Posts in : Hospitality Committee

  • Maegan

    Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week



    This is my third year planning Staff Appreciation Week for my daughter’s school. It took me some time to decide on a fun theme, but I present to you… Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week!

    Space Collage SAW Simply Styled Home Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    All of the Space Themed Printables for this event will be available in the Simply Styled Home shop in the next week or so. (For those of you wondering, Simply Styled Home is my creative counterpart.) Step-by-step instructions to recreate this event will be posted on SSH as soon as I get caught up on my orders. The nitty gritty details are really only interesting to those of us who actually have to plan the events.

    For the past few years, the Hospitality Committee and Room Parents were the only ones who really had any clue what was happening during Staff Appreciation Week. It makes sense. If you don’t go to the staff lounge, why would you know anything was happening? I wanted to increase awareness in our school community and generate some excitement before the big event (and hopefully more volunteers). One month before Staff Appreciation Week I put these posters up all around the school. I absolutely recommend posters beforehand. I have never heard so much Staff Appreciation Week chatter. It was great!

    Now that the groundwork was laid, I focused on the activities for the week, each one being space themed. I used SignUp Genius to coordinate sign ups with the Hospitality Committee and Room Parents for the activities. This year, the PTSA also added a Staff Appreciation page to the new website where parents could sign up as well. We also added information about the event with a link to the webpage in our weekly school newsletter. I made everything look pretty, but I couldn’t have pulled off an event like this without the wonderfully supportive parents at our school.

    Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week Poster Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    A week before Superhero Staff Appreciation Week, all of the teachers and staff received this invitation in their mailbox, along with a a drink order form (more about those down below). Instead of including a printed lunch questionnaire I emailed the teachers and staff  a Survey Gizmo survey link.

    Space SAW Invititation Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    What is a Supernova Surprise you ask? I will be writing a post on the Simply Styled Home website for with details about the Supernova Surprise. I won’t bore you with the specifics here, but I began procuring donations three months before Staff Appreciation Week.

    This year, I created rockets with the staff members peeking out the window to decorate the classroom doors. Instead of hassling with a photographer (who would have to schedule time to take pictures of the entire staff) I used our 2013-2014 school pictures. Honestly, it took longer to cut the rockets out than it did to create them in Photoshop. In addition to the rockets, we had posters up around the school letting the students know extra rockets were available in the office. The front office also had a “Mission Control” sign on the outer doors, and on the secretary’s and front office manager’s desks. The principal had a “Shuttle Commander” sign on her door. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of them with their signs!

    Space Staff Appreciation Week Posters Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Before I go any further, I again want to give a shout out to the Lake Washington School District print shop. Helen and Lana are two of my favorite people. They print posters, sheets of stickers, labels, color copies, you name it… And all of it is gorgeous, fast, and extremely affordable. Between Staff Appreciation Week and the auction for my younger daughter’s school, I see Helen and Lana more than any of my other friends. If you are planning a school event, be sure to utilize your school district’s print shop.

    The Friday before SAW, the students were sent home with “I Think You Are Out of This World Because…” pictures to color for their teacher. In addition to the coloring pages being sent home, I included a link in the school newsletter where parents could download and print additional copies. On Monday, the students presented the pictures and notes to their teachers, and the room moms came in and put them on the classroom doors.

    Coloring Page Space Staff Appreciation Week Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Monday: Space Capsule Lunches

    Coordinating personalized lunches for every staff member is hands down the most work of the entire week, but it is their very favorite event. (I know this because I sent out a survey after SAW last year.)  To streamline the process this year I created a Survey Gizmo lunch survey instead of a printed questionnaire. I asked the following questions: What is your favorite sandwich? Favorite bread? What do you like on your sandwich? Favorite chips? Favorite salad? Favorite dessert? Favorite drink? Favorite dessert? Any allergies? The day I handed out Staff Appreciation Week invitations, I also sent an email with the survey link and asked everyone to complete it by the Wednesday before SAW. Once I received a response, I took a screen shot of their answers and emailed it to the appropriate parent volunteer.

    The feedback I heard from parents was that they didn’t mind making lunches, but decorating the lunches was very intimidating. You’ve seen our past lunches. Some parents go all out. WOW. To alleviate their concerns and encourage volunteers, I designed a Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kit that parents could purchase if they so chose.

    Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kit web Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    About half the parents used the decoration kit, the other half did their own thing. Once again, everyone blew me away with their creativity!

    Space Capsule Lunches Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Tuesday: Supersonic Snacks and Supernova Surprise

    Some people don’t like popcorn. Did you know this? It had honestly never crossed my mind until I heard a teacher mention it last year. They didn’t have any snacks and that simply would not do! This year we had six different varieties of gourmet popcorn for the staff to enjoy throughout the day (1/2 sweet and 1/2 savory), in addition to two varieties of Chex Mix, nuts, Starbursts, and Milky Ways. I created “Sweet” and “Savory” 2″ circle labels for the serving cups because I could not imagine anything more disgusting than mixing Fudge Mint popcorn with Herbs & Spices. Bleck.

    Supersonic Snacks web Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    You can find all sorts of fabulous popcorn recipes on my Simply Pop! Pinterest board.

    The highlight of the day was not the snacks (although they were delish) it was the Supernova Surprise. I was able to procure over $8,000 worth of prizes from my favorite Etsy shops and local business. How amazing is that?! I have never had such an outpouring of support from the community. I was completely blown away by their generosity.

    I hung balloons from the staff room ceiling filled with star confetti (the janitors, bless their hearts, gave me the go-ahead) and a slip of paper with their prize typed on it. Every single staff member (45 in all) made a BIG BANG in the staff lounge during lunch and discovered which prize they had won. It made my heart happy to watch them. Mr. Rick and Mr. Brian, if you are reading this, I apologize for the confetti you will inevitably be vacuuming up for years.

    Supernova Surprise web Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    THANK YOU to these amazing business. They are truly OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!

    Pacific Northwest Float TripsBellevue Center for HealthSimply CleanMyers ChiropracticLinda Kahle Fine Art ImageryUnique Dry Carpet ServiceBella PhotographyMantra BandsMaid 2 PleaseFlawless Beauty BarClear SolutionsSnapshot SandyCork & Click (Get Off Auto)Covington CellarsNorthwest AestheticsRedmond School of GlassMurder Mystery CompanyJo TotesRivaage SalonCork & CanvasesAmbrosia Med SpaeMealsErin CondrenBig Picture ClassesLaura Ashton CellarsNo More ‘To Go’Brown Bear Car WashPepper Bridge WineryEntropy Trading CompanyExpressions BraceletsStaplesCostcoBetter LifeBen Franklin CraftsSmug MugVol25Letter GirlNifty SwankHome StudiosSwirling ScarvesAgave RestaurantEclisse CreazioniPaper & OatsCoho CafeCanyons RestaurantTasty Suite.

    Wednesday: Interstellar Lunch at the Chef Lynn Food Truck

    I was trying to come up with something new and different for Staff Appreciation Week this year. We’ve done soup, I suppose we could have done salads, but I thought a food truck would be fun! The Chef Lynn Food Truck offers a variety of soups, sandwiches, sliders, salads, and has gluten free options, which is important to me. The staff shuttled out to the food truck for their lunch and thankfully the serious rain held off until after lunch. I heard rave reviews about the meatloaf sliders. (I had the GF vegetarian tacos, which were delicious.)

    Chef Lynn Food Truck Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    The staff also enjoyed an assortment drinks and desserts from the Hospitality Committee inside.

    Interstellar Lunch web Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Thursday: Blast Off Breakfast

    I included drink orders with the Blast Off Breakfast invitation, and asked that the teachers and staff return them the Thursday before Staff Appreciation Week. They had the choice of Rocket Fuel from Starbucks or a Stellar Smoothie. The drink orders were printed on 8.5×11 label paper and cut to size. (This is SO much easier than trying to line them up on shipping labels!)

    Blast Off Breakfast Invitation Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Purchasing lattes for the entire staff is a huge portion of the Hospitality Committee budget each year. A few months before SAW, Starbucks offered a $5 for $10 Gift Card Groupon. Each person was limited to one Groupon, so I sent an email to the entire Hospitality Committee and asked them to please purchase a Groupon and email me the certificate. (I reimbursed them out of my budget.) I was able to reduce my expenses by about $100 this year using Groupons!

    I took 1/2 the orders to the Starbucks about a mile away, 1/2 to the other Starbucks a mile the other way, and the smoothie orders to Jamba Juice. (Remember, I live in Seattle. We’re surrounded.) I pre-paid for all of the drinks to make pick up easy for the 6 parents picking up the 30 lattes and 15 smoothies the next morning. The baristas (and smoothie-istas?) loved the sticker labels. They quickly and easily made the pre-ordered drinks and attached the labels. The drinks and breakfast were waiting for the teachers/staff at 7:30am. I wanted them to have time to enjoy their breakfast before school started.

    BlastOffBreakfast Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    As I mentioned before, I sent out a survey to the staff last year after SAW to collect feedback while everything was fresh in their minds. One thing that was consistently mentioned was hot dishes. Done and done! Instead of the normal pastries, fruit, Kind Bars, and drinks, we added hot dishes. Bless those sweet parents who got up at the crack of dawn to prepare casseroles. I can barely “cook” toaster waffles and get my girls out the door on time for school, let alone at 7:30am.

    Friday: Galactic Goodies Dessert Bar

    I have a school of very health conscious teachers and staff. Last year, I scaled down the desserts and featured smaller desserts from some of my favorite boutique shops. Would you believe we still had leftovers? This year, I created a dessert table with delicious (mostly) bite sized treats from Luly’s Sweets & Treats (Planet Pops), Sweet Tweets (Rocket Cookies), Wickedly Whipped (Rice Krispies Planets), and Three Monkey’s Cakery (Triple Star Cupcake Toppers) in addition to chocolate bars in a variety of sizes.

    Galactic Goodies web Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Isn’t it amazing? The rocket cookies from Sweet Tweets look just like the rockets on the invitation! I don’t think I could even bring myself to eat one! Ever year I stealthily listen to comments and improve little details of the events. (It’s all in the details, my friends.) The finishing touch to the Galactic Goodies dessert bar was the take-home gable boxes. The teachers and staff were able to fill their boxes with any and all treats they’d like to enjoy later or share with family over the weekend. They loved it! (I think the gable boxes would also be cute for Space Capsule Lunches.)

    Space Gable Box Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

    Thank you for reading! I hope this inspires and helps you plan an amazing Staff Appreciation Week for your school! You can read about my Dr. Seuss inspired SAW here, and my Superhero themed SAW here.

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  • Maegan

    Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week



    This year I volunteered to chair the Hospitality Committee at Zoë’s school. Honestly, I jumped at the opportunity. I have no desire whatsoever to be on the PTSA board, but I want to contribute in a meaningful way at her school. It was a win-win. The main event of the year for the Hospitality Committee is Staff Appreciation Week (support staff needs appreciation too!). I decided on a Dr. Seuss theme and away I went! Below you will find detailed instructions to re-create a Dr. Seuss themed Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week for your school!

    The main “slogan” if you will, was “Hats Off To Our Teachers!” A few weeks before the event, I asked my photographer friend and fellow parent, John Wolfe, to take Dr. Seuss Photo Booth style pictures of all the teachers and staff. It was a huge hit at the baby shower I planned a few years ago and I still had all the props. Score! The Friday before Staff Appreciation Week, the 8×10 pictures were put on all the teachers’ doors and staff photos were put up in the staff lounge. (The hats were put on the doors by room parents on Monday. This is Zoë’s teacher and their classroom door.)

    seuss teacher appreciation door Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    Next up, invitations. Each of the teachers and staff received this invitation in their mailbox which detailed the events of the upcoming Staff Appreciation Week. Included with their invitations were: An invitation to the Pink Yink Ink Breakfast with a Drink Order Request and Lunch Preferences Questionnaire. I asked that order forms and questionnaires be returned to me via the PTSA box no later than the Thursday before Staff Appreciation Week. (More on the drink order and lunch preferences in a moment.) The invitation is not actually neon. I’m not sure what’s going on there. I had them printed as photo cards at Costco. You can’t beat $14.99 for 50 flat cards with envelopes!

    teacherappreciation Staff web Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    One week before, I sent home a “Hats Off To My Teachers” hat with each of the students and asked them to please color the hat, write a note to their teacher, and return it to school on Monday. If you are planning a similar event and have access to the school district’s printer definitely use them. They are ridiculously inexpensive. I did have to sort the proper number of hats per classroom, but that was no big deal.

    SSH HatsOff web Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    For students that wished to color hats for additional teachers and staff, extra hats were available in the office all week long. I created a poster that was hung in the main stairwell letting students know where they could find extra hats. (To give you some idea of scale, the Cat in the Hat was 6 feet tall. The poster looks small in the picture, but it is almost 3 feet wide!)

    hats off poster web Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    Now that the groundwork was laid, I focused on the activities for the week, each one being Seuss themed, of course. I used SignUp Genius to coordinate sign ups with the Hospitality Committee and Room Parents for these activities. I made everything look pretty, but I couldn’t have pulled off an event like this without the wonderfully supportive parents at our school.

    Monday: Gourmet “Hop On Popcorn” Bar

    Dr Seuss Teacher Appreciation Popcorn web Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    We had eight different varieties of gourmet popcorn for the staff to enjoy throughout the day. If you have never made gourmet popcorn, don’t be intimidated! I made Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn (that was delish!) and it literally took ten minutes to make. You can find all sorts of fabulous popcorn recipes on my Simply Pop! Pinterest board. If I had this to do again, I would have had 1/2 the varieties be sweet and the other 1/2 savory. The one savory flavor, cheese, was gone almost immediately. The Hop-On-Popcorn Menu and Circle Label printables are available for purchase here.

    Tuesday: Biffer Baum Boxed Lunches
    The parents made “boxed” lunches for every staff member at the school. I included a questionnaire with the invitations asking the following questions:  What is your favorite sandwich? Favorite bread? What do you like on your sandwich? Favorite chips? Favorite salad? Favorite dessert? Favorite drink? Favorite dessert? Any allergies? I asked that the questionnaires be returned by the Thursday prior to Staff Appreciation Week. Once I received them, I forwarded the answers to the parents who signed up to make lunches.

    Let me just say, I was completely floored when I walked into the staff lounge and saw the “boxed” lunches. Clearly, I use the term loosely. I thought I was doing well with “Cat in the Hat” reusable bags and tissue paper for my lunches. I need to step up my game next year. WOW.

    seuss lunches teacher appreciation Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    TIP: The lunches at our school are staggered from 11:15-12:30 so we tried to organize the lunches by time. There were 50+ lunches, so those first few groups had quite a few lunches to look through before finding theirs, even with the sorting.

    Wednesday: Pink Yink Ink Drink Breakfast
    I included drink orders with the Pink Yink Ink Breakfast invitation, and asked that the teachers and staff return them the Thursday before Staff Appreciation Week. They had the choice of a Pink Yink Ink Drink (triple berry smoothie) or a drink from Starbucks. The drink orders were printed on 3×4 shipping labels.

    I took 1/2 the orders to the Starbucks about a mile away, and 1/2 to the other Starbucks a mile the other way. (Remember, I live in Seattle. We’re surrounded.) I pre-paid for all of the drinks to make pick up easy for the 4 parents picking up the 40 lattes the next morning. The baristas loved the sticker labels. They quickly and easily made the pre-ordered drinks and attached the labels. The drinks and breakfast were waiting for the teachers/staff at 7:50am. I wanted them to have time to enjoy their breakfast before school started.

    seuss breakfast teacher appreciation Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    I pink-a-fied the staff lounge by tying tulle to the tops of all the chairs, and on the cupcake stands. The table cloths were pink as were the cups, plates, napkins and utensils. I also placed pink daisies on the less colorful platters (like bagels). I didn’t get any good pictures of the drinks lined up (dangit!) because I was busy making the triple berry smoothies. I bought the frozen smoothie packets from  Costco. I simply added milk, blended, and voila… pink yink ink drink! What you see above is the remaining breakfast items after everyone had left. You can purchase the Pink Yink Ink Drink Breakfast Invitation, Drink Order Forms, and Pink Folding Party Labels here.

    Thursday: Whoo-Feast

    Dr Seuss Teacher Appreciation Web 32 Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    The most difficult part of this luncheon was coming up with Seuss-y names for the food. I had multiple parents tell me that they were not signing up to bring food because coming up with a Seuss-y name was too stressful. To save YOU the stress of coming up with a luncheon worth of names, here is the most comprehensive list of Dr. Seuss food names you will find on the web. Trust me, I searched for hours.

    • Yot in a Pot
    • Yan in a Pan
    • Cluck Cluck Bowties
    • Skipper Zipp’s Chips
    • Whoo Hash
    • Oodles of Noodles and Cock a Doodles
    • Yuzz-A-Ma-Tuzz
    • Brown & Black’s Snacks
    • Prairie of Prax
    • Truffula Tree Crunch
    • Roast Beast Sandwiches
    • Truffula Fruits
    • Schlott’s Knots
    • Dr. Seuss-shi Rolls
    • Gertrude McFuzzy’s Berry Salad
    • Green Egg Pie
    • Green Eggs and Ham
    • Lentil Soup from the Hoop Soup Snoop Group
    • Assorted Greens and Other Things
    • Poodles with Noodles
    • Biggle Balls
    • Remarkable Foons Sizzling Hot Pebbles
    • Three Cheese Trees
    • Snop Gloop on a Floop
    • Hob Knobblers and Bumplings
    • Nuppers Nuggets
    • Red and Black Snack
    • River of Knobsy Cobksy Cornbread
    • A Little of This, A Little of That
    • Wild Bippo No Bungus

    whoo feast teacher appreciation Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    I used turquoise polka dot wrapping paper cut in half as table runners on the eating tables. I also used it as table runners on top of the green table clothes on the buffet tables. The green utensils were wrapped in turquoise napkins and tied with white curling ribbon. The Seuss-y food labels had a turquoise background. You can purchase the Whoo-Food Menu and Folding Party Labels here.

    Friday: Whoo-Treat Dessert Bar
    As with the feast, the hardest part of the dessert bar was coming up with the names.  Here is the complete list of names the other parents and I came up with:

    • Green Eggs and Ham (Recipe found here.)
    • Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes
    • 1 Fish, 2 Fish
    • Yurtle the Turtles
    • 10 Apples Up On Top
    • Max’s Milk Bones
    • Unicorn Patties
    • Gingery Snappity Snaps
    • ABC Cookies
    • “The Big Brag” Cookies
    • Clover Cake Pops
    • Barbaloot Brownies
    • Truffula Tree Cake Pops
    • Caramel Hop-On-Popcorn
    • Schlopp with a Cherry on Top
    • Biggle Ball Cookies
    • Sweet Yazz and Yumm
    • Valley of the Vungs Chocolate Rock Blocks
    • Zizzer Zoof Seeds
    • Katroo Cake
    • Bippolo Seeds

    whoo treats teacher appreciation Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    The color scheme of the day was lavender and pink. Like yesterday, I used pink polka dot wrapping paper cut in half as a table runner on the eating tables, and again on the lavender table clothes on the buffet tables. The Seuss-y dessert labels had a lavender background. I also used Dr. Seuss foam stickers (on clearance at Michaels) to Seuss up the dessert bar. I actually had Yertle the Turtle, Green Eggs and Ham, Thing 1 and Think 2, and 1 Fish, 2 Fish stickers! The backs already had adhesive so I simply stuck them to lollipop sticks. You can purchase the Whoo-Treat Menu and Lavender Folding Party Labels here.

    Other Decorations:
    Using this tutorial, I created truffula-esque pom poms to hang from the ceiling of the staff lounge, and another parent made awesome truffula trees to line the hallway leading to the staff lounge. I also found some assorted Dr. Seuss cardboard cutouts on Amazon (here and here), and a poster at Michael’s.

    seuss trufulla decorations Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    TIP: If you are purchasing items at Michael’s for a school event, ask if they will give you the 15% teacher discount. The checker ringing me up volunteered to give me the discount without even having to ask her. (I didn’t know they even did that! Michael’s just went up five cool points.)

    We also hung Seuss-y photo of the support staff in the lounge. It was the focal point of the room. Every time I was in the staff lounge people were gathered around them, smiling.

    Dr Seuss Teacher Appreciation 2 web Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    At the end of the week the teachers and staff took their Seuss-y photos home. Some teachers decided to leave their photos and hats on the classroom doors indefinitely. icon smile Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week The photos were also given to the yearbook staff. These are so much more fun than traditional boring school pictures!

    “Hats Off To Our Principal” Album

    seuss teacher appreciation principal album 1 web Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    The principal at Zoë’s school is amazing, and even though she doesn’t have a classroom, she touches the lives of every person in our school. I wanted to do something extra special for her. I truly believe that a principal sets the tone for the entire school. Our school rocks and she does too!

    seuss teacher appreciation principal album 2 web2 Dr. Seuss Themed Teacher Appreciation Week

    I asked John to please print 4×6 versions of the teacher/staff Seuss-y pictures along with the 8×10′s. I slid them into a 2-up album, and asked the teachers/staff to please write a note to Principal S. telling her how much they appreciate her. The notecards were then placed in the album next to their picture. At the end of the week I gathered up all the “hats” the students had made for her, and glued them into the album as well. The final step was the Seuss up the album a bit, so I added some ribbon and a “Cat in the Hat” sticker.

    There you have it! Every single thing you need to know to have your very own Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week! You can purchase the complete printable collection here. Printables from each activity are also available a la carte.

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