Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sweet Holiday Smells Gift Jar

After years of receiving teacher gifts I love trying to think of things to give the boys' teachers which I know will be different, useful, and appreciated. I also like to have Big Brother involved in making them if possible.

I saw this cute idea for a neighbor gift, and knew it would a great idea for teachers too. The recipe calls for creating a mix of spices, herbs, and dried fruits which when placed in simmering water will create a lovely scent. We decided to make our mixes in wide mouthed half-pint jars.

In each jar we put the following: 

6-8 short cinnamon sticks (I had to score and break our longer sticks to fit)
3-4 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons whole cloves
1 heaping tablespoon ground allspice
1 heaping tablespoon nutmeg
1 dried lemon slice
1 dried orange slice
1 dried apple slice

I loved how hands-on this could be for Big Brother, especially as he was making them primarily for his preschool teachers. We dried the fruit in our dehydrator, but you can dry it in your oven or find it at craft stores. 

When it came time to assemble the jars, I set up all the ingredients on the floor, where as always, we can get a little messy and it's okay. 

Big Brother did the counting of objects and measuring all on his own. 

We quickly learned it worked better to put the ground ingredients in first, and layer the other ingredients in on top of them. 

After we filled the jars Big Brother selected fabric from our holiday fabric collection to make the jars more festive. He was very particular about which teacher would receive which fabric. We placed the fabric between the lid and the rim, and tightened the rim gently. 

Before giving them, I printed out and tied on a label which read,
"Sweet Holiday Smells For You
Add to a small saucepan with water, simmer gently, and enjoy." 

We wound up making some more for my co-workers and a few neighbors as well. We're hoping they spread our teachers' and friends' homes with the smells which remind people of the warmth and goodness of the holidays. Or, as Big Brother excitedly told one teacher, "It's in case your house stinks." 

** A special note about spices: If you can buy the spices in bulk this project becomes much more affordable to make and assemble. 

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