Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Queen Bee - July 29, 2015

For this post, I am sharing one of my favorite things.

I like jigsaw puzzles.

It's has sort of become a holiday tradition (Thanksgiving through New Years) to work on 2 or 3 puzzles.

Apparently I have blogged about my  "puzzling addiction" once before...way back in some of what I planned to post about, like my cool puzzle board with storage drawers, I've already written about there.  You can check it all out on that post :)

So today I will show you the puzzles I completed last Christmas time.   

However, I will probably break from tradition and work on a puzzle or two this summer, as my friend Jeannette passed on these 5 fun looking puzzles to me recently! 

I think I may start with the Tooniverse one first...and get Bridgette to help me a little, at least on the drum playing octopus at the top, because she is only slightly obsessed with octopi!

ps: my next Queen Bee post is scheduled for August 26, 2015.

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Buzz About My Leapling - July 27, 2015

If you've read my blog in the past at all (or you know us personally)...then you know that Bridgette is into musical theatre…or really any thing theatre related!  She's acted, sung, danced, teched {run crew, spots, been on head set, set construction}, and volunteered front of house, as well as in several other areas at our local community theater...including 4 summer camp shows, 6 Theatre For Youth shows, 4 Main Stage shows, 2  Page to Stage shows, 6 Out of the Box {a theatre program for people with "unique abilities"} shows, and 2 homeschool theatre classes.

 And I've mostly just been a dedicated theatre mom. 

Until recently.  

The day I followed Bridgette into what would be her biggest role to date!

I remember the day well.  It was a Thursday.  April 23, be exact.  It was an Out of the Box night.  My friend Jeannette & I usually walked around the lake by the theatre while our daughters volunteered as "TK's" {typical kids} with Out of the Box. As we returned to the theatre to cool off,  Laura, one of the OOB leaders & Maureen the theatre's education director wanted to talk to Bridgette and I about something.  They wanted us to co-stage manage the Spring/Summer Theatre For Youth show. 

Now let me tell you the back story of how this came about.  First off, Bridgette at 19 was too old to audition for this Disney show (not that she wanted to High School Musical wasn't exactly on her list of favorites).  She originally wasn't even sure she would want to tech the show, because, while HSM was cool, when she was like it was just annoying and lame.  But, for a brief moment, we had heard that they were looking for an assistant stage manager, and that was something that Bridgette had been interested in doing...even if she had to endure this particular show. 

And normally, Maureen & Laura would be the director/stage manager team for the spring/summer youth show, however Maureen was a new mom and Laura just needed a break.  So, someone else was going to direct the show, and Gage (whom Bridgette had acted with in AristoCats, a couple of years ago) was to be stage manager.  But, as it turns out, he was leaving in June for a trip to Spain and would be gone for almost a month, missing the show dates entirely...but he could be assistant stage manager for the month of May.  So they were in desperate need of a stage manager who could be there the whole time...and auditions were set for Monday & Tuesday the next week.  They thought that Bridgette probably could handle the job herself, but wanted to have me as an adult presence/contact for the parents of the cast.

Bridgette and I mulled it over for a couple days, but ultimately we decided to jump in feet first!  While, I'm sure that Bridgette may have had a better idea of what we were getting ourselves into, than I did...I really don't think either of us had a clue of just how much work it would be. 

Or at times how stressful. 

I DO NOT know how anyone with a real job could find time to be a stage manager.  I also don't know how just ONE person could do it alone.  I don't think most people (even theatre people) who have never been a stage manager, have any idea how much goes into putting on a show.  Or how many hours it takes.

So, I just did a quick & dirty estimate of how much time we spent, and while there is no way of saying exactly, because we spent a lot of time working on things outside of rehearsals...time that wasn't recorded on our rehearsal reports...but from auditions through strike {April 27 - June 21st} we spent approximately 500 volunteer hours working on this show.  We basically had a FULL-TIME job, 40 hours a week plus overtime, for 2 months!   And, that didn't include travel time to & from the theatre, or any of the wrap up, we did after the show was done.  Oh and did I mention that we didn't get paid for doing any of it?

Probably my two biggest pet peeves, were trying to have clear two-way communication with the director  & trying to keep track of all the cast's conflict dates {and there were a lot of conflicts for the 34 cast members, it wasn't until our first dress rehearsal that we had the ENTIRE cast together on stage...yes, we were missing at least ONE person, usually more at EVERY SINGLE REHEARSAL until tech week!}  Neither of these issues were even on my radar when I considered all the scenarios of things that might possibly go wrong.  I'm a organized person by nature...and I like knowing what the plan is ahead of time.  Last minute, flying by the seat of your pants, isn't my idea of a good time. 

Still, I can honestly say, now that we are a month post-show...that it was WORTH it!  Seeing the show all put together and performed with sets, costumes, props, sound and lights in front of an audience (despite some technical difficulties during a couple of the shows) was so gratifying!  I'm still amazed that we really did it and not only survived, but the show was actually good!  Really good!!  Sure, it was a bit lame...I mean seriously, this is about as far away from what high school is really like, as I am from the moon.  But, still it was a fun show, and every single time the audience got to their feet at the end and rocked out with the cast as they sang and danced their way through the bows! 

Would we do it again?  Everyone has told us that we did an excellent job...that we went above and beyond.  We even heard from the asst. technical director, that he got more communication from us, than any other stage manager since he started working there several years ago., yeah...I think if the opportunity came along again, and the timing was right, and there was a different director, sure! are some photos of our time as the "Dynamic Duo"...and of our cast & crew!

ps: the next The Buzz About My Leapling post is scheduled for August 24, 2015.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Looking Through Honey Bee's Lens - July 24, 2015

For some reason this was one of the more difficult topics to come up with something to post.  Essentially it should be the easiest, because my plan was to just post a photo (or a few), that either I have taken or were taken by my dad or grandmother.  And I have many to choose from that I've taken...but none of them are all that recent.  Which makes me sad, cause I really want to take more photos, I just haven't for some reason.  You can see a couple of my photos now, (besides the ones I have included in other blog posts) if you scroll down a bit on the right side bar...they are from the last two vacation trips we took.

Today however, I'm drawing my inspiration from SUMMER!  I'm choosing to post a few photos my dad had taken (all of which were taken in the early 70's) they were all taken in New Hampshire (my home state) and each one shows an element of summer.

The Mushrooms...often when everything is damp and humid, little mushrooms (or Toad Stools, as my mom liked to call them) will pop up.  I saw this photo first as I was looking for something to post, and with all the humidity and rain we've been having here in Central Florida, I thought this was perfect!  I love that they are bright sunny yellow!

The Starfish...New Hampshire is a pretty small state, and in all the years we lived in NH, there wasn't ever a time when we didn't live more than 45 min from the ocean.  So, as you can imagine we would frequently "take a ride to the beach"...we wouldn't often go to the beach in the traditional sense, where we'd lay out on a blanket, and play in the sand or jump in the waves.  Most of the time, the places we'd go were more rocky and so it was more along the lines of  "sight-seeing" trips.  This makes me think of the days of going to the "beach" when I was a baby/toddler and eating Surf Haven Pizza in Rye, NH, sitting in the car while watching the waves crash on the rocks.  Apparently Surf Haven had the best pizza EVER according to my dad.  I wouldn't really know, as all I ever got was the crust!  ( I don't think Surf Haven Pizza even exists anymore)

My Mom...I can't be sure which river this is (Swift River, perhaps?)...but I've always loved this photo of my mom...such a bathing beauty!  I love her fun, colorful 70's print suit and the floppy hat!  This photo is almost "Pin up" worthy!

ps: the next Looking Through Honey Bee's Lens is scheduled to post on August 21, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Busy Bee - July 22, 2015

Bridgette and I had a brilliant idea for a "business adventure".  For the most part it's still just an idea.  We wanted to do something together that was crafty, that we would perhaps be able to sell to someone crazy enough to buy our junk!   

At first we thought making handmade cards would be fun.  And this could still be a possibility, with a little more planning...maybe...but as both of us tried making a few cards, it seemed like the results were not up to par with what we had envisioned in our minds.  The amount of time put in vs. the quality of the product put out was a bit off balance, and not in the favor of the quality!

Here are a few of our card samples...the top left is the Valentine's Day card I made for Brian, top right is the Mother's Day card Bridgette made for me, and the bottom two are a couple of
Thank You cards I made (for nobody in particular).

Our next idea was dollhouse miniatures.  And this is more of a possibility, but like a lot of takes money...something that isn't exactly growing on the tree in our front yard.  I have found lots of ideas of how to recycle "stuff" into doll sized things,  but I don't want anything we make to look like it was made from egg cartons, or toilet paper rolls or plastic peanut butter covers.   Here is our first attempt at a dollhouse sized diorama.  If we could get good at this, it could be quite lucrative...have you seen what handmade dollhouse furniture and miniatures are selling for online?

Here is the little diorama Bridgette and I put together.
We purchased the little bookshelf and tiny chalkboard.
Everything else are things we scrounged up from around the house.
The walls are from scrapbook paper, the "carpet" is a piece of felt. 

The table pedestal is a little stack of checkers with a circle of cardboard for the top.
With giant dice for the stools. The bed is a piece of foam, with a scrap of terry cloth for the bedding.  The mirror was from an old jewery box, that Bridgette dressed up with paper and jewels.  We just stuck a couple of Furryville characters (which are no longer made) into the room.

Bridgette still has some other ideas floating around in that creative/artistic brain of hers, including painting BJD heads (faces?).  This could also be a lucrative venture...ball-jointed dolls are expensive...especially the custom hand painted ones.  The trick is to get some practice in and get good enough at it, so that people are willing to send you their doll heads to be painted.  She did a face repaint of an American Girl "Hopscotch Hill" doll a couple years ago, which you can see HERE &'s not too bad for a first try!  She has done a bit of research on the really it's just a matter of getting the right supplies to create some samples....and then of course find customers!   *** UPDATE*** I apologize for the broken links to Bridgette's doll blog...she decided that because she hadn't posted anything on it for a long time, she was going to delete it.  Ah well, that's the way things go sometimes.

ps: the next Busy Bee post is scheduled for August 19, 2015!

Monday, July 20, 2015

What's Buzzing in my Brain? - July 20, 2015

I recently heard some sad news.

About the end of Bubble Wrap as we know it...well kind of. 

Apparently the company who has made Bubble Wrap since 1960 is changing traditional Bubble Wrap, to a new popless save on space.  You can read about it here,  in this Huffington Post article.

All is not lost though, for seems that real bubble wrap will still be around...there may just be less of it available for our popping pleasure!  But if you're ever feeling deprived, you can always pop some virtual bubble wrap HERE!

PS: the next What's Buzzing in my Brain? is scheduled to post on August 17, 2015!

Friday, July 17, 2015

The Honey Pot - July 17, 2015

Teriyaki Steak Paninis

1 cup (+/-)thin sliced beef*
Your favorite teriyaki marinade
1 sweet onion sliced thin
4 slices marbled rye bread (or your sandwich bread of your choice)
Shredded cheese (colby-jack)
Olive oil
Extra teriyaki
2 tbsp butter (plus some for spreading on the outside of the bread before grilling)

*we usually buy a bulk package of beef strips (the kind used for carne asada), marinate it with the teriyaki and separate into single portions (usually enough for 2 sandwiches, sometimes with a little left over) and freeze in zip bags.*

In a saute pan, cook onions on medium-hi (8 or 9 on our stove)  in about 2 tbsp of butter, until translucent and golden. Transfer onions to a bowl and set aside.  In same pan, brown the marinated beef. Once the beef is cooked, add onion back in and mix together until heated through.  

Now it's time to assemble your sandwiches.

If you are using an actual panini pan, now is a good time to start heating it up.  We put it on medium (5). 

Bridgette and I start our sandwiches a little differently.  She likes to put extra teriyaki on the inside of her bread.  I like olive oil.  Feel free to either, both or something else you like. 

After "dressing" your bread, place some shredded cheese on one slice, then top with the beef/onion mixture,  and then more cheese.  Place the other slice of bread on top.   Spread butter on the top slice of bread (you'll be buttering the other side just before flipping).  It's at this point that we test the temperature of our panini pan, by sprinkling a couple droplets of water onto it.  If the water "dances" then it's ready. (usually the time it takes to assemble your sandwiches is just right).

Place each sandwich onto the panini pan butter-side down, and place the pan-press on top of the sandwiches.  If you are just using a regular pan or a griddle, just do what you would do if you were making a grilled cheese sandwich.   After about 3-4 minutes, check to see if the underside is browned to your liking, and if so, butter the other slices of bread and flip those babies over and repeat on the other side. (don't forget to put the press back on top of the sandwiches)   {and pressing down on the press while each side is cooking helps everything inside to meld all together nicely! :D}

Once the sandwiches are browned on both sides to your satisfaction, remove them to plates and cut in half before serving. 

And there you have it…2 perfectly delicious Teriyaki Steak Paninis!  Enjoy!

PS: watch for the next edition of The Honey Pot, scheduled to post August 14, 2015!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Honey Bee's Hive - July 15, 2015

The week before last our family had a "staycation"...which consisted mostly of doing a whole lot of nothing (nothing being watching movies and playing games)  But we did take a day trip to Fanning Springs State Park (about an hour west of Gainesville, FL) for a picnic and to go swimming in the springs. 

It was the perfect day to there were thunderstorms in the area during the morning, which kept a lot of people away, so it wasn't crowded at all...but nice and sunny while we were there.

There are lots of springs in Florida...this is the second one we've been to...but the first time swimming.  The first time was several years ago, when Brian and I took a little overnight anniversary trip and visited Rainbow Springs State Park just outside of Ocala.  While I liked that park, because of it's picturesque trails, with pretty plants and even some waterfalls...the reason we didn't swim there (besides the fact that there was a festival going on and it was really crowded) was because there really wasn't a "shallow" area...the only place to get into the springs were steps leading into a about a 6 foot deep part of the water.

Fanning Springs however, had a ramp that went down into a shallow section that gradually got deeper as you went further into the water.  Which was really nice, considering the water temperature (year round) was about 72 degrees, so it did take some time to get used to it!  There was a "boardwalk" of sorts in the shape of an "L" on two sides of the swimming well as a "pier" that people could used to jump off into the deepest part (over the vent), but it was closed for repairs.  The water was so clear (despite some bits of algae floating about), it was like being in a pool.  We brought pool noodles with us to float around on.  It was very relaxing and just a nice day to spend together.  We actually spent about 3 hours just being in the water...people watching and chatting the afternoon away!

I didn't take any photos while we were swimming...but did take a few after we changed out of our suits before we headed back home.

PS: watch for the next Honey Bee's Hive scheduled to post on August 12, 2015