What You Want for Mother's Day as seen online from free to $3,000!

(This post was originally on Mumbling Mommy Blog in 2013 
and this list is still quite relevant and entertaining!)

I was in an awesome store called Lifestyles in downtown Valparasio, Indiana.  It has something for everyone and even my husband enjoys shopping there.  For anyone!  (And they gift wrap for free!)

I buy or want to buy  essential oils, incense, sassy hats, kitchen gadgets, yard decor and indulgent beauty products. gifts for babes and grandparents and everyone in between.  They have an ah maze ing upstairs with art and furnishings and WOW.  When I was there last weekend buying a gift a lady and I were swooning over the really big wind chimes.  Like as big as a person deep tolling immediately soothing like a spa vacation big wind chimes.  She was saying she wanted really deep ones and I said they were probably a couple hundred dollars.  (But even crazier: Check out these three thousand dollar ones! ) She checked the price tag and they were over four hundred dollars!  She says "I think I will ask for those for Mother's Day."  


I had several responsive thoughts:

1) What, instead of a car this year?

2) I am SO GLAD you ain't my mama!

3) Must be nice to spend that kind of money.

4)  Our family has no debt, which is usually nicer than spending that kind of money!

5) Sometimes I would like to spend that kind of money.

6) What happened to the standard Mama Day gift of flowers?  
(Though I am hoping for a family sized hammock this year!!!!) 

7) We need a list for the rest of us who are not in the $400 gift price range.

I have compiled this list of the best gift offerings for your delighted perusal.  HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO US! 

Real Simple Magazine's "Best Gifts for Mom under $50" list
Just the best magazine ever.

Parenting Magazine Mother's Day Gift Guide list

Mother Nature Network "Mommy Greenest Mother's Day Gift Guide" list
For us hippie mamas, the thoughtful options.

Barnes and Nobles Books Mother's Day gift list
Books.  DUH.  And so much more.

Red Envelope's Unique Mother's Day Gift list
This site is always elegant, great for long distance mamas and still has affordable stuff.

Family Fun Homemade Mother's Day Gift list
Creative fun for the kiddos to create gifts and cards!

Stretching the One Income Dollar Mother's Day Gift list
Practical and some sexy stuff too....*blush*

I didn't find the hammock I want anywhere, but if you are a husband looking for a perfect hammock for the mama who really, really wants one, here 'tis: Menard's two person hammock and do not forget a hammock stand. I think we MIGHT have seen the hammock and stand together as a set for about $130.  MAYBE.  And we MIGHT have talked about saving up for it.  (UPDATE:  I so got this AWESOME hammock from John!)
One of these isn't mine...

Happy Mother's Day, you fabulous, fair to middling, and awful mamas.  We are all one in the same!

Aiming Low: Praying for Toddlers

(This post first appeared at We Three Crabs!)

When I pray for my daughters I aim low.  I do not know if this is what Erica hoped for when she invited me to guest for Faith Files, but it is my truth.  I know God can do anything, everything and I couldn't parent as well without my faith in God.  But...I still aim low.

My most used prayer for my girls Portia, 5 years and Libby, 3 years old, is that God grants them long and satisfying lives, protects them from serious harm, and brings them closer to Him so that they Live Well. Sometimes I pray for their spouse.  I leave gender open-ended, not wanting to assume anything!

I simply ask that they have long lives because I could not bear it if one of them died.  Ever.  So if we go for long lives then...most likely I will die before either of them will.

I only ask for satisfying lives, because if they are given more than that they may not know adversity, trial or struggle and could not be empathetic without it.  Satisfaction in their lives would come from overcoming and being thankful for what they do have.

I do not ask for safety because I am afraid if they come to harm I may resent God.  Instead I pray for God's protection from serious harm.  Small harms can be worked through.  

I pray for their spouse because I have seen first hand the difference a God Chosen spouse makes.  I dated some fine men in my time but none fit me, served me, bettered me or loved me as well as my husband does.  AMEN!

I want my daughters to live close to God because it is such a simple path to follow.  The world will tell them they must be this and do that but by following God their gaze will lift from themselves to other people instead.  I believe when my girls focus on other people their lives will be long and satisfying and there is no better prayer I could offer.

Another time I pray with my daughters is when we are all spending too much time in time out.    I wrote recently about how my four year old daughter Portia 'prayered for me' when I was not at my mothering best. I am delighted to see that I have modeled prayer well for my girls.  Despite aiming low.

3 Simple Organizing Tip to use TODAY (Even with Toddlers!)

I just put some napkins and a tablecloth I ironed away and it actually made my morning!  I promise I am not that kind of woman.  The aforementioned items were  with the rest of the "needs ironing because was left in dryer or laundry basket for a week" pile.   I'm pretty much grinning because I knew where to put it instead of just cramming it in.  I had organized the china cabinet linen area about a month ago and today it paid off.  Neatly folded stacks:  I knew where it went and felt GOOD looking at the tidy cabinets.  WOW.  

I listened to a great video during the MOM Conference yesterday, and the Organization session by Jenny Layton of The Happy Gal Blog was AWESOME.  I realized I had already learned and applied several of these tips....find her and learn from her organizing tips.

In the meantime, here are three tips I have already put into practice, all of which she also mentioned.

Like a preschool has the 'art zone', the 'dress up zone', the 'blocks bin', so do we!  
If your linens are in the dining room, it makes sense.  If the napkins and table cloth are together and tidy it is MUCH easier to get them out and use them when you need them. (Plus they aren't all rumpled and wrinkled then either.) 

Linen Zone:  I have small and medium table cloths together, and they are separate from the 'all table leaves in' family holiday dinner huge tablecloth!  Simple.  All table runners and placemats are neatly stacked andI don't have to remember where I should stick them, it is labeled for me. (Left hand cabinet, top shelf.)

Dish Zone: Our dishes go in the kitchen cabinet directly above the dishwasher.  Portia unloads them and stacks 'em on the counter, I put them away in the cabinet.  

Baking Zone: All of the Kitchen Aid attachments are in the same cabinets (above my gorgeous Kitchen Aid Mixer on the counter) with mixing bowls, right next to measuring cups etc. I blogged about organizing the spice cabinet a bit ago.

Craft Zone:  All the kids easy access craft stuff is in matching open bins on a bookshelf where they can reach everything themselves.  AWESOME.  I hide stuff they cannot use without me.

You should purge stuff you do not use, love or need first.  Release it to bless someone else. You cannot organize clutter.  Then when you know how you want your space, or zone to work, look for containers.  Try to reuse what you already have.  
DVDS:  We used shoeboxes and plastic shoe box bins for DVDs in the entertainment center. The kids do not knock over piles now, they just pullout their tote and leave the rest alone.
LINENS:  I had ten white dollar store dishtubs from my Mary Kay pedicure party days.  Now they hold our linens and look AWESOME.  I had a linen closet stuffed with sheets, but really I was the only one who knew what was where.  I put white dollar store dish tubs in there, put each person's sheets in a separate tub (two sets per bin) and Labeled them.  Now YOU could go into that closet and change everyone's sheets without a word from me.  Will You?  (PLEASE???)

BATHROOM: I found cool maroon baskets in the Target Dollar aisle, they decorate and organize my bathroom.  
CRAFTS:  I bought five small green bins for the kids crafts stuff at the Dollar store...small enough my three year old can get her crayons out...and PUT THEM AWAY easy peasy independently.   
TOYS:  I labeled cloth bins from Target with Martha Stewart Chalkboard labels, so my 3 year old and 5 year old know where "Doll Clothes" , "Small Toys" and "Dress Up " things go.  They can clean up by themselves this way.  I also labeled their multi bin unit in the toy room, but we still have to go over that together.  Kids can help you clean when you give everything a place.  it is nice to have some MISC  Bins so they can just dump stuff in, it still looks better  tumbled together in a tidy bin than on the floor.

There is no way this won't sound nerdy: Lables are so awesome I asked for a laminator for Christmas.  And had to buy refills yesterday for our label maker my hubby bought.  I have TERRIBLE HANDWRITING and printing off a tidy lettered label means someone other than me can read whatever it says.  You may find that useful.  One of Jenny Layton's tips for labeling is label the bin or tote and also label the shelf where the bin or tote is supposed to go!  That way, if you have a "puzzles' bin and Grandma is baby sitting, she can see it goes on the second shelf of the game closet.  Brilliant.  Warming up the labeler now. After this post I want to label the craft bins and replace my impromptu sticky note labels with pretty printed ones.  

And yes, I do get out much, why do you ask?

There are so many colorful and fun organizing ideas on Pinterest and the Interweb...go find what works for you and start with one trouble spot at  a time.  You may enjoy this post on the Bedroom and organizing it for passionate purposes.  You can also get your paperwork and mind organized with the awesome Mind Organization for Moms I wrote about before.  I'd love to hear your solutions or troubles and offer suggestions...and I'll print labels for you too...you can pay me in booze or cookies, ok?

Visit Heather Novak's profile on Pinterest.

Ride Your Bike on an Errand Challenge & Giveaway!

Giveaway EXTENDED to Monday April 30th...
Get on Your BIKES!

What if I was willing to pay you to ride your bike? I want more bike lanes here in Valparaiso and I want them protected, too.  I want to use my bike as a car whenever possible.  It helps my health, reduces pollution and improves my mood.  Just you TRY to be in a bad mood while riding a bicycle.  I wrote about the mood enhancement angle of biking in this earlier post. 

We have had a loooong crummy winter and now is the time we get warm, breezy, actually Springlike Spring days sprinkled into our week.  I have enjoyed biking with my two little girls already this Spring. I also enjoyed getting my bike spiffed up at Buck's Bike Shop here in Valparaiso and then all that happy joy joy got me thinking:  YOU should be doing this too.  I would even pay you do enjoy yourself like this.  I would pay you to ride your bike on an errand.  

That got my wheels turning about how to get you lovely people out on your bikes for MORE than just a pleasure ride around your neighborhoods. You can reduce pollution, reduce fat on your body, increase your endorphins,  improve your mood, connect with your neighbors, appreciate scenery, LIVE your life more fully and teach your family and friends how to do these things too;  just by riding your bike as a vehicle instead of a toy.   

I still smile when I think of the day last Spring when my husband John rode his new used bike to Target on an errand.  He returned and said, "That was great!".*  I grinned, happy to have converted him to my brilliant way of living.  I have friends who think I am nuts to use my bike as a car.  I have other friends who go with me sometimes.   I was scared to take the girls to the pediatrician by bike, but we did it.  We loved it. When I pull up to preschool drop off with my little girls squished together in their bike trailer all grins and bike helmets everyone around us is smiling too.  We are fun.  We are HAVING FUN!

I've gone to Buck's Bike Shop here in town about once a month since I began using my bike instead of our car.  They helped me with a tune up.  Replaced brakes.  Got me a snazzy "I heart my Bike" bell.  Headlamps.  Bike helmets for the little girls.  Fenders to keep said little girls dry and clean if we bike in wetter conditions.  Buck's Bike Shop set me up with a happy red bike basket and someday I will buy panniers from them too.  And maybe a big fat mama fanny bike seat that is more comfy than whatever I have now.   Jeff and Shaun are the best guys. Roger the owner is a nice guy and he gave me a GENEROUS $50.00 gift certificate for one of you fine people to win.  So I'm not going to have to pay you, Buck's Bike Shop will!

How can you win this $50.00 Buck's Bike Shop Gift certificate, you ask?

Hmmmm? I couldn't hear you, the wind was in my hair as I coasted downhill.  (That is untrue, I do not text and ride or text and drive for that matter.)

Ok, here is how you enter to win:  In the next two weeks, take your bike on an errand instead of your car, and get someone to snap a photo of you or show your bike at the errand location.  Post as many pictures as you run errands in the next two weeks.  I will select randomly from the entries, the more errands, the more pictures, the more chances to win. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!  I will post the randomly chosen winner and contact them by email  Monday April  21st.  I requested and received a gift certificate from Buck's Gift Shop to give away. I was not compensated in any way for this post.

NOTE:  Here is a great family Bike N Eggs event in June!

* He may have said something like this.  I do remember he had an uncharacteristically joyful summary of his biking for errands adventure, but I cannot swear this is a direct quote.

If you want to hear more about Living Well or you ever say "I'm Bored" read my NPR piece on the subject here.