A Little Bit of This & That

The Random Things We Love to Make and Do

Change is in the Air!! October 9, 2013

Hello there all of you “A Little Bit of This and That” lovers!  I’ve got some great news!  We’ve made a few changes around here, and we are now:

 

http://lizzandlittlebit.com/

(Cheers!! Applause!!)

 

We also have a whole new look, so I would love for all of you to come and take a peek around our new website.  And I would love even more to hear what you think about it!

 

For my fabulous e-mail subscribers… with this new site, you will need to come over and re-subscribe so you keep getting all of our great posts.  I have learned that this has not happened automatically, so you might have missed this cool wreath

skull wreath

 

So pop on over, check us out, and re-subscribe for emails.  Can’t wait to see you over at lizzandlittlebit.com!

Lizz

 

BIG NEWS!!!!!! October 7, 2013

Filed under: My Home — Lizz @ 8:00 am
Tags:

It only took 136 days, over 250 emails, lots of extra $$ at the last minute, hours of online research, multiple moments of questioning my sanity, and a whole slew of the most amazing helpful people I’ve ever met, but it’s official….

.

I’M A HOMEOWNER!!!!!!

.

And by homeowner, I mean condo owner.  Tiny condo owner.  But hey, it’s 650 square feet of all mine!!

.

This was a unique purchase for so many reasons:

  1. I have lived in the building for the past 3.5 years.  My rented apartment and the new condo are laid out exactly the same, with the exception of being a mirror image of each other, so I have been able to spatially plan for months.  The biggest difference is that the rented apartment was fully upgraded (Cherry wood cabinets, granite, tons of cabinets, etc.), while the new condo is going to need some serious sprucing up.  I never saw myself buying a condo, but I love the neighborhood, my building, and especially my neighbors.  The thought of leaving made me sad, so now I’ll stay. Forever.  Or for 30 years when my mortgage is up.  I’ll play it by ear.
  2. I didn’t use a realtor.  Because I already lived there, I was in the know about this condo going into foreclosure.  Before there was even a sign posted, I had already called the bank and expressed my interest.  I already had a mortgage broker and a real estate attorney lined up, and they were soooooooo helpful in answering all of my Property Virgin questions.  This was great because it saved everyone a ton of money, but unless you’ve got all of this going for you I would say hire someone to help you because this is some confusing stuff.
  3. This was a foreclosure that wasn’t a foreclosure.  The bank had a holding company that technically purchased the property from the bank first.  Since I came in so quickly, I had to wait around for all that legal junk to go through (including the judge recusing himself from the case approving the sale, which set us back almost 2 months!)  I also learned a lot, like that condo sales require some extra steps like getting approval from the association and having to pay the previous tenants unpaid association fees.
  4. My mortgage kept getting blocked by all sorts of weird regulations, and I learned one very important lesson: Money Talks!  As I put more toward the down payment, the regulations all sort of floated away.  Like magic….
  5. Even though my new and old places are the same size, I have WWWAAAAYYYYYYYY too much stuff for the new place.  Now that everything is out of their nooks, crannies, and hidey-holes, it’s glaringly obvious that it’s time to make some donations.

.

So now here I am, sitting in a jungle of half emptied boxes, bins, and baskets, without being able to find anything I need (where the HECK are my shoes?!), and wondering if this was actually a good idea.

.

Yes. Yes it was.

.

Not only do I finally get to knock down a wall (Woohoo!), decorate in my own personal style, and actually get to call this place my own, but I also get to add a whole bunch of new elements to our This & That repertoire!  So hold onto your hats as I start adding in all the little DIY projects (and WHOA do I have a ton!) that are going to make this condo our home.

.

Plus, how many people in condos/apartments can say they have this view from their living room?

.

image

.

Yup, that’s a river.  In suburbia.

.

I am so looking forward to sharing this new chapter of my life with all of you! So while I’m here, dealing with rainy day leaks and exploding lightbulbs (yeah…), do any of you experienced homeowners have any good tips or suggestions to share with me?

.

With love and excitement,

Lizz

 

Happy National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!! September 13, 2013

September 13th is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day!!

Image

I am so glad that more and more information about Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance is getting out there, because (LISTEN UP PEOPLE!!) this is more common than you think. While it may seem like eating gluten free is a fad (okay, admittedly in some cases it is), there are so many people out there that are in for a lifetime of GF living. If a fad means that more and more companies are opening their eyes and making products that are safe for my family, then I say bring it on!!

celiac stat

Crazy right? Most people who have Celiac don’t even know they have it. There are hundreds of symptoms, and it’s not always the obvious cause for someone’s issues. That’s why awareness is so important, because one quick little blood test might change someone’s whole quality of life.

So, what is one to do on this day of awareness? Well….

  • You could brush up on your current events. Did you know the FDA just passed a ruling regarding Gluten-Free labeling? I found a webinar happening on the 18th that will go over all the details. Check it out *HERE*
  • If you don’t have Celiac, but know someone who does, maybe today is a good day for a big hug. We Celiacs deal with a lot on a daily basis, but love and kindness is always gluten free. =)
  • You can dole out some information about non-food gluten issues (which I will now do). Many people don’t realize that Celiacs have to be careful about gluten in medications, toothpaste, and even make-up! Thankfully there are places out there trying to take care of us in this area too, like Red Apple Lipstick (my new fav makeup company). I had the privilege of meeting them at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo, and not only are their products AMAZING, (and they got me to wear lipstick. RED lipstick) they are basically the sweetest people ever. Check out all the really interesting information on their page. Even if you are not GF you will probably never buy regular makeup again after reading what’s in it. You can thank me later.
  • You can share your favorite GF food with people who have never tried it before. I will be bringing in a treat for my staff, who always complain that I talk about the GF foods I make, but never bring anything in. Well, perhaps they will like this…….

20130913-071834.jpg

Gluten Free Banana Cupcakes with Brown Butter Frosting!!!

I found this recipe on Betty Crocker’s website (This could also be a good thing check out today…Betty has a massive list of amazing GF recipes). I’ve made these cupcakes a few times with great response from everyone that eats them, and I found that The only deviation i make from the recipe is that i use a box and a half of the cake mix. I was immediately draw to this, because we love brown butter around here. If you don’t know how to make brown butter, *this recipe* describes how to do it.

So tell me friends…..What are you going to do for National Celiac Awareness Month?

Lizz

 

Gluten Free Friday – Coming Soon May 3, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lizz @ 8:00 am

I have a great review for all of you about the amazing Gluten and Allergen Free Expo.

.

I have a bajillion photos to share.

.

I have a computer that doesn’t seem to think that’s very important right now.

.

Sooooo….I’m going to have to postpone GFF until I can get this under control.  Keep your eyes peeled!!

 

Happy Celiac Awareness Month!! May 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Lizz @ 6:39 am

It’s here!!

.

Image

(Source)

.

Check back here all month for Celiac info, Gluten Free recipes, and perhaps a giveaway or two!!  You should also take a minute or two to check out all the amazing happenings over at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).

.

If you have a great gluten free blog, or even a specific post, please feel free to share it below.  Let’s share the love and share the knowledge!!

.

GF Love,

Lizz

 

Spring Wreath April 24, 2013

Filed under: Art Projects,Crafts,Wreaths — Lizz @ 12:19 pm
Tags: , ,

Those of you in the Chicagoland area know that we are currently going through what we all lovingly call “Chicago Weather”.  For those of you that are not experiencing this with us, allow me to recap the past week for you:

.

Thursday: (high of 63 degrees) It rained so much that we had massive flooding in the area.  To date, a week later, there are still roads that are closed as they are under water.

Friday Night:  (high of 39 degrees) It snowed.  I had to scrape ice off my windshield.  Chicagoans never take the ice scraper out of the car.  Even in the summer.  Just incase.

Saturday: (high of 45) The sun peaked out

Sunday: (high of 53) A little more sun

Monday: (high of 66) Sunny, and I didn’t even wear a coat

Tuesday: (high of 59) Rain again, gloomy grey skies

Today: (estimate high of 49) might rain again tonight, or possibly snow.

.

This weekend is supposed to get close to 70.  My allergies and sanity cannot take this much longer.

.

As I dream about the nice spring weather coming our way (right?! please?!), and think about everything starting to grow, I went ahead and made something to make that dream feel like a reality:  A pretty colorful Spring wreath…

.

Image


.

I thought it turned out quite cute, don’t you agree?

.

As some of you might remember, I made a white yarn wrapped wreath a while back, because I have a micro-sized apartment and don’t have the space to store more than one.  I like to put removable objects on the wreath so I can continue to re-use it. And that, my friends, is exactly what I did here.

(See how I made the yarn wreath) (Check out my sweet Halloween wreath)

.

I went to my favorite craft store, Michaels, and found a really cool green yarn that looked like glittery Astroturf.  I also found some paper butterflies and clearance colored flowers.  Don’t forget your coupon! Random thought tangent…Did you know they have an app that you can get the coupon for them to scan right on your phone, meaning you never show up unexpectedly without your flyer again?  However, I found that they NEVER have good reception in the store and I can’t get the app to work, so now I open the app in the car and take a screen shot of the coupon before I go in.  Works like a charm…

.

wrapping-wreath

.

I wrapped the green yarn tightly around the bottom half of the wreath, so no white shows through.  This took one full skein, and I didn’t cut it at all.  When I’m done with this wreath I will be able to re-use the yarn (an other decorations) for other projects.  I secured both ends with a few T-pins.  Then I also used the T-pins to attach the flowers and butterflies.

.

t-pins

.

Simple. Removable. Reusable. Spring-y.

.

So, what are you doing to make it feel like Spring really is here?

.

Lizz

.

Do you love this so much you want to pin it on Pintrest? Go right ahead…

 

Gluten Free Friday – Bacon Cheeseburger Parfait April 19, 2013

Oh Gluten Free Friday, how I have missed you…

.

I had something totally different planned for today, but then came across this awesome recipe by Hungry Girl (LOVE her!!), and I knew I needed to do this immejietly.  There is nothing I love more than naturally gluten free meals that Skylar and I will both eat, with the bonus element of fun.  After you excuse my unedited photos (my computer was giving me attitude, and I couldn’t wait to share this one), I give you the Bacon Cheeseburger Parfait:

.

cbparfait

.

OH. MY. GOSH. THAT’S. SO. COOL! (as stated by Skylar)

.

We don’t currently own parfait glasses, so we scoured the shelves for something else fun.  Skylar chose a perfectly sized martini glass (a girl after my own heart), and I picked a larger sangria glass, because I wanted a bigger portion.

.

The absolute best part of this meal is the customizability (new word?).  Just as you would with a normal burger, you can throw whatever toppings you want in here.  We both wanted bacon.  I mean, who wouldn’t, right?!  After checking around, we found that these “Real Bacon Bits” contain no gluten ingredients.  You can find them with the other bacon bits in the non-fridge aisle.  They are a little soft, so we decided to toast them up for crunch.  This is a great alternative to making a big ol’ mess trying to fry up bacon slices just for a little bacon crumble.  Plus they jumped and danced in the pan, which was fun to watch.

.

Image

.

Ingredients (for approx 4 parfaits) (Adapted from Hungry Girl)

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • salt/pepper/burger seasoning to taste
  • 1 small/medium sweet onion, diced (set some aside if you want raw for toppings)
  • 4 slices of american cheese
  • Instant mashed potatoes (enough for a serving of 4), with all ingredients to make it
  • Burger toppings of your choice: ketchup, mustard, A1, BBQ sauce, pickles, tomato, bacon, avocado, lettuce, raw onion, relish, sautéed mushrooms, ect, ect, ect…

.

Directions

  • Gather, chop, peel, saute, and lay out all of the optional toppings.
  • Put beef, seasoning, and diced onion into a pan, and cook until the meat is brown and the onions are cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, cook the instant mashed potatoes as directed on the box.  When you mix everything together at the end, add a little extra flake to make it a nice thick batch.
  • Start to layer in your glass.  First the meat mixture, covered with a few ripped off pieces of American cheese.  Then add your choice of toppings, and a layer of potatoes to fill the glass halfway.  Repeat to fill the top half.
  • Garnish the top layer of potatoes with a few of your ingredients.
  • Enjoy!

.

Skylar went simple with hers: Cheese, bacon, and pickles.  I, however, went a little on the fun side with cheese, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, avocado, tomatoes, and A1 sauce.

.

Image

.

Total success.  We will definitely do this again.  This would be a great alternative for someone GF at a BBQ.  You could even take a burger from the grill, chop it up, and throw all of this in a bowl. Yum.  Everyone will be jealous.

.

Will I see any of you at the Gluten & Allergen Free Expo this weekend?!  I went to this last year, and it was amazing!  I couldn’t believe not only how many great companies were there sharing their products, but also how many people attended.  They’ve moved it to the Schaumburg Convention Center this year, which is a much larger venue, so I’m sure there’s going to be a ton of great stuff to check out. Woohoo!

.

Have a wonderful Friday Everyone!!

.

Lizz

 

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 167 other followers