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Blonde Cucina: Time for end-of-the-school-year fun

by on May 13, 2015 4:50 PM

The weather has gone from the 50s to 80s in no time at all, gorgeous gowns can be found down at Talleyrand Park, graduation announcements are ordered, final field trips are scheduled and the sun is shining with birds chirping at the first light of dawn.

This can only mean one thing — the 2014-15 school year is coming to an end. There are going to be parties and field trips and movie days, and your little one very well may want to buy or make his or her teacher a gift.

Well, this mom/restaurant owner/former school teacher/former school administrator has some tips and ideas for you to make the end of the school year fun for all. Don’t just look at the school year as being over and your child being off for three months — look at it as a huge accomplishment. Have a yearly end-of-school tradition to celebrate your little one's accomplishment. There are tons of things you could do:

■ Go camping the weekend after school is out.

■ Buy a copy of “Oh, The Places You'll Go” and ask their teachers to write something about the year in the book. This would make a super gift when they graduate high school.

■ Make s'mores on an outdoor fire pit.

■ Have a family pizza party.

■ Pick your child up from the last day of school and have a fun mom, dad or family date by doing something summery.

Whatever you choose, big or small, your child will always look forward to it and remember these little but powerful things.

When it comes to that end-of-the-school-year party at school, what can you do that all the kids will love and make you the uber cool mom or dad? It seems like everyone always brings the same thing. Well, I have some secret party snacks that will make you earn your spot in the super hero lineup:

Make donut hole kabobs. Put three assorted donut holes on a disposable skewer and finish it with a little ribbon. If you're feeling super fancy, cover a cardboard box and poke holes in it and have your kabobs stand upright.

You can also do s’mores on a stick. Take a popsicle stick and put two large marshmallows on it, then dip them in melted chocolate and, before they dry, sprinkle some crushed graham cracker crumbs on them. Easy enough.

My secret homerun treat is crisped rice cereal sushi. Make it easy on yourself by buying premade Rice Krispies treats and cutting each bar in half. Next, mold the halved pieces into a rounded log shape, just like sushi rice. Place a gummy fish on top and tie it on with a piece of trimmed fruit leather — super cool and yummy.

When your little ones approach you about getting their teachers gifts, ask them what they would like to get or make. After all, they know their teacher better than you do.

As a former teacher, I can assure you that most teachers do not get that much money for supplies and they go into their own pockets for materials to make learning fun for your children. Consider supplies as a gift.

Gift cards are always a great idea, too. Want to go above and beyond? Make a gift card bouquet with cards from gas stations, coffee houses, book stores, etc.

If you're feeling crafty, go on the Web and find lots of cute things to make. Teachers are always on the lookout for a really great tote bag or water bottle, too.

Try to see that these individuals are more than just teachers, so your ideas don’t always have to be teacher-centered, such as pencil cups, apple-themed products. And, even something small, such as a note from you and your child, means a lot.

Remember that family pizza party I was talking about? Well, I’m not going to lie — pizza is very hard. I’ve been told, “Pizza can’t be that hard,” but, yes, folks, it is. However, I’m going to tell you secrets you can use to have an easy pizza party at home, with each family member making not only a dinner pizza but a dessert pizza, too. And, as I always say, “Life is short — eat dessert first!”


Make-Your-Own Pizza

1 or 2 store-bought individual naan breads or flatbreads per person

1 or 2 jars pizza sauce or red sauce (approximately 2 ounces of sauce per pizza)

3 bags shredded mozzarella cheese (approximately 3 ounces of cheese per pizza)

Toppings of your choice

Using a naan or flatbread as the pizza crust, apply sauce and put on mozzarella cheese and toppings.

If using a grill, cook each pizza on the grill grate or on a pizza stone put on the grill grate. The pizzas will be done in just under 5 minutes.

If using an oven, put each pizza stone on the center of the rack and cook each pizza at 450 degrees for about 7 minutes.


Make-Your-Own Dessert Pizza

1 or 2 large store-bought sugar cookies

Sweetened whipped cream cheese in the flavor of your choice

Toppings of your choice, such as chopped fruit

Use a cookie as the pizza crust, apply the whipped cream cheese as the sauce and top as desired.

(I use strawberry whipped cream cheese and chopped strawberries and blueberries as toppings.)


Remember, folks, things are as easy or hard as you make them, and a family make-your-own-pizza party may seem like a total mess, but you’ll love it!

Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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