Monogram Soap Bottles with Design Mom | this heart of mine

The school year is winding down. Hip hip hooray!! This is our first ‘official’ year with Love Bug in kindergarten and I’m interested to see how we will feel in May and through to the last day, sometime in the first week in June. I think we both are looking forward to a break from our daily schedule. One thing is for certain. We have loved our teachers – Love Bug’s and the ones who lead the class Sweet J and I attend each week. Over on Design Mom, I shared the details for these simple monogrammed soap bottles, perfect for teachers (or anyone else) on your gift list.

Monogram Soap Bottles with Design Mom | this heart of mine

I have to admit – the colorful soap really made this project for me and Love Bug. We are color lovers and we just love looking at them. Come on over and get the full tutorial on Design Mom.

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Creamy Portabella Mushroom Macaroni & Cheese with Progresso Recipe Starters | this heart of mine

Compensation was provided by General Mills via Federated Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of General Mills. 

On top of providing guidance to shape my little ones into well-rounded, loving, compassionate, grace-filled, free thinking adults, loving them endlessly and setting the foundation on which all other life steps are built on, I also have to feed them. And truth be told, the feeding part really gets to me. It seems like I’m always prepping, making or cleaning up food stuff and it also seems like someone is always complaining about something. A conducive and inspiring environment, it is not. Thankfully my food preferences outweigh my frustrations so I soldier on.

For our menu, we do repeat a few favorite food items because 1.) they are quick and easy to make and 2.) the complaints are few. MJ and I are always on the look out for meals that hit these two low-standard yet important points. When I first had a look at the five recipe starters from Progresso, I was impressed by the number possibilities. Creamy Three Cheese, Creamy Portabella Mushroom, Creamy Roasted Garlic, Creamy Parmesan Basil and Fire-Roasted Tomato provide a quick and easy way to make tasty meals in minutes.

While reading about the Creamy Portabella Mushroom sauce, I was interested in the mention of béchamel. After some furious searching, I learned béchamel was a rich white sauce made with milk, seasoned with herbs and other flavors. I did further searches for uses of it in recipes and found a béchamel/macaroni & cheese dish. I went with it and it turned out great. Not only does it taste yummy but half of the work is cut out with this sauce! It’s a win all the way around!

Creamy Portabella Mushroom Macaroni & Cheese with Progresso Recipe Starters | this heart of mine

Creamy Mushroom Macaroni & Cheese

recipe adapted from Chow

12oz elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
2-9 oz packages of Creamy Portabella Mushroom Recipe Starter Sauce by Progresso
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Romano cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup panko

Toss the cooked noodles, the cream of mushroom recipe starter, cheddar cheese, Romano cheese and salt together and stir well.

Pour into a casserole dish and top with panko.

Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until the cheeses are melted. Brown the panko under the broiler for a few moments if need be.

Eat!

For more easy dinner ideas, visit http://progresso.com/Products/Recipe-Starters

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Cabbage Dyed Eggs with Design Mom | this heart of mine

I have been chomping at the bit to share these beauties. Of course, it hasn’t been too bad since I’ve been able to look upon them every single day. I am in awe that their hues are all-natural, all thanks to red cabbage, of all things. Yeah, RED cabbage makes blue dye. Still confounds me and I did it. Twice! My most favorite egg is the cracked teal one. I’m trying to put together a strong defense on why it is not weird to save a badly broken egg. Any suggestions?

Cabbage Dyed Eggs with Design Mom | this heart of mine

The full details and instructions for cabbage dye are over on Design Mom today. It’s so easy and simple. You have plenty of time to knock out a couple dozen before the weekend.

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Baby’s Breath Crown

April 14, 2014

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

There is a picture tucked into one of the albums of my youth. I am wearing a rose-colored, calico pinafore over a three-quarter sleeve white shirt (all handmade by my momma) with a baby’s breath crown on my head. Ribbon strips on the backside hang down my back. My blond hair is a bit fuzzy and, though I can’t remember for sure if any of my teeth were missing, I am of the age when it was possible. The crown definitely had that countrified 80s style flair. Haha!

I loved the crown; it was a dress-up favorite. It was just fancy enough for a little princess dancer to wear while twirling but not too special to keep for only special occasions. I thought Love Bug would thoroughly enjoy a baby’s breath crown. She loves all that is fancy.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

Baby’s breath always seems to play second fiddle in flower arrangements. Its small florets are often tucked in next to larger, bolder flowers. However, baby’s breath is wonderful on its own. I remember pushing Bug on a walk one day when she was still very little and one of the turns was right by a baby’s breath bush. I often stopped, breathed in its aroma and smiled. It smelled just like my little Bug’s sweet breath. I’ve adored it ever since.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

Supplies:

-baby’s breath
-wire*
-green floral tape
-pliers

*The wire type is up to you. The higher the gauge, the easier it is to manipulate. I used a steel wire, I think, 18 gauge. I can’t remember what it was exactly because the packaging is gone.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

First, form a halo to fit the head you’re crowning. I created hooks with the two ends, hooked them together and then pinched each hook with the pliers so they stayed closed.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

Cut the baby breath stems into small bunches. You can decide what size works for you. I used the size shown below to the right. Start with one bunch, lay it against the wire and wrap around it with the floral tape. Continue around the circle, tucking baby’s breath bunches in and wrapping it with the tape.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

I chose to cover a little more than half with the flowers and wrapped the rest of it with just the floral tape.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

That’s it! It goes pretty quick and then you have a simple (and beautiful) baby’s breath crown.

Baby's Breath Crown | this heart of mine

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Personally…

April 11, 2014

Personally...my highlights | this heart of mine

I’m not highlighting my hair blonde anymore. It’s at the point where the outgrowth can’t be mistaken as just the shadow of my part and it’s apparent I’m long overdue for a touch up. Personally, I’m tired of the upkeep. I was never one to refresh the color as often as advised but even then, it’s just another thing to manage.

In all honestly, it’s about vanity. Sure it’s expensive and, for the amount of hair I have, the process takes hours. However, in the end, it’s about looks. I find my natural color lacking. When I was young, my hair was blonde; in the very beginning, it was very, very blonde. It has continued to darken through the years and currently, it is an unremarkable medium brown. It looks extra dark next to my highlighted ends but it is undistinguished, garden-variety brown.

Personally...my highlights | this heart of mine

I am not an especially vain person. There are days when I have done school drop-off in pajama bottoms and bed head without a stitch of make-up. The look was often paired with my winter coat and snow boots so, as you can imagine, I looked amazing. I am not especially stylish; I don’t have a ‘look’. Most days, if my face is clean, my teeth are brushed, my hair is without strange humps and my clothes are mostly spot clean, I call it good. I would rather spend my time on activities other than my appearance.

The thing is I recognize myself more as a blonde. I grew out my highlights early in our marriage because it was cost prohibitive. When I started it up again, it was like ‘Hey, I know you!’ when I saw myself in the mirror. My brother has deep, dark brown hair, my sister has a more caramelly brown tone and I am/was the blonde. It almost feels like I’m hanging on to my youth with this light color. Yet, like an elderly woman pointed out to me a few days ago, I’m not that young anymore.

Personally...my highlights | this heart of mine

The truth is: I am not blonde and I’m just lazy enough not to keep making it that way. Feelings of beauty and identity need to have deeper roots than hair color (fantastically unintentional pun). I will probably always look for that fair-haired person in the mirror and in photos, it’s too ingrained at this point. But I can adjust my perspective. I can accept my hair as is, embrace my darker locks.

Hello, my name is Amy Christie and I am a recovering blonde brunette.

What are your thoughts on hair coloring? Love it? Hate it? Would love to know what you think.

Personally is a column of personal opinion on whatever random topic I choose.

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