If you send a preschool teacher to buy a gallon of milk…

If you send a preschool teacher to buy a gallon of milk…

She will stop by the paint store on the way and ask the paint guy if it is okay to take a few color swatches. And if he says “Yes,” she will ask if it is okay to take two of each color…

Which will remind her of those really cool spoons that are now on sale…

Which makes her hungry for a milkshake but when she stops to pick one up, she notices this plain brown drink holder and asks for one of those instead…

And then she heads to the grocery store where she discovers wonderful colors of Kool-Aid she might use to make play dough…

Then she rushes to the register to check out and when the young man asks if she wants paper or plastic – she starts to visualize painting activities, puppets, vests – and asks for paper….

So she hurries home to add her new treasures to the growing collection of other things she might just use someday like…

Laundry lids and tissue roles…

Plastic lids…

And egg holders…

And now she realizes that it is time to start dinner but there is no room on her dining room table…

So she starts to straighten it all up…

When her husband comes in the room and asks her if she bought the gallon of milk….

She says,  “I will be right back!” and heads to the store for a gallon of milk!

And on the way…..

Available on Amazon

By |2010-09-02T21:18:49+00:00September 2nd, 2010|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Jessi Feltmann September 2, 2010 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Hahaha! That is very cute….and so very true!! 🙂

  2. cheryl golangco September 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Hahahaha This is so true! I can’t even begin counting how many times I got distracted from buying what I originally intended to buy due to the many colorful or “useful” things I see! There were even times when I ended up spending all the money I had with me!
    These are characteristics of a true teacher who loves his/her job!

  3. Nanette Sposito September 2, 2010 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    This is totally ME, as I type I look at my dinning room table….we ate dinner there tonight and shared our space with books, a laminator, construction paper, felt makers, scholastic book orders, cds, tie dye kit, stickers, pipe cleaners…I think you get the picture!! (My husband is a Saint) Distraction is a you know what being a preschool teacher!! LOVE it!!

  4. Leslie Denning September 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    I love this, Deborah. I can remember trying to talk carpet stores into giving me samples for free so I’d have some rugs for the kindergartners to sit on. Good post!

  5. Laura Escue September 3, 2010 at 12:34 am - Reply

    I have been cleaning an organizing my school all week. I had to throw away a bunch of those odds and ends due to lack of space. It was hard to decide what to save and what had to go.

  6. Shar September 3, 2010 at 1:10 am - Reply

    Ha! I read this post out loud to my husband who sat there, listening and nodding! I think he actually might have been reassured to know that I am not the only nutcase out there! 😉

  7. Stefanie September 3, 2010 at 1:19 am - Reply

    I love it!! I love it!! I love it!! :0)

  8. Jenny September 3, 2010 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Hehehehe – glad I’m not the only one Deborah!

  9. Chris September 3, 2010 at 6:33 am - Reply

    This is the best ever!!! A day in my life, how did you know????? You need to market this as a book. I would buy it!

  10. Chris September 3, 2010 at 6:40 am - Reply

    I just showed this to my husband. He just gave me that “look”, you know the you forgot the milk again look. I explained to him that I am not nearly as freakish as he suspected and that I belong to a colony. He said, “No, you belong to a cult”. Apples, oranges…………….. It sure is fun!!!

    • Deb "Tdeb/TeacherDeb" September 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      ROFLOL it is almost as if we are related.
      A colony…brilliant. And yes, there is nothing better, is there? It is nice to be able to share with other like-minded people.

    • Deborah J. Stewart September 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm - Reply


  11. Janie September 3, 2010 at 8:52 am - Reply

    This is so true…why buy when you can upcycle and recycle! Love it!

  12. Scott September 3, 2010 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Hmmm. Sounds like someone has been following me.

    Love it, Deborah!

  13. Aunt Cindy September 3, 2010 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Love it! Sounds like me at a fabric store.

    I’m the mom of a preschooler. I just delivered a giant stack of posterboard to her school. A man was just getting ready to toss it in the recycle bin when I was dropping off some boxes. Score for us (I kept a dozen or so pieces for us) and score for her school.

  14. Colleen September 3, 2010 at 9:52 am - Reply

    LOL LOVE IT! Sounds like something I’d do.

  15. Almost Unschoolers September 3, 2010 at 11:21 am - Reply

    Now I know why my husband always volunteers to pick up the milk! 🙂

  16. Teacher Tom September 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    Indeed! A preschool teacher lives in a Numeroff story!

  17. Deb "Tdeb/TeacherDeb" September 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Dear Deborah,
    What can I say but you are amazing to have created this perfect rendition of my life. LOL
    Thanks so much.
    Hugs, Deb “Tdeb/TeacherDeb”

  18. Jeanine Byers Hoag September 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    What a cute post and a lovely tribute to preschool teachers! 🙂

    Reminds me of my first grade teacher who I adored!!


  19. kristin September 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    thank you for this great laugh!!! it’s the mounting “recyclables” that start filling every corner of my house that really had me laughing!! toilet tubes seem to be spilling out from everywhere so i have to make a concious effort to bring them to the school. oh, and don’t forget the used gift wrap tissue paper!! my preschoolers LOOOVE to make lanterns! http://kleas.typepad.com/kleas/2009/10/lantern-walk.html

  20. Trisha T September 3, 2010 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    Hahaha brilliant!! thanks deborah 🙂

  21. Nita September 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    After 40 years, retiring from this REALLY WONDERFUL FUN LIFE brings another challenge! How do you sort, re-use, and rid your home of the collections of beautiful lids, sticks, shed snake skins, paint, kool-aid, puppets and bags of collage stuff and other surprises that some might call junk. Oh yes, I can give it all away to another pre-school teacher —- but what if I might need it tomorrow – that one beautifully covered box or a little bit of black paint for the neighbor child to use. My husband still loves his experience of marriage to a pre-school teacher —– going fishing and coming home with a carload of rocks. It can be difficult to give up this really good life. There is so much to miss about being in the THICK of “it.”

    • Deborah J. Stewart September 4, 2010 at 12:29 am - Reply

      Hi Anita,
      Last year I gave away probably 100 of my preschool children and teacher books to a local inner city preschool. I also donated boxes of teaching supplies. I had been storing these items and realized they would be better off being put to good use. I did keep my favorite books and supplies because there are just some things I can’t part with:) There are days when I wish I would have kept all that stuff – I actually feel a little sad.. It is hard to let go of things that you treasure because they are part of who you are and what you have invested your life in for so long. I would suggest that you keep the books and materials you treasure the most and share the things you can let go of with someone or a school that you think will really value and use the resources to bless the lives of young children:). Smiles in return – Deborah

  22. Erin September 4, 2010 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Over 20 years ago, I began working in a preschool until “something better” came along in my field of Medical Assistant. I continued for the next 20 years When my family moved across country after my husband passed away, my brother came over to help us pack . He was eager to through away my collection of supplies. I really had to explain to him why I needed to save it. That collection is still in my basement.

  23. Amy @ GrowingUpDisney.com September 6, 2010 at 10:26 am - Reply

    I loved this post! We like “If you give a mouse a cookie” and your take on it is cute.

  24. Shop with Me Mama September 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm - Reply

    Way too cute! Nice to meet you and happy back to school blog tour week!

  25. Lucky's Luna September 6, 2010 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Very cute post, I love school supplies. Those spoons are very adorable!

  26. Deirdre September 6, 2010 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    I photos really illustrate your story perfectly!

  27. Holly - The Work at Home Woman September 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Hi Deborah,

    Thanks for being part of the Back-to-School Blog Tour! I wish I were as creative as you! My daughter loves do do art projects but I’m always running out of ideas. I will have to take some inspiration from your post and start saving lids and other recycled wares, who knows what we can come up!

    Have a great week, Holly

  28. Angela September 9, 2010 at 8:15 pm - Reply

    LOVE LOVE LOVE that I stopped by from the BTSBlogTour because:
    1. I’m a former teacher
    2. I love the Give a Mouse a Cookie series
    3. We seem like we’d get along great!


  29. Teacher Cheryl September 10, 2010 at 11:55 am - Reply

    I love this story! 🙂 I’m pretty sure MOST if not ALL preschool teachers who love their jobs were able to relate to this! I’m sure I did!

  30. Kim @ Little Ladybug Designs September 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Stopping over from the Back to School Blog Tour. I love your blog post! I have a teaching background too. Hope you will check out my blog and let me know if you have any other ideas for teacher gifts. 🙂

  31. Ayn Colsh September 25, 2010 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    I must be living under a rock because somehow I missed this one, too! This is soooooooo me! (And 9 out 10 times, I forget the milk!!!!)

  32. Centers and Circle Time September 27, 2010 at 12:24 am - Reply

    lol…you are just TOO much…have you been spying on me? What’d my husband say? I just absolutely adored this post, can’t wait to share it! Thanks for making me really laugh out loud!

  33. Jean October 9, 2010 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    This post is ALL ABOUT ME!!! :o) and now it has rub onto my niece. She will find neat things for herself and me when she is out and about. And she is only 10 years old.

    • Deborah J. Stewart October 9, 2010 at 9:49 pm - Reply


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