Hello everyone! I am so excited to be blogging over here at KrystaSteen.com occasionally this fall. I can’t wait to get to know you and for you to get to know me! To tell you a little about myself, I have two kids (four and two) and am currently expecting number 3. We live in Alabama and have for all of our lives. This summer I started a stationery business online and so between my kids, my family, and my new business I’m pretty busy!
One trait that is very defining for me is my love of words. I am a “words of affirmation” girl and if you want to love me well, write me a note and tell me something (even something super random!) that you appreciate or like about me or send me a note or text or tweet of encouragement. This has, obviously, bled into my work life as I’ve started this stationery shop, Tales of a Peanut, to try and help everyone tell the important people in their lives how much they mean to them.
When my daughter started Mother’s Morning Out four years ago, I found that the ladies that I was entrusting my daughter to for almost 10 hours every week might like a little bit of encouragement back from me and I didn’t know how to best give it to them! I took an embarrassingly long time to remember which teacher went with which name and felt totally unprepared to Christmas and end of the year gifts.
So the next year, I printed out a little questionnaire for them asking for some of their favorite item’s so that I could encourage them throughout the year. Over the past three years, my questions have gotten more tailored and I’ve found that these questions are invaluable on helping me know how to thank the people who do so much for my kids throughout the year.
I found that it was simple to pick up the teacher’s favorite candy bar while I was grocery shopping when the kids were in school and surprise them with the treat at pick-up time. It was easier to buy Christmas gifts that I knew their teacher’s would actually use and like since I knew their favorite restaurants and things to do. I was able to surprise them with their favorite snack or a magazine about their hobby on their birthday. These little things didn’t have to cost much (in fact, sometimes I already had their favorite snacks in my house!), but I know that it meant a lot to these teachers that I was actively working to thank them for all that they were doing for my children.
This year I came up with a “prettier” format for my questions in the form of a 5×7″ double sided card. I gave these away to the people that visited my booth at our local art stroll right before school began and was blown away by the number of parents who were so excited about having help honoring their teachers and the teachers who were so moved that parents cared so much. I sell the original version in my shop, but have also created a freebie version for those who want to print them at home! (Just click on the picture and it will take you to a place where you can download the pdf!)
I hope that these will allow you to spend some time thinking about how we can give back to those who do so much for us. You could give these to anyone to find out how you could bless them: dance teachers, Sunday School teachers, Babysitters, the mail delivery person, your child’s soccer coach, your yoga instructor….the ways that you could use these to impact someone else’s life are endless. Sometimes all it takes is a simple note dropped in the mail or left at the front desk for someone to really make a big difference in someone’s day. I hope that you can find new ways to use these to reach out and impact those that mean so much to you!
P.S. Just to make sure you don’t feel bad or any type of “Mommy guilt” if you choose not to do these, remember that I started doing this after I failed woefully the first year that my daughter was in school and it was really done to help me more than anything! I didn’t know what to get the teachers and didn’t want to get something that they wouldn’t use. Even now I still only really use them for their school teachers, but I’m resolving now to use them elsewhere in our lives! And I also totally understand that lack of funds can play into how much you do for the teachers, but with this information you can at least know when their birthday is and send a little note in with your child on that day — no money required!
I’d love to hear if you use these and what your experiences are with them! And, if you’re a teacher or someone who would be in a position to receive one of these, are there any questions that you think I’ve left off that I can add? What would you love for someone that you helped to surprise you with?
Jennifer is a mom of two who stays at home and works on her stationery shop. She loves to read and write and spends entirely too much time pinning things that she’ll never do on Pinterest. You can keep up with Jennifer at her blog, Tales of a Peanut, as well as at her shop, and on Twitter, facebook, Pinterest, and instagram.