Easy End-of-the-Year Teacher Gift Ideas for Busy Moms

Elementary school pupil working under the supervision of a teacherCompared to other countries, U.S. teachers rank 10th in pay, falling below such places as South Korea, England and Singapore, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Yet, they’re so generous of heart. CNN Money reports that 97 percent of teachers in America purchase classroom supplies out of their own pockets. Information like this may inspire you to rethink the annual end-of-year gift to your child’s teacher. Sure, they appreciate any acknowledgment, but don’t they deserve something truly thoughtful?

Classroom Supplies

In an article for Teaching Community, educator Tom DeRosa lists classroom supplies as the No. 1 gift teachers would love to receive. Anything from a box of pencils to a package of Sharpie pens would be a great show of appreciation. Avoid expensive items like nice pen and pencil sets. Teachers are notorious for loaning items to kids and never getting them back. Consider the grade and age of children the teacher works with and purchase basic supplies accordingly. Keep in mind that your teacher may be registered at Donorschoose.org which will make gift giving even easier.

Something to Eat

Teachers are busy and rarely have time to break for lunch. Help them stay nourished with fruit baskets, an assortment of protein bars, a batch of homemade cookies or a gift certificate to the sandwich shop next to campus.

A Gift From the Group

Collecting money for a group gift does take a little organization, but giving your child’s teacher one fabulous item instead of several small ones is worth the extra effort for a special teacher. Speak to someone who knows the teacher and ask what they might enjoy such as a day at the spa, an eReader or another special item that’s too much of a splurge for any one parent.

A Gift Card

If you’re absolutely stumped and the school policy allows it, purchase a gift card. A gift card can be seen as a little impersonal, but unless you’re good friends with the teacher, an impersonal gift is actually pretty appropriate. Think of your kid’s teacher and purchase a card that might be most useful to them, such a gift card to the bookstore, the gas station, the school supply store or one to a place like Amazon.com where the teacher can purchase almost anything.

Movie Tickets

Who doesn’t look forward to seeing a few summer blockbusters? A booklet of movie tickets will ensure your favorite teacher has some traditional summer fun without spending much money. Many theaters sell “bucks” that can be used for movie admission as well as at the concession stand. Just make sure you choose a theater that’s close to the teacher’s home for extra convenience.

Your Time

It may sound cliché, but your time really is the most precious gift. If you can’t volunteer in the classroom give the teacher a homemade “gift certificate” for an hour of yard work, pet setting or baby sitting over the summer.

Of course you’re busy too, and to make sure you don’t waste any of your own limited time organizing a group gift or shopping for something check with your child’s school about their policy for gift giving. Some schools don’t allow teachers to accept cash or gift cards. The worst mistake you can make is to rush out and purchase a “No. 1 Teacher” mug or some other kitschy item because you feel obligated to get a gift. Your child’s teacher already has all the trinkets they can use.

Mary Leonard

Mary repurposes everything, from napkins to yogurt containers. She loves sharing tips on how families can be more green.


Wedding Gift Ideas

It’s Wedding Season-Do You Need to Buy a Gift?

With June, comes the wedding season. Although there are weddings happen all year around, June just seems to be the month that they are most popular in. So, what do you give the wedding couple for a gift? You can always get something off their wedding registry or the easy route is to give them a nice card with some cash or a check.

If you’d like to give something a little more personal, or something other than a toaster or a blender, I have some gift ideas for you. Just click on the  image or link below  it to buy or get more info about the gift.



Stone Mill Ivy Planter Crock Blue

Stone Mill Ivy Planter Crock

I love this idea. You can get this 2 gallon crock planter  with the couple’s address, or last name or even both of their first names.  Wouldn’t it look great outside by the front door? You can have 2 lines of text on it. It’s dishwasher and oven safe and you can use it for other things too such as an utensil holder, magazine holder and umbrella holder. The planter has a choice of text color of Black, Blue, Green and Burgundy. At the time of this post, it’s running around $75.




Signature Vase

Here’s an interesting idea. A vase the wedding guests (or bridal shower guests) can personalize. The vase is 9 3/4 inches tall and is made of Dolomite clay. It comes with a special pen just for personalizing. This is going for around $37 at the moment.



Wedding Wishes Gourmet Gift Basket - Medium

Congratulations! Wedding Wishes Gourmet Gift Basket – Medium

Who wouldn’t want to receive this beautiful gift basket?  I love the basket itself too. It’s decorated with pretty white doves and flowers. It comes with various food items and sparkling cider and a 5 x 7 picture frame. A gift card can be included if you wish. This is under $60 at the time of this post.




Picnic Plus Lenox 2 Person Picnic Basket

Picnic Plus Lenox 2 Person Picnic Basket

Speaking of baskets, having a picnic is a great way for newlyweds to keep the romance alive. This heavy duty picnic basket will last for years. It includes plates, glasses, cloth napkins and eating utensils for two people plus a combination bottle opener-cork screw-knife. This basket is going for around $65 right now.




From My Heart to Yours  Couple Pillowcases

BoldLoft “From My Heart to Yours” Couple Pillowcases-Romantic Valentine’s Day Gifts for Couples, Cute Valentines Gifts for Him or Her, Romantic Anniversary Gifts

How cute is this? Love it! This set of 2 pillowcases is made of cotton and will fit queen and standard size pillows. The set is going for around $36 right now.




mr and mrs set of aprons

Black Embroidered Set of Aprons “Mr & Mrs”

Another really cute idea, how about His and Hers aprons? These are made of a poly/cotton blend and will fit most people. They have pockets too which I think is always important to have in aprons. The set is running right around $32 at the moment.



Northpoint Cuddly Regal Microsherpa Throw

Northpoint Regal Microsherpa Throw, Red

I bought this for my sister in law last Christmas and she loved it! I did too and want one for my home. Be aware, it isn’t as thick as it looks but it’s perfect to snuggle up with your honey on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a good movie. Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic. Anyway, this comes in your choice of blue (as shown), gray, black, red, chocolate, ivory, and green. This is running around $25 right now.


Hope you found something for the wedding couples you know. Looking at all these great wedding gifts, makes me wish I was getting married again. NOT.  But it’s still fun to shop for weddings and I like to pick things that I know I would like if I were getting married and also what my daughters would like since they are in the age bracket of most newlyweds.

Graduation Gift Ideas

It’s that time of year again. Graduation time! Being late May, you may have already gone to a graduation or two. I actually don’t have any to go to this year for the first time in a very long time.


You may be wondering what kind of gifts to giver the upcoming graduates in your life. Well, there’s always the much appreciated gift that can always be used: cash. But if you want to give something a little more personal, something that the graduate will think of you when they use your gift, I have some suggestions.

First we have this funny t-shirt. It says “I Graduated! Can I go back to bed now?” It comes in Small, Medium, Large, X Large, and XX Large.  Like most t shirts it is made of cotton. Unfortunately, dark blue is the only color it comes in so it’s probably best for a guy.

The company that makes these is called Old Glory and they boast that they have same day shipping.  At the time of this writing, it’s running around $15. You can get this shirt  from Amazon.

I Graduated T-Shirt T-Shirt
I Graduated T-Shirt T-Shirt



If you are looking for a special gift for a girl graduate, I remember back in the day, my favorite graduation gift was a pendant with a pearl on the end of it. I got it from my uncle.

I found this gorgeous necklace from MOL Jewelry. It’s a Journey of Life necklace. It doesn’t say how long it is but it hangs off a leather cord. It has 2 fresh water pearls and a sterling silver disc bead. It also comes with a card that has a great saying about letting the pearls remind you to follow your heart and dreams.

Right now, this necklace is going for around $35. and you can get it gift wrapped too.

Journey of Life NecklaceJourney of Life Necklace

I found a few great books for grads too. First we have this one called “What Now? Words of Wisdom After Graduation”.  This book got some great reviews from the graduates who received it.

Right now, as of this writing, you can get a new version for under $12 and a used version for a lot less. But for a gift, go with the new.

What Now?Words of Wisdom for Life After Graduation
What Now? Words of Wisdom for Life After Graduation


The next book also got good reviews. It looks pretty funny too. It’s called “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College”.



The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College



A traditional graduation gift is a nice pen. I remember getting one of these and loved it. I used it for about a year until I lost it.

This pen is nice and would be great for a boy or girl. It can take Parker refills which can easily be found in most office supply stores such as Office Max or Office Depot. It has 24k plated fittings and is made in the USA from Zebra wood (whatever that is).

It’s a classy looking pen and as of this writing, it’s going for around $26.

Hand Turned Zebra-Wood Cigar-Style Ball Point Pen

Hand Turned Zebra-Wood Cigar-Style Ball Point Pen


My last pick is somewhat old fashioned in this digital age but I still think a grad would like it.

It’s a photo frame/photo album.  It holds 4″x6″ pictures and holds 48 photos. The frame itself is made from metal. Right now, you can get this for around $13.

Photo Front Graduation Picture Album

Photo Front Graduation Picture Album


Well that’s it for my graduation gifts pick. Hope you find the perfect gift for your grad! And if you get any of my picks, let me know how the graduate liked them!





P.S. If you are looking for a gift for dad, check out Fathers Day Gift Ideas.

Christmas Gift Baskets

One of my favorite kind of Christmas gifts to give and receive are gift baskets. You can buy ready made gift baskets and Amazon has a really nice assortment of them here: Gift Baskets

Of course, being that Christmas is in just a few days, it’s a little late to order a gift basket online for Christmas but there are always other occasions and holidays.

You can however, make a gift basket yourself and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, you can add some homemade items to your basket and make it pretty inexpensively.

What I like about gift baskets, besides being fun to make, is that you can personalize them to the recipient. Just match the interests of your recipient to any basket idea. In fact each basket should have it’s own theme.

For example, last year I had a hard time coming up with an idea for a gift for my mother. She was elderly, disabled but fairly well off financially and really didn’t need anything. One of those cases of what to give the person who has everything.

After some brainstorming, I came up with a stationery basket. Being of the generation that still pays all their bills through the mail, my mom went through a lot of stamps. She also liked to send cards and notes to friends and family. So I made a basket with a roll of stamps, a pretty writing pen, a box of all purpose cards and a pack of pretty stationery and envelopes. She loved it!

I also have a brother in law who is in the same category who doesn’t really need anything. He is middle aged, wealthy, not married and I only see him once or twice a year so I really don’t know his interests or needs. I do know that he travels by car several times a year from the Chicago area to the southern states to see his siblings. So I made him an “auto” gift basket. In it, I bought a really nice heated ice scraper, a car air freshener, some cleaner for the interior of your car, and a few more things that I can’t remember now.

I also made him a “kitchen” basket one year when I heard he had re-done his kitchen and bought him some little things for his kitchen in the new color scheme. I lined the basket with new kitchen towels. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if my B-I-L ever really liked these gifts or used them. He’s a guy of few words. But I had fun making them, And at least my gift showed I put some thought into it and it didn’t cost me too much. I think the most I spent was $30 for everything.

This year, I am making one gift basket for my sister in law who loves to collect Santas so Santa is her theme, I bought a few things off of Etsy and got the rest at discount stores.  You can see hers below.

sister in laws gift basket

The other basket below  is for my next door neighbor. I don’t know what she likes so her basket is sort of general with a pretty candle, a tin of tea and few other small things.

I bought a roll of thick red ribbon on sale at Micheal’s and a roll of red plastic wrap that I will use to wrap these 2 baskets up in. I bought the baskets on sale too and I made sure I got sturdy, attractive baskets that can be used for other things.

I got these baskets at Ross’s but you can find them just about everywhere. I have found them at thrift stores, craft stores, Walmart, Kmart and even some surprisingly decent baskets at dollar stores.

I have given a quilter friend a basket that had fabric remnants (also called fat quarters), a few quilter tools, some quilting thread, some pretty trims and it was in a basket that would be perfect for a quilter to store supplies.

Some other gift basket ideas to make:

  • Fishing Gift Basket with fishing lures and line and other fishing paraphernalia.
  • New Pet Basket with pet toys, pet food samples, grooming supplies, etc. And instead of a basket, use a pet food bowl.
  • Kids Basket with toys or books or whatever they are interested in.
  • First Home Basket. I did this for a friend of my daughter’s that had some basic tools (hammer, nails, screw driver) and a flash light, light bulbs, and don’t laugh, but toilet paper. I gave this basket to her on the day she moved in to her first apartment and she was very appreciative of these items that she didn’t think of getting herself.
  • Movie Night Basket with a DVD, bag of microwave popcorn. Put this in a popcorn bowl instead of a basket.
  • Home Cooked Basket with jars of mixes. I know you have seen them. You put all the dry ingredients in for something like soup, or cookies and add the instructions. You could also add cookies or fudge or some other home made goodie.
  • Reading Basket with paperbacks and magazines.
  • Baby Basket with things for a new baby.
  • Hot drink Basket with 1 or 2 pretty mugs, a tin of tea and a tin of  hot chocolate mix and a baggie of marshmallows.

Got any ideas to add to the list?  Use your imagination. I’m sure you can come up with countless ideas for great gift baskets.