While every day is a good day for honoring moms, Mother’s Day provides a special excuse for deserving moms to sit back and be pampered. It’s also the perfect chance for moms to drop a few hints about gifts they’d really enjoy, because chances are that dad and the kids are on the hunt for something you’ll love.
Need ideas? Here are some of our favorites, broken down into some of the best ways to treat yourself this Mother’s Day!
TO INDULGE YOUR TASTEBUDS:
Love paella but never actually tried making it yourself? A new paella pan is a great motivator for trying something new to spice up mealtime at your house. While I enjoy cooking, my staples of soup and pasta get a little old, so any excuse to experiment with a new recipe gets me excited. Even better is when the result is a tasty dish that your family loves. Ideal for 4-6 servings, the IMUSA 15″ Paella Pan is just the right size for for a family meal, and you’ll be surprised that making great paella isn’t actually that hard. To get you started, IMUSA includes a recipe for seafood and chorizo paella. Available in lively red with riveted handles, the IMUSA Paella Pan is available at Target for $19.99 along with many of their other leading ethnic houseware items.
What mom couldn’t use a little extra caffeine to get through the day? The Krups XP 604050 Die Cast Combi combines a coffee and espresso machine with a hot water dispenser and milk steamer to serve all your hot beverage needs in one. With a 10-cup capacity, the Combi satisfies your coffee fix and keeps your coffee warm for hours with a warming plate. Also great for sleep-deprived moms – an auto-shut-off that makes sure your coffee doesn’t run for more than 2 hours.
If an espresso better meets your cravings, this machine is compatible with both ground coffee and pods. For the ground coffee option, filters are available for 1 or 2 cups, and you can program dispensing time for each. Should you want a cappuccino or latte, this machine also provides great milk froth, which is ideal for hot chocolate, too, if you’re still pregnant and keeping caffeine intake low. Personally, I love frothing milk with chocolate and then adding in espresso for a delicious, quick and easy mocha!
Presented in a compact stainless steel body, the Die Cast Combi will be a welcome addition to your kitchen. A great alternative to running out to your local coffee shop and spending a fortune on a cup at a time, the Krups Combi lets you enjoy your morning caffeine whenever you want without leaving the comfort of your house. Retails for $360.
The T-fal Balanced Living Rice & Multi-Cooker makes cooking nutritious meals easy. I’m a fan of using it to make soup and have also enjoyed cooking a vegetarian cheesy mac in it. Just combine ingredients and set the device to slow cook mode. Come back a few hours later, and you have a delicious meal that’s steaming hot and ready to eat. Everything cooks evenly with great heat distribution, and a micro-pressure valve helps seal in flavors. The non-stick bowl makes for a no-effort cleanup – great incentive for cooking more!
In addition to being a slow cooker, you can also use the Multi-cooker to cook up to 20 cups of rice or steam vegetables in an equally simple fashion. Comes with a steaming basket, a spoon holder and a measuring cup, the T-fal Balanced Living Rice & Multi-cooker retails for $59.99 at www.t-falusa.com and retailers nationwide. It’s part of the Balanced Living line that makes healthy food habits easy to adopt with products that include a Juice Extractor, Yogurt Maker, Wok with Steamer, Bread Maker and Kettle.
TO BOOST YOUR FASHION AS WELL AS YOUR FUNCTION:
Capturing Couture was founded by two working moms who recognized the value of utilitarian straps that express their wearer’s personality. The line includes straps for guitars, point-and-shoot cameras, binoculars and just about anything you’d like to carry around your neck or wrist. The strap I checked out is the Capturing Couture Hot Pink Organza camera strap from their floral collection, and I was certainly impressed with its comfort and durability. Also great is that a portion of proceeds from their top 10 camera straps go to great causes such as the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. All made in the USA with quality materials that emphasize color, patterns and texture, the straps come in a variety of widths and range from $25-59 at www.caputuringcouture.com. With so many choices, you’re sure to find something that fits your style!
ECBC provides two great options for the working mom who needs a convenient way to transport all her gear, whether that’s from home to office or jetting around on business trips. The ECBC Lance Daypack lets you comfortably stash items on your back, while the ECBC Dart Laptop Tote provides an excellent, compact, over-the-shoulder alternative. Both come in stylish black or grey and are made from durable ballistic nylon, which will hold up to plenty of use and clean up easily should it fall victim to spit-up or a sippy cup malfunction.
I love the many compartments built into both bags, with separate sections for your laptop, tablet and pens/accessories. Easily accessible outside pouches are great for holding travel documents. The generous padding and foam spacers ensure a snug fit for your laptop’s dimensions (with the Daypack holding up to 17” laptops and the Tote up to 13”), giving you peace of mind that your laptop is safe in transport. In addition, the Lance Daypack includes a pocket at the top of the bag to safely hold your sunglasses and side pouches that are perfect for water bottles or even milk bottles if you’re transporting drinks for the little one. Compartments are thoughtfully designed with elastic, Velcro, felt-lining and high-quality zippers to keep you well organized.
As a mom who always carries too much, I also appreciate that the Daypack has a sternum strap and waist buckle to keep the bag firmly on your back and take the weight off your shoulders, while the Laptop Tote gives you the option of holding it by the carrying handle, throwing it over your shoulder with the padded shoulder strap or resting it on your luggage by threading your luggage handle through a sleeve on the back of the bag. The Lance Daypack retails for $149.99 and the Dart Laptop Tote for $79.99. Both can be found at www.ec-bc.com.
If your kids are anything like mine, they likely can’t keep their hands off your iPad. For the most part, it’s fine since I’ve seen how much she learns from interacting with it, but at the same time it makes me nervous thinking about how expensive it will be to replace should it slip out of her little hands. The PlusMotif iPad Case alleviates my fears while adding a touch of personalization to my tablet. It consists of two parts – a case that folds around the iPad plus a snap-on motif that attaches magnetically. With 16 case colors and 72 motif designs, you can mix and match to your heart’s delight and switch your look up regularly. The case is also available in sizes that fit an iPad Mini, the Kindle or the Kindle e-Reader and provides 3 different positions for convenient use: low angle mode, easel mode and vertical standing mode. It comes complete with a pad of paper and a stylus that doubles as a pen. iPad-sized cases are available for $39.99 with each motif available for $5.99 from www.plusmotif.com.
The Kalencom Jazz Diaper Bag gives you all you need in a diaper bag without screaming baby, so that you can be still be one stylish mom. The size of a large purse, the Jazz bag holds all your diapering essentials without being overly bulky. It has an adjustable shoulder strap as well as straps for snapping right onto your stroller, making it even easier to carry everything with you. A large pouch in the rear of the bag gives you easy access to items you need close at hand while 2 side pouches give you additional space for a water bottle, keys or other small items. The main zippered compartment is roomy enough to hold a couple clothing changes for a young baby and includes three compartments for organizing wipes and newborn-sized diapers. In addition, the Jazz comes with a bottle holder, a matching zippered pouch and a changing pad. Everything is easy to wipe clean and made of materials that are free of phthalates and other harmful chemicals. Highly affordable at $50, the Kalencom Jazz Diaper Bag can be found at www.kalencom.com in a variety of styles.
TO BRING MUSIC TO YOUR EARS:
Need an escape from all the noises of motherhood? Here’s a way to sneak in some me-time with audio earbuds that sound, look and feel great. Wicked Audio delivers two winning designs with Wicked Audio Deuce and Mojo earbuds. Both come in a variety of colors, including a vibrant red and a playful pink, that make wearing them more fun than your standard black or white model. They deliver great sound at a good value and even pass the airplane test, filtering out white noise and delivering clear, well-balanced tunes. With three different sizes of earbud cushions that easily snap on and off, you’re sure to find a pair that stays put while feeling comfortable, making them great workout earbuds as well. The Deuce retails for as low as $9.99 while you can pick up the Mojo, with enhanced bass and a built-in vocal cord for $24.99. Learn more at www.wickedaudio.com.
The Edifier Prisma Speakers give you a way to listen to music, podcasts, TED talks or whatever you enjoy relaxing to with amazing sound. Really great for moments when you may be stuck on the couch with a nursing or sleeping babe, these speakers connect to your Bluetooth-enabled device wirelessly up to 30 feet, so you don’t need to get up to turn up the tunes. The system includes a subwoofer with bass control and two satellite speakers that not only sounds exceptional, but also looks great, as evidenced by the awards it’s received for both design and engineering. There are a number of thoughtful features, too. I like the visual indicator of the power button changing from red to blue to indicate when the Bluetooth signal is correctly transmitting as well as the inclusion of a similarly color-coded wired remote control puck that lets you adjust volume or plug in a set of headphones if you want to listen without waking a sleeping child. System also includes auxiliary inputs on the subwoofer as well as the remote if you prefer plugging in to Bluetooth. Available in sophisticated black, white, silver, gold and blue, these sleek speakers can be found at www.Edifier.US.com for $129.99.
The Edifier Sound To Go Plus enables you to bump up the volume and sound quality on your laptop, tablet, smartphone or mp3 device through an incredibly small, portable and elegant little speaker. The brushed aluminum casing adds durability and a nice aesthetic touch while likely contributing to the great sound. Perfect for the house or office, this little device is also well suited to life on the go with minimal parts and an accompanying pouch. It was definitely a welcome addition to my hospital bag for the delivery of baby #2! This Edifier speaker is powered by a rechargeable Lithium battery that provides 10 hours of playtime after being charged through the accompanying mini-USB to USB cable. Connect to your mobile device through the auxiliary input and included audio cable. Rubber feet keep the speaker in place on any surface and two buttons serve to power the device on/off as well as control volume. Get yours for $49.99 at www.Edifier.US.com.
TO PROMOTE GOOD HEALTH:
Whether you’re trying to stay in shape during pregnancy or working off the extra pounds post-pregnancy, Brooks PureDrift Lightweight Sneakers are a fabulous gift for making your workout easier while motivating you with a great look and feel. These sneakers are the lightest Brooks shoes available at 5.1 oz. Made of the thinnest material I’ve ever seen on a shoe, the PureDrift Sneakers hug your feet while being roomy in the toe. This extra base provides much appreciated stability for pregnant moms who are more prone to turning their ankles due to loosening tendons. With the minimal material and the added feature of removable insoles, these sneakers get you as close as possible to running barefoot while still wearing a shoe. Other thoughtful design considerations are a tongue that is attached on one side to minimize shifting while running and shoelaces that vary in width along their length to better remain tied. The shoes are attractive in hot pink and black, making for a really stylish running shoe that you’ll enjoy wearing even post-workout. Available for $100 at www.brooksrunning.com. While there, check out their Shoe Advisor for help finding the perfect shoe for your needs and take a look at their Light & Breezy lightweight apparel and UPF 40+ sun-protectant gear.
With a name focused on weather but offering much more, the Netatmo Urban Weather Station gives you a way to monitor your home environment to optimize your living space for temperature, humidity, noise level and CO2 level. While this may sound more complicated than you’d like, you’ll be amazed at how simple Netatmo makes viewing and tracking this info. The system comes with indoor and outdoor modules that take readings every 5 minutes or at the touch of a button. Download the free app to your iPhone, Android device or iPad to view the readings and track them over time with easy-to-read displays and graphs. Alerts let you know when you should open a window to better ventilate your house and lower CO2 levels. 7-day weather forecasts are also available straight from the app. A great way for the techie mom to totally geek out over providing the best home environment for her family. Available at www.netatmo.com for $179.
FOR A NEW SPIN ON THE TRADITIONAL:
Love getting flowers for Mother’s Day? The ProFlowers Orchid and Succulent Garden is a beautiful living floral arrangement that juxtaposes the elegant orchid with a collection of miniature, rugged succulents that provide a nice, trendy twist on a classic Mother’s Day present. It arrives in a decorative cylindrical bark-covered vase and comes with care instructions that suggest the arrangement will grace your home for 8-12 weeks with proper care. Be sure to remove from the shipping box as soon as it arrives to ensure even greater survival, though this arrangement is pretty hearty! As one not great at maintaining flowers, I’ve been impressed at how long this arrangement has remained lively. Available for $69.99 at www.proplants.com.
What mom wouldn’t swoon over a gorgeous photo of her kids, especially when it’s beautifully printed on a large canvas? The MyPix2Canvas New Design Studio makes it incredibly easy to upload your photo, crop it and pick canvas dimensions, so that you end up with a gorgeous piece of customized art to hang in your home. Their software will detect the resolution of your photo to advise appropriate canvas sizes, which range from 8″ x 10″ to 40″ x 60″ in standard sizes or can be customized to whatever dimensions you choose. You can then choose depth of canvas as well as what you’d like printed on the sides of your canvas. This can include the image itself or your choice of solid colors (even beyond the common black and white!). The best part is that you can crop your photo right there and see what it will look like in the finished product. Upon receipt, I’m just as excited about the printed canvas as I am about the online experience – a beautiful print on quality canvas that will keep the memories alive in a gorgeous, large format art piece. Give it a try yourself at www.MyPix2Canvas.com.
What Mother’s Day would be complete without an adorable card from your little one? This year, Hallmark introduces an array of cards that let young kids add their personal mark simply and with little mess. The Personalized Greetings line, available at $4.49 a card, provides space for uploading and inserting photos and captions into a 2-sided, 3-panel card that folds out to display favorite moments you’ve spent together. Customize the message to complete the card, and it’s ready to go! Create online at www.Hallmark.com and have it shipped by the next business day. Magic Prints Cards, available from $4.99 – $7.99, are available in Hallmark stores and come with a mitt that has a magic solution that kids rub on their hands to then transfer their handprint to the card. Whatever area of the card they touch reveals a pattern or message underneath – a fun keepsake handprint for mom and an easy way for wee ones to feel that they’ve added a special touch to your card. Note that the magic solution can be a little bit sticky, so this isn’t for the finickiest of kids, but be assured that the solution is non-toxic and washes off with soap and water. Pics ‘N Props provides an additional creative way for kids to say “I love you!” For $24.95, pick this kit up at your Hallmark store to create a banner, snap a photo and frame it for a gift that can be immediately put on display.
With so much to choose from, we hope that you’re spoiled rotten this Mother’s Day and above all are surrounded by the love of your family as they appreciate all the hard work you put in year round. Here’s to you, Mom!