Mother's Day Contest Winners!

I am so excited to share some of the entries we received in our Mother's Day Contest, as well as some tips & ideas to make your Day special!  We loved these wonderful stories - some funny, some touching, and then some just plain good ideas.

Tips for celebrating Mom in style!

  • Plan ahead!  Moms don't like gifts and cards that were obviously bought at the last minute.  One reader reports that "I do not like it when he needs to leave on Saturday night to go out and buy my card."  DOTP agrees.  Moms also do not love being asked "What should we do today?" at 8 am on Mother's Day!  Give us a day off from figuring everything out.  
  • Don't make a mess.  As a rule, homemade meals are thoughtful, as long as they don't create a nightmare in the kitchen.  Stick with simple meals (see ideas below) or make reservations, and make sure to leave the kitchen cleaner than it was when you started.  I would add that this Clean Up Rule could be applied to the whole house - it's not a relaxing day off when the next day just involves twice as much housework because no one did it on Sunday!
  • Listen well.  Moms usually drop some clues about what would make for a happy day, but if you're not 100% sure, one reader says that her ideal Mother's Day involves being asked, "several times during the day, "What can I do to help right now?"
  • Mix it up.  Moms mentioned that they want to spend part of the day with the fam, but it's also nice to have time to just do something fun with friends or alone.  

Easy Meal Ideas:

  • Breakfast in Bed - Movies and TV shows have made it seem that if Mother's Day doesn't start off with breakfast in bed, it's a major fail.  However, the reality of trying to accomplish it  - particularly with the "help" of young children - can sometimes set everyone's teeth on edge, as cooking with little people is not accurately represented by said movies & TV shows.  If you're not confidant about being able to pull off a gourmet breakfast before chaos breaks loose, just feeding the kids breakfast while Mom sleeps in or enjoys coffee in bed will be appreciated.  If you're a little more ambitious, kids could help pick out a few of Moms favorite pastries at a bakery and some fresh berries at the store.  Grab a carton of heavy whipping cream, then whip it with a hand mixer and a few teaspoons of sugar for a sweet, easy breakfast treat.   
  • Picnic in the Park - a picnic always sounds so lovely and peaceful, doesn't it?  Here's what normally unfolds in our house when we decide to go on a picnic, however:  Decision to go on a picnic is made very close to lunchtime.  We I begin to look around for food to take on the picnic only to discover that we have nothing that can be easily transported to a park.  Approximately one hour later, we have procured food, but hunger has caused fighting to break out and tempers to flare.  But I won't let anyone eat, because for some reason, it's super-important to me that we eat all of the food outdoors, otherwise the whole picnic idea has failed.  We arrive at the park, eat, spend 30 minutes disciplining the children and trying unsuccessfully to force them to run around and play while we relax, and then leave, often having accused one or all of the children of "ruining" the fun picnic.  So, here's my advice if you want the picnic to actually be pleasant:  make or buy sandwiches, juice boxes, and packaged snacks the day before!!  Whole Foods is your friend.  Ignore that it costs to buys sandwiches you could make for a tenth of the cost.  Pack the car with a blanket, balls, sunscreen, paper towels, etc the day before!!  Pack a cooler with food around 10 am & you'll be ready to roll in time to get where you're going and be happy when you get there.  Maybe one of these days, I'll even take my own advice!
  • Mixed Grill Dinner - I love the idea of ending the weekend and Mother's Day with a dinner outdoors (on the porch, of course).  A grilled dinner is also easy to shop for, quick to prepare, and usually makes everyone happy!  Here's my easy grill dinner plan:  choose a few meats or veggies to grill that everyone will enjoy - shrimp, mushrooms, steak, etc.  Marinate for a few hours in a simple (but high quality) salad dressing/marinade.  Mix up a green salad with some fresh veggies, croutons & maybe an avocado or blue cheese to make it a little bit fancy.  Buy a loaf of really good bread & some great wine, and you're done.  It's easy, healthy, delicious and made with love.  
Ok, now that I've given you some ideas for Mother's Day (or any day) success, here are a few of the entries we received in our contest for Best/Worst Mother's Day.  We thank all of you who participated & congratulate our two winners - Julie McBride & Amy Thompson!  

Here are some of our Favorites!

In the category of "Dream On, Mama":

"Good=a day where I get to sleep in until at least noon, have 2 “full blooded” (non-diet) Dr. Pepper’s while I shop leisurely for some clothing for myself, followed by a walk and a massage, and then a nap.  When I wake up I enjoy a gourmet dinner cooked by my husband, then I will read a book while someone else does baths and bed with the kids, and then I watch a great “chick flick”  while I enjoy a luscious Australian Shiraz.  As a surprise I receive a gift of a vacation to a tropical island (leaving the next morning) and win the lottery before heading out of town :)  I write a successful book while I am on vacation and grow huge boobs and a flat stomach while away (al the while enjoying red wine and good food)."

In the category of "We've All Had One of These Days":

"On my very FIRST mother's day (my son was 3 moths old) my husband went to play golf (MISTAKE #1).  Actually in hindsight, what sort of moron agrees to let her husband play golf on mother's day????  Anyway, he came home and we proceeded to get in a fight (most likely about the fact that he had just played golf!)  So, I put said 3 month old in the jogger stroller and took off on a walk headed for the St. Paul's playground.  I remember walking down Buena Vista Road sobbing because it was  my first mother's day and here I was taking care of the child all by myself, when a man walked out his front door and shouted out to me, "Happy Mother's Day!"  Of course, this made me cry even harder because here was a total stranger wishing me happy mother's day and celebrating me and my own husband hadn't even done it!!!!!  So I finally got to St. Paul's playground and a short while later, my husband showed up and made some lame ass attempt at an apology.  However by then it was pretty much a moot point and I remember thinking, if this is how Mother's Day is going to be in my life, shoot me now!!!"

In the category of "Mom Loves Me More!":

Two years ago, my brother once again tried earning "The Favorite Child Award.'  He made sure he had the flowers ordered and paid extra for them to be delivered on Mother's Day.  When arriving home from church, the lovely arrangement was sitting on the steps with the note about what a wonderful mom he has and how he would do anything to be with her for the day.  (I personally think this would have even been better if he had flown or driven here as a surprise:-))  Just in case the flowers were not enough, he also tried calling SEVERAL times leaving such sweet messages for my mom.  I knew I could not answer the phone, and Mom was not allowed to answer hers. So, he spent all day trying to share his love and how much he missed being with her on Mother's Day.  Well with all the money spent, he was the one surprised.  The fact was that Mom was going to be with him and not get his flowers.  She and my father had headed to NYC for his surprise 40th birthday party to be held that evening.  
So with effort and planning, things did not go as my brother had planned for Mom.  I had to find room in the fridge to try to preserve the flowers until Mom returned.  While she was thankful and appreciated all his effort, I still am her favorite:-).

In the category of "It's the Little Things":

Best Mother's Day - when my husband and daughter let me sleep in, offer me a hot crusty biscuit from McDonald's accompanied with a large Diet Coke....and MOST importantly when my husband sincerely says several times during the day, "What can I do to help right now?"

In the category of "Mothers Can Be Hard to Please":

The worst Mother's Day I've experienced was actually with my mother when I was a child.  My father took me to Luria's (a local store with jewelry and household items).  My mother loved their jewelry and they offered many different price points.  As my father picked out his gift for her, he told me to find something.  I was about 8 years old, and he gave me about $40 to spend.  About an hour later, I found the perfect gift..... a telephone/alarm clock/radio for their bedroom.  This said item would sit on my father's side of the bed, but I knew she WANTED it.  (Oh, I was so wrong!) My Dad said he thought I should find a more personal gift, but I assured him, this would be perfect.  (Again, I was so wrong!)  She never used an alarm clock and didn't listen to music, but I thought she would like it.  When she opened it, she was "grateful" - she is a gracious gift receiver, but later I overheard her tell my dad, "what was he thinking!"  THe next day, I went back to Luria's and bought her a charm for her bracelet which she loved.  Just to be noted.  They had that phone/clock radio until they sold that house in 2004 - almost 20 years later.

In the category of "A Mother's Love":

"On Mother's Day, I would love to have my daughter return to North Carolina. My daughter returned to our home to live with us in February of 2011 when her husband was delployed to Stuggart, Germany. She had the opportunity to visit him last year in June for two weeks. Then, in November two days before Thankgiving I put her on a plane with a plan for her to visit with her husband for 10 days. She wanted to see him before she was too far along in her pregnany to board an international flight.
On Thanksgiving Day she was admitted to the hospital on the base in Stuggart. My grandaughter was finally safely delivered by cesarian in Feburary and the baby has done great. My daugher is still in the hospital as of today. After arriving in Stuggart she suffered kidney failure during her pregnancy and is now completely dependant on dialisiss. Then, the doctors discovered she had a rare blood disorder and receives blood transfusions constantly. Now she is currently experiencing heart failure. As much as I would love to hold my new grandaughter who I have not yet seen, to have my daugther return would be the greatest blessing in the world. I have done everything possible to work with the base hospital in Germany to have her transferred to the VA hospital in Salisbury. I want to see and touch her atleast one more time. She is my oldest daughter and even with three other children at home none of the others can replace her or take her place in my heart.
With the constant decline in her health it is very difficult to know this is the last Mother's Day I will have all my children alive. I would love to have her here with all of us to share our her with love for the remaining days of her life. Rather than her spending this time alone in another country. After originally leaving home to spend time with her husband, she no longer has even her husband or daugher close enough to see. My son in law has already been deployed to another country and took my grandaughter with him, since my daughter is unable to care for the baby. Having her return and close enough to spend timewith is without a doubt the greatest blessing my family could do or give me this Mother's Day."

And in the category of "Mom is Always in our Hearts":

"Worst Mothers Day would have to be the first Mothers Day after I lost my mom."

Thanks everyone - have a wonderful day!

Claire & Alex