Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gift Giving Idea #6

Emergency Desk Kit
At the beginning of last school year, I put together a little kit of essentials to keep in my desk drawer for those days I had to stay late at school.  I purchased a small plastic container and filled it with travel sized items like toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, hairspray, floss, nail file, hair brush, stain wipes, hand lotion, lint roller, pocket tissues, and hand sanitizer.  I cannot tell you how many times I have used something in that kit!  It is convenient to just grab the whole container and take it to the bathroom to 'freshen up' before parent conferences, open house nights, etc.  I decided I would make a few kits as gifts this year.    I added a cute little label that I made in Photoshop and printed out on sticker paper.

 You could also add a sewing kit, band-aids, medications, or anything else one might need.  Each item was around $1 or less so this makes a really inexpensive yet practical gift!

Gift Giving Idea #5

Recycled T-Shirts
While renovating the flip house this summer, I went through countless number of rags (wiping up paint and general 'messiness').  I had purchased a couple bags of rags from Goodwill, which were basically just old t-shirts cut up and put in a bag.  Well, for the last year and some odd months, I have had a entire pile of t-shirts sitting in my classroom just waiting for a second chance to be useful!  I am co-advisor for the Class of 2012 and the class officers had ordered t-shirts last year for homecoming.  Several students ordered shirts but never paid for them and/or never came to pick them up so, alas, they have been collecting dust and taking up much needed space in my classroom since September of 2009.  Finally, after giving as many of them away as I could (and keeping several for myself...painting shirts, workout shirts, gigantic XL sleepshirts) I decided I would cut them up and give them to my dad as part of his Christmas gift since I know he will definitely use them in all sorts of ways.

Viola!  A recycled and useful Christmas gift!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gift Giving Idea #4

Hand Dipped Pretzels
Each year I try and make a treat to bring to work for some coworkers and students.  This year I decided to make hand dipped pretzels.
Supplies needed are a tub of pretzel rods (I prefer the kind in the tub as opposed to the bags because the ones in the bags tend to be broken), 1 bag of each kind of chocolate you'd like to dip the pretzels in, and any kind of coating to sprinkle on top.  The kinds I made were white chocolate sprinkled with nonpareils, semi-sweet chocolate drizzled with white chocolate, chocolate coated with crushed peppermint candies, and chocolate rolled in Heath toffee bits.

I used a double boiler on the stove top to melt my bag of chocolate.  This was a really tricky process...I wish I could share some words of wisdom when it comes to melting chocolate but it was pretty much trial and error.  I will say that my first batch seemed to melt quickly then harden up before I could get it off the stove but adding a splash of canola oil seemed to smooth it out again making it easy to dip the pretzels in.  After dipping each pretzel and coating it with candy, I placed them on wax paper to cool.

Putting them out in the cold garage firmed them up quickly and then they were ready to be packaged.  I bought little bags at Wally World (I think a package of 20 was $1) to put them in for gift-giving. A tasty, pretty, and inexpensive gift!