Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway for two Back to School Teacher Emergency Kits.
Congratulations to the winner, Michel J! Michel, please look for an e-mail from me, so I can get your kits in the mail to you promptly.
For those who did not win, it is easy to make your own Teacher Emergency Kits. Find a small zippered bag (like a cosmetics bag), a little box with compartments (like a bead box from Michael’s Crafts), or a simple gift bag and fill with items that would be helpful to have in your teacher desk or bag.
I have been agonizing over holiday teacher gifts again. Each year I need at least a dozen small gifts for all of my children’s teachers. It is not something I have to do. It is something I like to do. I know how much I appreciate the gifts my students give me at Christmas, so I like to do the same for the teachers my children have. I spend a lot of time finding something that is affordable yet (hopefully) useful.
This year, I mass produced flavored sugars in small jars. Almost all teachers I know drink coffee on a daily basis, and while they don’t need a coffee mug, I thought they might like a coffee “mixer”. The sugar has a little gourmet twist to it with the vanilla bean flavor, and the gift is consumable. Teachers won’t have to store or care for it once it is used. I made extra jars to use as hostess gifts or little sirsees for neighbors.
2 c. sugar
1 whole vanilla bean
Put 2 cups sugar in a mixing bowl
On a cutting board, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds from the inside of the bean.
Add the vanilla bean seeds to the sugar and mix well.
Put a piece of the vanilla bean pod in the bottom of the jar and add flavored sugar to the top.
Store in an airtight container.
I purchased my jars at Hobby Lobby during their 50% off glassware sale this weekend. At full price, the jars are about $2.50. They are 3 1/4″ tall with a flip lid.
Two batches of sugar filled 18 jars. The jars hold a little less than 1/3 cup.
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.
“Manager’s Special” is on the menu at my daughter’s school today. What that really means is the cafeteria is cleaning up for the summer and is serving anything they have left in the refrigerator. I don’t like to eat the clean-out-the-refrigerator meal in my own house, so I certainly would not want to eat it at school.
Since I am already on summer break, and my daughter is not, we overslept this morning. I sent her to school without a lunch and promised I would bring something to her. I figured my daughter’s teachers did not want the Manager’s Special either, so I packed a lunch for everybody. Consider it a final little teacher gift for the year.
As a reminder, teachers are stuck in the school building all day. Unless you hire a sub, there is no leaving the building to grab a sandwich. If you are looking for an easy, low cost end of the year teacher gift, consider bringing a tasty lunch.
Fried Chicken Salad
Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
3 T. cider vinegar
2 T. honey, room temperature
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. coarse-grained mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. white pepper
1/4 c. walnut oil (can use all olive oil and delete walnut oil)
1/2 c. olive oil
2 tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small bites (I like Granny Smith apples)
romaine lettuce, chopped, enough for 4-6 people (or any lettuce combination you prefer)
1/2 lb. blue cheese, crumbled
1 c. pecan halves, toasted
2 T. chopped green onion, white and green parts
good fried chicken tenders, ~2 per person
Prepare dressing by combining vinegar, honey, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oils until well blended.
Place lettuce greens in a large bowl. Toss with enough dressing to coat. Sprinkle apples, cheese, green onion, and pecans over the top.
Cut chicken strips crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Arrange on top of salad.
Drizzle with remaining dressing if needed.
In order to keep the apples from browning, toss the apples in a little lemon juice before sprinkling on the salad.
If making for a school or work lunch, compose the salad but keep the dressing in a little container on the side. I like to keep the chicken strip pieces on the side too. Do not add dressing until ready to eat and then top with the chicken strips.
If I have the option, I always use Publix fried chicken tenders. When we lived in New Orleans, I used Popeye’s fried chicken tenders. If you do not have a Publix or Popeye’s in your area, I find that most local grocery stores usually have superior fried chicken tenders to other fast food restaurants. Chik-fil-a tenders do not really work for this salad because their coating is a little different than a straight up fried chicken strip.
This salad is great for baby showers, picnics, luncheons, and summer dinners!
I delivered the teacher salads and my daughter’s lunch a little before 10 am this morning. My daughter had a decomposed salad in her lunch box (chicken strip bites in one container, apple slices in another container…). The teachers received their salads in a bento style tupperware that they get to keep– cookies included.
I am a teacher and have held the position of room parent volunteer (aka The RoomMom). After many years of working with parents in my classroom and volunteering to help other teachers, here is the boiler plate of what has worked for me.
Do not abuse the class e-mail list. I think e-mails to the families should be limited to holiday parties and class gifts unless the teacher has asked you to contact families. An example of an “extra” e-mail might be help with drivers for a field trip.
Aside from teacher gift and party e-mails to parent volunteers, only send e-mails when requested by the classroom teacher.
Offer to collect for a group gift at holidays/end of the year, but do not make the contribution mandatory. Suggest an amount for the donation to the gift fund but make it clear that the amount is a guideline. Parents should not feel obligated to contribute. And, if you know you have a community where contributing would be difficult, don’t even ask.
This is an addendum to #3. If you are purchasing a group gift, use a generic but personal policy. In most cases, you probably do not have a personal relationship with the teacher. Generic gift cards are best (Visa, AmEx, etc.). Teachers love when the generic gift card is accompanied by a little something that shows you are aware the teacher works hard with your child every day. For the past several years, I created a Favorite Books Bookmark to go with the gift card at the end of the year, so the teacher has something with which to remember the class.
If you are not the official room mom but want to help, sign up on the class volunteer sheets and wait to be contacted. Too many cooks in the kitchen creates confusion. Teachers can only handle so many parent volunteers.
If you have school aged children, what reminders and information would you like to receive from the room parent, and what information should be the classroom teacher’s domain?