Soooooo, my daughter and I host a monthly staff appreciation luncheon for the teachers and staff of one of our local schools, and this was our creation for February! I share it with you because it might give you some ideas for what to do for your own Oscar Party at work or at home, for the teachers at your children’s school, for the residents or staff of an Assisted Living Center or Senior Center, for your local fire station, police station, or military group, for a bowling league party, for a Bunco party, or for a High School Musical Final Curtain After-Party (Ha! yes I did that one too — very memorable and the kids made it sooooo much fun!!!!). This party can be adapted for whatever group you are trying to honor.
What’s really rather awesome for us is that our teachers work in a place with “Academy” in the name of the school, so…how perfect is that?
Party Preparations – One Month Before…
I sent a note home with each child in each classroom, asking their parents to write a note of appreciation or compliment for their child’s teacher(s) on an index card size notecard, and return those to me. (BTW: This is a great place to direct parents who are unsure what or how to write in such a note: Teacher Appreciation Letter, Simple Thank You Notes for Awesome Teachers). I am using these notes to create Walk-of-Fame star booklets for each staff member.
How I made my booklets:
- Purchase pocket size photo albums from Walmart and remove the covers that come in them.
- Spray paint the card stock covers with chalk board paint (to cover any design they may have and prime the surface) and then spray on some stone
paint. I made half of mine gold (for variety) with a light coating of gold metallic paint over the stone paint.
- When dry, attach a Walk-of-Fame star (I created mine on my computer “Paint” program) to each front cover with a scrapbooking glue dot.
- Replace all the covers in the photo books with the new ones. I gave all the ones with gold front covers plain stone back covers, and all the ones with stone front covers got gold back covers.
- Insert notes into the inside pages where the photos go.
.I’m really excited for our teachers to see these!
I’ve also given each of the staff members a SECRET BALLOT, asking them to nominate their peers for various awards (see the list and sample ballot several paragraphs down on this page). And I posted this Ballot Box in the lounge where they could deposit their ballots until I was ready to pick them up, about a week or so before the party. I used that info to make up award certificates (see below) placed in special (black) envelopes, to go with their Oscars (cookies) and their Walk-of-Fame stars.
This is the luncheon flier I made and posted on the school’s Facebook page (which I hoped would alert the staff to our menu and theme this month, and hopefully also remind the parents to get their notes to me). My daughter has also printed it and posted it in the staff lunchroom for all the staff to see, so they will be reminded to “save the date.” The design for the flier was something I found online and adapted. But here is a spectacular idea I found for more personal invitations.
Aren’t these the cutest? Some people are so clever!!! I’m making these adorable edible Oscar cookies for dessert from an idea I stumbled upon at Bakerella.com. Well, let’s be real real about it….mine are nowhere half as adorable as these. I’ve never been a great baker! But, if they never see this photo they’ll be none the wiser and think mine are cute. Note: She also includes a recipe for the perfect cookie dough that will hold the shape of the cookies as they bake, and I can attest that it works beautifully. I didn’t have any meringue powder for the royal icing though (I’d never even heard of it in fact), but, so I substituted knox gelatin disolved in the liquid that was called for in the recipe. It worked, but I can’t say it worked as well as the right stuff. I found a plastic, 4½” tall cookie cutter at amazon.com (sold by cookiecutter.com) that I used to shape my Oscars, and then Walmart (or any local grocery store with a baking isle) had a good assortment of cake and cookie decorating sprays, glitters, icings, etc. that I used to decorate them with. The detailed instructions for making these lovely cookies is found at Bakerella.com.
Here is my much lower level attempt:
THE ENVELOPE PLEASE…
Now, in my web travels I also found some funny awards certificates for teachers that I thought would lend a lighthearted, sort of soupçon, to our OSCARS party. The author of these awards does share some freebie images (featured on my ballot), but otherwise his certificate sets sell for $35. I also added a few of my own.
Once the ballots were turned in, I made little awards certificates and sealed them into envelopes. See a photo of them later on down this page.
Awards Categories (the freebies):
P’s & Q’s Award – for Best Manners
Burmuda Triangle Award – for the desk where things go in but never come back out
Raisin Award – for Most Deserving of a Raise in Pay
Dewey Decimal Award – for Most Organized
Smart Cookie Awards – for the Staff Member with the Biggest Sweet Tooth
Single File Award – for the Staff member most capable of keeping everyone in line
Locksmith Award – for the Staff member who is the Key to our Success
Bunsen Burner Award – for the one who has the Hottest Ideas
Baby’s Bottom Award – for the One who is Smoothest in Times of Crisis
Duct Tape Award – for the one able to fix just about anything
Carpe Diem Award – for the one who makes the most of every moment
High School Musical Award – to the one most likely to break into song
And these are the extras I came up with….
Adam Award – for the one who has been here from the beginning (most ancient human)
Noah Award – for the one who is always ready and prepared to save us all from disaster
Mary & Martha Award – for the one who brings treats often and makes everybody feel welcome
Secretariat Award – for the one who runs the race with the biggest heart
Red Carpet Award – for the one who stuns us daily with the cutest hair, nails, shoes, and outfits
Anne Sullivan Award – for the teacher who is amazingly gifted to seemingly be able to teach anyone
Maria Montessori Award – for the teacher with the most amazing motivational skills (gets her kids to do anything)
William McGuffey Award – for the teacher who is (him or herself) the most ferocious reader
Emma Hart Willard Award – for the teacher with the biggest dreams for her students, gift of encouragement
Jaime Escalante Award – for the teacher whose students often outscore everyone else
GOOGLE Award – for the one most likely to know the answer to anything
Thomas Edison Award – for the one with the most inventive ways to accomplish things
Albert Einstein Award – for best hair (what were you thinking?)
Laura Ingalls Wilder Award – for the one who tells the best stories
Baby Huey Award – for the youngest staff member
Wilma Rudolph Award – for the marathon runner in the group
Peter O’Toole Award – for the one with the most skill, talent, longevity, but who never wins an award
I typed up my ballots, printed them out, and made sure every staff member got one. Another option would be to give out simple awards for “outstanding effort in” whatever categories (i.e. Out-the-door Fire Drill Skills, Genius Mathmatics Game Inventor, Huff-n-Puff P.E. Fun Stuff, Hilarious Staff Meeting Antics, Top Teacher’s Lounge Comedian, Genius Science Guy/Gal Shinanigans, Oscar Worthy History Lesson Dramatics, Most Imbarrassing Library Faux Pas, High Brow Hallway Decorum, Best Dressed, Best Supporting Staff Member, Most Captivating Story Teller, Most Pleasant Intercom Voice, Most Punctual, Most Artistic, Most Likely to End Up as Teacher-of-the-year, etc.)
Once the staff members filled out their ballots, they deposited them in the Ballot Box in the middle of the teacher’s lounge table, and then a few days before the party I picked up the box, went through the ballots, tallied the winners for each AWARD, and then made up my little black envelopes. On the outside of each envelope I wrote the AWARD: “And the Dear Abby Award” goes to…. Inside I had a little card with the Award written on the outside and the staff member’s name who got the most votes written on the inside. I intended them to be keepsakes for everyone.
This is the tablecloth I found at Amazon.com to decorate the table.
I placed the Oscar cookies in the center, and flanked the plate with the Walk-of-fame star booklets and the black envelopes with the awards inside. I also found some nice compliments for teachers online that I printed and scattered around on the table.
For your party it would be fun to scatter some Movie Trivia Cards around on the table, and decorate with some helium filled star-shaped balloons; maybe some old film reels, and clapboards. The party stores have cut-outs too that your guests can stick their faces in and you can take photos of them.
Silver serving trays, plates, and utensils, and stemware for the non-alcoholic bubbly beverages.
FOOD “Studio Commissary”
“Straight Outta (insert your town name here)” Cheese Fondue, served with torn crusty bread, cooked and cooled fingerling potatoes, and mushrooms.
“Straight Outta (my town)” baked Fontina fondue (Ina Garten’s recipe from Food Network), and omg you cannot begin to imagine how magnificent this dish smells as it is broiling in the oven its short little six minutes. Super quick and easy to toss together and absolutely the best thing you will put in your mouth this whole week. Make sure though that you find a good Italian Fontina. The other stuff doesn’t melt very well and will soon turn to a rubbery mass as it cools. It will still taste awesome, but not have that gooey, dripping, oooo la la lushiousness that you want in a fondue.
Another option is to slice your crusty bread into thin slices, toast them lightly, and lay them out on a cookie sheet, top them with a couple few small cubes of cheese, a sprinkle of the seasonings, and a drizzle of olive oil. Place the sheet in the broiler until the cheese is melted, and there you go. This way if all you can find in your grocery store is the rubbery Fontina, you’ll still end up with a nice grilled cheese snack that your guests will enjoy.
“The Revenant” Meat Fondue dip can be just a warmed cream or brown gravy, an Asian style Sauce, or a sweet & spicy Jezebel/Henry Bain BBQ sauce (which is what I did), served with various chunks of little smokie sausages, chicken and or beef chunks, or meatballs to dip in it.
“Spotlight” Fruit Fondue – you can go with a melted sweet cream vanilla sauce (or I made a Toblerone Fondue: 1 cup heavy cream, 5 (3.5 oz) bars of Toblerone, broken, 1 1/2 Tablespoon Hazelnut-flavored coffee syrup. Heat cream to a simmer. Remove from heat. Toss in Toblerone. Let sit a few moments. Add Hazelnut syrup. Whisk until blended and smooth. Keep warm in fondue pot).
I did cream cheese filled strawberries (1 8-oz block cream cheese, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp. Vanilla. I placed these three ingredients in a gallon size ziploc bag, sealed it, and then kneaded the bag until the contents were completely blended. Then smooshed the contents to to bottom of the bag, cut a small hole in the corner, and piped the cream cheese into my strawberries. Oh, after you core your strawberries, nip the bottoms off so they will sit nice and upright on your plate).
You could have all sorts of dipping fruits for your fondue (strawberries, grapes, banana slices, pineapple chunks, apple slices, etc.
AND ROUNDING OUT THE FOOD PYRAMID WITH…
“Inside Out” Lettuce Bundles – I used a recipe from Betty Crocker.com only I used Blood Oranges to squeeze my OJ, because I love them, and the store had them, and they make such a pretty colored red-carpet-like dressing.
“Star Wars” Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Cider, served in Champagne flutes
ANOTHER CUTE IDEA…
You could go with a HOT DOG BAR instead of the more intimate fondues I served, and wrap your little “Oscar” Mayers in cute little tuxedos (click on the blue link for the Better Homes and Gardens tuxedo instructions), and then flank them with a huge spread of topping choices. You could even print and post this poster to give your guests ideas for how to dress their dogs, once they’ve undressed them out of their fancy duds. You could even give each topping combination a special celebrity name from this year’s A-list.
AND finally, for dessert, or snacks later in the afternoon…
A “Shaun the Sheep” Popcorn Bar (there are tons and tons of great serving table ideas on Pinterest), like the one pictured above. Mine was not so fancy, with tied cloth and labeled shakers and pretty signs, but I did figure out how to tilt the popcorn bucket like the ones above. Just roll up a towel and tuck it up under the back of the bucket.
I ordered Popcorn Bags, from Oriental Trading Co. but also found them at the dollar store.
I popped a bucketful of plain popcorn, no butter or salt or anything. (I found the coolest popcorn popper at World Market. It’s a glass pitcher with a resin lid. You measure your kernals into the lid, pour them into the pitcher, pop in the microwave for about 3 minutes, and voila…POPCORN!)
I found my popcorn buckets at Dollar General, probably intended for plants, since they were in the garden section, but they worked perfectly, and I lined them with clear plastic bags.
Toffee coated Peanuts
Malted Milk Balls
Juji Fruits or Dots
*Olive Oil (served in a condiment dispenser, like this one —>
Italian Seasonings (I mixed some garlic powder in with mine)
Parmesan Cheese, grated
*Melted Butter (served in a condiment dispenser, like this one —>
Plain Sea Salt
“The Hateful Eight” Kernel Seasonings assortment
I played a Hollywood’s Greatest Hits CD on the BoomBox to set the stage as the staff members arrived in the lounge. (BTW, if you have time, a great game to play with this Hollywood music CD: Name-that-movie. Once your guests are fed, awarded, and honored, you can see how good they are at music trivia. Play just the first few seconds of a song on the CD and see if they can guess what movie it is from. The first person to guess the movie for that score could win a prize).
I also found a wonderful blog with lots of other game ideas for an Oscar Party that you might like to do at your party if you have the time!!!!!
LET’S GET MY PARTY STARTED…
First the teachers walked on the red carpet that I had laid down outside of the teachers lounge. I had the Hollywood music playing to greet them as they stepped inside, and our amazing school secretary played the part of Paparazzi with camera flashing as the teachers entered the room. They were directed to the food buffet “Studio Commisary,” and then to the table where where they discovered their “Walk-of-Fame Star” booklets set out like place-markers all around the table. Scattered in the center of the table were the black envelopes with an AWARD written on the outside and the winner’s names secretly sealed inside.
As the staff ate their lunch, each person took a turn grabbing a black envelope, reading out loud the AWARD written on the outside of it, and then tearing it open to reveal the winner of the award inside. Winners were awarded with an Oscar cookie (the plate of cookies was passed to them)!
They each continued eating their lunch and quietly browsed through their little Hollywood Star booklets reading to themselves some of the kind comments written inside.
At the end of the luncheon they each gathered up their booklets, and tucked their black envelope AWARDS inside, grabbed their Oscar cookies, and made themselves a bag of popcorn to go, then headed back to their day, hopefully feeling loved and appreciated.
May the LORD now show you kindness and faithfulness, and I too will show you the same favor because you have done this. — 2 Samuel 2:6
Thank you teachers, here and everywhere, for all you do for our little people!!!!! May God bless your gifted hands, as you bless all our hearts with your sweet service! We love you!!!!!