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Do you have any favorite teacher appreciation gifts you’ve given in the past? Teachers, any favorites you’ve received? Here are a few of my all-time favorites that kids can make for teacher appreciation, many of which can be paired nicely with a gift card for say, a book on tape, a car wash, or bread from a yummy bakery. (Or go in with other class members and give them a night away, which we’re planning to do.)
pictured: handsoap with kids’ art from here, block notepad from HowDoesShe, Pencil Puzzle from MaryJanesGoloshes.

Gifts using pictures of the kids. A few ideas for using photos of the kids themselves, which are an especially great surprise if you can get the class together for a group photo. These photo gifts are helpful for kids too young to write thank you notes to teacher.
1. Thank you portrait. Have the kids spell out “thank you” by laying on the ground and forming the letters with their bodies. Take pictures from overhead.
2. Knee-down portrait. Have the kids line up against a wall and take a photo of the kids from their knees down. Wrap the photo around a can for a pencil holder.
3. Thank you board book or moleskin. On each page put a picture of each child and a reason he or she loves the teacher.
4. Photo beanbags for the classroom.
5. Pencil photo puzzle (found via OnePrettyThing).
6. Photo magazine holders for classroom organization (found via OnePrettyThing).
7. A set of magnets for the classroom.
8. A water bottle.

Gifts using kids’ artwork. And here a few ideas for making gifts from artwork your little one has already created.
9. Handsoap with art inside.
10. Personalized pencil sharpener.
11. Personalized book plates.
12. Stationary for the classroom.
13. A photo desk calendar.

Things kids color directly on
. Self explanatory, right?
14. Rocks and a planter. Have each child paint a small rock. Add these to the top of a plant in a pretty pot for the teacher’s home or classroom.
15. The classroom door. Get students together to decorate the classroom door with loving notes.
16. Cube notepad. Get or make a cube-sized notepad, have the kids color on the sides.
17. Pretty thumb tacks, or try a more rustic set.
18. A good reference book with something pretty stamped on the side.
19. Premium fruit juice with labels drawn by your kids.
20. Cloth Napkins. Use the batik method to decorate a set of cloth napkins. Just drizzle Elmer’s glue over the fabric, let it dry, dye it, and wash it according to the directions on the dye.
21. A notebook with sweet messages hidden throughout.

Things kids can make
22. Handlebar flower.
23. Seed tape.
24. Fabric tissue case (found via OnePrettyThing).
25. Friendly felt-embellished paper clips.
26. Sunprint pencil cup.
27. Pretty pens.
28. Fabric-covered journals (found via OnePrettyThing).
29. Pretty binder clips.
30. Poetry suitcase f
or use in the classroom.
31. Fabric catchall.
32. Corner bookmark.
33. Fabric-covered pots (found via OnePrettyThing).
34. Forced bulbs or an herb garden planted and nurtured by your child.
35. Footwarmer.
36. Lavender drawer sachets.
37. Reusable lunch bag.
38. Yummy bread. If your child has just learned to read, have them use their new skills to read a recipe and make homemade bread.
30. Homemade croutons to go with a salad kit.
40. Homemade pasta cut in fun shapes with a cookie cutter.
41. Chocolate dipped strawberries.
42. Macarons.
43. Waffle mix and real maple syrup with a label drawn by your child.
44. Hot chocolate on a stick (in colder weather).
45. Homemade granola.
46. A caramel-dipped apple.
47. Homemade salsa.
48. Homemade hot sauce.
49. Vanilla sugar.
50. Cookie dough frozen in cookie-sized portions. I like using a bag to pipe out stir and drop cookies.

Comment from a teacher.
I thought this note from Susan, a real teacher weighing in, was helpful: “These are great ideas!  If you include picutures of your kids, make sure the gift is really for the teacher.  I once got Christmas ornaments with student pictures in them.  While I love your kid and happy to spend all day with them, I don’t want to take them home with me.” Thanks, Susan!

Treats in the teacher’s lounge. I love this idea, found here: “Our school provides the best teacher appreciation week. Each day a different grade level is responsible for providing snacks and goodies for the teachers lounge. We always have a ton of food. One year we all received corsages made from one mom! This year we were surprised with 15 minute massages for each teacher. A therapist came in to our building for 2-days and gave each teacher a 15 minute massage. It was wonderful!!!!”

Teacher favorites survey. I also love this idea found here: “My daughter’s PTO has a form that each teacher fills out at the beginning of the year with their “favorites” (favorite color, soda, candy, scent, etc.). They keep all of the teachers forms in a book in the office [or keep them on the school’s website]- that way parents can have easy access and get the teacher something they like or will use.”


Are you starting to notice I have cake on my mind?

I thought you might like a little extra fun for your Valentine cupcakes this year, so we did some experimenting over here.

Here’s what you’ll need to create your very own, fully edible, cupcake stands, and impress all your Valentines this year.
1. White candy melts
(I chose candy melts over real white chocolate because they’re so much easier to melt and work with, and they don’t have to be tempered when they’re melted)

2. One Recipe Royal Icing, mix together
3 tbsp. meringue powder
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
6 Tbsp. warm water
(Just beat on low until it forms peaks and looks like icing).

3. Cookie cutters or other impromptu molds you find around your kitchen.

Here’s how we went about it. First we opened every drawer in the kitchen and pulled out anything that looked like it could be a mold.

Then we made some royal icing and scooped it into a pastry bag.

We set out all our molds over a piece of parchment paper. If you have trouble making the molds stay in place, add a little icing to the bottom. But we didn’t find this to be necessary. We just plopped a few cookie cutters down.

We melted the candy wafers in the microwave (one minute at a time at half power, stirring between) and poured them in our molds.

We tried a nesting effect. Next time I’ll decorate with colored icing rather than melting in more colored candy.

After they cooled in the fridge, we leveled a few.

Then glued them together with our royal icing. Here are the ones that turned out to be our favorites. We liked the ones that used surprisingly small cookie cutters. But really the possibilities are limited only by what you can turn into a mold. Just make sure you try out one model cupcake stand, to make sure it can hold up a cupcake, before you make dozens of them.

There, won’t your Valentine be impressed?

For those of you who want to expand your cupcake repertoire, here are a few recipes I’ve been dying to try. Do you have a favorite cupcake?

Lucious Lime Cupcakes (My friend made these for a baby shower last night. They were amazing. I wish I had a picture because they were beautiful, piled high with airy whipped lime mousse. Biting into cake and lime mousse all at once is a pretty great thing).
Fluffernutter cupcakes by the awesome Michelle of One Ordinary Day
Chocolate, banana, and teff cupcakes (gluten free and amazing looking)
Salted caramel chocolate cupcakes
Cotton candy cupcakes
Vanilla cupcakes with blackberry buttercream
Blue velvet cupcakes
White chocolate cupcakes
Dark chocolate cupcakes with milk chocolate buttercream


You may not have been around the last time I mentioned our cow. Her name is Moolie. And sometimes she is a handful. We found her in our neighbor’s back yard again this week. We thought we’d gotten past this stage. The stage where I’d be driving the kids to school, past the neighbor’s house, and glance over to their yard to see her staring back at me. Can you picture it? I took a shot of her this morning to help you out.

moolieAnyway, we decided that our saintly neighbor, who not only hosted our cow this week but also helped us take care of a massive fallen tree, deserved a treat. And a week or two ago a friend brought us the crispiest fresh apples and caramel to dip them in. It made us all so happy, we thought we’d pass on the gesture.

There was no time to visit an orchard, so we decided we’d make up for it by making homemade caramel sauce. We picked up a bag of apples suitable for bobbing, included our caramel sauce for dipping, and added a batch of our homemade granola for crunching. Hopefully it will be something our neighbors can enjoy this weekend with their family.

Would you like to make a package of your own? I happen to have the tags here for you just in case: Bob, Dip, Crunch tags (1430)

We also made plenty extra to offer to our own family, which we’ll be taking along with some pie and rolls and cranberry sauce. It should be a good Thanksgiving.
bobbing for apples fall care packagehomemade granolahomemade caramel dip sauce


For those of you following along with me on the holiday countdown, here is some inspiration as you head out in search of packaging for your goodies this year.

TO GET MORE IDEAS visit my gift wrap index. Or visit here for my printable labels for the holidays this year.

cupcake bakery boxYes, this is a letterpressed cupcake box

bag and box for neighbor Christmas giftsavailable here

delivering christmas cookie tubesfrom Martha

boxes for packaging holiday treatsavailable here

bread basket wooden gift wrapavailable here
UPDATE: get them in the U.S. here or here, or go here to pick up a variety pack

gift wrapping-breadfrom here, found via here

wrap a loaf of breadavailable here

free printable label for treats and foodfree printable available here, found via here

holiday cookie boxes packagingfrom here

house christmas cookie boxesfrom here (by Martha)

packaging for holiday treatsfrom Martha

can-cookie-holder-2-post(these are formula cans, nice) tutorial here

christmas favor boxes 1available here

Christmas truffle favor boxes 2available here

christmas treat boxes 3available here

-christmas treat packaging ideas

from here

-cookie packaging idea goodie bagfrom here

bakers twineand, finally, don’t forget the baker’s twine




Remember when I posted about the Vosges chocolate chip bacon pancakes for Father’s Day? Well, now everything you need to make these babies comes packed up in one convenient mix (thanks to Oh Joy for the photo). If this isn’t the perfect offering for a hostess, I don’t know what is (though I’m open to arguments from vegetarian and Jewish hostesses).perfect hostess giftA few other specialties from these experts at mixing chocolate and exotic flavors: 1, 2, and 3. And incase it’s something you want to be really really good at, here is their page on How to Eat Chocolate, my kind of tutorial.
hostess gift chocolate3