Category Archives: Relationships

Top 10 Christmas Gifts For Him

Alright, ladies! Here is my top 10 list for man gifts in 2016. If you are anything like me, the idea of not getting something awesome that my guy will love, is cringe worthy. Whether you are in a new relationship and just can’t seem to think of anything or you have been with your man for years and just want to do something different, this list is for you.

All of the items listed are tried & true, and connected to affiliate links by Amazon.  Some of these are the exact items I’ve bought for Dan, while others are similar. I had him sit down and order the list from great (10) to best (1). He’s loved them all, and although he is a sweetheart, I know whether he’s thrilled about something or not!

Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Him

#10 Great Sheets

This might seem out of left field for guys, but hear me out. Sleep is important for everyone, and having a great set of sheets really is exquisite. Maybe your man is already a sheets snob. In that case, gift – nailed. If he’s not, open his eyes to the wonders of sleeping on a cloud. He’ll thank you, and bonus, you get to use them, too!

#9 Camelbak Water Bottle

I’ve raved about this water bottle before. It’s awwwwwesome. Dan, his son, and I, take ours everywhere. And when one gets lost, it’s agony until we can get a new one. These water bottles are the best because of the bite valve and straw. It’s easy to suck down gulps of water, and the valve actually holds water until your next sip. This prevents gulping down unnecessary air. The whole family drinks so much more water having one of these with us everywhere. If you don’t have one either, get one! They are an amazing price for the value.

#8 Lunch Box

Bringing lunch to work saves money and provides an outlet for your leftovers. This lunch box is easy to clean, stays cold, and doubles as a small beer cooler for game events. We also use it for packing snacks when we take day trips. It’s been a year and it still looks brand new.

#7 New Wallet 

Wallets make great gifts since these are always getting worn out from being overstuffed. Try going for a slimmer wallet if he wants to stop hoarding around lots of cards.

#6 Slippers

Believe me. They love them, and if they can get away with it, they WILL wear them to the store or to get gas. Dan loves his so much, he falls asleep in bed before he takes them off.

#5 Yeti Colster

This thing is so worth the money. In fact, after my father found out I was getting this for Dan, he requested one, too! They work wonderfully at keeping beers cold longer, and bonus, they just look awesome!

#4 Tools

I haven’t actually needed to get Dan these because he’s had plenty, but it’s an essential item to list for guys that don’t. A tool kit is so important and so practical! It doesn’t have to be a crazy, magical kit with everything under the sun in it (although, if you find one for a good price…). Just something that can be kept in the trunk for emergencies or for when YOU need to hang a painting. If he has a basic toolkit already, try to get an idea from him (stealth like, of course) of what the next item would be in building a tool empire.

#3 New Shirts & Hoodies

Dan hates shopping. But he’s got to be clothed. In my experience, there are plenty of other things your man would rather do than wandering around picking out the most flattering shirts for himself. Having shirts just appear that are stylish, a great color, and feel amazing is a blessing. Old Navy Long-Sleeved Thermals are Dan’s favorites and he’s actually asked me to get doubles of each for when one is in the wash.

#2 Grill…anything

Check out your man’s grill stuff. Does he have the basics? Are they over used? Brushes, spatulas, tongs? One of the best things Dan got for his birthday was actually from my parents. A big box of grilling meats. Steaks, chicken, bratwurst, etc. We froze it all and thaw whatever he wants, whenever he wants to grill. You have a wide range of ways to go when it comes to grilling. It really is an art for some guys.

#1 Tickets!

Tickets to any sporting event that he loves, will score you big points. Get two and if you don’t want to go (but if he wants you to go, you should, they are so much fun and it’s really an honor to be picked to tag along with him) let him know he can bring a friend. This gift is fool-proof. Even if the seats are up high, he’ll still be thrilled to see his team live.

If by the end of this list you still feel unsure of what to get him, go the gift card route. Sometimes a gift card can feel impersonal, but I want you to take a moment and step inside a man’s mind. Your woman spent her money wisely by purchasing you something that can be used whenever on whatever? Win! Dan’s top 3 gift card locations are Home Depot/Lowes, Gander Mountain/Bass Pro, or Best Buy.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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No More Excuses, Plan a Date Night

No more excuses, plan a date night.You’re done. You’ve used every excuse in the book about why you can’t plan a date night for you and your man. I promise I’ve been there, too. Who will take the kids, how can we afford it, and I need to clean – …something.

So do I.          Let’s leave it.

On the surface, date night may seem like a luxury. An exquisite night out with your man? Who wouldn’t want that? It sounds wonderful, but also expensive. Granted, there are definitely luxury date nights that only celebrities could afford each month. But that is not what I’m writing about, today. I mean the good old fashioned, you + me and the front porch rocker, date night. It’s so important!

We, as couples, have to stop looking at date night as a luxury. The date night is one of the only times that you and your love learn to stay in sync with one another. No cell phones, no laptops, no distractions. Just you, him, eye contact, and discussion.

Sometimes, our relationships can get trampled by the fast-paced world we live in. We start to lose touch with one another. God is our foundation and family is our life, but our relationship is a back bone. Without it being solid, things start to break down. Let go of the guilt, grab a pen and a paper, and let’s get to work. Planning is key!

Who will take the kids?  Once I stopped looking at date night as a luxury and started seeing it as a necessity to survival, I began to feel less guilty about having one on one time with Dan. I also loosened up on the idea of letting our little one go to my parents. They were ecstatic, of course. Heaven bless them.  If Grandma and Grandpa don’t live down the road, and your family is not in the position to spend $100 on a babysitter (Yowsa), I recommend you plan your date night to be at home and after bedtime (and YES the babies need to have a bedtime).

How will we afford it? If you DID spend all your money on a babysitter, pack a meal and drive somewhere. If you want to go out to dinner, split a meal. Restaurants over size their meal portions like CRAZY. Bonus: Sharing a meal is romantic and spares you the overeating guilt when you get home. You’ll feel lighter and sexier the rest of the night! There are also a ton of ideas on Pinterest for date nights in (cards, cocktails, fondue). What do you have on hand? Get creative. You can find some brilliant ideas posted to my Pinterest board The Dependable Date Night.

We’re fighting. First off, I’m so sorry and I wish I could give you a squeeze. Fights are no fun and have the potential to make date night awkward. But I promise you, it’s even more important! This could be an entire post on its own and I will not give it justice in this tiny paragraph. In short, swallow the fire and set down the weapons for the evening. Commit to each other as a couple to take a time out and focus on the positive.


Excuses out of the way? Pick some ideas for the next couple of months and mix it up! Dan gets to set up date night one Friday, and then I get the next one.  One week we might go out and then the next time we stay in!

How often should we plan date nights? That’s something that you, as a couple, should decide. What works for you? I would recommend at least once a month. Our magic number is every other Friday. Circle it on the calendar for multiple months out. Lots of circles, star it, maybe add some hearts…

And don’t forget: Keep the cell phones and laptops out of the way! Milk these next couple of hours for all their worth.

So. Did you plan it? Did you do it? I want to hear all about it!!

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How to Banish the Silent Treatment

How to Banish the Silent TreatmentIt happened. Our first “fight” happened. It was two years ago that it happened, of course, but I still clearly remember these words seeping over me after the “fight” occurred.

Before I dig in: I was given the opportunity to learn how to banish the silent treatment because my (dear & handsome) man refused to keep a lid on his patience and love for me. So if you, too, are a dear & handsome man reading this, remember that choosing to embrace love and warmth with your woman, during a moment like the one I’m about to explain, is absolutely key for us to banish that silent treatment cycle!

Back to the “fight”-

Dan immediately asked (kindly, I should add), “What’s wrong? What happened? Why are you upset?”  And this was the crazy part, I didn’t completely know. What did just happen? I was still overflowing with the details. I knew I was upset. I knew he definitely did something wrong. But I couldn’t exactly tell you the how’s and why’s of the situation.

Tears started to well up. Dan had absolutely no idea what he had done and I knew it. I was experiencing a mix of feelings. I wanted to solve it. I wanted to make it disappear. I wanted to say something other than “I’m fine”, but I also didn’t want to look like an idiot and tell him I didn’t know why I was so upset. And I needed to tell him something. Quick! At the time, I’m fine, felt like the only answer!

“I’m fine.”

Ughhhhh I just became THAT girl. I never wanted to be THAT girl: the one who shuts down and says I’m fine when clearly she’s not. But honestly, I didn’t know what to say. I felt blank and unarmed for the right and level-headed words.

When our loved ones do something that hurts or angers us, the next few minutes can contain a rush of emotions to the head. Why did he do that? What a jerk? Is he kidding?! Then, with all the pressure from the situation, we might feel left with two options: Spit word-vomit and repeat all of our angry or sad thoughts or… enter silent treatment mode. Maybe we could just wait for him to figure out what he did.

Word to the wise: you’ll be waiting awhile. The secret is using option #3.

I looked at his pleading face and said, as warmly as I could muster, and as honestly as I could imagine,

“I am sad, but I just need a minute to figure out exactly what it was that upset me and, uh, kind-of organize my words… Is that okay?”

Dan looked surprised, curious, and amazed all at the same time.

“Yea, absolutely.”

Immediately I started to process what had happened and what it was that pricked my heart. In the meantime, Dan remained calm, now knowing that I was not trying to give him the silent treatment, just organizing myself.

Side note: My honest approach completely bewildered Dan. My desire to focus only on the action that caused my emotion and not the emotion itself, softened his heart.

A few moments later I had worked it out in my mind: the cause, the response, and the effect. And this is exactly how I explained it (and yes I did cry as I did, and that’s okay!).

When we were in the store and I said I would just grab a drink from somewhere else, it was because I didn’t want soda. I felt that you spoke to me like a child in front of the cashier and that embarrassed me.”

Dan looked horrified at his actions and misunderstanding. “Wow, I’m such a jerk. I totally didn’t understand. I can’t believe I did that to you. I’m so, so sorry. Please forgive me.”

Side note: Dan really did feel terrible for how he acted. He showed an appreciation for how I responded to him by being very careful to NEVER speak that way to me again. Around and around we go.

This is just a tiny example of how

asking to take a minute to think,

responding in honesty with the cause, the response, and the effect,

and listening (both on his part and mine)

can work to banish the silent treatment. On the surface, it looks like a small conflict we had that day, but it could have easily been blown out of proportion. Then our day would have been ruined. Instead, both of us were pleasantly surprised at how good we felt after.

Dan still looks back at that day and says he was amazed to have met someone that could help him learn how to work as a team, even in the difficult times. It’s okay if in those first few minutes after a clash you don’t know what to say or why you feel so upset! Just ask for a minute. Your honesty will be inspiring. You can do it, I believe in you!

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3 Things You Never Thought Could Affect Your Relationship


Alright my friends, I’ve pulled together some surprising information about what may be unknowingly affecting us and our loves.  If you are interested in learning more about any of these, shoot me a message! I’m a big fan of evidence, and I would be happy to send you the research and studies!


Say what?! Water can affect our relationships? Yes! Well, hydration can! The brain is a giant network of neurons that do their best work in a well-lubricated environment. When we do not provide a hydrated atmosphere for our lovely brains to operate in, we are more likely to experience headaches and impaired thinking! Impaired thinking = less than awesome decisions. Maybe we feel less patient, more irritable, or we are more distracted. Add children into the mix? Even more chaos to try to battle with a stale mind. I personally struggled with an anxious mind and didn’t start drinking enough water until I got this wonderful water bottle. I love it and take it with me EVERYWHERE. Drink up, sisters!

Chick Flicks:

I love me a good chick flick. Love ‘em. If you ever want to gab about You’ve Got Mail or While You Were Sleeping, I’m your girl. How could something that gives me such warm fuzzies affect my love life? Well, the issue psychologists are seeing with Hollywood love stories is the inaccuracy they portray about real life relationships. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, they may hit a rocky spot or two, but it works out quickly and life suddenly becomes perfect, now that they’ve found each other. We hopefully all understand that this is not real life.

In the real world, relationships are hard and require work and commitment. But it’s possible that the constant viewing of TV shows and movies that reflect this effortless love can impact how we think about our own relationships. We may not even realize it!  Suddenly your man isn’t as satisfying as the Matthew McConaughey on screen who works out with trainers, makes a fortune, and whispers every sweet word we are all aching to hear said to us. It’s a comparison game we play with just about everything else in Hollywood. Image, money, popularity, etc.

Hint: My favorite remedy for the lows and woes is some good old fashioned bible reading and the washing of my mind with Jesus. Keep an eye out for your mood after you see Bridget Jones!

Rituals & Traditions

Dread going to Sunday dinners, church, or that tacky Christmas party for the neighborhood each year? I have some encouraging news for you. Research reveals that keeping certain rituals or traditions in your family is actually healthy for the inner relationships! Rituals or traditions that are consistent provide stability for family members. We can always rely on those Thanksgiving get-togethers where our extended family stands way too close to us and serves way too much food.

These events open up opportunities for the family to communicate and remain close knit. This is incredibly important for families with children. Don’t have any traditions? Don’t despair! Rituals can be as simple as sitting down for dinner together and allowing everyone to participate in conversation and the cleanup (Except you, Momma, you get a free pass for cleanup). If you’ve got that ritual down, add some more traditions this year!

Here’s just a few examples:

pumpkin patches
apple picking
christmas light looking
singing carols
a beach trip

What about your family? I’d love to hear about your own rituals or traditions!


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3 Things Your Relationship Needs Today


jpeg-image-4c6745f92fea-1I get it. It’s hard enough these days to even catch a breath before it’s bedtime. When Dan’s son came to live with us full time, I found myself wanting to go to bed 5 minutes after his bedtime. Suddenly each day was bombarded with meal preparation, Lego playing, cleaning, and then cleaning some more. Did I mention cleaning? I felt myself becoming drained. My alone time with Dan needed to be a sanctuary, where I could feel rebooted. Quiet time with him was great, curling up on the couch for a movie, but I also knew we needed to keep our relationship in tip-top shape to remain a sanctuary and not an added exhaustion. And that my friends, means work.

Hold on, hold on, don’t panic that you need to be signing up for a relationship boot camp each week. By remembering these three key salves (something that soothes or relieves), your relationship will be pointed in the right direction, morning and night.

An Apology.

I’m not always amazing at apologizing right away, but I’ve definitely gotten better! I attribute this to practicing humbleness. Each night I take a few minutes to reflect on anything I’ve done that could have hurt Dan’s feelings (that’s right, men DO have them).

 Gosh, I really spoke to Dan like a child when I was frustrated earlier. I need him to know I’m sorry; I was having a moment.

 Usually these mistakes are really easy to catch because his facial expression will send a little prick to my heart. Or my own conscience will send me a red flag.

Wow, Sam. Way to be mean. My conscience doesn’t use a lot of words.

 An apology not only let’s your significant other know that you care about how they are treated, but it also alerts your brain that a particular behavior was disadvantageous for you. Do it.

An Encouragement.

 How often do you go through life feeling unappreciated? I think most people would agree that we are becoming a more and more thankless society. I get excited just when the Chick Fila people tell me it was their pleasure to help me. Or if a parent thanks me for something I did for their children (did I mention I’m a part-time preschool teacher?). Let me add that the excitement is from heartfelt words, not disingenuous ones.

Well guess what, our relationships NEED more encouragement, too. DAILY. Sometimes it’s a simple as a thank you.

Babe, thank you so much for getting the car warmed up for us. I’m cozy and you rock.

If this is difficult, practice! Add it to those few minutes you take before bed for apology checking. By doing this you are actually training your brain to look for these things daily! If you’re man fails to do this for you, take a deep breath and remember that you are a powerful woman and your actions have an effect. Give it some time and remember that GIVING encouragement brings positivity not just to him but to you as well!

A Prayer.

 Heaven help us! When I first met Dan, he was agnostic (he thought there might be something out there but he didn’t know what it was). This may sound ludacris to you (it does now to me, too) but I actually almost felt ashamed for praying for our relationship. Like God somehow would refuse to listen to me because Dan wasn’t a Christian. FALSE! Pray, pray, pray and pray some more. Goodness, pray until you are blue in the face. The Lord LOVES hearing your desire for Him to take up more space in your life. And when He moves, LOOK OUT! He moves big.

Hint: Although, I don’t believe there’s only one way to pray, I do think it’s important to pray for our own hearts and not JUST the hearts of our men. I constantly prayed for more patience, kindness, and softness in my heart and in my words.

If you make it through the whole day without a prayer (you already guessed it) PRACTICE! Add it to that before bed meditation. That’s what, 6 minutes a day? You can do it. I know you can. And your relationship will thank you later.

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