It’s two days before Valentine’s Day, and still no card and no gift for my hubby. It’s not a lack of love (for sure) that’s been keeping me from picking up that special something. It’s a combination of a lack of ideas, and a lack of time (two kids, work, volunteering at the school, and so on), both of which are so typical of all the Moms I know. Sure, I know I could go out and splurge on something he’s been eyeing, like an iPhone/iTouch/iAnything, tickets to a concert or game, or some gadget for his car, but honestly I’m not feeling “in the money” given all the news about bail-outs, stimulus packages, and looming lay-offs (and my personal bank account dwindling after one year of start up expenses!).
So, my fellow Moms, benefit from my cheap-skateness and internet digging, and read through some of these ideas that are short on time and cost. I hope you’ll find something you can give your Special One that makes it look like you’ve been planning for this special day for weeks. And don’t forget to check out the article on Top 10 Romantic Ideas for Valentine’s Day in DFW – you might just find the right “venue” to present one of these customized gifts to your guy!
Make a personalized CD.
The classic mix cassette tape that I used to make for and get from my (few) beaus in junior high/high school days has been seriously upgraded with the dawn of downloadable mp3’s and CD burning. For those of you out there that haven’t already created a CD from iTunes or another music download site, let me be the first to tell you how much easier it is to do than to sit with your fingers on the dual cassette player hitting the record button on/off to make sure you got the song just right on your gift cassette. Gotta love digital.
Here are some ways to make it even more special:
- Be highly selective in the songs you choose. For instance, pick songs that have meant something to you over your relationship. Your first dance, something that was popular when you dated, songs whose words have special meaning to you that you relate to your relationship with him. OR – make it fun — choose only songs that were popular the year you first dated (romantic or not), or title it: “If I met you in 1988” and download songs from that year only (PopCultureMadness.com has lists by year of the most requested songs, or you can check out his favorite artists’s websites for release dates).
- Print a CD cover and jewel case insert. Think you need to buy expensive software or spend loads of time manually formatting in Word to get a document ready to print as an insert to your CD? No way. You can do this for free in iTunes (here is an article in eHow which lays this printing a CD jewel case insert step by step or, if you’re better seeing it visually, the same thing is explained on videojug.com) and there are numerous sites on the web that will give you the templates to do this for free as well.
A personal video card from Animoto.com.
A photographer friend of mine suggested this website to me – www.animoto.com – which will create a video slideshow for you for FREE (30-second video). There are only 4 steps involved:
- 1) sign up
- 2) upload your favorite photos
- 3) choose music (they have some options in their library or you could easily upload a mp3 to the site)
- 4) sit back and let Animoto do its thing
I tested it out, and it took me less than 10 “active” minutes to do all the selecting and uploading, and the site took less than 10 minutes to create the actual product. They’ve got lots of sample videos and easy step-by-step guides on the site, so even us amateurs can quickly figure out what to do. It’s a great personal gift that will tell him you were really thinking of him!
Customize his ringtones.
About 16 months ago, my husband surprised me by downloading a ringtone for my phone. At that point, I hadn’t even contemplated starting a web-site, so had no clue how this could possibly be done (DFW’s #1 Techno-phobe, that was me). But our first born son was big into Wonder Pets at the time, and the song was too cute to not be on at least one person’s cell phone. So, my hubby surprised me one day by downloading it to my phone, and now every time my phone rings, I think of him. (Pretty effective way of keeping himself top-of-mind!)
The added bonus of this is that if you are like many busy Moms I know, downloading ringtones is on the same “one day I’ll get around to it when I have a moment for myself” list as getting a facial or buying new underwear. Therefore for me, it was a wonderful and thoughtful gift. For him, ringtones are probably slightly higher on his list of what he’ll spend time on (since guys are “gadget-y” after all), but doubtful that he’s spent as much time customizing ringtones to callers as his phone actually allows him to. So, pick a ringtone for yourself, one for his mom, one for his best friend (you get the picture) and get to downloading.
Here are two great sites to check out for free ringtones:
- www.PhoneZoo.com – Right now they are showing “Cupcake” by Strawberry Shortcake as the most popular ringtone. Might be perfect for when you call him (as a laugh) or if you have a daughter who likes to call Daddy! Personally, I think my hubby would be more into “I Kicked a Squirrel (And He Liked It)”. And they have the perfect one to set for your Mother-in-Law: “Your Momma’s Calling Back”. They have wallpapers as well….browse away!
- www.mytinyphone.com – Claims to have 65,000 ringtones and wallpapers available. Of course, I had to check the one called “Warning: It’s the Wife” (my assessment: extremely annoying and only usable if your husband picks up on the first ring – or, uh, warning). But the site itself (if you can stomach the advertisements) is highly usable, allowing you to search by category to find a ringtones for you. The have great wallpapers, too, which you can download for free, like this one pictured (“My Heart Smiles”).
Create a Facebook account for him.
Facebook for me is a blessing and a curse. The blessing? Reconnecting with old friends from high school (yes, they even have high-speed internet access in Apache, Oklahoma – LOL) and seeing status updates from friends I’m connected with (most of which are similar to mine in their Mommy-life descriptors, e.g., … “about to tackle laundry”, “just got home from a typical Saturday of two soccer games, one birthday party, and a school fundraiser”). The curse? Being asked to do random virtual things, like choose an ornament for my “Christmas tree” (??), getting into a snowball fight (???), or being tagged to write “25 Random Things About Me” (????). Still, the enjoyment far outweighs the minor annoyances, and so I am a big Facebook fan (especially when I limit it to 5 min/day…a conscious effort which requires great discipline to not be sucked in at every opportunity).
You can create an account for him very easily, and then spend some time customizing it for him. Find some of his friends. Upload some photos. Fill out parts of his profile. Write on his wall. You can even send him a cute message – but remember if you post on his wall it can be seen by any of his friends. (I am not sure my friend who wrote on her husband’s wall: “Hey, hot stuff. You sure are sexy! How did I get so lucky?” realized that when she sent the post.)
By the way, while you’re out there, send me a friend request (search for Rebekah Cooksey) and join the www.MomsOutLoud.com group to see the latest event and contest information for MomsOutLoud.com!
Oh, and What’s the Half?? Customize a Love Song Video.
This is a cute little something that you can do in 1 minute. Go to http://www.sweetthing.tv and the website allows you to customize (in 12 different ways) Keith Urban’s Sweet Thing video. This is a great, upbeat song that’s highly enjoyable (even if your hubby is more into what I call “angry teenage boy music”), and when you watch the video and see how the young couple’s lives unfold, you’ll be reminded of many things in your own past. (Unfortunately, this does include the 1970’s haircuts.) Enjoy!