Friday, June 19, 2009

Frugal Friday: End-of-Year Teacher Gifts

We had a great big school year of firsts around daughter started kindergarten and my husband left his former school district of 12 years (an hour and twenty minute commute) for our local hometown high school (eight minute commute). What a blessing it has been to have my husband teaching locally and what a wonderful year we had all around! My daughter thrived in kindergarten and is absolutely thrilled about becoming a first grader (Oh, My!!) and my husband thrived in his new teaching environment, loving both the staff and the students he worked with all year, and loving his coaching positions as Assistant Varsity Football and Head Basketball coach.
In our tiny town the kindergarten has it's own little "green school" as it's called (it's green!!). So, at the end of the year we have many teachers/staff at the green school to show our appreciation for because remember, it takes a village to raise a child. The teacher, the aide, the nurse, the secretary/aide, the car aide (who puts her in the car each day through the "valet"), etc... As you can see, all these staff members add up, and purchasing gifts for all of them can be quite costly! (I always scour sales, etc. for items less than $5, but had no luck this year!) With one more paycheck coming until September 15th we need to conserve where we can (and still show our appreciation!) What's a budget-conscious Mom to do??!! I planned a luncheon for all of them! (And I was able to include the other kindergarten teacher as well as the preschool program staff that is also in the building!). Too bad I was so stressed for time I didn't get a picture (of anything).
Here is what I served and the price breakdown:
Cherry-Chicken Salad Crossiants (recipe below): $9.00
Country Potato and Macaroni Salads: free from hotdog promo
Bag of gourmet chips: $2
Carrot cake: $2
I arranged the crossiant sandwiches on two china platters and wrapped them in cellophane (they thought they were catered!!) and the salads in mason jars adorned with homemade "country" tags with twine labeling them of their contents, the chips in a Longaberger and the homemade carrot cake on a garden cake pedestal. I brought it in on a huge antique wooden tray. It made my country picnic theme complete!
Total was $13 and a little time. Even if I had found $5 gifts, I would be over $25...and the reception and gratefulness from the teachers was priceless! They really enjoyed it so this will be a definite plan for again next year!!
Oh...and forgot to mention...the kindergarten bus driver received a loaf of our favorite homemade banana bread (from MSM's e-book). She and her family just love our homemade gifts! (pic above) Cost: $1
Now...onto my husband! For a new teacher there's always countless paperwork, questions, deadlines, and getting to know the lay-of-the-land. Especially if you're the new head coach! Booking gym times, game busing scheduling, and starting up sports camps. The office staff and Board of Ed. staff are really instrumental in running the high school behind the scenes and are often forgotten (even when I was a teacher I never forgot my office staff come gift time... the school would be lost without them!) So this morning I put together two big Longabergers full of baked goods... one for the HS office and one for the Board office.
In both baskets were (and the total cost for both):
Dozen cinnamon rolls (fresh from the bakery...I would've made these, but the price was so reasonable it was just better to save me some sanity!!): $6
Loaf of banana bread with and without nuts: $4
Loaf of blueberry bread: $2 (I purchased these at our great supermarket bakery and they scanned the wrong price at checkout so I received one for free!!)
The total was $12 and not much time...the hardest part was waking at 5am to assemble the baskets!! Hence, no picture again. I barely had one eye open to basket up the buns!!
So...all-in-all our end of year teacher/aide/secretary/bus driver gift total came to: $26
You too can still give to others, and on a budget! All it takes is a little creativitiy, planning, and deal- seeking/couponing!
Happy Summer!!
I'm always looking for frugal gift ideas, so feel free to share!!
Cherry-Chicken Salad Crossiants:
2 large chicken breasts, poached (boiled) cooled, and cubed
2/3 C. dried cherries
1/3 C. chopped celery
1/3 C. chopped granny smith apples
1/3 C. chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 C. mayo
4 t. buttermilk (I did not have so I sub. sour cream)
1/2t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
2 doz. mini crossiants (or 12 large), split
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cherries, celery, apple, and pecans. In another bowl, combine the mayo, buttermilk, salt and pepper; add to chicken mixture and mix well. Spoon heaping spoonfuls onto each crossiant.
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