Mothers Day Gift Ideas: Traditional or Non-Traditional?

mothers day gift ideasIn a few short weeks children around the world will be celebrating all that their moms do for them. This will be my first Mother’s day and I’m quite excited to see what my husband has in store for me! While I have no experience on the receiving end yet, I have many years behind me in the gift-giving side of things. I have made many crafts and purchased many flowers in my years. It didn’t matter if I gave my mom a handmade card with scribbles or a $50 bouquet, she appreciated it all.

 

Traditional Ideas

I don’t know a mom out there that wouldn’t love to get a hand-made gift of any kind from their child. The fact that a child put thought and effort into making something from their hearts will always be well received. If the child is still too young to make something unassisted, Dad or another caregiver could help make something simple like a hand or foot print artwork.

Another gift that is always well received by moms is flowers. Mom or not I’ve never given or received flowers that weren’t appreciated. Though you can get beautiful pre-made bouquets at a florist, a picked wildflower bouquet is just as beautiful.

My personal favorite traditional gift idea (and I hope my husband is reading this) is a cooked meal, followed by full cleanup! I think I can speak for all moms world-wide when I say all we really want is a short break. Take on some of our normal duties for just one day, I dare you :) Without asking, take care of everything that needs to be done. Help with cleaning, cooking and childcare. Gifts are always nice but a little family time without worrying about keeping house is probably the best gift of all.

 

Non-Traditional Ideas

Speaking of cleaning, how about a full car detailing? Cars get down right grimy. It seems no matter how well one cleans their car, children especially, have a way of making a car dirty on a whole new level. Why not take moms car to a professional for a full car detailing? They can remove dirt you thought would be there forever.

Though a little more expensive, plan a Mothers day weekend away for the family. Go somewhere special to the family or somewhere new you know mom would like to visit. As long as it’s relaxing for mom consider it a success.

With new blooms and weather on the upturn, spring is a great time for outdoor pictures. Book a photographer and have a family picture done. If hiring a professional photographer isn’t in the budget, ask a family member or friend to help out. The importance is in capturing the memory, not the type of camera lens or quality of picture frame.

Mothers day isn’t about how much money you spend. Whatever you choose, just take time out of your day to tell mom how much you appreciate her, even in the simple form of words.

What are your Mother’s Day plans?

Happy Mother’s Day!

E-wishes for Mother's DayHere in Manila, we have some holidays that are decidedly Western and Mother’s Day is one of them.  It is made an even bigger event because I believe Filipino culture places a heavy emphasis on the place, value, and importance of the mother in a family.  On Mother’s Day, you will see more traffic than normal (and that means a lot of traffic overall!) going to malls, parks, and restaurants.  You will normally see heartwarming commercials with tear-inducing montages to mothers of all kind on TV at the beginning of the month and the bookstores will likely be festooned with Balloons and poems to Moms.  Needless to say, it is a fairly big day.

Celebrating Mother’s Day as a Single Mom with Young Children

Since I became a mom, I like doing something just a little special to celebrate.  It is said here that this is a day when Mom’s are treated like Queens, chores suspended for a day, meals cooked and served to them, etc. but since my kids are still young, I normally get lots of hugs, kisses, and ‘I love you very much, mommy’ comments rather than the other stuff—which is fantastic still, in my opinion.  So, I orchestrate the ‘celebrations’ and this usually involves just a special meal and/or a trip somewhere not normally visited with the kids.

This year, I decided to bake a chocolate cake. You may be scratching your head wondering why this is different or special. Well, it is so because 1.  I have never baked a cake from scratch, even when I used to bake and sell cupcakes and bars.  2.  Since I have taken on single parenting, I have had very little time to do any kind of baking.

I decided to try this traditional cake because I wanted to know how to make a cake that could be a staple for celebrations.  I found a seemingly yummy recipe online and decided to try it out.  Here it is.

Moist Chocolate Cake:

Chocolate Cake:

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coca powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk

Frosting:

  • 5 ounces (140 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
  • 4 pounds (1 pound/ 454 grams confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted to remove lumps
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Chocolate Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter, or spray with a nonstick vegetable spray, and line with parchment paper, two – 9 x 2 inch deep (23 x 5 cm) round baking pans.
  2. In a stainless steel or heatproof bowl place the chopped unsweetened chocolate (baking, plain chocolate) and cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch processed ones). Pour the boiling water over the chocolate and cocoa powder and stir until they have melted. Set aside to cool while you make the batter.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk to combine, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy (this will take about 3-5 minutes).
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Make sure to smell the eggs and to check that they are not spoiled before adding them to the mixture or you will need to redo everything, and get and measure out a new set of ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and melted chocolate mixture and beat to combine.
  7. Add the milk and flour mixtures in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat only until the ingredients are incorporated.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
  9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.
  10. Then remove the cakes from their pans and cool completely on a greased wire rack before frosting.

Frosting:

  1. Melt the chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Then place the melted chocolate, milk, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla extract in the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, you can use a hand mixer.) Add the pieces of softened butter and beat on low speed for about 2 minutes. When the frosting starts to come together increase the speed to medium and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the speed to high and beat the frosting for 1 – 2 minutes more or until it is of spreading consistency. If necessary, add more milk or sugar.

To Assemble:

  1. Place one layer of cake, top side down, on your serving plate and cover with a layer of frosting.
  2. Then place the second layer of cake, top side down, onto the first cake layer and then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
  3. Can garnish with fresh fruit or shaved chocolate

It was tough getting back to the preciseness of baking after being out of baker’s mode for a long time but it was cool to see the cake come together.  The finished result was quite good as well. I wish I had taken a picture to showcase my first attempt but the idea popped into my mind after half of the cake had been eaten so…next time.  I intend to make it again at the end of the month for my birthday and, seeing as I have tried it before, I expect it to look better and to be able to whip it up faster.

What do you do on Mother’s Day?

Mothers Day is Coming; Amazon Gift Cards

Amazon gift cardMothers Day is almost here and although it may not be romantic, Gift Cards are something my wife always asks me for.  I don’t make it the only gift but I do try to make it part of the gift.  If you have read any of my articles in the past you know that we fell on pretty hard times and had no money to buy anything other than absolute necessities for a very long time.  Nothing made her happier when family members clued into how bad we were and got her gift cards so she could shop for things she needed but that we couldn’t afford since it wasn’t an absolute necessity to get by.

I just got an email from Amazon, they advertise on our site and they have some Mothers Day themed gift cards that are easy to purchase and will arrive in plenty of time for the big day.  If you want to make Gift Cards part of your Mothers Day, you can check them out at Amazon Mothers Day Gift Cards.

From the husbands/sons/father perspective, gift cards are great because of how easy they are to get and to give.  Just don’t make it the only thing you give her.  Being a Mom is a hard and incredibly wonderful job, show her she is worth more than the 5 minutes it takes to pick up a gift card.

What are you getting the moms in your life for Mother’s Day?

10 Inexpensive – but Priceless – Gifts for Mom for Mothers Day

Mother's Day

Courtesy of 123freevectors on DeviantArt

Mother’s Day is just a couple of weeks away!

Some Moms love flowers. Some Moms love jewels. Some Moms love candy. Some Moms would just love some piece and quiet — at least for one day. I’ve got great news for all of you, who are trying to come up with a Mother’s Day gift. You honestly don’t have to spend a lot of money, to let the special woman in your life know that she is loved and appreciated.

Nope! You really don’t. That’s the great thing about Moms they love anything their kids (and hopefully their husbands) give them, even weeds from outside.

My boys gave me weeds they thought were flowers. These sat in a cup, in my kitchen for over a week. When I finally threw them away the boys asked me where they went. After I explained that they were all wilted and I had to throw them out — they promptly set off to get me some more. Aww!

Since I am a Mom, I have a Mom, I’m friends with lots of Moms and I worked in the retail industry for many years — I guess I would be considered and expert on the subject, of what makes a great Mother’s Day gift. This is why I have decided to share what I know, with anyone who might be having a hard time coming up with the perfect gift.

Below you will find a list of some really fantastic – if I do say so myself – ideas. I am very confident that there is something for everyone here and that there will be at least one item on this list to fit your budget.

1. Hand prints

Moms love anything that are handmade by their children and it’s especially sweet when it contains the child’s hand prints. This can be as easy as using some paint and construction paper to make a beautiful card. The hand prints can be used to make a wreath or flowers.

2. Give Mom a Day Off

We love being with our kids but sometimes it’s just nice to take a day – or even a few hours – and spend it anyway we would like. So a nice thing to do might be get her a gift card to one of her favorite places. It doesn’t have to be expensive just something you know she would enjoy. Or you can assemble a homemade gift certificate that she can redeem -to spend some time – doing whatever she wants. It may sound silly. You may think “She can take time and do whatever she wants anytime. She doesn’t have to have a gift certificate for that.” For some Moms, they may feel guilty taking time for themselves, or they just don’t do it. If this sounds like someone you know, then this is perfect. If you get a little bouquet of flowers to go with it — that’s even better!

4. Make Mom Feel Special All Day

Let her sleep in, make her breakfast, leave the house or get the kiddos outside for a bit so she can get ready for the day, in peace. Try your best to make the whole day revolve around her. Do whatever it takes to keep things as stress free as possible. The rule for the day is that Mom isn’t to do any household chores. She’ll probably try, but keep it to a minimum. My husband did this for me last year and I really appreciated it!

5. Pamper Mom

There are so many thing you can get for Mom that are pampering. A great smelling bath set, lotions, candles, super comfy slippers, a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure, etc. — just think about what she enjoys, and you are sure to come up with the perfect gift.

6. Have Kids Write a Story

Maybe it’s because I’m a writer, but I think a wonderful gift would be to help your kids make up a story all about Mom or Grandma. You can have them cut pictures out of magazines to illustrate the story, or they can draw their own. Depending on the ages of the children — this could get very interesting and fun. It will be a treasured keepsake and something she can bring out a read year after year.

7. Think Spring!

There is a very good reason Mother’s Day is in May and I think it is because – in most places – spring has sprung. All the flowers are in bloom and it is just a beautiful time of year. You can always run down to the local farmers market and pick up a beautiful bouquet of flowers — but they also have gorgeous hanging baskets and other flowers, plants, trees, bushes, etc. that can be planted and enjoy for many months — or for many years to come.

8. Photo Gifts

All Moms and Grandmas love photo gifts! There are so many things you can put together and it can really fit into any price range — photo mugs, photo books, mouse pads, office supplies, clothing, etc. I am featuring Snapfish for two reasons — 1. They run awesome deals! 2. They offer a 110% quality guarantee. They aren’t giving me anything to say this, I am just a really satisfied customer! Check them out. I’ve also used Walgreens, Costco, and Shutterfly with great success!

9. Jewelry

This may sound expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Sterling Silver charms are quite reasonable and can be placed on a bracelet or a simple silver chain. Craft stores also have beads – and other jewelry making supplies – so the kids can make something special that Mom or Grandma will love — and wear with pride.

10. Shower her with Love!

This should be the easiest, least expensive and most meaningful gift of all!!

“A mother’s love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path.”– Agatha Christie

Do you have suggestions? What was your favorite Mother’s Day gift, you ever received? What was your favorite Mother’s Day gift that you have given?