Easy and Inexpensive DIY Teacher’s Gift Ideas

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week next week at my kids’ school and the end of the year is coming up fast,so I thought it might be helpful to put together some ideas on gifts or unique ways to say “Thank You” for all that our teachers do. While some teachers in my past posts have said that it gets overwhelming to receive handmade gifts over the years from so many students, I still think there are some nice ways to make something special for a teacher that is thoughtful but they can really use it, as well.

I like getting the kids involved in either choosing or making the gift for their teachers. Here are some of the easiest, most inexpensive, and yet most impactful gifts that I discovered that looked fun to make with my kids.


Plant & Printable

Amy at LivingLocurto.com came up with a very simple and impactful teacher’s gift with a cute gift tag that you can download for free. Head over to her site to see how easy it is.


Scented Gift Basket

The Eighteen25 blog is offering another free printable gift tag to go with their idea to create a Strawberry Soap Gift Basket.


Teacher’s Ade Gift

Lisa Storms created a fun gift idea using those see-through plastic ice tea cups and attaching a flag note to the straw. You can throw in some Crystal Light or Ice Tea Packets as well as a note from your child inside. Very simple and very impactful!

For more ideas, see 10 Perfect Teacher’s Gift Ideas which includes a variety of purchased and homemade gift ideas. Here’s another round-up of some really creative homemade teacher’s gift ideas that I put together last year.

Do you give your kids’ teachers gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week or at the end of the year? What ideas do you have for gifts?

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Tags: Ideas on Gifts for Big Occasions

Host a Family-Friendly Oscar Party this Weekend

Popcorn bags

Going to watch the Oscars this weekend? Why not make it a party or add more fun to the evening? It’s easy to invite your family, friends or neighbors over for some star-studded fun. You can go all out with themed food, decorations, and activities or as little as watching the nominated animated movies of the year with some kid-friendly snacks. Whatever you choose, have fun!

Sit and Score
Don’t want to have a party but don’t want to sit like lumps on the couch either? Try some Oscar themed games! A lovely site called How About Orange has an Oscar Bingo card that you can download to play. You can also keep score with an Oscar Ballot Form from Moviefone.

Get Up, Get Ready
If you have little kids they probably aren’t that excited since they haven’t seen most of the movies and might have to go to bed early. But you can still celebrate a little earlier in the evening by watching Kung Fu Panda 2 or Puss in Boots, which is my personal fave. Both are nominated for Best Animated Movie. Puss in Boots is coming out on DVD this Friday!

Puttin’ on the Ritz
Don’t let the stars on the Red Carpet have all the fun! Your kids will love getting all glammed up to watch the telecast. Put some make-up on your little girls and they’ll be thrilled. Have your son be the photographer. Give him an inexpensive instant camera or flip camera and he can film the “stars” during your party.

Hostess with Mostess Blog Oscar Party ideas

Eat, Decorate, and Be Merry
The Hostess with the Mostess blog has some free downloads to make invitations, napkin wraps, and popcorn bags for your family and guests.

Oscar Candy printables

The beautiful Twig and Thistle site has some free downloads to make invitations, popcorn bags, and candy bags for your family and guests. My daughter made the popcorn bags at the top of this post for last year’s Oscar Party with a red pencil and white paper bags. The kids would love having fun making any of these simple and inexpensive party pieces with you.

Then, check out these Oscar Statuette Cookies. Bakerella has come up with an incredibly clever Oscar themed cookie.

If you are in the mood for a casual party, Celebrations.com has a variety of party themes to throw the perfect Oscar Party. You’ll find games, menus, and decorating ideas. Personally, I like their vintage Oscar party theme.

MakeitBetter.net also had some fun food ideas inspired by this year’s best movie nominees.

I hope these fun ideas have inspired you to spice up the way you watch the Oscars with your family Sunday night. Roll the fun …

Who are you voting for, for best picture? I’m voting for Hugo to win. The book is fantastic but the movie is pure visual movie magic!

Not interested in the Oscars but want some ideas for a fun movie night at home? Check out my article on How to Amp Up Family Movie Night.

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Family Fun Ideas

10 Perfect Teacher’s Gift Ideas

School is almost out so the question on every Mom’s mind is “What do we get for the kids’ teachers?” Every year I try to be creative and come up with something unique but most years I end up giving them what they say they really need. I am fortunate enough to have 6 teachers living in my neighborhood so I asked them what they like to get at the end of the year from their students. Here were the top answers, hands down.

1. Book Gift Cards – many teachers have to buy their own books for the classroom so gift cards help to cover that expense for them.

2. Coffee Gift Cards – We’re in a room with 28 loud children every day, need we say more?

3. Target Gift Cards – Hey, many teachers are Moms, too. (This applies for movie ticket certificates, restaurant certificates, and anything that you would appreciate as a gift.)

4. Anything Homemade by the student, especially if they had a nice bond throughout the school year. Notes, photos collages, or a written story were appreciated.

Want some more ideas? Here are some additional gift ideas I’ve come up with and found on various Mom sites.

5. The Mother Huddle blog had some ideas that were nice and most importantly easy to do. I really liked the Joyful Hands soap idea.

6. The Skip to My Lou blog had some great simple ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week that would also work as nice year end gifts. I like the Gift Certificate for a Massage idea.

7. If you have an artist at home, frame one of their masterpieces. My daughter’s teacher is retiring at the end of year so she is going to draw a picture of the teacher’s classroom so she’ll remember it.

8. How about a plant? They last longer than flowers and can be used to lighten up the classroom next year.

9. A box of pretty Thank You Notes. The teachers may want to send a thank you to all of the students for their year end gifts so why not make it easier for them to do so. If you don’t want to make your own, Sincerely Yours by Tracy has some beautiful, unique Thank You Notes and Teacher Cards.

10. A movie night package. Grab a recently released DVD, popcorn and some candy so your teacher can have a fun night at home with her or his family.

Care to add to the list? We’d love to hear more ideas!

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Tags: Back to School Tips · Ideas on Gifts for Big Occasions · Mom's Corner · Parenting Tips

My Mother’s Day Traditions

It’s no secret that every day should be Mother’s Day. I wish I were lavished with flowers, homemade cards, and a pants-busting brunch every day. However, that might not be good for my mental or physical health. (I’d be willing to make the sacrifice and try it out on behalf of all Moms though.) So, I try to make the most out of the one official day each year where I’m the guest of honor in our house. We seem to have developed some Mother’s Day traditions that I look forward to each year.

First, we always go to brunch. I love the smell of pastries in the morning. How could you not like brunch? You get breakfast food and savory lunch food all at the same time. I have developed a brunch-eating process. First, I get a plate of breakfast type food, then a plate of lunch type food, then maybe a plate of my favorites from the first two plates. If I can still walk I then go get a dessert plate. Don’t be embarrassed to keep getting up and getting a little food. Every time you walk up there you burn calories and can then eat more. Also, someone else is doing the dishes!

Second, I call my Mommy and wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Since she lives in another state, Mom gets a mail package and phone call. While I wish I could do more for the wonderful woman who raised me, at least I can train my son on the importance of calling your Mom on Mother’s Day. (He’s going to need at least 20 something years of reminders for this.)

Our third tradition started from my desire to work off the food coma induced by my overeating at brunch. Mother’s Day is my flower gardening day. Since we live in the Midwest, it’s not safe to plant flowers anytime before Mother’s Day. You don’t want to go through all of that hard work digging, planting, bending, and yanking and then watch the flowers die during an overnight cold snap. So I use this day to go to the nursery, pick my beautiful flowers for the summer, and as a family, we go home and plant. I love it! The kids make their own flower pots to water and care for. My husband does the heavy lifting, digging and fertilizing, and I get to decorate my house with beautiful flowers.

What if it rains, you ask? Well, then I plan to take a nap and play Guitar Hero the rest of the day.

At the end of the day I feel great because we spent time together working on a project that’s important to me, our house is decorated for all of the summer parties we plan to have, and I worked off the brunch calories. Now, I’ve got a year to rest up until next time.

What traditions do you have for Mother’s Day? I’d love to hear how other Moms spend their special day.

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Mom's Corner

4 Fun Kids Birthday Party Ideas

Do your kids have a birthday coming up? Want to throw a unique, awesome party for them? Watch my appearance on WCIU Chicago where I share tips on Throwing a Kids Birthday Party at home as well as suggestions for popular and timely party theme activities. We’ve got you covered with Princess, Slumber, Pirate and Race Car party ideas.

Want more ideas on kids birthday parties? We have quite a few posts chock full of easy and creative ideas for Kids Birthday Parties or check out our Pinterest Boards to get even more inspired.

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Kids Birthday Party Ideas · Kids Parties

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