Friday, February 27, 2015

Gluten Free Banana Bread {Tried and tested from This Little Estate's kitchen}

Some of my fondest childhood memories are from the times I spent in the kitchen with my Mom. 

My loving Mama had limited sewing abilities and yet she slaved over the the cutest little aprons for my sisters and I, and even made us tiny matching oven mitts with little dancing teddy bears all over them.

 

Originally, for me, I loved baking because it was the chance to get to wear the cute baking outfits I loved so dearly. Then later, I would find myself pulling up a stool next to my Mama in our little country kitchen, because I loved the special memories her and I would make as we mixed, poured, stirred and waited anxiously for the oven timer to ring at us.


One of my first jobs as a young enthusiastic teenager, was at an authentic Italian bakery. This opportunity solidified my everlasting love affair with baking. 

I still feel like I was living the dream since I got to work doing one of my favorite things and they didn't even care how many cannolis and cream puffs and pastries and icing and macaroons I taste tested.

Fast forward 17 years (I cannot believe I just typed that) and I'm still in love with all things baking, but I have been successfully incorporating some gluten free recipes into our lives due to old lady tummy issues.
 

 If you have someone you love who is gluten free, THIS is the recipe that will make them love you forever. If you bake this up WITH them, they will probably love you for forever and a day.

 Ingredients
Wet Ingredients:

    3 extra ripe bananas (mashed)
    ¼ cup of coconut oil (or substitute for melted butter)   
    ¼ cup maple syrup
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    2 large sized eggs

Dry Ingredients:

    ¼ cup coconut flour
    1 cup millet flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon all spice (or cinnamon)
    Optional chocolate chunks

Instructions:

 Preheat the oven to 350F   
Grease up a loaf pan.
In a medium-large bowl mix all the wet ingredients together.
In another small bowl mix the dry ingredients.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, mix until most of the   lumps are gone.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan.
If you're feeling risky, drop big chunks of chocolate into your batter.
Shake loaf pan until batter is smooth. (this eliminates any air bubbles from forming in your loaf)
Bake for about 45 minutes. (or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.    
Allow to cool for a few minutes and then remove from pan
Let cool and then slice and serve.


 This recipe is tried and true and all the baking lovers and cannoli enthusiasts wont even know that there isn't a drop of wheat in this recipe.

Nope, just good tasting goodness that will have you scribbling this recipe down on a 4 by 6 card in no time and adding it the classic recipes you keep protected in your recipe box.

All babies born post 1998 may not know what a recipe box is, but trust me, you may need one in case this whole Pinterest thing doesn't catch on. ;)
      

Happy Friday lovelies!

 I hope this recipe comes in handy this weekend when you feel the urge to make some memories stirring, pouring and cracking with the ones you love, in your kitchen.

Monday, February 23, 2015

20 Beautiful Closets {and a peek at our newest project!}

We are at it again.


This scene of closet carnage has been a foot away from where I lay my head each night  - for two weeks.

Nightmare inducing, yes.

Unfortunately for us, renos don't pan out in the same manner as they do on HGTV. I wish they did. But with two working parents and evenings full of children's activities, we typically only get a few hours a week to bust out a project.

BUT, this project has been a long time coming, so I am soaking in this big fat mess!

This closet makeover-overhaul has been four years coming.

When we bought this house four years ago, we inherited two of the tiniest master closets I have ever seen. We tried to make the best of our limited storing situation by adding more storage inside of our closets, but lately, it just hasn't been cutting it anymore. Even after I did a major closet purge, there just seems to be little wiggle room in our closets along with some bad design elements that make me want to live out of the laundry basket.

And, it's not like I need another excuse not to put away all those baskets of laundry, you know?

We have big plans for our little closet that could and hope our budget friendly tips and tricks will help you if you too are hoping for a fresh start with a fresh closet this year.

I will definetly be sharing all of our messy details with you in a future post; if you like that kind of mess-diy-during-destruction-pictures, but until then, wont you dream with me for a moment?

Here are 20 beautifully finished closets 
 (that will probably never be our reality, but boy do they make me want to go organize and color coordinate all of my  wrinkly tshirts.)

Contemporary Closet by Edmonds Home Builders Chermak Construction, Inc.

(IF you want to see even more closet prettiness, feel free to checkout my Pinterest board called "CLOSETS". It is full of my current inspiration!!)

So, what do you think? Are you as smitten as I am? These closets show organization and beauty combined and make my detail oriented self so happy! 

Tell me, do you keep an organized closet? Ive acquired a lot of organizational ideas after having a small closet for so long! Do you have any tiny closet organizational tips and tricks for me? I would love to hear them!


Friday, February 20, 2015

HOW TO ADD BOARD AND BATTEN TO ANY SPACE {A DIY panelled wall tutorial}

A few weeks ago we were taking all things family room. 
You can get caught up by reading:

 
I shared our love for late night projects and for clean and crisp moulding.


Last time we talked, we were neck deep with the addition of panelling our entire family room with the addition of board and batten, and I'm pretty sure, you and I both knew, there would be a lot of work in front of us!

Since sharing our big plans, many of you asked the specifics of our idea and inquired on cost and basically all the nitty gritty details all savvy DIY-ers would want to know to make your own board and batten panelled wall.

So, please forgive the dark pictures #Canadianwinterproblems but today I wanted to share with you the "how" before we move on and show you the "pretty", otherwise known as the finished product. 


HOW TO ADD BOARD AND BATTEN TO ANY SPACE
(BY DIY-ing a panelled wall)
  1. First go to your local hardware store and buy MDF boards and strip each 4 by 8 foot board into four inch wide pieces. (We got ours for $21 from Lowes) If you smile super sweetly they may just rip them for you too!
  2. Come home and paint your walls. This will save you so much time cutting into your panels with paint. You wont have any of your old paint peeking through if you follow this important step! We used Behre Paint from Home Depot in Bright White.
  3. Then remove your baseboards. We chose not to add ours back on, but that can always be an option for you if you want to layer your baseboards for a heartier look.
  4.  Figure out what you would like your spacing to be like. We wanted our moulding to be as high as five feet 3 inches. So we took a level and drew a line across our wall.
  5. Then we added our top piece straight across the wall. We secured it in place with wood glue and then used our nail gun to secure it to the wall.
  6. Then we added strips perpendicular to the floor as we would with a baseboard. We glued and secured them into place just like we did with our top piece.
  7. Then we took our strips and spaced our pieces/panels 16 inches from end to end.
  8. Then to finish it off, we stripped a piece of MDF to be 1 3/4 inch wide and glued and nailed it width wise on top of our flush "top" piece. 
  9. To completely finish it off, we used 3/4 inch moulding. Instead of having a convex curve though, it is concave in shape and is called "cove" moulding. 
  10. Putty the seams. For a finished and professional look you will want to carefully putty the seams, nail holes and spaces on your wall. I used "Dap" for this and smoothed it into place with my finger and made a clean finish by using a wet cloth to remove any excess
  11. Paint over everything and anything until satisfied.
Now that all of that wordy-wordiness is out of the way. 

Here is the tutorial for all you visual learners.

 

Take off baseboards.


Paint your walls.

  

Have fun with this part (ie: take lots of selfies, wear sweat pants, crack open a cold drink of your choice, play loud 90's pop music and enlist some funny kids to cheer you on)... because this part is going to be long and tedious and you will want to quit. The sweat pants and Justin Timberlake tunes help. Trust me.

  

Put all your outlet covers in one place. If you cant find a screwdriver to take them off, use a kitchen fork like my Mama use to do.

  

Figure out your spacing. Hire good help if it is available to you.
 
 

Attach  your panels to the wall with glue and a nail gun. Make sure you have a hairy supervisor overlooking the project to make sure everything runs smoothly.


Seal and putty any spaces and nail holes then paint over your wall and board and batten panelled wall.


Paint second coat and third coat and fourth coat of white paint but only throw the paint brush once.


Be prepared for this to be a weekend project not a nightly project. 

Don't tell your Husband.


Add top trim piece and freak out with happiness since it looks so darn good -- even in the dark at midnight.


Add your concave moulding for a finished look.


Putty and fill a million nail holes and paint some more.


Take some fuzzy pictures due to delirium and pure excitement.


Putty and fill and paint some more.


Now, watch as your boring walls gets transformed into a room that looks full of character, interest and texture. Not to mention, you will be freaking out about how big and wide your room now look with its bright and white walls!

Swoon!


I hope that answered most of your questions and gives you an idea on how you can add moulding and trim work to your space.  We are absolutely smitten with how this panelled board and batten treatment turned out and I cant wait to show you the whole room reveal.

If you add this to your honey-do-list this weekend send me an email or give me a tag so I can cheer you on during that whole painting part, k?

Happy weekend and happy DIY-ing friends!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day. {And a story about love from afar.}


Sometimes I can't believe how amazing people are.
We are total strangers.


That dont feel like strangers.

We are friends from a far.

Everytime I see her little square pictures pop up in my Instagram feed, I feel like I am getting filled in on the happenings of an old friend, so I hurriedly go to look at what pretty and inspiring things sweet Nicole is sharing with the world today.

(Check out her fashion filled, faith based, inspiring feed by searching for her on Instagram @THEMRSCJM)

In all actuality though, we have never heard each others voice or shared a heart to heart over a coffee.

To me, it is completely possible for friendship to flourish on line, since we do live in a day and age where 35% of married people have met on line.

If you know me, then you know that Instagram is my favorite social outlet. I go there to get inspired, to ask advice, to share my life and to hear a resounding "Yes! ME TOO!" when I share my hurdles and triumphs with the amazing community of women there.

I still would have never guessed that the positive initiative I shared here, first, would travel to another country and end up coming full circle, in a package on my door step.


I had no idea, but I am so humbled.


When I began #theporchproject it was simply an initiative to inspire others to love in a more tangible way. A way for a friend to write a quick thank you note and leave it on another friend's front door step and then rush away without having to explain the drive and dash.

I thought it would be a lovely and easy way to introduce snail mail and hand written letters and all the lovely things that all of us twenty something, thirty something, forty something and beyond, grew up loving. It was a way for us to love without expecting anything in return. No invite in for coffee or having to deal with that awkward moment when you catch a friend in her thread bare pajamas at 2pm in the afternoon, with cheerios stuck in her hair, baby vomit all over her shoulder, and a glass of wine poured early and grasped in her hand. (do NOT stop by without announcement on a Saturday off friends.)#youvebeenwarned


I would have never imagined that a woman, that I have never met before, would send me a package wrapped up so sweetly, with a card full of encouragement and with hand picked loot added in for my kids. 
 

I could never imagine that kind of selfless sweetness from one essential stranger-friend to another. 
 

But now I wonder why I didn't set my hopes and dreams for this project bigger too.

I mean, you ladies who leave comments, who write emails, who encourage, who share, you are part of the good that is in some places, missing in this world. 

I said it before, and I will say it again, "This world needs less critics. This world and the people in it need a cheering section."

I often wonder what it would have been like to live in a day when women lived in small towns , and essentially in communities together, when they shared resources and remedies, and when they cared for each others babies, when it literally took a village. I often dreamily wonder about that era.

But guys, I dont think I need to wonder anymore.

This village of givers and encouragers is something that is so precious and is hear before us if we want to be a part of it.

I rarely cry out of pure joy, but I did today. 

As I slowly unwrapped heart dotted tissue paper, that was creased so perfectly from hundreds of miles away, and with so much care, when I read the far away address on the package and when I tentatively lifted out items picked out specifically to make my children grin ear to ear.


Today, on LOVE day, I got to tell my children again about kindness. About giving back. We got to relive the moments in our memory, of the times when they excitedly ran up to a porch, knocked on the door of a friend, left a note or a package and ran back to the car, barely making it back, due to the happy giggle fits. Today I got to tell my children about giving back and today I got to see that giving come right back to them. 

Just like I promised them it would happen.
 

Today a stranger-friend taught my babies an invaluable lesson on throwing kindness around like confetti.

Because, "Guess what?" I told them "When you throw kindness around like confetti, when you're celebrating others with your actions, bits of it will always fall back down on you."

And today kindness and love did just that.

I cant wait to share more stories about The Porch Project with you. If you want to see how it is already brightening peoples days you can search #theporchproject on social media. If you are wondering still about what The Porch Project is, and want to know the details behind it, you can catch up by reading the posts below.


Part Two of The Porch Project

 
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