Get to Know Your Teacher Questionnaire

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One of my friends asked her teacher friends what they appreciated most from parents when starting a new school year.

One of them said that a parent had her fill out a “Get to Know Your Teacher Questionnaire” of all her favorite things.

I thought this was BRILLIANT!

So I put together my own questionnaire this year to give to our teachers, and will distribute the answers to all the parents in our class.

I love that we will know what Starbucks drink to buy them as a special treat or their favorite mani / pedi spot.

I plan to have our preschool teachers fill it out too. I just love this idea!

You can download my questionnaire HERE.  Feel free to comment if you have more ideas on questions to add…

[Photo credit:  2010 Cherrysweetdeal, Flickr]


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25 Creative Party Ideas for Boys & Girls

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I was super thrilled when I saw that my reader’s Tangled theme birthday party was chosen to be featured as one of the 25 Creative Girl Birthday Party Ideas on a darling blog called Six Sisters’ Stuff.

In case you were wondering, yes, it is written by SIX sisters! No boys!

But speaking of boys, do you have one? Check out their 25 Creative Birthday Party Ideas for Boys.

Seriously great theme party ideas for your little one’s next birthday extravaganza! Take some time to browse the different ideas ~ I guarantee you will be inspired.

Have a great weekend everyone ~ see you back on Monday!


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Newport Cottages Children’s Furniture

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Bring your nursery or kid’s bedroom to life with the magic of Newport Cottages children’s furniture, a local USA-made furniture manufacturer that can design any piece, any style to fit your little one’s personality. From modern to classic, frilly to clean-lined, there is a style for every space.

Do you love looking at photos of children’s rooms or nurseries for ideas? Be prepared to drool over the gorgeous pieces of furniture! Click here to visit their “Ideas & Inspiration” page. Love.

Every piece from Newport Cottages’ California Coastal Cool children’s furniture is made to order. That means your order is custom made for you, by real people, using “Old World” craftsmanship techniques. Their individual benchmade construction from hardwoods means that their pieces of furniture will last not just through their childhood, but as they go off to college and longer.

Their heirloom investment pieces are built to last a lifetime.

You can customize size, finish (there are 23 options to choose from), style, you name it.

Or maybe you have a photo of something you like that has been hard to find?  You can bring it to Newport Cottages and their designers can help design a piece perfectly suited to your little one’s space.

When I was searching for nursery furniture, I remember getting so frustrated with the options.  It took me oodles of time to try to find a dresser that had the exact number of drawers and storage space I wanted.  I wish I knew a company like Newport Cottages existed at that time.

Have a baby on the way?

All of the Newport Cottages cribs convert into toddler beds, and their special conversion cribs convert into full size beds.

Or maybe you have a child moving out of the crib into their own Full or Queen sized bed?  Finding a bed frame in a Queen in children’s furniture can be hard to find.  But not to worry, every single style of bed on Newport Cottages can be made into a Queen, even King size to fit your growing kiddo.

Even though it seems odd to have a little one in a bigger bed, when investing in pieces of furniture or a quality mattress, in 10 short years, your 3 year old will be 13 and will likely be much more comfortable in a bigger bed.

That’s why planning ahead can have big advantages when making good furniture purchases.

Newport Cottages furniture is available online as well as through their Newport Beach store in Atrium Court in Fashion Island.  You can even make an appointment to meet with a designer in their store to help talk you through your space planning and design.

They offer a wide selection of beds, bunk beds, dressers, nightstands, desks, armoires, accent tables and more. Stay tuned for a special “Back to School” promotion next month and (I hear) a special desk giveaway!  I will do a post as soon as the contest starts.

Stay up to date on all the fun Newport Cottages promotions on their blog, on Facebook, Twitter and of course, Pinterest.

[Disclosure: Newport Cottages is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor]

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Teacher Gift Ideas

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I posted last week looking for ideas on great teacher gift ideas.  Because we got some great suggestions on our comments and Facebook page, I wanted to compile and share them with you!

* Gift card to Lakeshore Learning.

* Thoughtful cards telling your teacher how they made a difference in your child’s life.

* Gift card for Target, Amazon, Barnes & Noble so teachers can buy classroom materials.

* Gift card for Burke Williams for a spa pampering day.

* Gift card to Starbucks, Panera or another favorite local restaurant.

* Beach bag consisting of a monogrammed tote, monogrammed towel, magazines, and Barnes & Noble gift card for good beach reads.

* Scrapbook documenting the year’s events or photo book created online.

* Framed artwork from your child.

* Written letters from your child.

* Gift card to Nordstrom.

* Personalized desk pads, note cards, note pads or teacher planners from Erin Condren.

* Video:  Take a video of each child in the class sharing their favorite things about their teacher and use a program like iMovie to put together an end of the year video with these clips and photos from the year.

So, as it seems, from a lot of the teachers that commented, the most APPRECIATED gift is the GIFT CARD! Good luck with the end of the school year push mamas!  I am soooooo ready for summer!

Any more ideas? Please comment!


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How to Green Your Child’s Lunch

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This is my third post in my series of four in honor of Earth Month sponsored by SCOTT Naturals™ on different ways we can take small steps to be more green. Today’s post is on How to Green Your Child’s Lunch.

The good news is that packing an eco-friendly green lunch is not only easy, but also FUN! Here are four ways you can make your child’s lunch WASTE-FREE! If you have any other suggestions, please comment below!

Your lunchbox system, consisting of a reusable lunchbox and reusable containers is the most important component part of an eco-friendly lunch.

Now days there are lots of great products out there to make packing a green lunch inspiring.  Here are a couple of companies I recently found:

Laptop Lunches came recommended by a Tiny Oranges reader and I was sent one of their cool bento kits for review.

I love this outer carry case. The design includes a removable shoulder strap, which means it can be carried over the shoulder, messenger bag style, or you can remove the strap and carry it like a traditional lunchbox. It is even thin enough to put it in your child’s backpack.

The innovative system inside is made up of 4 different sized bento-style boxes, including a miniature bento with lid for dipping type ingredients like a salad dressing or hummus.

Based off of the guidelines for balanced eating, these containers are a great reminder of not only the portion size, but also the variety of healthy foods we should be packing for our kids.

And may I note, these are not just for KIDS! These would make the perfect lunchbox for an adult to take to work.

Laptop Lunches are made in the U.S.A with NO phthalates, BPA, lead or PVC. They are also top shelf dishwasher  safe.

Laptop Lunches also have 365 days of lunch menu ideas on their website. Amazing resource when you are tired of making the same ‘ole, same ‘ole!

Another great option are the complete lunchbox kits from Green To Go Lunchware.

These sets come with an insulated lunch bag, a five compartment leak-proof food container and an 8-oz stainless bottle.

The bag also has an erasable white board for fun notes or reminders and a mesh velcro pouch to store utensils and napkin.

The lunchbox sets are BPA free, PVC-free and lead-free.

If you are looking for something smaller, with less compartments, their small lunchbox kit has three containers in one to keep small lunches from spilling.

It also comes with 100+ awesome dishwasher-safe stickers so your child can have fun personalizing (photo right). My daughter loved this!

They are made in the USA, top dishwasher safe, and free of BPA and phthalates.

Enter Green to Go Lunchware coupon promo code ORANGES15 to get 15% off your order now through 06/30/12. Yay!

The second most important aspect of an eco-friendly lunch is a reusable drink bottle.

Just think how much waste it would save if every mom reading this switched from juice boxes or bottled water to a reusable drink container.

There are a gazillion of these on the market. Personally, we have used the Thermos Foogo Straw Bottle for years.

If your child’s lunch is one that requires a fork or spoon, or both, it is much more eco-friendly to pack your own reusable flatware instead of plasticware.

Laptop Lunches sells this flatware set so you can use the same utensils day after day and keep the plastic out of the trash.

Did you know that SCOTT Naturals™ napkins are made with 80% recycled paper??

That is pretty a-mazing!

What does that mean exactly?  It means that by choosing to use a SCOTT Naturals™ napkin vs. a non-recycled napkin you will be saving trees.

That alone is probably one of the easiest things any of us can do to help green our child’s lunch!


Speaking of saving trees, SCOTT Naturals™ invites you to take the 4 Week Test Drive during the month of April.

Simply go to and pledge to switch to SCOTT Naturals™ for four weeks and try their selection of hybrid products.

When you make the pledge, you will enter in your zip code, and the state with the most pledges can win $50,000 towards local forest and land conservation efforts to preserve America’s great outdoors. Click HERE and take the pledge!

Product Guide:

Click here to shop Laptop Lunches * Click here to shop Green To Go
Click here to shop Foogo products from Thermos

[Disclosure: SCOTT Naturals™ is compensating me for my time and participation in this campaign. All of the above are my honest opinions, as always. I have made the switch to SCOTT Naturals™ and have taken the 4 Week Test Drive pledge! I hope you will too! I also received a free bento kit from Laptop Lunches and small lunchbox kit from Green to Go to help facilitate this review. As a result I also signed up to be a part of the Laptop Lunches affiliate program as I love their products. And there, my friends, is everything you need to know!]

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