Teacher Appreciation Ideas

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week, so I thought I’d have a roundup of several ideas I love from past posts.  You can click on the highlighted link or directly on the photos to go to the post and get all the easy how-to info.  And now I’m off to Pinterest to find ideas for this year!  What me, procrastinate? Anyway, hopefully one or two of these will strike a chord with you and save you from the time-suck of surfing for ideas!

What teacher wouldn’t be able to use a jar filled with pencils?  And this Pinwheel Pencil Bouquet is so cute and fun to make, you might not want to part with it!

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Or maybe an apple for your teacher (accompanied by yummy Toffee Dip), tied up with a cute printable tag?Apple-Teacher-Gift-ChaosSer

This S’Mores Bucket is one of our favorites, either for Teacher Appreciation or as an End of School gift.  And, of course, we always end up making s’mores at home, after this reminds us how much we love s’mores!

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And a trio of other ideas we’ve given in the past…our appreciation knows no bounds!

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Happy Appreciating!

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Throwback Almost-Thursday: Cozy Sock Cupcakes

I loved these clever gifts we gave to the teachers for Valentine’s Day last year (and the bus driver and everyone I could think of that might need warm fuzzy socks).  So I thought sharing them again might be a good idea.  They were superquick to assemble and didn’t add calories to anyone’s day!

This one time on Pinterest….so many of my craft projects start that way! But seriously, this one time on Pinterest, I saw some cute fuzzy socks all packaged up to look like a cupcake (here’s the original pin). No, they’re not real cupcakes…but they are awfully cute!

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I couldn’t find large cupcake holder, and I just couldn’t make regular ones fit properly, so I made my own cupcake wraps, used them to line a clear punch cup, and then rolled the socks up to look like icing. It really was harder to write that all down than it was to make them.

You’ll need some 12×12 paper and a spare plastic punch cup. Cut the punch cup down the side and around the bottom to make a template for your paper. Trace it onto the wrong side of your paper and cut it out. I used some Designer Series Paper from Stampin’ Up’s clearance rack.

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You could tape it into a punch cup at the point and call it good. But I fancied mine up a bit, cutting along the top edge with decorative scissors then running it through my crimper. I love my crimper. It adds texture to so many paper projects.

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I taped the paper inside the cup and rolled the socks up tightly, making them look like frosting, and placed them inside the paper-lined cup. And took a photo in the snow on my deck, just to emphasize how perfect cozy, fuzzy socks are this time of year.

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I popped them into a Valentine bag, stamped a tag, and tied it on using bakers’ twine. Thoughtful teacher or friend gift…checked off the to-do list!

Teacher Valentine Treat Box

Now you know I’m not going to let a holiday of any sort pass by without sending a little treat to the teachers, right?  Because you know that my hooligans make those teachers earn their pay!  And I’m eternally grateful, because it means I don’t have to homeschool them.

Anyway, the kids like to give the teachers something handmade, so I came up with these boxes (which I found at Target’s Dollar Spot, of course) filled with a few treats. Treat-Box-ChaosServedDailyI also found push pins with pink plastic flags on them there, and we bought a box of tiny binder clips to split between the three boxes, as well as mini sticky note pads to split.  Oh, and a bag of kisses. No, not all the kisses fit. I sampled the rest to make sure they were fresh.

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I had a set of Valentine washi tape from Pick Your Plum (how fortuitous!), so we spent a half hour or so adding washi to the push pins and binder clips, just to say we made something in the box. Plus, the pins and clips were pretty cheap looking without embellishment. Well, they were cheap, so what did I expect???

Anyway, we found a package of three binder rubber bands at Target, as well, and the hooligans have three teachers, so that worked out well. Plus, there was one blue, yellow, and white instead of pink, and we needed one for a guy teacher. Yay!

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I think the teachers will like these, and be able to use the boxes afterward to organize things in their desks. The cost came to a little under $5 for each, which I thought was a reasonable amount for a small holiday!

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Pinwheel Pencil Teacher Gift

Have you snagged any of the Ball turquoise jars this summer?  I cannot stop using them; I swear it’s even worse than my normal addiction to jars. I came up with this cute teacher gift for the first day of school (or anytime you’d like to be the teacher’s pet for the day).

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I also have a slight problem with these distressed jar lids I ordered from The Plaid Barn, by which I mean that I feel the need to use them frequently. They’re perfect for flower arranging or to pretty up summer drinks (especially with turquoise jars!), but they worked really well for this “bouquet” as well.

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Do you know how easy it is to make a pinwheel? Super easy, that’s how easy. It’s harder to make ones that really spin, but for my purposes, stationary ones work just fine.  First you’ll need some double-sided printed paper (I used Stampn’ Up!’s Storytime from last year), cut into 2” squares.

I used a Big Shot die to cut mine, but if you don’t have a die (or want them a different size, it’s very simple. Cut from each corner diagonally to about 1/4” from the center (draw a dot in the center with a pencil first, so you know where it is). Punch a small hole (using a 1/16” punch) in the upper right corner of each triangle. Also punch a hole in the very center. This is easier to do once your diagonal lines are cut.

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Then push a small brad from the back to the front of one corner hole. Sorry the brad is blurry in the photo. I hadn’t been drinking, really. Even though it was summer break and the hooligans considered me their personal entertainment manager.

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Continue to push the brad through each consecutive corner hole, front to back.

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When you’ve pushed the brad through all four corner holes, push it through the center one and open it up to secure the pinwheel.

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Ta-da! It’s a cute little pinwheel!

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I used glue dots to adhere the pinwheels to the pencils…you could also use a dot of E6000 (of course!).

To make the tag, I just covered a tag I already had with some of the printed paper, added a few apple stickers (‘cause teachers NEVER get tired of apple-themed things…ha!) and a chipboard initial sticker for the teacher’s last name.

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Now, if you’re thinking you can’t do this ‘cause you don’t have the cute lids, think again!  You could fill the jar 2/3 of the way with M&M’s or glass pebbles…either would hold the pencils just as well. To further secure the arrangement, tie the tag around the pencils rather than the jar. See?  Told you it would work!

And here’s where I found my supplies:  Jars and pencils: Target; Bakers Twine, Tag, Stickers, Letter: Craft store; Brads and Paper for pinwheels: Stampin’ Up!; Jar lids: ThePlaidBarn.com. You can order the lids from Amazon, too, as well as the turquoise jars. You’re welcome for that bit of online shopping help.

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Apple and Toffee Dip Back-to-School Teacher Gift

Since the eldest hooligan began attending school, we’ve always taken the most perfect apples the kids could find to their teachers on the first day of school. This year, I’m kicking it up a notch. I’ve made these Apple and Toffee Dip Gifts as end-of-year treats before (and blogged about it), so I’m just updating the post with a back-to-school tag.Apple-Teacher-Gift-ChaosSer

For the dip, I mixed 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon.  Each batch filled three of the little Glad containers.  I think they’re 4 oz ones.  You could also use Mason jars, but I liked these Glad ones, both for the cost and because the hooligans will no doubt swing the bags around on the way to school.  I put the dip in a large Ziploc, cut the corner off, and piped it into the containers, to be neat. Then I just sprinkled each with Heath bits (they’re with the chocolate chips at the grocery store).DSC_0003

To make the tags, I downloaded this Teacher Subway Art from Eighteen 25.  I wanted a chalkboard look, so I opened the subway art in Photoshop Elements, selected the white background, then clicked “inverse.” On a new layer, I filled the selection with white.  Lastly, I inserted a digital chalkboard paper in a new layer beneath the type.

After printing them in as wallet-size, I matted each on a piece of wood-colored cardstock to look like a frame. If you don’t want to mess with Photoshop, the primary colors of the original is awfully cute, as well! Just print it out the size you’d like.

I put the dip and apple in a small cellophane bag form the dollar store, and attached the tag using red and white bakers’ twine. And I’m pretty sure they’re durable enough to make the trip to school, even in a backpack!

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Later, ‘Gator Contact Info Gummi Packs

Well, that’s a catchy title for a post, huh?  But it gets the info conveyed, so it’s okay, I guess.

So here’s my last post (for this year) about end-of-school gifts…these little packs of gummis will be a perfect way for my kids to give their friends our contact info in Washington, since we won’t be seeing them when school starts in the fall.

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These are pretty quick to come together…the only thing I had to plan in advance was ordering the gummi alligators, since I couldn’t easily find them locally. I found a five pound bag on Amazon for around $25, including shipping.  The ziploc bags are from the jewelry making section of the craft store.  Gator-Bowl

We put 6 alligators in each bag, and had more than enough for the three classes…we made 75 in all. Gator-Fillin-ChaosServedDaiFor the tags, I created this cute clipart for the front, and typed our contact info (name, address, phone, email, and website) on the back.  Be sure the front and back are going opposite directions, so when you fold them, the printing is right-side-up on both front and back. See what I mean, below?  I scribbled out most of our info, in case you thought I’d lost my mind, while editing the photo.Gator-Sheet-ChaosServedDail

Here’s the clipart, if you’d like to download it.  Just click on the photo to download. I used an alligator image from the Gator Crossing Element Pack from Katie Pertiet.

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I made my sheet of bag toppers in using Photoshop Elements, but you can probably do it in Paint or another program such as those.

It’s a fine line we tread with the kids each time we move.  We want them to be excited about the adventure ahead, but still recognize that they’re leaving behind lots of friends.  This move is different from any other we’ve done because we’ve been living “on the economy”,,,away from any military post…for the first time. When leaving a military town, we always say, “See you later” instead of “Goodbye,” because we often run into our military friends again and again as assignments cross paths.

The hubs and I realize that this time will be a real goodbye to friends we’ve made in Wisconsin, because they’re all permanent residents here and don’t follow this crazy nomadic military lifestyle.  I’m pretty sure the kids don’t get that. But maybe that’s for the best. And, who knows, maybe our friends from Wisconsin will have a hankering to visit the Northwest and drop by to see us…or at least email or write! They have no excuse not to, with these packets!

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School’s Out S’Mores Buckets

Yep, it’s almost that time…summer time, no school, moving across the country.  Oh, wait, that last one is just us. Anyway, you know I won’t let the kids go to school on the last day without some gift for their teachers. We gave these S’Mores Buckets last year, as well, and I think they’re the perfect way to say, “Enjoy your summer!”

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They take only minutes to assemble…if you’d like, you could wrap the ingredients in some patterned paper, bakers’ twine, or your favorite gift wrap, but the kids were making these, so we kept it simple. We bought the buckets and roasting sticks at the dollar store, then picked up marshmallows, graham squares, and chocolate bars at the grocery store.   In each bucket, we put a bag of marshmallows, 3 packs of graham squares, and 4 chocolate bars, along with two roasting sticks. In all, about $5 per bucket, including the bucket.

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We downloaded some summer subway art from Two Yellow Birds and resized it to print six to a page.  After cutting each out and matting on cardstock, we wrote a thank you on the back and used curling ribbon to attach the tags to the bucket.

Like I said, it took about 10 minutes to assemble five of these. Then we headed outside to eat the leftover bucket ingredients! Waste not, want not and all that.

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A Couple of Teacher Appreciation Gifts

I’m really not going to be an over-achieving, Pinterest-perusing, craftaholic mom this year for Teacher Appreciation Week. I did that last year (you can see the post here) but I’m attempting to simplify this year!

I haven’t completely decided what I’m giving this year, but have these two options…and I may end up giving both!  Of course, no matter which I do, the kids always draw a card and write a thank-you note to include with the gift.  After all, that’s really the point, right?

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Last year, I downloaded this subway art from Eighteen 25.  This year, I uploaded it to Costco and printed it onto notebooks.  You can also get a planner, if you prefer. They were relatively inexpensive, as well, around $8 with shipping.  I liked these because you can put something on the inside cover, as well.

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My second choice is this insulated lunch bag, stuffed full of treats…a travel cup, some chocolates, and a bag of the teacher’s favorite coffee. Or your favorite coffee, if you don’t know theirs!

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I found these insulated lunch bags on clearance at Thirty-one’s Year-End Sale, but you can find comparably cute ones at Marshalls, Target, World Market…all those fun places to shop!

Of course, depending on your budget, it’s always great to include a gift card with either of these gifts.  Some of my favorites to give teachers are Starbucks, Panera, or Target (for school supplies).

So now I just have to figure out what to do for the staff, and the bus driver, and the specials teachers…..

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I’m Not Late…School Ends Today!

I know many of you have kids who are already out of school, but I kept changing my plans for end of year teacher gifts. Darn that Pinterest!

As the kid of two teachers, I also know teachers don’t want a whole bunch of “stuff” or usually homemade food.  I mean, they’ve seen your kid all year, doing heaven knows what gross thing. I’ve worked hard all year to convince my kids’ teachers they can eat what I make (pointing out at every opportunity that the kids don’t help with food gifts)…and they seem to be!  I tried to make a little something for each teacher, then included it with their gift.

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For all the “specials” teachers (art, music, gym, etc) we made these apple and dip combos, with a tag made from clipart I found at Two Yellow Birds.

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For the dip, I mixed 8 oz softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon.  Each batch filled three of the little Glad containers.  I think they’re 4 oz ones.  You could also use Mason jars, but I liked these summer-themed Glads.  I put the dip in a large Ziploc, cut the corner off, and piped it into the containers, to be neat. Then I just sprinkled each with Heath bits (they’re with the chocolate chips at the grocery store).

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For the teachers, I made S’mores Buckets.  In the bucket are chocolate bars, graham crackers, and marshmallows, and a gift card to a baby store.  The second grader’s teacher is expecting, so I included a set of thank you notes I stamped.  The front is a subway art you can find at Happy Go Lucky.  I just resized it and changed the colors a bit using Photoshop.  It has the ABCs throughout it, which I thought fitting for a teacher.

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The kindergarten teacher has three kids, so in her basket I included this set of 101 Boredom Busters.  I figure she’s entertained my kid all year, so I owe her a little bit of entertaining hers!  You can print the ideas here, at Shabby Beach Nest.

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For the preschool teachers, Princess Thundercloud helped me put together these sun hats with beach towels, chocolate, and a magazine so they can enjoy their summer.

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Last but not least, we made these little treats for their classmates.  I copied the clipart from this post at Itsy Bitsy Paper, then made small tags in Photoshop.  The treats are Scooby Graham Snacks. Super quick and cute.

If your kids are already out of school, you can always pin these for next year…or take a bucket of s’mores along as a hostess gift.  And you know you’re gonna need those 101 ideas to entertain your own kids this summer!  Have fun!

A Plethora of Teacher Gifts

I know, I did it to myself.  I showed the hooligans all these teacher appreciation ideas I’d pinned on Pinterest. So of course each of them chose a different idea for their teacher. Plus another for the bus driver. Really?

Here goes!
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For Princess Thundercloud’s preschool teachers
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The kindergartner chose a Sharpies and Smarties jar for his teacher and her aide.
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This was my favorite, for the second grader.  Although it was the most labor intensive, since I had to go to about 43 stores to find all the different candies. And you know how I hate to shop.

The label says “[Teacher’s Name], you totally ROCK (pop rocks)! You’re MOUNDS of fun and the RIESEN I love second grade. You help me learn to CRUNCH numbers and all sorts of EXTRA important things. You’re always KIND even when I act like an AIRHEAD.  I wish your PAYDAY could be 100GRAND! Here’s a giant thanks for putting up with my SNICKERS and silliness, and for helping me become a SMARTIE!”

The one I saw online was all on a posterboard, but I didn’t like my mental picture of the hooligan trying to get that to school.

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This “bouquet” for the bus driver was inspired by my friend Jennifer.  I added the flower stems made of marshmallow twists and ribbons as leaves. The label is chalkboard.

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The flowers Jennifer created are made by stamping using the Mixed Bunch set from Stampin’ Up!, along with the blossom punch, so it took very little time to do. I used Sticky Strip to make them hold together when upright.

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Last but certainly not least, these are the cups the parent organization gave to the staff at the boys’ school.  I got to fill them and tie on the ribbons and labels, with a little help from the hooligans.  I think they turned out really cute. They have candy and drink mixes in them.  If you were just giving them to a specific teacher, not 50 of them, it would be fun to put a gift card in there, too.

So, while I wish I could take credit for any of these, I really can’t.  I just put my own spin on things I found online…and you can, too!