Viewing category ‘Keepsakes’

Milk and Cookies

with Kristen

I'm a mother of five, a bargain hunter, a recreational comparison shopper, and always trying to make more time - for me and for you, too. On this blog I'm sharing my favorite tools and finds to help make your work-life juggle a bit easier.

You can find my personal blog at Swistle.com.

End-of-year teacher gifts

Categories: Fun stuff for grown-ups, Gifts, Keepsakes, School

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We did end-of-year teacher gifts our first few years of having schoolkids, but now I don’t typically do them. I’m more likely to put all the teacher-gift eggs into the December-gift basket.

But I do sometimes do something for end-of-year, especially if there’s something significant about the particular year/class. For example, last year one of my children’s teachers was retiring, and she’d taught another of my children as well. I had copies of “first day of school” pictures printed from both kids’ first days in her class, and enclosed them with a thank-you letter and a Target gift card and a card wishing her a happy retirement. (Forty years teaching first graders. Can you imagine? No, don’t try.)

Mid-year, I think classroom items can be a nice thing to donate—but at the end of the year, I suspect teachers just want to PACK IT UP. No more pencils, no more books, no more children’s dirty looks! I aim instead for things I think they might be able to enjoy over the summer. A gift card to Panera, for a time of year they might be able to go to lunch. A gift card to a book store, for a little recreational reading. A gift card to the over-priced-but-delicious ice cream store. A gift card to a place that sells iced coffees (photo from Starbucks.com), for keeping them cool in August when they’re reassembling their non-air-conditioned classrooms.
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Games we can bear to play with children

Categories: Crafts and activities, Gifts, Keepsakes, Learning activities, Toddler gear

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I am breathing carefully and calmly through my nose as I think of playing board games with children: Monopoly, which goes on forever and makes children cry; CandyLand, which seems like it’s about to end and then someone gets sent back to the beginning.

I do have a few, a very select few, that I am willing to play. I look for a game that is fun for me as well as for the kids, and that doesn’t require me to hold way back in order to avoid trouncing my opponents.

Wits & Wagers Family (photo from Amazon.com). I prefer the grown-up version, which I first encountered at my brother and sister-in-law’s house, but the kid-friendly game is nearly as good. I am timid and suspicious of games, but this one won me over: it’s like Trivial Pursuit except you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO know the answers. The idea is that everyone will be guessing. The guesses are laid out in a row, and then everyone can bet on the likelihood that the guesses are correct; in this way, you can win points even if you didn’t know the population of Vatican City, or how many points an athlete scored in his best game. It ends up being a lot of fun and a lot of laughing, and as soon as I got home from that game night I ordered the family version to play with the kids.

Set (photo from Amazon.com). This game was recommended to us by one of the kids’ teachers, who had the kids make their own small decks to practice with. The point of the game is to find three cards that make up a “set”: the three cards can be different colors but the same shapes, or different shapes but the same colors, or all different colors/shapes. It took me a little while to catch on, but after that it was simple and addictive.
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