Ten Lovely Things I Tell My Girls About Beauty

Ten Lovely Things I Tell My Girls About Beauty

I’m surprised that I couldn’t find anything on beauty.

That was her comment to me when we drove into town the other day.

My daughter, Vienna, kept her eyes on the road while she was driving, as I sat in the passenger seat looking out at the fresh snowfall that covered the countryside.

I wasn’t sure exactly where it was that she couldn’t find “beauty”, so I asked her to explain.

Well, I couldn’t find an article addressing beauty on your blog and it just surprised me, that’s all. You’ve talked with us about it ever since we were little girls . . . .

And she was right.

I am rather passionate about the topic of beauty. And I’ve often discussed it with the girls.

What beauty is. And what it is not.

Now just to clarify, the beauty Vienna was referring to was primarily physical beauty and the role it plays in a young woman’s life.

And we talked about it because I wanted our daughters to be aware of beauty . . . to feel beautiful . . . but not to get lost in the chase. Searching for some elusive, deceptive image out there. Seeking a kind of “pretty” that doesn’t exist outside of photoshop or plastic surgery.

Such an empty waste of time, energy, and gifts.

A potential trap, really, for all of us girls.

So I wanted – still want – our daughters to be free from such things. I hope that they will be happy with the way God made them and be content with their appearance.

And to know what it is to be truly beautiful—just the way you are.

(Below: our 4 daughters and my beautiful mother-in-law)

Savoury 2015

Vienna Jacobson in 2015

Our Girls with Avonlea

Pat Jacobson

10 Lovely Things I Tell My Daughters About Beauty

1.  Beauty can be seen in a genuine smile.

If there’s one real “beauty secret”, it’s a bright smile. Lights up your entire face and makes everyone near you feel special.  Maybe they can’t quite put their finger on it, but they’ll remember you as beautiful.

2.  Beauty is far more about loveliness than it is sexiness.

I suppose sexy has always been “in” – but now more than ever. It’s flaunted literally everywhere: posted all over the internet, splattered across magazines, and exposed in movies. But I suggest you save “sexy” for your husband and enjoy being simply lovely for everyone else.

3.  Beauty is cultivated with only a bit of care.

Look after yourself. Dress in clothes and colors that compliment you. Eat well. Get fit. Invest a little in your appearance – just don’t let it overly dominate your thoughts or budget.

4.  Beauty doesn’t draw attention to herself.

Your goal shouldn’t be to catch the eye of everyone else when you walk into a room. A sweet spirit and a warm heart have a longer-lasting impact – much more than high-fashion or pouty lips – on the people around you.

5.  Beauty is bringing out the best of you.

Maximize your favorite features—those qualities that are distinctive to you. The color of your eyes. The wave in your hair. These are your true “beauty spots”, so make the most of them!

6.  Beauty is not a standard set by celebrities or movie-stars.

The fame and good-looks of celebrities come and go, but God-given beauty is unchanging. Don’t look to Hollywood for your defintion of beautiful. Beauty existed long before the invention of cameras or film.

7.  Beauty is less body-conscious and more soul-aware.

The culture’s emphasis on the “perfect” body is incredibly deceptive. A beautiful woman is so much more than her outward curves. So much more. 

8.  Beauty based on youth fades, but true beauty stays until the end of your days.

Youth is fleeting, so don’t bank on being “forever young”. Take a long-term view of how you want to live and how you want to be remembered—aim for a beautiful life.

9.  Beauty embraces her imperfections.

Slim. Curvy. Crooked smile. Freckles. Big nose. Small nose. Short. Tall. We are all so keenly aware of what we consider to be our “imperfections.” But self-confidence is ten times more attractive than self-consciousness, so let go of those silly little things. They mean way less than you might think they do.

10. Beauty is about making the most of the very unique you.

And so that’s why there’s no need to compare yourself to others or try to look like everyone else. You are lovely because you are a gift from God.

So smile, my dear, because you are truly beautiful!

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you. ~ Song of Solomon 4:7

In His grace,

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{See also: I Peter 3:3-4; Proverbs 31:30; I Samuel 16:7}

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*Photo credits: Photos of Savoury and Vienna by Allison Harp Photography and the last two by Brenda Jacobson.

Lisa Jacobson on IG

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Proverbs 31:25,26

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15 Surprisingly Romantic Gift Ideas for The Man You Love

15 Romantic Gift Ideas for the Man

We are hopeless romantics. He and I. 

And, yes, we realize that this doesn’t really fit with the times we live in. Everything comes at you so fast and so much is quick and disposable.

No time for slow. Thoughtful. Hopeful. ‘Til death do you part.

But for some reason we still hang onto our old-fashioned romance.

We still hold hands.

We still kiss on the lips.

We still give little love-gifts and whisper words of kindness.

And while we recognize that this is only small stuff, we consider such things as a kind of glue that connects our two hearts.

So we keep it going. Even after all these years. Even though it goes against the flow of the world we live in.

It’s also why – after having 8 children and over two decades of marriage – we still celebrate Valentine’s Day like a couple of young lovers. 

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson in WinterAnd we still enjoy giving cards and small gifts to one another.

As far as I’m concerned, I think he has it somewhat easy. Chocolate. Flowers. Books. Jewelry. And that’s just off the top of my head!

But finding something “hopelessly romantic” for him? That’s another matter.

He used to tell me, “Oh, don’t bother. I don’t want anything anyway.” But that’s no fun! How can you “exchange” gifts if only one of you is giving? Exactly.

So over the years, I’ve found some neat gift ideas that he actually liked – far more than he probably thought he would. Things that he wouldn’t necessarily buy for himself, but enjoyed all the same.

Surprisingly romantic gifts.

Valentine's Present

And I’m sharing with you some of those ideas today….

*All products below are under $40 and intended as practical, helpful, or inspiring—-and surprisingly romantic. (This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Red Knife1

1. Deejo Linerlock Red 27Gram Knife

So you don’t think a knife should be considered as romantic? But didn’t you notice that it is red? And don’t forget that many men are drawn to these things. I know because I asked a group of guys in our church and received an enthusiastic “yes!” in reply.  This is that surprisingly part of romantic gifts for men. Available here.

Just the Ticket

2. Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer

Have you ever seen one of these? I thought this was such a great idea! It’s a ring-bound book where you can keep and record any special concerts, shows, trips, and sporting events. I don’t know about you, but I’m always finding various ticket stubs and receipts scattered across my husband’s desk. So here’s a creative way to gather all those memories in one place! Available here.

Bend Soap Company

3. Luxury Sweetheart Gift from Bend Soap Company

Ah yes, surprising isn’t it? Now hang in there with me on this one. It’s true: my husband is not likely to sink down into the tub on his own. BUT if I invite him to join me….and offer to scrub his back….Well, that’s another matter entirely. And soaking in a soothing tub together….?  ROMANTIC.

More details on soaps, scrubs, lotions, and gift sets available here. (And because they’re good friends of ours, they’re offering $5 off for the gift set. Just use the coupon code LOVE31. )

Mrignt Mens Casual Loose Fit Multi-Pockets Zipper Denim Vest Jacket

4. Mrignt Mens Multi-Pockets Zipper Denim Vest Jacket

You know how we women get a little swoony when we get a beautiful new sweater as a gift? Well, for some reason, a manly, multi-pocketed vest seems to have the same affect on a man. I’m not sure I can even explain it. It’s just their thing. And far more romantic than it might first appear. Available here.

Rosemary Salmon by catzinthekitchen

5. Cook Up Something Special Just for Him

So you’ve heard that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Some truth there. So cook up his favorite comfort food like maybe this Beef Stroganoff, or try something new and fabulous such as these Rosemary Salmon steaks. Put on a movie for the kids or wait until they’ve gone to bed, and then enjoy a long, romantic dinner for two.

Scratch Map World - Unique Scratch Off Map Travel Gift with Flags of the World and US States - By Landmass Goods

6. Scratch Map World

Whether your husband has traveled – or could imagine where he’d like to travel someday – this map would be fun to have on his wall. Maybe even the two of you could dream together about the places you’ve been and the places you’d like to go! Available here. 

Deluxe Hot Sauce Making Kit

7. Deluxe Hot Sauce Making Kit

So at first I thought it was just my husband, but when I mentioned the idea to my friends? Many of them said their husbands would love this too. Kit includes everything you need for making 6 sauces and you can do it at home! I’m going to resist the obvious remarks about it being *hot*….although it’s very tempting! Available here. 

Complete Shaving Kit

8. Complete Shaving Kit

My husband has a beard and mustache, but if he didn’t? I’d definitely want to get this kit for him. This is waaaayy more romantic than disposable razors (and cheaper to replace than expensive cartridges)! He might not get it for himself, but if you gave it to him….? Might be just the thing! Available here.

Matthew L Jacobson in Office

The Man I Love

Beard Pack by Grave Before Shave

9. Beard Pack

As my own man has a beard and has for many years now, I’d be inclined to go this direction. The pack includes two beard oils (by Grave Before Shave – get it?), pine tar soap (manly!), and a switchblade. It doesn’t come in a gift box, but would look nice in one of those inexpensive wood boxes you can pick up at most craft stores. This has a certain cool factor, plus it smells sooo wonderful! Available here.
100 Ways to :ove Your Wife 400Gift

10. 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

★★★★★A fantastic and practical read
This book was just great. It was a quick read but very practical. He gave you numerous examples on how to love your wife and examples of how not to. Some of the chapters were super short but since each chapter was one of the ways to love your wife it worked out. Great read! ~ Amazon review

I almost didn’t include this in our list here. But then we received so many enthusiastic “thank you’s”  recently from guys who found this book very helpful in their desire for a better marriage. It is full of short, practical and inspiring ways for a man to love his wife. And if you’re looking for “his and her” gifts, there’s the companion book for wives, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson (me!). Available here.

Leather Travel Journal

11. Classic Genuine Leather Travelers Notebook

I wondered if this journal might have lost favor in the age of digital technology, but when I asked a group of guys about it? They all gave this one a big thumbs-up! So apparently, this is a timeless gift that he’s not likely to purchase for himself, but would be secretly thrilled to own one. Available here. 

Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen, Black, Classic Design


12. Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen, Black Barrel, Classic Design

Super cool pen to go with his leather journal. Or maybe just a really amazing pen all on it’s own. It writes and looks like a very expensive pen, except that it’s surprisingly affordable. And surprisingly romantic. Available here.

Givenchy Play Intense by Givenchy

13. Casual Fragrance for Men:  Play Intense by Givenchy

My husband is not a big “cologne guy” but even he admitted that he liked this one. It has a light, classy scent – not overpowering – for the guy who just wants to smell nice. Know what I mean? Masculine. Available here.

Ciera Rose Carter Cards

Ciera Rose Carter Cards 1

14. Handcrafted Cards from Ciera Rose

Our young friend and artist, Ciera Rose, creates and watercolors these adorable cards! (I know, “adorable” isn’t a very masculine word, but you know what I mean, right?). On some years, my husband and I have skipped the gifts and simply exchanged cards with one another. And I’ve kept every one of them in a keepsake box. True treasures. Ciera Rose card collection available here.

Timex Men's Expedition Uplander Watch with Camo Nylon Band

15. Timex Men’s Expedition Uplander Watch with Camo Nylon Band

I’ll take the pearl necklace anyday, but for him….? An expedition watch is more like it. And this one communicates “adventure” and “challenge” and “conquer” all in one and at a decent price. Available here. 

So there it is….15 surprisingly romantic gifts for the man you love.

Happy Valentine’s to the both of you!

Heart Roses*My husband, Matthew, also put together this creative list of Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Your Wife! (And, no, we don’t “peek” at each other’s ideas, in case you were wondering! :)

In His grace,

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*A small reminder, or if you’re new here: If you purchase the items through the links here, I might get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – from some of  them and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that I share this as my genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here.

7 Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day as a Family

7 Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day as a Family

Confession: I have not always been a fan of Valentine’s Day.

As a mom, I objected to the commercialism, the sugar-high, and the obvious cheese-factor. Seemed something of a waste of time and energy, as far as I was concerned (guess that disqualifies me from the “Fun Mom of the Year Award”?).

But now our family – including this formerly dubious mom – looks forward to our Valentine’s celebration each year.

So what changed? You wonder.

Mostly my attitude.

And I have my husband, Matthew, to thank for that. He began conspiring with the kids to come up with some sweet ideas on how they could bless each other…and me.

Hard to refuse, right?

Not only that, but they somehow managed to avoid the sappy commercialism that I detested so much and put together a celebration that truly communicated love to one another.

And that’s something this mom can get behind. To me, that’s worth – more than worth – a little extra time and  expense. I’m all about encouraging love around here!

So in case you too have had your doubts….or have wanted to do something, but are looking for some creative ideas?

Here are 7 options for a Fun Family Valentine’s Celebration!

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)Ever Thine Home Valentine's Cards

1. Exchange Valentine’s cards as a family.

You can make your own with construction paper, scissors, and crayons or coloring pencils.

Ever Thine Home Valentine's Card

OR, if you’re a non-crafty mom like me, you can find some really sweet family cards {like the ones above at Ever Thine Home}!

Or these chocolate-scented, scratch-n-sniff Valentines (yes, I’m serious! and they’re really yummy smelling!).

College Boy's Valentine

2. Express love and appreciation for one another.

This one can be closely related to the first one. My husband encouraged each one of our children to share around the table what they loved and appreciated about each other. Some of them simply read their cards aloud, while others prepared a few thoughtful words to say. But you might want to have tissue ready – in case your son in college thanks you for the washed clothes and good food, for instance……*sniff Love notes are welcome in our home any day of the year! 


3. Bake something special together.

So maybe it’s just because I have a weakness for rice-crispie treats, but I think this is sooo adorable! And rather do-able! So if you’re going to splurge on a bit of sugar, you might want to try these Heart-Shaped Rice-Crispie Treat Pops from my friend Alison over at PintSizedTreasures. Basically, all you need is a heart-shaped cookie cutter and a rice-crispie treat recipe!


OR for another fun, yummy option? These Valentine Pretzel Buttons from Becky over at YourModernFamily. Super easy and a delicious salty-sweet! (I love recipes with only three ingredients! Square pretzels, red/pink M & M’s, and Hershey’s Kisses.)


4. Create a fun craft together.

I can’t believe this non-crafty mom just suggested that. But honestly, isn’t this a cute idea? And so simple that I think even I could do it. Mostly what you need is a heart-shaped muffin tin and crayon pieces. Directions (and free printables!) are available from my friend, Crystal, HERE.

Heart Shaped Waffles

5. Cook up a creative love-breakfast for your family.

My mom used to do this for us when we were kids and I still have fond memories! Besides, this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday and all the more reason to make a special breakfast. So why not make some heart-shaped pancakes or waffles for your family? Such a happy way to start off the day!

Whole-Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce Recipe

Or, Almond Waffles Recipe from CatzintheKitchen

Fun Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day As A Family

6. Make heart-shaped….everything.

Well, maybe not literally everything, but at least bunches of stuff. Playdough. Sandwiches (cut out the bread with cookie cutters). Construction paper. Napkins. Basically, plan on an all-out heart theme for the day. Yep. Just give your kids (if they’re old enough) a set of heart-shaped cookie-cutters and see what they come up with! You might be surprised…..

Ever Thine Home How-Do-I-Love-Thee

7. Focus on the true meaning of Love.

Don’t let the world falsely define love for your family, but direct them toward the True Author of Love. Go through I Corinthians 13 and other verses in the Bible which talk about the real meaning of love.

This year I’m hanging up these Valentines across the fireplace mantle in our living room as a daily reminder of what Love really is. Each card has a definition of an aspect of love, as well as a short story and simple questions. I’m thinking we might just keep it up all year long….? {Valentine’s garland available from Ever Thine Home}

Ever Thine Home Valentine's Garland

I Corinthians 13

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

My hope is that our family grows in their love for one another – and for their God and Savior each day.

And I hope the same for you and yours.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

*And how do you and your family enjoy celebrating Valentine’s? Please share! 

15 Romantic Gift Ideas for the Man You Love**More Ideas:  15 Surprisingly Romantic (and affordable) Gift Ideas for the Man You Love! 


In His grace,

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*A small reminder, or if you’re new here: If you purchase the items through the links here, I might get a small affiliate compensation – with no additional cost to you – from some of  them and so I thank you for that. But while I appreciate your purchase, you should also know that I share this as my genuine opinion and personal enthusiasm for these items. See my full disclosure here.

Handle-With-Care: Instructions For the Parent of A Challenging Child

Handle With Care - Instructions for The Parent of a Challenging Child
I get the shudders just thinking about it.

Even still after all these years.

How at only 8 years old, she would sit on our neighbors’ fence. Wait for their horses to come galloping by so she could make the jump. How she would ride bareback through their pasture and how the neighbors never even knew about it.

And neither did I.

Not until later when she confessed.

Oh, child of mine.  What am I supposed to do with you? 


Except she’s no longer a child anymore.

She’s all of 20 and quite grown up.

She’s a lovely, caring person. A dreamer and a writer. Talented and smart.

But how could I have known all that back then?

Back when she was a screamer. A fighter. An unpredictable phenomenon.

I kid you not.

She was a challenge. What some might call “a handful.” A high-maintenance child.

And she was mine.

She’s the one who would fall off her chair in the middle of the room. Plop! Onto the floor. For no apparent reason. She’s the one I’d say, “Focus, Savoury. Focus!” numerous times every day.

Her happy place was sitting deep in a mud puddle. I would look out in the backyard and feel that twinge of guilt. “You really should call her in,” I’d say to myself.  But I’ll confess that I didn’t want to. She was safe. And better yet, she was surprisingly content there.

And it gave me a break.

I used to ask God about her. Mostly wondering what He could possibly have been thinking to make me her mom? And ask Him why she didn’t come with set of instructions? A guidebook of some kind?

Why would He give this no-rules, all-heart, free-spirit child . . . to a structured, organized, pull-it-together mom such as me?

I loved her, of course. But at times I struggled to like her, if you know what I mean. I had to pray about that one. Plead with God to help me understand her. To accept her. To truly enjoy her.

But just so you know? I do like her now. Like her and love her. A lot.

She’s one of my very best friends. 

Something I couldn’t have known when she was sitting there happily splashing in the mud puddle. Spontaneously falling off her chair. Or freely riding bareback around the neighbors’ property.

How could I have known back then?

Avonlea at Hospital

Coming Home

This is also the same girl I called last week to say that her young special-needs sister was going into emergency surgery. Just to update her so she could pray.

But that wasn’t good enough for her.

She told me, “Mom, I’m going to get someone to cover my shift at work and I’m coming home.”

I tried to protest, “Oh, I don’t want you to jeopardize your job, Honey.”

But she ran right over the top of me (see? a wonderful quality at times). “I can always get another job. I’m coming home because you’re going to need help.”

And it turned out that she was right. We did need help and she was there for us.

She sat in the hospital room with her sister for hours. Even when we brought her home, Savoury slept on the lumpy couch that night, so she could be right there in case her sister woke up and needed something.

These are all things that you don’t realize when you’re a mom and your kid is happiest sitting in a mud puddle. And you wonder if she’s ever going to get along in the “real world” or if she will ever learn to stay in a chair.

So if you’re a parent of a challenging child, I thought I’d pass along a few things I wish someone would have told me. A simple set of instructions for you and for that child. 

Our daughter Savoury

Handle-With-Care Instructions For the Challenging Child

Accept your child for how God made him/her.

Don’t try to change your child. Sure, guide them and instruct them. Secretly scratch your head over them, but embrace their quirky, out-of-the-mold selves. Don’t express disappointment or disapproval. Instead, point out the positives and look for bright points. Believe me, there are lots of them!

Gently help your child to learn to function in the “real world.”

Gently. Your child might need some help in the social graces or relationship skills or even the simple basics of doing what needs to be done. So a loving parent will patiently teach those things – possibly stuff that comes more “naturally” to other children. Just don’t squeeze them so hard to try and make them “fit in.”

Determine to laugh more than you cry.

Quite honestly? I wasted tears over this child. Now that we have a younger son who has some similar characteristics, I mostly laugh and hug him a lot. I’m excited to see how his strong personality traits will play out as he grows older—convinced that he’s going to do something really wonderful some day!

Never give up on your child.

I recently asked our dear girl what was the hardest thing when she was a child? She said it was when I threw up my hands over her. When I said things like, “I give up” or other such expressions of despair. And it nearly broke my heart to hear it.

I was so focused on my own frustration that I didn’t realize the impact it would have on her own young life.

So if you have a challenging child? 

Make sure you communicate how thrilled you are with your child. They need to know that you believe in them and have confidence in the plans God has for them. And they need to hear it more from you than from anyone else.

Remember to handle their hearts with care. 

In His grace,

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15 Romantic Gift Ideas for the Man You Love*Ready for Valentine’s?  Here are 15 surprisingly romantic (and affordable) gift ideas for the man you love! 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle

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What Marriage Taught Me About Love, Courage, and A Little Homemade Bread

What Marriage Can Teach About Love, Courage, and Homemade Bread

You could tell it came as something of a surprise.

I mean, that I’d even consider attempting the thing at all.

Everyone knew how utterly inept I was in the kitchen. So this announcement was rather unlike me and his astonishment was understandable.

I had decided to bake bread.

Real bread. With wheat kernels, yeast, oil and salt. Starting from scratch and made with my own hands.

It’s hard to guess what got into me. Not that I didn’t love food and everything surrounding it. I was an avid subscriber to the magazines – Cook’s Illustrated, Food & Wine, Saveur – and devoured every issue. I collected cookbooks and watched Julia Child reruns after our babies were tucked in bed. I mentally rehearsed the delicious recipes, picturing each step and the scrumptious smells that would surely accompany it.

Yet it was all pretend. Make-believe. A kind of game I played.

Because the truth was – I was afraid of the kitchen.

Afraid of mistakes.

Oh, the chefs made it sound so easy. But I knew better. I was closely acquainted with the unpredictable nature of cooking and baking. Anything could go terribly wrong at anytime and you might well be mocked for it. Teased, put down, and reminded of your failed chocolate cake for years to come.

No, the kitchen was not a safe place – not if you didn’t want to get hurt.

My dear husband understood how it was for me and had tried to convince me otherwise, but I wouldn’t hear it.

Couldn’t do it.

So instead he supplied me with all sorts of beautiful cooking magazines and books, hoping to somehow satisfy the hunger he could see in the eyes of his new bride.

Never mentioning the irony of the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese box propped up against the Barefoot Contessa. Never complaining about the burnt casseroles or tasteless store-bought cakes. It was as though he loved me no matter what I did, or how things turned out. And, in the end, that’s probably what persuaded me.

Looking back, I’d say he loved me into the kitchen.

What Marriage Taught Me About Love, Courage and Homemade Bread

So there I stood, suddenly determined to bake bread. Of all things. Coming as big of a surprise to me as it was to him.

I buried my hands into the warm, freshly-ground flour and started scooping the stuff into a large, white bowl. Added the yeast, golden oil, raw honey, and sea salt.

Then began mixing and kneading.

Pushing and pulling. Raising and baking.

And voila! (got that from Julia Child)

Six gorgeous loaves of homemade bread. Complete with the toasty, tantalizing aroma I’d always imagined. Just like in the magazines.

The best was yet to come, however, the part that’s not possible to capture on those glossy pages. That moment when my husband and young children gathered to devour one slice after another of the heavenly loaves.

Not that they were perfect.

Far from it. They were a bit doughy in the middle. Could use a pinch more salt. And I should’ve let them cool longer before removing from the pans.

Mistakes, I suppose.

Although there wasn’t any mocking or scoffing here.

No. Quite the contrary.

My small family looked up at me with their adoring faces as if I’d somehow done something fabulous. Something courageous.  Certainly, something wonderful.

But all I’d done was a bit of baking.

Simply shared a little love from my kitchen.

And a slice of homemade bread.

In His grace,

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*Here’s the same recipe I’ve been using for 18 years…Bon appetit!

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

And here’s my Whole Wheat Bread Ingredient Kit for those who are interested

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle

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25 Warm-Your-Heart Winter Date Ideas

25 Warm-Your-Heart Winter Date IdeasI don’t think anyone ever really means for their love to grow cold.

And I’m not saying that ours is any chillier than when we first began.

Over twenty-three years ago.

But I will tell you that we find ourselves emerging from a very challenging season. And maybe you know what that’s like?

And I say “emerging” although that’s a rather optimistic statement considering not much has changed.

We’re still caring for Matthew’s dad who is on hospice and Matthew’s mom who is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s. And we’re still the parents of 8 children, including a daughter with special needs.

Still homeschooling.

Still writing and involved in ministry.

But we’ve found that with all these “stills” that we’ve had to do a lot more “divide and conquer” than we would like.

And it’s easy for our to-do’s to get in front of our vows of I-do.

Yet we’re determined to not let that ever happen. We’re committed to keeping our love alive and our hearts warm.

So even when everything is swirling all around us, we will slip away for a much-needed winter date. Simple, inexpensive, and fun. 

And we are always – always – glad we did.

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson Winter
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25 Warm-Your-Heart Winter Date Ideas

1. Bundle up and go for a walk.

This is probably our favorite (and cheapest) thing to do! The picture above is of him and me on a chilly Pacific Northwest day – and he offered me his coat to keep me warm. *swoon*

2. Get out the ice- skates and find a frozen lake or rink.

We live in this really cute western town where they have a tiny, old-fashioned rink – complete with twinkly lights – and you can skate for something like $5 if you have your own skates.  You can find skating rinks in many cities, so it’s worth checking out…and oh, so romantic!

Winter 7

3. Enjoy a hot coffee together.

Latte means love. Well, at least I think it does. And he knows it. So he’ll often grab me and we’ll head out to one of our favorite coffee places to sip and talk for hours.

4. Head up to the nearest slope and go sledding!

For us, that just means the hill at the end of our driveaway (terribly convenient) OR we might drive up the mountain and find a more challenging run.  Some years we’ve used “real” sleds and other years we grabbed whatever we could find in the garage. Either way, there’s a lot of screaming…all from me. :)

Winter 8

5. Roast s’mores over an open fire.

Now we happen to have a fireplace where we can do this right in our own living room if we want, but we’ve also made them outside over the fire pit. And don’t just settle for Hershey’s Chocolate Bars…Try Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, MilkyWay bars, or go gourmet with Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt!

WInter 2

6. Head up the mountain for some skiing or snowboarding.

We have a number of friends who love a day on the slopes. It’s a great way to get exercise, enjoy the winter, and enjoy time together all at the same time!

7. Order Chinese take-out or Japanese sushi.

Maybe this isn’t your thing, but we think it’s good fun to try new tastes  – and it counts as a date because we don’t have any dishes to wash either.

Winter 6

8. Get set up for a game night.

Nothing like a little friendly competition over a game of Scrabble or Boggle or Settlers of Catan! And I always end up laughing as he tries to get away with some made-up word. Guess it’s worth a try?

9. Start a snowball fight.

Seriously. A good snowball fight can do amazing things for your marriage. Especially if you win. 😉

WInter 1

10. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Might sound cheesy to you, but I think it’s wonderfully romantic. And sweet. And memorable. So do it, if you can.


11. Curl up and watch an old movie.

So when he walks into the door and smells the popcorn…and wonders why the house is so quiet (kids are not allowed)…that’s when he knows it’s movie night! Personally, we enjoy BBC period pieces like Wives & Daughters or Pride & Prejudice. But sometimes we’ll just watch an oldie like The African Queen. Occasionally, we’ll watch something more recent like Hundred Foot Journey – and now War Room is out!

WInter 3

12. Go play in the snow.

Not that you have to go dog-sledding. I just liked this picture. But you CAN build a snowman or a snow-fort, if you have enough snow!

13. Plan an indoor picnic for two.

This is more fun – and easier – than one might think! I first got the idea from a friend who sent us off on our honeymoon with a basket full of goodies to eat. We arrived at our destination on a cold, rainy night and had the best time enjoying our “picnic on the floor.” But you don’t have to be on your honeymoon to enjoy a picnic for two!

Chocolate truffles

14. Try out a Chocolate Tasting.

How could you go wrong with this one? Occasionally either he or I will pick up some various chocolates – it could be simply a variety of bars from the grocery store OR (my preference) a splurge at the local chocolate shoppe – and we’ll sample and “evaluate” each one. Mmmm!

Winter Date Ideas

15. Be brave and join a dance class.

What a wonderful way to spend a winter evening! Haven’t you always wanted to learn how to swing dance or ballroom dance or….? Yes? If you (or he) are too shy to attend a class, you could always attempt to learn at home. At the very least, it will be good for laughs!

16. Snuggle up by the fire.

Or heater, if must be. The point is that a cold winter is a good excuse for extra snuggling up. Maybe talking. Maybe not. Just being close.

Winter 5

17. Sip on hot chocolate.

Do we ever outgrow our love for hot chocolate? I don’t think so. But as a grown-up, you might want to try the more gourmet hot chocolates out there – something like Moonstruck Chocolate Mayan (with cinnamon and almond – yum!) OR  Moonstruck Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix.


18. Put on a pizza night!

But not your basic take-out pizza…Instead, why not bake one at home together! Yes, I mean that. You can follow the recipe for this Garlic Three-Cheese Pizza from catzinthekitchen and you’ll probably fall in love all over again. With the pizza, if not with each other! :)

Winter 9

19. Check out the winter rates of some of your favorite getaways.

Now hang in there with me. I know you’re probably thinking, Hey! That doesn’t sound “inexpensive.” And maybe it’s not compared to a $10 Coffee Date BUT you might be surprised to find out how much less expensive it is to the regular cost of going there. Often resorts and other similar places offer discounted off-season rates and it might be more affordable than you thought.


20. Cook up something yummy for him (or him…for her!).

Like this amazing Tiramisu Cake that Joshua Rief made for his wife for her birthday. Um, hello? Is that the most deliciously romantic thing you’ve ever heard of? Espresso. Mascarpone cheese. Cocoa. Dark chocolate. Cognac. Chocolate-covered espresso beans. Yikes. That’s all I can say.

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

21. Enjoy a quiet evening reading together.

Sometimes he will read aloud to me or at other times, we will each read our own books and share bits from them. For instance, you could both be reading your 100 Ways to Love books and pick out one way you want to love each other better! 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson (me!) or 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson (him!).

22. Soak it up in a hot bubble bath.

Our tub is large enough to fit us both (is that considered TMI?), so we enjoy sinking deep into the bubbles and talk or flirt as we feel. We both find it very relaxing, as well as a lovely way to connect. (Probably more my thing than his, but he’s become a good sport.)

Winter couple


23.  Go for a snowshoe adventure.

Many places let you rent snow shoes (or buy for a fairly reasonable price) and you can go most anywhere on them. I’ve also heard that it’s nice to go out under a moonlight night – either on your own (just be safe!) or on a guided tour. Adventure and romance!


24. Go bowling.

There. I said it. But please don’t tell my husband because I don’t actually like bowling. But if he can take a bubble bath . . . then I suppose I can go bowling.

WInter 10

25. Take off on a long, slow drive and take in the scenery.

I love this one. And because I married this guy who grew up in the sub-zero temperatures of Northern Canada, he really knows how to get around in the snow. So he drives and I sip my latte and take in the incredible beauty of winter. Breath-taking. 

Alright, there you have it! 25 wonderful ways to warm his heart and yours.

So why not make the most of this winter?

And turn the heat up.

In His grace,

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