Thursday, December 12, 2013

White Chocolate Chip Scones

You guys, I've been holding out on you and I'M SO SORRY!  

I've been meaning to share this recipe with you for ages. This is my favourite recipe for, well, what I call scones. I don't precisely know what they are. They're definitely not your typical dense scone. They're light and fluffy and melt in your mouth. Seriously though, you guys, I'm in love. 

This are super easy to throw together and are just the right amount of sweetness to be really satisfying. I almost always put white chocolate chips in mine but these are also great with other mix-ins such as chips or dried fruit or both. 

I also think these could be done in a muffin pan successfully but haven't ever tried. If you do, let me know how it goes! 

White Chocolate Chip Scones
heavily adapted from MommyCoddle

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
⅓ cup sucanat (or brown sugar)

6 tbs butter (melted or soft)
¾ cups milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp almond extract

1 to 1½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl and wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir well. Dough will be really sticky Add mix-ins and drop by spoonfuls onto lined cookie sheet. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Makes about 12. 

If using brown sugar, I would mix it in with the wet ingredients instead of the dry. 

If you freeze the chips right up until you mix them in they don't melt down as much. Mine just live in the freezer all year round.

Serve these with a thick later of soft butter on them. Seriously, just trust me on this one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Snow day

Goodmorning, everyone! Look at this! Last night we had our first snowfall of the year and it stuck. This has never happened in my memory and it was so exciting. It'll all be gone in a few hours but I'll enjoy it while it lasts!

I think I'm going to take advantage of our sunshine to turn on some good music and get some work done. I'm off to take photos of our reassembled bathroom while the light is good. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Errand day

Our backroom on a sunny afternoon. I love southern windows.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today is my day with the car and that makes it shopping and errand day for me. I love getting to stock up on yummy foods and new library books every week. This week I picked up a couple of books and three cds! I can't wait to cook supper tonight with a new-to-me cd in the player. It's going to be a very good night!

Monday, November 4, 2013

House Update: Oct 26 thru Nov 3

 I spent a lot of the past week looking like this

This past week was all about walls! Well, and about ceilings too. It started with this:

And this:

And ended up with this:

And this:

What all we did this week:
The weekend of October 26th & 27th we finally had a chance to start in on the bathroom ceiling. It was peeling and flaking before we moved in and had only continued to get worse. While Justin was at work on Friday I scraped the ceiling and got off ever bit of flaking paint and got the area ready for us to skim coat. After supper we got out the joint compound and mixed up a batch of skim coat and put the first layer on the ceiling. It went a lot faster and more easily than we thought it might. 

An hours work. 1/4 - 1/3 of the wall.

Justin had to work at 6am on Saturday morning so I decided to tackle the first coat of the big wall. After about 3 1/2 hours I had run out of joint compound. 

See the corner that didn't get finished?

Justin bought me more joint compound on his way home from work and Saturday afternoon I finished my little patch.

Sunday, after 24 hours of hardening, Justin sanded the ceiling in the bath and the big wall. After we had cleaned up the huge mess we mixed up more skim coat and put a second coat on the bathroom ceiling and wall.

Justin sanding the wall.

Monday, I spackled holes in the bathroom and patched the corners where the joint compound had chunked out. I also started patching areas in the kitchen and entry way. There's still plenty more to do but it's a start.  

After Justin got home from work he sanded the wall again and it is crazy smooth. It's going to look lovely after it's painted!

 The wall again. Isn't it gorgeous?!

And then this weekend, Nov 2nd & 3rd. We painted the bathroom! We decided to go with Zinnser Perma-White which is a mold and mildew proof interior paint. I'm sure it's full of all kinds of noxious chemicals but since this bathroom has humidity problems that we can't fix at the moment we decided to go with it.

 Justin putting on the second coat of white.

As you can see from the pictures at the beginning of this post, the walls previously were a pale green that didn't quite match the tile in the bathroom. What you can't see is that not only were the walls the pale green but so were the trim, window, and radiator. (We also learned that the bathtub and toilet used to be the same color green as the tile. We're really glad those were replaced before us though.) Since the tile is in good condition and we won't be replacing it anytime soon, we decided to just go with pure white for everything else. So that meant very little taping! But it also meant lots and lots of brushwork. I'm still not quite done ;-) Once I've finished up the last bits of painting and we've gotten a couple of other small projects done, we'll put the room back together and I'll take proper after shots of the bathroom. Look for a before and after post in a couple of weeks!

For anyone planning to take on a similar product:

This was the most helpful tutorial for skim coating that we found. As a whole, I found that skim coating isn't difficult. It's just tedious. And the sanding really really sucks. It makes a huge mess. But it's not hard. Just make sure you have a dust mask and saftey glasses.

And this is the paint we used. It's not expensive, about $25 for a gallon, and it went on well and has a very mild smell. Our light colored bathroom only needed two coats and we'll have used most of the gallon by the time I'm finished. I think we made a good choice.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The summer I became an adult

The house

 Bathroom before

Bathroom currently

Last meal in the little house (breakfast)

A new toy for us :-)

The view from my kitchen window

Tilling for next year's garden

New homeowners!

You guys, this is it. We finally did it. We bought a house. And not just any house. A really, really awesome house! I. am. so. excited!!! We've only been in the house for six weeks and already it feels more like my house than the little one every did. It's a house that I love and that I can dream in. We can do anything we want to it and that is a wonderful (and scary) thought!

I have so much to say about this house; stories to tell and pictures to show. Like the story of how we ended up buying a house when we weren't even going to start house hunting for another, oh, seven months. And how we ended up with this house in particular. And, of course, all the really fun stuff; the work we've done and all the things we hope to do to the house someday (although we have many more ideas than we do time or money!).

Any suggestions or tips for us as rookie homeowners and caretakers? We'll need all the help we can get!

P.S. Happy October 1st!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Four years ago

Just a few of my favourite photos from that day.

 Alternately titled "Wait, that was yesterday. Wasn't it?!?"

As the saying goes, 'Time flies when you're having fun'. And time has definitely been flying! I guess that must mean that we've been having fun! And, you guys, we have. Marriage is a blast! If I had known how much fun I would have being married to Justin on the day I met him then I would have married him in a heartbeat.

I'm not sure what I can say that doesn't sound like I'm bragging but I am seriously convinced that Justin is the best husband you could ever have. Ever. Tell me you have a better one and I'll call you a liar! (just kidding. mostly)

All I know, really, is that every year life gets better and better and I'm pretty sure it has to do with the handsome man by my side. I love you hon!

P.S. Don't I look silly doing everything with my floaty veil stuck to my head? I should have taken it off...
P.P.S. Also, aren't you impressed by our ability to relax and let someone else take care of all the little details? We're awesome like that :-)

Edit: Also, happy 100th post for the blog!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekly Loves: June 14

Hello all! Have you all had a good week and do you have something fabulous planned for your weekend? We did and have some fun weekend plans ahead of us. On Saturday we're attending a wedding for and with some of our college friends and then on Saturday evening my sister is coming to stay with us for a few weeks! I can't wait! I have a million things planned for the two of us and we probably won't do most of them. Oh well, a girl can dream right? It'll be fun spending time with her either way. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend full of summer fun and wonderful people!

This week we:

Took Justin's little brothers (10 and 7) hiking and canoeing on Friday and it was a lot of fun. Justin and I held our own against the two of them and wore them out! The best part was getting to take two very tired boys back to their parents' house and having the evening to ourselves. Ah, bliss! ;-)

Were pleased to discover that all our eating well, taking our vitamin D, and lying out is paying off. We were outside from 10am to 3:30pm on a bright sunny day at the park and neither of us got sunburned. This is a big change from my past sun history.

Celebrated Father's Day and June birthdays with Justin's family. Justin took the picture of the two of us in his parents' backyard and it's my new favourite of the two of us. It turned out sooo well.

Enjoyed the fact that I am now the weird lady in the neighborhood who goes out and sweeps her front porch at 7:30am. Super early in the morning is the perfect time of day to do outdoor chores.

Braced ourselves for a huge storm that didn't hit us. That was good news after the flooding we had two weeks ago even if it was a little disappointing. We love a good summer storm and haven't had one in a while.

Listened to me babble on about the code I'm learning and the blog that I want to build. Well, Justin listened and I babbled. But I'm really excited and he's really patient.

Spent a lot of time just enjoying the weather. It's been beautiful all week and the ten day forecast is looking like it'll be heaven! I'm planning on getting out every day to soak in some sun :-)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Learning to Code: Codecademy

One of the things that spurred me to start learning HTML was a Lifehacker article titled "How and Why to Teach Your Kids to Code". The title caught my eye because I thought it was something that Justin would be interested in and so I read through the article and saved it to show him later. As I thought about the article, I kept thinking about what a good idea it was and how we could incorporate coding into our (hypothetical future) children's education.

And I was struck by the idea that if I'm planning on having children learn how to code then I should learn too. I mean, it can't possibly be that hard if children can learn it And besides, coding languages are always referred to it as a 'language', presumably because of some sort of resemblance. Heaven knows I love foreign languages, I took three in college (four if you count formal logic) and other linguistic classes on how to decode languages. Besides, learning to code could actually be a lot more useful in my everyday life than some of the other languages I know (Sorry, Latin! You know I love you).

So I found myself going back to the Lifehacker article and reading it more carefully to see what looked like a likely candidate for me to work with. The author suggests both Codecademy and Khan Academy as good, free options for older kids and adults so I thought I might as well start there. I opened up both websites and got started looking around.

I know that I judged a book by it's cover but I knew instantly that Codecademy was the place for me. It's homepage is clean and simple and invites you to start playing instantly. I played, I stayed, and I'm happy I did.

For me, Codecademy is simple and easy to use. While Codecademy has many stand alone lessons and projects that you can work on, the easiest way to get started is by doing one of the 'tracks' they have put together. These tracks are a collection of lessons and projects grouped around a specific language or theme. They have tracks for lots of different coding languages but I decided that the Web Fundamentals was the best place for me to start.

Web Fundamentals has six courses; three on HTML and three on CSS and teaches the skills needed to build a simple website (think Geocities). Each course has either three or five lessons and each lesson is broken down into exercises. After each course is a final project that is designed to help synthesize what you learned in the course. Overall, I've really enjoyed working on the Web Fundamentals track which I finished on Tuesday.

In particular, I like the way each exercise is laid out. In many ways it reminds me of my favourite method for learning math. A description of what you're going to be taught, an explanation of the method, a brief example, and problem with a set of directions on what steps to take. The directions are purposely somewhat vague so that there are some elements to figure out on your own but there is a help section at the bottom that will provide further suggestions.

Each exercise builds on what you've learned in previous exercises and actually has you repeat things that you've learned in previous exercises and lessons in order to learn new things. For example, I have no idea how many times I've posted photos and linked pages in my quest to learn how to make fonts italic or funny colors but I know I've done it many, many times. 

As the lessons go on I found that the directions began to get less explicit. I actually thought this was a good thing for me. Like any true language, HTML and CSS each have their own grammar structure and punctuation marks. Having less explicit directions forced me to make sure that I really understood the structure of the language and made sure that I wasn't just mimicking what I saw in the directions.

On of my favourite features of the exercises was the automatic checking feature. When you submitted an exercise and it found a mistake it would pop up a little box saying "Oops, did you forget to do xyz?" which is a pretty blatant hint. Also, once you're working on CSS there is a hint feature built in that put a red x at the beginning of a line of code if it found an error. It doesn't tell you what the error is but it enabled me to backtrack and fix it before I got too far ahead.

In summary, I'm very happy with Codecademy. I feel like I've made good progress and that I learned a lot. I went from knowing nothing to knowing how to make beautiful Geocities websites! I also just really liked how Codecademy is designed. It makes it fun and I'm already pondering what code language I want to start next. If you're looking for a simple, structured way to learn some coding skills then I would definitely suggest Codecademy.

How about you all? Have you ever used a website to learn to code? And if yes, which one and what did you think of it?

Disclaimer: Codecademy has no idea who I am and definitely did not pay me or give me anything in exchange for writing this post. I just really loved their website and wanted to share it with you guys.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Learning to Code

This is it you guys. I've started the slip sliding path into the nerdy side of life and to be honest, it's kind of... fun. And, well, I'm not really sure how I feel about that.

I've always thought that there were two kinds of coders. Nerds who code because they eat, sleep, breath, and dream in code. And the artsy people who suffer through coding because it's the only good way of showcasing their art to the world.

But now I'm not so sure that that's true. I originally decided it was high time for me to start learning some HTML simply so that I would know what was going on (and how to put the darn spaces between pictures on Blogger when it was just. being. so. stupid!). But then I discovered that it was kind of fun. Not in a spend-all-day-staring-at-the-computer way but in a huh-this-is-challenging-but-not-as-hard-as-I-thought-it-would-be kind of way. So I just kind of kept plugging at it. And now? Now Justin and I have started talking about self hosting my website and getting me off of Blogger.

People, I just started learning HTML six days ago

Seriously though. I think I'm going to do it. I want to do it. But mostly I really want to see if I can actually do it. And I think I'll document it all right here as I go along. I want to do the majority of the work myself. No relying on Justin to set things up for me like I usually do. I'm sure there will be times where Justin has to get me out of the mess I made but I'll try and let you know what parts he does and why. And I'm hoping to keep those to a minimum. (Sorry, hon! No fun for you!)

I really have almost no idea what I'm doing. I know that WordPress is pretty popular among bloggers so I would guess that I'll end up using that but I'm not 100% committed to the idea. And I know that Justin will have lots of suggestions and opinions on who I should host my site through. But that's about the extent of my knowledge. I'll start researching and let you know what I think my next step needs to be. It'll be fun!

Sign up for email notifications if you want to follow along on the fun and share any tips in the comments. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Weekly Loves: June 7

Happy Friday, all! Another quiet week for us this week. Last weekend we went to my parents' house and I took almost no photos. I'll have to remedy that next time we're all together again :-)

Photos from the week:
1. There's still nothing like swinging at the elementary school. I love the swings :-)
2. Cuddling on the hammock with my baby. The best part of my parents' beautiful yard.
3. Getting to spend the afternoon with my nephews! I miss them a lot.
4. Clam chowder. In June. You never need an excuse to make New England Clam Chowder.
5. Early morning photos, wet hair. My raccoon eyes are progressing nicely.

In other news.
1. I'm reading this book and LOVING it. It is the most fascinating things I've read in a long time. I'm actually considering buying it.
2. I'm pretty sure I'm in love with Trader Joe's. They always have such fantastic prices on things that we don't even need. We restrained ourselves and only bought one thing that wasn't on our list. Go us!
3. We've been loving GeoGuessr. Please tell me we're not the only ones. Fantastic game to play together as a team.

Justin and I are headed out today with his two little brothers for a birthday hiking/canoeing day. And then we have Father's Day with his family on Sunday. Here's to hoping we can have a productive quiet Saturday! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Loves: May 31

Happy Friday, everyone! How was your week? Did you do anything exciting? We had a good Memorial Day weekend and then loved having a short very quiet week! In a couple of hours we're headed to visit my family for the weekend. I can't wait!

This week we:

Packed a picnic and spent Saturday afternoon downtown watching the bike races. The highest level racers race for an hour and average around 27mph. This is an absolutely insane idea to me!  

Made crepes with cream cheese and strawberry filling and ate them in bed. Or, more accurately, Justin made crepes and brought them to me in bed. He is seriously the best ever. 

Sunday I met up for drinks with some girlfriends. I only had water but it was a blast. Lots of giggling and shivering (it was cold). We're planning on doing this much more often :-)

Spent a cold rainy Memorial Day afternoon with Justin's family playing games and just visiting. 

Took a break from reading real books for most of the week and just read lame free novels from amazon. It was nice to have a mental break even if I did spend most of it mentally yelling at the characters ;-) 
Rode my bike to the grocery at 7:30am on a cool sunny morning. Bliss.

Have a happy weekend, all! Eat something yummy for me!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One car love

We are now officially a one car family and it feels good. A couple of weeks ago we posted an ad on Craigslist for one of our cars and it sold in less than 24 hours! Craigslist is awesome!

We've been discussing the idea for a few months as we hardly drove the second car but it wasn't costing much for upkeep so we just held onto it. But this spring we finally felt like it wasn't worth the time and money required to keep it titled, insured, and in good repair. So we sold it off and now we get to settle into a new normal!

It's been going well so far but it's only been about two weeks. For those of you who share a car, what have you all found to be the best and worst things of only having one car? Any suggestions or tips for us?

Monday, May 27, 2013

DIY: simple summer beaded bracelet and anklet

Every year around Memorial Day, for as long as I can remember, I've made a trip to the craft store to pick out bunches of those little skeins of embroidery thread. I would spend ages pouring over the thread, picking out my favourite colours and comparing them to each other until I had just the right colour combinations. Once I got my beauties back home, I carefully sorted them and would begin to braid them into all different lengths and styles of bracelets and anklets. Tied onto ankles and wrists, there they stayed until the threads eventually wore and they fell off; frequently in the shower.

Each of these bracelets are linked in my mind to their particular summers and bring back many fond memories. My favourite anklet ever was a thin, simple four strand braid. It had dark turquoise, dark pink, dark purple, and dark gray threads. Thin and delicate, it wrapped around my ankle twice and lasted for almost a year before eventually wearing out.

This year I decided to change things up a little and I made some simple beaded and knotted bracelets/anklets. I'm loving these a lot so far! (Although I have plenty of leftover thread that's calling my name too!) I bought thin leather cord and coloured wooden beads at my craft store and whipped these up in less than an hour. They were super simple and came out even better than I hoped they would! The hardest part of this project is picking out what beads and cord you want!

I used a combination of beads and a knot called the triple overhand knot. It looks much more complicated than it is. The trick is just to pull the knot very slowly and work on easing it down close to the bead. This required a bit of practice for me but was totally worth it! These designs could definitely be fun switched from how I wear them. You could make the bracelet as an anklet and the anklet as a bracelet! Just make sure you cut your cord to the appropriate length for whatever you're trying to go around.

Simple DIY beaded bracelet and anklet

Cord/Thread (I used 1mm leather cord)
Beads (any color/size. Just make sure they have a big enough hole for your cord!)

Triple Overhand Knot (the large pretty one)
Square Knot (for tying to your wrist/ankle)


1. Cut a length of cord long enough to go around your wrist (or ankle) twice.
2. A little off the center of the piece of string, tie a triple overhand knot.
3. String a few beads onto the longer side and let them drop down to the knot. I used three beads.
3. Tie another triple overhand knot and try to slide it as close to the beads as you can.
4. Get a friend to tie it onto your wrist with a square knot. Otherwise tie each end to a clasp.


1. Cut a long length of cord, approximately 3 feet or so at least.
2. Leaving about 4 inches, tie a triple overhand knot.
3. String a bead onto the cord and tie another triple overhand knot close to bead.
4. Repeat step three until you reach your desired length.
5. Tie ends together with a square knot or tie each end to a clasp.

And there you have it! A simple, inexpensive, fun summer bracelet and anklet. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments and I'll try to answer as best as I can.