Thursday, June 14, 2012

The World's Best Classroom Birthday Treat

As many of you know, I taught elementary school for 11 years before becoming a stay-at-home mom.  In the course of those 11 years, I experienced a wide variety of birthday treats.  Let me tell you about one of the most memorable.

It was my first year teaching.  I was 23 years old.  I had a combination class, 32 students in 4th and 5th grade.  We were in the middle of a science lesson, about an hour before the end of the school day, when the door opened and a mom popped in.  Unannounced.  Unexpected.  "Surprise!" she yelled.  "I brought root beer floats for ****'s birthday!"  She was juggling several tubs of ice cream, a package of cups, and 2 liter bottles of root beer.  She set them down on my counter, then turned to me and said, "I need a spoon."

I was completely flabbergasted.  Not only was she interrupting, but she was asking ME to provide supplies?  What I should have done was asked her to come back at the end of the day, so as not to interrupt our lesson.  Instead, totally unsure of the rules or norms of the school in regards to birthday celebrations, I got her a spoon.  It took forever for her to scoop out 32 floats and we ended up having to finish the science the following day.  She left my counter sticky and my spoon dirty.  With 32 students and 180 teaching days, I could potentially expect an interruption like this every 5 days or so.  Completely and totally unacceptable.  I immediately established a birthday policy that worked for me and enforced it rigidly over the years.

Fast forward to this year.  Trevor's teacher sent home a letter about birthday celebrations- you're welcome to bring a treat with advanced notice, but it must have nutritional value and be nut-free.  I added my own rules to the list: it must not inconvenience the teacher and it must not be messy.  The perfect birthday treat?  S'mores Trail Mix!


The ingredient list is simple: Golden Grahams cereal, chocolate chips, and mini marshmallows.  (If I were making it for home, I would have replaced the chocolate chips with chocolate covered nuts, but the school treat had to be nut-free.)

Trevor carefully scooped the mix into individual bags.  That way it would be very quick and easy to hand out to the children.  Each bag was closed with a twist tie (rather than tied with a ribbon) so that the children could open their own without needing the teacher's help.  
 
Here are the finished bags.


The kids could either snack on it as is, or make mini s'mores using two Golden Grahams, one chocolate chip and one marshmallow.  Delicious! 


The S'mores Trail Mix was a hit.  And most importantly, I know that years from now Trevor's teacher won't be complaining about me and the birthday treat I sent!

37 comments:

  1. Well... you and I have met IRL... soooooooooooooo you know my personality and know what I probably would have said to that Mom that interrupted!! LOL!!! I don't have a quiet tongue for those things!! LOL!!!

    I loveeeeeeeeeeee your S'mores idea!!!!!! Golden Grahams is my FAVE!!!!!!!

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  2. YUM!! I saw a similar recipe for s'mores popcorn on Hungry Girl. She made her mix with a popped bag of kettle corn, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, Cocoa Puffs cereal, mini marshmallows and chopped up Tootsie Rolls. If it were me, I'd trade the Tootsie Rolls for chocolate chips. :) Awesome job!!!

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  3. Fun story and that recipe looks to be delicious. thanks. The mini smores are just too cute.

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  4. Oooh...these treats look yummy!

    P/s: Sorry that mom interrupted your class...but I'm sure the kids enjoyed the treat! Here, we have to tell the teachers in advance and can only come at designated times.

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  5. Yum! I want to make some just for me! :)lol You aren't alone in your frustration... my mom would complain about the same thing!! I think the parents just don't think it through and fail to be courteous and ASK. Simple things people, simple things. ;)

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  6. LOVE THIS IDEA! so cleaver, this is perfect for my son's happy camper birthday

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  7. This is soooo clever! Love this treat idea.

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  8. I am so glad to have some guidelines from a teacher!! The last thing I would ever want would be to inconvenience my son's teacher or be "that Mom" Thanks again for this great idea!!

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  9. made this for my son's class, was disappointed :( when I checked them the cereal was stale (soft) had to dump them.

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    1. The cereal was stale when you made it, or it became stale after you made it? We made ours the day before and it maintained its texture. We ended up with a few extras that we stored and ate gradually over a few weeks. Those later ones were still tasty, but the cereal had softened slightly and the marshmallows had hardened slightly - still totally edible and nothing that needed to be dumped. Maybe temperature or humidity in different areas might make a difference?

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    2. I have also tried this and cereal softened and marshmallows got hard over night...so disappointed :(

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    3. I'm sorry to hear that. :( I suspect temperature / humidity is to blame, but maybe its something else. Could it have to do with different brands of marshmallows? I've noticed slightly different textures and amounts of powdered sugar on different brands.

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  10. Any suggestions for a gluten free alternative to Golden Graham's?

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    Replies
    1. No, I don't have any suggestions for gluten-free substitutes. Sorry! Anyone else have any ideas?

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    2. How about Cinnamon chex?

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  11. This is great! Thanks for posting this, I'm doing it later this month for my son's birthday. Will make it only one day ahead per your earlier post re: it possibly going a tad stale. I'm using bags for single chocolate dipped pretzel sticks, is that what you used??? Such a clever idea and my son could not love the idea more!

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    1. Yes, that's exactly what I used! Enjoy!

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  12. For gluten free use rice Chex or cinnamon Rice Chex either is good

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  13. It is great that teachers allow parents to bring in birthday treats, I am sure there are children that do not get treats at home.

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  14. Can I make these the night before?? I LOVE this idea but don't want the marshmallows to get hard.

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    1. We made ours the night before and they were perfect the following day. However, if you read through all the comments, a few people have had problems with them staling overnight. It might have to do with different brands of marshmallows, but I don't know.

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  15. Making a day before, would the fridge be an idea so that it doesn't get stale or harden?

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    Replies
    1. We kept ours at room temperature and they were fine for days.

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  16. I'm in love with idea! Found son #4 kindergarten birthday treat for next week. THANKS!

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  17. This is a much better idea than the normal cupcakes. lol Thanks and the kids will love it and so will the teacher!!

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  18. Hi Cindy!! Samantha AND Lucas both have birthdays coming up. I LOVE this treat idea, and WILL BE using it for sure!! Thanks for posting!! And to that momma 11 yrs ago....I do hope she's found her BRAIN!! OMG!!

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  19. I wish I would have seen this pin earlier! My son's 6th birthday was earlier this month and I went and bought cupcakes because I didn't know what else to do. The great part about your treat is that he could have taken it to school himself, since the bags are small and he could have just put them in his backpack or a small bag. With the cupcakes, I had to be late for work because I had to take them to his classroom since they were too much for him to carry. I'll definitely be making these for my next little's ones bday. Thanks!

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  20. This is great, thanks for the idea. My son is in 6th grade and has dual room wich means 64 kids, yikes! Was thinking of puppy chow, but his room is peanut free and its messy, he wanted dunkin donuts, i told him to expensive. This is perfect and will ne making it tonight, for tomorrow!! :-)

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  21. Great idea! Where did you find the little bags?

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    1. I found them at Michael's, but any sort of treat bag will do. Enjoy!

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  22. How is this healthy?

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  23. i love this! my daughters birthday is only 3 days into the school year and im not for sending in cupcakes or anything like that.. but fruit and yogurt are messy and not that much 'fun' her bday is tomorrow and i fully intend on doing this for her class! thanks so much for the idea :)

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  24. Replies
    1. We filled 32 pretzel bags and had plenty of leftovers.

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