Raspberry Love

Without a single hesitation I can answer confidently that if I am ever stranded on an island and could request a single food item it would be fresh raspberries.  Of course, I would have tiny millions of little seeds stuck in my teeth and I would be without floss, but I would be one happy camper.  Which is saying a lot because I hate camping, but I LOVE raspberries!

Buying raspberries in the winter is disappointing.  They just haven’t been the same since summer ended, they lack the taste and plumpness that only the summer sunshine can bring.  This hasn’t stopped me from buying them during the winter months, but they leave something to be desired.  And I know my problem sounds very first world, almost the same as complaining that heated seats cause my skin to dry out and don’t heat my rear evenly enough, but I really miss summer fruit!

raspberriesI came across some recipes online to put into my online recipe book for a few months down the road and I wanted to share a few. Click on the images to be directed to the recipes website.

This is called Sunday Sauce, which sounds as though it would be unreal on yogurt, pie, chocolate dessert or simply spooned directly into my mouth!!

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The wonderfully delish second item is Brie en Croute with Raspberries and Pecans.  This recipe takes a wheel of brie, tops it with jam and toasted pecans and then bakes it in a pastry crust.

BrieThis next recipe looks absolutely divine!!!  A beautiful medley of fruits, herbs, sweet and liquids creates this  Raspberry Mojito…umm yes, please.

raspmojitoAnd this finale addition to today’s post is a perfect marriage of lemon tartness and raspberry deliciousness.  These Raspberry Lemon Crumble Muffins have been baked in my home twice now and have been gobbled up by residents and guests alike.  My only comment is that they are best eaten fresh, as they get pretty dense and a little too dry after 2 days, but not to worry they hardly lasted 2 days.  Sweet mercy, these were unreal!

lemon raspSince the sun is trying its hardest to show its beautiful face at the moment I am going to head outside to enjoy a little heat. Have a fantastic day!

45 Minute Hot Buns!

I have to be honest when I tell you that I have had great success and great failures when it comes to using yeast.  As I do with the rest of my cooking/baking I always tend to add a little dash of this or change the recipe to my liking.  This has most definitely been my down fall when it comes to using yeast.  This past year I decided I wanted to conquer my fear of this stinky peculiar product and time and time again I became more fearful.  After failed cinnamon buns, loaves of bread and the worst looking buns you have ever seen, I was even more determined to get things right.  I followed recipes absolutely perfectly and although it was against my will, I did not add even the slightest bit piece of personal opinion.  After trial and error I figured out where I was going wrong: Letting the yeast proof too long, adding flour/various ingredients at the end of the kneading process and punching the dough down after the last rise prior to the baking process.  Of course I also determined that there is a time and a place when there are exceptions: this is where I was thrown a curve ball in the past!  This past week I have rocked pizza dough and dinner buns and questioned myself throughout the entire process.  Below is a recipe that I came across after making soup and deciding that I wanted some delicious warm buns to go with it.  After scouring the internet I came across a straight forward plan for exactly what I wanted: dough that didn’t need to sit under a cloth in a warm place for hours on end, but could be ready from start to finish along with the rest of our meal.

 

Hot Buns

 

45 Minute Dinner Buns!!

http://www.honeyandbutter.com/bread/30-minute-dinner-rolls

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp warm water

1/3 cup Vegetable oil

2 Tbsp yeast

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

3 1/2 cup bread flour (I find bread flour works best, but all purpose flour will also do the trick)

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix water, oil, yeast, and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer and let it rest for 15 minutes. Add the salt and egg, mix thoroughly. Gradually add the flour. Divide into 12 equal pieces, and shape into round balls. Place onto a greased baking sheet and let it rise for 10-15 minutes. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Now let me outline my fears seeing as I have more fails using yeast than wins:

  1. Fear #1: The buns didn’t seem to rise that much on the greased baking sheet after 15 minutes (I did place them beneath my under cabinet lights since its winter and our home is a little on the cooler side).  My worrying was definitely in vain.
  2. Fear #2: After 10 minutes the buns were not even brown – I was afraid I was going to cook them too long, but I did end up adding an additional 7 minutes to the timer and the tops were slightly brown, but the bottoms were quite dark.

 

Below are the buns prior to rising for 15 on the baking sheet (beneath the under cabinet lights and a tea towel – I still don’t know why I cover them with a tea towel, but I do it because all of the other recipes have called for it).

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Here are the bins after 15 minutes, they did rise slightly, but I thought that they were supposed to be fully risen prior to cooking, I didn’t realize that in the oven they would rise that much more.

At this point I put them in the over with the timer on for 10 minutes.  I peeked in on the tiny little buns progress every minute and after 7 minutes I saw significant growth, but the colour wasn’t yet close to brown.  I figured there was no altering things now – such as adding more yeast or kneading again, but I had to add some time, I wasn’t about to serve raw yeasty dough.  It was a trying process and my patience was given a chance to grow, but after 7 extra minutes they came out perfectly.

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Ceiling Continued

Jeez Louise, this ceiling has been more work than I could have imagined!  The space is 600 beautiful square feet, with a peaked beamed ceiling, no furniture, an empty room and an unfinished floor.  We have borrowed a set of scaffolding on wheels and because there is nothing in the room, no furniture or cabinets to work around it makes the work that much easier.  My vision was that all of the boards would fit together with ease, much like installing laminate flooring, but instead it was more like installing hardwood flooring.  Because the boards are in much more of a raw state than hardwood there were warped and chipped pieces and not everything fit together like I imagined.  But after the first 2 rows were installed I was in LOVE.  It looked perfect.

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We had to use nail guns and pry bars to get the wooded boards to stay in place while we nailed it in place.  We also used small wooden biscuits and a biscuit joiner to keep the ends of the boards together.  A biscuit joiner uses a small circular saw blade to cut a crescent-shaped hole (called the mouth) in the opposite edges of two pieces of wood.  An oval-shaped, highly-dried and compressed wooden biscuit,  then each biscuit was dipped in water and is immediately placed in the slot, and the two boards are hammered together.

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Each section of the roof is approx. 20′ x 8′ and each section took 8 hours from start to finish.  This included cutting and prepping each board and then getting the board securely in place.  The boards had to be cut specifically around the electrical wire for the lights and the pot light cans (which Mr. J has been installing this week).

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After two weeks of work from start to finish the ceiling is completed.  along the edge of the ceiling and top of the wall we needed to put up wooden trim to cover the edges of the boards as there was a small gap between the end of the boards and the walls.  It came together perfectly!!!

A can’t breath a large enough sign of relief – its done and looks better than I expected.  It adds the perfect beachy touch!

A New Ceiling – A Labour of Love!

With the new beam in place and the spray foam filling the gaps on either side of the beam our ceiling was ready for the makeover.  You can see in the top left of the photo where the cupboard and laundry area was removed.  
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Mr. J installed the new pot lights and installed the electrical where the pendant lights would be going.

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We looked all around town for the right product of the ceiling, I knew I wanted it to look like wood, but wasn’t sure if it actually needed to be a wood product.

There was the bead-board panelling, but everything I found seemed to be too narrow. Our ceiling covers about 600 square feet and I didn’t want the texture of the ceiling getting lost in the size of the space or look out of proportion to the area.  The bead-board seemed like a very efficient way of getting the look I wanted, but it wasn’t the exact look, nor was it a cost effective option.

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Secondly, there was particle board, which is engineered wood made of wood veneers, particles or wood fibers bonded together with head and pressure.  My issue is that there wasn’t any wood grain or character and each piece looked the exact same.

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I wanted each panel of wood to have its own individual character and charm, I wanted knots, grooves and splits .  I found grooved wood slats at a wood mill.  My husband built a few A frame supports and screwed in hundreds of screws evenly spaced apart so I could paint each board and get all the right sides.  Our uncle lent us his spray gun and I went to town covering all the boards in an Benjamin Moore Cloud White egg shell paint.

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It got really windy at 7 that night and the boards started to rock, it was then that my dear Mr. J decided to bring all the wood inside.  Not all the pieces were dry yet, so in the house they came to spend the night.  Since our flooring had been torn up there was no concern about ruining the new floor.

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It was a long day of painting, but its going to be an even longer process of putting the ceiling up!

Inspiration!

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Renovating our home has been the most wonderful experience for Mr. J and I.  It has been wonderful exploring all the magazines, blogs, Pinterest boards, websites and hoards of shops for inspiration!  When we first walked into that 40 year old house all I could see was potential and I hardly noticed the green ivy wall stencil, gold flecked purple tiles and paneled walls. My vision for the house has come from my desire to make the house our own home, a place that will truly reflected who we are.  I want it to be a place where we would not only love to come home to, but also a place that was inviting for our friends and family. We have vacationed to Tofino B.C., California, Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and Hawaii and all the whie it has reinforced  just how relaxing and tranquil the beach is to the soul and it is this feeling that I wanted to bring into our home.  We are half way into our project and I have enjoyed every aspect of it, although the research is one of my favorite parts of our adventure and I just wanted to share some inspirational pictures!

Wood

These beautiful beach wood is really the jumping off point for our home. I love the smoothness of these edges, the subtleness of the colours and the worn feeling.

ceilingI love the colours of the floors, I would like our floors to have more grey in them.  The texture and the cozy feeling that the ceiling gives provides that Cape Cod influence I enjoy so much!

Paint

These beautiful none offensive colours are just the touch I am looking o come home to, to me it feels like a retreat.

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I am so in love with the shape of these tiles!

Kitchen

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I want to crawl right into that bed!!

I have folders stuffed full with clippings and samples from show homes, magazines, print offs, sales centres and home shows!  These shades, shapes and the feeling I get when I look at these images is what excited me to no end.  Even if these specific item as beyond my price point, I am going to find a way to replicate the mood they produce, search until I find the best deals and use my connections as a decorator to get what this home is destined for – greatness!

Down Comes the Wall

There was this terrible wall in the center of our house, it made the space feel cramped and  although it housed the washer and dryer, provided more storage and more wall space for the baseboard heaters (no gas in this house), it needed to go.  When we first walked into the house I saw the wall and knew it had to go!  It has a small opening from the front room to the Kitchen, but for the most part it split the house in two.  The two small rooms were awkward dimensions and  I knew as soon as the wall was down the entire space would brighten up!  Below is the wall from the Kitchen side.DSC_0026

Here is the wall from the Living room side.

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Mr J. and my Father-In-Law got a little stir crazy one day (this happens often) and made the executive decision to cut a hole in the wall.  After a few hours of sawing, cutting, electrical inspection, crawl space crawling and clean up, there was a decent sized hole in the wall.  I didn’t want the wall, but I also didn’t want a big hole in the wall either.  To me it felt as though it was a small solution to a larger problem and I felt as though taking the entire wall down was only going to be delayed further. The image below is looking into the family room from the middle of the Kitchen.

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Little did I know Mr. J the “new” Renovating Master had arrived!  This wasn’t a stall in tearing down the wall, but a much needed cost free breathing hole while we waited for the beam on order.  4 weeks past and we were given a couple weeks notice before the beam arrived.  The center wall was striped down to the 2×4’s, electrical moved and flooring torn up!

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Within weeks the engineered beam had arrived!  With the fridge stalked with beer and the friends on their way, the room joining adventure was almost complete!  The boys had to build ceiling supports on either side of the beam location and then with all the strength they could muster, the beam was hoisted into place.

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Taadaa! The supports where taken down and the ceiling didn’t fall to the floor! As you can see there was soo much dust to clean up, but it was done and my heart was floating! The greatest thing about removing a center wall is that a stippled ceiling is basically irreparable, the flooring is ruined and the living space is now in need of a complete re-haul!!!  Fantastic, it is exactly what I envisioned for the house!

Wall Paneling and a Brick Fireplace

The wall beside our front door was something straight out of a 60’s magazine, it was not only difficult to look at, but it was the most ridiculous design I had seen in a while.  Sweet mercy, this thing was ugly!  Have yourselves a look at the fireplace stand, the vent hanging from the ceiling, the half wall and the wall paneling behind the brick.  The paneling  itself wasn’t bad, but the wall was flimsy and needed to go.  Yeah, that’s my Dad Rick in the picture and it is quite a feat to find a photo of him, that he knows is being taken, without his hand in front of his face!  Anyways, he’s a huge help and was rip rearing to go!

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With a good sledge hammer and some man power this unsightly thing was coming down!

DSC_0182DSC_0188Now that the brick was gone, My Dad stripped the walls to the studs and him and I started the horrendous job of drywalling.  Oh, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate mudding – its honestly the worst part of renovating for me.  The grit in my hair, eyes and mouth, the driest hands I have ever felt and waking up in the morning and still having white drywall dust film in my eyes from the night before!  I digress, I knew what my vision was for this wall, I wanted a space for our TV, a fireplace and art.  After consulting the internet and devouring my hoards of decorating magazines, I had it down!  I wanted the center portion to come out 8-10 inches, with the fireplace recessed under the TV.

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After days and nights of mudding, sanding and perfecting my not so perfect job, we were ready to paint.

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We still have to arrange the furniture and get everything back in order, but it gives you an idea.  We didn’t tackle the entire vent, but it was filled and the hole was covered.  And the floor is missing under where the brick was, but it provided a great eyesore, which is another great reason to keep moving!  Exactly what I want – an entire overhaul!

Something old into something new!

As I was helping a friend plan her wedding this summer I came across this ugly frame for free in front of our neighbours house.  It has been sitting in the garage for some months until I could decide exactly what I wanted to do with it.  I came across a few ideas on Pinterest and with my husbands help we have some new art.  And part of me felt bad painting over another Artists photo, someone put time and energy into painting this masterpiece and all I wanted to do is toss that painting and makeover the frame. I got over this feeling quick and was ready to start creating!

So here she is, just BURSTING with potential.

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My vision for this DIY was to create something that could fill a few voids in our home.  I wanted somewhere we could put up family pictures because we don’t have a single picture up in our house of our family.  I also wanted it to serve as the front of our fridge.  Our beautiful LG doesn’t have a magnetic surface, thus there is nowhere to put up little bits of art or birth announcements.   Seeing as it is still the middle of winter, it’s minus one and there is snow on the ground.  It was pretty easy to come up with an excuse to put it off, but I figured that while I had a strong artsy drive I might as well make it happen.  There is a section along our fence line where the ground is exposed to the sun all day and thus the snow has all melted, its the only dryish spot on our lawn.  With the painting remove, I laid a sheet of plastic on the ground and with the high gloss spray paint I bought, I went to town on the frame.  Painting the frame was merely the first step to the process.  I wanted wire to span the expanse and I knew I wanted to add something more than pictures, but I didn’t really know exactly what I was looking for.  Mr. J was a huge help – figuring out how this was all going to work out and with his brain power and patience for my indecisiveness it all came together!

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I wanted to make sure that I could have the pictures both vertically and horizontally and I love that it can hold the standard 4×6 photo.  Its going to be great for adding christmas cards, I can easily add and remove pictures without trying to store awkward sized photos once I am done seeing them everyday and when we get photos in the mail of our friends and family we have somewhere to put them up.  Its going to be an ever changing piece of art for our house – perfect!

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I am going to move some pictures around a little and make sure that where they are is perfect, but for now its done!

Paxton’s Cake Smash

My Sweet little boy has turned one!!!  It has been an amazing year and he has blessed our lives beyond belief! My brother Brendan  is always more than willing to help me see my visions to fruition, so he took photos.  I have been seeing these great cake smashes for a child’s first birthday and wanted to have one for our little boy.

This year has been all about getting it done, so I made a cake, decorated the wall with the ribbon alter I made for a friends wedding, stripped Paxton to his diaper and let him at it!

First Cake Something Catches his Eye Almost there And he goes for the candle Umm Icing Eating the Candle Handful Delish Sprinkles Fun

Oh, this kid is such a ham!!  I LOVE HIM!

Dear 40 Something Self

As I said earlier I have been reading letters that people have been writing to themselves and wanted to do something similar, but here’s a little twist.

Dear 40-Something Kinsley,

I am sitting here thinking about you and of course it is in our nature to worry. I am worried for you. I wonder who you are in life and if you have yet to find your place, because right now I am feeling so very lost that I just want to quit trying. I feel like life is never going to be right and that all my days of trying are never going to pay off. I am sure that somewhere down the line you’ve decided to have kids, but my biggest worry right now is that I am going to be a horrible mom and fail at it too.

I worry that you’ve lost in life and that you’ve let your anxiety take over. I worry that you still feel like the weight of this scary world is crushing you. I hope you have learnt how to control it and that it no longer runs your life like it has been for the last couple of years. If you have let if take over – face up – for he is always there! If you have figured out how to conquor it – how did you do it?

I worry that you aren’t where you imagined I’d be. And often, I worry you are. I worry that you don’t take care of yourself and that you settled. I worry about what you will look like and if my days of fun in the sun have taken effect. I am sorry about that.

Right now I am head over heels in love with Jordan and I pray that you will always fight for that. I pray that you two will always fight for each other and that you will never be able to get enough of one another. We live in a lovely little house, just the three of us – Jordan, myself and little Mr. Monty (who will can always make you laugh).

My heart still doesn’t know which way to go. I still like to decorate, but is it where I am supposed to go? I love to spend time with my friends and family – but that doesn’t earn anyone a living. What have you chosen? Do you feel complete? How did you find your way? I pray that you still love to paint – if you haven’t done it in a while – pick up that brush, it does magic in your heart. How has running been going? You used to love it and get a rush from all that disgusting sweating. I just got back from an amazing cruise with all my family – have you been traveling much?

I wish I could just know how everything turns out so I could stop worrying. I should just learn how to stop worrying without knowing the future.

I am 26 right now and my family and friends are the best – they make my world go round and they make life so amazing. How are they doing? I wish that I could see my letter that my 40 something self wrote to my 20 something self and that it would read something like this…

“Kinsley, you look amazing – stop being so self conscious. You life turned out so well, so you can stop worrying. Don’t forget that there is more to life than trying to keep everyone safe, including yourself. Things with work will work out better than you can imagine and you have the best career in the whole world.
You have the best husband ever! Things work out perfectly maybe not on the timeline you originally planned but trust me, its all worth the wait. He will not be the man you expected but oh, is he the man you need.

I should also mention — you’re going to be a mom. It’ll happen at exactly the right time. You will have a wonderful pregnancy and an easy delivery. Epidurals ROCK. There’s nothing to be afraid of and oh my gosh – wait till you meet your kids. You can’t even imagine the wonder, beauty and magic that they will bring.

Let’s talk about our mom. She’s your best friend. Keep it that way. Forget the petty bulls*** because life is way, way too short.

Thanks for working out – it has paid off and you started taking it seriously at the right time. Also thank for wearing sunscreen – your skin is wrinkle free (Okay maybe that’s taking things too far!)

Just live in the moment if you can – love where you are at each and every moment! You are perfect just the way you are – so stop trying to be someone else – I love you and you’re doing great!”

Well that helped lift my somber mood out of the depths! And it looks like if I don’t worry soo much things will be great!