Christmas Home Tour {Part 2}

Welcome back!!

Yesterday, I shared part of our home, all decorated for the holidays.    And today, I’ll show you some more!

Come on in! We’ll start at the front door.


We moved the bench and shelf from the entry and pulled this cabinet in for a change.


The jumbo picture of our kids is an engineering print from Staples that cost less than $5. I had some art in this frame that I was tired of. So I painted the frame and added the picture of the kids instead!

Simple trees, and old toolbox with pinecones peeking out the lid add some color to the entry. With the addition of some twinkling lights on the trees too.


Instead of garland on the railing, I hung wreaths this year instead.  I miss the glow of the lights that are usually there, but I enjoy changing things up a bit.  And behind that, you can catch a glimpse of the gallery wall that we updated when the entry was painted this past year.


Here is the other side of the entry.

Flanking the door are the kids Santa pictures.  We go see him every year.  And while the pictures make for a busy display on the wall, it’s fun to watch the kids grow up year to year in the pictures.


By the kitchen sink, I added some berries, ribbon and pinecones to the fern.


Can you see the cute playhouse that I showed you yesterday just out the window?  I love that view.


This summer we had a window seat built in the kitchen.  And just a few weeks ago, it was finally painted! We’re still waiting on the cushion to be made.  But I love how it adds so much seating to our kitchen. Comfortable seating!


And since our family room and kitchen are an open concept, the window seat helps blend the two areas together.


And there’s the cute playhouse again, just out the window again!


And once again, more pinecones and red berries!

That wraps up our house tour this holiday season!

Thanks for following along!


Dutch Oven Bread Recipe

dutch oven bread

I love bread.  But my body doesn’t react well to gluten, and I’m not a huge cook these days, so making bread isn’t usually high on my list.  That is, until I was introduced to some DELICIOUS bread this summer.    I was at a family get together and thought they were joking when they pulled out this perfect looking loaf of bread, claiming to have made it.

They said it was easy to make.  What?! Making bread can be easy!?

I was anxious to get home and make some for my family.  But first of all, I had to purchase a dutch oven {like this one}. And purchase a few ingredients that I didn’t have on hand {like bread flour and yeast}.

Let me tell you, it IS easy.  And it IS good (I may have sampled a gluten filled taste or two, just to make sure).

So for those interested in making some, here is the recipe!


dutch oven bread

4 to 4 1/2 cups bread flour {yes, you need special flour for this}

2 Tablespoons yeast {or two packets of yeast}

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 cups warms water

1 Tablespoon salt

Pour warm water over the sugar and yeast.  Whisk together lightly.  Let it rest for 10 minutes until it is a bit foamy.

In a different bowl, mix 3 cups of the bread flour with the salt.

Add the flour to the yeast mixture, one cup at a time {preferably using a stand mixer with a dough hook}. The dough will be a bit sticky.  Add the rest of the flour in 1/2 cup increments until the dough completely comes together in a ball.  It may not take all of your flour, though typically I come pretty close.

Let the mixer knead the dough for a few minutes.  Then place the dough on the counter and knead it with your hands for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover the bowl with a damp dish towel.  Let the bread rise for 25 to 30 minutes. {Do not punch down the dough as it rises.}

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees, with the dutch oven inside the oven.

After the dough is done rising, lightly coat the top of the bread with some flour.  Then dump the dough into the dutch oven {I literally turn one bowl over and let the dough flop into the dutch oven.  But remember, the dutch oven will be hot from being in the oven. So don’t burn yourself.}  Then lightly coat the other side of the bread with flour.    Cut a few slits into the top of the bread, or an X or some other fancy design.

Cook for 30 minutes covered.  Take the lid off the bread and cook for another 5 or 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Remove from the dutch oven.  Let it cool a bit, then cut and serve with olive oil and balsamic vinegar!


 Happy cooking {or is it baking?}. Either way, enjoy the process. And most of all, enjoy the delicious, warm bread!


Christmas Around the House

Last week, I showed you my entry and the mantel, all decorated for Christmas.  Today I’d like to show you a few vignette’s around my house…

…the family room…

I bought that santa in Amish Country before we left the east coast. I love pulling it out every Christmas.

And oh dear…is that a lantern? {I mentioned last week that I may have a bit of a lantern obsession.}  I love the red color…It adds some color sitting in front of my lit branch arrangement.


What’s that? Another lantern?? It’s filled with small pine cones and faux red berries.  I also have my ‘joy to the world’ chalkboard and advent tree displayed in our kitchen.


We have the red bedding year round, but it’s even more season appropriate this time of year!

The Ikea wreaths are hanging from red Costco ribbon.

…dining room…

I love those little trees {also purchased at Ikea}.  Pinecones and faux holly brighten up the base of the trees.

And old books tied with striped ribbon {ribbon is from Michales}.

…powder room…

And I can’t help but leave you with one last lantern picture…

Thank you for taking a quick tour around my house!


linking up to:

southern hospitality,  savvy southern style,  a thoughtful place, at home in the northwest

Our New Refrigerator

This weekend, we noticed that our refrigerator was having an issue staying closed. After closer examination, we determined it was probably time to replace our 15 year old fridge.  We searched at a few local stores and decided on a new GE Profile.

When old appliances break, it’s bitter sweet.  Spending money on a new one isn’t fun, but getting something new and shiny is a thrill. Something that has more bells and whistles. Something that actually has drawers that slide open easily. Something that has a water filter.

So yesterday, we said good-bye to this old thing….

And we got to say hello to this handsome appliance…

It looks so pretty in the kitchen!

And thank goodness the fridge got here when it did.  The delivery man went to check out the old fridge before loading it into their truck and the door fell off in his hand! Talk about perfect timing!!

I’m loving the new look it gives the kitchen! Though it only makes me want to replace the white double oven next to the fridge! All in good time….


Under the Cabinet Outlet Strips

A few years ago, my brother and his family did a huge kitchen remodel.  When I was up at their house this weekend, my brother commented on how much he loves their under cabinet outlets.  Instead of doing standard outlets {in the backsplash area} they built outlet ‘strips’ underneath their cabinets.

There wasn’t any cutting into the pretty glass tiles to make room for outlets.  The backsplash is beautiful and seamless.

Cell phones can be charged.  Coffee makers plugged in.  And there are still plenty of outlets {which are virtually out of sight!} for any electrical needs that may arise.

I’ll be adding ‘under cabinet outlets’ to my wish list for our kitchen remodel! Will you?


linking up to:

shabby nest, at the picket fence, chic on a shoestring decorating, tatertots and jello, six sisters stuff, serenity now, funky junk interiors, nifty thrifty things, home stories a to z. my uncommon slice of suburbia, todays creative blog, savvy southern style, primp, aka design, the 36th avenue, the shabby creek cottage, serenity now, shabby nest, at the picket fence, chic on a shoestring

Crate and Barrel Aspen Dinnerware

We did it. After 15 years, we finally bought new dishes!  I went to Crate and Barrel and came home with their white Aspen dinnerware.  It’s nothing fancy. No intricate patterns. No fine detailing.  It’s plain and it’s simple. And it doesn’t have any chips or dings….yet!


The aspen dinnerware is porcelain, which is the most durable.  Since these are our everyday dishes, they needed to be sturdy to be handled by two busy little kiddos.

Here are some helpful hints when shopping for new dinnerware…

All you have to remember is E.S.P. (as in extrasensory perception).  But when talking about dinnerware, ESP stands for:

E – Earthenware: This is fired at the lowest temperature.  Therefore it is not as durable and chips the easiest.

S – Stoneware: Fired at a bit higher temperature, stoneware is a bit more durable than earthenware.

P – Porcelain: This is fired at the highest temperature, therefore it is the strongest and less likely to chip.

I do love color so switching to white dinnerware will be an adjustment for me.  My sister-in-law just purchased new dinnerware as well (coincidentally, from Crate and Barrel)! And she reminded me that food looks much prettier when served on a white plate. And I love that the white doesn’t compete with the place mats and napkins either! So I think I’ll adjust to my new white dinnerware quicker than I thought!

And since our silverware is also 15 years old, I also bought Crate and Barrel’s scoop flatware.

Now here’s hoping that it Dan likes it all as much as I do!!


linking up to:

savvy southern style, the brambleberry cottage, the shabby creek cottage, somewhat simple, house of hepworths, aka design, the 36th avenue, shabby nest, at the picket fence, my repurposed life, chic on a shoestring decorating, funky junk interiors, tatertots and jello

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