* { I Have Moved! } *

My home on the web has moved.  It has been a LONG time coming, but alas I have finally figured out my ‘move’ to the Tumblr.com platform. 

I started my original blog in 2008 and although I do not always write as frequently as I wish I could, I have not given up on it.  Started originally as ‘The Creative Adventures of Sara Ellen’, I switched gears in December of 2010, when I purchased the doman of saraellend.com.

Keep following me at www.saraellend.com for more creative adventures! Or to those who use RSS feed or Google Reader. Visit my homepage and then click the RSS button to subscribe.

Thank you to my loyal readers and to any new readers, hello and welcome! :)  Have questions or want to say hello, send me an email: hello@saraellend.com



{Pardon the mess, please!}

Perhaps you noticed that I purchased a URL for my blog (www.saraellend.com) a few months ago.  After some deliberation, I have decided this weekend to finally move my blog from Blogger to Tumblr.  I am currently waiting for my URL to finish propagating and then I will put the re-direct on here as a final post on Blogger and move over to Tumblr.

A few of the reasons I have decided to move include the ease of use of Tumblr amd the fact that  I have been waiting for Blogger to come out with a decent app for Android and it just has not happened.  So in honor of trying to simplify, I will be moving... so please pardon the mess. I have great things in store to write about and share, as soon as I get settled in to the new home!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more adventures! SaraEllenD


{ From then to Now.... }

It's been a busy few weeks...more soon.


{ It's a Beautiful Day }

A friend of mine told me about this video during a long conversation we had the other night. 

It's all about perspective. 


{ Recent Thoughts on Being a Mommy }

One big lesson I have learned since Drew came in to our lives 2 1/2 years ago is that things sometimes things just don't get done when you want them to.  I am the type of person who likes to have everything in order as frequently as possible. 

This often means dishes in the sink at bedtime...Sometimes ordering out when you really want to cook...it may mean playing trains or chase instead of folding laundry...and frequently means sleeping instead of getting some early morning exercise. 

In the end, the letting go of the 'control' aspect is hard -- but totally worth it.  The truth of the matter is God will never give you more than you can handle.  Even on the hardest of days and greatest of sacrifices, we are so, so blessed.

Truth be told, this lesson somewhat applies to any stage of life. We have a tendency to get so caught up in what's going on at the time at most stages of our lives. I guess it maybe has just seemed a little more evident when you watch your baby grow in to a more independent 'big boy'.

Whatever the case, I am loving it.


{ Handmade Nation }

I was lucky enough to get a break a few weekends ago to watch the documentary, Handmade Nation, which recounts the rise of the indie craft movement which has taken shape in the last several years.  This topic happens to be what I researched for my thesis project three years ago, so it was of particular interest to me.

Director Faythe Levine traveled to 15 cities and covered more than 19,000 miles to interview artists, crafters, makers, curators and community members. Today’s craft world has emerged as a synthesis of historical technique, punk culture, and the DIY ethos, also influenced by traditional handiwork, modern aesthetics, politics, feminism and art. She visits artists who sell through both websites, blogs, and online stores that connect to the greater public through independent 

The film itself is only about an hour long, and was worth the time. It was an interesting reminder that the number of crafters like myself who would love to sell what they make, is more of a hobby than a way of sustainable living.  More of a way of connecting with others and sharing their art or craft, than making a big profit.  Some can do it, many will not.

"Craft is for people who were creative growing up as kids, and want to incorporate that in to their grown up lives."


{ Homemade Black Bean Burgers }

 { Made with recipe via Angry Chicken and the help of a Tiny Chef }


{ Belated 30th Celebration Recap }

I was somewhat unsure about being thirty, even if I didn't want to admit it.  Everyone kept asking me what I was going to do to celebrate.  I'd just shrug it off and reply that I didn't want to do anything crazy or have a big party. I imagined that it would be best celebrated by seeing some of my favorite people and relaxing.  It went a little something like this: 

1. A day of fun adventures with my Mom & two of my sisters (Friday, 4/1)
2. Lunch with one of my favorite Chicagoans (Sat, 4/2)
3. Sushi at Seksui & a few pints at Urban Chestnut with Ryan (Sat, 4/2)
4. Brunch at Three Monkeys with my in laws (Sun, 4/3)
5. Pizza and Thirty things of 30 with my best friends (my parents!) (Sun, 4/3)
6. Surprise party thrown by my family a week later! (Sat, 4/10)

You can view more of my thirtieth celebrations here.  

The best present is always to have so many wonderful people to celebrate with.  Thirty -- maybe you aren't going to be that bad after all!


{ Currents:: 4.14.11 }

listening:: Jamiriquai 

eating:: fresh, homemade berry smoothie

drinking:: plain ole water

feeling:: thankful

weather:: springy

wanting::  to finish scanning the very last 25 pages of my scrapbook & call it a finished project.

needing::  to write a few posts about all the 30th Birthday celebrations I had this month!

thinking:: about the weekend and how the go go go of the weekdays pauses then.

enjoying:: the idea that Ryan will be done with school in THREE weeks. YAY. YAY. YAY. 

wondering:: what flowers to plant in all my empty pots for the summer. 

craft project in the queue::  finishing up the homemade bunny for Drew this Easter 

Artwork by Cody Haltom


{ Six is a SERIOUS Number }

My sister and brother in law worked on the Mobil on the Run "Six is a Serious Number" Spot recently. It plays at Busch Stadium during every home game and on local TV during Cardinals Games.  Caron drew the story boards, choreographed the rappers, and art directed the edit.  Bryan was the editor and motion graphic/3D artist. 
It also features my giant #1 Cardinals finger that I lent them. Watch for it! 

This was the very first 6 is a Serious Number commercial from two years ago that gets stuck in my head all. the time.  It's the fingers on your hand plus your thumber. 

Good Job, Car and Bry! I can't wait to see it on the screen at the stadium! 


{ Thirty }


{ More In the Cloud }

Amazon released it's new cloud drive this week in to which you can upload (up to 5G for free) any music, pictures, files or videos that you wish.

They also created a Cloud Player for the web and Android that streams your uploaded music right back to you.  Buy one new Amazon MP3 album, and you upgrade to 20 GB.  Additional storage space can be purchased on annual fee basis.  Following that, any new music you purchase through Amazon.com is automatically sent to your cloud playlist and does not count towards your storage space limit.

I had previously tried an app called MSpot, which uploads music only files to the cloud, but had issues with it syncing properly.  Have you used any similar services, such as Windows Live SkyDrive, or Dropbox? What are your reviews for cloud storage services?


{ My Morning Smoothie }

So it's been a few weeks (and a whole lot more sleep), but I found something tasty to drink in the AM that is not coffee. I have been making mango/banana/berry smoothies!  

If you use frozen fruit, you don't have to add ice to the mix. I use 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt and whatever fruit your heart desires. 

Blend, pour and enjoy!


{ Happy St. Patty's Day }

On the way to the parade...
Waiting for the parade... bubbles!
A little hurling while still waiting for the parade!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


{ Digitally Archiving My Scrapbooks }

I am currently undertaking the task of scanning in all my scrapbook pages as a part making a digital archive of ALL my pictures.  I guessed (liberally) that I have about 300 scrapbook pages made -- from about 2002 to present.  Because our scanner is for an 8.5" by 11" page, I have to scan each 12" x 12" scrapbook page in four times and then digitally 'stitch' them back together.  The great news is I am about half way done with the scanning part and am having SO much fun looking through all of them.  This one  is  from our trip to the UK in September 2007.


[ Me Minus Coffee ]

Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday.  This year for Lent, I decided I should to give up coffee and soda.   Truth be told I do go to bed later than I should most days and expect myself to get up early and go the gym still on the weekdays.  Then we had the time change this weekend --minus coffee!   It has made me realize that I might rely on caffeine more than I should and has made me wonder if I need more sleep than I am getting.  

According to the National Sleep Foundation: 
Sleep needs vary across ages and are especially impacted by lifestyle and health.  Thus, to determine how much sleep you need, it's important to assess not only where you fall on the "sleep needs spectrum," but also to examine what lifestyle factors are affecting the quality and quantity of your sleep such as work schedules and stress. To get the sleep you need, you must look at the big picture.

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need
Though research cannot pinpoint an exact amount of sleep need by people at different ages, the following table identifies the "rule-of-thumb" amounts most experts have agreed upon.     Most importantly, make sleep a priority. You must schedule sleep like any other daily activity, so put it on your "to-do list" and cross it off every night. But don’t make it the thing you do only after everything else is done – stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.

Um, Does this mean I get to tell my boss I need a mid-day nap? Have you ever suffered from caffeine withdrawal? Or have any good tips for avoiding coffee and soda?  I am just not a big water drinker! 


{ First Bike Outing: 2011}

About a month ago, the weather was actually warmer than it was today. We were cautiously optimistic that spring would be coming soon. We tuned up our bikes (more like my bike and Drew's carrier, since Ryan bike commutes) and headed to Forest Park -- more importantly the destination being the Forest Park playground. Drew is getting more and more brave about climbing and sliding than he was last year. He did not stop squealing with excitement until we left.  

I, myself, am a fair weather biker... but will be ready to roll, or should I say bike, again once spring does 'officially' arrive in 2011. 


{ Happiness Project Follow Up: Accountability }

I am about 4 chapters in to The Happiness Project and enjoying it. Gretchen Rubin writes as if you she were  speaking a conscious stream of thoughts to you as she moves through the days and months of the year full of resolutions to make herself happier. I appreciated how she begins by saying that she was not particularly unhappy or depressed, she just wondered if she could appreciate her life more and live in happier fashion. While reading this book, I am not aiming to start my own happiness project in and of itself, but it is making me think more about accountability and making sure that I am appreciating all the blessings in my own life and not forgetting my continuous desire to learn, grow, and create.

One things she speaks about is accountability these goals. Coincidentally last fall this was something that I had decided to focus on myself! Although, I am not always as faithful to keeping up with my daily 'check in' to these goals, I have them there when I can as a reminder. You can download my easy, accountability sheet here. It's a half page, simple list - with days/dates down the left side and things I want to work on/do at the top. When I complete one of those objectives for the day, I put an 'X' in the box.  I keep this in my planner and attempt to fill it out as I go along. 

My sister, Caron, had also shared with me the Happiness Project Toolbox, a free collection of eight online tools that will help you be happier now. These tools will help you set goals, keep your resolutions, articulate your values, and pull together material that inspires you.   Your "happiness project" is supposed to be your own project to take specific steps to boost your happiness, through helping you identify changes in your life that might make you happier. In the Using the Toolbox section, she poses some prompting questions which might make you think a little more.

What helps keep you accountable to your goals and resolutions? Have any tools of your own to share?


{ Shop Updates: Coming Soon }

I've been working hard, friends! Now I just need to get them all uploaded!!  Visit the shop soon. :)


{ Matt & Kim ...Coming to STL! }

My husband's friend, Mark, has introduced to some cool new music in the last year, one of which was Matt & Kim.  We just found out recently they will be playing a show at the Pageant in the Loop and tickets go on sale tomorrow at 12 noon. This news made my day! 

Their bio from the Pageant website:
Matt and Kim aren’t a typical band and this isn’t going to read like your average biography. For example, although Matt and Kim know they met while taking classes at Pratt Institute in New York, Kim’s not sure what year she graduated, let alone when they decided to start playing music as a two-piece. What they do know is that when Matt and Kim started out approximately four years ago, they had no idea how to play their respective instruments—a fact that makes the band’s success story almost as unique as their distinctive brand of synth-and-drums dance punk. The result is an album that takes the band’s musicianship and songwriting to the next level and also serves as a glowing representation of how far Matt and Kim have come since their debut. From the anthemic opener “Daylight” to the harmony-rich, atmospheric ballad “Turn This Boat Around” and demented pop of “I Wanna,” Grand is quite literally the sound of the collective discovering their voice. “All of the songs on the last album we wrote the first year we learned how to play our instruments,” Matt acknowledges, “but this one is much more diverse and instead of thinking about the songs we thought of the album as a whole, too.” Then there are the band’s legendary live shows, which look more like dance parties than traditional concerts and blur the line between musician and listener. “I really believe that a band should be honest when they play,” Matt explains. “Kim and I are generally just excited to play; I mean I cannot believe that I can make a living off playing music, which is what I get to do now; it’s just so incredible,” he continues. “We’re excited just to be able to play and we show it, as dorky as that can look.”


{ My Viking Heritage }

Over the weekend, we watched a few episodes of the NBC Show Who Do You Think You Are?.  The show is based off of a British program, where they trace the genealogy and family tree of celebrities.

We watched Season 2 episodes featuring Rosie O'Donnell, Vanessa Williams and Kim Catrall --travelling over the U.S., Britain and Ireland to trace their roots and meet extended family.

While I have a general idea of my family origins, I think this is a project I'd like to work on together with my immediate family on.  The show has sponsored product placement for Ancestry.com in each episode.  A local story appeared on NewsChannel 5 St. Louis recently about how easy the site is to use.

I remember hearing one time on my Dad's side of the family that we had a tiny bit of Norwegian in us.  For this reason, I like to joke about my hardy 'viking heritage'.  And until I can really prove that I am not, I will continue to pretend that I've got it!


{ Life is Not a Race...}

How dare spring to tempt us a couple weeks ago, then turn cold again! I have to admit, I am really ready for spring to arrive --  I'm a springtime kind of gal.

I was having a conversation with a girlfriend the other day and I told her things seemed a little Groundhog Day-ish.  (note: I have since learned from Wikipedida that The phrase "Groundhog Day" has entered common use as a reference to an unpleasant situation that continually repeats, or seems to. )  Life has not been unpleasant, so I guess I can't really use the term any more.  I should just say I feel sort of in a rut.  I don't really like to sit still, or even feel like I'm running in place! 

To be honest, I didn't really think it had much with the fact that my 30th birthday was around the corner in a month or so, until this weekend.  I have been working on archiving all my digital pictures online (a huge project!) as a back up to our hard drives and CDs they are on. Then it dawned on me! If the first 30 years of my life are any foreshadowing of what the next 30 years or more of my life, God willing, are to be like -- then it's going to be a heck of a lot of fun. 

Minus the storms that quickly came through last night, it was a fairly quiet weekend. I know that we do already have all, if not more than we need, now I just need to trust and be patient.  Things will come along as they are meant to.  Life's not a race.  And sometimes, not much going on -- shouldn't be a lot to complain about. 


{ Wait a second...}

Do you ever have those moments when you do a double take and have to stop and ask yourself how you missed something the first time?  I have been on a de-cluttering kick and it's always a good feeling.

A few months ago I found this post on Zen Habits about identifying clutter in your life. The age old question of, if the house was on fire, what are the five things you would grab and run out with?  I remembered this post about de-cluttering because I had forwarded it to a few people when I initially found it and so I pulled it back up today.  Coincidentally the author of the post actually was Gretchen Rubin, author of the book The Happiness Project, which I had just read a sample of with the idea of buying it as my next read.

Have you read The Happiness ProjectWhat did you think?


{ WWF + Mspot }

Guess what?? Words with Friends is now available on Android.  My username is SaraEllenD. 
I also discovered a cool app called MSpot that will stream your music on your home PC (up to 2G for free), and then you can access it from the cloud.   Very cool!!


{ Happy Valentine's Day - Love! }


Loving all the extra laughs from Drew's adventures.  
Loving the realization of the tiny joys all around us that we fail to see from day to day.

Loving that I've been using our DSLR to capture some memories this year so far.

Loving that we had some snow, but that the cold weather is on it's way out.

Loving that I can make time to send some more cards in the mail.  { Sending some Love } 

Loving this Valentine wallpaper I found via How About Orange this morning.

Loving that we are all almost finally healthy at my house for the first time in over a month.

Here's to a LOVELY Valentine's Day to you too!


{ Dancers Among Us }

Pairing my love for dance (as a former dancer) and my love for NYC, this made me smile big.  Many thanks to Ryan for sharing this post he found on Design Work Life.  The series is titled Dancers Among Us by Jordan Matter.


{ A Trip to Scotland }

In honor of today being Robert Burn's Day, January 25th, we put out our Scotland flag at home and I posted some pictures to Flickr from our trip to Edinburgh, Scotland in September of 2007. While we were only there for a brief two day stint, it was long enough to make us fall in love with Scotland.  

It was the start of fall when we arrived on a misty afternoon bus ride from the airport.  We stayed at the Scotsman Hotel which was in between the old town and new town. The pints were fresh and the city was vibrant. We definitely look forward to returning one day in the future to see more of this beautiful country.

While I wish we were making our way to celebrate Robert Burn's Night at the Schlafly Taproom tonight, we will be toasting our pints at home.  I may even make some Oatmeal Short Bread if we have time!  Slainte!

 { Want to see more of Edinburgh? Samantha Brown did a show on her visit shortly after we were there.  Take a peek! }


{ Capsicum }

Yesterday I prepped for Pulled Pork Tacos to go in the crockery cooker.  I completely forgot once again what happened the last time I chopped and seeded the chili peppers to go in to the sauce for the recipe.  The palms of my hands were burning! During the previous encounter I had following dicing chili peppers for a recipe I realized it when I took out my contacts before going to bed. That was just great because then not only was capsicum on my hands still, but on my contacts and in my eyes. Not a good feeling!

As a reminder wear rubber gloves when you chop chili peppers or try to use utensils to handle the prep work without coming in to contact with your skin if possible. If you need to neutralize the oils, washing your hands with regular soap and water won't usually cut it!   Capsaicinoids are not soluble in water, but they are soluble in fats and alcohol. The solutions involving alcohols do a good job of washing it off. A few other suggestions I found were milk, Crisco, vaseline or hand sanitizer (like Purell).  Publish Post

Capsicum is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family, Solanaceae. Its species are native to the Americas, where they have been cultivated for thousands of years by the people of the tropical Americas, and are now cultivated worldwide. Some of the members of Capsicum are used as spicesvegetables, and medicines. The fruit of Capsicum plants have a variety of names depending on place and type. They are commonly called chilli pepper, red or green pepper, or sweet pepper in Britain, and typically just capsicum in AustralianNew Zealand, and Indian English.


{ Happy Snow Day }

It cracks me up everytime a snow storm 'might hit' the St. Louis metro area.  Earlier this week they said it was going to snow a few inches and it rained.  I'd venture to say we accumulated about 4 inches of snow at our house in South City before we left the house this morning, although it was still coming down when we left.

Drew's daycare was off school, since he had a snow day and Grammy was off work -- she said she'd take the little snow bear for the day. And so Ryan and I ventured to work, even if the rest of St. Louis didn't. The roads were not in good shape, so it's no wonder all the schools -- over 900 were out today!  It's almost like MoDot stayed home today too. Awesome huh?


 Happy Snow Day!


{ trip to the post office }

Today I was waiting in line at the post office to pick up a package that was attempted to be delivered to our house yesterday and required a signature.  The postcard left instead of the package said that it would be at our local post office today after 10 am.  Lunchtime may not have been the best time to go, but the task was on my list and I wanted to get the package and be done with it.  

Waiting in line in front of me were several interesting people as usual. The particular party waiting in front of me made me smile. There was one Chinese man, and two Chinese ladies with an adorable little girl who I would venture to guess was about a year old.  They were filling out and turning in paperwork to request a passport.  In genuine form the postal clerk was asking them many interesting questions which took a while for them to process, as their English was not that great.  A few of them included if they were married, when they were married, the color of the baby's eyes and how tall she was.  The 'blond' eyed baby, which they confused with brown, was then layed out on the counter and all three of them measured her with a ruler.  The baby was looking around like 'what the heck is going on', but didn't make a peep.

Soon it was my turn and I stopped gazing at what they were up to.  This experience led me to a few conclusions.  
  1. How much we take for granted being native speakers of the English language.  
  2. How much I love the diversity of the area I live in.  
  3. People watching is an interesting pastime.
  4. That if I ever write a book, I might just sit at the post office and observe people. You will be guaranteed find some pretty interesting characters to write about!


{ Today I bought my first Ebook and I'm Starting with Maya }


Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local “powhitetrash.” At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age–and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime. Years later, in San Francisco, Maya learns about love for herself and the kindness of others, her own strong spirit, and the ideas of great authors (“I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare”) will allow her to be free instead of imprisoned.

Poetic and powerful, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is a modern American classic that will touch hearts and change minds for as long as people read.


{ Learning how to Eread }

Two weeks ago I purchased a Nook eReader after looking at them and waiting and waiting and waiting!  I finally decided that I didn't really need a color version or a touch screen in order for the ereader to meet my needs.  I wanted it to be compatible with our St. Louis Public Library's ebook lending program, as well as to be able to read blogs and PDFs on it without a problem.  I learned that I could purchase a certified pre-owned Nook for about $50 cheaper than the new ones with the same guarantee, through BN.com. The hardest part of it all was waiting for it to come in the mail.

So far, so good. So it's been about two weeks now and I have yet to purchase my first ebook because so many are available free online. Another neat fact about ebooks is that you can get a 'sample' of the first 12 to 15 pages of the book to see if you really like it. 

I hope to within the next week make it in to a Barnes & Noble store, where they apparently give you some discounts and updates on books just for showing up in their store through their More InStore promotion.

Currently I have downloaded Focus by Leo Babautua, Focus is about finding simplicity in this Age of  Distraction.  It’s about finding the focus you need to create, to work on what’s important, to reflect, to find peace. 


{ Seeking Omelet Insight... }

This past Sunday I started working on my goal to learn to make a great omelet.  I know one of the keys to something like this is practice, practice, practice!

I followed instructions per the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but somehow it was not as 'together' as I think it should be.  Any advice or tips to try this weekend?


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