Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Monday, January 28, 2019

Let's Talk Pancakes! Favorite Homemade Recipes!

I can hardly believe that this is the last week of January! I was going to do a weekend re-cap, but it would really only consist of a basketball game and an impromptu trip out for burgers for the kids last night, so maybe not, ha. Our lives feel kind of boring lately, as the weather just stinks so we're stuck inside most days (and we've given up shopping/trips to the store, etc for 90 days), and we're all a bit, well, grumpy. Homemade pancakes help. :)

The following recipe serves as a nice base for several other variations, and they taste SO much better than pouring powder from a box and adding water. Definitely worth the little bit of trouble to make them from scratch.
Favorite Pancakes
What You'll Need:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached)
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp vegetable oil (plus more to cook them)
mini chocolate chips (or blueberries!)
**For fluffier pancakes, add a tablespoon or two of water and whisk lightly- I literally hold the mixing bowl under the faucet and turn on the water for a second.**
I've made these pancakes so many times I could probably manage them blindfolded. I've passed the kitchen torch, so to speak, to my boys, and each one can now make these on their own. I am very proud of their accomplishments in the kitchen!
Blend the dry ingredients into a large mixing/batter bowl; add the eggs and milk and whisk lightly. Add oil and whisk again until batter is smooth. Pour in some chocolate chips and fold in with a spatula- you can sprinkle more onto the pancakes themselves as they're cooking. I used to cook pancakes on a griddle, set at 375 degrees, in just a little bit of oil.  BUT our griddle died and I decided not to replace it because I hated cleaning it so much. So now I use a large fry pan on medium heat with a bit of oil for the kids, coconut oil for me. The more oil you use will result in a crispier outer layer, which some people in our household prefer. Easy enough to cater to. :)
Add berries, chocolate chips, diced peaches...or nothing at all, and they will be so delicious!

Here are some more yummy from-scratch recipes! They really only do require a few more minutes of your time, but we think they are SO worth it. Enjoy!

Now I'm hungry, ha! I have been dabbling in the world of paleo and raw eating, but I'm also a big believer in balance, so maybe my apple and hard-boiled egg can wait until tomorrow morning. ;) Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

New England Farmhouse Dining Room in Winter

I have a hard time with labels, so I'm hesitant to label this space "farmhouse," and I've found that I'm also leaning towards a more minimalist mindset, so... hmm, where does that leave me? Farmhouse minimal? Streamlined farmhouse? I'll have to think about that. :)

I typically keep things neutral in January, with maybe a few pops of color, partly because I like the clean, fresh slate feeling after Christmas; and partly because there are inevitably a few lingering holiday things that need to get used up or thrown out. I joked on IG that the coffee bar nook is having a slight identity crisis with all the candy canes still hanging around.

If you look below, you can see how we sanded down the table leaf on the left- this table is pretty awful BUT it's what we have, and Levi is going to wreak havoc on it for the next few years, so I can't justify purchasing a new one. Anyway, we tried using a Danish oil instead of poly as a sealer and it just plain stinks. Literally and figuratively. It took weeks for the smell to dissipate, gross! And I don't like how it turned out, either. I'm thinking of sanding and applying a creamy chalk paint- any thoughts?

We also got a wild hair and decided to remove the big rug out of here. We got that for our second house back in 2002, so it's been with us a while, and my tastes have definitely changed. And it's pretty worn out, ha. I like having it gone, but I'm not sure I like such bare floors. We shall see...

The other change in here is the curtains. After redoing this space (and the living room) almost two years ago, I just couldn't commit to window treatments. It was SO nice having everything light and bright, but lately it felt a little too bare. So we tried several different wood and faux wood blind options, and NONE of them worked. The builders decided to frame the windows with two pieces of trim instead of one, and the one closest to the window sits at an angle. Just why? WHYYYY? The right size blinds don't fit because they bump against the angled trim. The smaller sized blinds just look weird because there is too much space on either side. So blinds are out.

Considering we already had the curtain rods from when we first put them up shortly after moving in  (2016), AND we've committed to a 90-Day No Spend plan, we simply used what we had. And I like them! The curtains from our previous house, and since I don't have the last two panels to complete each window, I opted to do this. I didn't think I would like it, but I do! That ridiculous chandelier, not so much. BUT. 90 days, people. We can do this!

Ha ha, guess I was snapping pics during lunch. :)

Here is a shot from before the curtains and prior to ditching the rug...

And here...

I've got a question for you: are the photos on blogger not acting right for anyone else? They seem super grainy and dull. No bueno.... oops, now I hear someone calling for me, gotta go! Happy Tuesday! And you can find me on Instagram @bethanylivs_life , so pop over and say hello!

sharing with Tuesday Talk today! 

Just wanted to share that I've got some pretty new nightgowms in my shop, too, so feel free to take a look. And THANK YOU  so much for your support by shopping small!! 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Friday Favorites - Hello 2019!!

Hey friends! Just popping in to share some highlights from our week...or rather, the first week+ of the new year because they've all sort of jumbled together and we don't have our regular rhythm going yet. It's been a hard week (+, ha) but also good. Ah life, why you gotta be so complicated??

Every year, I treat myself to a new flowering plant to celebrate a brand new year, AND to have some color and life around me. This is a hard time of year in New England when we're often simply stuck indoors and everything seems so lifeless and dull. I've been doing this for over a decade now, so you might think I've got quite the assortment of flowering plants. Not so. My green thumb does not extend to indoor plants for some reason, ha!
Also, Levi wanted to read with me, so we were both doing some devotional studies. :)

And Story Time is back in session at the library...yay!

Big changes are on the horizon for this little guy. He's ready (I think), but I'm not! But I am. I don't know. This big age gap and having one in college, some in high school, and a middle schooler and toddler is a blessing beyond measure, it truly is BUT it often leaves me curled up in the fetal position with emotion overload. I don't think I can even accurately describe the mess that's inside my head most days lately. Anyhoo, I moved some furniture around to make room for a big boy bed and I LOVE the difference it makes. I'll share more pics soon!

Meal prep is ON, and my kitchen only sees the sun in the early afternoon, and it's been really dreary and dark lately, so this was a wonderful sight! Dinner cooking and sun pouring in. (I'm interested in the instant-pot but we've committed to a no-spend January and one didn't come for Christmas, so... good ol' crock-pot it is!)

Sweetest little smile and some fresh air! Hooray!

Lastly, at least it looks pretty, right?

Just don't look down at my floors because all that lovely out there becomes a never-ending mess in here.

Okay, it's Friday! I mean, it's Fri-yayyyyyy!!! Let's make it a good one, and have a super weekend!

Linking up for Friday Favorites today!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Christmas Week in Pictures

I know I'll regret it if I don't include highlights of our Christmas week even though it feels like it was already such a long time here goes!

December started off with a special trip to the Polar Express at our library. So fun!

Lots of special breakfasts and things...

We also discovered that this kid loves candy canes, ha!

Twinsies! I don't know who was more excited about this, Isabelle or ME!! Levi was pretty happy about matching, too. :)

I made good on a promise, at least according to my children, I had denied them this special feast...

Elf Spaghetti!!!!

Boys in bear hats and sherpa coats = off the charts adorableness!!

Special time at Mimi's house... those are my photos on the wall back there! :)

He LOVES cutting little snippets of paper with blunt scissors. Santa was supposed to remember that and bring him his own pair. Oops.

SURPRISE!!! Ethan came home three days early to surprise us!!! I was so happy.

So was he!

I may have gone a little overboard with the Christmas jammies this year, but he's growing up SO fast and I, well, I'm just making excuses. He looks ridiculously cute in them all.

Somebody gets very vocal with story reading...

 Annual cookie decorating day at my parent's house. Going on seventeen years now!! Wow!!

I thought Levi did a great job. He didn't spill and was very precise with the brushes, especially when he would stick them right in his mouth to lick the icing, ha.

Trade secrets...

 All my babies :)

Dancing to the Wiggles Christmas CD- we still have the original VHS!

 Girl time...

More reading antics in adorable pajamas...

And the most intricate little set-ups for toys. I LOVE his imagination!

Off to meet Santa! Daddy had more than two weeks off so he came with us!

Don't be fooled here. Boyfriend was breaking out in a cold sweat, I'm sure. That candy cane totally saved him from a meltdown moment.

It took several attempts and then bribery to get him to stand without Bill beside him. So no real tears this year.

Can I have ma candy cane now? pweease?

I think I just may have to enlarge this one and put in on the wall somewhere.

Jonah got bamboo steamers and none of us is mad about it. He makes us the yummiest things!!!!

I'm sure I'm leaving out a ton, but I'm glad to have these here. It certainly is NOT all roses and bon bons but I sure do love them.
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