Giveaway winner and my first Simple Mom column post!

I'm not very good at follow-through in the blogging realm-- that's one of things I want to improve upon. So for the those of you who follow me on Facebook, sorry that this announcement is a couple of days later than I thought it would be. :) It's weird, I was sorta having an unintentionally intentional aversion to getting on the computer (hence my out-of-control email inbox!). Banana choc chip pancakes, trip to the library, and now swim school... The best part? Daddy took the day off!

Partly I think I needed to detox a bit from my blogging "job" ending and partly I was just living life-- throwing a bridal shower, singing at church, celebrating a certain little girl's 6th birthday. It's been a crazy busy fun week around here.

So. Without further adieu, I'd like to congratulate Abby, who said she loves my tutorials (thanks, Abby, I hope to bring more of those your way in the future!). I've sent an email so let me know if you don't get it. Abby won the fabulous collection of goodies; if you didn't win, be sure to revisit my friends and sponsors who donated to the giveaway!

I loved reading through all of your comments and am really excited about what the future brings here at Gidget Goes Home.

Today, I have my first sewing column post up at Simple Mom. It's a simple project, one that's been loved on for about three years in our home. 

There’s just something so sweet about a toddler and her baby doll (or his, for that matter; my son loves his doll and animals, too).

When we were first preparing to bring home baby number two, I decided to make a baby carrier for my daughter who was just over two at the time. I had loved wearing her in my handmade mei-tai, a gift from my sister-in-law, and decided to draft a simpler version for her to use with her favorite doll, Molly the Dolly...

Head to Simple Mom to read the rest...

Relaunch Giveaway!

I thought it would be fun to put together a giveaway package that includes a variety of goodies, several of which are labors of love made by real-life friends and family members. Thanks for helping me celebrate the relaunch of Gidget Goes Home. 

giveaway bundle I thought I might review each one of these items separately... but then I thought about it again, I realized you probably didn't want seven separate blog posts crowding your inbox or reader, so I'm going to squeeze them all in here for ya.

The important thing is that these are all things I love, which is why I'm celebrating the relaunch of my blog by giving them away to a lucky reader.

In this little gift package of love you will find something for him (thanks to the awesome hubbies out there!), for the home, for the kids, and of course, for you, lovely lady (since I'm assuming most of my readers are women). You will also find three of my favorite eBooks, two of which are not part of the gigantic sale going on right now, but which will complement the other 97 nicely.

This is a long post, but trust me, you're going to want to see what these goodies are all about!

For her: Sarah Undercover

sarah undercover journals

I've always been a journaler. My husband isn't too happy about the storage tub full of old journals taking up precious space in the garage, but I can't part with them; they are part of me, of my story. Nowadays, I don't journal the same as I used to, although I miss writing out my prayers and thoughts like I used to (back when I had all the time in the world for that sort of thing!). For now, my journals serve as more of a brain dump, recipe file, and collection of sermon notes, prayer requests, favorite verses, dreams and big ideas, and sketches-- the stuff of life you might say.

For a couple of years, I used Moleskines, and now have moved on to a beautiful handmade journal made by my good friend Sarah. When we first met, I was thrilled to hear that she had an Etsy shop (kindred spirit!!) and was greatly impressed by her handiwork. Sarah collects vintage maps and papers and other lovely embellishments that she uses as she hand-sews her journals together.

They are so beautiful, and well-made at that. I have the aqua-colored one pictured-- she made it just for me and used a map of Hawaii on the inside cover (which I love, because David and I honeymooned there). The royal blue one pictured will be the winner's journal-- it features a map of the west coast (represent!) on the inside cover. Visit the Sarah Undercover shop to see more of her creations.

For him: Fifty Five South

fifty five south shirts

Fifty Five South is the clothing line designed and screen printed by my talented brother, Alex. He makes men's and children's t-shirts, and men's crew neck sweatshirts as well, printed with his own designs and photography.

I'd tell you which one was my favorite, but I really love them all. If you're looking for a guy gift, you can't go wrong with one of these. My husband David has the top two shirts. As for the children's line, any kiddo would look adorable in one of these hip prints. Hallee has the birdie shirt. :)

Visit Fifty Five South for lots more tees & sweatshirts, and know that if you buy a shirt from Alex it comes screen printed with love in Costa Mesa, CA. :) Today, I'm giving away the choice of one men's shirt.

For the home: Mr. B's Luminaries

mr b-s luminaries

These beautiful, wonderful-smelling candles are hand-poured by a friend of mine, Shem; we serve together in the church worship ministry and I had the super-fun honor to have my recording debut singing a few background vocals on his forthcoming album (I'll let you know about it when it releases!).

But back to candles for now... Shem's company, Mr. B's Luminaries is really just getting started, but I can already see that it's going to be successful because of the quality of the candles and ingredients and the lovely and hip branding. I really love the different jars and the stamped tags.

It doesn't get much better than this, as far as I'm concerned: scented with %100 essential oils, no fragrance oils, organic and biodegradable soy wax grown by farmers in the U.S.A., no paraffin wax , no GMOs , only ingredients from Fair-Trade suppliers, hand-poured in small batches, made with the finest ingredients. The winner today will receive the candles pictured, three scents in a variety of jars.

For the kids: Squooshi

squooshi

It's not often these days that a baby/kid gadget comes my way and finds me smitten. But after discovering a love for applesauce pouches and planting one in Gigi's lunch every time she goes to school and taking them on the go with the kiddos all the time, I often wished I had a reusable version. I didn't like the cost of the pouches or the waste involved, but convenience was winning that battle on a weekly basis.

When I was giving a chance to review the Squooshi pouches, I jumped at the chance, hopeful. And indeed they were exactly what I was looking for! These refillable pouches are easy to use and surprisingly easy to clean. I simply fill them up with applesauce -- often flavored with cinnamon or even blended with berries and spinach-- and we're good to go for over four times less the cost of the pouches I was buying regularly before. I love the cute designs and colors and so do my kiddos; I'm sure yours will too if you win the set-- if you don't have kids, I'm sure a little friend, niece or nephew would love them as a gift.

eBook #1: Nurturing Creativity by Renee Tougas

Nurturing-Creativity-Cover400Since Renee is one of my favorite bloggers, I wasn't surprised at how much I loved her book, Nurturing Creativity: A Guide for Busy Moms. This quote sums up what I took from it: “I’ve come to describe what I do simply as creative living, not defined by any one craft or activity but an overall approach to life"-- and that's really become a mantra for how I live my life.

You can read my full review that I wrote up last year to see what other nuggets I took from it, but you can trust me when I say that this book will encourage and inspire you in your creativity.

 eBook #2: Healthy Snacks To Go by Katie Kimball

Buy Healthy Snacks to Go eBook Recipes OnlineThis eBook is one of my favorite digital cookbooks. Katie's granola bars are a family favorite and since we went grain free we have discovered her amazing power bars (reverse engineered LaraBars) and her coconut flour muffins, which we've already made countless times.

I can't recommend Healthy Snacks To Go {affiliate link} enough.

eBook # 3: Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert by Erin Odom

Cloth Diaper Guide I'm going to take a stab in the dark that at least a few of you readers arrived here because of my DIY Diaper Sprayer Post. If you are a cloth diaper-er, Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert will be an invaluable diapering companion, and if you're interested but unsure about taking the cloth diaper jump, this book will give you everything you need to know to decide what will be best for your family.

I've been cloth diapering off and on for five years, and I'm still learning-- and I'm stoked on a particular simple tip I found in Erin's book that I never thought of before. I love that cloth diapering doesn't have to be all or nothing, and Erin gives so many options for how it can be done, that there really is a method for anyone whose interested. I personally am looking forward to going through Erin's "challenges" that she presents to see if I'm taking proper care of my diapers and if there's any solutions that will help our issues. I also love all the quotes she includes from real-life mamas about their diapering experiences.

And now for the fun part...

This giveaway has now ended!

Today one lucky winner will win:

Woohoo!! That's a lot of fun (and useful, and beautiful!) stuff. Just enter with the rafflecopter widget below. You'll start by leaving a comment on this blog post (mandatory entry, answering this question: What's one thing you like or that you want to see more of on Gidget Goes Home?) and then go from there if you want extra entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Special thanks to my pals for donating these items for giveaway. Some asked me to do review (and provided a sample); others were simply companies I wanted to support by showcasing them for you because I already loved them.

Good luck and thanks for reading!!

Win a Kindle Fire full of great eBooks!

Written by editor Nicole Bennett of Gidget Goes Home.

Christmas might be over, but the gifts keep coming! I"m a part of a group of bloggers from the Positively Real Media Network (for like-minded "natural" Christian bloggers), and the network worked together to bring you a chance to win your very own Kindle Fire!

Not only that, the Kindle Fire comes with a package of carefully selected eBooks worth a combined value of more than $300 to get you started with your own digital library. Each eBook is filled with reliable information to help you live more naturally and healthfully in every area of life.

Here are the books the winner will receive with the Kindle Fire (if you already own one or more of the books, you can re-gift them to someone else who would enjoy them!):

Recipes & Whole Foods Cooking

Have Your Fruits... and Veggies, Too! by Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers ($5.95)

Real {Fast} Food by Trina Holden @ Trina Holden ($6)

20 Minute Meals by Leigh Ann Dutton @ Intentional by Grace ($4.99)

Real Food... Real Easy by various bloggers @ The Humbled Homemaker ($9.95)

Smart Sweets by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship ($8.95)

Healthy Snacks To Go by Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship ($8.95)

Sourdough A to Z by Wardee Harmon @ GNOWFGLINS ($20)

Restocking the Pantry by Kresha Faber @ Nourishing Joy ($7.99)

Easy. Homemade. by Mandi Ehman @ Life Your Way ($3.99)

Grain Free Meal Plan Cookbook by Cara Faus @ Health, Home & Happiness ($18)

Toadally Primal Smoothies by Todd @ Primal Toad ($9.95)

Simple Food {for spring} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days ($10)

Simple Food {for winter} by Shannon @ Nourishing Days ($10)

Well Fed (Paleo Recipes) by Melissa Joulwan @ The Clothes Make The Girl ($14.95)

Crock On by Stacy Walker Myers @Stacy Makes Cents ($5)

Real Food Budgeting

Real Food on a Real Budget by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home ($18.99)

Plan It, Don"t Panic by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home ($4.99)

Don"t Compost It, Cook It by April Patel @ An Apple a Day Wisdom ($2.99)

Your Grocery Budget Toolbox by Anne Simpson @Authentic Simplicity ($4.99)

From Debtor to Better by Barry Myers ($10)

Skincare and Beauty

My Buttered Life (Baby edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion ($5)

My Buttered Life (Gift edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion ($5)

My Buttered Life (Summer edition) by Renee Harris @ Hard Lotion ($5)

Simple Scrubs to Make and Give by Stacy Karen @ A Delightful Home ($3.99)

by Leslie @ Crunchy Betty ($7.99)

Holistic Mama"s Guide to Homemade Skincare by Roxanne King @ The Holistic Mama ($19)

Homesteading, Gardening and Preserving

Your Custom Homestead by Jill Winger @ The Prairie Homestead ($4.99)

Guide to Gardening and Preserving by Laura Coppinger @ Heavenly Homemakers ($7.95)

Apartment Gardening by Jami Leigh @ Young Wife"s Guide ($2.99)

Lifestyle

Simple Living by Lorilee Lippincott @ Loving Simple Living ($2.99)

Herbal Nurturing by Michele Augur @ Frugal Granola ($8.95)

Simple Natural Health by Nina Nelson @ Shalom Mama ($17)

Healthy Homemaking by Stephanie Langford @ Keeper of the Home ($12.95)

Music: An Essential Ingredient for Life by Resound School of Music ($6.99)

Breast to Bib by Kate Tietje @ Modern Alternative Pregnancy ($8.95)

First Bites by Hilary Kimes Bernstein @Accidentally Green ($9.99)

Healthy Pregnancy Super Foods by Kate Tietje @ Modern Alternative Pregnancy ($8.95)

Unbound Birth by Jenny Yarborough @ The Southern Institute ($4.99)

The Bootstrap VA by Lisa Morosky @The Home Life and Me ($12.99)

Honoring the Rhythm of Rest by Daniele Evans @Domestic Serenity ($0.99)

Special Deals!

And just in case you don"t happen to win, some of the authors have generously offered discounts on their eBooks for the duration of the contest:

Your Grocery Budget Toolbox is 25% off, making it only $3.75. Use this link to purchase at the discounted price (PDF only).

The Bootstrap VA is also 25% off. Get the PDF version via this link for only $9.74 using the code NEWYEAR. The Kindle and Nook versions will be discounted automatically.

First Bites is 50% off (PDFs only), making it only $4.99. No code necessary.

Enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter below. The mandatory entry is super simple - just hit Enter! Then you can earn additional entries for following your favorite blogs via Facebook or email subscription. Increase your chances by liking and subscribing to them all!

This giveaway is only available in the United States and Canada.

This giveaway is being sponsored by Positively Real Media. A member of the network purchased these books to give away.

Inspiring books: Nurturing Creativity {Review & Giveaway}

All of us editors here at Simple Living Media have a common love for books. We love being able to share (and, whenever possible, give away) those of them that have inspired us in one way or another. Maybe you've seen Aimée's Bite This Book series?  Well, I've put together a new category for book reviews here on Simple Homemade where you'll be able to view the archives at any time if you're looking for something new to read. And Inspring Books is a new series that will feature a book with some Simple Homemade-type flair (hopefully each month).

The inspring book I'm sharing about today is super special. It's written by one of my favorite bloggers, Renee Tougas, of FIMBY, and it was literally the perfect book for me, for the season of life I'm in.

Let me tell you a little about Renee's first ebook, Nurturing Creativity, and also give you a chance to win one of five copies.

Like Renee, I believe we humans were designed as creative beings. I honestly feel like it's part of who I am, and if you're not sure about that for yourself, this little book is just the thing to change your mind.

"I've come to describe what I do simply as creative living, not defined by any one craft or activity but an overall approach to life," says Renee, and that's how I want to live life as well.

I love how Renee encourages us moms to adapt our creative living to whatever season of life and motherhood we are in. Reading Nurturing Creativity really expanded my definition of what creativity looks like and encompasses.

Sure, I love to sew and craft and even paint with my kids. But this book left me thinking outside the creativity box per se. Making do with what we have in the kitchen or adapting a recipe? Oh, yeah, that is getting creative. I never before thought about how great it is when I do something creative (and fulfill one of my own needs) while also doing something practical for my family.

Being a mom can be a busy job, and we can find our time is fleeting. This easy-to-read book is almost more like an encouraging letter from a friend, nudging us gently to see opportunities for creativity we didn't notice before and nurturing that instinctive desire in our hearts to create, and giving us tips and tools for finding and using our own creativity.

And isn't the cover art just beautiful?

About the book

From Renee:

Nurturing Creativity is about embracing the seasons of motherhood and appreciating where you are while helping you to make creativity a priority in your life.

It will encourage you to let go of perfection, to start small, and to find inspiration in everyday living. This little book will challenge you to make the most of the time you do have.

Time you can spend creating beauty and meaning - with your head, heart, and hands.

I know you're a busy mom so this book is short (just under fifty PDF pages). You can easily read it in one sitting or savor it slowly.

Nurturing Creativity is available directly from FIMBY, where you get three different file types (PDF, .mobi (for Kindle), .epub (other readers such as Nook) to download for the amazing price of just $3. It is also available as a single download through Amazon for Kindle.

Giveaway

This giveaway has now ended.

Renee has been kind enough to offer a copy of her ebook to 5 lucky Simple Homemade readers today.

To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment answering this question: how do you like to express yourself in creative ways?

Giveaway ends Thursday May 18th at midnight PST. Good luck!

Thanks, Renee, for the review copy!

Book Review: Julia's Child {Giveaway!}

A longtime reader and lover of fiction, I've actually read way more in the way of nonfiction in the last few years it seems. Between marriage and parenting, cooking, baking, gardening, sewing, food choices and other lifestyle topics, I've been immersed in the world of learning more and more. I've enjoyed most of the books I've read recently, but I've missed reading just for fun.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that the topics we write about at Simple Organic just don't usually lend themselves to the fiction genre... usually.

But sometimes... they do! Read on to discover a fun, relevant novel that I recently devoured.

When fellow blogger and cookbook author Sarah Pinneo contacted me about reviewing her new book, Julia's Child, I jumped at the chance to read a novel whose cover reads, "Take one organic food venture. Add two kids. Season with mayhem."

Julia's Child is an entertaining book, entwined with many of the values that I myself hold dear. While I don't personally relate to the working mom/entrepreneurial aspect of the main character Julia Bailey, I can certainly see myself as one of the women "who's wondered if buying that six-dollar box of organic crackers makes her a hero or a sucker."

The choices we make for ourselves and our families are complicated, and Julia's Child applies humor to the complications of wanting to feed our children healthy, real food in a world dominated by Happy Meals.

The book didn't exactly end how I expected, but it did confirm the fact that we each have to weigh out the choices in our life, and decide what priorities we're going to focus on for the time being.

Now, I'm sure I'm not the only one who likes to read the back of the box about the natural food companies whose snacks I sometimes bring home. I love it when I see that the companies started small in a garage somewhere or are using recipes passed down from generations before.

If you're like me, then you'll be interested in knowing that when Sarah emailed me, she told me about how in her research for the novel, she actually interviewed real-life mom(and dad)-preneurs who sell organic food products. You can read about some of these companies and how they got their start over on Sarah's blog.

And as a bonus, the novel is peppered with recipes throughout that I can't wait to try for my own kiddos (and myself!).

About Sarah and Julia's Child

Cookbook author Sarah Pinneo delves into the delicious world of fiction with her hilarious first novel, JULIA’S CHILD, being published by Plume in February 2012. Sarah is a food journalist, and is also the co-author of The Ski House Cookbook.

 Perfect for foodie and all-natural mamas, Julia's Child examines motherhood’s choices: organic vs. local, paper vs. plastic, staying at home vs. risking it all. 

Giveaway

Today, one lucky Simple Organic reader is going to win a copy of Julia's Child.

How to enter:

1. {Mandatory} Leave a comment telling us your favorite food as a child (or your child's favorite food).

2. {Bonus} Follow Sarah on Twitter or Facebook and leave a comment telling us.

Open to US Residents only, the giveaway will end on Friday, March 2 at midnight PST.

I heartily recommend this fun book, so if you don't win, be sure to request it at your library, or pick up a copy for yourself as a little literary treat.

Affiliate links included in this post.