Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Purposeful Mother's Day Gift Ideas

My mom is special, so is my mom-in-law.  Finding the right gift though can be stressful and a lot of work, and as mom myself I certainly don’t need the pressure of finding a PERFECT gift.  Here are some gift suggestions as special as your mom.  Most of them have already been featured in my blog at some point, but here it is in a convenient list.

  1. Think out of the BIG box.  Shop Local.  If the mom you are shopping for lives nearby and you don’t have to worry about shipping, consider shopping local, or even a gift certificate to her favorite local store or garden shop. 
  2. BeadForLife Jewelry (read about them in my blog post here).
  3. Find the perfect unique gift on ETSY, (see my list of favorite shops here).
  4. Fair trade chocolate or coffee.  I blogged about chocolate and coffee, and some sites to check out are:   Three Avacados and Divine Chocolate.
  5. A donation to her favorite charity.  Not sure?  Here is a great idea from An Orphan’s Wish, or how about Heiffer International?
  6. Shop The Greater GoodHere is my blog post about this site.
 As a mom myself, I would love ANY of the above items.  Share your ideas for purposeful Mother’s Day gifts with me, I’d love to hear them!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Trader Joe's

It’s been awhile since my last post and I have really missed having the time to blog.  Things are still pretty hectic around here, so this entry is about a subject that comes very easily to me, Trader Joe’s.

I first heard about Trader Joe’s, probably around the year 2000 when they came to Columbus, Ohio.  A neighbor who loved Trader Joe’s from when they lived in California was so excited.  I visited the new store and I wasn’t all that impressed.  It was small and I didn’t recognize any of the products.  I thought, "What's the big deal?" and didn’t go back.  Then we moved to San Diego a few years later and I tried them out again.  I bought some milk and other items that were so much cheaper than the regular grocery store.  Here and there I tried out new products.  Little by little, I became a BIG fan.  Now we live in a rural area in southern New England.  It is about a ½ hour to the closest Trader Joe’s, but I carpool with a friend there at least once a month and stock up.  For someone whose initial reaction was “whatever”, I am now someone who has to have my Trader Joe’s stuff!  I love their healthy but reasonably priced selections.  I love their easy dinner items.  Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell exclusively organic, but their organic products are usually a lot cheaper than most stores.   Here are some of my favorite products: 

  • All Natural Creamy Salted Peanut Butter – you have to stir it up the first time you open it and store it in the fridge, but once you taste this you will never eat regular peanut butter again.
  • Organic Concord Grape Jelly – you can’t beat the price, even with non-organic.
  • Masala Sauce- follow the ingredients on the jar to create a simple but tasty chicken dinner, serve over Organic frozen brown rice and whalla, dinner!
  • Any of their chips/snacks.
  • Their organic frozen vegetables and frozen fruits (I keep them on hand for smoothies).
  • Their Joe Joe’s put other sandwich cookies to shame and come in a variety of combinations.
And a few items into this list, I realize it will be about 100 items long.  Quite a bit for such a small store.  I also love that I can get through the store quickly but with a lot of useful items.  If you don’t like an item, they have a generous return policy.  What are your favorite Trader Joe’s items?