Posts tagged Pennies for Love
Pennies for Love: The Final

Joy and I have had a blast thinking up and sharing some of the ways we share love with the ones we love the most! Pennies for Love's final post is up, and Joy has a simple way to make 2014 full of romance!

"One of my favorite things about the new year is looking forward to all the little annual rituals that we get to enjoy again. A lot of those things involve travel, but as I began to plan, I thought that it would be nice to also include smaller activities that we’d like to do together.

The fact of the matter is that we’re always busy and sometimes we waste away entire weekends, when we could be having more fun if we’d had a little forethought!"

Huge thanks to Joy for her brainchild of Pennies for Love. Joy and I will be bringing in a friend for a new February series! Stay tuned!

Check out all the other Pennies for Love posts!

xoxo, MJ


Pennies for Love: Wonder and Wander Together

It's two weeks until Christmas. Well, less than that now...and the clock is ticking! It feels that way sometimes, doesn't it? Like you have to make every last minute count in order to prepare for the parties and gift giving and travel...

Two weeks before Christmas last year for us: hustling and bustling with children activities and lots of work, with absolutely no shopping complete.


In some ways Christmas snuck up on us. I know, it's the same time every year, but we were so immersed in the daily stuff that planning for something even two weeks away seemed luxurious and frankly, impractical.

My husband and I had our social and professional calendars booked. When were we going to have time to shop for Christmas? In exhausted exasperation, we added a date for shopping after his office Christmas party. 

On the evening of the office party, we donned our holiday duds (and even smelled good!) and we whisked off together, wonderful babysitter safely watching over the den for the duration. At the cocktail reception, we mingled with couple after couple, making conversation about one another's holiday plans. "Are you ready for Christmas?" we heard over and over. 

Funny enough, whether we were caught by surprise or not, it was coming - Christmas was coming. In the din of jovial conversations, I remembered the wonder of the season. I was struck by the silly and temporal nature of my worries as I explained over and over that we were behind on our preparations. You know how sometimes hearing yourself say something makes you realize just how ridiculous you are?

That we hadn't (gasp!) shopped for Christmas.

And although I was stressed by all that I had to do, I felt a glimmer of hope that no matter what was still left in boxes or unchecked off the list, Christmas was still coming. Christ's birth would still be celebrated - and in full force at our house.

I watched my husband explain to his colleagues, in good humor, how we were going out AFTER the party to begin our Christmas shopping. He joked about our hot date at Toys R Us in the late hours of the night.

And I started to lighten up and embrace the adventure.

We left the party, laughing together. 

At 9pm, we were the best dressed shoppers at the toy store. With barely a soul around, you could hear our heels and dress shoes, as we meandered the aisles - he pushing the cart and me with my arm wrapped through his - strolling and talking about our life together, our children, and the joy of the season.

It was that moment right before you turn over the snow globe, when everything stands still just for a little while.

We slowed down the world and remembered the family we have built and the love that we share.

All the gifts were purchased. Checklists completed.

And Christmas did in fact come.

And it's heading our way again in two weeks. Take some time to wonder at the Glory of Christmas and wander with the ones that you love. You might have to take late night strolls through toy aisles to do so, but that's okay. Schedule in some tree light gazing together. Or cuddle close over cups of hot chocolate.

My husband's office Christmas party is this Saturday? Guess what we're doing after? This year it's intentional. No stressing... just looking forward to time together thinking about each other and the life we've made.




Pennies for Love: A Note for Thanksgiving

One week from today, Americans will gather in the homes of friends and relatives to enjoy each other's recipes and companionship. Our traditions may vary from home to home, but the sentiment of gratitude threads through all of the football watching, strained family moments, and even food preparation/clean up.

On this week's Pennies for Love, Joy urges us to slow down before the day and write a note. Pen a message to the one you love: your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend. And let them know just how much they mean to you every day of the year.

It begins with a simple "I am grateful for..."

Joy is sharing an example of this practice at work in her life and some simple suggestions to get you started on your note of thanks.

We will be hosting Thanksgiving in our home, as we've done for 10 of the last 11 years. Filling my home wih the ones I love most and the smells of Thanksgiving is one of my favorite experiences of the year. On the day, I love the hustle of timing our courses correctly and the bustle of entertaining children and adults with projects and stories.

But before all of this crowd pleasing occupies my time and heart, I'm going to sit down and write one simple note of thanksgiving to the man I love.

Thanks, Joy! And happy Thanksgiving.

xoxo, MJ



Pennies for Love: A Taste

My husband is a fabulous cook. He runs the gamut on his menus from grilled brats and shiskabobs to Thanksgiving turkeys and Thai chicken wraps. I always thought that I would romance someone with my culinary skills, but he has certainly turned those tables around. I'm the main cook for our weekday meals, but he takes over on the weekends and special occasions, and I find every meal he cooks an extra special treat.

Though our three busy little people don't allow for it much any more, we love to cook together, side by side prepping and preparing. I reminisce now about our months of early marriage when we'd hunt out new recipes, scour the grocery store and farmer's market, and create a new medley of flavors (most of the time tasty) together.

These days we carve out time during the holidays to join forces for bigger family meals. Cooking together has come to be one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving and Christmas. My buttermilk cornbread to his ranch deviled eggs. My cranberry stuffing to his paprika spiced turkey. And all the prep time spent planning, cutting, sauteeing is the best kind of togetherness.

The amazing Joy is sharing a fabulous recipe on Frock Files today. She and James set aside Friday nights for going out, but sometimes, it's the staying in that tops the cake. Check out her special recipe for the kind of comfort food that we're all craving with the chill in the air. Hop on over to see this week's Pennies for Love post.

Is cooking a part of your romance?

xoxo, MJ

Pennies for Love: Wooing with Technology

When the hubs and I were dating and even in our early years of marriage, smart phones and social media were not on our radar. And now we, like the rest of the world, are connected. We have the ability to check email any time of day, Instagram the latest views, and text friends who live on the other side of the planet.

All of this is wonderful. And horrible.

The ability to connect also allows the ability to tune out, to focus on things other than each other. 

Huffington Post ran a story in June about Facebook's implications for marriage. The article is part of a growing set of data that finds social media is often linked to divorce. Just last year, divorce lawyers surveyed by Divorce-Online UK said that Facebook was the third most popular reason cited for divorces in the previous year.

Does it have to be this way? We, the victims, to the massive world of communication around us? What if we used that ability to connect instantly, to connect with the people we love the most, in meaningful ways.


1. Send sweet texts during the day: We use texting to ensure that the person we want to contact gets our message right away. How about an immediate "love you always" or type a text every hour on the hour and share one thing you admire about him/her.

2. Use PDA sparingly but well: Tell the world, via Facebook or Twitter, about the man/woman who's captured your heart. Choose your shout outs with hesitation to be sure that the post is less about you and more about your love. Mark a special anniversary like the first date or first concert that lets your special someone know you are proud/excited to be a party of his/her story.

3. Share a Pinterest board: The pins can be for more than great wedding dresses and holiday recipes. Start a board together that catalogs all the places you want to travel together or intriguing books you want to read to one another... all pins based on the simple theme of spending time with one another. Dreaming together can be really powerful.

4. Read each other's photographic minds: Use Instagram to capture moments, experiences, and special meals and tag the one you love. Beauty unites us so why not make something beautiful via Instagram and send it off to let your love know you were thinking of them?

How do you use technology to create deeper connections?

xoxo, MJ

PS. If you want more ideas on how to romance for less, head on over to Joy's post that list 18 amazing ways to let someone know that you love them. And join us in two Thursdays for another something special!