Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!

I've been thinking about this for a while and I have decided that I will only be doing one blog from now on.  All of my postings from here on out will be over at The Domesticated Mom.  I tried to have 2 blogs to keep my personal, life blog separate from my crafting blog, but as you can imagine, it is not easy keeping the 2 going!  Maybe in the future if I get my crafting back to being done on a regular basis, I will come back and blog @ Ellie Ellis.  Sorry for the inconvenience, but please hop over to my other blog and start following me there! :)

Thanks everyone for your continued support.  I love my followers!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Customized cross stitching

Sorry that I didn't post yesterday, I was sick with the flu or some crazy bug.  I'm still feeling pretty crappy today, but am able to at least be out and about.  While I was stuck on the couch being sick yesterday, I was limited to what I could do besides sleep and watch tv.  I started browsing around on StumbledUpon and found this awesome site on how to convert a digital picture to a cross stitch pattern!  I've been wanting to take up cross stitching, but don't like the patterns that I see in the craft stores.  I guess I have been looking for something that was more youthful and unique. 

Has anyone ever done a picture-turned-cross stitch pattern before?  If so, how did it turn out?  I think this will be a fun, easy project to do over the weekend.

I hope everyone has a great week!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Freebie Friday!

On this Freebie Friday, I bring to you the Stoplight Behavior System for home!  I know a lot of schools do this now days, and it has been a tremendous help with my son's behavior!  I use this and put it up on the fridge.  I have a magnet that is meant for a small picture and has a cut out in the middle.  Every morning, he starts at green, which I put the magnet around.  If he has to be reminded twice about his behavior, it gets moved to yellow. Once he has been reminded 3 times, it is moved to red.  When he finishes the day with a green, he gets to keep his privileges, if he is on yellow, he loses electronic (video games, computer and tv) privileges, red means no privileges.  I am sharing this simple yet effective system with my lovely readers today, so head over to my freebies page and grab a download!

Back to life, back to reality

Now that life is slowly getting back to normal, I need to start doing some crafts again!  Question is, which one do I want to do first?!  I am almost done with my dresser, I just need to go out today to buy the new hardware for it.  Maybe I will start on some Easter crafts.  Any suggestions?

As we enter into the weekend, I will leave with Friday's Food for Thought:

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.   - Mohandas Gandhi
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Get Your Rear in Gear!

I am racing in the Chicago Get Your Rear in Gear 5k race for colon cancer awareness on May 15th.  I am currently accepting donations of all sizes.  This is the evil disease that took my mother from all of us too soon, so we are running (and some of are walking) in honor of my mom.  Our team is called Linda's Lionheart Legacy.  I decided on that because she was the most courageous and brave person on this planet (in my opinion)!

I'd also like to take this moment to get on my soapbox and educate everyone:
  • Please, please, please-I'm begging you!- make sure that after the age of 50, you go regularly for a colonoscopy!  If polyps or tumors are caught early enough, it is absolutely treatable!
  • If someone in your family has been diagnosed with colon cancer, talk with your doctor on their recommendations of if you should get screened earlier.  My doctor recommended that I get screened 10 years before the age my mom was diagnosed (that puts me at 50, anyway).
  • Colon cancer equally affects men and women.  It is most common in those 50+.
  • It is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in the US - 54,000 each year.
  • More than 150,000 people are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year.
  • Those with family history of colon cancer are at an increased risk. 
*Stats from Colon Cancer Coalition.

There are several ways you can help.
1.  Contribute funds.  My online fundraising page is  Linda's Lionheart Legacy Chicago 5k.  All funds go to the Colon Cancer Coalition, a non-profit organization. 

2.  Join me at the race as a participant or volunteer.  Runners, walkers and volunteers of all ages are welcome.  There are also various events throughout the country this year.  For more information or to register for the race, go to

3.  Contribute products or services.  The Get Your Rear in Gear 5k Run/Walk takes place with the support of local businesses.  Let me know if you have a product or service that you would like to contribute.

4.  Blogging buddies - spread the word on your blog!  Word of mouth is the best way to let people know about this event and this disease.  March is colorectal awareness month, after all!

Thank you in advance to everyone who is helping out or even just took the time to read over the facts of colon cancer.  I personally appreciate more than you know! :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

RIP Mommy-Salami!! 08.04.48 - 03.08.11

Sorry, I have been MIA.  This is going to be a cross-post from my other blog, as well.  My mom has been battling colon cancer (specifically anal cancer) for almost the last 2 years.  A few weeks ago, the doctors decided, that there was no more that they could do for her since her cancer had spread to brain and our family began working with hospice to make her final days comfortable and peaceful at home.

Her health started deteriorating really fast and so, I decided to go funeral clothes shopping on Sunday, March 6th.  After I got my outfit, my friend and I continued shopping and while we were in Baby Gap, I received a call from my sister telling me that she thought I should come to my parents house (about 1 hr and 15 minutes from my house).  She said mom was slipping fast, going in and out of consciousness and her breathing was becoming more labored.  My sister said she also just needed me there for support, as she has been my mom's main caretaker this whole time (and working a full time job!).  So I drive home, pack a bag really fast and get on the road.

When I got there, it was a sad sight. I had just saw my mom a few days before, and she had lost even more weight, her kidneys were shutting down and she was almost comatose.  I was able to have short conversations with her and tell her that she didn't need to hang on.  We were all going to be ok.  I ended up staying in town and kept a bedside vigil over her that night while I let everyone else sleep.  I was able to hear her mumble some words into the night and it looked like she was talking and reaching for someone.  Whether you believe in spirits or not, I do.  And I believe she was talking to my grandparents (her parents).

Things stayed the same for about the next day, but on Tuesday, everyone on my husband's side of the family, was in town for his sister's birthday and I planned on joining them for dinner.  I needed a break from the stress and the restaurant was only 5 minutes away, so I figured if anything got worse, I could leave real fast and be back to my mom's side.  About an hour before I was to go, I could see she was getting worse, and 5 minutes before I was to leave, she should signs of rapid deterioration.  At that point, I decided that I didn't want to leave my mom and opted out of dinner.  I am so glad that I did.  We all stood around her, said our goodbyes and kissed her and we all held hands and prayed for her (she is very religious).  Things were remaining the same, so we all decided to start looking at old pictures (she loved doing this). 2 of my brothers continued to stay at her side.  We were all enjoying the memories of them, when my brother ran out of the room telling us we needed to come now, that she was going.  Mom passed peacefully, surrounded by her husband, kids, sister and granddaughter at about 8:36 p.m. on March 8th.   Even in death, she looked beautiful and peaceful.  She was 1 day away from the 2nd anniversary of her diagnosis.

My mom and her family have always had a love for wind chimes.  About 30 minutes (or less) before she passed, we heard her wind chimes go off very loudly.  The night was a nice, calm evening.  My siblings and I truly believe that was her spirit leaving her body and her way of showing she was going.

So many people came to her visitation and funeral.  I was touched to see and hear the stories about her from so many different walks of life.  She is a saint and before she left, I asked to her watch over my children and be their guardian angel.  I know that she is keeping her word.  In fact, the one thing that she did before she died, will forever be etched in my mind.  My 2 children came into the bedroom to say good-bye, and as soon as she heard her voices, her eyes popped wide open and she attempted to sit up!  This is when she was in and out of consciousness and you could tell she really didn't have any vision left.  You know someone is dedicated and so in love with their grandchildren, when even on their deathbed, they are literally trying and fighting to be with them!  My mother was and still is the most courageous, strong, positive, determined, dedicated, faithful, amazing, beautiful and wonderful person I have ever met!  She is my hero!

It is ironic that she passed in March, which is colorectal awareness month.  So in her honor, I urge everyone to wear blue this month!  Sleep in Heavenly Peace, Mom.  Until we meet again...XOXO

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Baby Shower

Well, as my friends and I enter into our late twenties, everyone is now having babies! I'm so excited, that I finally get to help plan one!  There's nothing that I love more than party planning and DIY projects.  However, I want some unique ideas, as the parent's are finding out the sex, so I need it to be gender neutral.

What are some great ideas for a shower and gender-neutral planning?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's a beautiful day!

It is finally sunny and somewhat warm here, today, in Chicagoland!  I'm going to take my daughter to a playdate at my friend's house, then walk to get my son from school! Woohoo!  Here is a picture of the dresser that I am currently refinishing.

Before picture.  Slowly started sanding.

All I have left now is to sand the drawers and remove the pull knobs.  I will be painting it a semi-gloss black color from Rustoleum and will be replacing the drawers with brushed nickel pulls, for a more modern look.  I'm so excited!  I also want to go to Goodwill and go thrift shopping and hopefully find some unique goodies.  What amazing items have you found from thrift shopping?

Monday, February 28, 2011

I just fell in love!

So I'm in the process of redecorating my bedroom and I was browsing around on the blogs that I read and came across a giveaway on The Shabby Chic Cottage  and I fell in love with an item on the website that they were featuring!

My must have item from!

 Not only does it match how my room will soon look, but the words on it are exactly what I need to look at for an affirmation.  Do yourself a favor and wander over to Red Letter Words. I'm sure you will find something you love, too!  It took me all of about, 2 minutes to stumble across this!  What goodies have you found online recently?

Meatless Monday Recipe

It's Meatless Monday! As per usual, I am going to give you an awesome meatless recipe!  This is actually a breakfast dish, but it is so good, I am willing to eat it anytime!  This recipe is for Aebleskivers, but we call them Munkers.  It is a Scandinavian version of a pancake, except they are round-ish, hallow balls and taste more like Swedish pancakes and are to die for!  I was introduced to these by my husband's family and now, I can't get enough of them and neither can our kids! You will need a special pan, called an Aebleskiver pan, which you can buy on for about $13.  Enjoy!
An aebleskiver pan

Aebleskivers (Munkers)
by Mary @

3 Eggs
4 tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

All of the needed ingredients.

Beat all liquids (except for the vanilla) together.  Mix all solids & combine the liquids. Stir in vanilla.

How the mixture should look.

Heat pan to medium heat for 5 minutes.  Fill each cup in pan with 1 tsp of Crisco each.  
Pour 1 tbsp of batter into each cup.

Turn with fork or cocktail pick as batter cooks. Will form a round, hollow ball 
I find a cocktail pick like this works best!
Just poke and carefully turn!

Finish with sprinkled powder sugar when serving.  Serve with syrup, honey or jelly.  We like to eat them with syrup around here! Enjoy!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's a free for all!

Hey everyone! TGIF! As a matter of fact, it's Freebie Friday!  Head over to my freebie page and download my Mom's Weekly Cleaning Schedule for free!  This will help you keep an organized house, while still maintaining your ever busy life.  Email me at if you would like more information on how I can make you a customized schedule.  Enjoy and I hope everyone has a great and relaxing weekend!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New project!

So I am starting a new project today! I am going to make some wall art.  Let me say first that I am absolutely horrible at drawing! So, I am making mural-type wall art with Styrofoam and scrapbook paper.  If anyone has any suggestions on doing this, please let me know. And wish me luck!  Will be back later today to post a recipe, but I have to run to Target and craft store now. :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

School's Out

Happy President's Day!  My son is out of school today and it's going to be a busy day!  I am trying to make my meal plan for the week.  Any suggestions?  We are attempting to have iCarly's spaghetti tacos this week.  My son is so excited, hubby is refusing to eat them (having fish tacos, instead) and I'm a little nervous about this!  Ah, the things we do for our kids!  Give me some fun, kid friendly suggestions, please!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Recipe of the Week

I missed posting on Meatless Monday, so I will add one of my delicious meals that I made last week!

Asian Glazed Chicken Legs
Serves 5

10 chicken legs (remove skin for healthier option) 
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
1 C water
1/2 TBSP Sriracha hot chili sauce, adjust to taste (found in Asian food aisle)
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C soy sauce (low sodium version for healthier option)
4 tsp sugar (use agave nectar for healthier option)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 TBSP fresh chives, chopped
Sesame seeds, optional

In large skillet, apply cooking spray and heat over high heat.  Brown chicken for 3-4 minutes.  Add water, chili sauce, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger and continue cooking on high until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer on low, covered for about 20 minutes.  Remove lid and bring heat back up to allow sauce to reduce, about 8-10 minutes or until it becomes a thick glaze, while turning chicken occasionally, to prevent chicken from drying out.  Make sure the glaze does not burn on the bottom!  Transfer chicken to a plate and pour glaze over the legs.  Sprinkle the chives and sesame over the top and serve.  Best with a side of Jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.  Enjoy!

Busy life!

So, I've been slacking.  I've been trying to update daily, but life had other plans for me this week.  My mom is slowly losing her battle to cancer.  She has been fighting it for 2 years now and it has spread to her brain.  She is deteriorating fast, and as sad as it is to say it, I hope she goes soon so she can be free of the pain.  I know the hardest part for her is that she won't be here to watch her grandchildren grow, but what better view is there than watching them from Heaven?  I am looking forward to her being my children's guardian angel!

A little background about me. I live in a suburb of Chicago and my parents and rest of my family live about an hour away.  I had to drive into the city on Tuesday to pick up my brother, who lives in Southern Illinois, from Union Station and take him to my parents' house.  All the while, I have a teething child!  Then, my husband left to NJ for a couple days for work.  These are the days that I wish I had a nanny, chauffeur and maid!  Thank God that I've been reading this amazing book, The Stay at Home Survival Guide by Melissa Stanton on my Kindle.  This is actually helping me stay sane after the kiddies go to bed!  I highly recommend this book to any mom that is a SAHM or contemplating on leaving the workforce to stay home with the kids.  Great insight and you'll say, "wow, I feel the same exact way!"

Anywho, I'm done babbling now, and I will attempt to continue posting daily! 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Latest project

So I am loving my latest project!  I created a divorce party invitation with a "free bird" theme.  All people that end crappy marriages NEED a divorce party!  I have great ideas for one, if you are ever interested!

Not much else is new today, besides the fact that I am over being freezing cold! C'mon Spring, get here already! Oh well, off to make fajitas!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This month's deal!

Receive 15% off at my Etsy shop when you enter the coupon code WELCOME15 !  What a great deal, as I have just started posting my custom made printable invitations! Here's one of my save the date announcements available:

Offer good through February 28, 2011. Enjoy!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meatless Mondays!

 So I was in the process of switching to a vegetarian lifestyle...easier said than done.  Especially, if you are in a meat-loving Italian family!  So instead, I got my husband on board for Meatless Monday dinners, which is where we have 1 night, every week, where our dinner is meat free!

I did some research and came across an awesome blog dedicated to what else, MEATLESS MONDAYS!

A quick and easy meal that my family (including my super-picky 7 years old son) absolutely loves are Portabella Pizzas.  Here is my recipe to share and hopefully get you started on a Meatless Monday theme, as well:

Portabella Pizzas

Serves 4
4 large portabella mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
small can of pizza sauce
2 cup package of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Garlic powder, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste
olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place cleaned mushroom caps on baking sheet lined with foil and bake about 7 minutes.  Wipe any juice on top of mushroom cap with paper towel, after pulling mushrooms out of oven.

Spray both sides of the mushrooms with cooking spray.  Place back on baking sheet, gill side up.  Cover with desired amount of garlic powder and pizza sauce.  Then top with desired amount of cheese.  Sprinkle on Italian seasoning, to taste.  Place in oven and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted.  Broil for a minute or two, if you like a browned "well done" top on the cheese.  Serve immediately. Best eaten with a knife and fork.

Mmmm, so delicious and easy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

My creative outlet!

Since I've been couped up in the house this winter, I needed to find a way to allow my creative juices to flow.  I thought it would be fun to share my ideas and love for food and wine and whatever else comes to me, in a blog.
Here goes nothing! Hope you enjoy it and check back often!