Tips & Ideas

Tips & Ideas


submitted by: Stephen Banes

For the last five years I have come up with different Valentine’s Day puzzles for my wife to solve and/or find throughout and around the house.  As she follows each clue it eventually leads she to her Valentine’s Day gift for that year.

I don’t remember much about the gifts that I have given her since starting this yearly tradition, I just remember how much she looks forward to it each year, and the excitement it brings me coming up with different ideas each year.

This year my Valentine’s Day puzzle was a series of find-a-word puzzles.  As I left the house on Valentine’s Day, my secretary faxed a copy of the first find-a-word-puzzle, unbeknownst to my wife and with no instruction at all, just 10 rows and 10 columns of letters.  I had to remember to unplug all the phones and answering machine so the fax machine would answer the call.

Once she received the fax, it didn’t take her long to figure out what was in store for this year.  As she found the clues in this puzzle, it lead her too my Valentine’s Day card and the next puzzle with a different set of clues.  There were a total of six different puzzles, with the last puzzle leading her to her gift for this year.

In addition to her gift, a new wooden rocking chair for the back porch of our new house, she received additional bonuses that night depending on the number of different clues she found hidden within all the puzzles.  Little things such as a promise to try and keep the child noise to a minimum, a prepared bubble bath including candles and rose petals, a candle light dinner for two that night (prepared by me), and a full body massage (my favorite).

In addition to my wife’s puzzle, each of the kids, all five of them, had their own puzzle located with each of my wife’s puzzles.  The kid’s puzzles contained clues leading them to where their Valentine’s Day gift was hidden.  My kids get almost as excited on the night before Valentine’s Day as the night before Christmas, because they know that I’m going to do something special for their mom, and she generally lets them help.  This also brings a certain joy in what I’m trying to accomplish as a husband and father.

This is a great tradition that I look forward to each year, and the effort and time that I put into it, is generally paid back to me several fold for the fun and excitement that it creates for my family.  As a matter of fact, I’ve already started work on next years Valentine’s Day puzzle.