Dec. 8: If only I’d worked this hard as a student

Tomorrow’s the big day for the third prize winners for the PTO’s big Jogathon fundraiser. This is the one we thought would be easy, but it turns out that it’s more inexpensive than easy. In fact, this prize is almost more work than everything we’ve done since the Jogathon itself, and maybe we are not very bright when we give kids three options and one of them requires a lot of work. Blerg.

The prize is a movie night during the day. Not such a big deal, right? Ha.

Let me say that again:


Here we go…

  1. Find a place to show the movie since the gym isn’t dark during the day and the windows are up way too high to block out.
  2. An unused kindergarten classroom appears to be our best alternative for movie location. Now what do we do with all the desks, tables, chairs, etc.?
  3. Ah, all that furniture shoves pretty good. We borrow mats from the gym for the floor. Black butcher paper on the windows—that room is D-A-R-K. It’s so dark I think I might try to get a nap after the movie’s done. I would try to move in there permanently but I hate the smell of grade schools—Salisbury Steak and pee.
  4. Projector’s all set. We’re ready to go tomorrow morning. Oh, but WAIT! We need to serve movie snacks!
  5. The popcorn machine is slow, so we’ll have to come in early to start popping, but it’ll work—the kids will probably love that it’s smelling up the whole school just for them. Prepare some bowls of Christmas-y candies, Red Vines, pretzels, graham crackers, and we’re good on snacks.
  6. The kids should have water. Bottled water? With their names written on the bottles? Personalized, kinda like their names are on a movie marquee? Don’t mind if I do! (as in “don’t mind if I do spend an entire evening making their personalized water bottle labels”).
  7. We’re showing The Polar Express, so we also have to have hot chocolate. Have to. Rules.
  8. Hot chocolate… that means we need mugs or hot beverage cups. Marshmallows. Hot water and something to keep it in.
  9. We’ve got hot beverage cups on hand, left over from an event in the PTO past in which coffee was served. We even have packets of hot chocolate. I add marshmallows, stir sticks, a carafe and a tray to my list.
  10. busyThis is worth it, right?
  11. Wouldn’t it be cool if each kid could have a bell, like the bell in the movie? Ooooh! I know! They can WEAR the bells. Then they won’t lose them. How cute will that be, the class wearing jingle bells all around the school for the day? Sooo cute.
  12. Add “jingle bells” and “some kind of necklace-y thing to string the bell on” to your list, Jen. (We in the PTO practice “he who smelt it dealt it,” but PTO-style: “she who brought it up has to do it.” You’d think our meetings would be really short then, huh? You’d think wrong.)
  13. Goodie bags to give the kids as they go back to their classroom would be nice. (The guilt was really getting to us when we came up with that one. The other two prize-winning classes got activities that were so cool and exciting, and this prize just seemed not to come even close to cool and exciting. So YES, we agreed to goodie bags.)
  14. Jen finds adorable goodie bags and some goodies to put in them. Holiday-ish. Fun. Jen loves doing goodie bags WAY too much.
  15. Jen runs across a cute idea on the ‘net called “snowman soup,” which is an adorably-labeled baggie with a hot chocolate packet, marshmallows, chocolate Kisses or chips, and a candy cane. This is such a fun idea that even though it’s less than 24 hours until this movie spectacular begins, she takes on the project of assembling bags of snowman soup for 24 kids.
  16. Heather then suggests reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter) and Jen smartly lets Heather do that one herself. Whew. Still, this is just one more goodie bag component and the adorable goodie bags are suddenly exploding.
  17. (Not literally.)
  18. Shoving everything into the bags all Tetris-like is just NOT going to work. Jen runs to Albertsons to get bigger ones. They have nothing. Try Rite-Aid—nope. Party City? Not the right type. But Dollar Tree, the trashiest store this side of Winco and Walmart, has approximately 14 different styles of goodie bags, and any one of them would work and of course Jen knew the dreaded dollar store would have the right thing because she is quite aware that the universe loves to point at her and laugh its ass off.
  19. The new goodie bags are larger, yes, and they’re ziploc style… but because they are not Ziploc brand, they don’t un-ziploc easily and Jen curses many times and ruins so many bags she contemplates a quick run back to That Store. No go—the rest of the bags were fine. Whew. There are just enough.
  20. Heather brings over the reindeer food bags, and they are SO cute. If the kids don’t go nuts over the goodie bags, Jen promises to be sittin’ on some second graders tomorrow.
  21. The bells are super-cute too. Discovering extra bells, Jen decides the party hostesses (Jen, Heather, and Sunshine) should have special ones. This does not take longer than seven hours for Jen to do, and yet it looks like she spent a couple minutes on them, or worse yet, BOUGHT THEM AT DOLLAR TREE.
  22. While adjusting the bells, an errant wire hits Victor in the eye. It slows him down, but just briefly. So manly, that guy.
  23. OK, would it not be the coolest thing for the kids to walk into the movie room like they’re walking down the red carpet? We could use a long sheet of butcher paper and maybe even borrow the velvet ropes from the librarian. Perfect! I can make a sign with letters that look like theater popcorn bags! This is getting better and better.
  24. That snowman-and-tree outdoor décor that I haven’t put outside yet this season would be PERFECT at the entrance to the movie room. The snowman will be like a bouncer—he’s the same height as the kids, if not taller. Ha! Maybe I’ll teach the kids what a bouncer is. Maybe by example. Heh heh heh…
  25. Oh, and for future reference, the snowman-and-tree outdoor décor does not fit in the passenger seat very well. I’m going to have branches in my face the whole way to school in the morning.

I’m so sleepy, and I think I’ve put in enough hours for the day. I have to get up at the BF crack o’ dawn to get over to the school and get this party goin’. And we’ve got something similar on Friday afternoon. It never stops! I’m not complaining—I really do love my PTO doodies—but sometimes I just gotta vent, y’know?


  1. Sounds like loads of fun for the kids. You amaze me that you never run out of energy to do fun things for the kids. Lucky kids!

  2. Sounds like the makings for one fun movie nightday and one very tired Jen!


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