Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

I received these products free to review.


Looking for a fun Mother’s Day gift? Or, maybe you forgot a gift and want to give something after the day? Snap some pictures and give your mom some Mixtiles!

You simply upload your pictures, select your frame preference, and they show up all ready to hang a couple days later.

What I really love about these, is they have a sticky back, so you can just stick them to the wall – no nails needed! Which I will say my entire household appreciates because I can never get it right with the first nail! If you don’t like the way they look, want to rearrange, or want to swap in some new ones, they just pull right off the wall without damaging your wall and can be restuck in a different place.

So, pull out some favorite pics or snap a couple new pics with your mom and get her something fun and memorable!

Color my Cookie

I’d seen ads for Color my Cookie so I was super excited when offered the opportunity to try them out. And, they’re way better than I expected! I thought they were cool, but really, these are super cool and so fun!

Your cookies arrive in this little box. The box has your cookies, your paint pallet cookie, your paintbrush, sprinkles, and any extras. My box had this extra gold glitter that is super cool!

I highly recommend scanning the QR code and watching their super short how-to video before you start decorating. It answered all my questions about how to “paint” my cookies, how to get the sprinkles to stay on, etc.

I was having so much fun I even painted my paint pallet! Maybe get a couple kits so you can decorate with your mom, and so she doesn’t have to share her cookies with you, because not only do they look terrific, they also taste good and everyone is going to want one!

The Idle Free Box

This box is packed full of fun activities! They have a monthly subscription or just get one for your Mom. There are enough activities in a single box that I was able to share activities with my kids and keep a couple of my favorites (like the puzzle) for myself!

There’s more than just crafts. There’s also a home workout sheet with daily exercises – scan the QR code to access how to videos for these! There’s a free 15 minute session with a life coach. And they even included a brochure with a hotline for mental health assistance if you just need someone to talk to.

So far, the coloring sheets and pencils have been a favorite in my house. We’re still coloring. There were several fun pictures to color! I’ve been waiting for a non-rainy day to do the resin kit outside – and in the spring dry days are few and far between around here but I can’t wait to make my coasters! Scan the QR code for project instructions, they’re super easy to follow!

And I’m saving the puzzle for a post end of school year treat for myself. We’re in the middle of recitals and presentations and tests so there’s no puzzling time this week, but I’m looking forward to working it when summer gets here.

There’s so much fun stuff in this box and plenty to share so Mom can choose to do a fun activity with you or choose to do it on her own.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Super Simple Mother’s Day Gift List

Looking to keep it simple this year? Just remember it’s the thought that counts. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get Mom a Mother’s Day gift she’ll love.

1. Flowers – There’s something for everyone in this category. I love red roses, and bonus points if there’s baby’s breath with them. My husband knows this and gets them for me often. My MIL doesn’t really like cut flowers. But she loves potted plants that she can either plant outside or grow inside. I got her a tulip house plant for her birthday a few months ago, she put it on her porch and it’s perpetually blooming for her. She shows it to me every time I’m at her house. For Mother’s Day, I’ll just run up to Home Depot the day before and pick out something that looks like it’s going to bloom soon. It’s a super simple gift, but something that I know she loves.

The key with flowers is to put out a little effort and find out what kind of flower your Mom likes. Cut or potted? Red, pink, blue, or yellow? Roses, tulips, daisies, or lilies?  Flowers get a bad rap because they’re often a thoughtless gift, you just pick up something random and give it to your mom because you can’t think of anything else. Find out what she really likes, and the’ll be appreciated.

2. Chocolate – Again, don’t just drop by Target the night before and pick up the first thing you see on the shelf. Does your mother like light or dark chocolate? What fillings does she like? Does she have a favorite brand? It’s not about just getting a gift because you have to. It’s about getting something special just for her. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be something she likes.

My favorite chocolate is a bit pricey, I just love Godiva milk chocolate. And when someone gets it for me, it’s mine, and I don’t feel at all bad about not sharing with everyone. Do some research and get what she likes.


3. Popcorn – I have a food theme going here, don’t I? The key with this again is thought. I know for me as a mom, a special snack just for me is hard to come by. I usually just snack on whatever everyone else is having. You know, stale goldfish from the kids, too-spicy salsa from my husband, and whatever else people in my house like to eat. I rarely purchase a snack just for me.

If your mom’s favorite popcorn is microwave popcorn, get that. You can get some really fun popcorn at specialty stores or even at your local grocery store. I love popcorn that’s been drizzled in chocolate. But it’s like $4 a bag so I don’t just go buy it for myself.

Better yet, get your mother some fun popcorn, her favorite sweet drink (coke, tea, lemonade, etc.), and a new DVD. I bet she’ll even invite you to join her movie night.

4. Coffee – Most moms I know consume a lot of coffee. My mom loves coffee. I know a few who don’t drink it at all and I’m not sure how they survive! If your mother doesn’t drink coffee, she probably drinks tea, hot chocolate, or cokes. The key here is, get her a beverage that she loves. My favorite coffee brand is Green Mountain. It’s always so smooth and delicious. Find out what your mom’s favorite brand is. Does she like beans, ground, or k-cups? Or, would she prefer a gift card to her favorite coffee shop? My mom always feels pampered with a Starbucks giftcard. Add a giftcard for her Kindle and she has a relaxing afternoon out. A lot of local coffee shops have their own special blends, maybe your mother likes trying new things. Just knowing that you put in some extra effort to get her something she likes will be appreciated.

Want to give a really special gift? Include a personalized coffee cup with her coffee. And she’ll think of you every time she drinks coffee.

5. Personalized Gift – Shutterfly has awesome magnets, scratch pads, and cards if you’re not crafty but still want to make something special for your mom. If you like to create things, make her something that she wants or something that will remind her of how much you love her everytime she sees it. For example, my MIL loves aprons, so I like to either make her an apron with the kids artwork on it, or buy her an apron from shutterfly or someplace similar with a picture of the kids on it. It’s useful, because she wears it while she cooks and it’s special to her because it lets her show off her grandkids. If you like to bake, bake your mom a special cake, or have her over for dinner one night. There’s so many personalized gifts you can give to your mom that let her know you were thinking of her way before Mother’s Day. (because these things take time)

5 Things I Learned from my Mom

My mom will always be special to me. She was a great mother and while I may not have completely appreciated her when I was a child, the older I get, and the older my children get, the more I realize how much my Mother sacrificed and how much she gave for me and my siblings.

Here’s a few of the many things I learned from my mom.

1. All about Hair – Oh, you know. Long hair and tangles. Many tears. I’d rather go around looking like a porcupine than brush out all those tangles. But, nope, find a good hairbrush and brush away.

My mom also taught me how to fix my hair. How to use hairspray. How to use hot rollers (which I still own because you know that crazy curly hair fad is coming back in someday). She was even ok with me getting perms, dying my hair, trying new styles, etc.

I actually keep my hair pretty natural these days. But I’m so grateful that she was ok with me trying out new things and finding my style when I was a teenager.

2. How to wear makeup – Her best advice on this topic – aside from showing me HOW to apply things like mascara (so I didn’t end up looking like a raccoon) and lipstick – “makeup should accent your face, not hide it”. To this day, I still can’t stand the feel of foundation, so I don’t wear it. But, my mom taught me to be confident and happy with the way I look and to enjoy makeup as a way to dress up and not a means to hide my face.

And since the natural look is all the rage these days, I’m quite happy with my makeup routine.

3. How to cook – Being able to cook, and being comfortable in the kitchen has served me so well over the years. For starters, think of all the money my family saves by only going out to eat a few times a month. And then there’s the fact that I don’t have to spend a long time in the kitchen to come up with a healthy meal that my family likes.

I’ve had lots of practice and it all started with my mom letting me join her in the kitchen and make a mess.

4. How to have good manners – These are so important, and it seems that they are often neglected these days! From just how to be polite to people to which fork to use at that formal dinner party. Manners have served me well over the years.

5. How to be a Mom – Of all the things she taught me. I think one of the greatest things I learned was how to be a Mom. From seeing her pain when I was in pain from one of my many skinned knees (almost all acquired by flipping over my bike handlebars), to answering all my late night phone calls (which she would still answer even today). Watching her care for me and my siblings, and listening to her advice on life. Loving my Dad, and seeing them work as a team.

I have a great Mom who gifted me something invaluable. She showed me what a great Mom is. And that’s how I learned how to be a Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day!

There are ways you want to be wished Happy Mother’s day and there are ways you don’t. In celebration of Mother’s Day, I’m sharing my most random Mother’s Day wish of the year!

I don’t know about you, but the end of April and beginning of May is just a crazy time around here. With all our end of school year stuff plus beginning of summer stuff, we’re super busy! So, I was actually pretty happy when my daughter’s end of year ballet performance arrived. I’m so ready to be done with lessons for the summer and spend as much time as possible at the pool!

The exciting part about this is that her ballet performance is at one of our downtown theaters. Now, I live in a medium sized city, but more in the suburbs so it’s not that often that I go downtown, park in a parking garage, and have to walk city streets. It’s really not my favorite thing with little kids in tow.

For her performance I end up being downtown 3 nights in a row. The first night, is tech. She’s in two classes and her techs were 1.5 hrs apart. So after her first one she changed and we walked up to the square for some icecream – I will say, I was pretty proud of myself for remembering where it was. Only two blocks away from the theater, but seeing as it’s been about 4 months since I was down here I’m not always certain of my directions. That was uneventful. We were downtown from about 3pm to 6pm so we left right about the time the restaurants started getting busier.

The second night however, was not as uneventful. I dropped her off at 6 and had to be back at 9 to pick her up. It was rather busy when I dropped her off but I didn’t think about it at the time (I found out later that that particular night was the one night out of the month that all the musicians set up downtown in all the storefronts so it’s a really busy night). When I came to pick her up, my 4yr old came along – she wasn’t going to go to bed without her sister since they share a room so why not!

I was glad I got there 15 minutes early. I circled the entire parking garage and there was no parking. So, I decided to exit and try the garage across the street. As I pulled out there was a spot right on the street that had just opened up – so I parked – parallel parked – luckily I was driving my husband’s car, I never would have been able to do this in the van!

After parking I was walking up the alley between where I parked and the front door to the theater (really, it’s a one way street, but it’s kind of an alley because not a lot of people are on it). On the way up I see that I’m going to pass this guy, and I instantly recognize that he’s going to say something to me. Now, I have my 4yr old with me, the guy looks drunk, so I’m kind nervous.

People always talk to me – in the checkout line at the grocery store, waiting at the post office, walking through a store parking lot – people feel compelled to tell me their life story. I don’t know why. But, I can usually tell when someone is going to say something. So, I avoided eye contact because I’d rather not have this random conversation, with a drunk guy, in an alley, with my 4yr old in tow.

But, he feels the need to speak anyways. Right as we reach him, “Happy Mother’s Day!” he says (and yes, he was drunk, because his speech was slurred). “Thank you!” I smile, and continue walking past him. Totally relieved!

Happy Mothers Day!

5 Things That I Really Want for Mother’s Day

As a Mom with young kids my wish list for Mother’s Day is pretty simple, and complicated all at the same time. It’s simple because nothing on the list is expensive but it’s complicated because actually getting one of these things is way more difficult to achieve than you might think.

You moms with young kids understand. It’s so hard to get any of these that just one will do!

1. Time alone – And I don’t mean sending the kids to bed so I can clean the house or get work done, I mean time to do something fun by myself, like play a video game uninterrupted or watch my favorite show.

Maybe  my husband could take the kids to the zoo for the day, and I can sit at home and play video games and eat chocolate all day (you know, what I presumably do all day at home with the kids but don’t actually have the time to do). For once I’d like to fulfill a stereotype.

Though, I’m not sure they’d last all day at the zoo without me…

2. A clean house (that I didn’t clean) – I could add that the house needs to say clean for 24 hours, but that actually is impossible unless my husband takes the kids on an overnight trip after cleaning the house for me.

I’m pretty sure cleaning the house, taking the kids to the zoo, and spending the night somewhere with them – all without me – is not a reasonable request.

So we all know that’s not happening! Really, if someone could just clean my house for me. You know, do the laundry, clean the kitchen, mop the floors, scrub the showers. I’m not asking for much!

Honestly, I’d settle for a clean kitchen.

3. Dinner (that I didn’t make) – I would also like to eat it without a small child on my lap and without getting up from the table a dozen times to refill water glasses and such.

And it can’t be boxed mac and cheese. Has to be something actually tasty. Like a steak and potatoes with a side salad and a chocolate lava cake for dessert.

Now I’m hungry!

If I could just get the clean kitchen, dinner, and time alone to eat it. That would be prefect.

4. Chocolate – I love chocolate, it just makes things better. A whole bunch of chocolate, to eat alone would be awesome. I could be happy with that.

On second thought, eating it alone, in a clean house, after a dinner that I didn’t make, would be perfect.

5. To shower ALONE – I do actually get showers, I guess I should be happy with that. But it would be nice to not have the toddler standing there crying about it the entire time or the other kids requesting things (like Breakfast) or bringing containers to the shower for me to open – you know, “here mom, open this peanut butter for me”. “oh, and don’t get it wet”. Huh?

Oh, wait, I did get a shower by myself the other day – I was at the gym. In case you didn’t know, I don’t actually go to the gym to work out. I’m there for the private shower. I just work out first so I have an excuse to take a shower.

Maybe when I’m alone in my clean house, after eating my tasty dinner that I didn’t make, and indulging in some really tasty chocolate, I’ll go get a nice hot shower by myself!

On second thought, I think a spa day would be more practical.


Mom’s Night Out

Does your kitchen ever look like this? I know mine has on many, many occasions! I like to bake, my kids like to bake, and then I get to clean up the mess! This picture is from one of my favorite scenes in Mom’s Night Out.

Looking for something to do for your Mom for Mother’s Day? Take her to the theater to see Mom’s Night Out! I got to see a pre-release showing of this a while back and it’s awesome! It’s the best comedy I’ve seen in a really long time! Hilarious, and heartwarming at the same time.

Unfortunately, I have something every night this week for my oldest’s ballet performance this weekend (I’m not sure who thought that having the ballet performance the day before Mother’s Day was a good idea…) so I won’t get to see it on Opening Day – May 8th. But I’m working on plans to see it with friends next week.

Mom’s Night Out is family friendly, so if you can’t find a babysitter, bring the kids. It’s funny, and it’s a movie that everyone (even Dad’s ) with kids will enjoy.


With Mother’s Day right around the corner, it’s a time when I start thinking about motherhood. I usually start by reviewing how different my life would have been without a husband and kids. It would be a lot different, I would work a full time job (not that I don’t now, but I would be getting paid for everything that I do), wear dangly earrings (I can’t right now because the baby thinks they’re toys), and have a much smaller house (really, I think my house is just for toy storage anyways, so I don’t get a lot of space for my stuff these days).

Of course, with any musings about motherhood and being a wife, I always end up back at Proverbs 31. I’ve heard this chapter taught so many different ways, and used to say so many different things, but I still have my favorite verses.

Verse 11 – “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.” – I love this verse, the verse before this in the ESV version says “an excellent wife…”. I grew up with the KJV version which starts with “A virtuous woman…”. But, I prefer the ESV, because I understand what “excellent” means, “virtuous” is just not used commonly enough anymore for me to connect to it.

Anyways, back to verse 11. We’re discussing an excellent wife and how her husband trusts her. I think of all the things I do for my husband, pay bills, answer his phone, reply to e-mails, little projects he wants done, etc. and I realize that most of thetime, he just asks me to do something and never checks in to see if I actually did it, he just assumes it’s going to get done in time. Basically, he trusts me.

Verse 16 – “She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.” – So, I’m not planting a vineyard anytime soon, but I would say that I’m pretty good at not overspending our budget and managing our finances. I think of Proverbs as poetry, so I very rarely take what I hear literally – as in, this verse does not mean that I need to go buy a field and plant a vineyard to be an excellent wife. I think it means that I take good care of what I have and take advantage of opportunities to provide for my family. (provide not being necessarily working a job but also saving money, spending wisely, and using what I have to create more)

Verse 17 – “She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. – This verse totally, definitely, means that I have to go to the gym several times a week! Just kidding, but I do enjoy a good workout, it’s very stress-relieving.

Strength can be seen in many different ways. I’ve heard plenty of people say “she’s the strongest woman I ever knew” when referring to a favorite aunt, grandmother, or mother and they’re not talking about physical strength. It’s more about the inner strength it takes to be an excellent wife, mother, and woman.

Verse 23 – Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land” – This would indicate that the husband is not home all the time helping his wife, he is free to pursue business deals, hobbies within reason, and he trusts his wife (back to verse 11) with managing everything not exclusively his areas of knowledge or interest. This also ties into verse 31 – “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates” – obviously it’s not just the husband who’s known in the gates (“the gates” being a circle of people, sphere of influence, etc. – I don’t know of anyone who thinks it’s profitable to actually sit at a gate these days).

And my favorite verse, verse 26 – “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” – I always think of this section in Caddie Woodlawn when her mother has a talk with her about the different expectations that she has for her daughter compared to her sons. Basically, what she says is, it’s women who bring gentleness, refinement, and common sense to this world and without women this would would be a very rough and uncivilized place to live.

Mom’s Night Out – Review

Got to see a pre-release screening of Mom’s Night Out with some friends Thursday night and I loved it! The first pre-release I’ve ever seen so I didn’t know what to expect. I had three other friends who came as well so we had a nice group going. My husband was a little nervous about feeding the baby and getting him to bed on his own (the movie started at 7:00pm which is right when we start our bedtime routines) but things went pretty well for him. The baby ate 3 pieces of french toast and then didn’t drink very much of his sippy cup, which concerned my husband a little – but I’m sure the little guy was just stuffed from his dinner and wasn’t hungry for milk. Which definitely seemed to be the case because he didn’t wake up any more than usual last night.

Back to the movie…so we get to the theater and walk in and there’s a table set up on the way in to our showing, everyone gets a swag bag. Awesome! I was going to be really disappointed if they didn’t give us something. There was a magnetic notepad, pen, car sticker, resource DVD, two movie posters, nail file, some little cards, keychain, and my favorite “Dad’s Big Book of Tips for Moms’ Night Out”, hilarious tips for Dad’s watching the kids.

So I’m already excited. Then, what I hadn’t realized before, during the introduction, I discover that the movie is created by the same people that made Fireproof, which I haven’t actually watched but it gives me hope that the comedy will be a clean comedy. You know, I invited friends to this, all of our husbands are home with the kids, I’m really hoping for a good movie!

Mom’s Night Out is hilarious and heartwarming at the same time. They did a great job on the movie, me and my friends thoroughly enjoyed it!

The comedy was clean so you could take kids to the movie (though they probably won’t find it as funny as parents do). There were only 3 men in the entire theater last night, which I expected because the marketing for this movie has been primarily to moms. But, I’m sure that men will love it just as much as women do.

It’s a nice, happy, hilarious view of motherhood and parenting and left me, as a mom, re-engergized for the stage of motherhood that I’m in. (or maybe it was the giant piece of New York Style Cheesecake that I ate after the movie…)

I really think any mother would love this movie, regardless of how old her kids are. It comes out May 9th, just in time for Mother’s Day. So if you don’t have plans for your mom yet, try dinner and a movie, and you’ll be glad you did!