Gift ideas for moms & teachers

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How did this time of year arrive so quickly?  Mother's Day is Sunday, May 9th and the close of another school year comes soon after that.  So if you want to shop for Mom and also give your teacher a thank you gift,  I did some browsing to see what I could come up with on a tight budget.  I will start with only one high-priced item because it is a cool one to know about for Mom, but everything else that I found goes for under $20 and some for only $10.

Pricey but Perfect Long Distance Gift
On the high price end, Kodak has a digital photo frame that is very cool for Mothers and Grandmothers who live far away.  The Kodak Pulse Digital Frame sells for $129.99 at Sears, Best Buy, and  Although expensive, I felt this one was worth mentioning because after you load your pictures and send the frame to Mom, you can continue to send new photos to her frame as long as she has a wireless connection set up in her home.  The frame acts a little like a lap top that can receive fresh pictures as you send them, even if she lives on the east coast and you live on the west coast.  So, Mom can come home and fire up her frame to see what new pictures you have sent.  A memory card can also be loaded in the frame, so wireless is not required to continue to add new photos.

Shared Favorites Basket
For a quick last minute gift that can be easily assembled, give her what I call a shared favorites basket.  My Mom is always telling me that she wants to try stuff that she sees in my segments, so I put together a basket with samples of my favorite items that I think she will enjoy.  Just fill the basket with as much or as little as you want depending on your budget.  I filled my Mom's basket with my favorite mascara, lip gloss and a deck of walking cards called The Walking Deck by Shirley Archer.  I think that she will like the mascara and lip gloss.  And Mom is a big walker, so the unique deck of cards, that sells for $15, covers how to do cardio walking in a swimming pool, proper posture, breathing and more.  The Walking Deck is sold in bookstores. 

Edible, Useful & Frugal
Here is one that can work for Moms and teachers.  Buy a pretty platter or a simple paper plate, place a cake or fruit basket on it and then cover with a collapsible food umbrella.  This becomes an edible item with a very useful present on top!  At a recent party I threw, I had multiple moms ask me where I got my white food cover that actually looked nice covering my appetizers that were placed outside.  This got me thinking that a lot of women would like and use the umbrella covers that keeps edibles attractive and bugs out.  I found a box that contained two of the food covers for under $15 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  Make your own cake with a paper plate and you have just given a thoughtful and delicious gift for under $15!  I even found them on-line at and Bass Pro Shops at where it is listed at the Coghlan's Fold-Away Food Cover.

The "I Had To Have One" Gift!
Another great gift that works for Moms and teachers is an item that I had to buy two of because I wanted one, too!  The Save In Style! Card Cubby is a small wallet sized file that is also stylish to boot.  With an alphabetical file system placed neatly inside, gift cards and those frequent buyer cards, that I always seem to lose right when I am ready to redeem my freebie, fit in perfectly!  I found my zebra print one for $19.99 at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe.  And if you know her frequent stops, then you can fill it with a few of those buyer cards. For example I put a car wash card in my gift one that already had a few stamps filled in.    Truly one of my favorite finds of the year!

Teacher Treasures
Changing Hands Bookstore also had cool wall hooks in all types of animals designs.  I bought a ladybug one for our teacher because she has her classroom decked out in the bright red bugs and it only set me back $8.  Changing Hands, located in Tempe, had an abundance of unique and fairly priced gift items for teachers. 

Another cool teacher gift idea are items that are useful in the classroom.  For under $20, considering purchasing the The Kids' Kit.  This kit contains over 350 magnetized words and word fragments that attach to any steel surface.  My sister-in-law is a teacher and she has the kit in her classroom so students can practice putting sentences and phrases together.  I am told that kids gravitate to the neat little magnetic squares to sharpen their language arts skills.  Many teachers appreciate items for the class room because often times supplies are left to the teachers to fund on their own.  School supply gift cards from stores like Lakeshore Learning is another gift idea that may really help that teacher out when the new school year begins.

The Sweet & Sassy high heel cake server
The Sweet & Sassy high heel cake server sells for $18.50 at Nothing Bundt Cakes located at 48th Street and Ray Rd. in Ahwatukee in the Target shopping center.  You can also find the same one for $19 at

So hopefully one or two of these ideas will work for the Mom or teacher on your list, but consider one other thought before you shop.  I asked several of my Mom pals what it is that they want and some of them told me nothing at all due to tight budgets that have them on edge this year.  The other common answer was to please ask them what they want so that the money is well spent.  One of my friends told me that she always gets candy, but doesn't want the extra calories and she can also do without the flowers that die too quickly.  She would be much happier with a healthy cook book or a good bottle of wine. 

And if you are a Mom who feels a bit stressed about receiving, go ahead and state your case.  Tell your family what you really want or don't want because they really can't read our minds, even if we Moms can usually read theirs.  Happy Mother's Day and thank God for those terrific teachers!