A fresh start for 2015: from Gidget Goes Home to Nicole V. Bennett

Welcome to my new online home! Same me, same content; new, fresh, exciting look (and name). going boldly into 2015, one blog post at a time

It's a bit hard to believe I've been blogging for six and half years (that's gotta be like 20 in interweb years). A few months ago, I was starting to feel the spark of change barely starting to smolder.

It's like that itch I feel when I really really want to move the furniture around right now. Maybe this was inevitable since my house is too small for changing the configuration. It had to bleed over somewhere...

This time, I didn't scratch that itch right away though. I pondered a bit, prayed about my calling and direction, talked to friends and mentors, did some research, and looked for inspiration.

(Leaving my old online moniker behind is a bit scary. That name and identity were comfortable. Change is exciting, but it's also intimidating.)

It didn't take too much deliberating, because this new direction was pulling me strongly. And I already owned the domain. So I did it. What the heck! Here goes nothing! I took the plunge.

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I hired a very talented and sweet artist, who hand-lettered/painted my pretty logo. Don't you love it?

I'm been feverishly working to get this new blog up and running and I'll be honest, it's given me a renewed passion for blogging, taking me back to the hours I spent getting Gidget Goes Home up and running in my early online days. I've been fiddling with widgets and code and let's just say it's a bit out of my comfort zone and every time I click "save" I cross my fingers that I don't break the blog. :)

The biggest message that this re-branding says to me, to my own heart, is that I'm stepping out, making a bold statement, that I am actually pursuing this writing thing in a more intentional way.

I'm looking at myself as a writer who blogs, rather than a blogger who writes (which for me, is scarier, because the word writer feels so much more official, like it has to be earned or something).

So here I am. I'm a writer. Always have been.

A bit about the blog

I hope you like the new design-- my goal was that it was really user-friendly and that you'd be able to find your way around easier here.

You can see all my categories laid out up top in drop-down menus, and a highlighted post in each main category over on the sidebar. Down at the bottom of the page, you'll excerpts from me around social media. I even started a new Facebook page.

Maybe most exciting of all, is my updated newsletter. I've renamed it The Scoop and hope to use it a bit more this year to connect with my subscribers with special content and notes. If you haven't already, I hope you'll subscribe.

A little look back

As I say goodbye to Gidget Goes Home, I thought it'd be fun to take one last look back at some of the different styles she's worn over the years.

2008 (um, yes, that's Gigi, my seven-and-a-half-year old)

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2009

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2010

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2011

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2012

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2013

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Thanks for being here, reading along, whether it's since the beginning, or just recently. I'm grateful for each one of you, for the ministry God's given me here, and for His calling on my life to use this blog for fun and for His glory.

xoxo,

nicole :)

P.S. I appreciate your patience as I iron out the kinks. Please feel free to email me if you see any broken links or anything looking wonky.

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...

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.