Nature’s Favorite Moms

This weekend we’re honoring our moms on Mother’s Day — they deserve it! They do so much for us from birth to adulthood, but the animal kingdom has some pretty amazing moms that deserve a little recognition this week, as well. Here are some of Mother Nature’s most amazing moms.

Elephants Elephant moms are pretty spectacular animals. First of all, the gestation period for elephants is 22 months. That’s a pregnancy that lasts just short of two years! There’s no wonder why females rule the herd. But just like human moms, elephant mothers can’t do it all on their own — their sisters and aunts help out with the rearing of a young calf.  

Orangutan Orangutan moms develop strong bonds with their offspring. Much like humans, they give birth to one baby at a time. The babies then stay with their mothers to learn the ins and outs of life in the forest for up to eight years. But just like humans, their children (the females, at least) go home every so often to visit.

Koalas Koala moms are dedicated creatures. They’re marsupials (like kangaroos), so after koalas give birth, their young live in a pouch in their torsos for about six months. When they’re too big for the pouch, mom puts them on her back and takes them anywhere and everywhere she goes for an entire year. It’s nature’s way of fostering a strong mother-child bond.

Polar Bears Polar bear moms are fierce, but it’s their nature. Basically, polar bear moms are left alone to dig a snow den to give birth and raise her twin cubs until it’s warm enough to leave. When the cubs leave, a whole new set of challenges arise — not only does this single mom have to protect them from the cold and teach them how to hunt, she sometimes has to fight other polar bears to keep her cubs safe.

Cheetah Cheetah moms are moms on the move. After giving birth, every step she takes is an effort to protect her young from predators — she makes a new home for her and her litter every few days so their scent is untraceable. When her cubs are big enough, she teaches them to hunt for themselves for up to two years. After that, they’re on their own, sometimes forming small groups with their siblings.

At The Lakeside Collection, we celebrate all mothers for everything they sacrifice for their children every day of the year. Whether you want to honor your mom with a unique Mother’s Day gift or you want to make her ordinary day extraordinary, we have ideas and products to make your mom feel special.  


Last-Minute Cinco de Mayo Party Food

May snuck up on us and that means we have some Cinco de Mayo party planning to do in a hurry! But don’t worry — you can get it all done with a little help on the food and drinks. Here are a few last-minute Cinco de Mayo party food ideas.chili-con-queso

Two-minute Chili con Queso Cube a 16-ounce brick of processed American cheese. Pour 1-½ cups of your favorite salsa over your cheese cubes. Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir. Microwave for another two minutes. Stir again. Continue these steps until the all the cheese is melted. Serve with corn chips.

guacamole1-2-3 Guacamole Mash two ripe avocados add 1 cup of your favorite salsa. Stir together. Add a squeeze of lemon. Stir some more. Add salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

quesadillasQuick Chicken Quesadillas Cut up a rotisserie chicken into chunks.  Add the chicken to a large skillet with a ½ tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Stir frequently. Add 1 tsp ground cumin and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper. Stir until everything is well combined. Remove from heat. When you’re ready, heat (high heat) a clean skillet with just enough vegetable oil to coat the pan. Lay a tortilla in the skillet. On half of the tortilla, toss a handful of shredded cheddar. Top the cheese with a ¼ cup of the cooked chicken. Fold over the tortilla so the chicken and cheese are covered. Let it heat up for about 30 seconds before flipping it. Let the other side cook for about another 30 seconds. Serve.

beef-tacosBrisk Beef Tacos Over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large skillet. Add ½ onion, diced, and stir until the onion is soft and translucent. Add 1 pound ground beef. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin over the beef. Stir and work the beef with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed well and the beef is cooked. Set aside and keep warm until it’s time to serve with taco shells.

Garnishes Chop up a white onion, a bunch of cilantro, slice a few limes, shred some cheddar and lettuce and put them in small serving bowls alongside a bowl of sour cream. The garnishes will make your food fancy and your guests will think your party was planned weeks in advance.

All of the above makes enough food for about eight people, but all of the recipes can easily be doubled or cut in half to make Cinco de Mayo parties of any size spectacular!

April’s Pinteresting Picks

We made it to May! And we have so much to be excited about in the warm, spring ahead! Our Pinterest followers are excited to get outdoors, too. We can tell by what they’re pinning there are a few weddings and parties being planned. folding-deck-tables Here are April’s Pinteresting Picks.

Outdoor Entertaining Accessories Add extra space for everything from summertime snacks to evening cocktails with a Folding Deck Table. Metal clamps and brackets make it simple to secure the handsome wood table to a railing on your balcony, deck or porch. The folding table is also ideal for decks or balconies with limited space.

wedding-party-jar-mugsWedding Fun Honor everyone in your wedding party before, during and after the big day with the Wedding Party Jar Mug Set. Each 14 oz. traditional mason jar celebrates those who make the day extra special. A dress or tuxedo adorn each mug, which rests on an ornate pedestal. Use it as a centerpiece during the wedding, and a thoughtful way to say thank you after. It’s a charming memento to celebrate the beginning of a lifetime of happiness. Come in sets of 2 so you can buy multiples if needed.

felt-separatorsSpring Organization The Set of Felt Pan Separators protects your cookware and bowls from chips and scratches while you store them in a cabinet. The colorful separators come in 2 sizes. They provide a thin layer of gentle cushioning to diminish the chances of unwanted markings and cracks. They also keep items from locking together when stored for long periods. Either size separator can also be trimmed for a custom fit.

wedding-toteBig Day Frills Give the wedding party the gift of comfy, coordinating footwear to take from the bridal room to the reception hall with this tote and flip-flip set. The tote has ample room for hair styling tools, accessories and more. Includes a magnetic closure. Change into the coordinating pair of flip-flops after a night of dancing. EVA foam and PVC. Ribbons on totes are removable.

slim-storageSpace Savers Create discreet space for canned goods, books or toiletries with the wooden 65″ Slim Storage Cabinet. Its two cabinets with doors each open to reveal 2 shelves. Magnets securely hold the doors closed. In the center, 2 open shelves provide additional storage space. At the top, a shelf with a decorative rail gives you space for more essentials or a display of photos or collectibles. Round feet give the cabinet a finishing touch. This cabinet will fit in some of the tightest spaces in your home or apartment.


Cinco de Mayo: A Brief History of the Piñata

PinataCinco de Mayo is just a few days away and, as Americans, there’s no holiday we won’t celebrate to honor our mixed culture. When we think of celebrating Cinco de Mayo and Mexican heritage, margaritas and guacamole come to mind as well as piñatas — those fun, candy-stuffed papier-mache animals kids beat with sticks until they explode. It’s a unique tradition, so we wanted to find out about how piñatas came about. Here’s a brief history of the piñata.

Chinese Chachkes According to Celebrating Latino Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Cultural Traditions, there are two paths piñatas followed to become a Mexican symbol of celebration. The first path was via China. During a visit to China in the 1300s, Marco Polo allegedly observed Chinese people fill elaborately decorated figures of animals filled with seeds. They then hit the figures with brightly colored sticks until they broke and spilled the seeds. Marco Polo brought the idea back to Italy where the animals evolved into decorated clay pots called “pignattas” which means “fragile pots.” The idea became a Lenten tradition and spread across Europe all the way to Spain.

PinataMissionary Method Spanish missionaries are credited with bringing the tradition to Mexico in the 1500s. They used the colorful clay pots to attract the indigenous people to Christian ceremonies. What the missionaries didn’t know was the indigenous people already had a similar tradition of their own.  It was used in an Aztec ceremony to honor the god of war. A a clay pot was hung from a pole and smashed with a club and the treasures inside were considered an offering to the god. Mayans are the ones who came up with the blindfolding element that makes the piñata game interesting — almost as interesting as how the missionaries used piñatas to instill fear in the indigenous people. They decorated the piñatas to make them scary and frighten the tribes into converting to Christianity.Pinata

Dreaded Decor Christian piñatas are the piñatas that aren’t in the shape of animals but rather seven-pointed stars. Each point represents one of the seven deadly sins and the candy inside represents temptations. The stick used to maim the piñata and the person wielding the stick are symbols of the faith that can destroy evil. Now piñatas are commonly made in the shape of donkeys — it became a tradition for the festival for Our Lady of Guadalupe because the donkey is what carried the Virgin Mary to Bethlehem where she gave birth to Jesus.

Piñatas don’t carry as much religious weight as they used to. Now they’re mostly used as decoration for adult Cinco de Mayo parties and a fun way to distribute candy at kids’ birthday parties.

The Lakeside Collection can help you celebrate just about any holiday! From gifts to goodies to stuff in your piñatas, shop Lakeside for great products at great deals.

Monkey Bread Recipe for Mother’s Day Brunch

Monkey-breadWe are busy putting together the plan for Mother’s Day brunch and we want to show mom just how special she is by making it memorable. We have a few things on the list that we have to have — eggs, fruit and mimosas — but we wanted to do something special for our sweet treat. One of our favorites is monkey bread: little bites of dough wrapped in cinnamon and sugar. These little nuggets are hard to resist — unless she doesn’t have a sweet tooth, your mom’s going to love them! Here’s our monkey bread recipe for Mother’s Day brunch.

This version uses an enriched yeast dough (brioche) with a caramel sauce to make it sweet enough for dessert but not so sweet that it can’t be served for breakfast.  If you’ve never made brioche, this is an excellent introduction to it as it doesn’t have to be perfect to get it right. This is a very forgiving recipe.

For the Dough: For the sugar coating: For the sauce:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 TB active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the bowl
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 TB cinnamon
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter

Dough: Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until it reaches about 100℉. Remove from the heat. Place it in a mixing bowl fitted to a stand mixer with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast and sugar (don’t stir). Set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cardamom. Add to the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until everything is combined. Add the butter, egg and vanilla. Mix until thick and slightly sticky. Knead on medium speed until the dough gathers around the hook, 6 minutes. If it’s too sticky, you can add up to two more tablespoons of flour.


Remove the dough and shape into a ball. Put the remaining tablespoon of melted butter in a large bowl followed by the ball of dough. Turn the dough in the butter a few times to coat the dough. It should be shiny from the butter.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour 15 minutes.

 In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon and sugar. When the dough is ready, pull off small pieces of dough (1”) and roll them into small balls. Toss them with the cinnamon and sugar to coat them and place them in a cake pan prepared with cooking spray. You can bake them in a tube pan to remain loyal to tradition, but I divided them up into three ramekins for individual servings. Set aside while you make the sauce.


Melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until smooth. Pour over dough. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for an hour or overnight if you’re making it in advance (It also freezes well unbaked if you want to save some to bake at a later date).

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for 11-14 minutes or until the top is browned. Let cool and serve. If you want all of the reward without the work, you can also use crescent roll dough (the kind that come in the cans) from the refrigerator section of the grocery store. No one will know the difference.

Let The Lakeside Collection help you plan your Mother’s Day celebration! We have ideas and products to make your mom’s big day unforgettable.


Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Graduation Gifts

The countdown to the last day of school has begun! For some students, it’s the start of another summer, for those who are graduating, it’s the start of a new life! We want them to be prepared for whatever they have planned — whether they’re headed off to college or their backpacking through Europe.  Here’s this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Graduation gifts.luggage

3-Pc. Luggage Set comes with different bags to suit your traveling needs. Fun, vibrant prints make sure that grad’s luggage is easily recognizable. Each bag has a zippered closure for safe storage when traveling. The duffel bag has a 13-1/2″ telescoping handle that collapses into a zippered pouch. It has a single zippered front pocket, 2 carry handles and 2 easy-glide wheels. The double-handled tote has a zippered pocket on front. The toiletry bag fits inside the tote, which fits inside the duffel for compact storage.lap-desk

Computer Lap Desk with 2 Fans keeps the grad and the grad’s you computer cooler to work more comfortably and efficiently almost anywhere. Its fans prevent the computer from overheating and the foldable table is adjustable so your grad can work flat or tilt the tray to any comfortable angle.  Sets up in seconds and opens at the press of a button and the legs are adjustable. Features a built-in mouse pad, cup and pen holder on the right side, as well as a 29″ USB cable to power the fans.jumbo-hampers

No laundry hamper is too big for a college student! The large handles of this Jumbo Handled Hamper have padded grips for comfortable maneuvering on laundry day. It’s well designed for carrying laundry to the washing machine, whether in a home, apartment building, or college dorm. But that’s not all it’s good for…it also makes a great beach bag or everyday

Display memories of your grad in a School Years Photo Collage Frame. Highlight important moments throughout your graduate’s school years in one frame. Has 12 openings for 2″ x 3″ pictures, as well as an opening in the center for a 4″ x 6″ picture. 2015-throw

A treasured keepsake for any graduate! Our woven jacquard Graduation Throw is perfect for those nights in the dorm room when it starts to get chilly! It’ll keep any graduate cozy in the dorm, overseas or in apartment far away to give them some comfort from home.

Mother’s Day: Our Favorite TV Moms


Image Source: The Bees Knees via Flickr

It still doesn’t quite feel like spring — and we’re spending a little more time in front of the television than we’d like to admit. But Mother’s Day is headed our way and while we’re looking for gift ideas we thought, since we’re watching TV anyway, we’d use it for a little Mother’s Day inspiration and pick our favorite TV moms.

June Cleaver (Leave It To Beaver) Who better to deal with the shenanigans of Wally and the Beav than June Cleaver? She embodies the quintessential 1950s stay-at-home-mom (back then, they were known as housewives). She was calm, cool and always reasonable and supportive — all things moms strive to be.


Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch) Carol Brady made blended family life seem so simple! But simple doesn’t mean easy. Convincing six kids to love an entirely new family was a big challenge, and the even bigger challenge was dealing with them as teenagers. But whatever hair drama, girl trouble or miscommunication came up, Carol always had an answer.


Image Source: Elvis Kennedy via Flickr

Marion Cunningham (Happy Days) Sweet Mrs. C kept the house clean, got meals on the table and was always full of cheer despite her gruff husband, the greaser who lived above the garage and the two teenagers she was raising. Always delightful with her subtle quips and the balance she brought to the Cunningham family, her assumed naivete thwarted by her profound brilliance was what made Mrs. C a mom worth watching every week.


Image Source: Dorothy Snarker via Flickr

Elyse Keaton (Family Ties) Elyse was the hippy-dippy mom who was blessed with children that were her polar opposite. With boy-crazy Mallory, conservative Alex and spunky Jennifer, she had to stretch her parental skills to match three very different children. She did it all and managed to be a successful architect, to boot. She was a model working moms of the 80s appreciated.


Image Source: Alan Light via Flickr

Peggy Bundy (Married With Children) This list isn’t about the best TV moms, just our favorite TV moms and Peggy Bundy, with all the hair, heels and humor is definitely one of our favorites. While she was no June Cleaver and parenting wasn’t her top priority, we could suspend our disbelief once a week to watch how not to be a mother.


Image Source: Stand-Up Sucks, LLC – “I Am Comic” Directed by Jordan Brady and distributed by Monterey Media Located on Monterey Medias Flickr account.

Roseanne Conner (Rosanne) Roseanne Conner was a refreshing change from the common upper-middle-class mom we typically get from Hollywood. She gave America a small glimpse at blue collar life that we rarely see on TV. Her no-nonsense parenting and unvarnished humor made her an unconventional and respected TV mom.


Image Source: Phil Konstantin via Flickr

Marie Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) Just about everyone has a Marie Barone in their lives — she may not be your mother-in-law, but you know one just like her. She smothers her grown son and gets under her daughter-in-law’s skin, but her intentions are good.


Image Source: Viva Vivanista via Flickr

Carmela Soprano (The Sopranos) On the surface, Carmela Soprano has a pretty nice life — nice home, good kids, a husband who provides well for the family — but being married to a mob boss is a tough gig with no way out. But she was a tough cookie — not taking any guff from Tony Soprano and still raising respectable children is no small feat.

The Lakeside Collection is always looking for ideas and products to inspire our customers every day of the year. From Mother’s Day gifts to ideas to make your Memorial Day cookout spectacular, shop Lakeside for fabulous products at unbeatable prices.

5 Ways to Show Mom You Care Every Day

mothers-dayMother’s Day is just a few weeks away. Though we set aside the day to celebrate our moms, they deserve recognition for the lunches, driving us to and from soccer practice, musical rehearsals and loving support they give us year-round. Here are 5 ways to show mom you care every day.

Say Thank You We grow up with our mothers dressing us, feeding us and cleaning up after us so it’s easy to take these tasks for granted when she deserves a big thank you. While you’re probably thinking of gifts to give your mother on Mother’s Day to show your appreciation, taking a moment to actually say thank you to your mother will blow her away.

mothers-dayDutiful Children There’s so much that goes into running a household that we don’t realize until we have to run things ourselves. Why not share some of your mom’s load? Take over one of your mom’s chores or take on a cleaning project she hasn’t been able to get to. Shred the junk mail that’s been piling up, do the grocery shopping for the week or wash her car. Any little thing you can do will ease some of the burden your mom takes on every day.

Tell Her How She Inspires You Moms inspire children every day whether they’re aware of it or not. Your mom does amazing things — things you want to be able to do, too. Whether it’s being kind and generous or smart and accomplished, let your mother know how she inspires you.

Tell Her Your Favorite Memories of Her When you grow up with someone, it’s hard to see the impact they have on you day-to-day. It’s only when you look back at all of the experiences you had with someone that you can appreciate your relationship. Though your mom may have the same memories you have of different events, letting her know how special they are to you is a priceless gift.

mothers-daySpend Time With Her Time is about the most valuable thing you can give a person. Take your mom out for a meal for one-on-one time to catch up on things that have nothing to do with school, work or chores. Spend the afternoon nurturing your relationship with your mother and showing her you appreciate her.

There are dozens of ways to show your mom you love her. Whether you want to give her the perfect gift, surprise her with a spectacular brunch or you want to spend quality time with your mom, The Lakeside Collection has ideas and products to help your day with mom memorable.


The Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Administrative Professionals Day Gifts

Administrative Professionals Day is next week and, as we head into the weekend, we’re thinking about what to get our favorite administrative assistants to show them we appreciate them as well as brighten their day. We’ve looked through the catalog and selected a few gifts to share. Here’s this week’s Lakeside Selection: Our Choice for Administrative Professionals Day

Feet Treats Her feet are sure to get noticed with this 6-Pair Women’s Photo Real Socks! Comfortable and stretchy ankle socks feature prints of her favorite furry friends with fashion flair.

jelly-phone-caseStyle Support She can tuck her cell, ID, lipstick, cash, credit cards and more into this easy-to-carry silicone Jelly Phone Case. It is a fresh and modern way to organize her things. Bright colors make it easy to find in her purse. It has a tight clasp closure so her things are always safe and secure.

desk-caddyPractical Desk Decor She’ll always know where to find her phone with this Desktop Cell Phone Caddy. Not only does it hold her phone, but it also has 2 side pockets for pens, small notepads and other office supplies. Folds for easy storage when not in use. Colorful prints will brighten her space.

selfie-standFrivolous Phone Accessories The eyeClick Camera Remote lets her take selfies on her smartphone or tablet from more than an arm’s length away. Since it’s wireless, it allows her to place her device further away to fit more people in the frame. Simply insert the receiver into your device’s 3.5mm headphone jack, attach the clip, pose and click the remote. Use the clip with the tripod or to lean the phone on a flat surface. Works with both front camera and rear camera phones.

mason-jar-giftsEntertaining Instruments The Mason Jar Entertaining Collection gives her next casual event a bit of rustic charm. The Set of 4 Mugs includes silvertone lids that screw on the handled jars. In addition to being cute drinkware, they can also be used for food storage and countless craft projects. Fill up the Flatware Caddy with silverware to easily transport it to the dinner table. Three glass jars sit in the black metal rack so she can carry them with one hand. The Beverage Dispenser looks like a giant mason jar with a spigot at the bottom. It comes with a screw-on lid and is perfect for picnics and family gatherings.

The Lakeside Collection has hundreds of items for Administrative Professionals Day and all occasions. Everything from party favors to gifts to please your pets, Lakeside has something for everyone.

National Stress Awareness Day: 4 Ways Gardening Relieves Stress

GardeningApril 16 is National Stress Awareness Day — we’re all victims of stress and there are many ways to manage but, since we’re in the middle of spring, we’re looking toward the garden for stress relief. Here are 4 ways gardening relieves stress.

Exercise Gardening isn’t quite like running a marathon, but it’s an activity that gets you moving. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise reduces tension, stabilizes mood, reduces fatigue, as well as improves alertness and concentration. Pruning and weeding makes your garden look nice, but the up and down motions and repetitive actions require your muscles to have a range of movement that gets your blood pumping through your body and brain. If you look at gardening as something you get to do rather than something you have to do, you’ll be on your way to a stress-free summer.

Garden-ScooterQuiet When we think of gardens we think of a quiet place where nature rules. Leaving behind your smartphone to tend to your plants and flowers gives your brain space and peace. It makes sense, but researchers in The Netherlands have facts to back up the claim. They found that spending just 30 minutes a day in the garden doing chores actually reduces the amount of stress hormones your body creates. If you’re feeling stressed, maybe it’s time to take a break from daily stimulus and get in the garden for a few hours a week to relax.

Sunshine Plants need sunshine to survive and working outdoors alongside your precious plants exposes you to the same sunny goodness. While we know that sunshine gives us vitamin D to help strengthen our bones, it also boosts serotonin — the neurotransmitter that helps us feel good. We need bright light that we get from summer sunshine (brighter than anything we can get indoors) to get adequate amounts of vitamin D to improve serotonin levels (which is why we see so many cases of seasonal affective disorder during dark winter months). Working in the garden to spruce it up for as little as ten minutes a day can give you a good amount of sunshine to help with your vitamin D and serotonin production to make you feel relaxed.

gardeningThe Right Plants While some budding shrubs and flowering plants are easy on the eye, some are also easy on the brain. Plants like lavender are known to relieve stress through their scents. Lavender can relieve stress just by being next to it and inhaling its fragrance, but lavender, along with other herbs like chamomile and lemon balm can be used as tea to relieve stress. Whether you’re pruning your lavender or harvesting chamomile for tea, your garden can have the calming effect your brain and body craves.

Daily stress can get in the way of good moods, so if you’re playing with the idea of starting a garden, let stress relief tip the scale in favor of getting it growing! The Lakeside Collection can help you get started — we have ideas and products for a lush garden this spring that will thrive all summer long.