Tuesday, May 24, 2011

¦Personal Stuff¦ Teacher Appreciation

The end of the school year is fast approaching. It's been a whirlwind of a year for my little family.

My girl Sophie is finishing up kindergarten... she started out not even saying the alphabet in order (though I tried!) and now she can read (and loves to), write and spell on a 2nd grade level. Her teachers have been AMAZING, so smart, so sweet, and such a blessing. It's been a joy to watch my girl grow, learn, and begin to come into her own. She's grown so much physically and in maturity in just a few months.

My boy Ian is rounding out his 4th grade year. It's starting to hit me that next year will be his last as an elementary schooler. He's 10, and has become incredibly more mature and grown up this last year, becoming the man of the house and taking care of me and his little sisters. Of course, in most ways he's still a little boy, as evidenced by his comment just this morning... we got in the car to head to school, and he exclaimed "Mom! Those birds up in the tree are mating! I can tell because their beaks are touching!"

Ah, the innocence of youth. I hope he retains that for a while longer.

My kiddos on their first day of kindergarten/4th grade:

I'll take another on their last day for comparison.

Both kids have had incredible teachers this year. Ian went from a trouble-maker, excellent grades but constantly in trouble, to having a teacher who understands that all kids have unique personalities and that Ian's happens to include that he likes to talk. Constantly. And always has. Once he started talking, he never stopped... and she says "Well, that's just Ian. We work around it and usually what he has to say is very interesting!"

Wow... now that is a new experience. He is embraced for his personality instead of punished for it.

The principal is also the #1 best principal anywhere ever, take my word for it. This year was a new school for Ian and of course it was Sophie's first year... the 3rd day of school I walked in with them and the principal grinned, hugged, and called my kids by name. It blew my mind... she is amazing, and she's also leaving this year to become a professor. I'm so happy for her, but also so sad she won't be there next year.

This has become a super long post, but the point of it is, I knew I needed to get some really great gifts for the teachers and principal this year. I want them to know just how much they have blessed my kids with their patience, attention, understanding and cheer.

Prep work begins for presents...

I found the aluminum thermoses at Starbucks on clearance for $4.99 (regularly $20!). I got 2 packs of erasers ($1 each at Target), 4 packs of pencils ($1 each at Target), a pack of "Thanks a Latte" thank you cards ($3 at WalMart), 4 mini bags of Millstone coffee ($1.29 each at WalMart), 3 photo-holding pencil boxes ($1 each at Target), and a bag of Lindor assorted truffles (20, on clearance for $4.48 at Target).

I did pencil boxes for Sophie's 2 teachers and Ian's teacher and added their pictures. I already had some yellow tulle, colorful mini paper bags (from Target, I think like $3 for a pack of 12), the colorful raffia ($1 per pack at Target), and the cardboard/metal gift tags (also from Target, don't remember how much, but cheap lol).

I had the kids write their own thank you card messages, and sealed the envelopes with dimensional butterfly stickers I already had (got at Michael's, $1 for 6). Then I wrote my own cards to the teachers and principal as well.

I put the erasers and pencils (sharpened and ready for next year!) inside the thermoses. The coffee and truffles went inside the paper bags, which I stamped with a little stamp I already had. I punched holes in the bags and in the corner of the card envelope (not through the cards themselves) and tied those on with the raffia. I stuck the thermoses into the pencil boxes and put the yellow tulle around the edges. The cardboard tags worked perfectly on the thermos lids and let them know there are more goodies inside!

Altogether, the 4 gifts ended up costing about $11-12 each, and they are full of coffee, chocolate, supplies, and sweet sentiment... and of course, photos for remembering the cutest kids ever.