2014 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

As we’ve said throughout the years, moms always appreciate it when you put some thought into their gift. Of course, you can always go with flowers or chocolates, but something more personal is usually better. Whether you’re buying for your mom, your wife or another important woman in your life, think about their interests and what would bring a smile to their face.

Some moms also love gadgets that make their lives easier, so keep that in mind as well. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

SodaStream Source

SodaStream has been around longer than most people probably realize, but it’s really gained in popularity these last couple years due to people living on tighter budgets, becoming more eco-friendly and living healthier lifestyles. That’s because the carbonated beverage machine addresses all three issues by costing less money (at least after the initial investment), using BPA-free containers that are reusable and easy to clean, and offering a variety of flavors without the use of harmful sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup. It also helps that the SodaStream is so easy to use. You fill the bottle with water, connect it to the machine, press down for a few seconds to activate the carbonation, and add your syrup flavor of choice. The included CO2 canister produces up to 60 liters of fizzy beverages, and when it’s empty, you simply trade it in for a new one at a participating retail store, just like you would with a propane gas tank. And because you can make so many different flavors at the drop of a dime, you don’t have to stock up on bulky two-liters or 24-packs of soda in order to please every member of the family, which makes this about as close to a must-have household item as it gets.

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2013 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

The key to shopping for your mom, wife or anyone else on your Mother’s Day list is to put some thought into the gift. Even if you’re just getting flowers, you should go the extra mile with a card that makes it seem like more than just a routine gift.

We’ve put together some product suggestions below, but you’ll see many of them involve the kitchen, which is great for a woman who enjoys preparing food but obviously isn’t so good for a woman who sees it as a chore.

There are tons of Mother’s Day gift guides out there along with this one, so browse several of them and you’ll hit on an idea that works for you.

T-Fal ActiFry

actifry

Now that healthy living has become a bigger priority in most households, it’s nice to see products like the T-Fal ActiFry come along that allow you to enjoy foods like French fries and wings without feeling guilty about it. The ActiFry can cook vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood and dessert using a patented heat pulsing action that evenly cooks the food at a constant 338˚ F while an aluminum paddle stirs the food. Most dishes require little to no oil, with one of the biggest selling points being that you can make crispy and delicious homemade fries with only a teaspoon of oil. Though the removable non-stick pan isn’t big enough for creating large family meals, it’s still great for cooking up quick snacks or dinner for two. The ActiFry is a beast of a machine that takes up a ton of counter space, but it feels every bit as durable. It also dissembles fairly easily and is dishwasher safe, making cleanup a breeze, and the machine stays cool to the touch throughout the cooking process. That might not sound like a big deal, but for mothers with nosy kids, it’s almost as important as the healthier dishes it produces.

T-Fal Ice Cream Maker

ice_cream

Artisanal ice cream may be the latest crave with foodies, but there’s no point in paying per scoop at your favorite shop when you can make whatever gourmet concoction your heart (and taste buds) desire in the comfort of your own home. The T-fal Ice Cream Maker is incredibly affordable and easy to use, and although it comes with a handful of suggested recipes, you can pretty much make anything you might find in a cookbook (we suggest the one by Ohio local Jeni Britton), on Pinterest or anywhere else on the internet. Though most people will instantly notice how rich and smooth it makes ice cream (and with very few ingredients, too), the machine can also produce gelato, sorbet and frozen yogurt. And the best part is that since you’re in full control of what goes into the mixture, health-conscious folks can still make delicious ice cream without worry about what they’re putting into their bodies.

KRUPS Egg Express

egg_express

If we’ve learned anything from watching reality cooking shows over the years, it’s that being able to cook a perfect egg is the sign of a good chef. But even with lots of practice, it can still prove difficult to do, which is why the Egg Express from KRUPS is our new favorite toy in the kitchen. In addition to being relatively small in size (making it easy to store), the Egg Express performs two simple tasks. It can boil up to seven eggs – either soft, medium or hard boiled – or poach two eggs in the removable plastic trays, all within a matter of minutes. This little guy produced some of the best eggs to come out of our kitchen, and it’s a real time-saver too, thanks to a power indicator light and bell sound that indicates the end of cooking. That means that instead of hovering over the oven, you can get other stuff done while the Egg Express takes care of business. Unless you don’t like eggs, this is something that every household needs.

KRUPS Universal Grill and Panini Maker

panini

For quick, indoor grilling, it’s hard to beat George Foreman’s line of electric grills, but for those who want something a little sleeker that still won’t break the bank, the KRUPS Universal Grill and Panini Maker is a pretty good substitute. Though it’s better used to make Italian-style sandwiches and bruschetta, the grill can cook a variety of things, including hamburgers, chicken, fish and steaks. The top and bottom grilling plates make cooking twice as fast; the machine’s floating hinge system automatically adjusts to a food’s thickness for even grilling; and there’s even a regulator light that switches off when the proper cooking temperature has been reached, so you don’t have to second guess yourself whether the food’s ready or not. Additionally, the chrome finish adds a nice touch of class and the safety locking latch on the handle allows for convenient upright storage, perfect for any mother whose kitchen isn’t as spacious as she’d like.

Cricut Mini

cricut_mini

We featured Cricut’s flagship die-cutting machine, the Expression 2, in last year’s holiday gift guide, but for those looking for a cheaper alternative, the Cricut Mini fits the bill. It may be noticeably smaller (although that helps with storage issues) and require an internet connection to work, but this budget version does just about everything its big brother can, cutting up to 8.5 x 12-inch paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric and more. In addition to access to Cricut’s vast online image library, the Mini can also use any of the physical Cricut cartridges by linking them to your Cricut Craft Room digital account. The size limitations aren’t ideal for veteran arts and crafts enthusiasts, but the Mini provides a great introduction to the world of die-cutting, and that includes Cricut’s newest line of iron-on products. Available in two styles and a variety of colors, the iron-on material opens up a whole other avenue of customizability by allowing users to create the kind of DIY fashion and home décor projects that most mothers only wish they could accomplish before now.

Spa Day Gift Certificate

Day at the Spa

We include this every year because it’s such a great gift that so many women will appreciate. Moms in particular will appreciate time to themselves where they don’t have to worry about kids or their spouse. Make sure to find a spot that’s convenient for her, and find out if she has a favorite place, or focus on a new place that she hasn’t tried yet. This one is always a winner.

Perfume

Image ALT text goes here.If you’re shopping for your wife, you can be a little adventurous here and look for something new and trendy that she may not have tried yet. L.I.L.Y. by Stella McCartney is one of the hot, new perfumes on the market, and anything from designer Stella McCartney should go over well. You can also browse her online site for other ideas, which includes everything from jackets, to handbags, to boots and more.

  

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all the great moms out there, Happy Mother’s Day from the gang at Bullz-Eye.com. If you’re desperate for a last-minute gift, think about a gift certificate at a spa! It’s one of the ideas in our Mother’s Day Gift Guide.

And here’s a pic of celebrity mom Jessica Alba at the 2012 Outstanding Mother Awards.

Jessica Alba at the 2012 Outstanding Mother Awards. (NYC)
  

Drink of the Week: Between the Sheets

Between the SheetsLast time I was here we were talking about the distinguished history of the Mint Julep and referencing poet John Milton and his rather obscure poem, “Comus” (actually a masque if you want to get technical). Well, you can forget those high flown references this week because we’re getting down and dirty with a classic drink with no such poetic connotations.

Yes, before there was Sex on the Beach and the Screaming Orgasm there was this week’s bluntly named — at least by prohibition era standards, anyways — libation. On the other hand, it’s also probably a lot more appropriate for Mother’s Day weekend than you might care too think, given that cocktails like this are very often the mother of motherhood, if you will.

Between the Sheets

1 ounce brandy or cognac
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec
1/2 an ounce (or less) fresh squeezed lemon juice

Combine brandy/cognac, rum, lemon juice, and triple sec or Cointreau in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and pour into our old friend, the pre-chilled cocktail glass. Shake, put on some Marvin Gaye, Barry White, Beyoncé, or Perry Como (don’t say I don’t give you people some options) and sip sensuously.

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Between the Sheets is an unusual drink not only for its pre-1970s salaciousness, but in that it’s in the small but fascinating family of multiple base spirit cocktails with its rum/brandy combo. Admittedly, however, this is not as much to my personal taste as the Saratoga — which features brandy and rye — from a few weeks back, but it will do.

I tried it several different ways but no clear favorite emerged. The version with inexpensive Bols triple sec was not cloying, as some drinks made with it can be. Using the high end triple sec, Cointreau, added a classy but not super-enthralling note of complex bitterness. Both drinks were fine but when I got a bit more experimental and used orange curacao, which I generally tend to prefer to triple sec, the drink became annoyingly super-sweet. Not sexy at all.

It might not be a huge personal favorite of mine, but I encourage you to give Between the Sheets a shot. It’s a tasty enough drink and a reminder of the healthy, natural activity that brought us all into the world so we can enjoy cocktails and feel guilty about not calling our mother’s enough.

Now, a behind the scenes look at the making of the cocktail we call humanity.

  

Mom will love the Dyson DC39

We understand that household cleaning products aren’t necessarily the types of products Mom looks forward to receiving on Mother’s Day, but Dyson has revolutionized the vacuum cleaner market and is now the gold standard in that area. Many now realize that a Dyson can make your life so much easier with the superior technology.

Dyson keeps moving forward, and their recent innovation takes people back to canister vacuums of the past. The DC39 is Dyson’s first canister vacuum with Ball™ technology for stable maneuvering around the tightest corners. The unit is remarkably light and easy to maneuver, and the canister will be preferred by many over the upright vacuums as they make it so easy to get around and under furniture and also handle tough areas like carpeted steps.

The old canister cleaners are often awkward to steer and can topple. With Dyson’s Ball technology everything changes. Now it’s easy to move around, and you don’t feel like you’re dragging something that feels like a shopping cart. Sitting on a ball, DC39 has a lower center of gravity and is easier to pull without snagging on corners or the carpet pile. Coupled with a unique central steering system, it uses an articulating chassis and central pivot point for negotiating tight turns and circumnavigating sofas.

Also, because it’s a Dyson with its Radial Root Cyclone™ technology, the DC39 has superior suction and captures more microscopic dust than any other.

The DC39 makes for a great gift because it’s such a great product. Of course you might want to include something more personal or traditional like flowers or chocolate, but most moms will appreciate something as good as the DC39.

  

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