12 Dates in 2012: The Intro

As with so many things in my life these days, the inspiration came from Pinterest. And when I first saw the idea of preplanning (and paying for, when applicable) 12 dates with your spouse, once a month for a year, pinned early last fall, I thought, “Now THAT is a cool idea! But I will probably never do it.”

I kept thinking about it, though, and I started formulating a plan to maybe do it as a birthday gift for Matt. Around that time, I got a message from Katie, sharing the idea with a bunch of Facebook friends, and I told her that while I was probably going to have to wait to do it (I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed), I was interested and wanted in on the idea-sharing.

Less than a week later, I got a Living Social deal emailed to me that I absolutely could not pass up, so I bought it, and decided then and there that I would do this idea for this Christmas, but that I was only giving Matt the first six months of the year. For his birthday, which, handily, is in June, I’ll give him the next six months’ worth.

Unlike most of the women doing this project, I let him look at the dates I have planned already (and honestly, I ran out of time and only got through May planned, but that’s ok). Gifts is so not his love language, but he was pretty excited about this!

Like Katie, I’m planning to document the 12 dates here on the blog, so that we can remember our 12 in ’12 and so that, if you who are reading this would like to try it, you’ll have some ideas to start with.

Because I’m trying to do this as frugally as possible, I am using daily deals like Groupon/Living Social/WeDeal as much as possible, which makes planning it in 2 installments nice because I can definitely be patient and wait for deals to come along for the second half of the year. And, I’ve got one date lined up that is free save paying a babysitter for the kids.

So stay tuned…I think it’s going to be so much fun to document this here! And come February, you’ll figure out which Living Social deal changed my mind and made me decide that now was the time to do this…


Matt also got a gift for Christmas that had been in the making since 2000.

I saw a deal online to have a t-shirt quilt made for significantly less than what I’ve seen before and decided that it was finally time to do it! I’ve been saving t-shirts of his since our first apartment (and secretly moved them from there to our first house, and then our second house, and then our third house!). These are tees that he thought were LONG gone, specifically one that he wore nonstop in college.

It’s incredibly imperfect (I now know why I got a deal), but we don’t care…it’s perfect for us! It’s the size of a throw, and the weight of it is perfect for curling up under while watching television. And Matt was so, so surprised.

if you could hear the video recording of this, you would hear me saying as he stood up to hold it for a picture, "i sincerely hope that this is the last christmas with those nasty blinds in the background."


What did Matt get me? For starters, he replaced my nearly-empty perfume bottle with one so large I’ll never run out 🙂 He also gave me the shoes I picked out for myself a few months ago.

aren't they so cute?

And, about 2 weeks before Christmas, the door knob out to the garage broke, and we needed to replace it. He asked if I might like to have all of the doorknobs replaced as my Christmas gift, and I eagerly agreed that now was a great time to do this!

I know that sounds incredibly boring to most of you out there, but if you knew how much I hated these doorknobs, you’d understand. From the moment we first walked through this house, I’d commented, “Those doorknobs have to go.” They were big and round and brassy, and several of them in the house no longer closed properly.

And I feared, because of the cost of doing it and how low on the priority list it was, that I would be 90, staring at those hideous doorknobs and commenting on how much I hated them.

Matt already got all of them installed (except the basement ones, which are on their way), so you can see a before-and-after shot, complete with my reflection in the old one.

In the spring, when it’s warmer and easier to do a big spray-painting project, the hinges will get a coat of paint to match the doorknobs (significantly more annoying than just replacing them, yes, but we’re talking about well over $100 vs. $10. We’ll paint them.).

Last thing: remember how I made the pieces for a gallery wall for our anniversary? Well, we finally put them up on the wall over Christmas break!

I forgot to take a picture while it was still daylight, but here’s the finished project along with some notes, so you aren’t scratching your head in confusion over the pieces I chose.

18 responses to “12 Dates in 2012: The Intro

  1. You’re awesome. Seriously.

  2. LOVE this! We are working on taking more time for ourselves and having “date” night more often so this would help immensely! I look forward to seeing your dates!

  3. Horray! Awesome and thoughtful gifts! 🙂

  4. What a great blog entry! I had no idea about your 12 in ’12 idea, so that was fun to hear about; I can’t wait to read about each one, esp Feb’s!! Very cool gift for a guy who’s about as fun to buy for as his dad. And the blanket–although you brought it to show over Christmas, I’d love to have seen his face when he opened it and realized what it was!

    He “done good” for you, too! Those shoes have your name written on them! And the perfume & esp the doorknobs–while not overly exciting–are gifts you’ll see every day forever. Well, maybe not the perfume, but . . . for a long time. 🙂

  5. Did you make those MO and IL state prints?? Those are seriously adorable!!

  6. Fantastic posting and I can totally see why Matt would be thrilled. Great gifts and ideas. Great shoes too by the way!

  7. You are one creative woman. Our Christmas was boring compared to yours. Kenyon returned everything I bought for him except for three Banana Republic t-shirts (b.o.r.i.n.g.). Pretty typical. He likes what he likes and he likes to shop for himself. Maybe I’ll try the date thing after our trip to China.

    • Ha! We historically have not given gifts like this, but the past year or two has been a bit different. I bought Matt 2 tees from American Eagle (we hadn’t been in there in YEARS and went last fall and discovered he loved their plain tees and jeans!) that were exactly like what he already has because I know he won’t typically like what I pick!

  8. i just love your little gallery wall 🙂

  9. I just realized (duh) that it is our 12th anniversary this year! How fun! I MUST do the 12 dates this year! We already did #1 this month but I have my list started for the rest! I’m excited!

  10. Pingback: 12 Dates in ’12: Date 1 | Here's the Diehl

  11. Pingback: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia - Perspectives Writing & Editing

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