Since Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away and since I have a feeling you’re as surprised by that as I am and since I’m a mom and most of you are moms or know a mom or have a mother figure in your life–I’ve taken the liberty of assuming you might appreciate some help with coming up with an awesome Mother’s Day gift or two. 


I wouldn’t say I am the quintessential expert when it comes to selecting perfect Mother’s Day gifts, but I know what I like and think I may not be too far off from what most moms would also enjoy.


First, I love to cook so anything for my kitchen like a new gadget or improved implement like a shiny new whisk would delight me no end. Next, I enjoy technology, electronic devices and all the accessories that go along with them. I love fine fragrances and cool hair products. Ditto for quality makeup and fashion wear. 

And so, with myself in mind, I’ve come up with 19 great gift ideas ranging in price from $6 to $480.  I would be tickled to open up any one of these item on Mother’s Day.     Read more


Dear Mary: My young grandson is getting married soon, and neither he nor his fiance can cook. Could you please recommend a good all-purpose cookbook AND a microwave cookbook for newlyweds who will have a very tight and limited budget? I’m thinking this would be a useful and practical wedding gift. Thank you for your time in answering my question. It is appreciated. Connie R. 

Some rights reserved by Mel B.

Some rights reserved by Mel B.

Dear Connie: Oh, this is so much fun for me because I feel like I have a captive audience in your kiddos, and a willing giver in you. I love, Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen Cookbook: 100 + Great Recipes with Foolproof Instructions, by Nancy Mills and her son Kevin Mills. It’s written in college-student speak, so your kids should find it reader-friendly and not at all intimidating. And it hits on the basics like Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, French Toast, Baked Salmon with Garlic, Al Dente Asparagus, just to name a few. And the book teaches cooking “How Tos,” like how to peel garlic, how to get the whole meal on the table at once, what to do with leftovers, and on it goes. This book is a gem. It was first published in 1996, but has been updated and revised since. My original tattered copy is a testament to how I have used it myself, and learned a great deal. Perhaps my favorite chapter of all, “Food to Keep on Hand So You Won’t Starve.”  Read more


Whether your family tree is a small sapling or a mighty oak, it can get spendy to buy an individual Christmas gift for every person on the tree. One way cut costs and at the same time bump up the quality of your gift is to start thinking “whole family gifts”—a single gift that every member of a family will enjoy.


Here are six whole family gift ideas to help you get started early—all the way from high-tech gadgets to low tech tickets: Read more


Since the day our grandson, Eli, was born four years ago, my husband and I have done our best to buy toys for him that we hope will spark his curiosity, challenge his mind and prompt him to love learning. I’d say we’ve done something right because the more he learns the more fun we have and the more fun we have the more Eli learns. That’s what I call a win-win.

With Christmas only weeks away, you may be wondering how you can spark the joy of learning in the children andgrandchildren in your life this holiday season. Eli and I had fun coming up with this Gift Guide for kids ages 3 to 7—toys that are really fun to play with and educate, too.

Schleich Animals Read more


Don’t panic. Father’s Day is a week from Sunday. You still have time to get ready but you need to move quickly. To help you out, I’ve compiled a handy resource list of 16 different gift ideas, starting as low as $5, for that special Dad in your life.

Each of these gifts can be purchased online at Amazon, however that may not be your only resource. I am giving you links to make it as simple as possible for you to shop and compare in the little time you have left. And just so you know, no companies, retailers or manufacturers provided any of these products to us in exchange for an endorsement. My husband and I have purchased these items on our own and created our own reviews and recommendations.

So let’s get started. This first group of gift ideas will appeal to your man …


1. Cordless Drill. There are cordless drills and then there’s this Black & Decker 20-volt Matrix Drill. This thing is amazing. With a 20-volt high-performance motor (serious power for a handheld drill) it’s anything but wimpy and more than able to carry out even the most challenging home improvement and maintenance jobs. Your man will love the quick-charging lithium battery that comes with a charging unit. This baby is is quite a bargain, too. About $60. Read more