Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

Did you forget Valentine’s Day?

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I know. It happens to the best of us sometimes. You really didn’t “forget” Valentine’s Day. You really planned on getting something amazing. And you started looking for the perfect Valentine’s Day gift a month ago. Couldn’t find anything. So you decided to wait and keep looking.

And now it’s the day before Valentine’s Day and you never found that perfect gift. So you’re kind of stuck. The great but not quite great enough gifts that you saw in the stores last month are all gone. And the rest of the gifts at your local store are all picked over, leaving you a choice between a cheesy gift and a corny one.

Believe me. I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there. While I’ve always had grand plans for Valentine’s Day, and think I’m planning ahead, I’ve found myself stuck in this exact position on a few occasions. Maybe you’re like me. You have some great ideas but you’re lacking in the execution department.

If that’s you, have no fear. I have some last-minute ideas that should help rescue your Valentine’s Day this year. You could start off with some love notes. Not sure what to say? No worries. Here are some suggestions.

I also put together a few suggestions for some sweet, simple gifts for Sweetest Day. You could easily adapt them for Valentine’s Day. And these items won’t be picked over because you won’t find them in the Valentine’s Day section of your local store.

I get it, though. That might not be enough. You want to do the chocolates and the flowers and the whole shebang. But you definitely don’t have time to hit the stores today and shopping on Valentine’s Day is out of the question. Fortunately, the answer is right at your fingertips.

Here are some last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts you can order right now.

Roses from flowersfast.com

FlowersFast.com offers flowers delivered the very next day! This is a great resource to have for many occasions, but it’s especially great when it’s the day before Valentine’s Day and you don’t have any flowers in hand.  This beautiful My Heart to Yours bouquet  includes between 7 and 14 roses, depending on the size you choose.

According to the page, “Same-day florist delivery is available for this item, for orders placed before Noon in the recipient’s timezone.” Just be sure to check out their delivery policy first.

Shari’s Berries Chocolate Dipped Be Still My Heart Valentines Strawberries via flowersfast.com

Chocolate dipped strawberries and Valentine’s Day go together like…well, they go together like strawberries and chocolate. Am I right?

Of course I am. That’s why Shari’s Berries are so popular this time of year. And there’s still time to order them today.

You can’t wait, though. Same day delivery is not available. But why would you want to wait, anyway? Go ahead and order these.

You’ll thank me later.

Footed PJs from PajamaMania.com

Baby, it’s still cold outside!

Footed PJs are a fun gift that will help keep her warm during the cold nights that are still bound to come our way.

Of course, if footed PJs aren’t her thing, they have plenty of other styles available.

You have to hurry, though. I think next-day shipment has to be ordered by 1 p.m.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I hope you have a memorable day celebrating this crazy little thing called love.

The Procrastinator's Guide to Valentine's Day

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7 last minute Valentine's Day ideas

It’s OK. It happens sometimes. You were planning on buying something for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, but you wound up putting it off. And putting it off. And putting it off. And now you’re sitting here on the brink of Valentine’s Day and you’re empty-handed. Good luck getting a dinner reservation. You’ll need a police escort to make it to your local store’s cards aisle at this point. And flowers? Forget about it. You’ll have to take out a loan to get some now. And you probably don’t have time to order them online and get them delivered by Valentine’s Day.

It happened to me once, some 20 years ago. It was Valentine’s Day evening and I was working at an ice cream shoppe at the mall. A card store was nearby. I figured I’d mosey on over to that store during my break. I could easily buy a card and some nice little token for Christy and it all would be just perfect. I thought I was planning ahead.

I was wrong.

By the time I got there, about an hour before closing, all of the cards had been bought. There wasn’t an appropriate Valentine’s Day card in the entire store! And they had already replaced all of the Valentine’s Day gifts with St. Patrick’s Day gifts! I was doomed.

Maybe you’re in a similar predicament. You’re stuck. Valentine’s Day 2016 just might be a disaster. What are you supposed to do?

Thankfully, not all hope is lost. Here are some things you can do to rescue your Valentine’s Day…

1. Breakfast in Bed

Breakfast in Bed

Grab your waffle iron, a can of cinnamon rolls, and some maple syrup. In just a few minutes, you’ll have some amazing waffles. Just follow these simple directions. It’s a great way to start off the day.

Or end the day. Why not flip the script and have breakfast in bed for dinner? This is a sweet little recipe and would a perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day. Or any other day, for that matter.

You can take this meal to another level by making some mimosas. It’s a pretty simple drink to make. Here’s how.

2. Plan a weekend away.

The gift of a getaway
Take the initiative and plan a romantic weekend getaway by pulling out all the stops. You can still give her a card and some candy, but why not keep the Valentine’s Day spirit alive by celebrating it at a later date? The hotels and bed and breakfasts won’t be as crowded. And you can save money doing it! If you purchase the BedandBreakfast.com Getaway Gift Card, they’ll throw in an additional gift card on qualifying purchases. That’s a great deal. It’s like they’re giving you money for procrastinating on Valentine’s Day.

3. Give Candy

I know. Candy is so predictable. But what if you grabbed your loved one’s favorite candy bars and created an amazing candy bouquet? That, friends, is going above and beyond. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of creative energy to make one. But it shows you’ve been paying attention. Right? How else would you know what candy to buy?

4. Speaking of candy…

If you have a little bit of time to get it done, you could always make a Valentine’s Day piñata. Check it out here.

5. Buy Tickets.

VenueKings.com

Why spend so much money on flowers and candy – things that aren’t going to last? Why not make a memory instead? Tickets make great Valentines Gifts! Save $6 Off orders $40+ at Venue Kings! Code: VKHEART16 (Exp.2/14/16) Find Tickets Now! From athletic competitions to concerts to musical theater, VenueKings.com gets you access to almost any event you can think of.

You’ll make this a Valentine’s Day to remember by surprising your special someone with tickets to a great show. It’s definitely something to consider. Right?

6. Go to a movie.

Here are some family-friendly movie night ideas for a great Valentine’s Day.
There’s plenty out there to see. Go. Share some popcorn and a drink. Maybe grab some dessert after the film. It’s a classic date. You can’t go wrong with a classic date. Buy your tickets through Fandango. and save yourself some trouble.

7. Write a love note.

write a love note

Grab some stationery. Put your thoughts on paper. Tell your significant other how you really feel.

Come on. Just do it.

Here’s the deal…

Yes, Valentine’s Day is a big deal to some people. But we can do many of these things any time. Don’t limit expressing your love on just Valentine’s Day. Let’s work on finding some creative ways to say “I love you” all year long!

Love notes. They're not as tough as you think they are.

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How Do I Love Thee

Cards and love notes. Those are a big deal. Right? Well, they might not be a big deal for you, but they’re a pretty big deal for us. It all goes back to when we started dating almost 20 years ago. And while we don’t really give as many love notes to each other as we have in the past (after all, I’m no Casanova – remember?), I’ve discovered a few cool ways to share that you care through the written word.

I think the thing that keeps many people from sharing notes with each other is the misconception that you have to write some type of long sonnet similar to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. You really don’t have to write anything long. Or even profound. Sometimes the effort is the most important thing. It could be just as simple as one of my favorite poems:

The gift of a getawayRoses are red
Violets are blue.
Some poems rhyme
Some don’t.

Try it. Write your own. It might be more fun than you think.

Of course, you don’t have to try your hand at poetry. And you don’t have to write some long piece of prose that will sweep her off her feet. Sometimes, the simplest of notes will do. You can grab them from a a book of quotes about love. Or the Internet. Or the Bible. Or a combination of the three.

What if you can’t wait and want to give it a try right now? Well, you’re in luck. Here are a few quotes that would be perfectly suitable for a little love note. You can put it in a card. Or on some fancy stationery. Or on a sticky-note (or on a bunch of sticky-notes). Or you can text it sometime in the middle of the day. Or you can write it on a mirror.

No. Really. Get a dry erase marker and write something on the mirror. It wipes right off. And then you could write another note the following day. And the day after that. And the day after that. And I think you know what I mean.

And what is a kiss when all is done? A rosy dot over the “i” of loving. – Edmund Rostand

Love conquers all things: let us, too, give in to love. – Virgil

‘Tis you alone that sweetens life… – John Hervey

Look at you! You are beautiful, my true love. Look at you! You are so beautiful. Your eyes behind your veil are like doves. – Song of Solomon 4:1 (God’s WORD Translation)

Or you could copy Ms. Barrett Browning’s well-known love poem, Sonnet 43. It would probably take up the whole mirror if you decide to go that route.

These are just a few suggestions. I’m sure you can come up with your own. So what are you waiting for? Valentine’s Day? Well, that’s a good idea. I’m sure you can come up with some pretty spectacular notes for that special day. But why limit love notes to only one day a year?

Let’s talk about flowers and Valentine’s Day

Let's talk about flowers and Valentine's Day

Purchasing flowers for Valentine’s Day has always a struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong. I think flowers are a nice gift. They can brighten up a room and can make a loved one’s day better. I get that. I agree with that. Flowers are a good thing. Especially on Valentine’s Day.

I’ve always had trouble buying flowers for Valentine’s Day. You can’t get them too early or they will wilt by the time Valentine’s Day gets there. So I’ve had a tendency to wait and try to get some flowers from a nearby Big Box Store. They’re relatively cheap. And they’ll last a couple of days. But if you wait until the night before Valentine’s Day, personal experience has told me that you’re going to find some slim pickings, at best.

Unless we’re able to visit the Big Box Store during the magic time where flowers that will last through Valentine’s Day are still in stock, I’m thinking it might be time for us to come up with a better strategy. Why not consider working a little ahead of time and doing something like this?

Make your own flowers

You remember making flowers out of tissue paper when you were in school. Right? Why not make a colorful bouquet of tissue flowers and surprise her on Valentine’s Day? You never know. She might think it’s cute and be impressed with your creativity.

I think you would only be able to pull this off once, though. Unless you decided to follow up with some balloon flowers.

Go local

You probably can’t get much more fresh than from your local florist. Plus, you’ll be helping out a neighbor. And you’ll save on delivery fees if you go in and pick them up. I’d call ahead of time, though. Don’t just assume they’ll have a huge selection for you when you show up at closing  time on Valentine’s Day. That’s no better than waiting until the last minute at the Big Box Stores.

Set it and forget it

You could order online from a retailer like KaBloom. Then you can just place the order and not worry about it anymore. This gives you more time and energy to focus on making the rest of Valentine’s Day so amazing and memorable. As an added bonus, you’ll be helping our adoption efforts because these links to KaBloom and Amazon are affiliate-type links. That means that when you buy something via the links on this post, I get a very small percentage of the purchase. And that money is going towards our adoption expenses.

So you’ll be happy. I’ll be happy. Our son will be happy. Everyone will be happy. It’s a great way to spread the love!

Do you have more ideas? Please share them!

Valentine’s Day

Heart of the Milky Way - Valentine's DayThe first Valentine’s Day Christy and I spent together was completely unplanned. It was 13 years ago and we hadn’t started dating yet. Since Matt, my roommate, and I were both dateless, we decided to go with a couple of friends to hear the African Children’s Choir at Grace Fellowship.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Christy was at the same concert with a group of her friends. “Let’s go sit by them,” Matt said to me. That was fine with me. Like I’d said before, I was all for any chance to get closer to her.

When we came to their row, Matt made me go first. Conveniently, Christy was sitting close to a bunch of empty seats. I still say Matt was trying to set us up. He insists he was just letting me go first (I think he was trying to sit closer a girl that was in our group…but I might be mistaken). Even though I was a little annoyed, I was thrilled to get to sit by her.

So that’s how Christy and I spent our first Valentine’s Day – listening to the African Children’s Choir.

See? That must mean it’s destiny for us to adopt from Ethiopia. Or maybe just one of those beautiful ironies. Irony can be a good thing sometimes, right?

Flashback Friday: Valentine’s Day

Yeah. I kinda scared her with this picture. I still wonder how I didnt scare her away.
Yeah. I kinda scared her with this picture. I still wonder how I didn’t scare her away.

It’s time to pause the movie-themed Flashback Fridays and recognize the reason everyone is wearing red, Papa John’s is selling heart-shaped pizzas,  and a dozen roses suddenly costs $25 (or more) at the big box stores. That’s right: Valentine’s Day.

But before we get to the song, I’ve gotta explain the picture first. On one of our first dates, Christy and I hiked Buffalo Mountain. While we were on the trail, I quickly put my arm around her and snapped a picture. As you can see, I kind of startled her.

Now, while working at Philmont, I picked up the habit of grabbing random, unclaimed cameras and taking pictures of myself. I snapped dozens of pictures each summer. Those poor souls who have those pictures now…

Many visitors to Philmont Scout Ranch have been blessed to have pictures similar to this one.
Many visitors to Philmont Scout Ranch have been ‘blessed’ to have pictures similar to this one.

I continued the practice once I came back to civilization at Milligan. I didn’t pick up random cameras, though. I usually made sure I knew who the person was. Sometimes, I’d grab one of my friends and I’d take a picture of the two of us. Sometimes, it was just a picture of myself.

This one was from Sarah Turbyfield’s camera. I’m sure she appreciated it.

So I got in the habit of taking pictures of myself. It just made sense to take a picture of myself with Christy. Guess I should have warned her.

I’ll probably get in trouble for posting that picture.

The song is a special one for me and Christy. If we had “our song,” this was one of them. It’s rather apropriate for Valentine’s Weekend, don’t you think?

Spoke too soon

So I spoke too soon about our Valentine’s Day evening.

Christy’s step-grandma was rushed to the hospital earlier this evening. Let’s just say that things have been less than relaxing here since then.

Now Christy’s in bed with the kids. My inlaws are up at the hospital. I’m up making sure that an 80 year-old man (Christy’s step-grandpa) makes it to bed OK.

It might be a long night.

Next Year’s Card

So – instead of re-using the card I didn’t use this year (because it’s still in Tennessee…see earlier post), I think I should take the picture from this post and use it in next year’s card.

Oh yeah.  I’m quite the romantic fool.  If this won’t make Christy weak at the knees, I don’t know what will.

Ho hum…another Valentine’s Day

Our original plan for Valentine’s Day this year was to spend 8-9 hours in the car on the way up to Indy for Caedmon’s scheduled birth tomorrow morning.

Obviously, St. Caedmon had other plans and couldn’t wait to meet his family.

So – we’re not in the car today.  We’re still stuck in Indy, though.  Most of the main roads are close to clear, but we didn’t get our car out of the snow until late this afternoon.  And the temperature’s going to drop quickly now that the sun’s going down.

So we’re snowed in with our kids this Valentine’s Day.  Nothing especially romantic happening.  Tonight’s menu is burgers with mac & cheese.  No candles, flowers, or cards – they’re all at home in Tennessee.

I’m really not complaining, though.  I’m just happy we’re together and we get to spend some extra time with family in the area.  Trust me, I’m not complaining!

I might try to sneak out and get a rose.  We’ll see…