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.
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).
soda money (quarters)
travel toothbrush and toothpaste
Aquaphor (or ChapStick of some kind)
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.
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!
I know it is crazy to plan a backyard birthday party in late August in South Carolina, but my son wanted to dig for treasure, and I saw this great cardboard pirate ship at Mr. McGroovy’s. The day was super hot and humid, but everybody had a great time (and I lost five pounds) so it all worked out!
The Invitations: I ordered blank invitations from Fine Stationery and ran them through my home printer. The invite said things like, “Aaaargh Mateys” and “Join (name) for pirate adventures and buried treasures” and “RSVP to the first mate or prepare to walk the plank!” The font, Blackadder, is very pirate-y looking.
The Pirate Ship: Plan ahead! It took several weeks of calls to every appliance store in the area to collect all of the refrigerator boxes I needed for the pirate ship. We then spent two weekends cutting and painting the boxes. The assembly wasn’t too difficult, and Mr. McGroovy’s instructions are pretty simple.
The Outfits: As guests arrived at the party, we painted faces with scars, mustaches, and beards. We also gave each guest a man’s white t-shirt that we had cut along the bottom to look like rags. We offered red sashes (plain red fabric cut into strips) and bandanas to each child too. The foam swords came from the $1 aisle at Target.
The Treasure Hunt: On brown paper grocery bags, we printed different clues/riddles that sent the kids all over our front and backyard. We buried two separate treasure chests (shoe boxes painted brown). The pirate chests were filled with plastic jewels, plastic insects, individual candies, dice, and other booty from Oriental Trading.
The Treat Bags: We ordered black drawstring bags along with the other loot. We wrote pirate names on playing cards and tied those to each bag. The guests put their loot in the bags after the treasure hunt.
My sister threw an animal hospital birthday for my niece, and I adapted her idea a little when my daughter was turning three. We lived in New Orleans at the time, and you can book a petting zoo there that will come to your house and set up a pen in your backyard with rabbits, turtles, goats, chickens, and few other small animals.
The Invitations: I like to order blank invitations from Fine Stationery. I think they have a huge selection of almost every party theme you need. I printed the invitations on my home printer and included phrases like, “Join us for the third anniversary celebration of (name’s) animal hospital” and “Please confirm appointment with the vet” for the RSVP line.
Adopt a Pet: We placed enough Beanie Babies for all the guests in a pak-n-play by the entrance to the party. Guests picked one out of the crib and could take their new pet to the vet table for a health exam and adoption certificate.
The Vet Table: One of our babysitters was a nursing student. She wore her scrubs to the party and completed health exams for everybody’s new pet. She used a play doctor’s kit and took temperatures, looked at eyes, examined the animal’s coat, listened to the heartbeat, etc. before filling out the forms.
The Pet Carriers: At a table, we had white gift bags with handles that you could decorate with stamps, stickers, or markers. There was a circle cut out of the side of the bag, so the pet’s face could peek out. We put paper from our paper shredder at the bottom of the bags like that nesting material pet shops use.
The Snacks: We filled bowls with bone shaped sugar cookies (dog food), Goldfish (cat food), and Chex mix (kibble).