Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Teacher Gifts: Or, what happens when I'm not reigned in

Really, this whole post should be entirely "illustrated" with pictures of the whole process of making the teacher gifts, but at the time I was far too frazzled to think of it. Please use your imagination.

When I was in grade school, my siblings and I gave gifts to our teachers at the end of every school year. These gifts were cute, and usually involved something edible in fun, creative packaging. My mother was in charge of this, which will provide anyone who knows her with an image of exactly what these gifts were like-- charming, thoughtful, and delicious.

I decided that, this year, I would spearhead the getting-teachers-gifts project with the children. Nothing fancy, I reasoned, just something cute and delicious, as I had brought my own teachers. There would be cookies-- four different kinds!-- that would be tucked in a cute containers-- coloured plastic sand pails!-- and, oh yes, those pails should be lined with something-- handmade napkins, decorated by the children!

None of this is too absurd so far, until you take into account that in my family of three kids, we had maybe-- MAYBE-- 4 or 5 teachers to whom to bring cookies. Usually it was just three.

Between Neptune and Clover's teachers, we had nine teachers who deserved these tasty gift baskets.

I cut the number of cookie varieties down to two (chocolate chip, and snickerdoodles). But that was the only adjustment I made to the plan.

This ambition lead to me making 258 cookies one Wednesday afternoon, which the kids helped with when they got home from school. Never seen 258 cookies at once? Well, just look at this:

To get 258 cookies, you have to make 3 batches of chocolate chip and 4 batches of snickerdoodles. Impressed? You should be. Horrified? Me too.

Then I let my resident division expert (Clover, 5th grade graduate) determine how many of each kind each teacher should get. We wrapped the allotted cookies in saran wrap, and stored them in the buckets (11 chocolate chip and 17 snickerdoodles each, in case anyone was curious).

While I was finishing up the baking of the cookies, Clover and Neptune began on the Decorating of the Napkins. I'd already cut the muslin into pieces and sewed neon thread around the edges to prevent fraying (I know, I know). I gave the kids fabric paint, and set them loose on the napkins. It was fun to see how each kid chose to go about decorating.

Napkins drying, we cleaned up and I sent the kids off to bed.

The next morning, we arranged the napkins and cookies in the cute plastic buckets ($1 at Michael's!), curled some ribbon to tie on the handles (I just couldn't seem to stop!), and tucked the thoughtful thank you notes the kids had decorated and written inside.

Seriously, the only part of this we did not do by hand was weave the fabric and mold the plastic.

I could go Quite A While at this point without seeing another cookie, and I'd be Just Fine. The teachers were thrilled, though, so I'm declaring it a Victory.

Through all of it, the dogs were Unimpressed.

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