Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week at Turner’s school, so I like to give his teachers a little “happy” to show our gratitude for all that they do. Turner actually has 4 teachers (2 AM and 2 PM), so I have to be mindful to give gifts that won’t break the bank! I’ll be the first to admit that I am NOT usually a DIY-er, but I have come up with a simple, inexpensive gift to make that I think just about anyone would enjoy. And since I’m not a true DIY-er, that’s why you’re just getting the description of what to do and not all the step by step pictures. 🙂
One of my all-time favorite products is Dr. Teal’s Relax and Relief Eucalyptus and Spearmint Soothing Epsom Salt Solution. It’s pretty much amazing! You just add a cup or 2 to warm running bath water and the scent fills the room and the Epsom salts really do help to relieve sore muscles. If anyone could use relaxation and relief, it’s probably daycare workers, so I think it’s the perfect gift! You can purchase a 3 pound bag of the salts for under $5 at any retail store. I also purchase small mason jars for a dollar or two each, and fill them will the bath salts. I then tie ribbon that I already have at home around the jar and include a personalized thank you card ($1 or less each) with a nice note expressing our appreciation as well as an explanation on how to use the salts. (It’s pretty self-explanatory, but just in case they don’t know how much to use, etc…) I like to let Turner draw on the thank you cards, too, just to add a personal touch. So it only takes about $15 or so to make 4 homemade gifts that the teachers are sure to love.
Our daycare also asks parents to provide different snacks and goodies to treat the teachers throughout the week, so I usually make my “go-to” dessert, Gooey Strawberry Chess Squares. The total cost to make these is around $5.00, and you probably already have most of the ingredients in your fridge/pantry. They’re super easy to make, and the teachers usually love them!
For the cake:
1 strawberry cake mix (brand doesn’t matter)
1 stick of butter (melted)
For the topping:
1 block of cream cheese (softened)
1 box (16oz) powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
With an electric hand mixer, mix the cake mix, eggs, and butter in a medium bowl until well blended. Mixture will be very thick and sticky. Transfer mixture into baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and spread evenly. (Note: it may also be helpful to spray a spatula with non-stick spray so that it’s easier to spread the mixture.)
With an electric mixer, blend cream cheese and egg on low in a medium bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar slowly until well blended.
Pour cream cheese mixture into baking dish on top of the cake mixture. (And you MUST lick the spoon when you’re done!) Bake on 325 for approximately 45-60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the middle is set. It may take longer (depending on your oven), but just keep an eye on it after 45 minutes. You will most likely never get a toothpick to come out clean, so just use your best judgment!
Allow to cool and then cut into squares. Enjoy!
**Recipe can be made with any flavor cake mix, but my favorite is strawberry!**