It's Getting Personal

I love my name, it fits me, it's meaningful to my family, all is well.
Except....
I could never ever ever find cute barrettes with my name spelled correctly.
All the Allisons, Megans, Jessicas and Jennifers had cute barrettes.
Not that I'm bitter or anything. :)

So, in my quest to help others who suffer from unusual name spellingitis I have been giving my friends personalized notepads this year for their birthdays.

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I ordered them online from a company called Vistaprint but I'm sure there are a million other companies out there. It was so fun to pick out different designs that reminded me of the particular person. You could then change the text to read whatever you want and change the font, size and color.

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I've wrapped them up all different ways, but almost always in my "go to" clear cellophane bags. So, if you are a Michele with one "l" or even a Michiko, your day has come. Next year I may even order you barrettes.

Teacher Appreciation Scrapbook

We're going to play a little game called "Let's Pretend"
Ready?

Let's pretend I didn't find 17 otter pop wrappers strewn about the yard yesterday.
Let's pretend my kids have been memorizing math facts everyday since school got out.
Let's pretend the baby didn't have a "blowout" while in the Johnny Jump Up. Sorry, TMI
While were on the topic, let's pretend I've lost the baby weight.
And, let's pretend it's still May and I have the teacher scrapbook done and posted.

Well, it was fun while it lasted, now back to a reality where I have to use my cute sundowner gown as a cellulite hider under (and get a new Johnny Jump Up).

Every year I make these little scrapbooks for my kids' elementary school teachers and I promise they are so easy you could even procrastinate it until the day before school is out. (That may have been another confession, sorry)

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For the right side page I print lines for writing onto white cardstock and then cut down to 8X8. Some brands are actually 8.5 X 8.5 which is why there is a border on this one. Not so great planning on my part. Anyway, leftover paper from the bottom (approx 3.5 inches wide) I cut to 6 inches long. I bring these to class where I have arranged for the teacher to take a break and leave me to my secret project. It helps if you have another mom to assist. I have the kids write a letter to the teacher and on the small paper, draw a picture of themselves. During that process, I take them out one by one to take their picture. For kindergarden I interview the kids and write up their responses but by first grade they can usually write something coherent.

For the left hand side, a 4X6 picture and the little picture they drew fit perfectly above a strip of bright patterned paper. I have also used apple paper, school colors, or paper to represent a hobby of the teachers.

Teacher scrapbook_edited-1

For the first and last pages I add things like a picture of them teaching, of the class, of them with my child, field trip etc. Everytime I help in my kids' classrooms I go home and think those teachers don't get paid enough. They sure deserve more than a scrapbook. Let's pretend I gave them a trip to Hawaii instead.

I'm linking to Blue Cricket Design :)
Keeping It Simple

If You're a Chocolate Mint Kind of Person...

There are people who really dig the chocolate-mint combination in a dessert.
I can dig it on occasion, but it isn't the love of my life. (Berry and Lemon desserts are).

But people like my husband and Kathryn (sorry I'm outing you) have fallen madly in love with chocolate mint.
On their list of quick fixes are: mint oreos, thin mint girl scout cookies, Andes mints, mint-chip ice cream, etc.

This post is dedicated to you people...
done

I made these mint-chip ice cream sandwiches for Father's Day and I got full approval from the mint fans.
I started with my good old cake mix cookies, that I've posted before.
1 box of Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix, 1/2 cup of oil, and 2 eggs.
I also added some mini semi-sweet chips.
mini chips

Bake at 350 for about 7-8 minutes.
If you don't over-bake them, then they will be so soft and fabulous.
cookies

For the mint ice cream, I mixed these in my kitchen-aid mixer:
1/2 gallon of my favorite vanilla ice cream
1/2 a container of cool whip (4 oz) This adds a little fluffiness.
1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract
5 drops of liquid green food coloring
This will be soft. Cover it with plastic wrap, and let it set back up in the freezer for several hours.
Overnight would be best. Then you will have plain mint ice cream.
ice cream

Yes, you could skip that part and just buy mint chip, but I like to make things complicated.
Plus I like the way it looks. We've established that I can be picky, right?
Now combine your chocolate and mint.
IMG_8120

You could stop here, and it would be good.
The best part is the softness of the cookies.
I makes it so you can bite it without all of the ice cream squishing out. That's the worst.
plain sandwich

I had extra chips, so I gave them a little roll. It adds a little crunch to the experience.
roll

So there you have it. Chocolate-mint heaven.
parchment

Even a fruit dessert fan can appreciate this goodness. :)

Father's Day.

Father's Day was great.
It involved some steak, a chocolate mint dessert, and a shake weight.
Yes, he asked for a "shake weight."
So I reluctantly bought something with the "as seen on TV" label.
I'll let you know how that goes.

The kids did a little bit of chocolate making for their dad and grandpas.
chocolate ties

One child was inspired to do stripes, one polka dots, and my 3 year old could hardly handle
filling a solid tie without licking the spoon 5 times. That one went to his dad.
choc ties 2

The girls have this chocolate making thing down. Do one color, freeze, then the other layers...
choc ties 3

My oldest even knew it needed to be wrapped up after it got to room temp because it
would sweat if wrapped straight out of the freezer. Man, she's good.

choc ties 4

And just because I have to be cheesy sometimes, this was on the front door.

award

I put this old party decoration to good use.
mr. incredible pinwheel
Last year I bought the "world's greatest Dad" t-shirt from Old Navy
and then I found it in the "donate" pile within the year.
I'm thinking he might not like cheesy, but the kids like to shout it from the roof tops that he is
the best dad in the world. He humors us.


Anyway, I'm sure you'd like to get down to business. {ahem}
The giveaway...
Kass and I bought a few of our favorite things to share with one of you.

giveaway
And the is... Comment #5!
Congrats Chris, I will contact you for your address!

Thanks to all who joined in the fun.
I love to click on the follower pictures or comment pictures and go visit your blogs.
It is a fun way of getting to know you and I love to learn from your projects too!

Ballet Cookies


I'm a little obsessed with sugar cookies.

I just keep thinking of reasons to make them.
My girls' ballet recital seemed like a good enough reason to me.
recital

My girls gave these to their ballet friends.
Quite fitting for a little ballerina, I think.
ballet shoes cookie


These were for their ballet teachers.
This is their ballet studio's logo. A silhouette of the founder's daughter in an arabesque.
The teacher's definitely got the meaning and loved them.
Probably not as much as I loved making them though.
juline's logo

Don't be too impressed with my art skills. I don't have any.
I must admit that I am a total cheater! I use the kopycake projector.
I love it! I have so many projects in mind that involve tracing!
I just saw a really in depth review of this product over at sweetopia,
in case you were wondering what it is!

There is still time to enter the giveaway if ya wanna :)

Shelves from Scratch

I've had this blank wall in my dining room that pains me.

I had a hopes of turning it into a focal wall with some built in furniture.
There were some structural things that were going to make it a really huge deal,
so I eased up on that dream.

Then I found a solution to my problem on one of my favorite blogs, Knock-Off Wood.
Ana is a building expert and has actually inspired me to learn how to use the power tools.
In the past, I was inspired to make my honey-do list longer. I have quite the handy husband.
But now I'm done with waiting. Ana gives all the info I need to feel confident enough to go to home depot myself.

When I found her plans for these floating shelves, I knew they would be perfect in the dining room.

Sure, you can buy them, but the longest I found were 6 feet long and I wanted them longer, to fill up the wall better.
They ended up being just shy of 8 feet long.
We made them together and I learned how to use the mitre saw and the nail gun in the process.
I appreciated my husband's patience with me. It was fun to do together.
I'm happy with the decorating possibilities this brings.

shelves

We also went a step further and used caulk to fill the small gap against the wall.
They look a little more "custom" that way.
close up

I love them because they are 8 inches deep and give me enough room to put some bulkier items on them.
lantern

I'm trying to learn how to decorate. I started, and fell into my drab decorating personality.
I love color, but I never know how to use it. I always fall back into the black, white and beige thing.
Someone save me from my boring self!
decorated

I decided I wanted this to be a place where I can decorate with some seasonal things.
Adding a little red, white and blue really perked up the place.
4th decor

I still have to paint the fabulous unfinished chairs you see in the corner.
I'm contemplating color, but I need someone to hold my hand and tell me it will be okay.
I'll let you know how that goes.

This is a step in the right direction to making my house a home.
I'm just so glad I found Knock-Off Wood. Thanks Ana!
My list of future building projects is a mile long!
Now I will be visiting my favorite decorating sites for some color tutorials
(tell me if you have a favorite I should know about).

p.s. Don't forget to enter the giveaway below!


I'm linking this project up to:

Wooohoooo.....It's a Giveaway!

Here's the fab news....
We have hit 100 followers!
We are having our first little giveaway!

We are having so much fun sharing past and current projects with you!
To celebrate 100 of you joining in the fun, we wanted to have a little giveaway!

giveaway

We wanted to give you a few things that represent some of our projects!
A little of this, a little of that. This grouping is a little bit random, but so is our blog. :)
We know you all dabble in this stuff too,
so this could be the start to some fabulous summer projects for you!

There is some stuff for scrapbooking and painting projects:
scrapbook stuff

There is some stuff for making chocolate suckers, chocolate fruit cups, sugar cookies and cupcakes.
cake stuff

Enter to win this fabulousness:
*Leave a comment telling us you are a follower.
If you aren't, then join in the fun on the sidebar! Don't be shy.
*If there isn't a link back to you through your profile,
make sure you leave us an email address.
*All comments will be entered. One per person, por favor.
*Giveaway ends in a week (June 20th).

This is so fun.
We feel like Oprah...giving away a few of our "favorite things."

Thanks for enjoying "bee in our bonnet" with us!
-Kathryn and Ashleigh

Tea Party Birthday

All little girls love a tea party so for a 4th birthday party a few years ago, I made little girl dreams come true and hosted a mommy and me tea party. I broke out (not broke) my real china for the moms to use and scoured garage sales for little teacups for the girls.

The high points of the party:

Making fancy hats by gluing flowers, feathers and beads on to big straw hats

DSC_0573

Making the fancy sister's be our servants

DSC_0574

Making tons of cute food like individual cakes

DSC_0585

Peanut butter and jelly sushi and turkey sandwich sushi

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The low point of the party:

When I decided to wear this Jessica McClintock number that I can't ever imagine being cute even in the 80's and completely ridiculous now. I look like a linebacker that threw up all that lace.

DSC_0577

Just Because it was Cheap!

Have you ever bought something, just because it was cheap?!?
Something you have no need for, whatsoever?

I am guilty as charged.... with this purchase:
ikea candle holder

This oversized tea-light holder was originally $9.99 at IKEA. It was on clearance for $0.99.
I threw it in the cart thinking I could find something to do with this beautiful piece of wood.
I got to the check out without buying the actual candles that fit in it. Oops.
This isn't too typical of me. I don't like collecting stuff that doesn't have a purpose.
I had a weak moment. I knew that if anything, I could paint the back of this chunky piece of wood.
So I had to put this to use before I started to feel like a hoarder.

I made a little 4th of July-ish decor.
I needed a little stars and stripes in my life.
I painted the back white, then taped it, painted it white again (seals the tape edges for no bleeding), then painted it red.
painting

Then I hot glued my little metal star on.
wood flag

I feel so much better about my weak moment. 99 cents never looked so patriotic! :)

p.s. I love bakerella more than ever! Did you see her most recent "pop?"
They are the cutest bees ever. I might have to make these and call them the mascot
of "bee in our bonnet." I was also so excited that the bakerella made me a "pop star!" :)

I'm linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick and Blue Cricket Design. Check it out!

Teacher Gifts

I'm a bit of a one-trick pony.
When I find a dish at a restaurant I like, I order it everytime.
When I find a hair color I like, I stick to it.
You may call it boring, but it frees my brain up for other things (like forgetting the minimum day today, but that's another story)

So, when I found these fabulously dotty bowl in the dollar spot at Target, my problem of finding gifts for a bazillion people this month was solved.

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So now the:
6 middle school teachers
6 high school teachers
2 seminary teachers
2 preschool teachers
4 dance teachers
1 piano teacher
4 school secretaries
are getting a dotty bowl filled with candy, a sweet note and in some, a gift card.

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I've got something else up my sleeve for my elementary teachers and three cheers for year round school because I've got another two weeks to finish those up.

I just checked 25 things off of my "to do" list. Yeah!

Next on the "to do" list: convince my kids that carrying 6 porcelain bowls around school isn't completely embarassing.

Mom's French Bread

If you knew my mom, I'm positive you've had her french bread.

She freely gave away the recipe and baked loaves of this goodness.
french bread 1

It was a family classic growing up, and I've kept the tradition alive in my own little family.
I thought for sure I needed to share it with all my "blog friends." (This might be one of the best treasures I share).
The best part is that it really is EASY. Only one rise, one bowl, one pan and just a few ingredients. Yeah!!!!

I do this in my kitchen aid mixer, so I proof the yeast right in that bowl.
Use 1/4 c warm water (105-110 degree water will work the very best).
(If I'm being picky, use filtered water and warm it in the microwave.
Tap water can have different stuff that can kill the yeast a little).
Dissolve 1 Tbsp sugar in the water.
Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. yeast on top of the water.
proof yeast

Let it sit for about 5 minutes until it is foamy, or "proofed."
Then you add:
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. oil
1/3 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup if I want it to be a really sweet french bread).

Mix a little with your dough hook, then start adding in....
3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour
(Start with 3 1/2 and add more if it isn't stiff enough.
Dough should form into a ball after mixing with the dough hook
for a couple minutes, but it should be very sticky to the touch).

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface.
flour surface

With floured hands roll it into a long loaf.
You are not incorporating/kneading in more flour, just forming a loaf.
rolled out

Now dust off excess flour and transfer it onto a sheet pan.
I prefer using sil pat sheets, but if you don't have them then grease the pan first.
I {heart} sil pats, but that's another post.
on the pan

Then you should make 1/4 inch deep cuts in your bread, to allow it to rise more easily.
But sometimes I forget. This time I did.
Now cover it with a clean dish towel (so it won't get crusty) and walk away.
towel

Let it rise for 2-3 hours. 80 degrees is ideal, but I just put it under a warm window.
rise 1

Bake it in a 400 degree oven for 17-20 minutes.
It should be nice and brown, or it won't be cooked all the way through.
cooked

Right after you take it out of the oven, rub butter on the crust to make it soft and yummy.
It will quickly soak in.

I love it because I can do this before my kids get home,
then let it rise during the afternoon rush and it is all ready to be baked at dinner time.

Sometimes if lessons go a little long, it gets a little over-risen... and its still good, just a little extra airy.
rise 2

This makes a big loaf and I've halved it into two skinny loaves before too. Just reduce the bake time.
It looks fancy when you braid it too. My mom usually did.
I even remember that she once shaped a loaf into a dinosaur for my little brother.
But that's my mom, she's cool like that.
You can also top it with poppy seeds, or any seasonings and make it hearty!
Some top it with nutella. Some with italian dressing.
Make it your own, and make it for your family.

This is a little piece of Kathryn, me and my Mom. Enjoy!
french bread 2
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