Gluten Free Caramel Chocolate Chunk Blondies

I’ve heard that some people cut gluten from their diet in order to lose weight. I don’t know how that works for them, when recipes for things like gluten free caramel chocolate chunk blondies exist.

Lace and Lemons - GF Caramel Chocolate Chunk Blondies

My mom bought me a spiffy little cookbook that has a nice variety of GF recipes for everything from breakfast to desserts – so naturally I went for the desserts first. Baking is the scary part of eating low-gluten or gluten-free. Even if you’re a big pasta eater, you can find some reasonably priced pastas in most grocery stores. But cookies? Yikes. No one likes paying $6 for a box of mediocre cookies.

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Your Very Own Valet

You ever have one of those days where you set out to do a simple task and every little thing about it is difficult?  I just had one of those days – well, several days, because I had to walk away from the project – while trying to make something that really should have taken less than an hour from start to finish. It turned out well in the end, thankfully.

For Nicholas’s birthday, I wanted to make him his own valet.

Mr. Bates

But no, I don’t mean his own Mr. Bates.

I mean a little dresser valet, because he only gets to use a small corner of my usually-cluttered dresser, as there’s no night stand on that side of the room. He keeps his keys and phone and whatnot there, and he likes to keep his things neatly organized.

Lace and Lemons - Dresser Valet

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Candy Christmas Trees

Lace and Lemons - Candy Christmas TreesThis is one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  It still shocks me that our mom ever did this with us – she’s crafty, but hates messy things. These Candy Christmas Trees are messy, but so cute and so fun to put together.  Among other things, Christmas is about giving, so I’m giving you this lovely tradition from our family! Enjoy 🙂

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To do, or not to do

January was awful. I’m pretending January didn’t happen, and that 2013 only has 11 months in it.

Hey yinz, happy February!

I have high ambitions of being much more organized in 2013 than, well, any other year in my life. So far it has worked out let’s say 4/7 of the time. I’ll have a few days when I am up on time, getting stuff done (right after that first cup of coffee), cleaning dishes right away, putting stuff where it belongs, crossing things off the to-do list. And then all of a sudden we’ll have two or three days in a row when we’ve got places to be right after work and there’s just no time (ok, or we’re just too tired) to fetch and do and clean and pick up after ourselves. And it is so hard to catch up from those days.

But we’re working on it!

One thing that really helps to keep me on track is writing things down. I need that visual of what needs to be done when, and typing it doesn’t cut it. For years I’ve been using just a basic spiral notebook for my day-to-day to-do lists and grocery lists. I love seeing that page at the end of the day with all of the tasks crossed off, and it’s easy to fill in new tasks or thoughts as they pop into my head.

My problem at work is that a notebook gets lost in the shuffle on my desk – there are just too many papers, too many files, and if I can’t see the to-do list it won’t be nagging at me to get done. I had made myself a mini dry erase board out of a standing 4×6 picture frame (because stuff that heavy won’t hang nicely on cubicle walls). That little thing just doesn’t cut it anymore. So here’s how I made my new, big, 8×10 standing dry erase board:

I bought a cheap picture frame at Target. It was on clearance for less than $3. You can get one at the dollar store, but sometimes the stands on those are super flimsy.

Lace and Lemons Memo Board

I dug out some scrap book paper (I have a ton of this stuff, but I don’t scrap book) and set. This is where the dry erase board gets its character: will it be bright colors? Wood grain? Antique-looking white tin ceiling tile?

Lace and Lemons Memo Board Lace and Lemons Memo Board Lace and Lemons Memo Board

I used the paper that was in the frame to mark out the area I wanted from my scrap book paper, and cut it to size.

Lace and Lemons Memo Board

Lace and Lemons Memo Board

Then I popped it into the frame. Done!

Lace and Lemons Memo Board

I liked the bright stripey paper, but I’ve been wanting to use this ceiling tile image for a long time, and I think my dry erase markers will show up on it better.

Lace and Lemons Memo Board

 I’m gonna take this to work today and see if my productivity improves any! Or if I just end up doodling all day.

Lace and Lemons Memo Board

 Stay tuned this month, I have plans for Valentine’s Day, a bridesmaid’s dress refashion (leftover from Christmas time), and I do believe we’ve got a Lace & Lemons birthday coming up! For which I have absolutely no plan.  I’ll work on that.

~Amy

What Have I Got in My Pocket

Way back in the day, my grandmother made a little pocket doll for me. Actually, she made me two, because I lost one at daycare and was so upset that I needed another one.  The second one had my name stitched on it so that if it was lost it could be returned. Shortly thereafter I found the original doll, who now had a bff.

Lace and Lemons Pocket Doll

Fast forward two decades. Nick and I had the distinct honor of babysitting our niece, Maggie, the other weekend, and I decided that she needs her own pocket doll to haul around in her pocket along with all the dandelions, dirt and rocks.

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Come and Trim My Christmas Tree

Seating arrangements are a challenge of logic, physics, creativity and sociability. Seating arrangements in tiny apartments: doubly so.

Nick and I are hosting Christmas dinner (well, lunch. We can’t wait all day for food and family togetherness) and our space is limited. There are also things to consider, like making sure there’s someone next to my niece, Maggie, to make sure that most of her food stays makes it from her plate to her mouth and not the floor. And that you don’t want to make the same people sit at the kids table every time. And that I always sit next to my aunt, Tracy, at family dinners.

Enter the place card.

Not wanting to go the traditional paper route while hosting my first Christmas dinner as a Mrs., (I did host once for my parents and grandmothers at my first apartment years ago. It was a basement apartment. No seriously. Basement.) I opted to go fancy and crafty and make salt dough ornaments that will double as place cards and party favors.

Lace Lemons Salt Dough Ornaments

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Everything old is now in my apartment

This weekend, Nick and I went on a trip to Ohio to go antiquing (because we’re 80 years old). Over Saturday and Sunday we walked through two giant antique malls. If you’re thinking “just two stores? In two whole days?” don’t judge: these places are huge. So huge that they have little delis inside so you can eat and then keep shopping for a few more hours. Heart of Ohio Antique Center, the mall we went to on Sunday, was so expansive (116,000 square feet!) and confusingly laid out that any time Nick wasn’t right beside me, I was lost. If I had to go back out to the car at any point, he had to walk me to the front door.

Most of the time antiquing is like being in a museum, seeing things from way back when that are too delicate or expensive to touch, but amazing to see nonetheless. Nick and I do have a few things that we collect, and we both hit the jackpot on this trip.

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Doing my best to avoid ‘vest’ puns

In our office closet, there’s an ever-growing pile of clothing rejected from my wardrobe. Items that don’t quite fit right. That are a little worn out or damaged. That probably should not have been purchased in the first place.

But see, I have a sewing machine. And I take something old out of my closet, or buy something ill-fitting on sale and think, “I can fix it. I can save it.”

This is one of the rare moments when I actually followed through on that.

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A Bushel and a Peck

Apples are my favorite. I loved when either of my parents would peel and slice up an apple for me when I was little. Dad would sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on it. Mom and I would watch closely while she peeled the apple, to see if there was any pink or red beneath the skin.

I stopped eating sliced apples as much when I was old enough to do it myself because, well, I don’t always like to put in twice the amount of prep time for something as it will take me to eat it.  Especially just for a snack. With that in mind, there’s no reasonable explanation for why, this weekend, I decided not only to cut and peel multiple apples, but to cook them on the stove for our own homemade applesauce. But I did. And it was worth it.

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