SWEET SUMMERTIME ~ Milk & Cookie Bar

As we were nearing the end of school, I could not get the idea of a Milk & Cookie Bar out of my mind. I had thought about doing it on our deck with a few of Shauna and Jake's friends. But every time I entered their school, I couldn't help but think of how much fun it would be to surprise all of the students with an end of the year milk and cookie bar. 
I immediately got approval from the principal and teachers and headed out to purchase the classic white and chocolate cardstock to get started on the paper items...banners, labels, etc.  But when I got home with a huge stack of paper and some napkins I had picked up at Target, the 'classic color scheme' changed! As I was putting the napkins away, I noticed they coordinated perfectly with some beach pails I had in my summer stash from last year.  PERFECT! I had my color scheme for the Sweet Summertime Milk & Cookie Bar! 
 And then I sit down at my computer and see Shindig Parties to Go free Summertime Printables!! Felt like they were designed just for my cookie bar!
I began to imagine what I wanted the kids to see as they entered the school on the last day of school....a large blackboard with all of the teachers' summer greetings for them with a table full of bright colors and overflowing with cookies! (I used resealable bags so the kids could take them home if they wanted to...without creating too much of a mess in their backpacks.)

It became a fun family project! Scott and Jake headed to the hardware store and set out to make the best, free-standing blackboard backdrop ever! 

I thought I wanted a banner but quickly realized it would be too 'busy' with beach balls hanging from the ceiling and teachers' greetings on the blackboard. I sent the kids down to the shore for a piece of driftwood that I could paint and they also found some rope to attach the sign with, that had washed up from a lobster boat. Couldn't ask for better props!  

Let the baking begin! There are only 97 students in the elementary school so I knew it would be easy to prepare five or six kinds of cookies, fill the beach pails and let them choose whatever they wanted. 

I asked for ideas on what to make...beyond the traditional Snickerdoodles and Chocolate Chip. There was an overwhelming response on my Facebook page that I should try Chocolate Crinkles! And to my surprise, I opened my ages old Betty Crocker and the recipe was right in front of me! Huge hit with the kiddos!But I think my new favorite is the M&M Cookies that I found on All Recipes.Com. The recipe was so easy and SO good. (I actually doubled the recipe and split the shortening with half butter) But I can't wait to try this with Heath Bar Crunch added to it instead of MM's....so many fun options!

I completely cheated with the Peanut Butter (dried package mix) and the Chocolate Chip (tubs of dough). But that left us with enough time to make the Flip Flops. We used Vienna Fingers and melted chocolate. We experimented with all kinds of candy for the straps and ended up with mini chewy Sweet Tarts and strips of Sour Patch candies. Shauna really enjoyed making those!
Of course, I had to order some of the paper straws from Sweet Lulu's! The kids were so cute...they weren't sure they could take them, thought they were pixie sticks! (With the sugar in the cookies, I didn't dare add pixie sticks to the mix! I'd have some parents after me!)
When you have a business that has a few trucks such as this....it certainly makes delivery of a free standing blackboard that much easier. As I said, it was a family project! Scott, the kids and I headed out to school at 6 a.m. to set up! I think part of the excitement for me was seeing their faces as they walked through the doors from the bus!
I was so caught up in watching the kids' expressions as they entered and hearing the oohing and aahing....I think the best was from a 3rd grader "Speechless! I am just absolutely speechless!"....that I hadn't noticed Shauna standing in the doorway of her classroom...just watching...and noticing everything that I was. The look on her face...worth every dollar and minute spent and ultimately, the reason I do what I do! 

I was ready to serve.....I think the kids were in their classrooms ten minutes and already asking if they could start! It was great...no limits, whatever they wanted! 
My cousin, Amanda, offered to come take pictures so I could just focus on serving the kiddos! And very quickly, I was left with crumbs.......lots of crumbs and lots of smiles!
And although I will tell you I did it for all of the kiddos at Friendship Village School, and the amazing staff, which I truly did! I bet you can guess the two little smiles that meant the most!

As I was packing up and leaving, Shauna walked out of her classroom with a stack of awesome thank you's from her classroom! It was so sweet...topped off the whole morning!