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Happy

If you’ve been following my blog then I’m sure you’ve noticed the blog change. Yes, I’m still at my blog template changing ways. This one is fresh, crisp and I like the font better. I looked into having my own designed and stopped looking when I saw the 5k price tag. Yikes! Needless to say I’m not worrying about that today.

Do any of you have V-Day plans? Travis and I are planning a family V-Day since Amanda is away at college and we have yet to find a babysitter that’s close to us. I’m a little bummed that Travis and I won’t get to spend much alone time but maybe we can make up for it later. I’m looking forward to celebrating with the girls though.

I bought a doggie jacket for Daisy a couple of days ago and it happens to be pink and Valentine’s-ish. She’s my sweet, preppy doggie!

She knows she’s not supposed to be on the furniture.  This is her, “I’m so guilty” face. She was also wagging her tail…she does that hoping to distract me and keep herself out of trouble.

I snapped a couple of photos and made her get off the chair.

I love her face.

Tomorrow I’ll host Chloe’s Valentine’s Party at school. This year, as every year, they’re having a Valentine’s box contest. This is Chloe’s entry…

And another angle…

Believe it or not the only part I played in this whole thing was buying the wrapping paper. It was Trav’s idea and was completely carried out by Chloe. I’m proud of them both.

So today, instead of being mushy-romantic, will be a day that I’m thankful for my husband…

And our girls…

I especially love when they’re silly. They’re all measuring feet in this photo.

I wish you all a special day with your special someone or, as in our case, someones. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Pinterest Favorite Places and Spaces

I’m not a Pinterest addict. Really, I’m not. I found it in a post that Young House Love did months ago. Once I looked around Pinterest I was over the moon excited that someone had finally come up with a spot to put all the cool things I’d find online so I’d actually remember them. See, many, many moons ago I found my dream house plans. It was at Southern Living and I saved it in my favorites on my computer. The favorites file that I never look in because I forget about it. And since Travis is a computer guy and we’ve never bought a computer, he Frankensteins computers for me, I change computers fairly often and my favorite house plan was lost. Then I joined Pinterest and spent a couple of hours looking through house plans again. I found several that I really liked but none of them were the one I’d saved originally. The plans I saved seem to be fairly popular so I thought I’d share some of my favorite places and spaces with you today.

This is the one that’s the second most popular as far as being repinned but it’s my favorite. Although I wouldn’t paint it beige. I’d paint it blue or yellow or white.

Southern Living

Can’t you imagine throwing parties there? I love the upstairs balcony. I’ve seen houses with faux upstairs balconies and I hate those. I’ve hated them since I was a kid. Even when my parents would take me to Disney World and we’d walk down Main Street, I loved the feel of the street and the buildings looked like there were apartments above the shops but inside it was just a normal gift shop and I felt gypped. Yes, I’ve had an abnormal love of beautiful old homes since I was a child. It could be that I went to Disney so many times and I grew up in a one story rancher style home in Florida. My parents designed and had that house built and I have many happy memories there but there’s nothing more boring to a little girl with a big imagination than a one story rancher. I wanted secret passages and glass doorknobs and an attic bedroom that could be my own space to read and dream.

My next favorite space is an adorable potting shed.

Better Homes and Gardens

Even though I’m not an expert gardener and I’d hesitate to say I’m even a novice gardener since I have very little knowledge compared to all there is to know about gardening, I still love to grow things. I was telling Halle yesterday about how I grew up in Florida and we had grapefruit trees in the backyard. I hated grapefruit because it was bitter but the trees are very large and are great for climbing. Yesterday’s memory was how my Dad, at least for a time, would go out and climb one of the trees and pick a grapefruit to take with him to lunch. I guess I’m so far removed from the time that my maternal grandparents grew a lot of their own food that it seems wonderful to be able to go to your own backyard and pick fruit to eat that afternoon. To have my own potting shed would be fantastic. Some girls want high heels and fancy parties and I want my own place to dig in the dirt.  I also occasionally wear high heels but they really hurt my feet.

The next space is an old tool shed converted to a guest room.

Better Homes and Gardens

I love the walls and the beadboard ceiling. If my guests didn’t want to stay in a separate space from the house then Travis and I could stay there. It would almost be like a vacation.

Then there’s the best use of a staircase ever.

Better Homes and Gardens

I love the bookshelves and it almost gives me the secret passages I wanted as a kid (and still want now…some dreams shouldn’t die).

And last but not least is the house that this staircase belongs to.

Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens featured this home in an issue of their magazine several months ago. I know I have it around here somewhere. You can find the whole tour here. I loved nearly everything about that house.

And that wraps up this house post. You can find all of my Pin Boards here and feel free to link to yours in the comment section.

Have a Great Weekend!

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What’s Your Style?

A few days ago I was thinking about my personal style and I wondered if it had a name. I thought that maybe I’m transitional but after I looked it up and found a few photos, I don’t think so. So far all the pictures look too elegant and I’m only really elegant when I’m wearing a little black dress and heels. Other than that I’m a klutz that likes to be comfortable.  I also figure that since Halle and I have started running a fever today, it’s a good time to fill you up with quizzes…you know, so you won’t notice that I’m not writing that much. Drat! I’ve given my secret away.

It must be the fever.

The first quiz I took I found at BHG. I liked it the most even though I had trouble answering the first question:

QUESTION 1 :

Which flower arrangement would look best on your coffee table?

Rose
Hydrangea
Red Tulips

I don’t just like flowers, I love flowers and I especially love all of these flowers. I love all of the arrangements and picked tulips because I guess I was loving the pop of red just a bit more than the others. I’d put the hydrangeas in the bedroom and the roses in the kitchen.

My result was…drumroll…..

Polished Casual

You love to mix and match your favorites from several styles, so Polished Casual is the best way to describe your look. Crisp, fresh, and always comfortable, this approach anchors itself in neutral, subtle hues and furniture that isn’t fussy but isn’t slouchy either. Pair your clean-lined sofa with a dark leather wing chair or a weathered metal table—anything goes, but simplicity is key.
I think they got it right. “They” being a computer program. You can take the quiz here.
I took a few other quizzes, all in the interest of blog research, of course, and the next result is a hoot. It’s from HGTV and you can take it here. My result?

HGTV- Your style is Asian Zen

Clean, natural and serene with pops of red. Perfect for creating a peaceful atmosphere. Asian and Feng Shui work in my home.

If you’ve ever been to my house you’d know this couldn’t be farther off. Most of my house is blue and although I like red, I don’t know the first thing about Feng Shui. Although the clean, natural and serene sounds nice.

Lastly, I went to Ethan Allen (quiz here):

my signature lifestyle is

elegance

We’ve analyzed your selections – your Signature Lifestyle is Elegance. Elegance is the essence of timeless sophistication. A seamless composition of quintessentially classic design elements, reinterpreted through streamlined scale and shape. Luxurious yet beautifully livable. A cosmopolitan mix of clean woods paired with chic, enduring fabrics.

Ummm, I don’t think so. I mean, that hat, yikes!

It’s all in good fun and to be completely truthful, I took two more (!) quizzes and then my brain felt all mushy, I didn’t care what my style was and I wanted to live in a tent for a while.

Totally kidding about that tent thing…it’s cold outside.

Have fun and let me know your results in the comments.

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A Vintage(ish) Tablescape

Wowie-Zowie, what a Sunday! Our church has been doing a “Family Sunday Dinner” on the first Sunday of every month for a while. It’s a good, old-fashioned, everybody-bring-a-dish type thing. For this past Sunday someone had beaten me to the “bring a salad” option (I’m looking at *you*, Cassandra) so I volunteered to bring spaghetti for the gluten free table. I made the sauce the night before and started cooking the pasta around 8am. Then we had church, lunch, grocery store and cleaning like mad because we’d invited friends over for the game. I didn’t really clean, I cooked. We had hot wings and curly fries and cookie balls on the menu. None of that is terribly difficult to make but the timing is tough and I didn’t realize how long it takes to fry french fries…forever! I made them with a curly fry maker that my Mom, Brother and I bought for my Dad years ago for Father’s Day and my Mom gave it to me a few years back. I had a ton of fun cooking it all and entertaining (I really love it all) but it was an all day affair. I even decorated for the Super Bowl.

Kidding…

This is about the extent of my Valentine’s Day decorating but I do have a super-yummy Valentine’s Day dessert in mind, gluten free of course. You might recognize these roses from my last post. My sweet hubby made a stop for me at Costco to pick up something, I think it was a loaf of bread, and came home with two dozen of these beautiful roses for me too. Swoon. I already had the scones in mind for a post but I wanted a really pretty tablescape too and put almost effort into that as I did to the scones so that’s what we’re talking about today.

In case you’ve forgotten it looked like this…

I’ve written about the vintage canning jar and while it wasn’t exactly a bargain it was worth it because I love it so much (find that post here). This is what I always intended to use it for regardless of the “kraut canning” advice. Yuck! The table cover (?), cloth (?), I’m not sure what it is exactly,  is one of several things I bought at a garage sale in the fall. It was at a friend’s house and there was a box of antique linens for 25 cents a piece. Hooray! I absolutely love this and another one that I bought but haven’t photographed yet.

I love the stitch work…

It’s also in perfect condition. I don’t know anything about the design or stitches but if anyone does I’d love to hear about it.

I think I love it all so much because it’s not just antique or just vintage but is a nice mix of some really pretty pieces that I have mixed in with a few things from Target’s white aisle and a pretty coffee mug that I bought on clearance for $2 for a pack of four at TJ Maxx. It’s simple and pretty and is a mix of some of my very favorite things.

I was talking with a friend last night and she mentioned how I always have to do everything perfectly. I promise, I don’t really. I mentioned that she makes beautiful, handmade cards and she replied, “That’s just fun”. Well, for me, putting flowers into a vintage canning jar and making things a little bit prettier is just fun.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Scones

I figure that if I’m going to have “Living Gluten Free” in my tagline I should actually post something about living gluten free. I’m not going to write out the “why” here, I’ve done that in another blog and you can find that post here.

When I first started eating gluten free I had no idea what I was doing. I loved to bake but after looking into how many different types of flours you need to blend to have a useable flour I got really overwhelmed. I figured I’d just live without baked goods forever. That was hard to think about considering that I love bread and baked things. I don’t have to have dessert all the  time but I do love pizza and bread and occasionally I really need a muffin or scone with coffee. I get a little pouty watching Travis have a scone and latte at Starbucks. I can have the latte and a raw granola bar which I don’t mind but I’d still like to have a baked good…biscotti, mmmmm. I haven’t had biscotti in about 2 years.

I decided pretty early on that baking from scratch wasn’t going to be something I was going to be able to do anymore (I’ve since changed my mind about that which I’ll write about later) since I’d tried some gluten free all purpose flour and it was like baking with sand. It made baking a chore although the things I made turned out okay. Then I decided I’d try some mixes. I hadn’t used mixes for anything except brownies in years so I wasn’t very optimistic that I’d like them. I’ve never been so happy to be wrong. I tried Pamela’s mixes first and I was so happy with the results. I’ve tried the vanilla and chocolate cake and her Baking and Pancake Mix. That’s what I’ll be highlighting today. I figured I’d start out with something easy and yummy.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Start with 2 1/4 cups of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix. To that add 1 tsp. baking powder and 1/3 cup sugar then give it all a little stir. Just make sure that all the ingredients you use in your baking are also gluten free.

Next add 4 tablespoons of butter. The recipe says to cut the butter in using two knives. I’m much too lazy for that so I use a food processor. I cut the butter into smaller pieces first. Why? I either saw it on a cooking show or I dropped in the whole 4 tablespoons and it didn’t distribute evenly. I can’t remember which.

Then pulse several times to cut in the butter. It should look like this:

To that add 2/3 cup milk…

And a beaten egg…

Then give it a whirl until everything is combined. It should look like this:

And then we get to the fun part…chocolate chips! This recipe is on the back of the baking mix package and calls for a half cup of currants. I don’t ever have currants and usually us 1/2 cup of Craisins and 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. This morning though I was out of Craisins. Bummer. I’m using a whole cup of chocolate chips because I don’t want to bite into a scone that I’ve taken time to prepare and think, “Did I add chocolate chips to this?”. No, I’m going for seriously yummy chocolate here.

Add them to the bowl and give it 10-15 short pulses. I mean, really short pulses. You don’t want to have chocolate chip shavings in your scones.

If you’ve ever made scones before you’ll notice that this mixture is more wet than a traditional scone. These aren’t meant to be rolled out and cut but rather scooped and plopped (I believe those are the technical terms) onto a cookie sheet. It’s more like a drop biscuit. Have you ever had those? My Mom used to make them a lot. I love them. Anyway, my preferred method for getting these onto the cookie sheet is using a 1/4 cup measuring cup and a scraping spatula.

The directions say to, “Drop large, tall dollops of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet.” Make sure they’re spaced nicely because they’ll spread out a bit when they cook.

Then I like to add a sprinkle of raw sugar to the tops, just to make them pretty.

Bake for 15-17 minutes and you’ll have a bit of yumminess to enjoy with the coffee beverage of your choice.

Granted, these aren’t your traditional scones. They’re more moist, like a biscuit. I love that they’re easy to make though and they aren’t remotely grainy which can be a problem with baked gluten free items.

Here’s the recipe:

2-1/4 cups Pamela’s Baking ; Pancake Mix
1/3 cup  white sugar, Plus a little raw sugar for sprinkling on tops
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
4 tbsp butter
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk

I really hope you enjoy these as much as I do.