Book Review and a Giveaway

 The winner of the Mom Connection Book is…Angela! We will notify you via email.

If you have read our blog for any length of time now, you know that Jenny and I are both big readers and that we both have  a love for MOPS- Mothers of Preschoolers. Jenny and I have both served in leadership roles in our local Mops groups over the years and have been HUGELY blessed by the program. I honestly don’t know what I would have done with myself and my two little babies when I first moved here had it not been for Mops.

When I first found Mops, I literally knew one person in my town and I had a one year old and a one week old! And I had NO idea what I was doing with those precious babies!! And I honestly thought that Mops was for women when your kids STARTED preschool! But no, it is an awesome program from your first pregnancy to when your youngest enters 1st grade. If you want more info, or to find a Mops program in your area, check out www.Mops.org.

I am rambling on and on about Mops because that is where our book comes from. Mops International put out a post on their Facebook page looking for blogging moms to read and review the next Mops theme book, Mom Connection by Tracey Bianchi. I quickly signed up! Because not only do I get to read and review the book but they sent me a copy to give away to you guys too!!! They are pretty cool like that!

And I will be totally honest (since this is just between you and I right?!) I really really really LOVE to read, EXCEPT for when I HAVE to! Then I struggle…I can read fiction until the cows come home! (What does that expression EVEN mean, I don’t have cows!) but when it comes to growth books, books that will actually teach me something, well…like I said I struggle.

BUT I totally  loved this one! And I am not JUST saying that. I would have no problem telling you if I didn’t. Tracey Bianchi does a wonderful job including humor and honesty, enough to make me laugh out loud (and get weird looks from the rest of the family) and then nod my head in total agreement because I TOTALLY struggle with THAT too! But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you what the book is about…

“Parenting young children is an all-consuming task that can make you feel disconnected and, honestly, a bit fragmented. But having kids shouldn’t mean you rarely get to complete a conversation with a friend!  In this witty, encouraging book, Tracey Bianchi shows us how to cultivate deeper friendships that challenge us to grow, create healthy, life- giving rhythms for our families and connect and give back to wider world beyond our doors.”

So I totally LOVED the intro to this book because I connected to it on SO many levels… Here are a couple of my favorite quotes just from page 1~!

“I totally text people while playing hide and seek with my kids. That, or try to sneak a two-minute nap. Lying in the bathtub I hear echoes and shrieks rising through the floor. They are still downstairs. I close my eyes and try to breathe deep while plastic bath toys poke my lower back.”

Bianchi goes on to explain that one of the greatest complaints of our generation is how stressed and busy we are and how we put a lot of that stress on our selves. We are the ones who control the rhythm of our families and as moms we are at the forefront of those controls most of the time. She brings up a lot of good points- how do we want our families and friends to remember us? What legacy are we leaving behind for our kids? She talks about the people we encounter, the relationships we build and how we can “gracefully engage” those around us instead of treating them like items on a checklist. Taking the time to invest in our community, build and foster healthy marriages, and vibrant friendships rather than trudging through motherhood feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Each chapter ends with Five Mom Tested Tips (practical idea, a prayer, an idea to journal about) and then you are presented with 2 questions to reflect on (loved this part too!) and then she lists at least 5 great reference points for you about the info in the previous chapter.  I really appreciated the “extras”, it helped to engage in the book and reflect on key areas.

Here are a few of my other favorites quotes too!

  • “Motherhood, rather than calming our fears, launches us into an entirely new arena of competition. One of the mentor moms at my MOPS group (in her 50’s) once said to me, “I feel sorry for you girls these days-not only do you have all the old baggage of keeping up that we once did,  you have to still look hot too!”
  • “Back to the graceful, natural mothers….no amount of balance, wisdom, or insight can shape a perfect mother. Everyone struggles. We should find this tremendously freeing because it helps to know we don’t struggle alone.
  • “I want to be the mom who drenches her children with time rather than hurry.This is how I want my whole family to be known- a people of rest and grace.”

 

mom-connection

(Click on the photo to go right to Amazon to order your copy!)

To enter to win your copy of Mom Connection, just comment here below and we will select a winner Friday morning. I am not going to make you like anything on Facebook this time since we have quite a few readers who miss out on our giveaways since they don’t Facebook (I know, I know, it’s hard to believe but there are people out there who DO NOT Facebook- just ask my hubby- he is one of them!)

Hope you are all having a blessed week! And that all you moms had a fantastic Mother’s Day! ( I got showered with some beautiful handmade cards, handmade jewelry and a hanging flower basket and I’ll tell you all about my EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT later!!!!!!!!!!!!) (I’m not excited about it or anything!!!!)

~JESS

Expressions Vinyl Giveaway!

Expressions Vinyl is giving away $25 to one of our lucky readers!

I have mentioned many times before how much I love using Expressions Vinyl. They have so many different colors and types of vinyl. But, the best part is that you can purchase them in sheets for a lower price which means that you can create many, many things!

Scroll to the bottom to enter, but before you do, let me share with you some of the things I have made with their vinyl. Some of these things we have shared on this blog and others are gifts that I have made, but never shared. As I was going through all of the pictures, I was amazed at how many gifts I make using their vinyl!

Indoor & Outdoor Vinyl

I made these cute herb pots for my daughter’s teacher last year. I cut out the words ‘basil’, ‘parsley’ and ‘oregano’ using white vinyl.

Herb Plants

Remember this personalized mug? I have made quite a few of these mugs using their outdoor vinyl. And yes, you can even put it in them dishwasher. I made mugs for my kids and have put them in the dishwasher over and over for more than a year now!

vinyl mug (3 of 3)

I made this wood sign for my cousin. I painted it with chalkboard paint, then I cut out the vinyl, ‘weeks until’ and the cute onesie.

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Remember this sign I made last Fall? It was one of our very first posts. I needed something new for my Fall décor so I whipped up this cute sign using their brown and orange vinyl.

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Here is another chalkboard sign I made. I cut out the vinyl ‘days until’ as well as the flower and flip flops. We made this for my daughter’s best friend that was getting ready to go to Hawaii. They have a place over there, so she can use it again!

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Remember our tutorial on how to make your own glitter ornaments? Who knew these would become so popular! I used vinyl to add to these ornaments to give it a personalized touch!

Glitter Ornaments (15 of 15)

I love this sign. I made it as a gift to give at our Women’s Retreat.

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Here is another one of our very first posts. Click here to see the tutorial on how to make these cute gumball machines. I cut out ‘memories’ using Expressions Vinyl.

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I found this picture while for something else. This is a great way to use their vinyl. Cut out dates and titles to add to your scrapbooks.

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T-Shirt Vinyl

I LOVE their t-shirt vinyl. It is so fun to create personalized gifts with it. I whipped up this t-shirt the night before my daughter had a Veteran’s Day Assembly. See the tutorial here.

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I made this hat for my cousin using their t-shirt vinyl…awww!

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I also made this for my daughter’s friend to wear in Hawaii.

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This is a cute hat I made for my niece Lola who lives in Australia. It’s not the best picture, but you can see her name on the side.

Printable Vinyl  (1 of 1)-4

 

This shirt was also for my cousin’s little boy. I saw a similar idea on Pinterest and knew I could design my own using the t-shirt vinyl.

Gifts For Max (1 of 4)

 

Remember these burlap pumpkin placemats? I made these using their t-shirt vinyl.

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Inkjet Printable Vinyl

And of course you probably remember this post from yesterday Printable Waterproof Vinyl Tray

Striped Frame (2 of 15)

Those are quite a few projects wouldn’t ya say? Eleven of them I made as gift for others! Of course there are more that I didn’t share with you, but those alone should give you a reason to start using vinyl! Of course you need a personalized cutter like a Cricut or Silhouette Cameo. I have had a mini Cricut for years but…

I am still holding out hope that the magical Silhouette Cameo Fairy will bring me one. I know, I mention that a lot. One can hope!

Ok…enough about my projects.

Let’s get on to the giveaway…

The above information is all 100% my opinion. I am in no way being compensated by Expressions Vinyl. I just really like them.

___________________________________________________________________ 

$25 to Expressions Vinyl

The first two votes are mandatory!

‘Like’ Plum Adorable & Expressions Vinyl on Facebook. That’s it!

We’ve made it easy for you to do using Rafflecopter below.

Good Luck!

Contest will end at 12:00am (Eastern Time) on Tuesday, April 10th.

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Wall Inspiration and a Winner!

 

We have a winner for the Adorable Blue Skies and Butterflies Giveaway from last week - TIFFANY C!!! And I happen to know she has two PRECIOUS little girls who will be sporting those beautiful flowers!

I had one ADORABLE little girl who was SO EXCITED to get all dressed up this weekend. My good friend Barbara and I decided to surprise our little girlies with mommy and daughter dates to go see the local High School production of Beauty and the Beast on Saturday night. We didn’t tell them until that evening right before they had to get all dolled up to go. And boy were they SO THRILLED! We had such a good time and I think Barbara and I might have had just as much fun (if not MORE) than our girls. We were totally impressed with the whole production and it was so fun to see our little gals get all dressed up (Emma even wore her Belle dress!). I LOVE these moments!

Well, today I am going to share some inspiration from a fellow friend and blogger, the oh so talented Miss Jamie Smith from Focal Point Photography! Jamie has been taking photos professionally for a few years now and has been our family’s favorite photographer. She has taken these AMAZING photos of my kiddos!!

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          jp-DSC_0241preder spring 127xpreder spring 182

preder spring 194

And those are just a FEW of my FAVORITES, I had to hold myself back, didn’t want to bombard ya’ll with pages and pages of photos of my little cuties!

Jamie has also started a new blog and is sharing some GREAT ideas with us on photography and some fun ideas for your home too! Like her newest post, that you can find in it’s entirety HERE!!

But here is a sneak peek into what you will find!!! Jamie has completely transformed her stairway! I too, have the same problem that Jamie had, the big blank wall! The wall that everyone sees when they walk into your house too! (And I have only lived in my house for 6 years and STILL, I have this big blank wall!)

I am so excited for you to check out Jamie’s project because I think it is a GREAT reflection of Jamie! It is fun, bright, cheerful and exciting!! SO here is a sneak peek of her super FUN wall!

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Isn’t that SO FUN!??!! Head on over to her blog, FOCAL POINT BLOG, to check out the full post and read all about how she (and her awesome hubby Chuck) made this incredible wall come together! And if you are looking for a fabulous local photographer, well, look NO farther my friends!!

~JESS

Blue Skies and Butterflies Giveaway

There are two posts today! Scroll down to see the winner of this Subway Art Sign and a message to all of our GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT followers!

I am excited to share with you my friend Kerri and her beautiful accessories. She is giving away a cute bundle of three flowers, a headband and alligator clips.

I personally think these would make the perfect alternative to real flower corsages given at prom. How fun would it be to be able to keep the corsage you wore at prom! Scroll down to enter on Rafflecopter. 


My name is Kerri. I am a wife and a stay-at-home mom who has a passion for crafting! I decided to use my passion to earn some extra money for my family, so began my new adventure in making and selling hair accessories among many other things.

I recently changed the name of my “business” to Blue Skies & Butterflies…..Blue Skies is a song written by Willie Nelson. My dad who passed away 4+ years ago used to play this song on his guitar and it was the song we played at his memorial service to say good-bye. It will always have special meaning for me. I love butterflies….they represent a transformation of the ordinary to the extraordinary, like from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly…or like ordinary crafting supplies transformed into something really beautiful.

One flower endless poss

I am really excited about my hair accessories. They are all handmade by me out of all different kinds of fabric. They are fitted on the back with a strip of elastic which makes them very versatile.

One flower 4 ways

They can be worn as a pin, barrette, headband, and even slipped onto a length of ribbon and worn as a wrist corsage. They make great gifts too! They are available in a wide range of colors and can be custom made to match pretty much anything!

I am happy to be giving away this bundle to one of you!

Plum Adorable Giveaway pics

~Kerri


Only one mandatory vote to enter.

You just need to ‘like’ Blue Skies & Butterflies on Facebook.

Additional entry is to like Plum Adorable on Facebook.

If you already ‘like’ both of us then you can just enter below.

Good Luck!

Contest will end at 9pm Thursday, March 1st.

 

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Subway art winner & a message to all of our Google friend Connect followers

 

Congratulations Krystle! You are the winner of the Subway Art Wood Sign. We have notified you by email.


~ATTENTION~

ALL GOOGLE FRIEND CONNECT FOLLOWERS

We wanted to let you know that if you are following Plum Adorable through Google Friend Connect, you will no longer be receiving our posts as of March 1st.

That is TOMORROW. Sad smile

Because we are a WordPress blog you will no longer be able to follow us this way.

BUT, lucky for you, we are now signed up with Linky Followers (located on the right hand sidebar). You can sign up there to continue reading our posts.

Of course you can always follow us…

Via Email

Via RSS

On Facebook

We don’t want to lose any of our readers!

~Jenny & Jess

500 likes on facebook equals a giveaway for you!

We thought it would be fun to have a giveaway once we reached 500 likes on Facebook andlucky for you that happened today!

Remember this sign we sold on Groopdealz last month? Well, we are giving one away to one of you lucky readers!

You Are The...

you are the..4

 

All you need to do is enter on Rafflecopter below. Rafflecopter will do all the work for us to pick a winner!

A mandatory entry is to ‘like’ us on Facebook.

You’ve already done that? Great!

All you need to do is click on the +1 to enter your vote.

If you would like extra entries then subscribe via email or RSS feed and click on the extra entries.

This giveaway will end at 9pm Tuesday, February 28th.

We are going to be doing another giveaway soon from a very cute boutique, so stay tuned!

 

 

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The Hunger Games Giveaway

This Giveaway is closed!

Scroll to the bottom to see the winners!

 

 Jenny and I LOVE to read! It is one of the many things that we have in common and we luckily love the same books so we always have a great sounding board when we are looking for something new to read! I have been HARASSSING Jenny for a little over a year to read The Hunger Games series, have you heard about it? This is seriously one of my favorite series ! I bought the series a while back and they are slowly being lent out to everyone I know! I finally got Jenny to dig into them and she loves them too!

And today we will be giving away 2 FREE COPIES of the first book in the trilogy, “The Hunger Games.”

Here is a brief summary from the back of the book!

“In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them to all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen year old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.”

We wanted to give the copies of the book away so that you could enjoy them too and so that you could be ready for the movie when it comes out in March! SO EXCITED!

Here is a preview for the trailer! Did I mention I am REALLY Excited?!

 

Hunger Games Official Trailer

 

And here is Taylor Swift’s song from the movie!

~

Taylor Swift Hunger Games Soundtrack

 

Good Luck and…

“May the odds be ever in your favor!”

~JESS

 

Seriously, you need to read these books.  

I was skeptical at first, but I loved them!

~Jenny

The first two entries are mandatory and the third is an extra entry.

Good Luck!

 

Remember, we have TWO books to giveaway! 

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Molly’s Sweet Peas giveaway {Adorable Crochet hats}

This Giveaway is closed. The winner is Judie Gross! Congratulations!

I’m so excited to be sharing my talented friend with you. Molly’s daughter (who is as cute as a sweet pea herself) and my son Carson have been going to preschool together for the past two years. Molly had another little girl this past summer and when school started I noticed her wearing these adorable hats. Of course she was getting lots of compliments on them and that’s how I found out she makes them herself! Then I was even more intrigued, especially because she learned on her own how to make them! Molly started selling them this past year on etsy and would like to expand her business. So, today she is here to share her story as well as giveaway one of her hats to one lucky winner!

 

About Molly’s Sweet Peas
I am a stay-at-home mom to two little girls, Katelyn and Abby! My girls
are the inspiration behind each one of my hats. I taught myself how
to crochet hats for my oldest daughter when she was about 18 months
old because I was having a hard time finding hats in the right colors that
matched her clothes.

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Eventually, I started making them as birthday
gifts for my friends little kiddos too. After getting really great
feedback, I decided to take everyone’s advice and start making them to
sell. But because I taught myself how to crochet hats (and can’t read
patterns…yet!!), these hats are not flawless, but I truly love making
them.


I started Molly’s Sweet Peas on Facebook and Etsy in April 2011.

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Thank you for allowing me to share my hats with you!

Molly would like to thank her photographer Karensa Riba. Take a minute to check out her website here or on facebook here.

The Giveaway…

One winner will have the choice between this adorable hat…

(Wish my boy was that little again so he could wear it.)

6 (2)Tiny Conductor Hat With Brim (Gray/Red/Teal stripe) Size:0-3mo

Or this adorable little girls hat.

‘Grapevine’ Flapper Hat With Flower Size:12mo

I realize some of you may not have a little boy or little girl this size anymore, but I’m sure you know of somebody in your life that does. I know I do. So enter and win it for them!

We have made it really easy for you to enter our giveaways using Rafflecopter.

 Rafflecopter collects the entries and will give us a winner at the end!

You have four ways to enter! Try it! It’s simple! Giveaway will end on Sunday, January 15th.
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