July 21, 2014

Favorite Books & Summer Vacation Giveaway

Happy Monday!  And a HAPPY Monday it is!  If you remember, last week I participated in a get to know you blog hop with all of us contributors at Or So She Says.  And that was all leading up to today- giveaway time!!  A stack of amazing books, and a fantastic summer vacation!

How many times, in your stressful life, have you dreamed about laying out on the beach with a great book? 'Or so she says...' to the rescue! So, to further expand on our favorites, all of the OSSS contributors got together to give away their favorite books, perfect for summer reading! The coolest part is, one person will win EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. That's right, the whole bundle! That's 15 books, yo. Oh, but it gets better. Get Away Today, the greatest travel agency ever and 'Or so she says...' contributor, offered another winner a 3-night hotel stay in Anaheim or San Diego (winner’s choice) with their choice of two adult theme park tickets... PLUS, they get the 15 book bundle too!

Lets go over those prizes again:

Grand Prize Winner: 15 'Contributors' Favorite Books' Bundle PLUS a 3-night hotel stay in Anaheim or San Diego (winner’s choice) with their choice of two adult theme park tickets! Vacation courtesy of Get Away Today.

Runner Up: 15 'Contributors' Favorite Books' Bundle (details of books below).


Ready to enter? So, all we ask is for you to follow 'Or so she says...' and the contributors on Pinterest. We are all pin-maniacs and know you'll love the great ideas we send your way. After you enter, be sure to scroll down and check out all the books included in the giveaway. It's so fun to see what each contributor picked as her favorite book!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Want to know which books are included in the bundle?? What are the contributors' favorites??  Check 'em out!

1. Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley ~ "This book was not what I expected...it surpassed what I was hoping for. Mystery, romance and intrigue. Great characters and an interesting plot. It was a great read and perfect for summer reading!" Jana of Double the Deliciousness

2. Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin - "This book is a favorite because it teaches how to not only how photograph food, but how to do it beautifully!" Gina of Kleinworth and Co.

3. These is My Words by Nancy Turner "While I'm a country/ farm girl at heart, I can't even begin to imagine what the early settlers went through!  I love how they worked the land, built their own homes, and made everything from scratch!  And I'm always up for a good love story! Jack and Sarah's won't disappoint!" Brooke of Blissful Roots

4. The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino - "Aw, I love this book! It's a super unique book, in that it's a parable, teaching you how to be a better person, but also an activity book. Each chapter, you read over and over, until you master the character trait. It's a great story with lots of great thoughts. I think I highlighted half the book!" Mariel of 'Or so she says…'


5. Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray "Eat Cake will make it's way into your list of favorite books, it's a quick and enjoyable read. I love this book for more reasons than the fact that the main character shares my name! It'll have you laughing and crying- all at the same time! If you're like me and have a unexplainable urge to bake... you'll totally connect with Eat Cake!" Ruthie of Cooking with Ruthie

6. Wonder by RJ Palacio - "My 9-year-old daughter recommended Wonder to me and I enjoyed it just as much as she did. This is a compelling novel that is fun and easy enough for summer, but also intelligent and thought-provoking. Share it with your family when you are finished!" Allison of Tips for Family Trips 

7. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - "I love this book because it is getting me to think deeper about what I do to bring happiness upon myself. I am a happy person, but am loving the new outlook and am loving making new goals to make myself really live a happy life." Kiki of Kiki and Company

8. Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar - "It's easy to think that once a certain thing happens, I'll be happy. Well, this book provides little life secrets to be happier each and every day. It is applicable for every life stage. It has changed my way of thinking about happiness." Melissa of So Festive!

9. Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson - "Sometimes a mom just needs a good, quick, easy summer read to distract her from doing more laundry or to keep her busy during swim lessons. If you love a good Jane Austen romance, you will love this book! Set in Jane Austen's English countryside of 1820, this romance will keep you quickly turning the pages as you watch Kate's struggle to learn to follow her heart!" Veronica of Lolly Lu Designs

10. Leadership and Self- Deception - "Do you want to know the secret to having a happy and successful family and marriage? Want to know how to have successful relationships with anyone you come in contact with? Leadership and Self-deception holds the key to mending, strengthening and flourishing in all of your relationships. This book is a life changer- Promise!" Heather of Family Volley

11. Surprise Inside Cakes by Amanda Rettke - "It's a beautiful book of cakes and it's full of cake decorating tips for the everyday bake. Amazing cakes for every special occasion, all with a little surprise on the inside." Zainab of Blahnik Baker

12. The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle - "It taught me how to parent my very determined toddler (at the time) based on her personality type." Amy of The Connection We Share

13. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaleo Hosseini - "I read this as part of a book club and it has stuck with me ever since. It is a beautifully written, emotionally gripping story of two Afghan women's suffering, strength, and resilience. What I love most about it is the way it celebrates the strength of the human spirit - a beautiful thing!" Cathy of Lemon Tree Dwelling

14. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - "A light, charming book by the author of the popular Shopaholic series. This clever romantic comedy makes for a fun and easy summer read, by the pool or on the beach!" Samantha of Five Heart Home

15. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - "I loved this simple story that has some fun little twists. My favorite part is that my daughter loved this book as much as I did. I love being able to enjoy the same books as my daughter. This is one that was enjoyable for us both!" Holly of Bits of Everything

So, to recap.  Follow each of the Or So She Says contributors on Pinterest (click here to follow me), check out the 15 fantastic books that are up for grabs, and then enter the giveaway through Rafflecopter (see link above).  Easy as that!  The giveaway will go through Saturday.  Good luck!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you found a little something worth your time.

Fine print: Must be U.S. resident and 18 years or older to enter. Vacation package must be booked at least 60 days in advance and is subject to availability and some blackout dates. This post contains affiliate links.
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July 17, 2014

Library Card Lanyard

I don't know about your family, but we LOVE our local library!  It's a great place to spend some time on a hot summer day.  My boys have become very thorough when it comes to picking out their books, so we can easily be there for an hour or more!

Library Card Lanyard @ Blissful Roots

I have no complaints about our library trips (I really love them!), but I have become slightly frustrated with the whole "everyone keeping track of his own library card" issue.  My twins are old enough to have their own cards, and my four-year-old uses mine.  They are very particular about being in charge of their OWN cards, which I love!  I love how much they value their cards, and how it's teaching them to be responsible for their own things.  Well, they are little boys, and they are young, so needless to say, we've lost a few cards over our library-visiting years.  We also have a bit of a struggle when we get to the self check-out (a huge hit with my boys!).  They have to dig and dig to the bottom of their book-filled library bags to find the tiny little library card that can easily get lost in the pages of books.  I needed a library card solution!  

Library Card Lanyard @ Blissful Roots

Then one day I stumbled upon my solution as I was walking down the office supply isle at Walmart.  I saw the clear plastic badge holders that are often attached to lanyards.  They were the perfect size, inexpensive, and we could stick the library cards inside them , hang them around my boys' necks, and have an easy-to-find, safe place for their cards. Happy day!

Like I said I found the clear badge holders in the office supply isle of Walmart, and they had lanyards (what I really wanted) but they were all out.  For the pictures, I ended up using one of my boy's Skylander dog tag chains.  It actually worked really well, and we do have three of them already, so we might stick with them. 

And, of course I had to make a cute label for the front of the card holder.  I made the label in PicMonkey, cut it out, then attached it to some scrapbook paper.  I then adhered it to the outside of the plastic badge holder.  I think I'll also put a layer of Mod Podge over the whole thing, so it's a bit more durable.  Then the library card can just be tucked inside the pocket, and you're good to go!  

I can't wait to put these to use next time we make a library run.  Last time we ended up at the library with only one of the three cards.  We had 48 books to check out, and only one child card, which meant 12 books could be checked out.  So, we left a big pile at the front desk, ran home to find the other two cards on the hallway floor, then returned to the library to check out the remaining books.  Hopefully our library card lanyards will help us avoid such adventures!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you found a little something worth your time.

Linking up to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.
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July 16, 2014

Southwest Pasta Salad

My cute younger sister had all of our family over for Sunday dinner at her apartment last weekend.  She served pulled pork sandwiches, and had this pasta salad as a side dish.  I was so excited when she pulled it out of the fridge because I hadn't made the recipe in a long, long time, and I was thrilled she'd made it so I could steal a few shots of it for a blog post! Lazy of me, I know!

Southwest Pasta Salad @ Blissful Roots

I always love a good pasta salad, but a lot of them seem to have the same flavor and ingredients.  This southwest version adds a whole new dimension to the regular old pasta salad.  All of the veggies, beans, and olives are so fresh, and then you add the fiesta ranch dressing on top, and the flavor is to die for!  I could eat an entire bowl of this myself, and I usually can only say that about desserts.  

The recipe is really simple, just a bit of boiling, dicing, and then mixing.

Click to Print

The Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch can be a bit tricky to find.  My sister said she bought it at WinCo this last time she made it.  But do what you can to hunt it down, because it's a MUST in this salad.  It makes the salad!

Southwest Pasta Salad @ Blissful Roots

My sister sent some leftovers of this home with us, and I've been eating some for lunch for the past few days, but this picture is making me want more!  Once again, I could polish off and entire bowl with no problem!  So delicious!

And just in case you're not a southwest flavor fan, here's another yummy pasta recipe I posted earlier this spring.  Totally different taste, but just as incredibly yummy!

Shrimp Pasta Salad @ Blissful Roots
Shrimp Pasta Salad
What are your favorite pasta salads? 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you found a little something worth your time.

Linking up to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.

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July 15, 2014

Better Together {Wedding Printable}

I don't know about your family, but we seem to have a lot of weddings going on this summer. Some of my cousins have/are getting married, and my brother-in-law just proposed Sunday night, so we'll be having another wedding in September.  So fun!  Although being eight months pregnant at my brother-in-law's wedding doesn't sound like too much fun when the camera rolls out, but it's not my day, it's theirs.
Better Together {Wedding Printable} @ Blissful Roots
Click to Print
I recently helped with some decorations for one my cousin's bridal shower and reception.  While browsing Pinterest for a few ideas, I ran across an adorable printable that I knew I needed to recreate.  It fits marriage perfectly, and I love the vintage tandem bike!

I also couldn't decide on one set color scheme, so there are four to choose from.  Hopefully you'll find something to your liking.  I love the all gray, and I want this in our bedroom.  We aren't exactly newly weds, but this is perfectly fitting for any couple- no matter how many years of marriage!
Better Together {Wedding Printable} @ Blissful Roots

Better Together {Wedding Printable} @ Blissful Roots

Better Together {Wedding Printable} @ Blissful Roots
Thank you to Vintage Printables for the free darling bike image.  I can't wait to do more printables with it!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you found a little something worth your time.

Linking up to these parties & Savvy Southern Style.

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July 14, 2014

Get To Know You Blog Hop & Giveaway

Hello!  I'm back (again).  Summer is definitely a tricky time to be really consistent with posting.  We were in Arkansas for our little nephew's (Ben) funeral last week.  As much as I love blogging, being there kind of put a lot of things into perspective.  Not much matters but family at times like that, so it was easy to take a break!  

Get To Know You Blog Hop & Giveaway @ Blissful Roots

Having said that, I'm so excited to be back today and share a fun get to know you blog hop in preparation for a big giveaway next Monday!

As a lot of you know, I'm a contributor at Or So She Says.  I have been pretty much ever since I started blogging.  Mariel has been so great to work with, and does so much for her contributors!  She thought it would be fun to get to know each of us a bit better this week, and then we'll start the giveaway next week.  
So without further ado, here's my get to know you Q&A.

1.  What inspired you to start your blog (or shop?)
I had been a blog stalker for several years, and as I read blog after blog after blog, I realized that  what was going on in the blogging world was right up my alley!  I wanted to try my hand at it, share what I'm passionate about, and maybe even make a bit of money while doing it.  

2.  What's your favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?
I have several things I love about blogging, but my favorites are getting to know the amazingly talented bloggers (and readers) out there, and how blogging pushes me to get projects done!  When I have a post that has to be done, I need content, and that means I have to have something completed to share. Blogging definitely keeps me on my creative toes! 

There's not a whole lot about blogging I don't like.  I think the thing I hate the most comes from myself, and it's the comparison game (I know I shouldn't do it, so why do I?).  I let myself get a bit too caught up in what others are doing, and how I wish my blog could look like theirs, or get the traffic theirs does.  

3.  Tell me with only 20 words, 20 things you love.
Family, my faith, nature, cooking, running, holidays, seasons,  crafting, creating, organizing, nesting, teaching/education, bargains, upcycling, DIY, entertaining, books, collections, puzzles, Pinterest.  A few more than 20 words- sorry!

4.  What is the one recipe you are most often asked to share?  Please share it with us!
The homemade bread in a bag recipe I shared last year.  My boys made it in kindergarten, and we make it all of the time now!  It's delicious, easy, and there's no mess (just the bag you throw away)!
Homemade Bread in a Bag @ Blissful Roots
Homemade Bread in a Bag
6.  What's your personal mantra(s)?  Something you tell yourself on a regular basis?
Life never quite turns out exactly the way you want, does it?  At least mine has taken many twists and turns that I hadn't planned on.  But I've learned there's a reason for everything we go through in life, and we should be asking ourselves, "What should I be learning, and how can I become better through this experience?"

7.  What movie made you laugh more than any other?
Elf.  I laugh through the entire movie every time, without fail!

8.  If you could recommend one family vacation, what would it be?
Maybe it's because we just went in October, but I have to say Disneyland!  I hadn't been in years, and my boys had never been.  We all had such an amazing time.  It really is magical, and the one of the happiest places on earth!

9.  What goals are you currently working on?
More patience as a mother, serving others, and possibly building a home in the near future.

10.  Please share links to 3 blog posts (or items from your shop) that are special to you (or favorites of yours), and explain why.

My Reasons to Stay Home @ Blissful Roots
My Reasons to Stay Home

This is probably my one and only soap box post, and I would like to post it every month, just to reach more readers.  I know every situation is different, and many moms can't/don't stay home, but for those of us who do, there's greatness that can come from it!  In this post I share six reasons (I could have gone on and on, but these cover most of everything) why, for me, staying home is totally beneficial!  I explain what I've learned over the past eight years of being a stay at home mom, and why I relish being at home!

DIY Gift Boxes
I did this post about a month after I started blogging, and it's still one of my most popular.  I love these gifts boxes for so many reasons, but mostly because I learned how to make them way back in fifth grade (thank you, Mr. Downs) and you can make them for any occasion with all the fantastic patterned paper available these days.  They're quick and easy (remember I learned how to make them in fifth grade, so I know you can do it) and make an extra-special package for the small gifts you give.

Scatter Sunshine Chalkboard Printable

I have free weekly printables here at Blissful Roots, and it's hard to choose a favorite, but this one has always been at the top of my list.  I love it because next to my mantra above (what can/should I learn from this experience?) this message is a very close second.  I want to leave each place I visit a bit happier and brighter than before.  I also just love how this printable came together.  I'm always a fan of chalkboard and simplicity, and this definitely delivers!

So now that you've learned a little more about me, it's time to hop around and visit all these other wonderful bloggers who contribute at Or So She Says.  I, for one, am so excited to stop by and visit all these talented ladies!  I know them, but I can't wait to get to know them better. 

Participating Blogs: 

Additional Contributors (not in blog hop): 

And don't forget, this is all leading up to our big giveaway next Monday (July 21st).  I'm so excited about it!!  I won't spoil the surprise, but I'd LOVE to be a winner myself!

So, go and visit all the other fantastic gals today, and then be sure to stop by next Monday for the big giveaway!  CANNOT WAIT!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!  I hope you found a little something worth your time.
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