Sunday, April 22, 2012

Remember our Teachers

As the end of the school year is quickly approaching, many of us will take the time to write a note or give a gift of appreciation to our children's teachers.  (Don't forget Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7th-11th this year)  These men and women take great pride in what they do, put up with a ton of "other" children, (not mine and yours of course), and don't get paid enough. My boys get very attached to them each year and the last day of school is bittersweet. 

I wanted to offer some ideas that have come directly from a top secret source that will remain nameless to protect the innocent. 
(A retired teacher)
This post is not a hard and fast rule of the do's and don'ts of teacher gift giving.  It is mainly for some of us who might be stuck, in need of a little idea, or the first time mom who has been thrown into the world of "she gave what? to her teacher???"
Don't get stressed.  Every teacher would say it is the thought that counts.  Seriously.  
(and don't take my post too seriously)

1. Please, no apples, ABC's, 123's, chalkboards, rulers, or any other old fashioned iconic image.  I've actually heard it termed "apple crapple."  The ONLY exception is if this gift is an iPod or iPad.  Then the said apple is totally appropriate.  :)

2. No scents.  (i.e. candles, lotions, etc) unless specified by the teacher.  Everyone is different and Ms. Allen might not like the lemon-berry-grape-vanilla-sea-musk lotion as much as you do.

3. No mugs, Christmas ornaments, or anything shaped like an apple.  They. have. it. already.

4. No knick-knacks or anything that would collect dust or be in the next garage sale.

5. Nothing that says "World's Greatest Teacher" or "#1 Teacher." 
So, now that I've totally been negative, let's focus on the positive.  
The number one thing teacher's love certificates.
They are useful, generic, and hey, who wouldn't love a gift card?
Where to?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  Lakeshore, Staples, Mardel, Office Max, etc.  I was amazed when I learned how much teachers spend of their own money on their classrooms!  Also gift cards to restaurants, Target, WalMart, or Hobby Lobby.

The second thing is classroom supplies.  Cute post-it notes, sharpies, pens, pencils, stickers (if age appropriate), paper, colors, red pens, paperclips, etc. Anything that your teacher runs out of during the year and has to replace with her own money. 

The third thing is something I've done over the years and has probably gotten the most response and a few tears over.  Write an appreciation letter to the principal. Give the original to the principal and a copy to the teacher.  These actually go in their files. One of my sons' second grade teacher said in the 20+ years she has taught, no one ever did that for her.  Wow.  
Ladies, we need to do this.

Again, don't get stressed out and think that if you find the perfect gift for the teacher you know like a sister, you can't give it to her.  Do!  It's the thought that counts.  Sometimes our thoughts just need a little help.  Speaking of a little help...Search teacher appreciation on Pinterest.  My, my.  People are so talented!!

Hope everyone has a great week and maybe even write your teachers a short, unexpected note of thanks.  I promise it will brighten his/her day.

If you need a little extra to go along with above gifts, check out one of my Etsy sales that always gets a good laugh...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Easy No-Bake Pie

For those that know me, I am not known for my splendid baking abilities.  In other words I'm baking challenged. My family encourages me to bring appetizers, snacks, or heck, make the whole dinner, but they know not to ask me to bring something baked.  I even had an Easy Bake Oven growing up.  Waste. Of. Money.

Here is one of my favorite don't-have-to-turn-my-oven-on dessert recipes.  It's Butterfinger Pie.  So easy and so great for the summer.

 First, the ingredients...
1 8 oz pkg of cream cheese
1 8 oz carton of cool whip
3 Butterfinger Candy Bars
1 pie crust
(I used the 9 oz today for some company but you can use the standard 6 oz)

I hit the candy bars with a spoon to crush them inside their wrappers.  I also save a little for the topping of the pie.

Mix all ingredients with mixer until combined.  If you make fun of my hand mixer, you will be removed from the blog.  If I got a beautiful red Kitchen Aid mixer it would be purely for decoration. I just can't shell out $300 for one decoration.

Pour into pie shell and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Photo Booth

   I would have to say this was my favorite part of the Tea Party this year.  After seeing how the pictures turned out, it was a definite.  Photo Booths are a very inexpensive way to create some fun at your party.  I purchased the striped material at Hobby Lobby and hung it from the window.  I added a section of colored pennants and a chair.  I set up my tripod and camera with my nifty remote and started clicking.  The props were different items related to my theme. Most of them were purchased at the dollar store, others at the party store.  Hats, glasses, clown noses, clown tie, and of course the popular mustaches. Those were printed from the internet, cut out, and glued to sticks. Here's the template I used.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.


So the next time you host a party, think about adding a photo booth.  It's a fun way to capture great memories.  Say Cheese!

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Circus was in town!

Last year I started a tradition with the girls in my family. Every year on the Saturday before Easter, I host a Tea Party. Last year's theme was just your basic antique tea party. View it here.
This year I went a different direction and chose a circus theme. So. Much. Fun. It was colorful, happy, childish, and fun! (and no weird clowns)
I want to share with you the pictures and some of the ideas that I came up with. Some are my own and some I totally copied from the internet or Pinterest.
(can I get a shout out for Pinterest!)

I purchased a few things on Etsy including the paper straws, peanut and popcorn bags, and the canvas elephant goodie bags. Love Etsy for that kind of specialty stuff.

I printed out some flags, pennants, and images for more decorations.

Michael helped me create this homemade Ring Toss board and I used plastic bracelets for the rings.
The "prize" for the winners were bags of goldfish. Remember those growing up? Those goldfish didn't have a chance of living but these are plastic fish in glycerin soap. A fun bath toy to take home.

For the "big top" decor I used red and white plastic tablecloths and hung them from the ceiling. I made pennants from scrapbook paper I had and glued them to ribbon.

I learned how to fold a napkin on the internet and put a noise maker in the center. The placemats were pieces of scrapbook paper lamenated and decorated.

My sweet cookie lady, Bridget, is courageously battling cancer so I had to order from Norma's in Alvin. Bridget, yours are still the best!

Peach Tea -
Instant Peach Tea, Peach Nectar, and Ginger Ale

Probably my favorite table. Mainly because it has cotton candy on it. I printed some water bottle labels from the internet and wrapped them around some cream soda bottles. I had to have animal crackers and those nasty orange circus peanuts. Plastic popcorn tubs with yellow and white tissue paper added to the theme.

And here we are. Can't wait till next year!

Next, I'll post the photo booth pictures! You won't want to miss this! Have a great week!
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