Monday, February 28, 2011

A Story in Pictures


The story of Aiden's birth isn't my story to tell, so instead, I decided to share some glimpses into our time at the hospital.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Aiden is here!

Aiden has arrived. 6lbs 7 oz. 19.5" long. Absolutely perfect.

He has stolen my heart!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Today is the Day!

Today's the day! The roads are clear! The car is loaded! My best friend is getting induced today!

What a great day!

I'm about to get on my way to Indiana to share in the miracle of life.

I can't wait to hold Aiden!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Drama in the Capitol City

Unless you live under a rock, I'm sure you've heard of the protesting here in Madison. I am deeply saddened by all of this. I just don't understand how our Governor has decided that taking away the rights of union workers is suddenly going to fix out ailing budget. There are no protests against the increased contribution for health care or retirement. Oh, Wisconsin. I won't get on my soapbox, but this drama affects me deeply. I am just so sad about this whole mess. I pray that God lays his hand around this great state to help this resolve peacefully.


To cope, I've been cooking a lot of comfort food. Here's a glance at some of my latest menus.



Monday, February 21, 2011

The Cookie Quest

I love the red velvet cookies from Paradise Bakery. They are cakey, moist, delicious and I just love them. I only get them when I'm Indy, so they are quite the treat for me. However, I decided I should try to make some that taste like it...hence my "Cookie Quest."

I hunted hi and low for a copycat recipe but there are none to be found, so I started looking for red velvet cookie recipes that seemed to result in a similar type cookie at the one at Paradise Bakery. I even read the reviews to see which ones were really similar.

For my first try, I settled on a quick and easy recipe. Red Velvet cake mix, 1 egg, 1 brick cream cheese, 1 stick of butter and 1 T vanilla.


Chill for 2 hours before baking 12 minutes at 350.

Viola for my cookie quest trial #1. I was out of powdered sugar and I really think that would've helped them a bit. But they really did share a lot of the qualities as the Paradise Bakery cookie. Not quite as good but they will definitely do when I'm hungry for one and no trip to Indiana in the near future.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fresh Bedding -- Take 2

Here is the new bedding for the other guest bedroom. Same neutral tones but a different feeling.

I like it for now. We'll see how long it lasts until I change it.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And... we're back!

We're home from Phoenix and I haven't left to welcome Aiden to the world, so for the moment, I'm back!

Isn't my B the cutest thing you've ever seen?

I sure missed these guys SO much while we were gone.

And I am aware that B is in my bathtub. Its one of his "safe havens." 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fresh Season, Fresh Bedding

Whenever the seasons change, my body thinks that that means its time to change the look of the house. My husband would happen to disagree.

Regardless, the guest bedrooms got new bedding and new curtains. Here is one of them. What do you think of guest bedroom #2?



 Doesn't it look so much fresher and brighter for spring?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baby Letters

As promised, here is the final reveal of Aiden's letters that I made for him at Christmas. They are up in the room, now just awaiting his arrival!

What do you think?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

J and I spent most of Valentine's Day traveling home from Phoenix and since we aren't big Valentine's Day people, we celebrated with our traditional heart shaped pizza for the fourth year running. My BIL even gave us Valentine's gifts that included local chocolates and a fountain pop! The pups did get J and Twin some goodies though!

But, in all honestly, we just celebrate in little ways all need to put so much pressure on one day or one gift. Although I do secretly hope that some boyfriend somewhere sang Marry Me with an acoustic guitar as he proposed to his love on a beach at twilight somewhere. Ah, love!  Anyway, my friend and fellow blogger, Abby, shares my feelings on Valentine's Day and put it so eloquently on her blog that I had to share.

I hope you enjoyed your day however you chose to spend it! And I hope that you are thankful for all of those that love you in your life.. not just the ones that happen to love you romantically. Check this out -- CUTE!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Man, The Myth, The Legend

During the Conference, not only did I get to meet and reconnect with a ton of wonderful people, I also got to meet a Career Development icon -- Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute. I don't know who hasn't heard of or been impacted by his wisdom, but it was such an honor to meet him and chat with him for awhile.

For his 83 years, he was fiesty and witty. He gave our Wednesday keynote address so it was great to sneak in conversations when he was waiting for his limo or waiting to be introduced, etc. I still remember studying his work in my freshman "business experience" class at Butler and here I am now, nearly a decade later, meeting him. So neat.

In true Danielle fashion, I told him how we studied him in college. He replied, "What, my ankles or my feet?" Took me a minute before I chuckled and said, "No, your work." I couldn't really think of a witty comeback, but all-in-all it was quite comical.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Where's Waldo?

So it's Women's Heart Health Awareness Month and you're encouraged to wear red. Imagine at a Badger game with everyone in red, all supporting heart health for women... or supporting the Badgers. You know, whichever! :)

What I want you to tell me is Where's Waldo???

There's Waldo!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Steph is 40! Party #2!

Since Steph knew that I wouldn't let this birthday pass without some sort of fanfare, I planned another party that she did know about. I picked her favorite Italian restaurant and some of her favorite women and made a girls' luncheon out of it. This event was much easier to coordinate since I just paid the restaurant to do most of the work, but it wouldn't be my style to not put my signature touch on it.

I used my "inspiration" wrapping paper as a table runner for the dining table and the cake table. I bought a few balloons for the cake table, too. My sister's ex-MIL made the cake as well as some white chocolate suckers! DELICIOUS!

Made place cards with a little help from Martha.

Also at the place setting was a bookmark commemorating her 40th birthday, thanks to Wordle. I used Wordle to design it, then I printed and cut it and I sewed on the ribbon. Make sure you repeat the most important words so that they show up larger. Cute and easy.

I also used an monogram template from Martha to doll up the favors which were Lacura Milk and Honey lip balm (Steph loves the brand). The little girls also got a mini tiara for their hair.

Somehow I didn't get any pictures of us enjoying the party so when I track some down, I'll post them! But, I promise, we had a great time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday

So, I wasn't really late on these birthday wishes. I spoke to the birthday girl and even gave her her gift early, but I forgot to announce it on my blog as I should have! Shame on me. I guess I'll say that I wanted her birthday to last a wee bit longer.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to my amazing, wonderful, beautiful, best friend Heather. I know you had a good birthday, but I also hope that today is wonderful, too! Love you!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Surprise Party DIY

Here are the things I DIYed for the surprise party...

1. The three banners - Surprise, Steph is 40 and Happy Birthday - all using scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby, purple ribbon and my Cricut Cutter. It was the first time I got to use it and I loved it. Saved me a TON of time cutting out letters.

2. The table runners - as I mentioned before, I found a beautiful bedskirt for $1.50 that I tore up and made into three table runners that were a gorgeous gray/silver color. Aren't they great? Already thinking of places to reuse them.

3. I found little Chinese take-out boxes in silver at the Dollar Tree for 5 for $1. I bought 30 and tied purple ribbon around each handle. I also found a "Candy Bar" design online that you can customize and print for free. I created what I wanted, J re-sized it and helped me print it on circular labels I already had in my stash. An easy and cheap way to customize the candy bar take-out boxes.

It was a fun way to make everything more personal! I hope the birthday girl liked it... and that was why I couldn't show you any of my crafts lately, although I have been working on other things, too!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Surprise Party Details

Well let me tell you that I moved everything but my kitchen sink to Indiana for this surprise party... platters, cake stands, food, decorations, etc! It was party central.

Here's how everything turned out.

Appetizer area while we waited for the surprise.

The dessert and gift table. Instead of a favor, I created a candy bar out of Steph's favorite candies.


When you first walked in, I added pictures of Steph growing up, some candles and a happy birthday banner that you can't see below. We had a slideshow running in the conference room that J put together for me.

I made a surprise banner to go above the buffet line. It's also in prime view when you enter the building. We had a taco bar for dinner since my sister loves Mexican!

In the conference room we set up tables with linens and I made three table runners out of a thrift store bed skirt (the third was used on the cake table) and I used ribbon for the remaining two tables.

My sister's favorite color is purple so I used that for inspiration for the party and the invites! My color scheme was gray and purple. Since she didn't get a copy of the invite, I thought I'd put it up here. I got it off etsy and the seller sent me the pdf! Perfect!

Super fun time planning this party and I was so thrilled that she was surprised!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

SURPRISE! Steph is 40!

My big sister turned 40 last Friday, so I threw her a surprise party in Indiana where we grew up. 30-40 of our closest family and friends were there to help us celebrate and believe it or not, we surprised her! I really can't believe that a family with a big of mouths as we have actually pulled it off!

Not only was the surprise that we had the party, but also that my mom and dad flew in from Arizona to be with her! She was so surprised she cried!

My mom and dad look so happy... and so tan! They didn't know they'd be coming home to a blizzard and frigid, arctic temps.

Here are all of the cousins with the birthday girl!

And some other pictures...


Details coming tomorrow for the Surprise Party (or Party #1)!