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Last night at dinner, he prayed, “Thank you God for my Mommy, my Daddy and my sister…. and thank you for August the 8th.” August 8. 31 days away.

You see, we homeschooled this past school year. And while I firmly believe in the benefits of homeschooling and would give a gold medal to anyone that can happily do it, it’s not the best fit for our family. I don’t regret our decision to homeschool this past year and am thankful for the experience. The freedom in our schedule, sleeping in and pancakes for breakfast will certainly be aspects that I miss.  But, for this next year, I look forward to the routine of school (I was a nerd growing up… even used to take pictures of my school supplies before the big first day… I know. I. Know. Definition of a nerd and a beginning sign of the inner photographer!) and my kids are looking forward to making new friends.

So while I’m counting down the days until the first day of school, apparently they are too! As my husband pointed out to me, “As much as you need a break from them, they need a break from you too.”

But before I close our homeschool chapter, let me share a quick tutorial for our school room setup.

We used our bonus room for the school room. I made two large desks, painted a chalkboard wall, and created a reading nook. For the chalkboard wall, I chose Benjamin Moore chalkboard paint. It took two coats and has held up really well. I love it! And I will honestly say that my kids have drawn on it far more than I have used it to teach.

School Room - allofhisgrace.net

For the desks, I bought hollow core doors from Lowe’s (about $35/each) and painted them white.
After painting them, I coated them with a clear coating for durability. And then it turned yellow. Arg!
I highly recommend clear coating with an acrylic water-based polyurethane, NOT OIL BASED. I ended up repainting the doors and recoating them… learned the hard way!

School Desks - allofhisgrace.net

I found adjustable-height chair stools at an only school supply store. Those were actually the most expensive buy at $80/piece. But, they are really well made and will last far longer than we want to use them. In other words, I’ll probably sell them one day when this room becomes a media room (I’m foretelling the future when the kids are teenagers) πŸ˜‰

To hold the door up, just prop it onto shelving units. I scored mine from Target and chose to use one with wider shelves on one side and two smaller ones for the other side. You could anchor the door to the shelves, but I didn’t. I wanted the option to easily move the desks out of the way if I needed to. Those doors only weigh about 10 pounds.

School Room - allofhisgrace.net

In the back corner of the room is a weird space that I wasn’t sure what to do with. So, we made it into a reading nook!

Reading Nook - allofhisgrace.net

We made bookshelves from plastic rain gutters. There are tons of tutorials for this online, just do a quick Google or Pinterest search.
I spray painted cardboard R-E-A-D letters from Hobby Lobby and found a cute print and frame.

Reading Nook - allofhisgrace.net

 It’s been a great use of space!

And now that we won’t be using this room for homeschool anymore, the desks will still be a great place for homework, projects, painting, etc.

 

If you want to attempt this project and have any questions or suggestions for others, feel free to comment on this post!

 

homeschool room setup, homeschool, homeschool room, diy desk, rain gutter bookshelves, schoolroom setup

 

 

Let me start off this post by saying I have never been a good biscuit maker. There have been times where my husband as walked in the kitchen and seen flour all over the counter, smiled at me, and said “You trying to make biscuits again?” And, as always, they would end up like hockey pucks. Every. single. time. I would follow the instructions exactly and, never fail, hockey pucks. But then, I came across this recipe. And I now know that there is hope for me. Because I did made SOFT and FLUFFY BISCUITS!! Y’all, seriously, if you have never been able to make good biscuits, you must try this recipe.

Now the first time I made them, I didn’t have any self rising flour on hand. So I made my own by adding 1 and 1/4 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt per 1 C of all purpose flour. They turned out perfectly. And when you see that brown sugar is in the ingredients, you’ll scratch your head and say, “What??” But, I’m calling it the secret ingredient. These biscuits are not in any way sweet. They. are. perfect. You’ll just have to trust me until you taste them for yourself! The second time I made them, I used White Lily self rising flour, as the recipe calls for, and I ended up having to add about 1/4 C of extra flour to make the dough less sticky. You’ll just have to use your judgment on how much extra flour to add, if any, until the dough is just enough not sticky. Also, I made these yesterday morning and had some leftover dough that I covered and stored in the fridge. I patted it out this morning and made four more biscuits that turned out perfectly, again! I’m telling you, this is THE recipe for soft and fluffy no-fail biscuits. If I, previous hockey puck maker, have made these successfully 3 times in a row, then I know that anyone can make these!

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits | www.allHisgrace.net

The recipe is below. Enjoy!!

 

Easy Buttermilk Biscuits
These are soft and fluffy biscuits that will cook perfectly every time!
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Ingredients
  1. 2 C White self-rising flour*
  2. Β½ tsp salt
  3. 2 Tbl light brown sugar
  4. 1 C buttermilk
  5. ΒΌ C heavy whipping cream
  6. 8 Tbl butter
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl add flour, salt and brown sugar.
  4. Mix until well combined.
  5. With a pastry blender, cut the cold butter into the flour mixture.
  6. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add the buttermilk and cream.
  7. Stir gently until flour is just mixed in (do not overwork the dough)
  8. Generously flour your work surface and hands. Very gently, knead the dough by folding it in layers a few times while adding more flour, just enough so that the dough is not sticking to your hands or your work surface.
  9. Pat the dough out until it is 1 inch thick.
  10. Flour your biscuit cutter and cut out circles.
  11. Place biscuits on prepared cookie sheet with sides barely touching.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
  13. Brush generously with melted butter as soon as they come out of the oven.
  14. Serve hot and enjoy!
Notes
  1. *I've found that the White Lily self-rising flour is very sticky, and I usually have to add up to 1/2 C more flour to the dough. You can make your own self-rising flour by adding 2.5 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt to 2 cups of all-purpose flour.
  2. The key to making this recipe work well is keeping all of your cold ingredients very cold and to work quickly. I usually put my butter in the freezer for a few minutes before I cut it into the flour. Once I have the dough prepared, I cut the biscuits out and get them in the oven as fast as I can!
the Sparrow's Nest http://sparrowsnestblog.com/
 southern blog, diy blog, recipe blog, best buttermilk biscuits, soft and fluffy biscuits, easy biscuit recipe, biscuit recipe, best biscuit recipe

What are gifts of grace? Click here!

* * * * *

199 – Barbie bath

bath

 

200 – petals’ edge
(this print will be available for purchase in the etsy store)

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205 – catching fireflies

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206 – the sweet smell of fresh picked gardenias

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207 – picking blueberries

allofhisgrace.net

208 – mountain of clothes to fold

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209 – my super hero

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210 – his willingness to help
(I smile when I find dishes in the wrong places.)

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211 – finding day lilies in the yard

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I hope you have a beautiful week! Take notice of the way He gifts you with all of His grace. πŸ˜‰

This past Father’s Day, my husband requested that I make a coconut cake for him. Now, I’m not a huge fan of coconut, because the smell reminds me of sunscreen! But, it was Father’s Day, so…. husband’s choice.  I’ve made a Sour Cream Coconut Cake before, but the coconut was just in the icing. This cake incorporates the coconut flavor throughout the entire cake by using coconut milk and coconut flavoring. But, it’s not overpowering at all!  It’s diviiiiiine and won’t make you think about sunscreen at all. So so good! Try it and let me know what you think!

The Best Coconut Cake Recipe | www.allHisgrace.net

Toasted Coconut Cake
Yields 1
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For the cake
  1. 5 large egg whites
  2. 1/2 C whole milk
  3. 1 Tbl coconut flavoring
  4. 3 C cake flour
  5. 2 1/3 C sugar
  6. 4 1/2 tsp baking powder
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1 C unsalted butter, room temp.
  9. 1 C unsweetened coconut milk
For the Coconut Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
  1. 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp.
  2. 1/2 C unsalted butter, room temp.
  3. 4 C powdered sugar, sifted
  4. 1-3 Tbl unsweetened coconut milk
  5. 1 tsp coconut flavoring
  6. pinch of salt
  7. 1 C unsweetened coconut
For the Whipped Cream Filling
  1. 1/2 C of the buttercream frosting {above}
  2. 1/2 C heavy whipping cream
To make the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper.
  2. Put the egg whites, 1/2 cup milk and coconut flavoring in a bowl and whisk slightly to break up the eggs. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and coconut milk and combine on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg white mixture in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions.
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
To make the buttercream frosting
  1. Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy. Add the coconut flavoring and enough coconut milk to reach a spreadable consistency. Mix until smooth.
  2. Spread the coconut on a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven until golden.
  3. To make the Whipped Cream Cheese Filling.
  4. With a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add 1 cup of the cream cheese buttercream frosting a little at a time while mixing on medium-high speed. Whip to soft peaks.
To frost the cake
  1. Place one cake layer on the cake stand and cover with the whipped cream cheese filling. Put the second cake layer on top and frost the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese buttercream. Sprinkle the top and sides of the cake with the toasted coconut.
  2. Chill at least one hour before serving.
Adapted from Completely Delicious
Adapted from Completely Delicious
the Sparrow's Nest http://sparrowsnestblog.com/

Summer isn’t complete without catching fireflies …

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Catching Fireflies - allofhisgrace.net

… and then letting them go.

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I honestly believe that things like these simple bugs that glow in the dark were made purely for our enjoyment. They add a little magic into our evenings, don’t they?

And I see them as a reminder in this dark world that we live in… “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Let your light shine! Instead of wondering why there is so much evil in the world, let us instead wonder why is there so much goodness? For God’s love is all around us. We only have to open our eyes. Those starving children? There is food to feed them. We need only share. Those orphans? There are arms to hold them. We need only to open our doors. Those that are homeless? There is shelter. We need only to give. We are the hands and feet of God. So let us not question his goodness in this dark world. For He is good. There is no question about that! And His love is all around. We need only to open our eyes.

catching fireflies, fireflies, summer evenings, let your light shine