Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day is Not Just Today, It's Every Day

Mothers Day

Gift Ideas for Celebrating Year Round

MBE partnered with included brands, post contains affiliate links

Whew, what a Mother's Day this year's was.  By noon, I'd already had so much activity, I had wished I could go back to bed. But, LOL, I did survive the day with enough residual energy to write about today.

Mother Appreciation Every Day

Daddy was working all day today, so I was up early this morning driving in pajamas to take the two boys to join their friends for a paint ball outing with our synagogue's youth group.  By 8 am I was home again, met by my triplet daughters who were arguing in the kitchen about who was going to make lunch for me on this special day.  The bickering -- no surprise -- persisted until Dad came home from work this evening.   After finally getting the kids to bed, I still managed to call and talk to my own mom to say, "I love you," as well as to finish and publish this blogpost.

The holiday that celebrates all mothers may officially be today (and over in some parts of the U.S. by now), but I don't think too many  moms would disagree with me that Mother's Day for us is really every day.  What's more is that just about all of us, I'm willing to bet, wouldn't want to have it any other way.  Here is the first in a series of posts spotlighting MommyBlogExpert 's 2010 picks for gifts that mothers everywhere will love any day of the year not just for Mother's Day.  Other posts in the weeks to come will showcase things moms and kids can enjoy together to make more memories both indoors and outside.

What mommy doesn't wish she could spend more quality time with her kids?  Here are but a few of the many great gift ideas that will truly engage mom and the whole family, starting in the heart of the home: the kitchen...a place where almost everyone has at least a special memory or two of spending time with mom.

Create some more happy moments with your own kids year-round with any of these novel ideas
  • Kuhn Rikon Cookie & Cupcake Decorating Set
  • Bean Appetit
  • Naturally Nora
  • Soups - A Kosher Collection
  • From My Mama's Kitchen
  • Handstand Kids Chinese Cookbook
  • Enlightened Chocolate

Kuhn Rikon Cookie & Cupcake Decorating set, made in Switzerland, comes 5  plastic, washable decorating bottles & caps in 2 different sizes, 5 stainless-steel decorating tips, 1 Frosting Spatula. is the perfect starter kit for the mom who likes to cook with her kids.  This product comes boxed with all the tools needed to beautify cookies, cupcakes, and other decorative foods that are perfectly sized for moms and children to have fun creating together.  Directions for use are included.  Available at FactoryDirect2You  and other specialty and online retailers.  $25

Bean Appetit: Hip & Healthy Ways to Have Fun With Food, by Shannon Payette Seip and Kelly Parthen, makes it fun and healthy for moms and their kids to play with their food -- together!  Based on some of the most popular items from Bean Sprouts, the authors' healthy kids' cafe and cooking school.  With its unique Bean Appetit Flour Blend that incorporates wheat flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, wheat germ, and flax meal, to its Pot Sticker Pinwheels made with pot sticker wrappers, chicken, avocado, veggies, and herbs, it's no wonder that this book received the 2010 Mom's Choice Award.  $14.99

The Naturally Nora line of all natural cake, frosting, and brownie mixes are the brain child of mom Nora Schultz, mom of two and former Campbell Soup Company executive.  These all contain no transfats or artificial ingredients. The Naturally Nora Sunny Yellow Cake Mix, for example, contains only 8 ingredients which is only half the things that go into a similar box of Betty Crocker's cake mix.  But healthy doesn't necessarily have to be boring because Nora's assortment is not only better for kids it comes in fun and colorful varieties such as Alot'a Dots and all the brand's offerings are kosher.  Naturally Nora comes in packaging that utilizes recycled materials and vegetable-based inks and is available in a growing number of stores. 

Soup - A Kosher Collection by Pam Reiss, not only features easy how-tos for the basics, such as classic Chicken Soup, but also guides novice cooks in making extraordinary specialties like Strawberry Sambuca Soup and many other exotic recipes that evoke memories of her world travels.  In Soup, which also features some stunning photographs, she draws from her on-the-job experience with the family catering business, offering varied menu of soup course choices ranging from Pear Soup with Feta, Pecans, and Balsamic Reduction, to a homemade Bread and Tomato Soup that you and your kids can cook up and enjoy eating together.  In fact, all the recipes found within this cookbook sound equally good and healthy and are certain to delight anyone who loves good, hearty soups so this has appeal reaching far beyond only those of us who eat strictly kosher.   So I plan on making one new Reiss recipe weekly with my kids taking turns cooking with me.  With 125 different recipes including 51 vegetarian, 36 dairy, 4 fish, and 34 meat soups, we'll be trying new soups for years and you can expect to see some more posts on my family's reactions to some of these in the months ahead.  Available on Amazon.   M. Evans and Company, Softcover, $24.95

From My Mama's Kitchen, by Johnny Tan, is another book rooted in family cultural history. What's different about it is that it's not a cookbook as there are just a few recipes at the back of its pages like the Praline Yam Casserole that I am going to have to make for my family.  Mostly, it is a book about lessons for living so this might be fun for moms to read aloud to older kids or have them read it to you.  This is the Tan's collage of recollections of wisdom received from his nine "moms," beginning with the one who adopted him at birth in Malaysia and raised him on Nonya dishes --a fusion cuisine that blends two distinct cultures: Malays and the Chinese of Malaysia.  The remembrances progress with other mother-like figures who cross Tan's path after coming to the U.S., beginning with his Southern Belle "mom," who served as a host family for foreign university students, and continuing with a variety of others ranging from his foster Italian "mom," Cajun "mom," and German "mom" to his Texan Earthly "mom" and several others. 

Handstand Kids Chinese Cookbook, by Yvette Garfield, is a fun and educational book that teaches children about Chinese culture and includes recipes to make some related ethnic dishes.  Illustrated with a cast of characters that also appear in Garfield's Italian cookbook for kids, it intertwines a vocabulary section where various kitchen tools and common ingredients are pictured and spelled out in both English and Chinese characters.  Each recipe included in the spiral bound book is rated 1, 2, 3, or 4 sets of chopsticks to indicate level of difficulty, with "1 set of chopsticks" meaning that kids can do most of the steps involved by themselves and "4 sets of chopsticks" signifying that an adult needs to help with the entire recipe.

This book, which comes packaged in a cute giant Chinese take out box, also includes a set of plastic reusable chop sticks for your child. Suited for kids, ages 3 - 12, my own tween daughters loved making the Belly Full of Beef and Broccoli and also eating this tasty dish; our family looks forward to cooking up some of the other healthy Chinese entrees soon.  Available direct from Handstand Kids as well as at specialty stores and major booksellers.  Handstand Kids, Hardcover Spiral-Bound, $25

Enlightened Chocolate, by Camilla Saulsbury, is a fabulous cookbook for chocolate fans of all ages.  This arrived to my desk with post-it-notes from the book's publicist marking some of the fun recipes moms and kids will might enjoy whipping up together.  Just a few of the yummy recipes to tempt your family's taste buds are Jumbo Brownie Rounds (a brownie & cookie in one), Dark Chocolate Panini made with a crusty store-bought peasant bread, and two childhood classics that kids & adults will both adore: Chocolate Pudding and Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream.  Lest you think this cookbook is only for making unhealthy sweets, I want to assure you that the desserts all have lower calories and less fat than their typical counterparts do.  Even better, there is a whole section on savory chocolate ideas such as Black Bean Soup which has canned pumpkin as well as unsweetened, non-Dutch process cocoa power blended into it.  The recipes toward the end of the book are among my favorites, also calling for cocoa powder including Baked Beans and 4-Bean Salad.  I have a feeling these dishes are going to be as enjoyable to cook with my kids as they are for us to eat, so I look forward to testing some of them out and will get back to you later with the results.  From Cumberland House Publishing, Hardcover, $22.95

FTC Disclosure:  For this gift idea blogpost, Mommy Blog Expert received the products from companies mentioned for test, review and/or to giveaway to this blog's readers.  MommyBlogExpert was neither paid nor received other compensation from any company mentioned in this post.

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