Archive for May, 2009

Fridays are for Teachers

Educators can be pretty inspirational.  Look no further than this video about a school in the Hamilton-Wentworth area that underwent an amazing transformation after having their school destroyed by a tornado.

Lawfield Elementary School

Give old Crayola crayons a new lease on life!

Ever wonder what to do with old crayons?  Recycle them!  First, make sure the crayons are naked (take the wrappers off ).  Put broken crayons in a mini muffin pan, then place them in a preheated oven (350 degrees).   After about fifteen minutes, turn the oven off and let the newly formed crayons cool.  Get the kids involved by letting them sort out the old crayons by colour, or mix together to make new colours!  The flat surface comes in handy for making texture rubbings, and they can also make a great addition to a loot bag……who am I kidding, that’s WAY too much work for a lootbag,…but you get the idea.  Have fun!

May I have your attention please?….

Raise your hand if you’re a parent who despises back-to-school shopping!……..just as I suspected, most of us hate it.  Well, I have great news for some of you – we would like to add these new schools to the Best Tools family:  Berrigan, Devonshire, Dunning-Foubert, Henry Larsen, Leslie Park, Manotick, Orleans Wood, Parkwood Hills, Byron Somerset (London ON!!) & Woodroffe Avenue – Welcome!

If your school isn’t listed here, don’t despair!  There’s still time to sign up with our program – just let your school know there’s an easier way to shop for school supplies AND raise much needed fundraising dollars…..problem solved.  Up next….establishing world peace….(this one may take a while)…

By popular demand – Pig Picking Cake

  • 1 package butter pecan cake mix (Betty Crocker)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 10 ounce tin mandarin oranges (save a few for decoration)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 20 oz tin crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 1/2 packages vanilla instant pudding (4 serving size)
  • 1 cup frozen whipped topping

Grease  and flour two 9″ cake pans.  Prepare cake mix according to package directions using oil, eggs and juice drained from oranges.  Stir in nuts and oranges.  Spread in pans.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan.  Remove from pans and cool completely.  Place one layer on serving platter.  Spread with 1/3 frosting.  Top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides.

Frosting – Stir together crushed pineapple in juice with 1 1/2 package vanilla instant pudding.  Fold in 1 cup thawed frozen whipped topping.

Let frosting set in fridge for at least 1 hour before frosting cake.

Decorate top with with leftover mandarin sections and mint leaves.

Don’t balk at the less than healthy ingredients.  It’s a cake, not a salad :) This is the most delicious cake you’ll ever taste…promise.  Enjoy.

Avalon Public School

The parents at Avalon Public School are already buying their school kits for next year.  They’re saying good-bye to long line-ups, adios to crowded stores and sayonara to time wasted.  Doesn’t it feel nice knowing you are done?  So get out there and enjoy your summer, right up until classes resume. Send us pictures of you and your family enjoying yourself INSTEAD of back to school shopping and we’ll post them.

How to get the glue bottle to “unstick”

First, don’t use your teeth.  Next, soak the entire bottle in hot water. No luck?  Then break out your nail polish remover (acetone).  Use a cotton ball soaked in remover and rub generously around the tip of the bottle and under the cap.  Squeeze out a couple of drops before using to make sure you’ve got rid of any remover that may have seeped in.  Resume arts and crafts :)

Teachers make a difference…

Merriam-Webster defines the word ‘inspire’ as  ‘to divinely influence, motivate or guide’, coming from the Latin word ‘inspirare’, from ‘in’ +’spirare’…to breathe.

Every person has a story about a teacher who inspired confidence, intellect, creativity, or a simple desire for learning.  As varied as these stories are, they all share one common thread – a teacher made a difference in their lives.

The woman who taught me one of my most important life lessons was my grade six teacher, Shirley (she insisted we call her by her first name,..loved that).  Like any good teacher, she lead us through the rules of grammar, math and science, but what made Shirley a great teacher was her ability to speak to her students.  Her authenticity as a person made students stop and want to listen.  Shirley’s most important message – know your weaknesses, but focus on your strengths.  Develop those strengths, and craft them into skills.  To a timid eleven-year-old girl, that message was golden.  It’s the same message I want my own boys to embrace.  I can only do my best as a mom to impart that message, but perhaps my boys will have a teacher who will inspire them to accomplish great things in their life. (Shirley, what would it take for me to talk you out of retirement and come back to work? :) )

Thanks for making a difference, Shirley!

Meadowlands PS

Best Tools for Schools would like to extend a warm welcome to the parents at Meadowlands Public School.  We can’t wait to relieve you of the burden of back to school shopping.  Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.  We don’t just pay lip service to good customer service, we actually believe it.  

Mother’s Day

The best mother’s day gifts are the ones that aren’t store bought.  Our two youngest children are in the same class together and this year they put a recipe book together of each child’s favorite meal.   They had the children tell them how to make it.  Without further ado, here is my daughter’s:


She puts the vegetables in it. She puts tomatoes in it.  Daddy helps her a lot.  She gets ready for her meeting. She bakes it and Daddy helps.

Laurie’s son submitted this one:

Grilled Cheese

She grills the bread and then puts the cheese on.  She gives it to me on a plate.  I eat it and it is really good!

Our two oldest children made a beautiful card and learned to sing a song in French to us.  While 5:30 am is not when I’m really looking to hear a song, she was so eager to sing it, how could I not love it.  

These are the things that we tuck away and remember always.  They are more valuable than anything you could get in a store.  Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Did you know…

Did you know the average teacher spends between $800 and $1200 of their own money every year on supplies for their classroom?  That would be a little like having to supply your office with the items it needs everyday.   Teachers’ are getting low on supplies this time of year so why not surprise yours and drop off some extras (pencils, crayons, markers, erasers, facial tissue) for the classroom.

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