Monday, December 26, 2011

Some School Gift Giving

I hope everyone had a very merry yesterday.  As promised, I'm back to blogging today.  It's so nice to have the time off to be able to do this in the middle of the day.  I usually blog at night, posting before I go to bed.  When do you find time to blog?

I thought today I would share what I gave my friends for the holidays.  I'm very lucky to have very generous parents over the years.  My friends usually contribute to a very nice class gift and then some will still bring in an additional small gift.  One of the perks of being in an elementary school!  I don't take it for granted, and always appreciate it.  In return, I like to give my friends something as well.  What kid doesn't like getting a surprise gift?  What adult for that matter?

This year, I put together a small gift bag.  I stuck with a snowman theme as it fit everyone.

What's inside the bag?  Well, let's take a look!
  • We had some Snowman Soup packets. 

All you need is a packet of hot chocolate mix, 3 Kisses, a candy cane, and a handful of mini-marshmallows.  Put it all in a packet and slap the Snowman Soup poem on the bag.  I was inspired to make these after I saw them on the blog  However, she makes her own cocoa mix.  That so wasn't happening here!  I used good old instant mix packets, and all those ingredients above turn into Snowman Soup!

I wish I could post these pictures next to each other, but Blogger is being a punk today!  Sometimes it will let me, then other days it doesn't!

  • Next, we had snowman cupcakes.  These were inspired by a picture I found on Pinterest from the blog  I didn't follow her recipe and tweaked the decorations a bit, but I think they came out pretty close to hers.
These didn't actually go in the gift bag.  I had planned to put them in.  You can put the cupcake in a clear plastic cup and then put the cup in one of those little baggies I used for the Snowman Soup.  It would have worked but I made the cupcakes a bit too big, so they didnt' fit in the cups I had. 

Luckily, I have a gazillion of those plastic muffin holders.  I had ordered a case on Ebay. They were really cheap, and are really a great thing to have on hand.   Each friend got a container to put their muffin in and any other goodies they wanted to take home. It works perfectly because they can snap the lid and nothing gets smooshed or falls out.  I actually use these plastic containers for all kinds of school stuff.  It's great for holding paint, sorting items, and of course storing cupcakes! 

  • This is my favorite thing to put in their bag.  It's a homemade book certificate for a Scholastic book.
Now, Scholastic does offer a coupon that you can buy.  I just find it easier to make my own.  The coupon is good for a book from any upcoming Scholastic order, up to $4.  It actually doesn't cost me anything because I use my points to order the books.  I usually use the points to order books for our class library, but this works too.  Either way, I'm getting books in my friends' hands!  I wrote up a little note, put a coupon form at the bottom, and printed it on some snowy theme paper I had.  Don't ask me why I took two pictures of the top and bottom instead of just one of the whole thing.  I have no idea!

Can I tell you how long it is taking me to write this post? 
 Blogger keeps freezing on me!  Arghhhhh!!!!

  • Finally, I threw a few other items in the bag, and we were done.  I added some candy canes, a highlighter, a holiday pencil and a holiday eraser.  I also threw in the last of the lollipops from my lollipop tree.  It was starting to look a little sad after most of the lollipops were gone.

So, that is what I gave my friends this year.  It was a bit labor intensive, but it was fun to do.  With the exception of the cupcakes, everything else can be made well in advance.  The bags were a big hit with my friends, and I'm happy to report that while they loved the cupcakes, the book coupon was the favorite!

I also made a quick homemade treat for my grade level colleagues.  I got a recipe for Cinnamon Toast White Chocolate Pretzels from the blog  The link will take you right to the recipe. This is an amazing blog that has something for everyone.  I have made her recipe for these pretzels for two years now, and they are always a huge hit.  They really are quick and easy to make. Also, did I mention that they are addictive?  You really just can't stop eating them!  You can leave them plain or add sprinkles.  I added some Christmas sprinkles in honor of the holidays.
Over the summer, I had purchased a case of half-gallon Ball jars.  They were the perfect containers for the pretzels.  I just printed up a label for the top and threw some ribbons around each jar.

These were another big hit.  In fact, I always have people asking me to make these.  Really.  Go Make These Now! Thanks again to Leigh Anne at Your Home Based Mom!

Well, that was my school gift giving this year.  It was a lot of fun to do.  I really think the saying, "Tis better to give than receive" is true.  It always makes me happy to see the smile on a person's face when you've done something to make their day just a little nicer.

By the way, based on Blogger's behavior today, it would so not be getting a treat bag!  Now it won't let me preview the post before publishing!  Oh well, if you see an error, know I tried to catch it!