Falling in love with Love Inspired

While we are talking about what is up and coming in our reading world I want to give a shout out to the Love Inspired lines — Love Inspired (Contemporary romance), Love Inspired Historical and…my all time favourite…Love Inspired Suspense. I read a selection of these lines every month. This image is of my most recent purchases — order came in yesterday.

 

proYou’ll notice two suspense novels by Jessica Patch in the mix. That’s because I just ‘discovered’ her a few weeks ago and loved her writing style so much that I had to check out her backlist as well as her most recent release. Jessica delivers a Dee Henderson style of romantic suspense in her shorter word count stories. I don’t know how she does it…her writing is…so smooth. Which seems like an inadequate descriptor. I guess what I mean is her writing flows so fluidly that the story unfolds at an unhurried pace even though it’s full of gripping suspense scenes. And I love the way the romance gets as much ‘air time’ as the intrigue.

 

And look here — our friend Shannon Vannatter has another new release. It’swinn getting hard to keep up with her Cowboy stories but I sure enjoy trying. This author knows how pummel my emotions while making me laugh and groan and fume and swoon. All with a captivating cowboy hero to ride roughshod over my heart. What’s not to love?

 

You’ll find a lot of familiar authors in the Love Inspired lines too. Authors who publish with other Christian publishers as well. Like Lisa Carter, Irene Hannon, Lisa Harris, Ruth Logan Herne…even Dee Henderson wrote for the line.

So, how about you? Do you read any of the Love Inspired series? Have any favourite authors you just can’t miss?

Spring Reads 2017

Spring is fighting its way across the country, making my daffodil leaves pop up through the temporary snowfalls and sending me into a frenzy of searching for fresh, new reads. Here are a few new ones I am excited about starting.

Count Me In by Mikal DawnCount Me In (Emerald City Romance #1) by Mikal Dawn – releasing in May.

Allegra Spencer has been living a careful life. Her safe job as an accountant is book-ended by going to church and the gym. Okay, sometimes the gym.

Fine. She goes to church. And the coffee shop.

She avoids risk at all cost, preferring to stay safe in her cozy condo. Until her accounting firm goes belly up and she’s suddenly out of a job.

Tyler Hawk had a glorious career as a star NFL Tight End. He retired on a high note and is now living a second dream of owning his own business leading others on extreme outdoor adventures. But he needs help with his books–and his heart.

When Allegra takes the job, sparks–and water–fly. Will Allegra be able to show Tyler he’s worth so much more than his star-status while being open to the most thrilling adventure of all…love?

Mikal is a local author friend of mine, and she has such an amazing sense of humor that I cannot wait to read this gem!! And it has lots of COFFEE in it!!!

Ashen City (Black Tiger #2) by Sara Baysinger –coming in AprilAshen City by Sara Baysinger

Make your choice, Ember Carter. And make it count.

Ember Carter has escaped the flames of death. But will she ever be free from Chief Titus? When the orchard goes up in smoke and her family turns up missing, Ember returns to Frankfort hoping to find her brother and father, and to get Titus to drop the death wish he has against her.

But Titus is always one step ahead. When Ember faces him head-on, she’s captured, only to receive another death sentence. But on her way to her execution, plans go a little askew, and Ember finds herself traveling to the one place no one dares travel: Louisville. If the outskirts of Ky were a ghost town, the ashen city is the borderline of hell itself, but it’s the one place Ember can find refuge from the people who want her dead.

In the ashen city, Ember must learn that being a hero is more than doing what is right because she can, but doing it for the good of the people. And when plans take a turn for the worst, she must decide if it’s worth risking her life to save her country.

Preorder it here

Last year I read Baysinger’s first book, Black Tiger, and am so thrilled to finally get the chance at reading what happens next. This is a series about a post-apocalyptic world where God and the Bible have been eradicated from the history books and minds of the controlled populace. However, the main character, Ember, continues to feel a tug that leads her toward her Creator. Really well done with many twists along the way. I’m confident Sara will deliver with this second book.

Support Your Local Author

Have you been enjoying all of these Inkspirational suggestions for great books to read? I know my To Be Read pile is growing daily!!!

We interrupt this series of very helpful blog entries for a brief advertisement. These days, it is easier than ever to help your favorite author so that she can continue to write those wonderful books you love.

Write a review!!! There are lot of ways to do this, but since the overwhelming majority of my reading is now done on my Kindle, my favorite way is to continue past THE END and write a review before I close the book.

Amazon Review for blog

You don’t have to pretend to like the book and give it a five star review, although you should always be kind. Give it three stars, and just say, I learned a lot. (About how not to write a book?) But, if you do love it, give the future readers some great reasons why.

One tip- No Spoilers. Don’t tell how it ends, or even very much about the specifics. Just say, plenty of action, plot twists, had me on the edge of my seat,  – – you get the idea.

This week, I even got a chance to answer a question generated by my review. The reader wanted to know if this book was a “Christian” book, or was it just about faith in general. Woo-hoo! I said,”Yes, it is a Christian book, but the theology doesn’t overwhelm you.” I loved helping the author get her message out!

So, read, read, read, and then review. Your favorite local author will love you for it.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog. Enjoy the wonderful Inkspers!

Spring reading list

Is there anything more delightful than getting a big box of books delivered to your doorstep?

Well, there are a few things, but since we’re all ardent readers and writers here, book deliveries rank pretty high on the list. I know fellow InskperKav lives for the days when the postman delivers multiple packages of books, and I can’t say I blame her. Say what you will about the convenience of e-readers, but there’s just something so satisfying about getting a physical book in the mail, versus an e-book delivered to your Kindle or Nook.

I am expecting a large delivery of books this week, thanks to the wonder of Amazon Prime and a gift card that had been burning a hole in my pocket. I was able to order eight books all for myself, all for the low, low price of $6 out of pocket (thank you, Christmas gift cards!). Since spring is just around the corner, I thought I’d share some of the books on my spring reading list, and books that I can hopefully recommend in just a few months. Enjoy!

A Note Yet UnsungA Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly-formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor–determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music–bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.
 
Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse–and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head–he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music–his father, who is dying. As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream?

You can’t go wrong with anything by Tamera Alexander, whose stories are immersive, her research impeccable, and her writing sweeping. And since this story revolves around music and an orchestra? I can’t pass this one up! (Side note- isn’t that cover gorgeous? I’d pick this book up for the cover alone!)

DelugeDeluge by Lisa T. Bergren

It’s one thing to battle for life… WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN DEATH ITSELF COMES HUNTING? The Bettarinis and Forellis have found rich fulfillment, together in medieval Italia. But after fighting off countless enemies, they now must face the worst foe of all. As the Black Death closes in upon them, threatening everything and everyone they hold dear, Lia and Gabi–and the knights they love–must dig deep within to decide how they might remain safe…and if they need to risk it all in order to truly live as they’re called. DELUGE, the finale in the best-selling, award-winning River of Time Series: #1 WATERFALL #2 CASCADE #3 TORRENT #4 BOURNE & TRIBUTARY #5 DELUGE.

Yes, I know it’s weird to recommend Book Five in a series, but man, oh, man are these books addictive! The River of Time follows two sisters, Gabi and Lia, who fall back in time to the middle ages, fall in love with knights, and must decide whether to stay out of their own time. These YA books are fast-paced adventures, and I can’t wait to read what happens in the final book!

FirstbornFirstborn by Tosca Lee

Face-to-face with her past, Audra Ellison now knows the secret she gave up everything—including her memory—to protect. A secret made vulnerable by her rediscovery, and so powerful neither the Historian nor the traitor Prince Nikola will ever let her live to keep it.

With Luka in the Historian’s custody and the clock ticking down on his life, Audra only has one impossible chance: find and kill the Historian and end the centuries old war between the Progeny and Scions at last—all while running from the law and struggling to control her growing powers. Love, action, and stunning revelation reign in this thrilling conclusion to The Progeny.

The Progeny was another fast-paced thriller I couldn’t put down. Full of twists and turns and unforgettable characters, it tells the story of Audra, a girl with no memory of her past, who is being hunted by unknown forces as she scrambles to figure out why they want her dead. It ended on a cliffhanger, and Firstborn, out May 2, will conclude Audra’s story.

Caramel CrushCaramel Crush by Jenn McKinlay (A Cupcake Bakery Mystery)

Love is in the air at Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Angie prepares for her wedding, but co-owner, Mel, is preparing for a breakup. Her old friend, Diane Earnest, is dumping her fiancé after discovering he’s only marrying her for her money. She wants Mel to personally deliver a batch of caramel breakup cupcakes to the louse and give her a play-by-play of his reaction.
 
When Mel finally tracks the man down, the look on his face isn’t the reaction she was expecting: he’s dead. After the police arrive and see the incriminating cupcakes, Diane becomes their prime suspect. If she hopes to taste freedom again, Mel and Angie must make sure the real killer gets their just desserts…

Book 9 in the Cupcake Bakery Mysteries, these books are a lot of fun, with great characters, witty dialogue, intriguing mysteries, and cupcakes! This book comes out April 4.

So, what’s on your spring reading list?

Happy 75th Little Golden Books

I wrote a blog post in 2011 about Little Golden books, but when I saw that they were celebrating their 75th birthday, I thought it was time to do a little revisiting of these wonderful books.

Most of us probably had at least a few of these treasures on our book shelves since well over two billion copies of Little Golden Books have sold in the last 75 years. Before Little Golden Books, most children’s books tended to be expensive. They were also usually large volumes and didn’t fit well the hands of children.

Leonard Marcus wrote The Golden Legacy: The Story of the Golden Books.  He says the printers, publishers, writers and artists who brought Golden Books to the market had a lofty goal — they wanted to “democratize children’s books,” making them both affordable and accessible. To that end, they were sold in department stores, train stations, drugstores and supermarkets.

Monster Grover“Kids would come with their parents,” Marcus says. “And they’d be sitting in the shopping cart and they’d reach out to the rack and grab a book. And the mother, the father, would look at it and see that it was only 25 cents and they’d put it in the cart. And that would happen over and over again.”

So, let’s take a little golden quiz to see how much you know about your first book friends. (Be careful. The books pictures may or may not be the correct answer.)

1. In what year did Little Golden Books first hit the shelves?

a.) 1936

b.) 1942

c.) 1950

2. Who published Little Golden Books?

a.) Simon & Schuster

b.) Scholastic

c.) Penquin

3 bears3. Which of the following books were one of the original twelve titles released?

a.) The Poky Little Puppy

b.) Old Mc Donald’s Farm

c.) The Three Bears

4. How much did Little Golden Books originally cost?

a.) 25 cents

b.) 50 cents

c.) $1.00

Goodbye Tonsils5. Which Little Golden Book came with a bandage glued to the right side of the title page?

a.) Goodbye Tonsils

b.) Nurse Betty Gives a Shot

c.) Dr. Dan, The Bandage Man

6. In the 1950’s, many top-selling Little Golden Books centered around what topic?

a.) The space program

b.) Popular television shows

c.) Disney characters

baby animals7. In what year was a permanent exhibit created for Little Golden Books at the Smithsonian?

a.) 1982

d.) 1992

e.) 2002

8. Which Little Golden book has become controversial and is also one of the most valuable to collectors?

a.) Little Mommy

b.) My Little Golden Book About God

c.) Little Black Sambo

9. How can you tell if your Little Golden Book is a valuable first edition?

a.) A letter “A” at the end of the string of letters on the books first two pages

b.) A Roman numeral on the title page shows the printing date

c.) The letter “R” appears on the back of cover

10. A lot of 510 vintage Little Golden Books recently sold on eBay for how much?

a.) $250

b.) $475

c.) $900

Bonus Question: What Little Golden Book is the top-selling children’s book of all time?

Answers:

1. Little Golden Books were first sold in 1942 (b) in department stores.

2. Simon & Schuster (a) , along with Western Printing, published the titles. In just five short months, they’d sold 1.5 million copies.

3. One of the original 12 titles was The Poky Little Puppy (a). Today nearly 15 million copies of the book have been sold.

4. Little Golden Books originally cost just 25 cents (a). This was a great bargain for families as most children’s books were $2 to $3 at the time. Today, a little Golden Book costs $2.99.

5. Dr. Dan, The Bandage Man (c) came with six Johnson & Johnson Band-aids glued on the title page. It’s first printing was 1.75 million—the largest first printing of any Little Golden Book up to 1951.

6. In the mid-1950’s, Little Golden Books centered around children’s television shows (b) like “The Roy Rogers Show”, “Howdy Doody”, “The Lone Rangers”, and “Captain Kangaroo”.

7. Little Golden Books received a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1992 (b). It was the year of their “golden” anniversary—50 years!

Sambo8. The most controversial Little Golden Books was Little Black Sambo. (c) I had a copy of it as a child and it was one of my favorites.  However, the word “sambo” is considered a racial slur in some countries and the book has been one of the most controversial books in existence. In 2004, Little Golden Books released a new version titled The Boy and the Tigers. The boy in it is called Little Ranjani. Today, a first edition regularly brings values of $150 or more.

9. You can often tell if your Little Golden Book is a first edition by checking the first two pages for a series of letters. If that series ends in “A”, it’s a first edition, a “B” it’s a second, and so on. In 1991, they began using Roman numerals. (a)

10. The lot of 510 vintage Little Golden Books sold for $900. (c) Today, most vintage copies sell for $15 or less, so collecting them is still affordable.

Bonus: It’s The Poky Little Puppy, selling over 15 million copies.

Through my collection of Little Golden Books, I went camping with Tommy, learned to train puppies, read bedtime stories, and learned to mutter, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can” when faced with difficult times.

HeidiStill, my all time favorite Little Golden Book was Heidi. I absolutely loved the illustrations of the mountains, of Heidi and her grandfather, and of the floral wreaths Heidi made to drape around the necks of the goats. I read the book over and over.

But what made these books so popular? First of all was the cost. Mom’s could pop for them at the grocery or department store and bring home a surprise. Second, the bright colorful pictures drew you in every time. Many people say they remember the pictures better than the stories.

Third, you could collect them. Let’s face it. We all love a collection, especially when we’re kids. Fourth, they were short. Moms would take the time to read them to their children and when kids began reading themselves, they could easily master them. Last and most important, they told timeless stories, and story is the most powerful tool in the world.

So, which Little Golden Books do you recall? Which little golden treasures lined your shelves? How’d you do on the quiz? Curious minds want to know, and I’m very curious.

Change is Constant

We are in the process of down-sizing. Hubby wants to retire to move on to his next thing, whatever that is. My first book is coming out in APRIL. Oldest daughter is happy and healthy in NYC. Youngest daughter is about to graduate from college.

All these things indicate change. Change of life, change of situation, change of circumstance.

Another thing happened in the past week that has me dwelling a little more on the past.

My last great-aunMs.-Dorothy-botht, Dorothy, passed away at the age of 96 and a half. She was widowed in 1976, so she was a widow longer than she was a wife. Her life wasn’t perfect, but when you put it all together, she was amazing. Spending time with her always brought stories that you’d never heard before.

My favorite is a story of her oldest sister, Thelma. Neither I nor my mother had ever heard it until my great-uncle passed away and the family gathered at her home.

The entire family was at church where revival services were being held that week. My great-grandfather was the song leader, and Aunt Thelma was the pianist.

The service came to the end, and the invitation was given. Granddaddy Phillips was perplexed. Where was Aunt Thelma?

She had sneaked out of the church to run away with Uncle Henry to get married! Aunt Dorothy was VERY upset at the entire thing — It had utterly spoiled her fifth birthday!

If you don’t know your family stories, ask someone. Some of those stories might never get told if YOU don’t know them and pass them on! There are stories of using bread sacks for snow boots, of identical pairs of shoes (of different sizes) mixed up by a pair of brothers, of mismatched earrings, and so much more.

Life is a rich tapestry of stories. As your life changes, hang on to the constants and take comfort and enjoy the stories of change in your past. Share them!

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When Canada hands you record snows…

What’s a Canuk to do but make the best of a snowy situation? We’ve had record snowfalls this year. Seriously it snowed and snowed and snowed and…Well, there’ a lot of snow lying around up here. We can either ignore it or use it for the greater good.  Me? I’ve pretty much got the ignore thing down pat as long as I have a good book in hand. But the more hardy souls are getting out there and having fun in the snow.

winter1

Like making a snowman. This is Chubby from Halifax. I wonder how long it took to make him?

winter2

Lot’s of Canadians enjoy skating on the longest skating rink in the world in the nation’s capitol.

winter3

And why wait for summer when you can hold ice dragon boat races in winter?

winter4

And then there’s always snow sculptures. We go for them in a big way in winter festivals all over the country.

winter5

When the snow threatens to take over your yard, why not build a really big fort? That’s what an Ottawa dad did, though the city made me tear it down because they felt it was a safety risk for children in the neighbourhood.

winter6

No worries about making a maze for your dog though. With all the snow they’ve been getting in New Brunswick this owner dug out a maze in his backyard so his pooch could still get his daily exercise.

winter7

Ice sculptures are pretty popular too. Naturally, hockey is frequently portrayed. Canadians are hockey crazy. Kids play it on the street and in neighbourhood rinks. When I was a kid I used to lament the lack of figuring skating time.

winter8

But the best part of a Canadian winter are Beavertails! They sell them year round but it’s become a tradition to have them sold at winter festivals. Fried dough topped with your choice of decadent extras. My favourite is cinnamon and sugar like this one here. Served piping heart — the perfect way to keep your fingers warm…as long as it lasts!

How about you — any popular winter activities happening in your neck of the woods?

 

 

 

Run Away with the Circus

Most of the time when I see a Facebook ad I get a little annoyed. Yes, they use my browsing history to bring up articles and items for sale that should interest me. But, I’m a writer. I look up many things I’m not particularly interested in, except to learn or write about them. However, a few weeks ago I saw an ad for Owlcrate – Magical – Monthly – Reads.

I had to click on it.

Owlcrate is a subscription service that mails out packages of themed items around the chosen book of the month, always young adult and magical. And, can you believe it, a NEW AUTHOR!! How exciting!

What you get in your subscription depends on what the theme is. Today I received my first Owlcrate and I was so excited to open it. I wasn’t disappointed.

Owlcrate GoodiesInside I found the theme: Run Away with the Circus. Enclosed is a tote bag, inspired by The Night Circus and created by Evie Bookish. Also included is a Le Cirque Des Reves candle. It’s a book lover’s soy candle from Frostbeard Studio. The scent is a blend of caramel popcorn, roasted chestnuts, and bonfire. I wish you could smell just how delicious this candle is! Mmmm!

Next is a yummy mini doughnut lip balm, inspired by classic traveling carnivals. It’s from Geek Fire Labs, an etsy shop. Pucker up!!

There is also a small notepad made from recycled casino playing cards hand created by Attic Journals. Attic Journals is a company owned by husband and wife Michelle Sanders and Miguel Salinas.

I’m loving the page flags from Girl of All Work. You have got to go to their site and see what all this Girl of All Work does! It’s really fun.

Lastly, there’s the book of the month: Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Along with the book you get a2017-02-18 17.04.03 bookplate signed by the author, exclusive quote card, and a sneak peak at Garber’s audio book. All of this is for $29.99 + shipping and handling.

Book description: This is a story about two sisters, Scarlett and Tella, who run away from their controlling father, and join in the game of Caraval. Scarlett has dreamed of attending Caraval her entire life, but things go awry almost immediately, as Tella is kidnapped and becomes a part of the game itself. Now Scarlett is in a race against time to find the clues, navigate the game and rescue her sister before it’s too late.

This is Stephanie Garber’s debut novel! I’m so excited to read this book. The best part is that this package will be going to someone needy at the holidays to lift their spirits. That is, after I read Caraval. (I promise not to dog-ear it!)

I can’t wait to see what March’s Owlcrate brings!!

**Please note I added the links behind the names for these fabulous goodies Owlcrate added. Feel free to click on them and see what other fabulous items they have for sale.

Winter or Spring- Straddling the Line

It’s that time of year.Early spring, or six more weeks of winter? Here in the upper South, we can go either way.

The one and only snow day in Central Arkansas so far fell on the day last month when hubby and I were scheduled to leave for a Caribbean cruise! Around here, just a little bit of snow can shut down roads and cause havoc. Since we live around 20 miles from the airport, we spent a little extra money to stay in a hotel just a hop and a skip across the freeway from the runway. This gamble paid off for sure, as we were able to sleep confidently. Roads leading to the airport are among the first to be cleared. The next morning, there was just a dusting of white stuff, and no ice underneath, so we navigated the overpass, left our car in the cold, and headed for warmer climates.

When we connected in Atlanta, the terminals were buzzing with talk of an ice storm. Ours was one of the last planes to leave for Florida before the weather shut things down in Georgia’s busiest city.

Even in Florida, and on the ship, the weather was unseasonable. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s and strong winds made for choppy seas, and even a change in our schedule. But we did have a sunny day on the beach, and another warm one on a fishing excursion.

Back at home, there has been no more below freezing weather. Just a weekly roller coaster of winter, back to spring, and even summer. The plants are confused. Flowers and shrubs are blooming earlier than normal, and we go from shorts and flip-flops to scarves and boots with little notice.

I’m not complaining. It certainly keeps life interesting. But, I am just hoping that the beautiful blooms won’t be bitten by that last icy blast that always seems to arrive just before Easter Sunday.

God has a plan.He just keeps the weather men guessing in the Natural State!!!

25 Ways to Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day

I’ve got a secret to share. Are you ready? We romance writers like romance.

Are you shocked? Probably not, but this time of year we are joined by the masses as Valentine’s Day nears.

However, for some of you, the very idea of forced romantic creativity is terrifying. You don’t want to disappoint your spouse or your family, but how do you say “I love you” in some special way?

I’m here to help. Below you will find 25 Ways to Say “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day to your spouse and your family. Please, feel free to add your own ideas in the comments. The more things to love, the better!

  1. Order food from a take-out restaurant or get a heart-shaped pizza and share it with all of your Valentines on the living room floor with an indoor picnic.
  2. Show up at your spouses office and take him out to lunch. Wear something “special” under you clothes and hint that he can see it when he gets home, and you’ll be waiting. I’m sure he won’t be late today!
  3. Put heart candies everywhere for your spouse and children to find–their pockets, their lunches, their shoes, etc. It will be fun for them to keep discovering your love all day.
  4. Take your honey on a scavenger hunt with the last clue leading to your final Valentine’s Day activities.
  5. Remember where you had your first date? Recreate the it. Go to the same restaurant or watch the same movie.
  6. Put fun notes around the house for your hubby like “Hey, handsome” on a mirror or “You drive me crazy” on his car’s steering wheel.
  7. Start our the day with an  “Why I love you” note. Give him more throughout the day. Deliver each with a kiss.
  8. Dip your own chocolate covered strawberries and enjoy them with sparkling grape juice in goblets. Don’t forget the candle light.
  9. Get foil wrapped hearts in enough colors for each of your children to have their own color. Leave a trail of the foil wrapped hearts to a special Valentine’s Day present like a stuffed animal or game.
  10. Buy Mylar balloons at the dollar store and put one in each person’s room during the night. The first thing they’ll see in the morning is that you love them.
  11. Text your spouse sweet messages throughout the day. You can text sweet messages to your children, too.
  12. Each of you take a $10 bill and go to Wal-mart, Target, or a dollar store. Divide up at the door, and after 30 minutes, see what fun, creative Valentine’s gifts for the other.
  13. Surprise your kids by picking them up after school and taking them out for an ice cream treat.
  14. Gather up a lot of blankets and build a family fort. Use flashlights, not candles, to create some ambiance and gigle while your picnic inside, read books, or eat popcorn No kids? No problem. All men love forts.
  15. Have a game night with your spouse, but adjust the rules a little. For example, Trivial Pursuit takes on a whole new meaning when you have to remove something every time your spouse gets an answer right.
  16. Fill your spouses car (or your teenager’s car) with red and pink balloons.
  17. Put a collection of red items in  your family member’s lunches. Red jello, strawberry applesauce, pasta in red sauce, and  fresh tomatoes will do the trick. Don’t forget a yummy red dessert like red velvet cookie.
  18. Fill a jar with nuts and give it to your Valentine with a note that says, “I’m just nuts about you.”bacon roses
  19. Make him a bouquet of bacon roses. You can find out how on the internet. It’s pretty simple and they are very cute.
  20. Buy matching aprons and cook dinner together.
  21. Get out the homemade ice cream maker and celebrate with the family. Provide Valentine’s Day themed toppings like strawberries, heart sprinkles, etc. Don’t forget a can of whipped cream.
  22. Snow on the ground where you live? Fill a spray bottle with water and tint it red with food coloring. Spray the words “I love you” in the snow. Too much work? Just make a big heart.
  23. Get active. Go for a walk, holding hands. Build a snowman. Bike ride. Hike to a special spot.
  24. Check out your city’s guide for special events and attend one with your spouse and/or family. For example, our local garden has a Lego display going on.
  25. Bake a cake, cookies, or cupcakes that fit the day’s theme and deliver them to him at work. Don’t have time to bake? How about bringing him a heart-shaped doughnut? You can make a special delivery to your children’s school or their teacher’s, too.

Okay, that ought to get your creative juices flowing. Are there any of these you’d like to try? Do you have any ideas to share? We’d LOVE to hear them.