Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Teacher Gift Ideas

Christmas has been stressing me out a little bit.  I've been doing my best to plan ahead for who I need to shop for and possible things I want to give to or make for them, but I can't seem to get my thoughts organized enough or any of the details hammered out.  I've decided that I'm just destined to be one of those people that gets everything done at the last minute.  Finishing up presents at 2am, here I come! 

One thing I have started thinking about in advance is a present for my son's teacher.  He is in preschool and he has a teacher that he just adores.  Since I work full-time, I have only met her on a couple of occasions but I can see that the kids really love her and the munchkin is always sharing new things that he has learned in class.  So, I can definitely tell that she is making a difference and I want to show my gratitude for the impact she has on Chris' life.

I started my search for the perfect present online with sites such as Etsy to get some ideas and came across cute mugs, personalized key chains, and apple-themed gifts.  All seemed like great options but after checking out some sites that had comments from teachers about gifts they actually liked to receive, I realized that although parents think these types of presents are cute, teachers don't actually need 20 mugs that say #1 Teacher.  Though what they do often defines them, they are real people that enjoy useful gifts (not necessarily related to their job). 

So, if you are in the same boat as I am, struggling to find the perfect gift that expresses your gratitude to a teacher that is helping to shape your child's life, I've come up with some ideas for you.

Gift Cards

It's not a very personal gift, but from what I've read, teachers really enjoy getting them.  Target, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon would be safe bets but if you know they love coffee or really enjoy watching movies, then Starbucks or Fandango would likely be appreciated.  Since I don't know my son's teacher very well, I am planning to opt for a gift card to Target (probably in the $10-15 range). 
Burt's Bees Head to Toe Kit

Beauty Products

Most women enjoy receiving beauty or spa products such as lotions or lip balms, as long as they are quality products.  If you are going this route, I highly recommend skipping the dollar store and Big Lots.  There are some great brands that won't cost you an arm and a leg and if you're able to shop around a little, you can probably find a great deal.  All natural products are really popular and Burt's Bees has quality goods at drugstore prices.  This cute little gift set (pictured above) is only $9.99 and it comes with some great essentials like body lotion, body wash and a lip balm.  It's a great sampler for someone who isn't familiar with their products as well.  Bath and Bodyworks is another great source for favorite bath products. 
Mossimo Neck Warmer

Trendy Winter Accessories

Scarves always make a lovely gift and from what other women have told me, you can never have too many.  Infinity scarves and neckwarmers are really in this year, so you can find them in a wide range of colors and prices at just about any retailer that sells clothing.  Or, if you can crocher or knit, an even better idea would be to make one yourself.  I'm planning to grab my 40% off coupon and head on over to JoAnn's or Michaels to find the perfect soft and cozy yarn to make a stylish infinity scarf.  It will be perfect for those chilly days on the playground.

I also want to include a small gift that will serve as a momento of my son, so I'm planning to include a little handmade bookmark with his name (and possibly a picture).  It will hardly take up any space and what teacher wouldn't find a bookmark handy?  This will be a fun, easy and quick craft to do with the kiddo and I'll definitely share pictures when it's complete.

Hope this short list of gift ideas for teachers helps you with some of your shopping.  If you have any ideas, I would love to hear about them.  The upcoming festivities will be keeping me pretty busy but I'm hoping to post more gift ideas and crafts that will get you in the holiday spirit!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I was a bit worried that all the rainy weather we've been having in the Pacific Northwest would put a damper on ours but we got lucky with on a few sprinkles while the kids were out trick-or-treating.
Playing with remote control car before trick-or-treating

This was only Chris' second time trick-or-treating and we thought it might be more fun for him to go with other kids. So we went to a friend's house that have two boys close to his age. He enjoyed it but started to get tired towards the end. The bucket was getting too heavy, so I had to carry that for him when he wasn't running up to the door to get his candy and then his head got too hot, so I had to carry his helmet for a while too.  Trick-or-treating is apparently some hard work!  He of course got a huge amount of candy that we'll have to parse out over the next couple weeks.
Look how well the reflectors work!

As you can see, he went as a fireman this year.  He said he also wanted to be a garbage man and a train engineer but I told him he could only be one thing.  There's always next year.  Hope your Halloween had more treats than tricks!


National Breast Cancer Awareness


October is national breast cancer awareness month and it is a very meaningful cause to me because my mother-in-law has battled and won breast cancer twice now.  She is one of the bravest people I know and we are so proud of her for overcoming this terrible disease.  Having to go through the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation is not only physically hard on you, but it can really cause a financial strain as well. 
My mother-in-law was fortunate enough to get some help from the pharmaceutical companies to offset the costs of the expensive medications that she needed and I pitched in with donations from jewelry sales.  While I feel that donations to cancer research are important so that we can one day find a cure, I think it is equally important to support the people that are currently fighting the battle of their lives.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

This fall I've really fallen in love with pumpkin when it comes to baking.  Up until recently, the only time I've eaten pumpkin was in the form of pumpkin pie, which I've never really been a fan of because store bought pumpkin pie can't really compete against apple pie (especially homemade apple pie) and those two pies are traditionally enjoyed around Thanksgiving.  I've really enjoyed getting back into baking - it's so satisfying to create something from scratch and have it turn out so delicious and it's fun to share the end result with friends and family.  Since so many others were raving about pumpkin recipes, I decided I should add it to my repertoire too.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rice Box Fun

Now that fall is upon us and the weather is cooling down, are you struggling to find indoor activities for your kids?  One simple way I have found to keep my little guy entertained while we're trying to cook or do dishes is a rice box.  I fondly remember these from when I was in kindergarten.  The one at school was large enough to fit several kids around it, but since this one is just for Chris, I found an old plastic storage bin we're no longer using and rounded up all of our nearly empty bags of rice that had been sitting around for who knows how long. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cozy Crocheted Cowl

It's been a few weeks, a whole month in fact, since I posted about my work in progress but I've finally finished it.  It didn't take me a whole month to complete - I've just been a bit lazy about taking a picture of it.  The nice thing about crochet projects is that you can stop anywhere in the process and pick it right back up whenever you have time.  I probably never sat and continuously worked on this project for more than 20 minutes at a time.

I think my work in progress picture showed you what it looked like when it was about a third of the way done and as promised, this is what the completed cowl looks like and I'll explain how it was made.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Fall for Handmade Fashion

Pun intended.  Now that autumn is here, I can definitely feel a crisp chill in the air as we're heading out the door in the mornings.  While I am quite sad to see the warm weather go, I am pretty excited about all the fun accessories that fall brings.  If your closet could use some accessory freshening (and whose couldn't?) then a great place to start looking is Etsy.  I could spend hours looking at all the amazing handmade items that sellers have to offer!

There are a few fall/winter accessories that I really want to add to my collection and I found some shops that carry items that are totally fashionable and completely cozy for the coming months.  Here are just a few of my favorites: