Teacher Gifts

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We have been on a bit of a hiatus with moving, small home reno projects, and the change of seasons. But the FruitfulPursuits team is back into the swing of things just in time for the last day of school. Today I thought I would share a quick tutorial for a teacher gift.

I like giving presents, but I don’t think  you need to spend a lot of money to show someone you’re thinking of them.  This is especially true of teacher gifts.  There’s no point spending money on something  that will go unappreciated  or get lost  in the mix.  Better to stick with something simple, something your child can make, or help make,  and that comes from them.

I like making gift baskets, but not  everyone does. And in this age of instant sharing its hard to be satisfied with a not quite so pinable or instagram-ready gift.  This project is great because the possibilites are endless, easy, and (mostly) kid friendly.

What we made: Biscuits & Strawberry Rhubarb Jam with custom labels.
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The Jam
Okay, so I like making preserves ,I actually like making preserves more then eating them…it makes me feel productive AND thrifty. I went berry picking this year with a 2 yr old and a 6 yr old. They mostly entertained each other while occasionally picking , and stepping on, berries. I did the heavy lifting – squatting and picking I should say.
We had rhubarb growing in our garden, (I had to cut our recipe back as my second rhubarb crop was not as plentiful as I had hoped). My 2 yr old washed the fruit & stalks, and helped shuck some of the berries (before he got bored).  I chopped the rhubarb and had my big kid mix in the sugar and mash the berries.
I managed the cooking and once done, had him add in the pectin and do that endless 7min stir.
He helped me ladle the jars full. We both felt like the process was a success…and the small batch (less than a dozen jars) was easy to manage and clean-up.
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The Labels

Once the jam was done, I downloaded a “label template” from one of the websites I found on Pinterest with a “free label template” search. (lots of these label template downloads, can be filled in like a form and printed off without using a special font).
I pasted my favorite label into word, and used text boxes to add our jam’s name. I let him type all the information and direct me as to where it should all be placed.
I also downloaded a clip art strawberry and used it as a decoration on our label.

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The Custom Font

Next, I printed off a template from myscriptfont.com and had my son fill it in. Then I scanned and uploaded the result and the myscriptfont website spat out a “font file” that I downloaded & Saved. Suddenly my son’s handwriting was available as a font in MS word. Pretty slick, I thought.
We used his font on our label.
If your little one doesn’t make letters yet you could have them draw or doodle on some paper and then scan it and use that as your label art.
Once complete, we printed them (black on regular old white paper),  cut out the labels, and hot glued them onto the jar. Done.
The gift tags were another template downloaded, cut out, filled in,  hole puched and tied on with kitchen string.

The Biscuits
I make my own biscuit mix, but bisquick works in a pinch – and they now have a gluten free option! You can find my biscuit mix on the recipes page. They bake up fast (10-12min) so we got up 10 min early today so that we could make them before school. They baked while we ate breakfast and went to school still warm.

The Package
I hot glued a few sheets of tissue (I would have liked fabric better, but there was none around) to the bottom of a fruit basket (yes, the one we used to pick the berries) then wrapped the tissue up over the sides of the basket, more hot glue and some coloured napkins to line the bottom. The biscuits were wrapped in foil, then paper napkin, and nestled into the side of the basket next to the jam. T added a carnation (that he found on the ground at the park) for effect, and tucked in a happy retirement card. Lovely.

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If we had only been delivering one jar of jam I probably would not have gone through the trouble of making a font and reproducible label. Although the basket with biscuits was just for his teacher,  T wanted to give something to all of the important people from his year (Music, Phys Ed, Spanish, the EAs, crossing guard, lunch room supervisor, and his former Kindergarten teacher). With a jar, and a label needed for each, I knew he would tire after filling in the 3rd label, so this seemed like a good solution. Instead he hand wrote on a small gift tag, each recipients name with a short message.
A perfectionist, he was really pleased that his writing appeared “perfect” on the labels, and that he completed the tags, and tied them onto each jar without my help. I was happy we finished the job without any outbursts of frustration from a kid who is still learning the fine art of penmanship.
He was proud of the gifts, and super excited to deliver them this morning.

Making jam not in your wheelhouse?Just buy some. Hate jam? Fresh fruit in a basket is a classic for a reason. Baking not your thing? Send along a mix, or skip the baked goods all together. Does the idea of creating your own unique font make you want to barf? skip it. Print off a label template and let your little one have at it. OR just make a card. Keep it simple.

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