It’s September 1st … and that means The Great Date Contest (and my first blog give-away) has come to a close. It is time to announce the lucky winner who will receive their very on copy of the book $10 Great Dates: Connecting Love, Marriage, and Fun on a Budget,  as well as a crisp $10 bill to use on a great date of their own.

Photo Credit: Baker Publishing Group
Photo Credit: Baker Publishing Group

But before I announce the winner, I would like to say I am so thankful for everyone who took the time to write an entry. Your great date stories were entertaining, cute, sweet, romantic and even encouraging. My family read through the stories together, enjoying each great date tale. We wished each writer could have been with us and told us the story in greater detail.

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The way we chose the winner was quite complicated. (No, not really …. but it was sort of arbitrary.)  Basically, I read all the stories out loud and we gave each date a name. There was The New Orleans Bike Taxi Date, The Date That Never Happened, and a Hard-To-Catch Date.  There were dates named after countries like Italy and China. There was even a Stay-At-Home Date.

Once each date had been read through and given a name, the four judges wrote down a score for each date. Our scoring system basically meant assigning each date a number of points between 1 and 10, with 10 points going to the best date imaginable and 1 point for a terrible, no good, very bad date.  Some judges were looking for romance, while other judges were looking for adventurous or funny moments. Regardless of how they did it, every judge scored every date.

There were four judges:  My husband Jon, my sixteen year old daughter Maddie, my fourteen year old son Joel and my nearly thirteen year old son Nathan. (My daughters, Megan and Julia, were at a slumber party and not available for the judging.) That meant each date had four scores. The individual judges’ scores for each date were tallied and the date with the highest marks was declared the winner.

The winning date turned out to be the one we titles “Passing The Test.”  It was submitted by Korin Taddei. (Yay, Korin!  Congratulations! You will receive a copy of the book and the $10 bill! I hope you and your husband Danny will enjoy the book and many more great dates together. Seeing as we see each other relatively often, I will get your prize to you soon  … as long as I remember to put it in my car.) For my other readers: You can read Korin’s great date story in the comments section of this previous blog post.

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Now that I’ve named the 1st prize winner, I am going to award another prize … one I didn’t plant to award but last night at the end of the judging decided there needed to be an additional award given. Here’s the story as to why my family and I decided a prize for the Most Creative Romantic Date should be given.

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When I was through tallying the scores and announced the winner, Maddie groaned, “Oh … I was really hoping the Italy date would win!  It was so romantic!”

“I know! I expected that date to win as well, but it came in second. In fact, it was only one point under the winning date.”

Jon piped up, “That was a really creative date! It sounds like a lot of fun as well as very romantic. I can see why both of you thought it should win.”

Meanwhile, the younger male judges were   making fake gagging sounds  looking about perplexed. I was holding the score cards in my hands and could easily recognize the hand-writing. (This is a good thing about having a small group of judges and also being the mother of the majority of the judges as well.) Flipping through the cards, I noticed some of the judges one of the male judges had scored the Italy date relatively low in comparison to Maddie who had given that date a perfect 10.

Maddie moaned, “If only Megan and Julia had been here to judge! Then the Italy date would have won!”

“Now, we don’t know that for certain, Maddie. However, I think it goes to show that romance is important to women, and romance doesn’t haven’t to be boring.” Jon paused.  Then he continued, “As a guy, I think the winning date was clever and creative too. Guys often prefer to think practically … but it is important for us to remember that romance is a necessary part, too.”

Nathan interrupted, “I thought this was supposed to be about cheap dates … after all the prize is a book on how to just spend $10 on a date. The winning date was certainly cheap! And it even had romance. You gotta admit walking by the ocean at night is pretty romantic.”

“Yes, you are right, ” I said. “It was cheap, though cheap wasn’t part of my rules. I just wanted to read about great dates in general. And you are right in that there was an element of romance … as well as motorcycles and old cars. It was a clever date. I can see why you boys thought it was great!”  I laughed.  “I think what attracted Maddie and I to the Italy date is that it was all about what the woman desired. The guy was creatively giving her what she wanted, even though he really couldn’t give her a trip to Italy. And someday I hope you meet a young lady that gives you a desire to romance her heart.”

“Maybe you should have two winners,” Jon suggested.

I completely agree!  So to my friend John Mark and his wife Janelle … I’d love to send you a copy of $10 Great Dates as well! (John Mark, please contact me, using the “Contact Paige” tab,  with your mailing address and I’ll be delighted to send a copy of this book to you and your lovely wife.)

For my readers, please take the time to read how John Mark took Janelle to “Italy” on their first official date. (The rest of John Mark’s blog, The Artistic Christian, is pretty awesome as well. It’s one of my very favorite blogs to read each day.)

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Thank you again to every person who shared a great date story. I laughed and cried (happy tears) and wished so much that each person could have told me their story face-to-face. I am grateful you allowed me to have a peak into these special moments.

The thing that amazed me the most is that all of the dates were shared by married couples, several who had been married longer than 20 years and one from a writer married for 50+ years. I am once again in awe as I remember how God created marriage as a picture of His perfect love for us, His bride, the church.

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. ~Song of Solomon 8:7

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5 thoughts on “And The Winner Is …

  1. Thanks for the fun contest, and what a great idea, making the contest a family affair! I loved hearing how the judging went down, and am glad my post won a Perfect 10 from Maddie and triggered your sons’ gag reflexes (I’m proud of both accomplishments, actually!)… I’ll have to follow your example and recruit my own kids for my next giveaway!

  2. Reblogged this on The Artistic Christian and commented:
    My “Favorite Date” post won the “Most Creative Date” Award over at Tales from the Laundry Room! It was a fun challenge, and I loved reading about the family dynamics that went into making this group judging decision. Thanks, Hamilton Family!

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