High Impact Gifts that Mothers & Grandmothers Will Love
A big thanks to GiftsForYouNow for sponsoring my Homemade Mother’s Day Gifts. All opinions are my own.
Happy May Day! Can you believe in just a two short weeks, it will be Mother’s Day?
If you’re one of the many people who haven’t landed the perfect gift for the women in your life this Mother’s Day – don’t panic! I’ve pulled together three thoughtful and inexpensive gift ideas for moms and grandmas, that even the worst procrastinator can pull off at the last minute! Moms can attest: there’s nothing better than receiving a truly thoughtful gift that can be sentimental, pretty, AND useful.
chicken and wild rice soup is the perfect throw and go crockpot recipe for on-the-go family. A warm and hearty meal that’s kid-approved!
Today I’m sharing one our family’s go-to meals during the fall and winter months: Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. This soup is amazing because it’s truly a “throw and go” meal – just prep in the morning and come home to the wonderful aroma of this hearty, meal.
Years ago I hand sewed a Christmas Tree Advent Calendar, which has become such a sweet tradition for our family. Ever since I was a young child, I absolutely loved Advent Calendars – usually the perforated paper variety in our home – to count down the days until Christmas. The anticipation was overwhelming each year.
I wanted to have that same tradition in our family – and I wanted to create something we could use year after year. I stumbled across this sweet calendar by Stitch Craft Creations. I fell madly in love with this idea and got to work, using her calendar as my guide.
I recently posted an Instagram photo of a “rose” I’d created out of fall leaves. I had several of you message me to ask how I’d done it. It’s easy! However, I can’t take credit for this idea – I saw this in my Facebook feed one day and decided to follow it:
Photo tutorial c/o Nicole Duke – unfortunately I can’t find her to link you to her online.
Collect around 10-15 of the prettiest fall leaves you can find, ranging from small to large. I put the kids in charge of this. Starting with one of the smallest leaves, fold the “points” or tips of the leaves down, making sure the colorful side is on the outside.
Then, roll it from left to right into a tight tube, with the stem pointing down. Take your next leaf and do the same, but this time wrapping it around the first leaf. Repeat this over and over, wrapping looser with each leaf.
With your final 3-6 leaves, leave the points up and wrap them around the outside. Doesn’t it resemble a beautiful rose?
Skeleton guts made with little smokies and your favorite barbecue sauce make a fun Halloween party appetizer.
Monster Mix Simply toss whatever you have on hand: I use popcorn, pretzel sticks, Cheerio’s, M&M’s, candy corn, and a few mini Oreos. Just a little effort goes a long way with this snack. I once brought it to a cross country meet in a ziplock with some plastic cups for serving, and I don’t want to brag here – but phrases like “awesome mom” and “best cook ever” got thrown around by my kids and their friends quite a bit. No need to tell them this took all of 2 minutes to pull together.
Frankenstein Pudding This one is as easy as mixing a few drops of green food coloring in your vanilla cook & serve pudding and crumbling some Oreos on top. Draw a Frankenstein face on the outside of your clear container with a dry erase marker.
Mummy Pizzas and Hot Dogs It doesn’t get any easier than wrapping strips of crescent rolls around a hot dog and baking them, or DIY mini pizzas using string cheese for the mummy wraps, but it still gets me some serious street cred with the littles.
I made the eyeballs for the Mummy Hot Dogs using slices of string cheese and cutting out a hole using a straw. Then, using the same straw to place a perfectly sized olive slice in the hole. I really did that. Should I be ashamed right now?
Jack-O-Lantern (and Minecraft Creeper) Stuffed peppers are a regular meal on our rotation, so we love to make it a little more festive in October. We sometimes also stuff them with spaghetti when we’re trying to make our monsters a little more gory with guts.
This year, I even made a Creeper Stuffed Pepper for my Minecraft – obsessed son!
Candy Corn Jell-O Parfaits These are as easy as they look. Layer orange Jell-O over cooled, firm lemon Jell-O gelatin. Top with whipped cream and serve!
Monster Cookies First, get these fun Wilton eyeball candies and then follow this recipe.
Caramel Apple Bar Okay this one isn’t Halloween, per say, but what a perfect treat for a Halloween Costume party or Autumn gathering? Learn more about how I pulled this together, here.
DIY open-air terrarium (or at our home, Yoda’s home on planet Dagobah).
I’ve always been obsessed with terrariums, but was too intimidated to try my own. After I came upon some free supplies, I decided it was time to try my own open air terrarium as a special project with Dub.
First, here is what you need for an open air terrarium:
Succulent plants – as many as you can fit in your container. (I found mine at Home Depot)
Small gravel (the size you find in fish aquariums)
Large smooth stones, if desired
Moss – I used sheet moss
First, make sure your vessel and rocks are clean. Then, I placed the large decorative stones around the edge and filled the middle with the gravel for drainage.
Cover the rocks with moss which acts as a filter.
Next, cover the moss with as much soil as your plants need to build roots. We covered our soil with moss because we liked the way it looked, but this is optional.
When you’re done arranging your plants, give it some water to set the soil and roots in place and continue watering just a bit each week, being careful not to over-water, which promotes rot.
Once our terrarium was complete we thought it needed a little ornament. We thought it looked like Yoda’s swamp, so we added a little Yoda Lego man. He fits right in, don’t you think?
Overall, this ended up being incredibly inexpensive for me since we sourced everything for free except the plants and soil. This was a fun project to do with Dub. He was stoked about this project and excited to put the terrarium in his room!
One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is make sweet breads that we can snack on all week long. While they’re not always the healthiest recipes, I like that they’re homemade and a less processed than anything we’d pick up at the store. I always cook sweet breads in an 8×8 square pan. I find that the bread cooks more evenly and we avoid the crispy heels that none of us are a fan of. We pack them in lunch bags for dessert or for an after school snack.
Our favorite is banana bread, but it’s safe to say this Apple Pie Bread is now going into the rotation!
I got the recipe from Pip and Ebby and made a few small modifications:
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (you could also add 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, but I left this out)
3 large apples, peeled, sliced and cut into small chunks (about the size of diced onions), I used HoneyCrisp and Opal Apples, because that’s what I had on hand.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×9-inch glass pan with olive oil spray and set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the butter, brown sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is creamy. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Gradually add the flour mixture to the large bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the apples and pour into the oiled pan.
To make the topping, combine 2 tablespoons of melted butter with 1/2 cup each of flour and brown sugar. Mix with a fork until crumbly and sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter – I used only 1/2 of the mixture, just enough to cover the surface. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes, checking for doneness starting at 45 minutes by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread.
Cut into 16 squares and serve warm. Want to really go for the “wow” factor? Drizzle just a little ice cream caramel over the top. Oh. Yes. I. Did.
Do you prep snacks and meals? I’d love to hear your tips, below!