Space Capsule Lunches
Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

Coordinating personalized lunches for every staff member is hands down the most work of the entire week, but it is their very favorite event. (I know this because I sent out a survey after SAW last year.)  The feedback I heard from parents was that they didn’t mind making lunches, but decorating the lunches was very intimidating. You’ve seen our past lunches. Some parents go all out. WOW. To alleviate their concerns and encourage volunteers, I designed a Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kit that parents could purchase if they so chose. I had no problem recruiting parents to make lunches this year. Lunch decoration kits = WIN!

 Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kit

To streamline the process even further this year I created a Survey Gizmo lunch survey instead of a printed questionnaire. The free version of Survey Gizmo met my needs for the most part.  I would have liked the ability to export nicely formatted PDF files of each response, but I wasn’t willing to pay for the pro plan to do that. I ended up taking a screen shot of each response and emailing that to the parent who signed up to make lunch. Using Survey Gizmo saved me at least three hours of data entry. In the past I typed the staff responses into an email for each parent.

The day after I handed out Staff Appreciation Week invitations, I also sent an email to the staff with the survey link and asked everyone to complete it by the Wednesday before SAW. The survey asked the following questions:

1. Name

2. What time do you eat lunch?

3. What is your favorite sandwich? (Please include type of bread and condiments.)

4. What is your favorite type of salad? (Please include dressing, if applicable.)

5. What is your favorite side dish? (Chips, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, soup, nuts, etc.)

6. What is your favorite take out? (Please include the restaurant and specific menu item.)

7. What is your favorite dessert?

8. What is your favorite beverage?

9. Do you have any food allergies?

Space Capsule Lunches

TIP: I included “What time do you eat lunch” on the survey for my sorting purposes. (The staff at our school eats in three shifts, and I put them in groups according to time.) If you include lunch time on your survey, make it very clear to the parents preparing the lunch that it is not the delivery time. I asked the volunteers to have lunches to the staff room by 11am. Quite a few of them paid no attention to my instructions, and when I called them frantically because a lunch was missing, was told they were planning to deliver the lunch about five minutes before lunch time. While that sounds all well and good, traffic happens, teachers/staff arrive early… and there is no lunch.

TIP: In addition to the Space Capsule Lunch Decoration Kits, the parents were THRILLED about the take-out option for the staff. I have always gone to Panera to buy the lunches I sign up for. (Nobody wants to eat the gluten, egg, dairy, and nut free food from our house. Ha!) Be sure to include specific menu items in addition to restaurant. It’s not very helpful when someone tells you they like Thai food. For instance, my favorite dish at Thai Chef is Broccoli Delight with Chicken. My husband might keel over and die if I made him eat that.

Step One: Preparation
Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week

I first posted about the Space Teacher/Staff Appreciation week for my daughter’s school on my sister website, Scrapaholics, but I wanted to go into a bit more detail here at Simply Styled Home. This series of posts is for those of you on the PTSA and/or Hospitality Committee at your child’s school. Here you will find step-by-step instructions to duplicate this Space themed Staff Appreciation Week at your school. Ready? Let’s go!

Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week


Two months before Staff Appreciation Week: 

Send out an email to the Hospitality Committee, Room Parents, Volunteers, etc. letting them know to “Save the Date” and to expect more information in the coming weeks.

One month before Staff Appreciation Week:

1. Get a complete staff list from the school’s office manager. Be sure to add student teachers, and support staff that are not included on the list. You will use this list to create your SignUp Genius sign ups for the door decorations, Space Capsule lunches, and the invitation count.

2. Send out the SignUp Genius sign ups to the Hospitality Committee and Head Room Parents. It sounds like a long time out, but you will probably have to beg ask repeatedly for volunteers to sign up. It’s best to start early.

3. For the past few years, the Hospitality Committee and Room Parents were the only people who really had any clue what was happening during Staff Appreciation Week. It makes sense. If you don’t go to the staff lounge, why would you know anything was happening? I wanted to increase awareness in our school community and generate some excitement before the big event (and hopefully drum up more volunteers). One month before Staff Appreciation Week I put these posters up all around the school. I absolutely recommend posters beforehand. I have never heard so much Staff Appreciation Week chatter. It was great!

Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week Poster

3. NEW THIS YEAR: Our PTSA created a school website this year and gave the Hospitality Committee a page of its very own! I included information about Staff Appreciation Week plans and SignUp Genius links on the Hospitality webpage (which was listed on the posters and included in the weekly school newsletter).

One week before Staff Appreciation:

1. Deliver the main invitation + Blast Off Breakfast invitation + Rocket Fuel drink order form to the teacher/staff mailboxes. In the past I have passed out the invitation as week and a half in advance, and I have to say, everyone was much more prompt returning their drink labels with less notice.

Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week Invitation

Blast off Breakfast

2. Instead of including a paper lunch preferences questionnaire with the invitations this year, I used Survey Gizmo. I sent an email the day after the invitations were delivered with a Survery Gizmo link. It was FABULOUS. I received an email every time the survey was completed, then simply took a screen shot of the teacher/staff member’s answers and emailed them to the parent who signed up to make the Space Capsule lunch.

3. Ideally you would also have everything printed for Staff Appreciation Week. I don’t recommend waiting until the last minute. I’ve been the person pulling out my hair at midnight the night before an event when my printer refuses to print. At the very least, have the “I Think You Are Out of This World because….” coloring pages printed so you can sort them into class piles.

4. Remind any teachers/staff members who have not returned their drink order forms to do so.

5. Remind any teachers/staff members who have not completed their Space Capsule Lunch survey to do so. Email their lunch preferences to the corresponding parent volunteer.

A few days before Staff Appreciation Week:

1. Deliver the “I Think You Are Out of This World because….” coloring pages to the teacher’s mailboxes with a note to please have the students bring them home on Friday (to be returned on Monday and presented to their teacher).

I Think You Are Out of This World Coloring Page

NEW THIS YEAR: At the bottom of the coloring page instructions I included a link where students could download and print extra copies. The link was also included in our school newsletter which gets delivered via email on Sunday mornings. I didn’t have a single person frantically emailing me on Sunday asking for a copy.

We had extra printed “I Think You Are Out of This World because…” pictures in the office for students to color. Many of them wanted to make pictures for past teachers, the music teacher, librarians, etc. There was a poster in the stairway letting them know where extra pictures were located.

2. On Friday afternoon before Staff Appreciation Week decorate. This year, instead of one giant poster in the school foyer, I printed a half dozen 12×18 posters that were posted on exterior doors around the school to remind everyone about Staff Appreciation Week and letting them know where to find additional coloring pages. I also created “Mission Specialist” signs for the front office staff, and a “Shuttle Commander” sign for the principal.

Space Themed Staff Appreciation Week Posters

This year I recruited volunteers to decorate with me. I didn’t bother last year because I thought I would zip through everything in an hour…tops. Wrong. It took me almost three hours to put posters up. This year it took less than 30 minutes. Many hands make light work.

3. Ask the room parents to send an email out on Sunday reminding their class to return their coloring pages to school the next day.

“Best in the Universe!” Gift Card Holder
Teacher Appreciation Freebie

I have seen some pretty amazing Teacher Appreciation gifts on Pinterest, but I have to be honest. I am much better at pinning ideas than actually MAKING the projects I have pinned. Are you with me on this? And really, who doesn’t love a gift card?!

I created this gift card holder to coordinate with the Space themed Staff Appreciation Week at my daughter’s school. (More on that soon.) Please enjoy this free 5×7 printable with my compliments! It can be used for teacher appreciation, birthdays, graduation… anything, really! Click HERE to download the file. (For personal use only.)

Best in the Universe Gift Card Holder Freebie

Dangerous Dessert Bar
Superhero Staff Appreciation Week

I first posted about the Superhero themed Teacher/Staff Appreciation week for my daughter’s school on my other website, Scrapaholics, but I wanted to go into a bit more detail here at Simply Styled Home. This series of posts is for those of you on the PTSA and/or Hospitality Committee at your child’s school. Here you will find step-by-step instructions to duplicate the “Dangerous Dessert Bar” for Superhero Staff Appreciation Week at your school. Ready? Let’s go!

The Hospitality Committee outdid itself last year with the desserts. They were Seuss-y and colorful and fabulous. There was also a lot leftover. This year, I thought less would be more. I created a dessert table with a mix of bite sized treats and traditional favorites provided by some amazing dessert vendors!

TIP: If you are planning to purchase themed treats for staff appreciation week start early, and by early I mean MONTHS in advance. It may seem ridiculous now, but the really popular vendors book up quickly with birthdays and events.

Superhero Staff Appreciation Week - Dessert Table

A party is not a party without cupcakes, and Three Monkey’s Cakery made some super fondant toppers for the cupcakes that I purchased at our local grocery store. I added superhero printable party circles for an extra pop of color.

Superhero Staff Appreciation Week - Cupcake and Macaroons

For those that didn’t want a cupcake (say what?!) we had gorgeous macaroons (or macarons) from The Splendid Sweet Shoppe. I have the utmost admiration for anyone who can make a beautiful macaroon. These were amazing and so colorful!

Superhero Staff Appreciation Week - Cookies

Sweet Tweets made AWESOME super cookies with an M instead of S. I was seriously impressed. I used some of them for the dessert table, but the majority  of the cookies were wrapped in cellophane bags and tied with a “Thank You!” tag to take home along with their “Superhero Award” to enjoy later. (More on the Superhero Award down below.)

Superhero Staff Appreciation Week - Cake Pops

The highlight of the dessert table was definitely the cake pops from Decadent Cake Pops. The owner, Jaime, and I met at our children’s preschool a few years ago. I have ordered cake pops from her in the past and my girls love them. Last year I discovered that both of my girls are highly sensitive to gluten, dairy, and eggs which excludes them from all of the fun birthday treats children have at parties and/or bring to school. I asked Jaimie if she could make me gluten free/vegan cake pops, and she did! I now keep a stash of GF/Vegan cake pops in my freezer at all times. When anyone in my daughter’s classes bring in a birthday treat, I pull out a cake pop and send it with them to school. Cake pops are my new favorite thing. These superhero cake pops were the normal variety, but it’s nice to know there are delicious and fun options for those of us dealing with food allergies.

Superhero Staff Appreciation Week - Rice Krispy Pops

Speaking of food allergies, Wickedly Whipped made Wonder Woman Rice Krispy pops (yes, those are real!) for everyone, but especially for those staff members that cannot eat gluten. Who am I to deprive someone of treats? Who doesn’t love Rice Krispy treats?! Unfortunately the mail man didn’t deliver them in time for lunch on Friday but they did arrive before school got out for the day so I whipped up (get it? ha!) a quick display of take home treats for the staff.

The teachers and staff also took home a Superhero Award at the end of the week. They are after all, the most amazing superheroes I know.

TIP: Supply the teachers with to-go containers or Ziplock bags to take treats home. Even with the smaller dessert bar this year, I still had at least 50% of the treats leftover. Many of them will bring treats home to enjoy later if they have a convenient way to do so.

The Superhero Printables seen in this post can be purchased here.

Soup-er Luncheon
Superhero Staff Appreciation Week

I first posted about the Superhero themed Teacher/Staff Appreciation week for my daughter’s school on my other website, Scrapaholics, but I wanted to go into a bit more detail here at Simply Styled Home. This series of posts is for those of you on the PTSA and/or Hospitality Committee at your child’s school. Here you will find step-by-step instructions to duplicate the “Soup-er Luncheon” for Superhero Staff Appreciation Week at your school. Ready? Let’s go!

Soup-er Luncheon - Superhero Staff Appreciation Week

March in Seattle is typically grey and rainy, perfect soup weather. I couldn’t resist having a SOUPer luncheon. Despite the fact that it was gorgeous and sunny (the complete opposite of soup weather) the lunch was a success. We had a wonderful variety of soups (6 varieties for 46 staff members was plenty) in addition to fresh fruit, veggies, and a few treats. I especially liked the “I Think You Are SOUPer” stickers which served as napkin rings, and the “Emergency Hydration” drinks. You can’t read the back of the water bottles, but they say, “Super powers will activate within 10 minutes of drinking.”

Soup-er Luncheon - Teacher Appreciation Week

TIP: Bring a power strip with you, and possibly and extension cord too. You will absolutely need the power strip to plug in all the slow cookers to keep the soup toasty warm.

“Soup”er Lunch Printables can be purchased here.
“Emergency Hydration” water bottle labels can be purchased here.
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