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Busy Mama: A waffle iron will make this mother happy

Mother’s Day is in a week, and it’s not too late to find the perfect gift.

(Ahem, if the Busy Daddy or Busy Children are reading this column, don’t forget that I want the waffle iron that turns over, like those fancy ones at hotels. You know, the one I’ve hinted about and pointed to every time we’ve been in a store together for the past two months.)

According to a survey by the National Retail Foundation, Americans expect to spend an average of $162.94 on mom, down from $168.94 last year. This year’s biggest trend is buying a practical gift for mom, according to the group. (You know, like a flip Belgian waffle maker.)

About 43 percent of those surveyed plan to buy mom a gift card so she can pick out her own gift. And more than 80 percent planned to include a greeting card.

Those are both great ideas. Here are a few other ideas to consider:

Pictures of the kids, or an item with pictures of the kiddos: Last year, I snapped a photo of our kids with my camera phone, emailed it to a certain chain pharmacy that’s on every other corner, and they printed it on a stainless steel travel mug that I gave my husband for his birthday. I really wanted to keep it, but now I just steal it all of the time. We’ve both received a lot of compliments on it.

Jewelry: It’s probably too late to order a mother’s ring with birthstones, but you could always take her to the jeweler and let her pick out the style she wants. If that’s not in your budget, you can’t go wrong with a less expensive pendant that says #1 Mom.

A fun day in Olympia: Take mom for some shopping and lunch at the Olympia Farmers Market and then check out the Olympia Wooden Boat Fair. The market is at 700 N. Capitol Way, Olympia, and is open 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; the Wooden Boat Fair is right next door at Percival Landing from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. next Sunday. And you also can stop in at the Legislative Building on the Capitol Campus at 1:30 p.m. on Mother’s Day for the annual Flutes in the Rotunda free concert.

A homemade gift: Some of my most treasured gifts are ones my kids created with their handprints and other artwork. Check out or a craft store for quick ideas that are sure to make mom smile.

A day at the spa: Most moms have a tough time spending money on themselves. Pick up a gift certificate so she has an excuse for a few hours of pampering. Or consider putting together a basket of her favorite nail polish, lotions and extras that she can enjoy.

Anything chocolate: Nuff said.

High-tech gifts: Depending on your budget, maybe it’s time to upgrade mom’s old phone to a smart one. Or if she has a favorite online game, buy her a gift card so she can get extra lives and pass a difficult level that she’s been stuck on for two months. has reviewed several products geared toward electronics-loving mamas, including a home latte maker, high-tech fitness gadgets and laptop cases that are designed to look like purses.

Staff writer Lisa Pemberton is busier than ever with three kids. Reach her at 360-754-5433 or