Friday, May 18, 2012

Teacher Gifts - Sis 1

My little Monkey graduated from Kindergarten today. Sniffle. It's a good thing I was playing the piano for two reasons. 1) I had seen the whole program lots of times and 2) I couldn't even see Monkey most of the time. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have had a mascara mess.

Our family has been going to the best school in Tooele for 5 years, and this is our last. I do have fond memories of the school the kids will be going to next year, but we will miss Northlake (the people there, really) SO much. I have volunteered quite a bit at the school, more in the past than recently, because of Bear, but I am always in awe of the wonderful teachers my children have had.

There's really nothing that would come close to thanking teachers for all of the work, inspiration, and dedication they put in and sometimes the heartache that they go through, but I'm sure they knew that when they started on the teaching path.

So, here's the insignificant little gift that I chose to give to our teachers this year.

School Supplies Bracelets

Materials needed:
#6 recycleable plastic*
permanent markers of many colors
hole punch
string and findings

Here are the patterns I had my kids trace and color. Feel free to use them (Click and drag onto your desktop or right click and save as). Before shrinking, they were each up to 2 inches in the longest direction.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. Trace and color (or draw your own) school supplies on #6 plastic. Cut out each shape as smoothly as possible. Punch a hole in each. (You will never be able to punch a hole once it's shrunken.)

Spread the shapes on a cookie sheet or pan, making sure none of the shapes touch each other. We baked our shapes one child's set at a time, so that they wouldn't get mixed together. Place pan in the oven and turn on the light. After about 5 minutes, check to see if the shapes have shrunken. If not, just wait longer. If they're curling a lot, they're in the process of shrinking. Once the shapes are mostly flat, remove them from the oven. If you want to flatten them NOW is the time.

When cooled enough, remove from pan and string, along with other beads to make a bracelet.

* #6 plastic is polystyrene, which is the same material styrofoam is made from. I collect the lids from any trips we make to Costa Vida or Cafe Rio (always get a to-go lid) and the lids of disposable casserole pans from the dollar store. You can still use the pan when you're taking dinner to someone. Just cover it with tinfoil and keep the lid for your projects. Some deli containers and plastic cups are also #6 plastic. Look for the recycle triangle with a 6 or PS underneath. Don't use any other number. It won't work. Just wash your used plastic by hand, dry it, and store it for later. The vertical sides can be used for fun things, too, but it's much easier to trace pictures if you have already cut them off.

Hot Fudge Sauce

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is all melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour into 1/2 pint jars, if using as a gift. You could make cutesy lids, too. I didn't.

Reheat in the microwave and serve on ice cream. (Or, you can get a clean spoon and sneak a bite right from the container in the fridge, like I usually do.)

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