Monkey Business

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread throughout the house.  When that bread is banana bread, that’s even better.

These mini banana bread loaves are not only delicious but with a special finishing touch, this particular bread can also help raise a lot of “dough”.

Blog monkey loaf6

It’s that time of year again when students, parents and volunteers scramble to bake, create and make all kinds of goods to be sold for worthy scholastic causes.  Yes, it’s time for THE ANNUAL SCHOOL FUNDRAISER. 

I enjoy working on fund-raising efforts because it typically turns out to be a nice creative outlet for me.  I’ve taken on my share of school projects in the past too, a few of which you can see here and here.

This year I supervised the Oglesby home-based banana bread production line.  I also had the good fortune to snag a dedicated, hard working, all-volunteer staff.

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There are a ton of delicious recipes for banana bread.

I personally love banana bread with nuts, but with so many childhood nut allergies these days we played it safe and stuck with a favorite no-nuts recipe we found in this fun cookbook for kids.

Blog monkey bread cookbook

Cameron and Jordy are eager beavers when it comes to things like this.  I suspect any kid would love being let loose in the kitchen to get their hands dirty with flour and bananas.

Of course, I’m still working on getting these two to enjoy kitchen cleanup just as much.  Wish me luck on that one.

Blog monkey bread back

We wanted to wow potential buyers with our product,  so we decided to spice up the packaging by attaching handmade recipe cards to the bread baggies.

It never hurts to incorporate a little craftiness into the picture and this little monkey die cut is adorable and just right for this project.

Blog monkey bread die cut

A die is a metal plate that contains a raised image or lettering that is used in conjunction with a press tool like the one shown in the photo below.

The metal plate is topped with a square of colored cardstock and then the two pieces are fed through the special press.

Blog monkey bread revolution

As the metal plate and cardstock come through the other end of the press tool, the pressure cuts the image into the paper and a die cut of the image or letters is created.

Blog monkey bread peel3

Repeat this step several times.  It’s a good idea to target specific portions of the image with smaller pieces of colored cardstock to get the exact monkey part you need as you go.

This avoids cutting monkey parts in colors you don’t need which would waste a lot of cardstock.

Blog monkey bread pieces

Once all the monkey pieces have been cut, separate the various cardstock pieces into like-shapes.

Then, put your volunteer staff to work assembling everything.

Blog monkey bread kids

OK, I just had to throw in this photo of my little monkey-boy.  Jordy has the most adorable smile complete with irresistable dimples and a few missing teeth.

Meanwhile, I think you can tell that this mini-assembly line is the perfect project for little hands.

Blog monkey bread jordy_edited-1

Decorative craft chalk (found at most crafts stores) is an easy way to add some depth to the die cuts.

Plain die cuts typically look pretty flat so when you introduce a bit of chalk into the picture it really helps the image come alive.

After chalking the monkey shapes, adhere them to cut cardstock.

Blog monkey bread chalk

You can see how much nicer the cards look with the chalk-shading on the monkey parts and along the edges of the card.

Pull out the label maker to make the ID’s and a corner-rounder punch gives the cards nice curved edges.

Blog monkey bread cards2

By the way you don’t always have to glue down every part of the die cut image.

I decided not to adhere the monkey tail to the card and I think leaving it loose and free-flowing adds a cute dimension to the project.

Another tip: Make the recipe cards well in advance of the fund raising date so you won’t get jammed up making bread and cards at the same time the night before.  We made these cards several weeks before we actually needed them and it was nice to have them finished early and ready to attach to the bread.

Blog monkey bread tail

The addition of the banana bread recipe (or just the ingredients) on the back of the card helps bake sale browsers know exactly what’s inside the bread before they buy it.

That can be very useful information to many families, especially those with allergies in-house.

Print the information from your computer, cut it down to size, round the corners and use double sided tape or glue to adhere the recipe to the back of the card.

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Be sure to use the strong twist ties that come with the mini bake sale bags to seal the bag tightly so the bread stays fresh.  The mini bags with twist ties are available at most crafts stores that sell baking accessories.

A pretty ribbon is a nice way to finish off the packaging.  I love this green and white polka dot and the ribbon also conceals that boring twist tie.

Blog monkey bread ribbon9

Finally, add a strip of double-sided tape (not glue) on the bottom of the card to adhere the recipe card to the back end of the bread baggies.

If you tape the card so that the bottom of the card stock is level with the bottom of the bread, that will help the card stand up straight for display.

Blog monkey bread cards3 copy

Once the bake sale buyer has devoured the bread, they’ll have this cute little card to hang onto for future reference.  This banana bread would look great on any bake sale table from any direction.

I really think presentation is just as important as content.

Blog monkey bread recipe backs2 copy

We baked and packaged two-dozen loaves and I think an attractive offering like this is a great way to draw greater interest to any bake sale item.

Huge thanks and hugs go my little volunteers for pitching in every step of the way.

Blog monkey bread steps2

By the way, I suggest you bake a few extra banana bread loaves to serve at home.

When your young helpers have finished their monkey business, I think you can guess what they’re going to want to bite into.

  • Anonymous

    The kids really look like they enjoyed the entire project. A terrific way to get the whole family involved.

  • Anonymous

    Life is always constantly looking for opportunities to realize their own value! I read your blog see you realize the value of your own! But you also want to help more people realize the value they place!

  • Anonymous

    Life is always constantly looking for opportunities to realize their own value! I read your blog see you realize the value of your own! But you also want to help more people realize the value they place!

  • Bonnie Barrasso

    Custest idea yet….love to try it! bonnie

  • Emily R.

    Wow!Cute!I would have purchased at least two of the banana breads just because of the adorable packaging! Soooooo…cute!

  • Anonymous

    You really did a lot of hard work on this project. It’s quite inspiring to know that those kids had put a lot of effort for this project to become successful. Fantastic!

  • Kim Smith

    Oh my…How adorable! I can’t wait til school starts so I can do the same for my daughter’s class…Love it!

  • Meg

    What a great way to spice up bake sale products! I am going to file this away for future reference… We are having a craft/bake sale at our church this fall. Your idea had to make the banana bread irresistible to anyone who saw them. I know I would have bought one or two!

  • karen

    ….love ur blog….u r very creative. The monkey tags r adorable… r ur kids!! keep crafting!

  • Global city condo 

    These would be sell able.

  • maria

    Boy does that look delicious…your kids are so much fun to see how they enjoy doing stuff with you, that is so great.

  • Teresa

    I LOVE your attention to detail…when I saw that you used the die-cut and then you shaded the details by chalking…I was beside myself with joy…I thought “oh! she is so MY kind of gal!” I’m that crazy about details…it’s the details that make things so special…in my opinion!
    Your children are precious and I know this will be filed away in their “great memory” moments from their amazing childhood! Not only did they have fun by joining in and creating, but they gave their time to a very worthy cause…teaching philanthropy at an early age, is priceless! I do love Jordy’s dimples and his toothless smile…both of my children were blessed with dimples, so I’m a bit biased about them!

  • elenka

    Man, your kids are so lucky to have a mom like you!!

  • Cee

    WONDERFUL JOB! I commend you!
    My walk with Christ would have been challenged by simply die cutting everything. 😉

  • Deana

    What a fun and adorable project. The bread sounds so yummy and the packaging is so darn cute!!

  • Scrappincheryl

    With that awesome packaging, I bet you sold every last bit! Love how the kids got in on the action and you all had fun!

  • Penny

    Lisa, you always take it up a notch with the things you make! Thank-you for the continued inspiration and reminder to go the extra mile because it really does make a huge difference! Great post!

  • Sharon Dodd

    I love your blog. And the banana bread sounds so delicious… I’m getting hungry. ready to head over to your house with the coffee. Your kiddos are so adorable as well.

  • jek

    oh wow! everything about this is so happy and productive and inspiring! thank you for sharing! i am having die cut envy right now and if not for the chocolate chip bread pudding i just ate, i would so be craving some banana bread right now!

  • Sarah

    Super cute Lisa! I know I’d reach for them first if I saw them at my children’s school bake sale.
    Funny, but my net nanny software wouldn’t let me read your post because of the title. I guess Monkey Business is a little “racy” in its opinion. That gave me a laugh.

  • melissa @ the inspired room

    Could you be any more clever?!! Always inspiring. My son would love this and I think they would be a fabulous gift too. Thank you so much for the great ideas and photos too!

  • Daisy Cottage

    Hi Lisa!!!
    Oh yum! I so love these images and now am craving YOUR delicious bread… can I come over? I’ll bring the coffee! 😉
    I hope you are doing great and all is beautiful in your world.

  • Rosie

    You are so clever and talented! …the kids, TOO!

  • PamperingBeki

    Banana bread sounds wonderful right now and what adorable little monkeys you have! 🙂

  • Angie

    Holy cow! How adorable! The bread, tags, and your two little ones! Amazing- that is all I can say! You are amazing.

  • Jeanne

    Best. Mom. Ever.!!!!

  • Nanette

    Lisa you always amaze me with everything you do. It is always so well done. What a good mom you are to participate and teach your children. Impressive.

  • Thimbleanna

    You’re SO clever Lisa! Those little monkeys are adorable and it looks like a great project.
    And, although this wasn’t the intent of your post — thanks for showing pictures of your kitchen. I’ll soon be in the market for new countertops, but I have custom made brown cabinets that I won’t be replacing. In this day and age of painted cabinets, it’s so hard to decide on a countertop that will go with the brown. Your first picture is just perfect and very inspirational! 😉

  • Cassandra

    The bread and labels are very nice. I prefer banana bread without the nuts personally.
    Good job! I’m sure you’ll sell out quickly!

  • Sarah

    So cute…wish I was attending the fundraiser!

  • Janis

    You have enlightened me with your thoughtful inclusion of the recipe and ingredients — now why hadn’t I thought of that?! Your packaging is delightful, I’m sure those loaves were the hit of the bake sale. And your adorable children have a stake in it too, something to be proud of. You’ve thought of everything! 🙂

  • Babeth

    God the packaging and the cards look very much professional !! You did a great job 🙂

  • Mary

    Food for thought! TEE HEE! I think this is really a sweet and fun idea. I am always looking for things to sell at our church. We have a big sale in October…I will think about this.

  • Deb Wisker

    What a great idea! The size of the breads is perfect and love,love,love the recipe cards!!

  • Vicky

    Lisa, what a wonderful idea. How creative in dressing up the packaging. By the way, you have the cutest volunteers.

  • jen R Sanctuary arts at home

    Your kids are so cute! I’d buy the bread just for the tags! 🙂 Jen

  • Elena

    Fantastic Lisa! What a great way to make them look both professional and fun at the same time. I’m sure you sold out!

  • Angela

    Great idea, I bet your monkeys were the highlight at the school bakesale. Let me know when you figure out how to get the “help” to help with kitchen clean up. I could certainly use the tip. Cute pictures of the kids, Lisa.

  • Laurie

    Do you have the cutest “volunteers” in the world?!!! The bread looks fantastic, I know I would be snatching up several of those loaves! The monkey is adorable. Excellent job…

  • the pleasures of homemaking

    First your kids are adorable! Second what a charming presentation for the bread! I bet they went fast since they’re so cute!

  • Kerryanne English

    What a great project Lisa. Your kids look like they really enjoyed it too.
    Hugs ~ Kerryanne

  • Dawn

    The packaging is soooo cute!! I would buy your banana bread, for sure!!

  • Judith Norman

    Too cute! I have that same monkey die. Die cutting machines are fabulous! You can be so creative with them. Check out what we did on Cropped! with Sizzix diecuts (

  • Candace

    You have the cutest and most eager “volunteers”, Lisa! I love how they always have big smiles! Thank you for another great idea!

  • Staci

    Lisa, what an adorable presentation of the banana bread. I’m sure you had a hit on your hands!

  • Jillian

    My goodness – you certainly went above and beyond the call of duty! 🙂 Amazing work – looks great!! Your little volunteer helpers are extremely cute and I admire their dedication! This is certainly a project I can let my little monkeys loose on! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • sandy

    WOW great. I hope they knock on my door soon.

  • Amy @ parkcitygirl

    CUTE! It’s great to see your kids busy with you 🙂

  • gena

    Lisa, what a great presentation idea! And you’re so full of them. I hope you had a brilliant if not relaxing Mother’s Day and we’re heading into Summer now. Any big plans for you? We’re going to be in the Midwest mid to late June. If you’re in town, it could be fun to have a toast to blogging!
    xo. Gena

  • Jane

    These are awesome!! Your kids look so proud of their work. Too cute!

  • Tara

    Oh my goodness you always put so much thought and effort into your projects, those monkey’s are just adorable and the bread looks amazing as well! Thanks for sharing and hope the sale went well~

  • Theresa

    So adorable! The kids, and the monkey bread!

  • Diana

    that is adorable! How cute!

  • Traci

    those are too stinkin’ cute. i wish i lived by you, i would buy and “bunch” of them.

  • Jackie

    What a fantastic idea! The kids really look like they enjoyed the entire project. A terrific way to get the whole family involved. I certainly would have been purchasing several of your banana breads! I love it with nuts too, but I am sure these were yummy!

  • adrienne

    HOW CUTE! You always come up with the best ideas!!!

  • Stephanie

    Very eye catching. Why be boring when you can be cute and attractive! I’ll be they’re snapped up in seconds! Now I’d love to purchase a loaf to go with my morning tea. :o) I love visiting. You always have such creative ideas.