Saturday, August 28, 2010
To help make sure no lasting damage was done, I decided to put "operation smooth things" over into action. I went to the dollar section at Target and picked up a tube of the Pumpkin Spice body scrub and a Ghiradelli Chocolate Square for each of the teachers. I then included a note that said "Thanks for helping me through my rough patch at school, I hope my new behavior (and this scrub & chocolate) will help smooth things over!". They LOVED it! I know it's corny and some might think stupid. Yes, I know that this was not necessary to my child's enrollment at the school, however it was an inexpensive but much appreciated gift that let those teachers know we appreciate their patience. I think too often people don't take time to do this. It's not that we are trying to "buy" our way past our children's bad behavior - that we take very seriously at our house and we addressed with our child. But, it is hard on the teachers (even when they are trained and paid to deal with it) and it's nice to let them know you recognize that.
One of my friends a few years ago had a rough patch with her child at school. She made a little "see no evil, hear no evil" scrapbook for the teachers. This past week my youngest pushed a little boy at school who cut in line in front of her. We made the following book inspired by my friend's idea. My hope is that it's not only a cute thing to give to the teachers but it also helps to reinforce to my child our discussions here at home.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
If you don't know me or haven't realized yet I'm a BIG proponent for kid projects that are actually useful and astehetically pleasing. In other words, I consider it a victory when a project I'm overseeing has been sent home and not trashed within a week. So, I know it's easy to go online and click on the Oriental Trading holiday foam frame selection and order a kit - but if you are looking for a different type of gift this year check this out....picture perfect flour sacks!
- Flour Sacks
- Iron On Transfer Paper
- Fabric (only if you want the fabric backing/border as pictured above)
- Heat & Bond(only if you want the fabric backing/border as pictured above)
Flour sacks can be purchased at Target and Walmart. They are in the section with dish towels, napkins and placemats. They come in packs of 4 or 5 and usually end up being about $1.00 -$1.50 a piece.
Now to complete this project you will need to push your cart on over to the craft section if you are at Walmart (if you're at Target and as out of shape as me then I would recommend paying for the flour sacks, parking your cart and driving on over to Walmart or Hobby Lobby;) and buy a package of Print Iron-On Transfer Papers. Mine look like this: These suckers come in a million different options and each store offers a different selection so you will need to read the packages and determine which type works best for you. The 2 main tips I would give you are if you are transfering an image onto dark fabric then you will need to purchase the transfer paper pictured above (this way the dark fabric won't show through). And if you are printing or drawing words or a logo then you need to pay attention to how the iron on transfer paper adheres to the fabric, because it will affect the way you print your image onto the paper. Some transfer papers print on the "back side" of the transfer paper which allows your image to show through the paper (thus requiring you to print or draw a reverse or mirror image) and some transfer papers allow you to print on the "front side" of the transfer paper so you do not have to do anything but print or draw on the paper and you are ready to go. I usually always buy the dark iron on transfer paper that doesn't make me do anything but print, cut and iron. This way I can use the pack of papers for any project, but it does cost a little more. This product does go on sale at Hobby Lobby for 50% off pretty often, so you can start stalking it now if you know you want to do this project.
- Print a picture/image from your computer.
- Print an image or template from your computer that the children can color with colored pencils.
- OR if you have older children that are more capable of drawing something you could actually recognize then you can cut the transfer paper into a square or rectangle and let the children be the artist!
If you want to "frame" your iron-on transferred picture like I did in 1st flour sack pictured above then you will need to get some fabric and Heat & Bond from Walmart, Hobby Lobby or whatever craft store you like to shop at and skip this paragraph. But you don't have to use fabric backing/border, no one can make you;) In all honesty, it's easier to skip the fabric backing/border and just iron the image onto the flour sack. Below is the 1st flour sack I ever made. I just created the image I wanted in the program, PAINT, printed the clip art image and words onto the transfer paper, cut it out and ironed it on. This flour sack is 5 years old - it's a little worn around the edges but it can attest to how durable the iron on transfer paper really is and the fact that I haven't trashed it yet!!
This one says "Hospitality: Dear friend when you extend hospitality...even when they are strangers, you make faith visible. 3 John 1:5".
If you don't want to take the time to do the fabric backing/border you could still create a frame on this type flour sack by:
- Adding a frame on the image itself (in whatever program you are using).
- Draw a frame onto the Iron On Transfer Paper around the image once you've printed it from the computer.
- Draw a frame with fabric marker onto the actual flour sack once you iron on the image.
To make the 1st pictured flour sack I took a picture of my child, opened it in the program PAINT, added a text box so I could add a message onto the picture, printed a 4x6 picture onto the transfer paper and cut the picture out. Again, if you want to add the fabric backing/border then keep reading this step. If not, then just iron your picture onto the flour sack and bam you are DONE!! If you want the fabric backing/border then here is what you do:
(Below we are just layering - the flour sack is on the bottom, then the decorative fabric, then iron-on picture/image.)
- Read the directions on the Heat & Bond package. If you need step by step directions with pictures on how to use Heat & Bond then click here.
- Iron the Heat & Bond onto the wrong side or backside of your decorative fabric, let the fabric cool and make sure the Heat & Bond adhered to your fabric.
- Cut the fabric to your desired shape to frame or back your iron-on transfer picture/image.
- Peel the lining of the Heat & Bond off the fabric, stick it onto the flour sack and then iron this onto the flour sack.
- Then using the directions on the Iron-On Transfer Paper package, iron the picture onto the decorative fabric that is already adhered to the flour sack.
- I would recommend sewing or stitching around the decorative fabric to make sure it stays - but again you don't have to you can just use Fray Check to make sure the decorative fabric doesn't fray.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This one was inspired by Martha Stewart - the queen of crafting in my opinion. I HATE that there is no longer a Martha Stewart Kids or Martha Stewart Babies magazine. I saved every copy I ever had and I STILL use them. Anywho, this teacher, Ms. Joan, had a birthday in August that crept right up on me! I knew Ms. Joan loved Skittles and I knew she loved flowers so I put this arrangement together for her. The candy is completely edible!!
I've also made the above type of arrangement in the fall with Reese's Pieces & yellow Gerber daisies & black eyed susans and I've also done one with candy corn and sunflowers. Martha featured this type of arrangement in her magazine a couple years back. She had a whole spread of different candies with different flowers. Here is the link to her website that explains how to do this.
I also like to do flower boxes when there has been a death in one of my friend's or family member's life. These are great gifts because the flowers can be left to dry and the arrangement can be kept forever - or the recipient can remove the flowers and use the box to store photos or mementos of their loved ones. This is the most recent box I did for our cousin who lost her little girl.
I've been doing these boxes for about 4 years now. I actually saw a florist featured on Oprah and went I went to purchase one I was shocked to learn that the cheapest box was well over $100. I just bought flowers, floral foam and a box at Hobby Lobby and slapped one together myself. I have yet to find a tutorial or directions on how to make one online. ***UPDATE: My friend Trica commented that Better Homes & Gardens have online directions here!! Thanks Tricia!!***Below is a rough description of what I do:
To complete this project you will need a box, flowers (for the arrangement above I used 2 dozen roses - and really you need a hardy flower so I suggest roses or carnations), floral foam for FRESH flowers (as Tricia stated in the comments this is sometimes called "Wet Foam" - if you purchase the foam for dry floral arrangements it will damage your flowers), a small bag of Spanish Moss, a knife to cut the foam & flowers and something to line the box with (plastic wrap, rubber/plastic drawer lining).
- Basically I find a box I like - the one above happened to be a napkin holder I bought at Target. Sometimes I but the wooden photo boxes from Hobby Lobby, I've used tin boxes, baskets - whatever I find that is appropriate.
- I line the box with plastic wrap or any material that might help to water proof the box. Sometimes I use that rubber/plastic drawer lining.
- I then cut the floral foam to fit the box (and I make sure the top of the foam is flush with the top of the box). Soak the floral foam in water, and then push it into the box.
- I place Spanish moss over the foam and then I cut the flowers and start pushing them into the foam and filling the box. The flowers help "pin" the Spanish moss to the the foam and keep it secure.
- I then place the following directions in with the flowers.
DIRECTIONS: This is a Box of Blooms arrangement. PLEASE do NOT water this arrangement. It can be left alone to dry and will remain as a floral keepsake or you can remove the flowers and use this box/container to store photos or mementos of your loved one.
***Special thanks to Trica for finding the BHG link:)***
Monday, August 23, 2010
I have a sign up sheet laid out by the food with any help I may need through out the year. This is usually the only time I see all the parents at one time. As room parent I can get inundated with parents giving me 100 ideas, suggestions, apologies as to why they couldn't be room parent, and apologies for why they can't be in class to help. But in any case NOW is the time to let them see how they can assist the class. I have a copy of the sign up sheet I use below that is customized to our class needs. This list was created by a fellow room parent Mandy and I thank her for sending it to me 2 years ago:) As you can see, I not only ask for volunteers for class activities but I go ahead and ask for items I need sent in. This does two things, #1 it helps take this burden off me financially and #2 it helps working parents or those that can not be in the classroom an opportunity to do something!! I then keep this list and remind parents as these activities draw nearer or as the items are needed what they volunteered to assist with. Every once and while I will get a parent that doesn't follow through - but I would say 90% of the time if I reminded them then they do what they signed up for.
I also give a small speech during Curriculum Night, 5-10minutes TOPS. I introduce myself, direct them to the signup sheet, let the parents know that I welcome their help and feedback and that I will do my best to help keep them informed of what I need and what I do. This is the time to remind working parents that sending items in is just as helpful as coming into the classroom to help with activities. This is also a great time to go over any food allergies that may exist in your class if your teacher has not done so already. If you have any food allergies, specifically peanut or egg you need to ensure that all the parents are informed and reminded at EVERY class activity to send in items that are peanut or egg free. You may want the parent of the child with the allergy to make a brief statement. Remember if you are requesting food items you MUST remind parents to check the labels of any store bought food and any ingredients that they may be using in homemade treats.
For brownie points - if I have time I also offer to bring the teacher dinner since they usually don't have time to eat! Again, nothing fancy (I usually just list the restaurants that I drive past on the way to school), however you have NO idea how helpful this can be.
Please take a moment to look over the following activities and sign up to volunteer! If we all work together this will be an awesome year!!!
BINGO NIGHT- Our class is responsible for donating two 12 packs of for BINGO Night.
Deadline for 1st BINGO Night:
Deadline for 2nd BINGO Night:
Advanced Reader Test Volunteer:
We need 1 volunteer to help administer these computer based tests.
Our class will need volunteers to donate time and/or materials to make a class scarecrow
ALSO- we need a parent to donate a baked good for the cake walk at Fall Festival!
Please volunteer to help at or bring food to our celebration!
We need 1 volunteer to help deliver lunches this week.
We need volunteers to send in TWO 12 packs of _________________ by _____________________.
PTA SPRING EVENT!
We need to donate TWO 12 packs of __________________ by ___________.
Testing SNACKS –
If you would like to volunteer to send in healthy snacks during the standardized testing please sign up below:
The PTA sponsors a lunch for the TEACHERS. If you would like to assist with the project planned please let me know.
We need parents to bring in the following items:
Tarp and/or blankets (for the kids)
A rolling cooler with lots of ice
A pop-up tent
STUDENT RECOGNITION & ICE CREAM SOCIAL:
We need volunteers to send in TWO 12 packs of _________________ by ____________.
END OF YEAR PARTY:
Please sign up if you are able to help and/or donate items for the end of the school year party!!!
I will be in touch with each of you throughout the year to ask for additional help with class events as it is needed! Parents who sign up for specific events will be reminded in advance of the details!
Sunday, August 22, 2010
My daughter's 2nd grade teacher last year had the most fabulous recommendation that we are implementing this year. She suggested we buy a notebook for each child that is a "Diary of the Day Dialogue". In it, when the children get home each day (or once a week - however often you would like) they must write (or if they can not write then they draw) something about their day. For older children, you then write back to the children asking them more questions or commenting on their daily entry. It helps the children with their writing, and it also increases their descriptive vocabulary and use of words. Plus often times children may be willing to write something that is upsetting or bothering them than they are to tell you face to face. I discovered this last year. For younger children, their picture gives you something to discuss with your child about the day and you can even help them write a short caption to their picture which helps with their vocabulary. And often times younger children are much more willing to draw a picture than tell you what they did that day. Plus at the end of the year they have a journal keepsake!! Thanks Ms. D for the fabulous idea!
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
You then iron the Heat N Bond onto the wrong side (or back side) of the fabric you are using to applique.
Let it cool down, make sure that the whole piece of Heat N Bond is fused to the fabric, then cut out the applique. See how cute it already is:)
Peel the paper off the back of applique. Just go around the edges and pick it off. You will see that the back side is now sticky (see the shine below). Stick your applique on the apron, shirt, purse, whatever you are making and ensure it is straight and flat. Iron the applique on:) Once it cools, if you find that an edge has come loose just iron it again until it bonds with the fabric.
And then stand back and admire how crafty you are!!
Now would be when you want to sew or stitch around the applique (if you choose to do so), but, as in this case, a little bit of magic below will work to keep your edges from fraying. Just follow the directions on the bottle and DON'T PANIC (it will dry clear just give it time). I panic every time, I do, even though I'm telling you not to panic, I panic...and darn if that stuff doesn't dry clear, it does, it really, really does.
Now if you decide to applique letters, just make sure that you write the letters backwards on the Heat N Bond. To do this print the letters from your computer with the mirror option on. Or you could do like I did and print them out, realize you forgot to turn the mirror option on and you are too lazy to do the whole thing over again, so you just flip the page over trace the outline of the letters so that you have a mirror image or backwards letter to then trace again onto the Heat N Bond. You know, whatever works...
That way when you cut them out and stick them onto your project the letters will be correct and super cute!!!
Now, if for some insane reason you discover that there are FOUR girls with C names and you find that at this point your applique skills rock but you still can't sew, don't panic. Just use different color combinations and ribbon to help the girls distinguish their aprons. See below...I just used the FrayCheck on the edges of the ribbon to keep it from fraying and then tied the ribbon to the middle part of the neck loop. That way when they wear the aprons it looks like it's tied in the back.
And then if you find you have FOUR, yes FOUR boys with G names and TWO with J names you can use different fabric and different color combinations to help them distinguish. Although who are we kidding, what boy is going to pay attention to their tie pattern and initial color. Well, at least I tried;)
(even if it sort of looks like a pumpkin;)
and she might not even stop when her children leave for school and she makes her baby (who can't even read) his name out of pancakes
And she may just keep making more and more pancakes...
and her friends might decide that they too love the pancake pen and they need it to make pancakes for school, or for breakfast or just because....
And you know if you give a mom a pancake pen....
she may make pancakes with love forever!!
Monday, August 9, 2010
This is a simple but clever little item I picked up from Williams Sonoma. Not only will it allow you to make any number of pancake shapes, (today we chose hearts tomorrow we plan to make butterflies) it also stores your pancake batter and has it ready to go!!
Monday, August 2, 2010
I also have all my items for the Teacher Survival Kits you can read about here and see how mine are coming along here...
And the completed basket here...
Below is the letter I sent this year with our baskets.
Back To School Survival Basket
Welcome back! We know it’s hard to come back to school for teachers, too! We thought you may like a back to school survival basket to make your return a little easier. Below is a list of what the basket contains. We are excited about this year and getting to know you!
Love, The Thompson Family
This Basket Contains -
Shout Wipes, Lint Brush & Sewing Kit - in case of clothing emergencies.
Travel Toothbrush & Mints – just in case you run late one morning or lunch was especially potent!
Advil – because chances are you will have a headache…but hopefully not!
Chocolate - because it makes everything better.
Cookies, Chips, Candy & Soda – in case you need a little pick me up
Polka Dot Note Cards – in case you need to write a note.
Birthday & “Great Job” Badges for the Kids – because they were cute and we thought you may want to use them.
Name Tags for Parents – We thought you may like them for class parties or curriculum night.
Notepad Mousepad – Because it’s cute and very functional.
Sassy Binder Clips – just because!
Teacher Profile – something we hope you will fill out and return (even if we are not the room parent) – it helps us pamper you the best way possible throughout the year!
And here is one of my favorite gifts to give teachers - . They have these at Hobby Lobby in lots of different patterns. They are back in the stationary/gift/invitation aisle and they are $3.99 (usually on sale 50% off at some point during the month:) This line also has coordinating coffe cups, lunch totes, clip boards and binder clips.
And I've already organized a "homework drawer" for the kids. This way anything they may need to complete homework is already organized and ready to go (no wasting time running around the house). Inside I have plain paper, lined paper and extra composition journals I picked up while school supply shopping, a ruler and book lights. When they are done they pack their box back up and place it in the drawer. It keeps the house clean and me from losing my mind - and it also makes it nice if we have to go out to eat or to practice they can grab their box and everything they may need to do their homework "on the go".
Each child has their own box that has age appropriate items. My third grader's box looks like this.
My Kindergartner's box looks like this.
And if you may be a little OCD like I am and prefer the crayons and markers be a supervised activity you can make a separate box that stays on a shelf in a cabinet out of their reach. This box has two sets of crayons and markers (I have fatter crayons and small fat markers for my Kindergartner), construction paper, extra colored pencils and regular pencils.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Now when I did this in class I had the desks moved together and put a plastic tablecloth over all the desks. I then had each child put their cans and their bags in front of them and myself and parent volunteers each had an ingredient and we went down the line and placed our ingredient in the bags. We did the same thing with the ice and the salt and it worked well. It was efficient and organized and QUIET. So to get started place the ziplog bag in the can so that the bag stays upright.
Put the ingredients (half & half, sugar & vanilla) into the bag.
Cover the bag with ice and another 3 tablespoons of rock salt. Add enough ice until the can is packed full (but you can still seal the lid on).
Place the lid on the can and turn the can on it's side. Hold your elbows to your sides - this is the farthest distance the can should roll - this also allows the children to keep the rolling on their desks!
Roll back and forth for 5 minutes (you may want to stop after 2 minutes and pack with more ice (as the ice will melt quickly). It's important to say (especially to the kids) that the can needs to continue to roll the whole 5 minutes - don't stop. The faster it turns the faster the ice cream will freeze.
After 5 minutes take the bag out of the can and it should be frozen. If it's not frozen, place the bag back in the can, add more ice and roll for another 2 minutes. Ohh, see the frost on the lid. There's goodness in there!
See it's frozen! well you can't really see, but trust me it's frozen.
And if you do a really good job Amy Butler will come over. OK, maybe not the real Amy Butler but her fabric might just make it's way into the photo. Isn't it fun?
So as I was saying it's frozen, now you can see the frozen pieces in the bag. And you can just squirt inn your favorite topping.
And then enjoy with a spoon right out of the bag! It's really is that easy. Now, as you can see this stuff melts super fast, but I have found the kids don't seem to notice because #1 they eat it so fast and #2 they like to mix their toppings in like soup anyway.
*Note - you can increase the quantities it just will take longer to freeze and you may need to use a bigger container so you will need more ice. You can use a larger can and place two bags in the can (instead of one) - but again it will take a few minutes more to freeze. The children can then share a can and they roll the can back and forth between them on the floor.