Mother’s Day Monogrammed Umbrellas

monogrammed umbrellas khaki

I have totally been on a gift kick lately. I have several family member birthdays, Mother’s Day, and Teacher Appreciation in May; all good reasons to hunt around for fun little presents for people. If possible, I try to choose gifts that will work for many individuals, so I can mass produce or buy in bulk.

monogrammed umbrellas folded

I recently had coffee with a friend that I met through my children’s swim team. TheSwimFriend has been borrowing an embroidery machine and monogramming almost anything that will fit under the sewing machine foot. During coffee, she showed me a monogrammed umbrella. I had to have one (or five). After a quick trip to Target for travel sized umbrellas, I dropped off my purchases with TheSwimFriend who kindly monogrammed them for me.

monogrammed umbrella pink

I am hoping USPS has already delivered TheRoomMomMom’s Mother’s Day umbrella, so I am not ruining the surprise. Since I used travel size, my mom can leave the umbrella in her car or stuff it in her purse on a rainy day. I had one made for Mr. Star Wars’ teacher for an end of the year gift because the teachers at school have to walk about two blocks from the parking lot to the school, rain or shine. The umbrella is just the right size for a teacher bag. I have a few more ready for upcoming birthday gifts. My favorite combination is the navy and white polka dot umbrella with the kelly green monogram.

monogrammed umbrella polka dotTheSwimFriend played around with the monogram size and liked 3 1/2″ tall at the center point. The monogram also needs to have stabilizer on the back in order to keep the umbrella material from puckering.

My SwimFriend did this as a favor for me, and I would like to do something nice back. Any suggestions? TheSwimFriend has seen all of my recent gift ideas.

monogrammed umbrellas open

Teacher Appreciation Dos and Don’ts

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

I spend way too much time analyzing what makes a good teacher gift, but I see it on both sides since I am a teacher and a parent with school aged children. Are teacher appreciation gifts required? NO. Do many families choose to give their teachers holiday gifts, teacher appreciation gifts, and end of year gifts? YES. Are you required to spend a lot of money? NO. Are teachers thankful for all small gifts and kind gestures from parents and students. YES. But, a cutesy, punny note does not a good teacher gift make.

In my experience, the best gifts for teachers are ones that show consideration for the teacher’s day at school. Remember, teachers have very little free time during the day to run out of the building to grab lunch or pick up some little item at the drug store. We can barely get to the water fountain that is in the school building. Here are a few guidelines and ideas that I believe make good teacher gifts. Based on the comments I get on my Crappy Teacher Gifts Pinterest Board, not everyone agrees with my good/bad teacher gift criteria. So, as a little disclaimer, these suggestions are TheRoomMom’s opinion and may not apply to every teacher or parent.

favorite books bookmark

Gifts that help a teacher remember a specific class are special. For the past several years, I sent an e-mail to the parents in my children’s classes asking for a favorite book name of a book read during the school year. I compiled the list into columns on a Word document and added a class picture. I used the list to make a Favorite Books Bookmark for the teacher and one for each student. Teachers need many bookmarks in the classroom for all of our teacher manuals and read aloud books. The bookmark creates an age appropriate book list for the group. I have also seen or used other ideas that would help teachers clip or mark classroom materials…

mason jar soup labels

Food based gifts can work well too. It is difficult to have food delivered or leave the building to grab a sandwich during the school day. Yes, teachers love chocolate, but if I have not packed a lunch (or eaten breakfast), I would rather have something with a little more substance. The nice thing about food gifts is they can often be made in bulk if you would like to give a gift to multiple teachers. Not only can you bring food items for during the school day, but I think all working families love to have low prep meals for when you get home. This year, I sent Mason Jar Soup Mixes to teachers, and I have also organized a Freezable Meal delivery for my children’s teachers during teacher appreciation week. Here are other food based gifts I have made or am thinking about making…

 

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit

My favorite gifts are the ones that help a teacher with school day emergencies. These gifts include items that are great to have on hand for those little unexpected events. I have two versions– Teacher Emergency Kit 2012 and Teacher Emergency Kit 2013. You might also consider these kit ideas…

gift card wallet giveaway

And finally, you can never go wrong by giving a gift card. Chances are, you do not know your child’s teacher that well outside of the classroom, so a gift card covers a lot of bases. If several families want to contribute, you can pool resources into one gift card. Or, if you are giving a gift by yourself, there are so many gift cards that work well in small increments. Last year, I sewed little Gift Card Wallets, but I also found some non-sewing ideas that included thoughtful student notes…

As a wrap-up, I would just like to say again that families are not obligated to go to great lengths to give teacher gifts. It is always well received to write a note, send an e-mail, or simply say, “thank you” in person if you appreciate the work your child’s teacher has done during the school year.

Happy National Teacher Appreciation Week!

Teacher Appreciation Idea with a Twist

rosemary bread teacher gift

In my last post, I shared a banana bread recipe baked in mini loaf pans that I wrapped up to give as teacher appreciation gifts. Most people have a family banana bread recipe, so it is not that new and exciting. I was thinking it might be a nice twist to bake a breakfast bread recipe that may not be as widely recognized. I pulled out a recipe I have for Rosemary-Olive Oil Bread because I needed a few more teacher sirsees this week. This is a savory bread, and a slice tastes REALLY good toasted.

rosemary bread sliced

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 2 t. dried rosemary
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 T. freshly grated lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 c. apple juice
  • 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Pam or Crisco
  • standard loaf pan (8″x 4″) or 3 mini loaf pans (5 3/4″ x 3 1/4″)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat loaf pan with vegetable cooking spray or grease the pan with Crisco.
  • In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, pine nuts, baking powder, rosemary, salt, and lemon zest.

rosemary bread dry ingredients

  • In another bowl, blend the eggs, apple juice, and olive oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

rosemary bread dry and wet ingredients

  • Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smooth the surface.

rosemary bread pan

  • Bake 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

rosemary bread baked

Notes

  • The pine nuts can be replaced with chopped walnuts or pecans. You can also use a combination of nuts if you only have a 1/4 cup of pine nuts and need to add a few pecans to make 1/2 cup. This combination has been tested and approved.
  • If using mini loaf pans, fill about halfway with batter. I get about 3 mini loaves per recipe. Reduce the cooking time for the mini size. After about 30 minutes, watch until the top is browned, then test the center to determine if the rosemary bread is baked through.
  • Wrap with parchment paper and have kids decorate with stickers to give as gifts.
  • These work well as a teacher appreciation gift, hostess gift, or housewarming present.

rosemary bread cooling

Giveaway Winners

teacher appreciation petal bag giveaway

Congratulations to Lucy and Stephanie for winning the petal gift bag giveaway! Thanks to all who submitted an entry.

If you missed out on the giveaway but want to make your own petal bag, click here for directions. I have many other little gift ideas for teachers, friends, and neighbors, so be sure to click the picture links below or the Sirsees tab in the black bar above.

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kit

teacher emergency kit filled and gift tags

Ice Cream Sundae Samples teacher gift

Teacher Lunch Bag Gift

gift card wallet giveaway

iced tea kit contents

teacher appreciation gift bag

 

Giveaway Ends Friday

teacher appreciation gift bags

Have you entered TheRoomMom giveaway to win a fabulous petal gift bag? The giveaway ends Friday, April 4 at noon (EST). Two winners will be selected.

teacher appreciation gift bag

Step 1: Follow TheRoomMom blog by clicking one (or all!) of the links below.

Step 2: Click on this Entry-Form link after completing step 1 and submit an entry!

Additional Information

  • Already following TheRoomMom? You can leave a comment below and enter the name you used to comment in the giveaway entry form. You can enter a new comment every 24 hours and submit another entry form creating more chances for you to win.
  • All likes, follows, and comments are “verified” at the end of the contest, and the two winners will be randomly selected.

Winners receive one drawstring petal bag containing clear nail polish, nail clippers, tweezers, and an emery board. Keep it for yourself, give it to a friend, or give it to your child’s teacher and become the #1 room parent.