Thursday, December 17, 2009

The day the cupboard ran dry...and I was glad...

I've always held rather strong feelings against the idea of Gift Obligation. If you have nothing to do with me throughout the rest of the year, why spend five dollars on a cheap gift for me just because it's Christmas? What I'd rather would be five minutes of your time just to sit and talk. I'll even provide the coffee, or tea if you'd prefer. Cards are nice for that--hey, I haven't talked to you all year, but seeing it's Christmas...peace to men of goodwill and's a card reminding you I still exist and was thinking about you. I'm good with that. Not that I managed to get cards out this year or anything. Oh well.

This year, however, I found that there are those in my life that I do feel obligated to give gifts to--something in appreciation for their work and dedication. Teachers. My children's teachers. Those women deserve awards for what they do.

I had a lot of help with the project as well. A huge thanks to Chef Tess for the inspiration and recipes! Jacob helped with the mixing and my poor husband stopped at the store on his way home yesterday for more cocoa powder since I managed to only scrape out enough for four out of the five brownie bags. But what an amazing simply using what I had in the cupboard I was able to produce delightful, homemade gifts that won't clutter up anyone's attic for years to come. I did manage to pretty much empty the baking section of the pantry...but replenishing a bag of flour and a bag of sugar won't break us. At least not this week.

Basic cookie mix...yes, I took over the stove top for counter space--something this kitchen is in dire need of! Where else was I supposed to put the laptop? Anyway, the basic mix is all of the dry ingredients, butter and powdered milk.

I started out with the Kitchen Aid Workhorse...but even that couldn't handle nine cups of flour! (See? That wee little patch of countertop real estate is all I have! Even though the mixer is stored elsewhere it's still no wonder I take over the stove top!)

All the festive bags with their mixes! I made up the Oatmeal Raisin
recipe...2 cups of the basic mix, plus oatmeal, spices and a separate baggie of
raisins for people like me who can't stand the mummified grapes.

On to the Brownie Mixes...all lined up like soldiers. Jacob and I snuck in a batch of chocolate chip cookies with red and green M&Ms...all the cookie ingredients were already out, it would have been a shame to not have anything to sample.

Oh of these things is not like the other...which of these things is not like the other? The bag on the end? The non-brownie one? Ran out of cocoa powder. I also ran out of sugar--but I did have just enough of that for everything, including the cookies Jacob and I made. Whew. Five pounds of sugar--gone. In one day. Just the thought is enough to start me shaking!

Arts and crafts time last night...printed off labels and baking instructions...cut them out and decorated red lunch bags.
Each teacher received two bags--a mix in each.

See...lovely little baking instructions for each mix
and cut out with Jacob's crinkle scissors.

All the little bags ready to go.
Aw...the Christmas tree in the background,
gift bags full of goodies...I love Christmas!

The funny thing is, even though these were obligatory gifts, they didn't feel like obligations at all. I'm so grateful for what the school is providing for my children and for us as a family. And Jacob was so excited--and proud--to be able to give his teachers presents.

Besides, give a person a batch of cookies and they gorge themselves for a day...give them a mix to make their own batch of cookies and then their own at their own convenience and then gorge themselves on homemade cookies...or something like that. Anyway. I have more bags to make up--not out of obligation, simply because there are people in my life I'm grateful for and I want them to know that.


mrsofficer said...

This is a great gift! And true, why give to those you feel obligated be it family relation or other if you dont even talk to them all year! This is thoughtful and nice and who doesnt love making fresh cookies when everything is all measured out for you? lol I helped my daughter make her teacher an ornament. Its the thought right. Love this Idea Dori:)

Meadowlark said...

That was really sweet! (and you KNOW how much I love Chef Tess)

I think it's great for kids to actually be involved with the teacher gifts, otherwise I can't fathom the point.

You're a good mom and a good woman, my friend.

Suburbia said...

That is a fantastic idea! I would like to do it next year (schools out tomorrow!) and for friends birthdays. Can you send me the recipe please? (is that a silly request?!)


Dori said...

Sub...check your inbox! Also, go look at Chef Tess's website--amazing stuff going on over there!

Thanks, Meadowlark! Oh...go ahead and email me with this business idea of yours. You know I'm not afraid to tell someone their ideas are whacked! :D

Mrs. O...I think anything handmade/homemade is way better than store bought--especially for teachers! That's a great way for them to remember students.

Marit said...

I LOVE this idea! I don't have to give gifts to teachers here, but maybe this is something for me to give to my sister.. and brother... and mother...

LOUD n PROUD said...

What a great idea!the goody bags came out super cute.
Happy Holidays!

Natalie said...

What a great idea and way to go for thinking outside of the box (by making your own, I guess)!

And as a teacher myself, I think that's the perfect Christmas gift. Thanks for acknowledging their hard work and good luck with the others!

SAge said...

How sweet!! The goodie bags are such a good idea.

Chef Tess said...

OH my gosh! everything turned out so cute! Thanks for the shout out and all the love. Fantastic.

Jennifer said...

Hey You! Can you send me the recipe too! I looked on Chef Tess's site but I didnt see the brownie mix that you did too... Merry Christmas


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Dori said...

Anon...thanks for the encouragement!