Thanksgiving Craftivity

turkey-napkin-ring-place-setting-2

I pulled out the turkey toilet paper roll napkin rings my children made when they were in kindergarten. I like to use them for a few weeks around Thanksgiving– not just on Thanksgiving day. The year my son built his, we made sets for all of the grandparents and extended family and brought them with us to our family Thanksgiving meal. My in-laws still have their napkin rings.

If you make the napkin ring at school, it’s a fun little craft students can take home to their family. If you are building these with a whole class, you may want to pre-make certain steps, and you will need two days to let paint and glue dry– or do some work at the beginning of the day and finish construction towards the end of the day.

turkey-napkin-ring-group

Materials

  • toilet paper or paper towel rolls cut into 2 inch wide rings.
  • brown and yellow tempera paint
  • brown pipe cleaners (for the feet, optional)
  • red felt
  • assorted colored feathers (we used red, yellow, and orange)
  • googly eyes, 3 mm
  • wood craft spoons ~3/5 inches in height (I used THESE)
  • Elmer’s glue or hot glue gun

turkey-napkin-rings

Directions

  • Paint the wooden craft spoons yellow and the toilet paper roll rings brown. Let dry. (This step can be prepped ahead of time if you do not want the mess and clean-up of lots of tempera paint.)
  • Cut the red felt into a tear drop shape about 1-inch tall.
  • After the paint dries, glue the red felt tear drop shaped piece onto the middle of the spoon end of the wooden stick. Glue two googly eyes above the read waddle. Let dry flat.
  • Glue the yellow wooden stick turkey face to the side of the painted toilet paper roll piece. You may need to hold the craft spoon in place for a few minutes, so the face does not slide to the side. ** Note: Hot glue might be a better option here since the Elmer’s glue takes longer to dry and hold.

turkey-napkin-ring-pipe-cleaner-feet

  • If you are adding the pipe cleaner feet, you will need an adult to poke two holes at the base of the wooden spoon. Thread the pipe cleaner through the two holes, so a loop runs around the inside of the toilet paper roll. Fold and bend each pipe cleaner end into feet shape with 3 toes. Cut any excess length of pipe cleaner off.
  • Glue 3 feathers onto the back of the toilet paper roll and arrange, so the feathers are fanned out.

turkey-napkin-ring-side

  • Roll a napkin and slid into the napkin ring and set at each place setting for your Thanksgiving feast!

turkey-napkin-ring-place-setting

 

BTS Teacher Emergency Kit Giveaway Winner!

back to school teacher emergency kit 2016

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.

  • travel toothbrush and toothpaste
  • aspirin
  • mints
  • dental floss
  • cough drops
  • Sharpie pen
  • safety pins
  • travel comb
  • chapstick
  • quarters (for the soda machine)
  • hair ties or clips
  • Band-aids
  • Tide to go stick
  • travel sized hand lotion
  • Smart phone charger
  • compact mirror

teacher emergency kit 2016 contents

Vanilla Sugar

vanilla bean flavored sugar

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.

vanilla bean sugar jar label

Ingredients

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean

Directions

  • 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.

flavored sugar vanilla bean seeds

  • Add the vanilla bean seeds to the sugar and mix well.

flavored sugar mixing

  • Put a piece of the vanilla bean pod in the bottom of the jar and add flavored sugar to the top.

flavored sugar filling jars

  • Store in an airtight container.

Notes

  • 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.
  • I printed Flavored Sugar Labels and tied the label to each jar with baker’s twine.
  • For a variation, mix 2 c. sugar with 1/4 c. whole cardamom seeds. Add the cardamom sugar to your daily cup of coffee.

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

 

The Last Lunch

fried chicken salad in container

“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 w dressing

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

honey mustard vinaigrette

Salad

  • 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

Directions

  • 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.

Notes

  • 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.

Happy summer everybody!

fried chicken salad