Unique End-of-Year Teachers’ Gift Ideas

The school year is winding down and the last day of school is quickly approaching. I’m not ready! But, there is one big, last homework assignment for Moms and that’s the end-of-year teachers’ gifts. I try to get my kids’ teachers something either really unique or something they could really use, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas.

I live in a neighborhood with a lot of teachers so I asked them what teacher’s gifts they appreciated most. You can read their answers in my post 10 Perfect Teacher’s Gift Ideas.

If you want want to do a little something extra and make a gift with your child for his or her teacher, check out these posts on Fun Homemade Teacher’s Gift Ideas and Easy and Inexpensive DIY Teacher’s Gift Ideas.

Here are two more unique end-of-year Teacher’s Gift ideas that I saw on Pinterest this week. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to pull these off.


I like this Summer Relaxation Beach Tote gift idea from SkiptoMyLou.org. Mostly because I want to make one for me.

The Homespun with Love blog created a cute bucket full of school supplies for teacher to use next year. Click through to see how easy it was to make.

Do you give gifts to your child’s teacher at the end of the year? Some people do and some don’t. Giving gifts to teachers is even illegal in one state. Read my article Teacher’s Gifts: To Give or Not to Give over at Patch.com to learn where. There are some nice comments from teachers at the end of the article.

What do you normally get your kids’ teachers at the end of the school year? Please share your ideas. Teachers, feel free to weigh in on what you appreciate the most.

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Tags: Back to School Tips · Cool Finds

A Chance to Win Free Business Cards


As a small business owner, I know that every penny counts. So I’m thrilled to be able to offer one lucky reader a chance to win 250 free business cards from Uprinting.com. Whether you want to promote your business, your blog or just produce some fun Mommy calling cards, this giveaway is a great opportunity to look professional and save some money.

Uprinting is an online printing company that offers a wide range of marketing products to help you promote your business or blog. What makes the company unique is their large format printing options, free file review service which requires no upfront payment to review proofs, and their commitment to eco-friendly printing processes and recycled paper options. Uprinting serves their customers with a very user-friendly web site to make ordering super easy for busy business owners. But what caught my eye was the option to choose die-cut shapes for your business cards such as rounded corners, leaf, half circle, circle or oval, to present your business in a distinctive way.

Take advantage and be distinctive! UPrinting is offering 250 business cards to one lucky Chocolate Cake Moments reader. Simply fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win! Good luck.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize Information:

  • 250 Die-cut Business Cards for one (1) winner
  • Shape options: 2×3.5″ Rounded Corners, 2×2″ Rounded Corners, 1.75×3.5″ Rounded Corners, 2×3.5″ Leaf, 2×3.5 Rounded one corner, 2×3.5″ Half-Circle Side, 2×3.5″ Oval, or 2.5″ Circle
  • 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated
  • 6 Business days print turnaround time
  • Free US shipping only



Restrictions:

    1. This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years old and above.
    2. No prize substitutions allowed.
    3. Winners are allowed to win once over a six-month period.
    4. Only email addresses used for the giveaway will be eligible to claim the prize.


Disclaimer:
“You should assume that I will receive free print products in exchange for the post. Any and all reviews posted are based solely on my own experience and may be atypical. Please practice due diligence in making any related purchase decisions. Interested to hold a giveaway like this? Please sign up here.”

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Tags: Cool Finds

Today is the Day the Squirrels Get their Due

Well, this just takes all. I woke up this morning to read that today, January 21st is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Who knew?!? Who knew it was their day, let alone that they feel under-appreciated. Knowing that any rodent can have its own day now, I can’t wait for Elephant Shrew Day. What is an elephant shrew, you ask? It’s my daughter’s favoritest new animal and she feels that they deserve a day too.

But I digress. Back to the squirrels. I want to know what prompted someone to call for a National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Were they not getting enough attention? They are in every commercial out there now. I think they even have Hollywood agents. You don’t see moles getting their own commercials. What’s wrong with moles?

Sure, squirrels are cute. Sure, they are entertaining when they are chasing each other around the yard. But, they also eat my Halloween pumpkins and they ate all of the candy out of our Easter eggs one year. The yard looked like a pastel-colored yard sale once they got through cracking the plastic eggs. The kids were crushed. What’s up with that, squirrels?

However, if you love squirrels, today is the day to show them some appreciation. Here are some tips and a fun squirrel video from the National Wildlife Federation on 7 Ways to Celebrate National Squirrel Day.

Enjoy your day, Squirrels!

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Tags: Cool Finds

Moms, Don’t Lose It. Label It!


I have to admit, I’m not a labeler. Every year around Back-to-School time I would read about how Moms should label their kids’ preschool and school items but I never got around to it. Maybe I would write their initials on a tag with a Sharpie pen, but that really wasn’t going to do much to get an item back if it was lost.

So, when Name Bubbles contacted me to try their back-to-school name labels, I jumped at the chance to see what I was missing or doing wrong all these years. If you have ever had to rummage through the school’s lost and found box, you’ll understand why I was very interested in changing my family’s organizational habits. Now that I’ve tried them, I have to admit I’m hooked!

Name Bubbles Labels come in a variety of sizes and styles that are – get this – waterproof, dishwasher, laundry, and microwave safe. That’s perfect for labeling all of the items your kids use when they leave the house. Cool! The labels are made of a vinyl material with a non-toxic, eco-solvent ink to provide fun color and durability. There are custom name label packs for School, Childcare, Sports, and Camp, depending on what you need. They even have labels to put in your kids shoes! If you have every been to a birthday party with 20 kids’ shoes lying by the front door and several of them the same style, you’ll be so thankful that you can find your kids shoes before their next birthday party rolls around.

In addition, once you are hooked on labeling they have packs for other aspects of your life like Elder Care, College, and Luggage. They even have a Party Pack where you can order personalized labels to give as party favors at your kids’ birthday party. The party guests go home with a set of labels personalized with their name. Cool! I’m always on the look out for unique kids’ birthday party favors and this is one of the most useful I’ve seen yet.

Since my son camps a lot with Boy Scouts, I’m digging the Camp Label pack since he had a fiasco last camp out with someone accidentally taking his new sleeping bag. We had written his name on the bag but it wasn’t prominent enough, I guess. These labels will help going forward. The large square bubble labels in the Camp Pack are perfect for big ticket items like a camera, iPod, or cell phone that you really want to come home from camping trips.

At summer camp, my kids lost their towel and swimsuit practically every day. I wish I had these labels two summers ago! A waterproof label on their swim gear would have made searching through the lost and found box a lot easier.






I remember when my kids were in day care and we were just labeling the bottles with masking tape and a pen. I wish I had the labels from Name Bubble’s Childcare Pack way back when. It would have made life easier, let along made the bottle look a little nicer too.

Applying the Name Bubble Labels is pretty easy, too. Stick the labels on and wait 24 hours before getting them wet. The company claims the adhesive will stay put in extreme conditions and so far I’ve seen that to be true. The packages are affordable – $20 to $43 dollars depending on which pack you are ordering. Now that I am hooked, I definitely see how the cost is small compared to how easy they are to apply and how nice the label looks.

Another great product that Name Bubbles offers is the Allergy, Medical or Special Needs Alert stickers that you can apply to your child’s lunch boxes, bottles, food containers, diaper bag, and even favorite toys. You can customize the labels to list your emergency contact information or indicate that your child is Autistic and doesn’t like to be touched.

Disclaimer: Name Bubbles did send me a free press kit with sample labels to review. All opinions expressed are mine, though. I’m stubborn that way.

What are some of your tips for labeling your kids’ school, camp and day care gear?

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Tags: Back to School Tips · Cool Finds

Take the Family to Cirque Shanghai for some Extreme Fun!

My whole family was lucky enough to be invited to the press event and get free tickets for “Cirque Shanghai Extreme” at the Navy Pier Skyline Stage in Chicago last week. The show was “extremely” awesome. I knew we would enjoy the show but I was surprised at how much everyone in the family really enjoyed it. Even my sometimes jaded 11-year-old son thought it was totally cool. Read below for details to win 4 Free Tickets to Cirque Shanghai Extreme from OntheGoChicago.com or get a discount code for tickets.

The show is thrilling. From the opening act when the performers “zip line” onto the stage followed by Chinese dragon dancers coming down the aisles, your kids will be mesmerized by the sounds, colors, and cool feats of the performers. The acts feature juggling, acrobatics, dance, contortionists, and MOTORCYCLES.

My daughter’s favorite act was the Barrel Contortion Act. Three girl performers are dressed like candy and they squirm and contort their way into and out of these three tiny barrels with ease.

My son on the other hand was all about the Motorcycle cage at the end of the show. It’s AMAZING how they can get 4 motorcycles racing around the inside of a metal cage on stage.

The show is only 75 minutes long so don’t be afraid to take toddlers to the show. The little ones we saw in the audience didn’t move or fidget once through the show. You can take in the rest of Navy Pier’s attractions before or after the show, depending on your kids’ bedtime.

A note of caution – the Skyline Stage at Navy Pier is an open air theater. Even though it is hot out, if the wind picks up off the lake, your kids might get cold. My daughter was freezing by the end of the show and we didn’t have a jacket with us.

If you have a wide age range of kids in your family or guests in from out of town, this is the show for you. Toddlers, teens, and adults alike will be amazed.

My friend Cindy over at OntheGoChicago.com has 4 free tickets to Cirque Shanghai Extreme but you need to enter today!

Details:

    Ticket Info: Tickets for kids ages 3 – 12 years old are only $15 and you can Cirque Shanghai has offered our readers a special discount offer! Use code KIDS for $25 Adult Gold Circle tickets for Wed-Fri performances for July and August. Tickets now on sale through ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000

    Place: Navy Pier Open-Air Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL

    Parking: Parking at Navy Pier is $20.

    Dates: Now through September 5th, 2011

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Tags: Cool Finds · Family Fun Ideas

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