Sushi, Burgers and Birthday Treats

Having been in the classroom for so many years, I have seen classroom treats galore.  Parents send them in for holiday parties, classroom celebrations…and birthdays.  Some parents know exactly what will tickle a little kid’s palate and keep a teacher happy.  Others…not so much.  I have had many favorites over the years – popcorn hands, cookies on a stick, ocean jello, dirt pudding (mine came with a daisy, theirs with a gummy worm), ‘puppy chow’ – and a few unfavorites.  I mean NOTHING creates more havoc in a classroom than a sheet cake that arrives with no utensils, no paper plates and nothing to cut it with.  Or a watermelon…just a watermelon.  OR the big plastic containers that have to be carried home on the bus by a five /six year old who is already weighed down with a back pack.   Probably my very favorite birthday treat was brought in by a mom – who arrived AFTER lunch and stayed to help serve it.  She had ice cream cone cupcakes, two tubs of frosting (chocolate and vanilla)  and two butter dishes – one with little round sprinkles and one with long, multi-colored sprinkles.  My students lined up and chose a frosting they liked, it was expertly spread on their cupcake cone, dunked the top in the sprinkles of their choice and went off to their seat with a napkin and a small container of apple juice.  Sweeet. 

And then there was the health conscious mom who brought in fruit kebobs….which became swords and light sabers as soon as the fruit was gone.  Ai yi yi.

I am really not trying to appear ungrateful.  Teachers LOVE to have their students share treats.  Really.  And with two kiddos of my own, I know how important celebrating a birthday with school friends is.  And besides, I sincerely enjoy making them…because Moms have given me so many good ideas.

When the Prince was a little guy, I found a wonderful cookie cutter of a hand print.  When he was two, we folded three fingers down before baking them and he took them to day care.  We did the same when he was three and then four.  When he turned the momentous age of five, we made ‘McDaniel Happy Meals’ – a little white bag with a burger cookie, potato stick ‘fries’, wax pop bottles and a tiny toy treat – for each of his daycare friends.  As luck would have it, the Fisher Price McDonalds we had given to a nephew/niece had been handed back so he had a Mickey D employee apron and hat to wear while he passed them out.  Too cute…..and he doesn’t remember it.

Since he is my child who doesn’t enjoy being ‘out of the box’, school birthday treats were generally things of the norm – cookies on a stick, regular cupcakes, Little Debbie snacks.  He once asked me WHY I couldn’t just go to the store and BUY cupcakes – like the other moms.  I don’t know?  Maybe because….I had too many classroom parties where they would just lick off the mountain of frosting, throw the cupcake away and then fight over lost rings and things that had adorned the top?

The Princess, however, LOVES  ‘outside the box.”  With an August birth date we would generally send in treats on her ‘Gotcha Day’ in late September.  Once, we searched on line to find the cookies we enjoyed while completing her adoption in Russia,  She took them to school to share.  We developed a ‘Gorp’ recipe that she loved.  When she turned seven, we found seven things to mix in a bowl and scoop into a bag with a ‘Birthday Gorp’ poem attached.  Seven things being Fruit Loops, Goldfish crackers, yogurt raisins, chocolate chips, mini pretzels,  animal crackers and Reese’s Pieces. That continued when she was eight and then nine.  We had to get REALLY creative when she turned 10.  She looked forward to it every year.

When they advanced into middle school they became ‘too cool’ for that kind of stuff.  A bag of Tootsie Pops was preferable.  And that was okay with me.  I was a little over the treat thing by then.  Until last summer. 

 Somehow I was commandeered into providing a snack for 54 Youth Police Academy participants, four times a week for two weeks.  Once again we cranked out the cookies, the granola bars, the popcorn balls, the Rice Krispie treats, the brownies and the Puppy Chow.

Then this fall, the Princess stayed after school to work on homework with a tutor for the school’s SNACKS program.  Budget cuts meant that the only snacks the student participants seemed to get were pretzels.  They’re cheap.  So we voluntarily supplemented that once a week with Rice Krispie Treats, chocolate covered pretzel sticks (rolled in crushed candy canes – yum!), brownies, cookies, apples…..and Puppy Chow. 

She plays basketball now and has practice every afternoon.  HOWEVER, she and sixteen other students will be retaking one of their standardized tests this week.  Someone lost the original tests.  Grrrr.  But she is taking these in for a treat when they finish each day.  Too cute.

Rice Krispie ‘sushi’ (with gummy worm centers and fruit  rollup  ‘wrappers’) and Burgers ‘n Fries (vanilla wafer ‘buns’ and GS Thin Mint cookie ‘burgers’ with potato stick ‘fries’) are sure to be a hit.  Our nearest McDonalds happily donated their fry sacks to hold them.  Too cute. 

And I know she….will remember this.

Heh.

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