10 Great Ideas Dad and the Children can do for Mom!

Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity for dads and kids to get creative and organize a fun and relaxation-filled day to thank Mom for all that she does 365 days a year. This year, incorporating a green, eco-friendly theme into your Mother’s Day celebration is the latest trend, and there are countless ways to honor Mother Earth, as well as your mother, on this life-affirming holiday. No, this doesn’t entail buying her expensive gifts or treating her to a pricey meal in a restaurant. But, it does require a little effort and advanced planning to ensure that the day is perfect for the special mother in your life. So, here are ten great, budget and eco-friendly things that will surprise and delight Mom this year.

(1) Plant a Tree
There is simply no greener and more wonderful way to commemorate a special holiday like Mother’s Day than to plant a tree. Plant it in the yard, and let Mom enjoy the ever-bearing gift that will remind her for years to come of your thoughtfulness. Take the kids to the nursery or garden store to pick out an appropriate tree for your particular zone and climate, and don’t hesitate to ask for instructions on how to best plant, water, and fertilize it. Don’t have the space to plant a tree? Consult your local park and recreation department about planting a tree at a nearby park.

(2) Get Creative with Recycled Paper
Almost every craft store is now selling a variety of recycled construction paper that can be used for making fun and eco-friendly Mother’s Day cards. Let the kids experiment with nature-themed items by using vegetable dyes, leaves, and dried beans to design memorable, home-made cards that express their personal appreciation for Mom.

(3) Create an Indoor Healing Garden
Create a gift that will give Mom a healthy reminder to unwind when life gets hectic – an indoor healing garden. Simply find a place in the house or on the patio that gets a little sun, and fill it with small pots of plants with medicinal qualities such as chamomile, aloe vera, and lavender. Next scoot over a comfy chair, and create a quiet oasis for her to retreat to when it’s time for some relief from the daily stress.

(4) Make a Composter
Is Mom always complaining about the trash not being taken out? Why not surprise her with a compost bin or pile that you will actually use! It’s a great way to create organic compost that can be then spread in the garden, under shrubs, and used for potting soil for outdoor plants. Start with a dry, shady spot near a water source for your bin or pile. Then, add brown material such as dead leaves, branches, twigs. Next, combine green material including grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds. Moisten material as you add it. Mix the pile, and cover with a tarp to keep moist. Keep adding material and mixing. When the compost at the bottom is dark and rich in color, it’s ready to use (usually in a couple of months).

(5) Mix Bath Salts
After a long, busy day, treat Mom to a relaxing, interruption-free bath. To give her an incentive to take a “spa” break, give the gift of homemade bath salts. All you need is a cup of baking soda, a cup of sea salt, a cup of Epsom salt, and about 10 drops of essential oil (choose a fragrance that Mom prefers). Just add the ingredients to the blender and whirl. Pour into a Mason jar, and tie with a colorful bow.

(6) Decorate a Garden Stone
A fun project for kids, Mom will appreciate a hand-painted stone that she can add to her garden or use as a door-stop. Choose large, smooth stones, and wash before painting. Brush with Tempera paint and spray with Clear Coat once paint is dry.

(7) Buy a Membership
A lovely way to thank Mom on Mother’s Day and throughout the year is to purchase an annual membership to one of her favorite destinations. Museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and many parks all offer memberships that she and the rest of the family can enjoy again and again.

( 8 ) Make a Donation
A donation to a charity or non-profit organization in Mom’s name is another considerate gift that can go a long way to help others.

(9) Clean the House with Eco-Friendly Products
You can be guaranteed that Mom doesn’t want to be cleaning house on Mother’s Day. Instead, head to a store that sells eco-friendly cleaning supplies, and surprise her by tidying up without her asking.

(10) Pledge to be Green
Is Mom always reminding everyone to turn the water or lights off? The time is now for all of us to be more conscientious of the energy and resources we use. Write up a pledge to uphold the initiatives that your family can undertake to be more eco-friendly, and sign it. It’s not just a gift for Mom; it’s also a gift to the planet!

Here are some great recipes that Moms and kids will love.

Chocolate Bananas — created by Sandy Sandler
6 bananas
8 oz bag of chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
6 popsicle sticks
baking pan lined with wax paper

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave.
Peel the bananas and place a stick up the center of each banana.
Dip each banana in the chocolate,
then roll them in the chopped nuts.
Place the bananas on the baking sheet and place in the freezer

Breakfast Fruit Kabobs – created by Sandy Sandler
Cut up Mom’s favorite fruits and then put about six slices on each Kabob! Serve it with yogurt and toast and mom will love her breakfast!

No-Bake “Dreamsicle” Yogurt Pie – from AmazingMoms.com, a great source for kid-friendly recipes
(An easy to make recipe for kids and much healthier than most cream pies!)
1 9″ graham cracker crust shell
1 8oz. container of orange flavored yogurt
1 C. thawed whipped non-dairy topping
1/2 C. canned mandarin orange slices – drained and
broken into pieces

Combine yogurt and whipped topping together in a bowl and stir with a spoon.
Add mandarin orange slice and stir. Spoon into the pie shell. Cover with plastic
wrap and chill. Tip: You can also freeze this pie and thaw
slightly before serving.

With the wonderful selection of flavored yogurts available,
your child can try different flavor combinations:
– Vanilla yogurt with banana slices
– Lemon and lime yogurt combined
– Peach yogurt with canned peach pieces

Breakfast Pies – one of my favorite recipes from Kaboose.com
These buttery, flaky pastry pies are filled with smoky sausage, sweet pepper and Monterey Jack for a savory breakfast treat. The individual pies can be frozen and warmed up as needed for a toasty, tasty way to start your day.

3/4 pound breakfast sausage
1/8 cup minced onion
1/8 cup minced green bell pepper
1 (12 ounce) can refrigerated biscuit dough
3 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese

Cooking Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, combine sausage, onion and green pepper. Cook until sausage is evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside.

Separate the dough into 10 individual biscuits. Flatten each biscuit out, then line the bottom and sides of 10 muffin cups. Evenly distribute sausage mixture between the cups. Mix together the eggs and milk, and divide between the cups. Sprinkle tops with shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, or until filling is set.

Baked French Toast – another great recipe from Kaboose.com
This sweet vanilla-and-cinnamon-scented French toast is made the night before and refrigerated to soak up lots of lovely flavors. Baked up in a matter of minutes the next morning, this recipe makes a sweet and sumptuous spread for morning brunch.

1 (1 pound) loaf French bread, cut diagonally in 1 inch slices
8 eggs
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter
1-1/3 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup

Cooking Instructions:
Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in the bottom. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread slices, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a small saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup; heat until bubbling. Pour over bread and egg mixture.

Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

About Sandy Sandler:
Sandy Sandler is a corporate gift expert and creator of the QVC best-seller, the Bowdabra®, a crafting tool that helps people make professional, hand-tied bows. Her products and supplies are designed to transform the creatively-challenged into creative pros.