Gift Ideas for Mom (That She Will Use and Love!)

As Mother’s Day approaches, I’ve gotten several requests from husbands of a few readers for Mother’s Day gift ideas when regular chocolate won’t cut it anymore.

I’ve compiled a list of some of the things I’d want to get (hint-hint honey) and feel free to add your favorites in the comments! Some of these are definitely not your typical gifts but are ones that will help Mom be healthy and happy!

Gifts for Mom (that She Won’t Just Pretend She Loves)

How do you get a gift for the person that gave birth to you, cooked food for your entire childhood, and was at your side through teething/tantrums/friend drama/dating and all the other challenges of childhood?

It likely isn’t possible to find one gift that says “thanks for everything you’ve done for me” but I’ve compiled a list of gifts mom will be able to use and enjoy. These are gifts I’d give to my own mom or that I’d be thrilled to receive from my kids. Of course, nothing beats a heartfelt letter or handmade gift, but if you’ve already got those covered, here’s a list of some other ideas she’ll love!

Amazon Prime Membership – Get free 2-day shipping on many items, plus free streaming music and movies.
or Real Plans Membership – I love this meal planning service that lets me plan our meals each week in just minutes and shop in half the time. Give mom some time off by saving her time on meal planning and prep (and even better, plan and shop for her for a few weeks!)
Shiatsu Massage Pillow – I received this as a gift and absolutely love it! It rivals an actual massage and I use it all the time after long days of cooking and holding babies.
Hydroflask Water Bottle – These steel bottles are cute and really functional! They keep liquids cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12.
Royally Flawless Facial Moisturizer – Amazing facial oil with the highest quality ingredients and no junk! My mom loves this stuff and it is the only one I can use without breaking out.
RTIC Tumbler – This one performs as well as the high-priced Yeti and I use mine all the time. Great for coffee, smoothies and water.
Wake-up Light Gentle Alarm Clock – Waking up can stink, especially after a long night of being up with littles. Wake up gently to gradual light and sound with this wake-up light.
Himalayan Salt Lamp – Soothing warm orange glow at night from these beautiful lamps.
Blue Blocker Glasses – I wear these after dark for better sleep (some studies show that avoiding blue light after dark helps melatonin levels).
Sleep Master Sleep Mask – A sleep mask that is actually comfortable! Great for travel or home.
10,000 Lux Happy Light – I use this super-bright light in the morning to keep my cortisol levels healthy.
Anything Le Creuset – Incredible (but pricey) dishes. I’ve been collecting a few pieces over the years and resisting the urge to buy it all!
Microwaveable Slippers – These slippers are super cozy for moms who always feel cold.
Dry Brush – Brushing isn’t just for hair and teeth. Brushing skin can help it stay smooth, supple and may improve collagen. It also feels great and is super-relaxing. Get mom this pampering dry brush set.
Low EMF Hair Dryer – Did you know that hairdryers product a LOT of EMFs?
French Press Coffee Maker – Coffee is my sanity some days. If the mom in your life is the same way, help her ditch the toxic plastic coffee maker with a glass french press or any of these non-toxic coffee makers.
Instant Pot – Revolutionize dinner! This electric pressure cooker makes roasts in about an hour and turns tough cuts of meat into deliciously tender meals.
Grown-up Coloring Book and Markers – Coloring isn’t for kids anymore and studies show it may reduce stress levels. Try a “grown up coloring book.”
Kokomo Cream Organic Deodorant – This natural deodorant smells like the tropics and last for months.
The Wellness Mama Cookbook – Ok, I’m biased, but my new cookbook is filled with 200 delicious recipes that our family loves (and I know yours will too!). It’s also on sale right now!
Blackout Curtains – Even a little light can interfere with sleep quality. We use blackout curtains to keep our room really dark.
Wine Bottle Tiki Torch – Upcycle old wine bottle with these adorable tiki-torch kits.
Other fun gift ideas:

A CSA share
A picnic (if it isn’t too cold)
Tickets to a local theatre or performing arts center
A basket of seeds and gardening supplies
Cooking classes, personal training or massage gift certificates
Flowers- but give in a flower pot rather than cut flowers so she can enjoy them year-round!
anything made by her kids
Not having to cook or clean for a day (This is the one I really want!)

An Open Letter to Moms on Mother’s Day

Several years ago, a video called “The World’s Toughest Job” went viral. In this video, people came in to interview for a job for “Director of Operations” and were told that it required 135+ hours per week with no vacation, no sick days and no pay.

They were told it would be physically and emotionally exhausting, and very painful in the first few weeks. That other employees would often yell, hit, and even urinate on them and that the job would be thankless.

Of the 2.7 million people who saw the ad, only 24 inquired about the job and the interviewees responded with shock or bewilderment when they heard the job requirements…

When they revealed that this “most important job” was a job that billions do daily: motherhood, it brought many of the applicants to tears.

What is in a Mother’s Day?

The US version of Mother’s Day was created in 1908 by Anna Jarvis and at the time, it was the only holiday that honored women. When it became overly commercialized, she denounced it and spent the rest of her life trying to remove it from the calendar.

Now, 25% of all flowers purchased during the year are bought on Mother’s Day. It is the day of the year with the most phone calls (122 million in the US alone) and about 14 billion dollars are spent each Mother’s Day.

In theory, it is great that we have a day to honor moms, and I hope that all of us do this everyday, but I personally don’t like the over-commercialized version that we have now. I certainly appreciate the sweet cards from my children today, but how is today any more special as a mom than any other day?

How is this day more of a “Mother’s Day” than the day I found out I was expecting a child and became a mom? How is it more important than the six days that were spent bringing my babies into the world?

Does today mean more than the other 364 days a year when we get our children up, feed them, teach them, take them to their various activities and safely tuck them into bed?

How is today more of a day to honor moms than the days we have all stayed up with sick children, or kissed boo-boos, or even had to say earthly good-byes to our children?

At the end of the day, we don’t need a day, because we have all of them.

The Secret all Moms Know

Here’s the thing. Everything in the video about the world’s toughest job is true.

Motherhood is hard. It’s the hardest job there is.

From the very beginning it is intensely painful (childbirth anyone?), physically demanding, emotionally and mentally exhausting.

You get to trade the body and life that you once had for stretch marks (and often incision scars) and a screaming mini dictator that demands 110% of your time and attention.

You say goodbye to showers, and going to the bathroom alone, and a completely clean house (at least for the first few years).

Your boobs sag, your hair falls out (either from pregnancy or stress at some point) and you don’t sleep for approximately 5.8 years….

You make the decision to forever have your heart walking around outside your body, sometimes multiple times. You give birth to someone you love more than you ever thought it was possible to love and realize that you might crumble if you ever lost this person, this part of you…. and sometimes you do.

And the crazy part is that you’d do it all again and wouldn’t trade it for the world…

Because we are the ones that they run to when they are hurt, and ask to tuck them in at night, and the ones they say “I love you” to.

They may not appreciate us until they have kids of their own (Mom- I truly appreciate you now, I’m sorry for all the trouble I was growing up and I love you), but that doesn’t matter…

Because motherhood isn’t just beautiful because they love you, but also because by loving them, you become better each day.

Because when we go to bed each night, often exhausted, we have accomplished something important each and every day.

Own Your Strength…

I often get asked “do you work, or are you just a mom?”

This question bothers me because in my opinion, moms work extremely hard, whether they have a job outside the home or not.

Here’s the tradeoff though:

Moms also have much more power than we realize…

Day to day, we are raising the next generation. We are teaching the future world leaders, school teachers, scientists and mothers of the world. We are forming the minds and hearts of the next generation.

More than any other job, ours matters.

We may often go to bed at night wishing we’d done better that day or feeling bad that we didn’t have more patience or that we didn’t keep the house cleaner, but we did the most important thing that day… we were moms. Imperfectly wonderful moms.

Creating Change on Mother’s Day

Incredible power comes with this incredible responsibility of motherhood. We control the majority of our country’s spending power. We control the food budget. We make or influence 85% of all purchasing decisions, according to Edison Research.

Here’s my humble proposal….

This year, let’s make Mother’s day a celebration of the real power of moms and start taking ownership of our collective power as moms.

Let’s vote with our dollars and start increasing the demand for healthier foods and products by choosing them for our own families. Let’s create a healthier future for our children.

Happy Everyday

As a mom myself, I have so much respect for the work that all women and moms do each day. It’s nice to have a day, but I celebrate you everyday and my whole purpose with this blog is to make moms lives easier each day.

So whenever you read this, Happy Mother’s Day!

To all moms and step-moms…

Grandmothers and Godmothers…

Those who hope and pray to become mothers and those who have lost children or their own Mothers…

Happy Mother’s Day, today and everyday!

Happy Mother’s Day, today and everyday!

63 Fun Family Summer Activities to Try

Ah, summer. Sunny days, grilling out, and fireflies at dusk. So why come up with a list of summer activities? Isn’t activity what we’re trying to take a break from?!

The truth is, summer can make us parents a little anxious. Despite the abundance of great weather for being outdoors, the delicious seasonal produce, and the wonderful long days, it inevitably happens … kids start to get bored.

At least my kids do!

The Summer Slump … and What to Do About It

Ever hear this a few weeks into summer?

“Mom, I’m boooored.”

“There’s nothing to do!”

And when you respond that there are plenty of chores …

“But that’s no fun!”

In a way, I get it. Bubbles have been blown, the chalk is all used up, and we’ve been to the library many times. (Plus chores really are not much fun!)

When the summer slump hits it’s the perfect time to put together a simple list of fun summer activities. The kids usually help me brainstorm, and we change the list a bit from year to year as our kids get older.

Post the list in a visible place, and look there for some inspiration the next time you hear “I’m bored!”.

Summer Activities for the Whole Family

Here’s our “best of” summer activities list, with a few new ones added each year. Of course, the kids suggest more than a few things that aren’t realistic (“buy a horse” comes to mind), but with a little redirection they come up with some really great ideas.

The best part? Most of these are free or very low cost.

If your family is the competitive type, check out this adventure points system. Kids love it!

Our Summer Bucket List

Hike a new trail.
Create a nature scavenger hunt (or try letterboxing!).
Visit a nearby nature center.
Camp in the treehouse.
Finally go check out the state parks near our house that we’ve never visited.
Have a water fight in the backyard (use sponges, not balloons, to avoid choking hazards and plastic waste).
Make a button whizzer (the old-fashioned version of a fidget spinner!)
Go to a matinee or drive-in movie.
Pre-make a bunch of frozen meals for friends who are expecting babies.
Enroll in my favorite online cooking course for kids (and reap the rewards all year!).
Take bubbles up a notch: put bubble solution in a kids’ pool and use a hula hoop to be inside a giant bubble!
Make a (healthy & homemade) lemonade stand.
Catch fireflies.
Make popsicles from fruit and chia seeds.
Have a luau for neighbors and friends.
A projector + outdoor wall = outdoor movie!
Have a picnic.
Get in on the fairy garden craze. (Challenge: Make as much as we can from natural materials!)
Stay up late and try to find constellations.
Go wildcrafting for herbs and plants with our local expert.
Go fishing and learn how to clean the fish.
Visit a local museum (these are usually free) and research the history of our town.
Play frisbee.
Play outside in the rain. (I bet we all have a great childhood memory of doing this!)
Turn on some oldies and have a dance party in the living room.
Make a slip and slide in the backyard.
Go to a baseball game.
Play wiffle ball in the backyard.
Make homemade ice cream.
Learn how to make simple origami.
Finger paint outside.
Draw with sidewalk chalk.
Have a puppet show.
Make necklaces with homemade clay beads.
Make a bird house.
And a bat house.
Visit the fire station.
Go to the zoo.
Play in the sprinklers.
Visit a retirement or nursing home and make cards for the residents.
Learn how to score a baseball game.
Go to the lake.
Try out the free kids’ workshop at Home Depot.
Learn new card games.
Have a backyard campout.
Teach kids how to jump rope (and practice it myself … yikes).
Make some healthy ice cream sandwiches.
Take a nap! (Maybe in a hammock?)
Fly a kite.
Build a fort.
Play Capture the Flag.
Climb trees.
Join the library’s summer reading club.
Make paper airplanes and race them.
Let the kids plan and cook dinner.
Pick an empty wall in the garage or porch (or if you’re brave, in the house!) and paint a family mural.
Play flashlight tag.
Learn how to crochet or knit.
Try an online class from and learn a new skill (many are only $10).
Learn to walk a slackline (and let kids take healthy risks).
Find a makerspace.
Go to a fruit farm U-pick (supporting our organic farmer) and make homemade freezer jam.
Play outside in the rain.
And the list can go on!