January 31, 2013

Making Reading Fun for the Whole Family + an iPad mini giveaway!

I admit it. I was the child who carried a book out to recess. I've always been an avid reader. Now that I have children of my own, I'm looking for ways to instill that same passion for reading in my children. We own a ton of books. A ton. So many in fact, that my son felt compelled to load the kitchen sink with books. . .

Our bookshelves are overflowing, and yet I know that there are so many other great books out there. I know that by opening my children's eyes to the joy of reading, I'm equipping them for success in many other areas of life.

If you're like me, your home is probably already stuffed with toys, books, etc. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to have access to hundreds of books and not have to worry about where you are going to put them all? That's why I'm so excited about the new program from Bookboard.

Bookboard is an ipad app that custom tailors book selections for each child in your family (from toddlers up to age 12). It's super easy to sign up. Answer a few questions about the readers in your family and Bookboard will customize a library for each specific child. The more your kids read, the more books they unlock based on their reading habits and interests. New books and features are added each month to help keep your child coming back for more.

For a limited time, you can try the service for a full month for FREE, and see how it works in your own home. If you sign up and read one of the 300 available books with your child, you will be automatically entered in a giveaway for an iPad mini. Pretty sweet deal. 

About Bookboard:

Bookboard is a children’s book service that encourages and supports a new generation of readers with a different approach to reading on digital devices.  Rather than providing a digital marketplace where families buy and download books, Bookboard offers an affordable subscription service that allows instant exploration of a vast, curated library.  

Bookboard aims to inspire young readers by helping them discover new titles and earn fun achievements. As they read, families discover, unlock, and collect great stories to foster a sense of accomplishment that keeps kids coming back for more. At the same time, parents can track reading progress, and use our fun metrics to motivate kids to read even more.

Want to learn more? Check out their informational video on their homepage here.

Don't want to share your iPad? You can enter to win one for your family from Bookboard!
When you sign up for Bookboard and read a book by February 11th, you are automatically entered in a chance to win a free iPad mini. Rules and details can be found at the Bookboard website.


Thanks to Bookboard for sponsoring today's discussion.

January 8, 2013

No nonsense: Style Made Easy

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of No nonsense for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


One of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom is the dress code. I have to admit, I love sweatpants . . . probably a little too much. I knew I had a problem when my son saw me putting on a pair of jeans and asked "Where are we going?" We weren't going anywhere. . .


That being said, I enjoy "dressing up." I really do think that I feel better when I have a more put-together look. No nonsense offers a great assortment of cute and colorful leggings and tights to help you jazz up your outfits for the new year. They can be a great way to add a pop of color to your current wardrobe or in a more neutral color they can be used to build a really cute outfit.

No Nonsense Tights


No Nonsense Tights : Diamond Mesh Control Top Tights; Outfit Design by Sarah  


I recently received a pair of No nonsense tights and leggings from No nonsense. I love the tights. They look great with a skirt and a pair of boots. Plus, they keep my legs warm during the super cold winter months. I love pairing the leggings with a long tunic top and a cute pair of flats or my favorite slingback high heels.

No Nonsense Leggings





I think leggings and tights are a must-have if you live in a colder climate. They are so versatile (and keep my legs warm and comfortable).


Since we live on a pretty strict budget, I'm not going to just go out and spend $50 on a pair of designer leggings. I like that No nonsense is definitely affordable and it's available at a ton of retailers (everywhere from drugstores to retailers like Wal-Mart). They're good quality and a great price - you can't beat that.  


Access Hollywood correspondent, Jill Martin, is the new Brand Ambassador for No nonsense, she'll be putting together some great online videos showing women how to incorporate the latest fashions and styles into their wardrobes. 


Want to stay up to date with the latest information from No nonsense, Including information on an upcoming contest involving Jill Martin and a New York City Shopping Spree???? Just check out  No nonsense on Facebook and Twitter. 






Visit Sponsor's Site

January 7, 2013

Giveaway! "Love Finds You in Glacier Bay"

I am super excited to be a part of Tricia Goyer's 2013 promotion team. I recently had a chance to review her latest novel, Love Finds You in Glacier Bay. It's an enjoyable read for anyone wanting to "escape" to Alaska - I seriously want to load up my stuff and head to Glacier Bay for a visit, it sounds absolutely beautiful.

Would you like a chance to win your very own copy of Love Finds You in Glacier Bay by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss? Of course you would :-) The authors have generously offered a book to one of my readers.

It's super easy to enter and win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more chances to win? Check out these other fantastic blogs offering giveaways :-)


January 2, 2013

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska

Sometimes the love we've always wanted is the one we've always had.

Ginny Marshal was about to have her dreams realized: a lucrative recording contract, growing fame, and a relationship with one of People Magazine's most eligible bachelors, and yet something was holding her back. Ginny had to figure out what to do, and she could only think of one person who could help - her former fiance, Brett Miller. She hops on a plane to Glacier Bay, Alaska, looking for answers, but she found so much more.

When Miller's grandmother hands Ginny a stack of old letters, she is drawn into the story of Clay, an early missionary to Alaska, and Ellie, who came to serve as a governess to his children after the death of his wife.

Far from the smog and traffic in LA, Ginny rediscovers the beauty of God's creation in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and learns that sometimes love finds you where you least expect it.

I love a good romance, and the nice thing about Love Finds You (LFY) in Glacier Bay is that you actually get to enjoy two love stories in one. I really enjoyed reading Ellie's story, told in letter form. Just like Ginny, I was desperate to find out what happened next. I had a hard time putting the book down.

I enjoyed learning about the rich history of Alaska's early settlers. Through the letters and journal entries, I felt like I got a small glimpse of what life might have been like for those living in the Alaskan frontier.

I've never been to Alaska, but after reading this book, I want to hop on a plane and check out Glacier Bay for myself. It sounds like it's absolutely breathtaking.

I also appreciated the elements of faith woven into the story. Sometimes I feel like some authors of Christian fiction dump the gospel into a story in ways that feel unnatural or forced, but in LFY in Glacier Bay, the story is seasoned with grace - the characters aren't the picture of saintly perfection, they are human beings with flaws and a history. I love redemption stories, and that's what this one is. It's a great reminder that God's plans and purposes may not always work out the way we have planned, but they are always for our ultimate good.


I received a complimentary copy of the book to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed are my honest thoughts of the novel.

January 1, 2013

2012 Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone! I love new beginnings, they give us a chance to start again. I always think it's great to take some time to look back on the last year. It's easier for me to figure out where I want to go next if I take some time to reflect on the journey. 

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

I was able to accomplish a pretty big goal, running a half-marathon on Nov. 11. I'm pretty proud of that, simply because it was something I didn't know that I was capable of doing. 

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
I think the most challenging thing for me has been learning how to balance the needs of my family with my own personal needs. When either gets out of balance then both suffer. Motherhood is both a joy and a challenge. If I don't take care of myself, then motherhood risks becoming a burden instead of a blessing. 

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
I had the chance to attend the MOPS International Convention at the Gaylord hotel in Grapevine, TX. It was a lot of fun and a great time of being refreshed and renewed. 

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
I've had some ups and downs with my health this year. It's been an obstacle trying to discover what was causing some symptoms. Nothing life-threatening, but it has certainly caused some frustrations. Now that we've got some answers, I'm ready to get back to "normal."

5. Pick three words to describe 2012.
Busy. Challenging. Fun.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2012—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. 
Busy. Full. Hectic.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2012.
Busy. Busy. Busy. (I'm noticing a recurrent theme, here.)

8. What were the best books you read this year?
I've enjoyed Stephen Lawhead's Bright Empires Trilogy. I also got sucked into the Hunger Game books. 

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My husband, children, and family. 

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I joined the YMCA and started making physical fitness a priority. 

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I'm continuing to learn the importance of balance and self-care. 

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
2012 has been a challenge in many ways. The business of daily life, the frantic pace, the 4:45 AM mornings have often left me worn out. God has taught me that even during this stage of life, he can use me. For whatever reason, He's really put it on my heart to encourage other mothers. Perhaps its because I never realized how challenging motherhood can be (especially for SAHMs of young children) until I was in the throes of it myself.  

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I started setting physical goals. I ran a half-marathon which is something I never dreamed I was capable of doing. 

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I've had the opportunity to build friendships more, both with the ladies in leadership with MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and my friends from church. 

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
I love blogging. I may not have the freedom to travel the world, but I love the ability to connect and impact with people from all over the place. It's encouraging to know that God can use you exactly where you are.

On the homefront, I've loved watching my boys grow and develop this year. Ben (age 3) is so smart. I love hearing what comes out of his mouth. Andrew's (19 months) little personality is the cutest thing. I love it when his smile squishes up his entire face. 

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
The most challenging thing for me has been finding a workable schedule. I would love to make time to write, but I have found that if I don't guard my time (or use it well) then a whole day escapes and I've done absolutely nothing productive. . . and my house is still a mess :-) 

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Uh oh. . . it has to be Facebook . . . and Pinterest. I'm pretty sure I spend way to much time on social media, but my smartphone just makes it so dadgum convenient, lol. I could probably have a spotless house and four novels under my belt if I just turned it off, but it's my connection to the "outside world" and to family and friends scattered literally across the globe. 

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
The best way I used my time was probably time spent with family. People beat out things every time. I'm also proud of my blogs http://mommys-minute.blogspot.com and www.lettertoamom.com.

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
If you want to run a half-marathon, just keep running. 

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2012 for you.
Never give up. Never surrender. :-) 

The questions were created by Tsh at Simple Mom