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The Blonde Cucina: End of the School Year Fun!

by and on May 16, 2015 11:00 AM

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

That can only mean one thing: the 2014-15 school year is coming to an end.

There are going to be parties, movie days and more, 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!

First off, you need to realize that everything comes back to being at home. Don't look at the school year being over as 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 can do:

  • Go camping the weekend after school is out.
  • Buy a copy of "Oh, The Places You'll Go." And have their teachers write something about the year, in the book. Super gift when they graduate high school.
  • Make s'mores on an outdoor fire pit. Start off summer right.
  • Have a family pizza party.
  • Pick them 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.

Next, what cool, super terrific, awesome thing can you make for that end of the school year party that all the kids will love and make you that uber cool mom or dad that we always secretly want to be? Everyone always brings the same thing. Well, I have some secret party snacks that will help you earn your spot in the super hero lineup.

These ideas are cute, easy, and fun!

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 them and dip them in melted chocolate, and before they dry, sprinkle some crushed graham cracker crumbs on them. Easy enough!

And my secret home run treat is ... rice crispy sushi. Make it easy on yourself, buy premade rice crispy treats and you can cut each bar in half. Next, mold the halved pieces into a rounded log shape like sushi rice. Then place a gummy fish on top and tie him on with a piece of trimmed fruit leather. Super cool and yummy! Oh and trust me the kids and teacher will love any of these!

Lastly, when your little one approaches you about maybe getting their teacher a gift, ask them what they would like to get or make. After all they know their teacher better than you anyway. Being a former school teacher, you need to realize 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.

Even something small like a note from your child and you means a lot! Don't want to make something? Gift cards are always a great idea. Want to go above and beyond? Make a gift card bouquet using cards from gas stations, coffee houses, book stores, etc.

if you're feeling crafty, you can go on the web and find lots of cute things to make. Try to remember that teachers are people too, so your gift ideas don't always have to be teacher-centered (like a pencil cup, school supplies, or an apple). Teachers are always are on the lookout for something cool like a really great tote bag or water bottle.

Now, remember that family pizza party I was talking about? Well, I'm not going to lie -- pizza is very hard. However, I'm going to tell you secrets you can use to have a pizza party at home. You can have a pizza party and each family member can make not only a dinner pizza but a dessert pizza. As I always say, life is short, eat dessert first!

Make your own dessert pizza


1-2 large store bough sugar cookies

Sweetened whipped cream cheese flavor of your choice

Toppings of your choice


The cookie is your pizza crust; cream cheese is your sauce and top it how you'd like! Easy enough right? Just make sure you have 1-2 cookies per person and you're good to go! I will use strawberry whipped cream cheese and have toppings like chopped strawberries and blueberries. We have to be semi-healthy sometimes.

Make your own pizza


1-2 store bought individual Naan bread or flat bread per person

1-2 jars of your families favorite pizza sauce or red sauce. (You can also go to your local pizza shop and simply buy their pizza sauce) A general rule of thumb is two ounces of sauce per individual pizza.

3 bags of mozzarella from the store. You can find it in the refrigerated food section. The general rule of thumb for individual pizzas is three ounces of cheese for each one.

Toppings of your choice.


Put your crust down, have everyone add their sauce, cheese and toppings. There's no right or wrong way here. I'll share a little secret -- I put my toppings under the cheese. If you have a grill you can cook your pizza on the grill grate or put your pizza stone on the grill grate. The pizzas taste amazing and will be done in just under 5 minutes. If you want to use your oven, put your pizza stone on the center of the rack and cook each pizza at 450 degrees for about 7 minutes. Since your pizzas are smaller, they will cook faster.

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!


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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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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