Archive for the ‘Help! I Need a Gift Idea’ Category

This Year, Give Experiences — Not Things

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Does your sister really need another scarf or bracelet? Instead, buy movie tickets for a fun girls’ night out and spring for the popcorn.

Want to include the nieces and nephews along with your own gang at home and not break the bank? Make a gift of a movie night at your house and go all out with movie-style candy, popcorn, soda — maybe even hot dogs.

When you buy the goodies yourself and serve them at home you can treat everyone for dimes on the dollar compared with those insane movie-theater prices. (Plus, you can plan this event for January, after the craziness of the holidays is over.)

Even more fun… Make everyone a star and show old family movies as the “previews” before the show.

Heifer International — A Gift From the Heart

Monday, December 20th, 2010

My family and I started giving gifts from Heifer International ( a few years ago, and it has been a great experience. In your loved one’s honor, you can give the gift of a share of a sheep, a flock of baby chicks or a goat that will provide income and food for a needy family.

Kids love to help pick out the gift. You can donate as little or as much as you like by buying shares of an animal or a flock, too, so this gift idea works even for young kids who want to contribute some of their own money. The organization provides beautiful gift cards to give to your recipients.

Check out this wonderful organization and choose a gift with your children. Is there a better way to add true meaning to the holidays than by helping someone else?

An A+ Teacher Gift

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

What your child’s teacher would like you to know: He or she has more than enough “#1 Teacher” ornaments, apple doo-dads, plates of brownies and things with kids’ hand prints.

All those things are appreciated, of course. because the thought does count. But in tough economic times, what many teachers want (well, maybe in addition to a gift certificate for a massage) is more educational resources for their classrooms. So many teachers spend so much of their own money these days on things for the classroom to help our kids learn.

Happily, makes it easy to give your child’s teacher a gift that will be really appreciated. You can order a holiday gift card, and print it on your home computer. (No waiting for anything to be shipped! No trips to the mall!) Give the card to your child’s teacher and he or she can redeem it to fund educational resources for the classroom. has been kind enough to provide a gift card for one lucky Parent Talk Today reader, and I’ve decided to do a drawing (using a random number generator after numbering the names) from the names of people who have commented on our posts in the past month. I so appreciate your support of the blog and this parent community!

And the winner of the drawing is… Ellen Cajka! Thanks, Ellen, for your long-time support of Parent Talk Today. I hope your child’s teacher enjoys the gift!

A Smart Mom’s Guide to Kids and Chores

Monday, September 13th, 2010

Today I’m happy to introduce guest blogger Cindy Ward. Cindy is the mother of three boys, ages 6, 4 and 2 — so we know she could use all the help with chores she can get! I thought her suggestion regarding giving her kids new “responsibilities” with each birthday was so smart. Thanks, Cindy, for sharing this!

We give our kids a new chore (although, we call them “responsibilities”) on their birthday. The logic goes that as you get older you’re capable of doing more things and should be able to help out more around the house. They’re pretty eager to prove to us that they can do these bigger things, and we get the chance to prepare them for real life.

So far, I’ve tried to come up with things they can do for themselves. This way each kid has the same expectations for the same age (always trying to keep things fair…). Here’s what we’ve done so far:

3 years: Put your dirty clothes in the hamper. (I safety pinned ribbon pieces to the hamper sides so they know how to sort properly.)

4 years: Carry your dishes over from the table after every meal.

5 years: Brush your teeth, comb your hair and get dressed independently. (Even though they could do these things earlier, it became their job so I don’t need to nag before school. Kindergarten seemed like a good time to start these good habits.)

6 years: Make your own bed in the morning.

Our family also has a special “boy of the day.” This kid gets privileges and additional responsibilities. He gets to have his story read first, gets to pick the fruit for lunch, etc. – but is also responsible for feeding the dogs, setting the table, running upstairs when I forgot the baby’s diaper, etc. (If I gave one kid the job of feeding the dogs – something they love to do, or the job of getting his teeth brushed first – something they fight us on, I’d never hear the end of it.)

This lets them take turns with the “fun” and “not-so-fun” jobs, and has ended lots of squabbling around our house. It also keeps me from relying on my oldest when I need help. (He’s the fastest, needs the least direction and it’s easy to go to him for an extra hand. But he was starting to resent being asked all the time, and the other two didn’t have the same serving heart.) It lets everyone help out mom and get the praise.

P.S. Kathy here again. Just wanted to let you know that Cindy is also the creator of Milkshake Nursing Covers.Check ‘em out! These adorable cover-ups are perfect for nursing when you’re out and about, and they’re affordable and come in lots of cute patterns.

A Gift From The Heart

Monday, July 12th, 2010

I was so jazzed to learn that my buddy and writing colleague, Tina Tessina, Ph.D., was intrigued by my post about my new quilt (made from my son’s baby clothes) from Campus Quilt Company.

Seems that Tina and her husband, Richard, had saved many t-shirts from their travels together, and she had been thinking, for years, of having them made into a quilt. When she saw the beautiful quilt created for me by Campus Quilt Company, she decided to order one of her own.

It’s goegeous! I’m so glad I was able to share something here that sparked an idea in a friend, leading to a wonderful gift for her husband.

Check out Tina’s quilt over on her Dr. Romance Blog. And check out the rest of the blog, too. Hey, every parent deserves a little romance in his or her life. It ain’t all about diapers and curfews, people!

Mom, It’s OK To Trust Your Gut!

Friday, May 7th, 2010

My buddy Jen Singer over at is offering, in this great video, what might be the best gift we moms can receive on Mother’s Day: A reminder to Trust Your Gut. (Another great gift? Jen’s books. I love her Stop Second-Guessing Yourself series.)

Thanks, Jen! Happy Mother’s Day, and thanks for helping us have a laugh.

Happy Mother’s Day! How About Some Flowers, Candy — and a Computer Virus

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

E-cards are so popular these days, we usually don’t even think to worry about opening them. And most are safe. But Consumer Reports warns that scammers sometimes use ecards to do their dirty work:

“Scammers frequently have used bogus e-card messages to spread computer viruses and other malware. Such messages contain holiday-related subject lines but include nasty attachments or hyperlinks. For example, in 2008, the FBI warned that e-card emails were being used to spread the Storm Worm Trojan horse, which allowed outsiders to commander Windows computers.”

Check out Consumer Reports’ tips on safely receiving Mother’s Day E-cards.

(Full disclosure: I’m the social media reporter for Consumer Reports. Follow me on Twitter at @CReporter for great consumer tips and conversation!)

P.S. Yes, I’m shameless. Just had to share a picture of my baby boy, who is now 14 and taller than me!

Happy Mother’s Day from Kelly Corrigan

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

I want to be Kelly Corrigan when I grow up. The author of the New York Times best-selling memoir, The Middle Place, has a new book, Lift (soon to be reviewed here), and a new video that will bring a lump to your throat.

Lift celebrates the successes and trials of motherhood, and this video is what Kelly calls the thank you inspired by the women she knows.

I love how she put it together. Through Facebook, Kelly asked her friends and fans to list all of the things that mothers want to be thanked for and to share photos. Kelly compiled a photo montage and a voiceover, all edited by her seventeen-year-old neighbor who will be attending NYU Film School this fall.

With Mother’s Day approaching, this is the perfect time to thank your mom — and to pay tribute to all the moms you know. Send mom a link to this video. Then write her a letter telling her what you appreciate about her and thanking her for all she’s done. Happy Mother’s Day!

What’s the Rush?

Monday, January 11th, 2010

As the mom of a 14 year old, there’s always pressure to enroll my kid in the latest “enrichment” activity… Summer reading, music lessons, sports lessons… Fortunately, after a few years, you realize there are only so many hours in a day — and so many dollars in a budget — and you find a happy balance.

But woe to the soon-to-be new parents out there, who are now being told they need to enrich their child before he even has a chance to take his first breath. Take the BabyPlus Prenatal Education System, a product that straps onto Mom’s bulging belly, emitting 16 varied sounds that resemble a mother’s heartbeat.

For $149, your unborn baby has class twice a day for an hour, and the sonic pattern introduces her to a sequential learning process, based on the natural rhythms of the womb. (So the natural rhythms of the womb aren’t enough?) The rhythms of the sounds increase incrementally as the pregnancy progresses. Until what? The baby pops out snapping his fingers, doing calculus and demanding an iPod?


This Site Had Me Wishing I Had a Girl!

Friday, December 18th, 2009


I just heard about this fun children’s boutique, Ladybugs and Lilypads. It’s an adorable site, with more pink and polka dots that I’ve ever seen in one place.

The shop was founded in 2007 by Sara Tyndall, a former teacher and now a stay-at-home (homeschooling) mom.

With two young children at home, Sara decided she wanted to share her passion for adorable children’s clothing along with fun whimsical furniture and decor for nurseries and children’s bedrooms.

Many of the items are made by “mom-preneurs.” I love that Sara supports other moms. And I like to support sites like this that offer wonderful products while allowing entrepreneurial moms to be at home with their kids. (And we all know they are putting in 26-hour days!) Talk about a win-win. Check out the site!