Valentine Teacher Gifts

So I have been consulting with my very own teacher (my sister) on what teachers would like for the holidays. One thing she suggested is office supplies. Snooze to some of you, I know. But for elementary school teachers and up, that is what they really need. So I started searching for cute (naturally) school supply gifts.

I saw these cute ribbon topped paper clips and wanted to make them immediately.

I ran the saying by my sister and once she approved, I made it happen.

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Simple, sweet and not too cutesy. I like that it is something small and non-food. Even Zach approved! Which is good as his teacher will be getting these.IMG_6986-001

Can you even believe how toned down I am? This was only a three step process which is VERY unlike me.

Done and done!

You guys, I am beat! I am so glad this last week of school is over. I mean, not really as I am staring down “17 sleeps”, as they say in Zach’s kindergarten class, with my children but glad that this hectic week is winding down.

Why so hectic, Kinsey? You are not trying to boss people around at work AND make teacher gifts for the end of the year AND figure out what to bring to the holiday party at their school AND oh, crap what to give to your co-workers. So, so true, my friends.

However, what I was doing was making those teacher gifts so that other mom’s didn’t have to. And I loved it! Check out what I have been doing.

For my #1 client, Ashley, I made these cups for her daughter’s class party. They are filled with “hot cocoa” chex mix and topped with a tag I created. I die at the cuteness. This might be my crowning achievement.IMG_5327

But then, I do love these hand-painted wooden spoons and a dish towel I did for my friend Ginny. She had two grandma teachers to deal with and we figured grandmas love a dishtowel. Or not. Either way I got to paint and cure wooden spoons! No matter that I had to open some windows as to not poison my children with the gas coming off them. Calm down, I sent them outside to play and turned on the vent fan too.

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Oh and the gift card wreathes! How cute did these turn out? Shout out to my friend Nadine for coming up with this idea for me while we waited in traffic getting to the Nutcracker market. I even sold one to a lady who was not my friend. Seriously, I picked her right up in the Kindergarten parking lot, thanks to my friend Lindsey who was showing off the wreath I did for her.IMG_6811

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I also made some additional sports bottles for Ashley. I am so proud of the whistle I can’t even tell you. Alex would like me to stop talking about it, but I know you don’t mind. I had to stare at that for a ridiculously long time to get it right….IMG_5299

I whipped up some insulated cups with a single letter for my friend Bethany. Whenever I see these at Target I buy them out. Again, Alex would like me see me change this too. Not happening. No one needs to walk by the side of the guest bed, mind your own business.IMG_5352

For Zach’s teacher and his teacher’s aide, I wanted to give them something their families could do together. I saw on Pinterest that you can purchase a Redbox gift certificate and I thought that would be perfect. There were some cute cards with the saying, “Just settle down for a long Movie Night”. But, since I like to make my life challenging I decided that was not good enough for me. I wanted to give some popcorn as well, and since microwave popcorn is apparently made by the devil, I choose these tiny kernels we have tried. They make really good popcorn and don’t get stuck in your teeth. I like how the gifts turned out, even if the kernels are a wee bit heavy for a five year old to carry.

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I also gave the Smoothly cards to my crossing guards. Ms. Bernice said she could cry. I guess Ms. Bernice loves Smoothie King as much as my boys do.

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I also gave the iTunes wrap to the mailman and James’s swim coach.

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And I was so glad I had some extra Nailed It gifts completed as James’s teachers and the support staff at his school got them. No stress for me!

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The biggest seller of the year though, was the Warm Wishes gift that is filled with cocoa mix, marshmallows and mints. We will not even discuss the number of times I had to drive to Ikea for more and more glass jars. Worth it, obviously, but Ikea and I are currently on a break.

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I would like to thank all my friends for supporting me this season!! It was so much fun to help everyone and I hope your teachers love it too. After the school break I will be gearing up for Valentine’s day. But for the next 17 sleeps I will be spending so much quality time with my children. I am clearly going to have to use some of my profits for more alcohol.

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.

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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!

The End is Near

Zach has one more soccer game before the season is over. FINALLY.

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Don’t get me wrong, this year is much better than last year, when he was four, James was two and I wanted to die. There has been basically no crying, except for when he has gotten “hurt” and marginally no complaining. He likes the games a lot but not the practices – which is totally normal. Plus, my dad got some great action shots of him where he looks like a for-real athlete!

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The downsides are the twice a week hour long practices at dinnertime. With James. But even that has been OK. They practice at an elementary school near us and like the helicopter mom I am, I let James climb and play on the playground 50 yards from me. Independence, that is what I am fostering.

But it was still just a lot of soccer. Lots of practice, lots of games, lots of sweaty soccer socks.

We had a great coach this year. Coach Brett lives on the street behind us and is the most positive supportive coach you could be lucky enough to get. Because that is how we did it – luck. I had to stop being so effusive about how great he was given I live with Zach’s last soccer coach and didn’t want him to take it totally personally.

For the end of the season, I put myself in charge of the thank you gift and made him this personalized water bottle and card with an Academy gift card from the full team inside. I love my team parents – they all just said “Sounds great!” and let me do what I want. You know those are my favorite kind of people.

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And since I have no boundaries, when one of the other moms asked what I did for our coach, as she was in charge for her other son’s team, I suggested the water bottle for him too. Naturally.

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Though at first sight “Coach Todd” looks kind of like  “Coach Toad”…perhaps I should have chosen a different font…

Click over to Teacher Gifts if you would like to order one for the coach in your life!

Not just a pretty face

If you are in my moms group (hi friends!) or paid attention my leaving note on my other blog (hi friends with attention to detail!) you have heard that I am starting a small business selling teacher gifts. As one of the husbands said, including mine, what exactly are you doing?

Valid question husbands.

Before I left work, I was forcing encouraging my boss to make this latte card for her daughter’s teachers. She said off-hand that I should start a business selling teacher gifts. I could not imagine taking anything else on at the time, so I just waved the idea off.  Then this past summer my friend Beth, who started selling the Rodan + Fields skin care line, wanted to partner with me to make end of summer gifts for teachers using the R+F sunscreen. We both loved the idea, but seeing as she lives in Baton Rouge, we just could not make it work.

But I decided to do a small test run of making various gifts for the end of the school year. I contacted some moms I know that are too busy for this stuff and/or don’t want to deal with M&Ms in a jar. I created a quick PDF and also had a link to my teacher gift Pinterest board. Everyone really liked the gifts I dropped off at their offices/homes, with instructions for them to take complete credit for it. My friend Allie even sent me some referrals (thank you again Allie!).

You guys, it was fun. I loved it actually.

Oh, but did I mention I sort of forgot to tell Alex about it? Whoopsies. I just felt silly for some reason and thought he would not think it was a good idea, so instead of being a grown up and telling him, I just went about my business (pun intended) and left him in the dark. He did not say ask any questions as to why our kitchen table was covered in bags, beach towels, insulated cups and glass jars. Not a peep. I do love him so for not questioning my crazy crafting. His attempt to avoid my crazy is one of my favorite things about him.

Don’t worry, I did finally tell him, but he insists on referring to it as my super-secret business.

So what am I doing exactly? Well, if you look up on the black ribbon under the heading of the blog, you will see Teacher Gifts.

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There I have my five offerings. The way it works is that you pick which item you would like and I create it for you and deliver it to your work or home. OK, I really could have just led with that sentence and saved you all a ton of time.

Anyway, if you don’t like those offerings or they don’t fit with what you need, you can send me a link to most anything on Pinterest, either on my board or others and I can re-create them for you. And, as always, I deliver!

I also have links to many of the printables here on the blog too. On the right hand side under Blog Categories, you can click either Printables, for all printable things, teacher and otherwise, or Teacher Gifts, which is pretty self-explanatory.

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PS are you loving my use of the Snipping Tool?

That is enough business talk for a while, back to stories of me getting peed on and run out of places.

But when you need a teacher gift, I hope you will think of me!

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.

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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:

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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!

Well, hello mat

I saw this doormat on Pinterest the other day and knew I needed it immediately. The author even included PDF files for tracing and cutting. Truly crafty people are so great. Wouldn’t this be cute for a new home gift too?

However, her files would not work with my cutting machine. Such terrible crafting problems I have, I know. So I just popped into the virtual store associated with my machine and found a font that I loved just about as much. .75 cents later it was mine. I followed her scale for the layout and just sent the 12×12 paper through the machine.

I taped the stencil in place and using some leftover acrylic paint and my one stencil brush, I gave it a shot. Worst case I would be out .75 and the $10 I paid for the mat.

But it worked perfectly! I gave it a quick coat of polyurethane and put it in front of the door.

I am now working on not cringing when people walk over it and/or asking them if they like my mat. You know I get so excited about my crafts.

Again, I am working on it.

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.