Recipe for a Good Teacher

recipe for a good teacher one card

Teacher Appreciation Week is on the horizon at my daughter’s school, which completely turns my idea brain into overdrive. We are implementing an idea I used during the nursery school years for the kindergarten teachers this year. We are organizing delivery of a week of freezable meals and a grocery store gift card.

E-mail the parents in the class with a list of suggested freezable dishes and ask for volunteers to deliver one item each day of the week. For those who don’t like to cook but want to participate, suggest a $5 donation (per teacher if there is an aide) and use the collection for a grocery store gift card. Finally, send 4×6 blank notecards with directions home via kid mail about 2 weeks before Teacher Appreciation Week. Ask the students to write a “recipe for a good teacher” on the card– or write a note– or draw a picture.

grocery gift card

The Giftcard to Kick Off the Week: Collect donations and purchase a gift card to the local grocery store. You can also pick up one of those hot/cold bags, so the teachers can transport their casseroles home. Deliver the gift card and freezer bag on Monday with a card letting them know that meals are on the way!

sausage artichoke soup

The List: I don’t want the teachers to end up with 5 pans of lasagna, so I send an e-mail to the parent group with days of the week and casserole suggestions. Parents sign up for a day and reply all to the group. Depending on your teachers, you can add bottles of red and white wine too. If your child has 2 teachers, ask that volunteers bring 2 9×9 pans of the same casserole, so both teachers get the same thing. Food should be delivered in disposable containers, so the teachers do not have to return the dish.

  • Tuesday: Italian
  • Wednesday: Soup or Chili (Sausage and Artichoke Soup is an easy freezable soup. Click the name for the recipe.)
  • Thursday: Chicken
  • Friday: Breakfast

recipe for a good teacher card

The Recipe Cards: The concept of a “recipe for a good teacher” is tricky for small children (and some parents). Children do not have to write a recipe. Any thoughtful note or picture will work. Teachers like to be recognized by their students in some way. If students write a recipe, it should list things the teacher does in class that the kids like and then put measurements next to it.

Deliver the recipes on Friday to wrap up Teacher Appreciation Week. In my experience, this gift is the most well received of any that I give. Delivering a freezable meal to any busy friend (not just teachers) is always appreciated.

Tonka Birthday Party

I think it is mandatory for all little boys to want a construction or tool party at some point. My son was no exception. He had a real tool thing going when he was little. For his second birthday, we threw a construction and tool party that was a great toddler party. But– stay tuned– because I am also including a variation to this party for older kids (and by “older” I mean up to adult aged kids) at the end of the post. This is another PB (pre-blog) party, so my photo choices are limited.

The Invitations: I had two options for the invitations. We ended up using an invitation that showed a boy and his tool belt, but I also had some dump truck invitations that I included in the picture above. In fact, I still have them (in their original box). There are ten in the box plus a sample; I will MAIL THEM to the follower who posts a comment with the best idea for an activity, party favor, decoration, or even why you are thinking about throwing a tool/construction party. I will post the winner on Sunday, August 5 with information about how to receive this ONE OF A KIND PRIZE. I am quite certain the competition will be fierce. Psst, Aunt B, this is your chance.

The Activity: For weeks, I saved paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, cereal boxes and other recyclable materials. I purchased Elmer’s glue, craft sticks, wooden dowels, foam stickers, wood blocks, foam blocks, and any other materials I thought could be used in building. I set up two low tables in our basement and covered them with butcher paper. I set all the materials on the tables, so the guests could walk up and create.

The Party Favor: The Dollar Store had plastic tool kits. I put the tools in a Lowe’s canvas tool belt and wrote guest names in Sharpie pen across the front. We tied these on the guests as they arrived, so they could use the tools while building with the recyclable materials.

The tool belt pictured was a birthday gift, but the Lowe’s belt party favor looked similar.

The Cake: I used a bakery in New Orleans for this one. They created a rocky terrain with icing then set construction vehicles onto the cake.

The Food: We served nuts and bolts (Chex Mix), Fritos, and small sandwiches with the crusts cut off. The food choices were not anything super exciting, but I borrowed all of my son’s dump trucks, lined the truck beds with coordinating paper napkins, and used those as the serving dishes. That was a good little detail!

The Gift: My parents gave my son a play workbench, which is one of the best I have ever seen. For a little bit bigger child, a great gift is the Real Construction sets.

The Older Party: This past year, my parents won a “Tonka Party” at a charity auction. A construction company had donated a trip to the site where they keep all of their equipment. My mom booked the party over Christmas when all of the grandkids, kids, and grandparents would be together. She invited some other family friends too. The party included rides on the big equipment like the back hoes, pulling the air horn on the dump truck (believe me, the adults lined up faster than the kids), and climbing around on the front loaders and other big trucks. I am not sure if you have a local construction site willing to do this, but it sure was something different. My mom made sack lunches for all of the guests and served Bloody Mary’s for the big kids and hot chocolate for the little kids.

Better Than a Brown Bag Lunch

Bring your child’s teacher a really good lunch the first week of school! In fact, this is a great little sirsee for a teacher’s birthday, teacher appreciation week, standardized testing week, or any random day. As mentioned in the Teacher Emergency Kit post, teachers are trapped in the school building all day.  Unless a planning period aligns with the moon on a Tuesday in January, they are not getting out of that building to go pick up a lunch. Most teachers (read: me) hastily pack a half of a peanut butter sandwich along with their kids’ lunches as they are racing out the door in the morning. What a treat it would to receive a good lunch one day.

The Bag: I sewed the bag in the picture above modifying a pattern I had for an art bag. I would not recommend sewing your own lunch tote. After 7 hours at the sewing machine, I decided I do not like my children’s teachers THAT much. Pick up a lunch bag at any store where you purchase school supplies or even your local grocery store.  A cute disposable gift bag would work well too. I really like the neoprene lunch totes if you want to upgrade the gift. Almost all teachers have access to refrigerators, so you should not need an insulated lunch bag.

The Food: I made a really good pesto chicken salad and put it on a squishy roll with arugula. I included pretzel crisps, raw veggies, and a small container of cashews, almonds, and dried fruit. I added a bottle of water too. Teachers usually have a microwave available, so you could send something yummy in a tupperware with re-heating instructions instead of a sandwich.

You can click on Fancy Sandwiches for the pesto chicken salad recipe and a few others. I realized after I decided to post these recipes, they probably have a bad breath factor to them. No problem– include a mint with the lunch OR make sure your child’s teacher has the Emergency Kit, so he/she has a toothbrush.

The Extras: Do not forget to add a paper plate, napkin, and any plasticware that is needed.

Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits

I cannot believe I am already preparing to go back to school, but I know it is right around the corner. I have been thinking about this little gift for awhile. It is something I would like a parent of one of my students to give me on the first day of school. Once teachers arrive at school, it is almost impossible to leave the building until after the students leave. There are days when you need a little something from CVS and there is no way to get there. I thought my children’s teachers might appreciate this little Teacher Emergency Kit; I know I would.

The Box: I purchased a few bead storage boxes from Michael’s. It has ten slots with removable dividers. I removed a few of the dividers to make one section of the box bigger.

The Contents: I chose the contents based on things I need when I am teaching. Below is the suggested list, but I also considered adding things like Band-aids, a good red pen, hair bands or a clippy, Tums, and even a feminine product or two since my children have female teachers this year (but the box was clear, and I thought that might have the potential for an embarrassing situation– although not having that item can create an embarrassing situation too, so you decide).

  • cough drops
  • Advil
  • chocolate
  • Tylenol
  • peppermints
  • soda money (quarters)
  • travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Aquaphor (or ChapStick of some kind)
  • emery board
  • travel lotion
  • Sharpie pen (I always need one of these at odd times and never have one in my classroom)

The Labels: I printed a 2″x 4″ label for the lid of the box using the Red Cross logo to make it look like an emergency kit. I created a table for the inside of the box and printed it on cardstock. Using a paper cutter, I cut it down to fit the inside lid and attached it with clear tape. I wanted the “map” on the inside to look like one of those lists they have in the big chocolate candy boxes, so you know what kind of chocolate you are eating. Here is a copy of the teacher emergency kit map.

Footnote: I did a little Pinterest research, and (big gasp) I am not the only one with the Teacher Emergency Kit idea. After analyzing my competition, I noticed a few flaws with the other kits’ contents. They often contain colorful paper clips or Starburst candies or things that make the packaging look better, but these items are not that useful. A Starburst is not going to make my breath better after I eat garlic-y hummus for lunch. I don’t need colorful paper clips; I can get a whole box of paper clips in the supply cabinet next to my school’s copy machine. When you fill your emergency kit, think about items that a teacher would not be able to access in a school building and might desperately need.

Pretzel Chocolate Snacks

I found this snack idea on Pinterest, and it actually looked like the original picture when we finished making them! These little bites are easy and taste delicious. They have that perfect salty and sweet combination. We are eating them so fast, they may not make it to our neighborhood 4th of July party (which is the reason I made them in the first place).

The Ingredients: Snyder’s Snaps Pretzels (the ones that look like a tic tac toe board), Hershey Kisses, M&Ms (plain and/or peanut)

The Directions: Line up pretzels on a cookie sheet. Put one Hershey kiss on each pretzel. Bake at 275 degrees for ~3 minutes. Take out of the oven and immediately smush M&M into the top. Refrigerate to re-harden the Hershey kiss.

Variations: Whatever holiday, smush the coordinating colored M&M. Halloween– orange. Christmas– red and green. Valentine’s Day– pink, red, and white. St. Patrick’s Day– green. You get the idea.

** I had a student give me a bag of these little morsels at Christmas.  He (and by “he” I mean the mom) made them to look like Rudolph.  I know they used the mini traditional shaped pretzel and a red mini M&M for the nose.  I ate them before I thought to pay attention to the construction.  If anyone has made the reindeer version, please let me know the details!