Another easy craft project

Well hello my friends! Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving? Pretending like you are working but thinking about all you have to do during that meeting you had this morning?

I know you will all want to run out and complete this yourself. Similar to my 10 Step Smore’s Cookie Bags, it was so, so simple and I have helpfully included the step-by-step instructions. Let’s begin.

1. Have a friend who wants teacher gifts and lets you create whatever you want – aka Ashley. Send her “suggestions” and then be fully supportive of the darling one she chooses.

2. Go to Randall’s, HEB and Target looking for the pumpkins. Claw through the candy corn (who needs that much?) to find the pumpkins hidden at the bottom. Buy them in bulk like there is a hurricane coming and candy pumpkins turn into water. Call them “groceries” to your husband.

3. Decide that simple, darling tags are way too pedestrian for you (no matter how much you like them), oh ruler of the Silhouette program and begin to envision a new one.

4. Realize you might think too highly of yourself and hang out with your children for 15 minutes to snap you back to reality.

5. Rush to Michael’s (they open at 9:00 am) to purchase the Mason jars. Realize the normal size ones are on sale (always) and that when you speedily recreate that tag it will be a perfect fit.

6. Drive across the street to Jo-Ann’s and purchase fabric with pumpkins on it. Check the link again and note she used cupcake liners and feel like a fool.

7. Push past your feelings, pretend you don’t have bills to pay and laundry to do and spend some time getting the tags just right. Print and cut.

8. Go back to the original blog and while actually reading her notes, see that she used stamps and want to cry. Make a note to pay more attention in the future.

9. Realize you don’t have the right color card stock; drive back to Michael’s.

10. Put it all together and notice that you hate it. All of it.

See? So simple!

Needless to say, I recreated the tags, went back to Jo-Ann’s, fought with my Silhouette machine and FINALLY my vision came to life.


In case you are smarter than me and want to just print and cut, here are my tags for you.

I made an extra one for Zach’s teacher, but still have bags and bags of pumpkins…I am pretty sure some other teachers in H-town need this little gift, right? Email/Facebook Message/Contact on the blog me!

Kindergarten is not messing around

So Zach has been in big time Kinder for four weeks now. We are starting to settle into a routine a bit and he is getting more comfortable in his class, aka he is getting in trouble for talking. We all knew this would happen, how could I possibly be surprised or mad given who his parents are? Plus I can distinctly remember my mother exclaiming to me, in a very exasperated tone, “Kinsey, can you just stop talking?” after I had my color changed from green to yellow to red for talking to Mindi Miller. I could not. Physically, I could not. I had SO much to say that she just HAD to hear, right that second. I still have fairly terrible impulse control.

But this is not about me (who are we kidding, blog readers, it always about me).

In his class, the only homework so far is to practice his sight words and read for 20 minutes. He can’t read so that means I have to read to him for 20 minutes. I clearly count the five minutes we read with James before bed, so I have made it 15. Now, we also have to write down one book he read and rate it. I thought this was merely a suggestion when the “Guided Reading” sheet came home, because as stated, he can’t read anything except “Subway” and “Chick-fil-A” on his own, but whoopies, no. He was supposed to fill it out. Luckily he knew this and reminded me the night before it was due. So he ran and got seven books that we have read at some point and we wrote them down and rated them. He kept wanting to check the box to show that he read it and I was all, “buddy, if you want to read it then learn to read”…he was not pleased with my suggestion. IMG_4653During open house with the teacher she gave us the list of 68 sight words they would be learning over the year, two a week. You all know I had restrain myself from printing them out that night. But I managed and the next day the second I dropped off James I got out my laminator and I was ready. You see, I found a link to a blog where the mom set up the sight words for printing complete with the traceable version on the back. I heart her, we are clearly crafting soul mates.

My mom read something when I was in elementary school about children memorizing better when a word is written on yellow paper versus white. I can still remember have nightmares about writing all my spelling words out on yellow index cards. So, I found two pieces of yellow cardstock and printed two sets on those. You can only imagine my disappointment in not having more than two pieces of yellow cardstock. How was that possible? I could not roll my eyes harder at myself. Luckily, as my mom says, the store had not run out so I was able to secure more the next day.


Can you see my vision coming together?


I love my laminator so hard. Even though, similar to the paper cutter, it is too small and I will need to be upgrading at some point it gets the job done. Plus, it is cute and can also make stickers.


Darling, right? Wait, are sight words supposed to be darling? Don’t answer that.

And here is the issue with my darling flashcards….the list is for the Dolch Sight Words and Zach’s sight words are not the Dolch sight words, or not all of them are. So I have 64 laminated flash cards that may or may not be on his list. Of course. Of course I do. So now, for the ones I didn’t have I had to write them on the yellow card stock and make the tracing ones with little lines that are totally not up to my standards, but will have to do.

I hole punched them all and have them hanging on a ring ready to go. We flip through them each night and he reads them, spells them and uses them in a sentence. We may or may not trace them, depending on time. We have to get to our 20 minutes of reading after all.

Just in case you want to kiss up

I am really not on board with the “first day of school gifts”.  How could that not be sucking up, loud and clear? (This is foreshadowing, in case you are wondering). What I am in favor of, is a thank you gift for putting up with my child all summer AND yeah new school year. That clearly is not sucking up. Not in the least.

Last year I gave the teachers doughnuts in a cute container and it was a big hit. This year, I made this label for my friend Sonia. She needed something for the crossing guard at her daughter’s school (they have required drop-off and pick-up; a dream). Since men like smoothies, I suggested Smoothie King and with a card reading: “Thank you for making our days run smoothly”. I love a good pun.

Smoothie Treat

I have since made another one for Zach’s Kindergarten teacher with a gift to a local, kid friendly yogurt store (she has twin first graders) that says:

Smoothly Tag

So maybe I am on board with first day of school gifts….

Really, I am on board with gifts for teachers in most settings. Especially when they involve gift cards and me getting to make something. Plus, Zach’s first week was tough. I think he handled it great, but I know that is largely due to his teacher being so warm, calm and supportive. I can imagine her week and I thought a little treat for her family over the long weekend, was not too out of control. But my concept of “out of control” can tend to be skewed, I have been told.

In case you want to kiss up be supportive of your teacher, here is a link to the printable of the first card.

For the extras

Last week was the boys final week of school. James is out of the twos program and Zach is out of the school, headed to kindergarten in the fall. I am currently in complete denial about it, which is preferable to the mini-panic attack I was contemplating. Three months, people.Three months exactly until they have school again. Terrifying.

Last week I was all sorts of crazy after getting back from a wedding in St. Louis on Monday, pre-K graduation Thursday, then rolling right into Alex’s birthday Saturday. I had previously set up the teacher’s gifts, so I was ready for that. But what about those extra people, you know, the directors, art/music teacher, etc? I didn’t want to phone it with a Starbucks card (because I did that for Christmas, let’s be clear, I am not above it.) but I was tired. I really didn’t want to get too crafty.

As if, that was possible. I was purchasing the Target gift card for the teachers when I spotted these 8GB zip drives in the check out aisle for 5.99. Surely I could come up with a clever saying for that, right? I feel everyone can use a zip drive. I seem to always loose them and for 5.99, they seemed perfect.

It took me a while, but I landed on the phrase, “Hope we didn’t drive you too crazy this year”. Because you all know I am a handful.

In case you could use this as well, I set up a PDF file. Just cut out the gray rectangle and you are ready to go!

The end is coming

There are exactly 10 more days of school for the boys. Well, technically, James only has five. Holy crap. That is coming really, really fast. I can’t focus on the summer yet, or the weeks that we have very little to do…what I can focus on is end of the year teacher gifts! Naturally, I can get really excited about this.

I thought some of you might be getting panicky/excited as well, so I did a round up of the things I have done in the past in case you need suggestions for this year.

Donuts – Send the teacher’s off to summer with a sweet treat and a gift card for the local doughnut place. Since she won’t be rushing to get to school, she has time, but you know she is up.

Gift Cards – Check out the bottom of this post for a link to printable gift card holders. Make the teacher smile all while saying – thank you for making sure my child wiped!

Cookies – If you didn’t use this for Valentine’s day, you could totally use it now. Package up some cookies to wish your teacher well this summer.

Bookmark – This is what I did last year, and might do again. I printed out this cute bookmark and included it with an Amazon gift card. Easy and fast.

Also you can check out my For a Great Teacher Pinterest board for more suggestions than you most likely want. Happy Summer!

The school was trying to make me sweat

For some reason the boy’s school does Teacher Appreciation Week the same week as Valentine’s day. I think it is on purpose to make the room moms regret they volunteered for this position. And, you all know I love teacher appreciation week. I have an entire Pinterest board for it. I love making things for people (Love Language = gifts) and especially for the teachers. But man, that love was tested back in February.

I had to really plan it out this year to get everything done and even though it was ridiculously overwhelming (moderately self-brought on) I loved it. I thought these could be good ideas for end of the year gifts, or if you have an appreciation week coming up.

I copied the theme from the last time I was room mom, in the Honeybees class and started with a poster with all the kids names on it. The class name is Hummingbird, to state the obvious. I came up with the slogan myself (Sloan totally guilted me into NOT just stealing one from Pinterest) and used my cutting tool to make it happen.

Zach insisted on helping with the hummingbirds which gave me a large case of crafting anxiety, but I pushed it down. I ended up letting him put glue on them and picking which side they flew towards the feeder from. And told him they needed to alternate colors (yellow and green). I am a gem.

Tuesday, they received a plant with a tag from the entire class (James’ teachers got this for their gift)

Wednesday was hand sanitizer and I loved this one. So cute and useful.

Thursday was the countdown calendar, printed and put into an inexpensive 5×7 frame. All they have to do is wipe it off and countdown to anything. I hear they are counting down to Spring Break currently.

And Friday was a gift card in a funny card. You all know my feeling on using the majority of the money for gift cards and this was no exception. The one on top is my favorite.

It says, “I looked for teacher appreciation ideas on Pinterest, so I got out the Mod Podge, the Circut machine and thirty-two shades of glitter. Then I decided a gift card is better.”

So, so me, no? But as if I own 32 shades of glitter….only 32 shades of sequins. That is not funny.

The teachers said they felt so appreciated and the kids had fun giving them to them each day. The kids also like to look at the Hummingbirds with their names on them. Next time I am going to figure out how to make my handwriting better.

 That is really the main thing missing in my craft arsenal.

Holiday Teacher/Anyone-who-cares-for-my-kids Gifts

Did this sneak up on anyone else? The boys last day of school is Friday and I need to do the teacher gifts from the class, something from the boys for each teacher and what about their swim teacher, arts alive teacher and back up teachers? Why do they have all these activities?!

I immediately got on Pinterest for ideas. Here is what I have. Hopefully it will help if you forgot like me. But I am sure you did no; you all are much more on top of things (ahem, gift card tree, Debra).

Teacher Gifts from Class
As the room mom, I always give our teachers gift cards. Maybe it is crass, but those ladies wipe a lot of poop for not much money and I want them to have a little extra in their pocket on their special occasions.

In my search I saw a cup with the kids fingerprints on it and the tag line “Love your little deers” and I knew I had to use that. Not the cup. No teacher wants anything with the kids fingerprints on them. Sorry, it is the truth. Just ask my teacher text group – Debra, Melissa, Lauren, Joanna and Maria will all confirm.

But you guys just know how I love a good pun so I had to use the tag line. I went searching for a reindeer card and what do you know, I found a super cute one I could type my own wording in.

BUT I don’t like to just give a card with the moula, especially for Christmas. I also don’t like to spend much money either (if any), taking away from what will be in the gift card.

Then I remembered I had a link to sugar scrub cubes on my new favorite blog and I thought those would be perfect. I had all the ingredients on hand and I love to make stuff. I had to stop myself from starting it at 10 pm. Calm it on down, Kinsey.

I mixed them up one night (FYI I needed four batches to get 15 cubes) and put them in small canning jars. I made mine with honey and lemon, using the amounts suggested by the blogger. They were very easy (if messy) and super cheap. Also, a perfect use for those square ice cube trays I bought back when I was going to make baby food for James. A glue gunned bow, a gold sharpie and we are all set.

Teacher Gifts from the Boys
I found some insulated drink sleeves at Randall’s a few months back and scooped up five of them. I had them monogrammed with the teacher’s first name (since they use their first name at the school) and gave them a gift card to Starbucks.

Oh don’t worry, I also found a printable tag to go along with that gift. BAM! Pinterest is my b***! (I told you I needed to calm down)

I printed a few extras of this card for the other activity leaders, coaches and the principal of the school. It fits perfectly in a 5×7 envelope with or without a drink sleeve.

Seriously though, aren’t all the bloggers who are graphically creative (not just copy cats like me) so nice for putting their stuff out there for free? They are so talented and we can use their gifts. I love it.

They also rarely talk about how great they are, which, as you know, I don’t understand. Did I tell you I was famous?

First-ish day of school

If your kids are in day care there is no real “first day”. They go year round. Oh sure, there is an “official” first day, but at the boy’s school they move up classes in the summer so when school starts it is nothing new.

Either way, for the first day of school, I like to get the boy’s teachers a little something. It is not so much a “please like my kid this year” but more of a “thanks for putting up with us this summer” gift.

The May move up time is hard for everyone and Zach and James are no different. They are good for the first week of the new classes then they are terrible the second. They both clung to my legs at drop off and James (of course) cried hysterically.

Then I quit my job only two weeks later. They still went every day, but more like 9ish to 3ish. We just moseyed on up there in the morning and I went to get them after James woke up from his nap at 3.

Then last week they were no longer “extended day”, when I could come and go as I pleased. We were “day school” with hard and fast hours of 9 to 2. No dropping off early (there are signs) and the teachers are waiting for you with your children in the lobby at 2.

Needless to say it has been a rough two weeks. It was like the move up time all over again. Both boys are clinging to me, James does not nap as long and Zach gets zero rest time either. Hot. Mess.

But both boy’s teachers have been wonderful. They were wonderful and patient in May and they were wonderful and patient now. They have been so supportive of my decision. They all ask how I have been doing, encouraging me and are just all around the great teachers you hope your kids have.

For the “real” first day, I wanted to get them a little something to say thank you for putting up with the Walls and all our changes this summer. I had purchased, on a whim, some blue and yellow school bus boxes from Randall’s and when I spotted these tags, my vision for the gift clicked into place. (Normal. This is totally, totally normal.) I could tuck some powdered cinnamon sugar donuts inside. However, the tags, which are darling, were not the right colors.

So I made my own.

I know, can you believe it? Of course, when I showed Alex, he was so mortified by the cheesy pun he could not focus on the yellow frame, various fonts and donuts clip art. He constantly ruins my visions. But I knew you, my 10 followers, would be all over it.

Plus, I have put them here for anyone else that needs an easy thank you for putting up with me/my child gift.

Zach tried to get those gross mini-donuts with the chocolate on them. I mean, what did he think, this was his gift to the teachers or something? Just because I had him give them to them?

He is still unclear about my selfish crafting ways.