With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day approaching, not to mention graduations and Summer Solstice (why not?), I thought I’d share one of my favorite gift ideas… A donation to Heifer International buys livestock for families in need, and provides the training necessary for those families to become self-sufficient by selling milk and eggs, or breeding rabbits and goats.

This is also a great way to honor a new baby or a favorite teacher, celebrate a friend’s birthday or a wedding. Because how many of us really need new things?

My stepdad’s birthday is next week; since he’s the one who raised me, taught me how to ride a bike, and suffered through helping me pass three years of Algebra classes, he’s really my dad. Ever since he and my mom got married when I was four, he’s teased us about what happened to his dowry. As far as I’m concerned, I was his dowry… who wouldn’t want an excitable, overimaginative, freckled four-year-old as a wedding gift? But this year I finally did it – and now he has a goat, and can stop with the dowry jokes. (unless he wanted a water buffalo, in which case he’ll have to talk to my Mom.)