To The Sea Giveaway Winner

Short post tonight for the express purpose of announcing the winner of To The Sea, the book I talked about in my last post.

Book cover with an ocean scene and a boy in the sand. The title of the book is in white letters at the top of the page.

Doesn’t that cover make you want to go to the beach immediately?

There were four entries, and none of them were from my mom. I’m moving up in the blogging world! 😉

I used the highly scientific method of asking my husband to pick a number between one and four, and he chose….drum roll please…


Congratulations to Lydia whose favorite book was Madeline! You are the winner! I will send you an email to get your contact information so the publisher can send you a copy!

Thank you to everyone who entered! I do have a couple of books to give away in future posts, but with the way my brain has been lately, it may be a while!

Five Favorites: July 2015 (and a giveaway!)

Since my last two posts were a little heavy, I decided to start a new feature here on the old blog called Five Favorites. It’s a pretty self-explanatory feature, but just in case you’re feeling a little slow today, I’ll explain it. On the last Monday* of every month, I’ll list five things that I really liked during the previous month. Easy enough, right? 😉

*Or on the last Tuesday if my computer doesn’t cooperate on the last Monday…

Here are my inaugural five!

1. Old Navy linen-blend boyfriend tees

Picture of woman wearing bright pink shirt

Picture from Old Navy website

Old Navy’s quality is hit or miss, but I really like these shirts! Thanks to a birthday coupon and a sale, I have a few of these now. They’re thin but not too opaque, and I can wear them to work or on the weekends. Yay for versatility! They run a bit big, so they are great for when you are feeling a little fluffy, or when it’s a million degrees outside and you don’t want anything clinging to you.


2. Watermelon agua fresca

Picture of watermelon agua fresca picture

Yum! Link to the recipe below

I L-O-V-E watermelon and could eat it with every meal. Since I’m the only one in the house that eats it, it’s sometimes tough to eat all of it before it goes bad. After volunteering at an outdoor community event last weekend, I wanted to cool down but didn’t really feel like eating anything. I looked up recipes for watermelon drinks and found the a recipe on the Iowa Girl Eats website. I didn’t have any mint, and I didn’t strain mine at the end, but it was still delicious!


3. Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

Two silhouettes running with the words Extreme Makeover Weightloss Edition written below them.

I’m working on getting healthier and losing weight. I’ve gained about 40 pounds since we got married just over two years ago, and I was already technically overweight then. Yikes!! Sometimes the weight loss process can be frustrating and tiresome. I’ve started watching Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition on Hulu as a bit of extra inspiration. Unlike other weight loss shows that will go unnamed, the people on EM don’t spend time on a “ranch” exercising for hours a day and severely restricting themselves. They live their real lives for the most part (they do spend some time away from home, but they’re not cut off from the outside world), and it’s a year-long process. It’s nice to see that it’s possible to make big changes even in the midst of real life. Did anyone see Pearls’ episode recently? She did an amazing job!


4. Fitbit Charge HR

Picture of a black Fitbit Charge HR tracker against a white background.

Picture from Fitbit website

I’ve been on the Fitbit bandwagon for a few years now, and this is the third one I have. Unlike the past two, it’s a wristband, rather than the type that clips on to your waistband. I think that is so much more convenient because it doubles as a watch also. We went ahead and got the version with the heart rate monitor, but I’ve got friends and family that have the version without it and enjoy it just as much. I really like participating in challenges with people I know. I haven’t won one yet, but my day is coming!


5. To The Sea by Callie Grant

Book cover with an ocean scene and a boy in the sand. The title of the book is in white letters at the top of the page.

Doesn’t that cover make you want to go to the beach immediately?

I received this book to review a while back and just had the opportunity to read through it. It’s a children’s board book and super short, so that tells you how scattered I’ve been lately! It’s a short story about a young boy’s trip to the beach. The publisher’s website categorizes it as “a Praise book which celebrates the soul-pleasing wonders of God that children experience everyday.” I love that description! It’s an easy read and beautifully illustrated. It also made me want to go to the beach, so does anyone want to contribute to a beach trip for us? 😉

The best thing about the book though is that I have a copy to give away! I won’t always have something to give away during my five favorites, so take advantage of this!

To enter, leave a comment below and tell me what one of your favorite childhood books was and how to contact you if you’re the winner. I’ll announce the winner back here next Monday, August 3. Good luck!

Time to Celebrate!

Source for original photo

If my blog was a person, it could go to kindergarten in the fall because today is its fifth birthday!

(Okay, technically I’m not sure if it could start this fall because of birthday cut off dates and things I know nothing about, but stick with my analogy and act like I’m right…).

A lot of things have changed in my life since June 2009. I’ve gotten married, finished a second graduate degree, and gotten my first dog, among many other changes!

I’ve learned a lot about blogging in the last 5 years. I still have a lot to learn and to improve upon, but I’m getting there! I’m also blogging more consistently, and my statistics are showing improvements because of that.

Here’s how my posting consistency has changed. In 2009, I only published 1 measly post, which was my “hey look, I’m blogging now” post. I did a little better in 2010, publishing 3 whole posts. Slow down! In 2011, I published 22 posts. I was on fire! 😉 I even attempted to do a 30 day blogging series, but I only lasted 16 days! I published 30 posts in 2012 and maintained a blog (Thankful 366) where I wrote an entry every day of the year detailing something I was thankful for. That was tough! Last year, I published 75 entries! I participated in 2 blog linkup series’ and did my first “Blogging Through Books” series, so that definitely helped my count! This year, I have published 33 entries so far, so I believe I can easily surpass last year’s total! I’ve got another series planned and another “Blogging Through Books” series in mind, so there’s going to be a lot worth reading on here during the second half of 2014!

Enough about stats, let’s get to the fun stuff! To celebrate my blog’s birthday, I’m hosting my very first giveaway! I’ve got a $10 Amazon card for one lucky winner! To enter, leave a comment and tell me one big change that’s happened in your life in the past five years (include your name and email address as well). Easy enough, right? The contest will end at 11:59 PM Central Time on Sunday, June 15. I’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner and announce it here next Monday, June 16.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during my blogging journey. When you comment here, on Facebook, or in real life, it means a lot to me. Sometimes I feel like I’m just writing for myself, so it’s fantastic to get unexpected feedback! I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next 5 years!