  5. Dating around a theme can be revealing.   It may bring out a playful, creative and/or funny side. It may show you what makes their eyes sparkle, or what gives them passion and purpose in life.  This may allow you a window into your partners personality.  It may allow you to admire them all over again.  It may remind you why you fell in love with them to begin with.
  6. Dating allows us to be role models.  Our children will develop a framework of standards for their own marriages.  People who see us having fun, may aspire to create the same with their partner.
  7. Dating encourages teamwork.  When you date with purpose, you are trying to accomplish something specific together.   This partnership mentality transfers to all aspects of your life.
  8.  Dating gives us a sense of security.   The more loved and nurtured we feel, the more trust we place in each other, the more trust, the more secure we become.
  9. Dating gives us time. It is easy to put a relationship on the back burner. Responsibilities can quickly get the better of most of us.  Without attention, passion dies.  There is an old saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”.  To which I would respond, “then water your side”.
  10. Dating creates a lasting bond.  Kids grow up and leave home.  Eventually you may retire.  As life moves through its stages, your partner is the only thing which remains constant.  Nurturing your relationship allows a bond, meant to withstand all stages of  life.

Document the Journey



Bored of writing the same way?   Try a list of 10.



ABC Celebrations-A is for “Anniversary With Cash Only”

We woke on the morning of our 35th anniversary with no plans for the day.   As our family began to wish us well, we were chastised for not putting in more effort into the celebration.

I knew we had to come up with an idea, so I quickly challenged Alan to create one of our special dates.  We knew we would find a way to work in an ABC adventure.  This would become our “Anniversary by Cash” date!

As with all great anniversary celebrations, there was the checklist of goals to fulfill:

A-The day needed to fill our appetites by including dinner and chocolate.  Since this was a special celebration, we would toast it with alcohol.  We agreed there needed to be ambience, complete with music, flowers, candlelight and romance.

B-We really wanted to challenge our creativity, so there was a strict budget of $35, one dollar for each year we had been married.

C-Finally, we needed to demonstrate how much we cherished each other.  This needed to be in writing, but could not be in a card.  Everything needed to be paid for in cash.


The budget and goals for our anniversary.


Alan worked for a bit in the morning, returning home around 2 to pick me up.  I told him to dress warm, we were going to be outside. I was deliberately vague with our destination, figuring we would see where the day took us. The sun was shining and the temperature was a balmy 28 degrees!  After the stagnant winter we had been experiencing, we needed some fresh air.  We left home bundled against the elements and ready to explore.

We headed toward one of our favorite little towns called Empire.  I wanted to get the chocolate part of the date out of the way while we still had money.  (Not really, I just wanted chocolate!)




Our chocolate goal!

Our chocolate goal!



Just outside of Empire, a bright green building shines like a beacon against the snowy backdrop.  Who would ever expect to find a chocolatier in this part of the world?  Grocer’s Daughter imports their chocolate from Equador and ships their handmade confections around across the country.






Handmade chocolates and fresh hot chocolate.

Handmade chocolates and fresh hot chocolate.


I momentarily considered using the free sample, to fulfill our chocolate goal, but decided that would just be cheap.  Instead I purchased a sweet little bumble bee (my namesake), to share with Alan.  Our budget was now down a dollar.

Knowing this store had likely not had much business on this cold winter day, I wasn’t going to be THAT cheap, so I also purchased hot chocolate mix.  I did not count this in my budget because it would be consumed on a different day.




Yes, it really was that cold!

Yes, it really was that cold!


After our chocolate, we headed towards Empire beach.  In the summer, we often frequent this location to watch couples get married, or just observe a sunset.  The scenery looks far different in the winter.  The frozen landscape was equally as beautiful.  The beach was full of ice balls.  These are a phenomenon which occur mostly in Lake Michigan.  They develop when chunks of ice break off from larger sheets of ice.  As the smaller pieces tumble in the waves, they mix with slush.  The rhythmic action of the waves, rolls them into perfect balls, eventually throwing them onto the shore.   They made walking along the beach a little difficult, but determined, we persisted.




Frozen landscape!

Frozen landscape!



We are fortunate to live in a place with such stunning scenery. It had been weeks since we had, had a clear day. The day was particularly bright, as if the sun had come out just for us.   We had brought along our snowshoes, which we hoped to try for the first time.  I don’t know what we were thinking, but we definitely would not be snow shoeing today.





Our love grows daily.

Our love grows daily.


It was very windy on the beach, so after our walk, we posed long enough for a kiss and then we moved on.








We were enjoying our winter date so much, that we wanted to continue driving around the Sleeping Bear area.  Soon we found ourselves in Glen Haven.   There is a secluded beach near the Day Canning Company, a historic building which is part of the fabric of this community.

Much less wind in Glen Haven.

Much less wind in Glen Haven.

With all of our walking, we were now ready to enjoy a little break.  The blue blanket was spread upon the windswept snow for the mini picnic which I had packed. Alan had been creative too.  He had brought along his new bluetooth speaker, which I had given him for Christmas.  He hooked it up to his phone to play a recorded version of “our” song, “For Your Eyes Only”.  This was from a James Bond movie by the same name, which was also the first date that we had gone on.  The music seemed in stark contrast to the frozen seclusion we were enjoying.  As we slow danced in the frigid air, anyone observing us, might have thought we were crazy.



A winter picnic!

A winter picnic!

Reflecting on our many years of memories Alan enjoyed a cup of hot tea, while I drank my hot chocolate, which was from a packet of Nestle instant, not the lovely chocolate which I had purchased from Grocer’s Daughter. The icy air soon cooled our drinks off, so we downed them quickly.



I think the cold was affecting us.  We grew silly and made snow angels and wrote notes to each other in the snow.


All around us seemed to be glowing with a golden light, it seemed perfect to reflect the celebration of our love.    We had now completed three goals…to express our love in writing, to have a date with music and to eat chocolate.

Alan bought me roses!

Alan bought me roses!

With thirty four dollars remaining, we headed to Traverse City to complete our date.  Looking for wine, we stopped at a local grocery store, where we found a single serving of boxed vino, on sale, for just under three dollars.  Since we don’t really drink alcohol, we decided this would be plenty.   As we were leaving the store, a gumball machine, containing tattoos, caught my eye.  Here were my flowers!  It took 2 attempts to get a flower, but a rose was delivered on the second insertion of 50 cents.  We were down to thirty dollars.  Two more missions were now complete.  We then decided to head to the dollar store, where we found some wine glasses which seemed appropriate for the day.  We debated losing two dollars from our budget, but decided they were too cute not to purchase.  We also picked up a candle to add a little ambience to our dinner.  With a few more items off of our list, we had twenty seven dollars remaining.  We still needed to feed ourselves.

Wine, cheaper than therapy!

Wine, cheaper than therapy!







All that remained on our checklist was dinner.  Alan decided it was time to get Lucky(s).  Get your mind out of the gutter!  It’s a local fresh food market which has an amazing food bar.  We chose  homemade tomato and fennel soup, with fresh sandwiches and apple turnovers.   We now had all our food and drinks.  We had even come in with 53 cents left in our budget!  Finally we could head home with our goodies. 

It was time to get Lucky(s)

It was time to get Lucky(s)

On budget!

On budget, with 53 cents to spare!







Our abode is our favorite place to be.  As we evaluated how our Anniversary had been, we marveled at our adventure.  Reflecting on our day, we realized what an amazing anniversary we indeed enjoyed.  Every goal had been met.  With one exception, it had been the perfect celebration.   We would highly encourage you not to purchase cheap wine in a box, no matter how much you want to fulfill a goal! Happy 35th Anniversary to “Us”.  I wonder what we will do to top it next year.

Celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary with dinner, flowers, candlelight and wine.