Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, regardless of what you did and who you were with. I do hope you each took a moment to be thankful for the blessings in your lives.

Here's a quick glimpse into my Thanksgiving!


I hope it was a joyous occasion for everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Any guesses?

Now that you've had a chance to stew it over, any idea what the jars and beans and sticks could amount to???

Here it is -- the centerpieces for the baby shower. Free and cute enough for our thrown together shower with no theme! I think they're fun!

Also, I made some more bookmarks for Thanksgiving gifts...aren't they great!?

And, last week I went to my first Big 10 football game, my first Badger football game and my first official event at Camp Randall! So fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


What do these things have in common?????


Find out tomorrow!!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading Goals -- Update!

I just realized I haven't posted on my reading endeavors in a long time, so here comes an update for you!

I am currently reading The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O'Neal and so far I love it. When I finish, it will be my 50th book of the year. My goal is 52 books in 2010. Not quite as grand as my 100 on 2009, but still impressive by most standards.

Here are the books I've read since I posted last:
Fly Away Home
The Hunger Games -- Mockingjay
The Island
The Girl Who Played With Fire
The ClockWork Angel
The One that I Want
Cum Loude
The Goddess of Fried Okra
The Perfect Christmas
A Dog at Sea
The Cinderella Curse

And why is it that no matter how many books I read, I always manage to have a ton left on my to read list? Plus, my dear Aunt Patty just gave me some books to read so my list just keeps on growing and growing!!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Freebies!

We hosted our Thanksgiving dinner with most of J's immediate family last weekend. It was intimate and small, and I just wanted it to be low key.

Here was the inspiration for my table.

I tied twine around candles we have leftover from our WEDDING for the centerpiece. It was 5 candles -- ivory and white -- dark brown ribbon and twine. Everyone got a gift wrapped in brown paper and twine. I also picked some leaves out of the yard and used them for the placecards. I stuck them on top of the napkins and circled with twine. Then I used all my bright white china for plates. It was simple and inspired by nature. Since it was only the 7 of us, I wanted it to be easy and effortless, which it was.

I wanted to make it a ton fancier. I did try, but it just didn't work for the outing. If you would like to do that there are some free downloads you can use. FREEBIE ALERT BELOW!

Here are some downloads for an elegant table. Here is for a more modern folk tablescape. I also found this download for a more modern table. LOVE IT!! You can even use pieces for a "thanks" area, where everyone writes down what they are thankful for. And Martha, always Martha, with a beautifully classic option, too.

These are my favorites, if you want my humble opinion. You may find them on my table next year!

If you're still in the planning stages for your meal, you might think this comes in handy.

Happy planning to all of you who still have to prep for Thanksgiving. My focus is onto Black Friday, Christmas DIYs and holiday decorating. I'm restraining myself by waiting until Black Friday to decorate!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Thanksgiving Pitch-In -- Our 3 Bars

So, at work, I'm on the social committee -- Surprise, Surprise. We've been working to create a building-wide event that people would really buy into and enjoy, but make it easy enough for the masses to participate. In the academic world, November is pretty slow, so we thought let's make it an early Thanksgiving pitch-in.

In one of our first meetings, I brought up an idea that Christy Ulsas showed me when I was at Butler -- the Baked Potato Bar. People loved the idea and one of the women on the committee owns a bar so she had the equipment to keep 100 potatoes cooked and warm throughout the day! Bingo. An idea was born. We decided to have a salad bar/baked potato bar/dessert bar combo pitch-in. The morale fund would pay for the paper goods, potatoes and lettuce, the office would bring in the toppings and viola!

We could not believe how many people participated. Our estimates are right around 83! Wow! We could not believe it. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and by asking them only to bring an ingredient, many felt that they could contribute -- even if they don't cook or whatnot!

What a blast getting to know these amazing women and feeding the entire building!

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Eyeglasses!

J and I always like to buy new eyeglasses toward the end of the year once we know how much we're going to have left in our FSA account.

I love inexpensive, fashionable glasses that are still good quality and J loves the bargain aspect of it. If you haven't ever heard of Zenni and you wear eyeglasses, this could change your life. Or, at least you'll never EVER buy from your eye doctor again. My glasses because I have a standard prescription are usually $9.95 per pair -- without insurance -- that's it! Jared's usually get up to $20 or so because he has a stronger prescription that requires rolling the lenses and whatnot, but I'll take it. In high school his glasses used to cost at least $400 a pair.

When I was looking into glasses recently, I noticed that they had re-done their site. Now you can upload a photo of yourself and "try on" the glasses you like.


I had so much fun with the new feature!! Clever!

I can't wait for my new glasses to arrive. I bought a pink pair to wear when I'm up late crafting. Just looking at them gets me in the mood to sew or craft!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quinley's Shower -- Sneak Peek!

I've been busy prepping for Quinley Pearl's baby shower that's coming up quickly. Everything is now ready to go aside from the food I'll be making the night before.

Here's a quick sneak peek at some of what I've made for the shower! I hope Jon and Julie like it!

I wanted a small favor that would work to keep at the office... pink tic tacs it was! I had to cuten them up though. I love the way they turned out and they really mimic the banner I made, too.

I used the frame from our wedding that has been every color under the sun for the shower, too. I spray painted it to match the shower (just like I painted the bird above) and I modge-podged the "Q" with some scrapbooking paper that matched the e-vite pretty well. I LOVE the way it turned out.

Here is a quick look at the banner. It spells out her first and middle name. It's going to go behind the gift area.

Remember these? Leftover from the gender reveal party, they will now identify the hosts and the mama-to-be.

And one shot of my gift! I love making gifts look pretty. 

As always, I'll be sure to post pictures of the actual event!! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Advent Calendar -- DIY Project

Right now, my household is gearing up for the holidays. I'm over half-way through my shopping list, I've determined the Christmas tree location for this year and I'm already working on the DIY gifts and projects I have planned for this year.

I've known that I've wanted an advent calendar for a long time. I recently found one that I really liked and is fairly unique. I've spent some time gathering up some items for my homemade advent calendar and I'm nearly ready to begin construction!

Here is my PB inspiration.

I've gathered similar sized branches from my yard, twine and small buckets from Oriental Trading. The only other supply I'll need will be stickers or stencils and spray paint. I'm hoping to stay under $30 for the whole thing... which is about 10% of the price of that! Wow! $260 in savings!!

I can't wait to fill mine with lottery tickets, dog treats, packs of gum and other exciting things! I can't wait to show you the finished product. I am really excited about this.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Best of Indiana -- Kokomo Version

On our trip through Indiana, we had to make a quick pit stop in Kokomo. During the pit stop, we decided we should order Gabe's to pick up en route to my sister's house. Here is Jared at the counter waiting on our delicious, hot cheese pizza (yes, have to have Gabe's when you're in Kokomo).

If you are ever near the intersection of Center Rd and US31 you MUST, I repeat, MUST, get an XL black raspberry sprite from Mac's. Jared swears by their XL diet vanilla cokes. Either way, you can't go wrong. Trust me!

Until December 10th, I'll be missing you! I'm already planning that trip.... Gabe's, Mac's, We Care Park, Highland Park, etc.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Best of Indiana -- Knox Version

On our tour of the "homeland" last weekend, we got to sample the best of Indiana. I would like to share some of that with you in case you ever find yourself in North/Central Indiana with nothing to do!

Today's installment highlights Knox, Indiana.

Knox, IN, is where my best friend lives and I look forward to going there not only to see her and her family, but to shop! There are three stores all along the same stretch of road that just warm my heart -- Bailey's, Richards of Toto and GrandPause Farm. I only get to go about 2 times each year so I really look forward to my outings there.

Bailey's and Richards are bargain centers... think Big Lots on steroids. Bailey's is much larger (think a Sam's or Super WalMart) and you can find everything from the kitchen sink to food and candy to clothes. Richards is smaller but tends to have more decor than Bailey's. I love them both and couldn't possibly pick a favorite!

Here we are at Bailey's!

Outside of Richards is this Native American statue. He is huge and the sun was glaring so this is the best shot I could get.

At Richards, they have a restaurant attached that we love to have breakfast at. Here is Jared's favorite breakfast there... cinnamon swirl toast. It is quite good!

Here is the outside of Richards... nothing fancy but behind those doors! Oh my! Heather insists that if I lived there it would lose its luster.

GrandPause Farm is a little store tucked in the front yard of the owner's home. It has candles, crafts and homemade muffins that are out of this world. I always buy a muffin, a candle and make a donation to the local animal shelter at GrandPause. J just knows that this is part of my Knox routine!

Here is the cute exterior.

And the fantastic blueberry, oatmeal muffins. This time I picked up one for me and one for my sister.

I can't believe that the next time I'm probably going to get to shop here is in March when Baby Aiden will be entering this world! Can't wait!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fall Weddings -- Part 2 of 3

My sorority sister, ex co-worker and friend, Amy, got married this past weekend. We were so excited to be a part of her day. She has exceptional taste and every piece of her day (from the invite to the last song) was done to perfection!

The save the date was by far my FAVORITE ever! It was absolutely gorgeous but charged with so much emotion, too. It was a black and white shot of TJ proposing in front of the Washington Monument! Stunning and perfectly done. At the ceremony, though, I think this was my favorite thing.

 This was the guest book and it featured a different picture of the couple on each page. Instant coffee table book after the wedding. At our wedding, we had people sign in the caption section of a photo album and we took their pictures upon arrival. We still look at the album and chuckle. One day it will be an invaluable time piece.

I knew she was rocking the purple shoes a while ago, but I loved seeing the final product!

The cake and groom's cake...

The decal on the mirror as you enter the reception. Love it!

Here I am with the beautiful bride.

And here is J and I.

And here are some shots of me and my friends from the reception!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's a ____??

It's a gender reveal party!

When my best friend found out she was expecting again she brought up this idea of a gender reveal party (which I had never heard of before). I only had about two weeks to plan for the party because of scheduling the ultrasound and everything so I found out mid-October that I had the go-ahead to start planning the party!

I didn't want to spend a lot of money (I only spent $30) for everything not including the cake or pizza. I did a lot of DIY!

Here goes...

I made pins for shirts that were pink or blue in case you forgot to wear pink or blue. Heather had a special pink/blue combo pin. I love the way they turned out so much that I'm re-using the pink ones for the baby shower I'm throwing this month. The color coordinated buttons make it so cute!

I made two banners for the party... one in the living room and then another one for the kitchen area. I used inspiration from the invitation and pink, blue and yellow for the party. All of the banner letters had the brown background. Lots of hours were spent creating the letters, printing the letters and cutting out the letters and background papers but it was so worth it!!

I also DIY'ed the pom poms in the corner with a little help from Martha. I kept putting off making these but when I did I was astonished to find out that they only took like 2 minutes each! I transported them to Indiana flat and we separated them Thursday night once we arrived. Here's an up-close shot of them.

I also worked with the local cake lady to get the cake made. Surprise colors inside the cake! 1/2 pink and 1/2 blue in case I decided to have them cut into the cake for the reveal! I didn't, but it was fun to eat a bright colored piece of cake!

Me with the excited mama-to-be, again! My dearest and closest friend in the world.

Team Pink -- including Heather's little sister away at college on Skype!

Team Blue -- a solid support of Blue!

The moment of the reveal! What is inside??

And up go the blue balloons! It's a boy. Aiden Jay!

And, here's the proof!

Cutting into the blue side of the cake!

Last but not least, the favors! Gummy worms in a Longaberger Blue Ribbon jar with an It's a Boy tag!

The baby boy is healthy and beautiful! I was so touched to be a part of this special occasion and to be included in the ultrasound. What a magical experience!