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Gifts for tutors and teachers – What to give? Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

First, find out school policy and abide by the rules. What, I am bossy? Yeah, that’s news. Really, figure out (ask other parents in the school) what is customary and either follow it or if, for some reason, it doesn’t seem enough to you… get creative and come up with some new ideas.

Many districts have also have programs in place to help you, like Honor Thy Teacher  run by the Newton Schools Foundation where you can make a donation in a teacher’s name.  Some schools let you buy books (at a PTO run Book Fair) or donate a book to the school library in the name of the teacher.
There is no shortage of great gifts (books) and you can grab a gift card to a local book store (more books) or coffee shop. Have your children make the card – it is always appreciated. Maybe you can organize a Teacher Appreciation Coffee before the holidays. Get the PTO involved and start a new tradition – maybe you can give everyone a goodie bag or, I don’t know, a book?

So, what to give? Is handwritten card and cookies enough or do you slip a gift card inside? If you do, try Sephora, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or iTunes.  Sometimes a group gift is in order. so pony up and be the one that collects the money and buys the gift, assign someone else the task of getting the card signed by all of the students. More work for you but you will make some teacher’s day.

What else to give?  Always welcome gifts :  hand-knitted or commercially made scarves, sweaters, gloves, socks which also all fit the not too personal rule (include a gift receipt to be extra nice). What else? Holiday decorations (Hanukah or Christmas) and candles, anything homemade (see Friday’s post),  notecards or plantable paper from Botanical PaperWorks. How about a magazine subscription? I like Uncommon Goods for really different but reasonable gifts like this Stackable Lunch Pot Set.

The new Flour Bakery cookbook (add some sweet wooden spoons or a whisk and a pretty dishtowel and put them in a mixing bowl). You could also make your favorite recipe from the cookbook and include the baked goods with the book.


Penzey’s is a great stop – the catalog is great but the store is even better (in Arlington, MA).  They also have the best packaging for the spices; whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves are placed between the bottles in many of their gift boxes. You can put together your own, too.  Pretty and sweet or savory.

Don’t forget plants.  Sure, a poinsettia or a white amaryllis or some sweet paper whites. Sounds boring? Not this time of year in New England! Go get a nice orchid (Trader Joe’s has them, as does Whole Foods) or a big gorgeous flowering tropical house plant (just be sure to cover it well when you run it outside). Nearby garden centers will have a nice selection and you will get a much needed dose of green while you shop. Usually know for their more expensive arrangements,  Winston Flowers has some less expensive choices that are lovely, too. I have also had great luck at the Waban 1-800-Flowers store. Great selection and great customer service, too.

The most important thing is to thank the teachers and let them know they are appreciated. Happy Holidays and head over to Pragmatic Mom for super Tutor Gift Ideas.

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.

 Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

 Dec 8: Sanitation EngineersMail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)

 Dec 9Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ’Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies Personalized Holiday Tags


12 Days of Shopping: Day 3 – Pretty Papers Giveaway

Luckily I live fairly close to two Paper Source Stores which are only mildly addicting…grin. I can spend a lot of time in one of their stores. Often my ideas for crafting exceed my skill level (which is remarkably low) but I am trying to keep a handle on that and just buy the pre-made things. All of the papers (stationery, wrapping and note cards) are gorgeous, vibrant and whimsical. I usually use plain card for holiday cards with a photo glued on – I have seen (from uber-crafty friends) gorgeous homemade cards – using ribbon, stamps and more. Great if you can do it – I have tried and decided my time is better spent doing something simple, you know, like splitting the atom.

Also, Paper Source is one of my default places to shop for little stocking stuffers (also Urban Outfitters) and a sweet local store in Newton – Just Next Door – where I always come up with something special – it is one of those stores that truly does have something for everyone on your gift list. If you are not lucky enough to have a local treasure like this, to the internet!

My absolutely favorite new discovery is from a company called Botanical PaperWorks. Everything is gorgeous and has the added bonus of being plantable – the eco-friendly paper made of post-consumer waste and is infused with North American wildflower seeds. When you plant it – it sprouts flowers – so sweet, green and different! I recieved a beautiful printed invitation on their paper this year – lovely as were the flowers that sprouted. Sorry – forgot to take a pic.

From the Botanical PaperWorks website:

What is plantable paper?
Plantable paper is special handmade paper embedded with wildflower seeds. When the paper is planted in a pot of soil, wildflowers will grow from the paper.
I received a plantable seed card as a gift. How do I plant it?
To plant a seed card or plantable wedding invitation printed on plantable seed paper, first fill a pot with good-quality potting soil, about 2/3 full. Place the plantable seed paper on top of the soil, trimming to fit. Cover the seed paper with a thin layer of soil and water well, until the soil and seed paper are evenly damp. Place the pot in a location with plenty of sun and keep moist until the plantable paper has germinated, about 7-10 days. Enjoy the wildflowers as they grow and blossom. Click here for more information about how plantable paper works.
What seeds are contained in the plantable paper mix?
Botanical PaperWorks’ plantable seed paper contains the highest-quality mix of wildflower seeds. All of our seeds are tested for purity and meet the high standards of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The wildflower seed blend in plantable paper includes these species:

  • Bird’s Eye
  • Clarkia
  • Black Eyed Susan
  • Catchfly
  • Snapdragon
  • English Daisy
  • Sweet Alyssum

Botanical Paperworks is sponsoring a giveaway of four fabulous items for our 12 Days of Shopping extravaganza. For a chance to win, please just comment below. For a second chance to win, like Botanical PaperWorks on Facebook and tell me you did in the comments. The winner will be chosen by And The Winner Is…Plug-in here and name will be posted here and get an email, too. I’m not sure how Pragmatic Mom will run her giveaway, she likes picking prime number comments…not really sure if she will go that way this time…

Poppy Pocket Notepad ($4.50 retail) – teen/tween focus
Mittens card set ($19.95 retail) – fun for the whole family
Images from Botanical PaperWorks
capability mom blog finds great gifts at botanical paperworks
Images from Botanical PaperWorks

and two at Pragmatic Mom tomorrow (same deal over there, comment and like on Facebook).

Coil Eco Calendar ($14.95 retail)
capability mom finds great green gifts at botanical paperworks
Images from Botanical PaperWorks
capability mom finds great green gifts at botanical paperworks
Images from Botanical PaperWorks

Plus free shipping when you order…

Happy shopping and stay tuned for more shopping tips!

Now head on over to Pragmatic Mom today for her great ideas for personalized gifts.

Shopping for the Holidays with blogger extraordinaire, Pragmatic Mom

Last year, Pragmatic Mom and I shared a wildly popular (said modestly, eyes downcast) series of 12 posts for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping. This year we are a little more on top of things and are starting earlier.  We covered those challenging people to buy for (Gifts for Father-in-law was by far the most searched) including in-laws, tutors, and teachers. How can you be your best centered self (not self-centered self) if you are distracted and driving around searching for gifts? We’ve got you covered. This was such fun and worked so well last year that we are formatting it the same way this year. We’ll be joint posting for the twelve days and Pragmatic Mom will do half of each post, and I’ll do the other. We even have a giveaway thrown in the mix this year, too, from Botanical Paperworks – Check out their Green Gifts Guide and enter to win Eco Coil Calendar and Pop Garden Pocket Notebooks at Pragmatic Mom on December 4th and Poppy Notebook Pad and Mittens Card Set here on December 5th!

So here is a preview: The 12 Days of Shopping

Thursday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts

Friday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft

Saturday, December 3: Personalized Gifts

Sunday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Monday, December 5:  Tutors/Teacherscapability mom scrounges sales racks for tea towels from Sur la table and anthropologie

Tuesday, December 6:  High Tech/Low Tech

Wednesday, December 7:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Thursday, December 8:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Friday, December 9:  Husband, Me (Our Own  List)

Saturday, December 10:  Pets

Sunday, December 11:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Monday, December 12:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts

 

A Mom’s Guide to Everything…really

That was my tagline when I started this blog because my intent was to provide a Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Foods, Outing, Playdate…yes, Everything. Well, I quickly realized that I was out of my depth. First of all, I started writing this when my youngest was 10 and by then my knowledge and advice was almost as dated as my mom’s (sorry, Mom). Two of my younger sisters were reading The Baby Whisperer and I had not even heLianne's Quick Guide hosted by Capability : Mom blogard of it (What happened to Sears and Leach?) and I was dumbstruck by how out of the loop I was. Plus, I really decided that I didn’t feel like writing about the how-to – Could I  even remember what an outing with a newborn was like?  So I changed direction and for a while wrote about anything that crossed my super hyper monkey brain. Then I settled down and started to focus (after a blog intervention by Pragmatic Mom at our favorite coffee/tea shop L’Aroma Cafe where I wrote her many wonderful suggestions on a napkin – I still have it somewhere).

I am glad to say, someone more capable than I has developed a guide for the new mom – or the not so new mom – it would make a great gift for grandparents, too! Lianne is a mother of four and currently living in a small village outside of Amsterdam (she’s originally from Canada). I only wish I had her Quick Guide when I had little ones! It is a reassuring read of the most basic questions and you can stash it in a handbag quite easily. I love it for the lovely, calm tone, the sensible answers, and thoroughness. All in all, a guide I wish I had written!

Here is an excerpt from her Quick Guide:

Babies 0-6 months

This booklet is full of questions & answers that cover almost all of the daily encounters that you and your baby will experience in your first 6 months. It is based on my experience and that of other mothers and should help you feel like you are not alone in this new and exciting but sometimes overwhelming world of motherhood.

Here are a couple of Questions & Answers that can be found in the booklet. I will change them periodically.

Newborn:

1- I have a baby!!!! What do I do with the baby during the first couple of weeks?

During the first weeks, the baby will be adapting to its new environment and will be sleeping most of the day and night. If she’s not sleeping she’ll be drinking and if she’s not drinking or sleeping then she’ll be looking around, usually quietly before falling asleep again.You’ll be changing her diaper regularly, bathing her and putting her clothes on (which can be time consuming while you get used to her little parts).You will also need a lot of rest – so take advantage of her sleeping time to sleep yourself.Your baby will slowly have more “awake” time and will start to engage with you and be more interested in looking around and exploring with her eyes.
>Link to 39, 42, 66, 70, 120

72. My baby is 6 months old and still not sleeping through the night…

By the time your baby is starting to eat solids there is really no reason other than habit that they should be feeding during the night. This can be a hard habit to break however. If you are sure that your baby has eaten enough during the day at this stage then you may want to experiment with letting your baby cry and fall back to sleep without a feeding… Try this for 3-4 nights in a row. They say 3 is the magic number in breaking a habit with small babies…

126. I find myself talking in a high-pitched singsong voice to my baby. Why do I do that automatically?

This phenomenon actually has a name called “motherese”. This helps babies learn to discern sounds and understand how our language is built. It also helps keep their attention while we talk since babies seem to respond better to higher pitched sounds. It’s an automatic thing that people do around babies. Don’t worry; it’s not permanent and totally natural!

51. Tips for sore nipples?

You can use 100% Lanolin cream or try soaking in a bowl filled with salty warm water or buy hydrogel pads (you can buy at a drugstore). You can also express a little milk onto your nipples (contains a lot of antibodies) and let them dry before putting your feeding bra back on. Try exposing your nipples to air as much as possible. If you are dreading the next feeding because of the pain, see your doctor and he/she can prescribe a healing nipple cream. Dr. Jack Newman creates a good one that you can buy.

Lianne also has a lovely blog and she is full of energy and great ideas. Her tagline is Personal balance is my challenge. 

She is also so nice that she is offering a Lianne’s Quick Guide (Babies to 6 months) to a reader of Capability : Mom.  Thank you, Lianne!!

For a chance to win Lianne’s Quick Guide – Babies 0 to 6 months, please leave a comment below.

For additional chances to win, follow Lianne on Twitter, and like her on Facebook and leave a comment for each action below.
Winner will be determined by the super fancy plug-in called And The Winner Is…  and listed here. Lianne’s Quick Guide will be mailed to you. Lianne is offering this first booklet in her series of booklets, next up is lianne's quick guide to first aidLianne’s Quick Guide to First Aid and to Digital Photography (pre-mom life in digital photography and new media).lianne's quick guide to digital photography

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