Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Sewing Bee's Birthday

The Sewing Bee recently celebrated a significant birthday.  She wanted to celebrate at the beach, so the Sweet Bees and the Wood Bees packed up our cars and headed out to.....

We found a delightful loft up the narrowest stairs I've ever seen for Sewing Bee, Baby Bee, Reader Bee, and Cutter Bee to share....

A sweet little room for Wood Bee and Counting Bee....
Another one for Worker Bee and Sweet Bee....
The teeniest, tiniest kitchen ever, but perfect for our little weekend....
A cozy dining room (with espresso maker!)....
And a breathtaking view.....
We all agreed that it was the perfect little house for all of us and it was a wonderful weekend with all of the bees buzzing together.  Happy Birthday Sewing Bee!

Now, where would you want to go for a birthday getaway?  Who would you want to take with you?

Please come back soon to hear all about Baby Bee's 9th Birthday Bash!
I surely love your visits.  

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mod Podge Factory Up and Running

Just checking in to let those of you who were worried I might not get everything on my list done for Baby Bee's Birthday Bash....that still might be a possibility.  Good thing no one will know what I planned, right?  Let's just keep that list from our last visit between you and me. 
Well, my biggest project is nearly finished.  They are all resting and getting prepared for tomorrow's sanding.  Yes the frames and the clothespins (yep, I added that little project) are all painted and decoupaged.  
Tomorrow will be a buzzy day and night!

Thanks for stopping by.  I'll keep you posted on how the party turns out!  Don't worry - lots of pics coming!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

So Here's the Plan....

And here's the question....

Will I get it all done before the Cupcake party?

Here are the activities the girls will do:

1.  Decorate a placemat for the party.
2.  Make bracelets with these cute cupcake beads I found at Oriental Trading.
3.  Decorate these cute cupcake shaped chipboards.
4.  Decorate frames. (We'll print out a picture at the party for the frame.)
5.  Decorate real cupcakes.
6.  Play "Pass the Present." (Like "Hot Potato" but you pass a gift-wrapped prize instead. Every girl will "win" a round.)
7.  Play "Sprinkle Relay Race." The girls will have to balance giant cupcake sprinkles (jelly beans) on a wooden spoon and race to fill a container with them.  
8.  Play "Guess and Win" game with a container full of candy.
9.  Play "Pin the Cherry on the Cupcake." (This one is still up for approval by Baby Bee.)
10.  Eat giant cupcake with ice cream.
11.  Free play!
Here's what I (and some borrowed busy bees and my sweet Worker Bee) have to do to get this accomplished:

1.  Paint and decoupage wooden frames.
2.  Use Cricut to cut out little shapes and signs for the frames.
3.  Assemble cupcake boxes.
4.  Make cupcakes for decorating.
5.  Make icing for decorating.
6.  Prepare decorating station.
7.  Make giant cupcake and frost.
8.  Go grocery shopping.
9.  Make kool-aid bottles. (I'll explain what I mean by that in later post.)
10.  Make and assemble party signs from Dimple Prints.
11.  Prepare bracelet making station.
12.  Figure out how to decorate the cute cupcake chipboard shapes. Any ideas out there?  Please let me know.
13.  Prepare game materials. (jar, candy, "giant" sprinkles, wrap prizes, giant posterboard cupcake and cherries, hope that's all....)
14.  Decorate for the party.
15.  I'm sure this list will's just all I can think of right now!
I might steal that bath salt ball back after getting ready for this party!

Okay, rally round everybody because this can be done!  It will take a lot of discipline (which means not visiting as many of my blog friends as I would like) and a lack of sleep, but it will be worth it for my Baby Bee.  The things you do when you only have one.  Yes, she's a little spoiled, but not in that materialistic way.  She's just spoiled with love and attention.  I can't help it!  She's just so doggone sweet!

Well check back in to see the progress.  Keep your fingers crossed for no rain on Saturday.  Don't worry, contingency plans are in place, but I'd love to let them be able to play outside.

Thanks for stopping by!  Your visits and encouragement are always such a delight.  I read and treasure every comment!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Busy as a Cupcake Here!

Baby Bee's 9th Birthday Bash will be here next Saturday!  We are very busy coming up with cupcake themed games, crafts, and activities.  
We're borrowing cupcake stands, giant cupcake pans and frosting devices.
It will be a dentist's nightmare!  

I'll keep you posted.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My First Cloche Party

Spring is coming.....
You can come out now little birdie.....
Thanks for stopping by.  
If you have a chance be sure to go to Marty's cloche party at A Stroll Thru Life.

And if you love the little painting, it's by Amy at Amy Jo Studios.  She still has one of her nest paintings for sale.

edited to add:  the stand is from Southern Living at Home - I think it's still available

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Want to Go On a Retro Picnic?

I just had to share with you this week my vintage school learning aid of children on a picnic.  Wondering how I managed to get a hold of this cutie?  When someone retires at my school all their treasures stored up over the years go into our staff room, free for the taking.  When one of our kindergarten teachers retired a few years ago, she put this vocabulary picture card out and I swooped in and grabbed it!  (Don't worry, I didn't have to fight anyone off with a No. 2 pencil.)
I had already started collecting vintage picnic tins (see this post for some of this collection) and this just charmed me because of the little plaid thermos bottles.  I love that trash can too.  I had it framed and matted in the Skotch Plaid colors of black, red and yellow.
Want some cookies? Aren't the colors yummy?
It now lives in our "library" over our wing chair and near those vintage picnic tins.
Hope you enjoyed this little jaunt down memory lane.
Please be sure to stop by Suzanne's at Colorado Lady for vintage delights.

As always, I'm so glad you stopped by for a little visit.

Oh and for those of you with a sharp eye, my pillow on the wing chair is from Amy at Into Vintage.  She has the most amazing eye for putting together fabrics and her workmanship is superb!  Please stop by and see what she's up to if you can.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Cozy Wintry Rednesday

Now, don't hate me because I'm from California.  
(Believe me, it ain't what it's cracked up to be.) 

As a consequence of living in California our winter is almost over.  (I know, I'm sorry....) Yes, we'll still get rain, but we won't get too much more of that bone chilling fog.  So I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite red wintry accessories before they go away for hibernation. (Baby Bee was my willing model.)
Walking down the kitchen runway is Baby Bee modeling the warmest and plaidest (I know it's not a real word but just go there with me) hat this side of Milwaukee.
Keeping her neck warm is a cozy red muffler knitted in a thick cable weave.
And sporting the latest in reuse style - a tote repurposed from an old picnic bag.
You go Baby Bee!

Thanks again Sue for hosting the reddest party in Blogland.  Please check out the other reds at It's a Very Cherry World at the latest Rednesday party!

I hope you enjoyed our reds for the week.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Have you tried the Family Circle Macaroni and Cheese recipe?

This recipe was on the cover of Family Circle this fall.  They claimed this was the best Mac and Cheese recipe ever.

Oh really?

I've made my fair share of Mac'n'Cheese and those were all pretty good recipes.  So I took Family Circle on! WAS the best Mac'n'Cheese I've ever made!  Yummmmm! 

Here's what you need -

1 box (1 pound) penne rigate
3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Asiago or Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 Tbl. unsalted butter
3 Tbl. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 tsp. cayenne pepper

Now, this could get pretty pricey if you go to the regular grocery store. Sorry all of you who are not near a Trader Joe's, but boy do they have phenomenal cheese prices.  Gruyere was $9.50 a pound at my local store.  It was $5.00 a pound at Trader Joe's.  I'll let you do the math.

This is what happens when you ask Worker Bee to shred the cheese for you.  Do you see the heart in this pile of shredded cheese?  He has his own quirky romantic notions - but I like it.

Here's what you need to do -

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 2 quart dish with cooking spray.  Bring large pot of water to boiling.

2.  Add penne to the pot of boiling water and cook 6 minutes and then drain.  In large bowl toss together the three cheeses and set aside.

3.  Meanwhile, melt butter in 2 quart saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk the flour in until smooth and bubbly.  In a thin stream, whisk in the milk.  Stir in onion powder, salt, and cayenne.  Bring to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture.

4.  In the pasta pot, stir together the cooled penne and the cheese sauce.  Pour half into the prepared baking dish.  Sprinkle with a heaping cup of the cheese mixture.  Spoon the remaining penne into the dish and top with the remaining cheese.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Increase the oven temperature to broil and cook 3 minutes until the top is lightly browned.  Let the dish cool slightly before serving.
This was so delicious that I forgot to take pictures until after we already ate 1/3 of it.  This is the third time I've made this recipe and it's been great every time.  And you have to understand - I'm always trying new recipes - so for me to make something three times must mean it is REALLY good.  

Hope you try this recipe.  Let me know how it turned out for you.

Thanks for stopping by!  I've got some leftovers in the freezer.....

Have I mentioned lately that I love coffee?

You might have noticed that I sort of like coffee.

Yes, my name is Sweet Bee and I am a latte lover.
It all started way back in 1996 when I first started teaching.  I had a 45 minute commute -one way- to the middle school I was teaching at.  This was not freeway driving, it was all country driving.  So I found a great little coffee place in the town I lived in and I would call the owner, order my drink, and then he would bring it out to me.  This was costing about $80 a month.  Ridiculous, right?  But I just couldn't give them up.  So I bought my first espresso maker.  It was a Krups that cost about $50.  The problem with that one was that it scared me a little bit so Worker Bee always had to make my drinks because I feared it would explode on me.  Why I wasn't worried about it exploding on him I don't know.  Well it died, so I progressed to a $100 Krups machine.  I wasn't afraid of this one but it only lasted a couple years.
So I finally broke down and bought a Starbucks Barista machine.  Yes it was expensive, but it came in blue!  (Still my favorite color.)  I bought it in 2002 and it is still running great.  I make one every day, sometimes two a day.  Think of all the money I've saved by making my own?  Right?  Right?  Are you with me people? 

So where does the magic happen?
Our kitchen is "L" shaped and we have this island along the wall because there isn't room for it to really be an island.  The cabinet fits the microwave just perfectly.  It took a very long time to find the perfect island but did I hit the jackpot when I did.  Don't you just love when that happens?  It was at one of those cheap oak furniture stores and there were only two of them.  I was ecstatic when I found it and it came home with me immediately.  All these used to be in an armoire that held the microwave, tv, mixers, etc.  The armoire now lives in the guest room/studio.

I have some plans for a cabinet above this island, but I need to do some rebuilding on it before it can be hung.  It's all part of the plan for updating the kitchen on a budget.

So, what kind of latte would you like?  Hazelnut?  Mocha?  White chocolate?  Peanut butter?  Yes I have peanut butter syrup.  No, I'm not sure why.

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope your holiday was great!  Ours was filled with family, love, and chocolate (with coffee ice cream, of course).

edited to add:  This post was inspired by Brenda's post about her coffee bar over at Cozy Little House. Thank you Brenda!