Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday: loved

My house has just quietted down after twenty-some people gathered to eat, visit, and shower me with gifts. It was such a great time and I feel truly loved. I am so blessed to have such genuine + generous people in my life.

This week I'm thankful for...

441. a loving husband who goes above + beyond to make me feel special to him.

442. a fun + relaxing 29th birthday yesterday (more on that in a later post)

443. all our friends + family who came to celebrate with me this evening. I felt way too old to have a birthday party this year, but you all made it great!

444. the calm after the storm. It was a loud and crazy few hours, Malakai was running around like a little tornado. Now we're all in our comfies, Kai is fast asleep and it's quiet. shhhh

445. only 3 holiday returns. Besides an ill fitted pair of jammies I got for Ben, upgrading the blu-ray we received so we can stream Netflix, and exchanging a toy that was a little too big for Malakai, we got gifts that fit us perfectly this year.

446. leftovers. I won't have to shop until well after the new year thanks to the birthday leftovers from lunch out, ordering in, and today's gathering. love that.

447. a 5 hour fever. While it seems strange to be thankful for a fever, I was so glad and really surprised that it was so short lived. I came down with a low-grade 100.1 fever the night before my birthday, and woke up just a little achey, but fever-free.  God really does answer prayer!

448. you. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I am so thankful for all my readers. You have turned my small part-time hobby into something much more than I would have ever imagined, and I'm so blessed.

449. our church family. I've come into my position at a particularly challenging time, but I am so blessed and amazed by the servant hearts I've encountered already.

450. Re-do's. We didn't get a photo of the 3 of us on Christmas day so we had a friend snap one tonight while the tree is still up. Looks convincing enough, right?

How is your week going? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dots & Dahlias Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the Dots & Dahlia's giveaway. I was quite impressed with the number of entries after such an influx of giveaways in the blogging world during the holidays. I had no idea how giveaway crazy everybody got around this time. I'll be prepared for next year I guess!

Don't forget the discount code to Dots & Dahlia's custom stationary and invitations, just in case you aren't the lucky winner, you can still grab your favorite item for a screaming deal! Just use code SAVE20BNG for a 20% discount through the end of January.

And for our lucky winner...

You have won your choice of 12 flat notecards or 8 folded cards in the design of your choosing! Best of luck choosing just one. You might want to take advantage of that discount code too!

How fun to be the one giving something away on my birthday. Maybe this will have to be a new tradition around here...

P.S. Don't forget about the discount code over at Pure + Noble too! BREAKING10 for 10% off your order!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Tomorrow is my golden birthday.

I have no idea what the day holds. Ben has done better than ever at keeping the entire day a secret. In fact, I'm actually typing this from the confines of my bedroom as he schemes away secretly on the other side of the door. I'll just be hiding here, relaxing, waiting for him to tell me I can come out + play.

It's news to me that not everyone knows what a "golden birthday" is. Bonus points if you can guess...which also means you'll know how old I'm turning. Yikes! I have also nicknamed this birthday my "forever age" as I will from this day forward claim to be this age whenever asked, as my mother did before me.

Don't judge, it's my birthday {almost}.

Christmas Breakfast: "Camper" Cinnamon Rolls

This recipe is an  obsession of Ben's side of the family. From what I can remember, it originated with Ben's grandma while camping out at the lake. Now, camping in my family consisted of tents and a very small arsenal of supplies, especially for cooking. Ben's family mostly camped in cabins and trailers out at Triangle Lake. For those of you who cook over a camp fire, despite it's name, this recipe requires an oven.

Camper Cinnamon Rolls are addicting and making them is fairly quick and super easy.


1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 package (12) brown + serve rolls

Set your oven to preheat to 450 degrees.

Cut each roll in half twice (quarters).

Mix the cinnamon + sugar together.

Melt the butter and drizzle over quartered rolls. More butter makes for gooier bites, less makes for crispier bites.

Sprinkle the rolls with the sugar + cinnamon mixture  and stir to coat evenly.

Bake on a jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with sides) for 2 1/2 minutes, turn with spatula, then bake for another 2 1/2 minutes.

Be careful as they will obviously be very hot. Eat fresh!

On Christmas Eve we ate them right off of the cookie sheet! Then I made them on Christmas morning for my side of the family for the first time. I think they liked them, as we went through 2 1/2 batches and we also had our traditional lefse!


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas blur 2010

Malakai's second Christmas went by in a blur. This was our itinerary:

December 24th

7:30 am Wake up, get everyone ready.

8:45 am head over to Grandpa Ron + Grandma Debbie's house (Ben's parents) for breakfast + visiting with them as well as Aunt Krisit + Uncle David.

12 pm Lunch, attempt to get Malakai to nap away from home. (I took him on a drive in the car)

1:30 pm Malakai wakes from 40 minute nap. Play time and get ready for presents.

2:15 pm exchange gifts.

{evidence that you do start to look like your spouse after a while}

5 pm dinner

5:30 pm pack up and head out.

{chillin' in Grandpa's chair}

6 pm Christmas Eve Church Service

7 pm head home, Malakai opens his traditional Christmas Eve gift of jammies + Ben reads him The Night Before Christmas.

7:30 pm Kai's bedtime, Ben + I exchange jammies. Prepare for Christmas day by filling Kai's stocking and tying up loose ends for the upcoming events.

December 25th

7 am wake up and get ready.

7:30 am discover that our car battery is dead. Ben makes urgent phone call to his dad for some help.

8 am problem solved, time for stockings.

8:30 am load up car, head to G'Pa Jim + Mema's house for breakfast + gifts with them as well as Aunt Amanda + Uncle Cody.

{yes, she's wearing footed jammies}

10 am exchange gifts.

{every time Kai received a book, he would sit down and "read" it}

11 am visit + play

12 pm head home for naps

2 pm get ready to leave for big family Christmas, getting a very late start (event time 2:30, drive time 30 minutes)

3:15 pm get out the door with car full of gifts + goodies.

4:30 pm dinner with big family, about 30 people.

5:30 pm gift opening for the kids, aka chaos.

{Ben struggling to get Kai to let go of the candy + open a gift}

6 pm white elephant gift exchange for adults, aka lying + stealing

6:30 pm dessert + visiting

7 pm head over to my dad's side of the family for a surprise visit ( I didn't have my camera)

8 pm head home, get Kai to bed.

9 pm go to bed early because we're all exhausted + I have to work at the church at 8am the next morning.


It almost feels like we missed Christmas it went by so fast. It was a joy to watch Malakai open gifts. It as a VERY Elmo Christmas for him this year...

{chicken dance Elmo, Jammies, handmade chair, 2 books, tickle gloves, slippers + a dvd}

And of course we had a great time visiting with our family.

We have 3 more get togethers this week, for a friend's birthday tomorrow and another Christmas gathering + my birthday party on Thursday. Plus some unknown plans that Ben is cooking up for my actual birthday on the 29th. Then, New Year's Eve, which will probably consist of our regular routine of getting Kai to bed by 8pm and catching up on our Tivo'd shows.

How did you celebrate Christmas? What do you have planned for New Year's Eve?

P.S. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win a personalized stationary or notecard set before 12.28!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday: Happy Christmas

Tomorrow we have the first of many Christmas celebrations. We are so excited to get together with family + spend time giving thanks for the birth of our Saviour. I'm really looking forward to giving gifts, and watching Malakai really dig in to opening presents and interacting with everyone.

We are so blessed right now.

This past Sunday the speaker at church said that at any given time 1/3 of the congregation is going through a storm, 1/3 is heading out of one, and the other 1/3 is about to experience one. Yet, instead of being overwhelmed about this,  we should embrace the storms because they bring about change. He later closed his message by saying "When God brings you to nothing, it's never to destroy you. Its to change your perspective."

I hope I'm able to remember those words and keep that outlook next time I encounter a storm in life.

This week I'm thankful for...

431. Ben coming home early, thus starting our long weekend!

432. no lines when we paid our visit to Santa last week, even though Kai wasn't too thrilled.

433. financial peace at a time of year that can be so stressful.

434. having so many of our loved ones close by.

435. houses lit up from the outside in.

436. modern medicine- Ben has bronchitis which results in a persistent cough. He was prescribed cough suppressant pills and they work like a miracle!

437. hot chocolate + candy canes

438. the ability to watch my son learn + grow every day.

439. the 23 Christmas cards we've received. I love getting mail and reading everyone's yearly letters!

440. the birth of Jesus Christ.

What are you thankful for this Christmas? I encourage you to take a break from your holiday preparations + reflect on that. De-stress and know that you are well loved.

Happy Happy Christmas everyone! I'll be back on Monday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Featured Etsy Shop, Review, + Giveaway: Dots & Dahlias

For the first time ever, two shop features in one week! Sadly we weren't able to coordinate everything in time to offer them in time for the holidays, but Dots & Dahlias is hosting a giveaway here that will be beneficial for the New Year + after the holidays!

I'd like to introduce you to Julia, creator of Dots & Dahlias...

Where are you located + are you from there originally?
I live in St. Charles, Illinois with my husband, and 3 year old son. I've lived in the Chicago suburbs my whole life.

How did you come up with your shop name?
When I began creating cards, one of the first cards I designed included dahlia flowers and another with dots, so that's quite simply where my shop name came from.

How long have you had your shop?
After my son was born, I decided that I needed a creative outlet for myself and decided to open a shop in August 2009.

What inspires you?
I'm inspired by everyday things, nature and my son. So, a lot of designs in my shop contain floral illustrations and children's themes.

What is your favorite item in your shop?
I would have to say that my favorite item in my shop is my "Train Ride" notecards. I originally made them to use as thank you cards for my son's first birthday. He's obsessed with trains, and every time I look at them, I think of him.

Do you have any other jobs or hobbies?
Most of my time is spent with my son and husband, and then working on my business. In my free time, I enjoy taking art classes, where I make pottery and create artwork with oil pastels.


Shandell's Review

Julia sent me some notecard samples of my choice for review. I chose the Dahlias personalized notecards + Christmas tree ornament holiday cards. Both sets came with richly colored coordinating envelopes. 

I love how the design on these cards looks hand painted. Julia has a great sense of color, all of her products are contrasted beautifully. 

The Christmas tree card has such a modern feel. I used these to supplement our photo cards since I had over 60 people to send cards out to this year. 

The card stock is the perfect weight and is easy to write on. My other cards were slightly glossy and I had to use permanent ink to avoid smudging. These, I could use whatever pen I wanted. I would definitely recommend purchasing a card set from Dots & Dahlias. Beautiful designs and great quality. 



Julia has generously offered to give either a personalized set of 12 flat notecards or a set of 8 folded notecards in any design from Dots & Dahlias! What a great chance to score some cards to thank your loved ones for all the great Christmas presents!

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post relevant to the following entry requirements. Be sure that your email address is easily accessible in your blogger profile or leave it at the end of each entry comment. example: shanleann1 at gmail dot com (to avoid spam + such). Be sure to leave one comment for each entry. 

Mandatory entry:

~ Visit Dots & Dahlias, then come back here + leave me a comment to let me know what design you'd order for yourself or as a gift. (1 comment)

Extra entries:
(you must complete the mandatory entry before the extras)

~ Tweet the following: "I want to thank my loved ones in style, with a set of note cards from Dots&Dahlias + @ShanLeAnn at Breaking New Ground." (1 comment)


~Facebook the following: "I want to thank my loved ones in style, with a set of note cards from Dots & Dahlias at Breaking New Ground" (1 comment)

~Publicly follow Breaking New Ground through Google Friend Connect

~ Purchase an item from Dots & Dahlias by December 28th and receive 2 extra entries! (2 comments)

In her unending generosity Julia is also offering all of you a 20% discount on any item in her shop through the month of January. Just enter code SAVE20BNG!

This giveaway will end December 28, 2010 at 11:00 pm PST. Winner will be announced + notified on December 29th, 2010 (my birthday! yahoo!). Winner will be selected at random via and will have 48 hours to respond in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. 

Open to U.S. residents only. All comments will be verified. Comments subject to removal without notification based on their relevance to contest. All comments will be verified. So, please be sure to follow instructions carefully. 

Questions? As always click on the "email me" button to send me a message. Please do not leave a comment here that isn't intended to be an entry into the giveaway. However, feel free to include additional comments within your entry if you want to leave some love for Dots & Dahlias.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review. All opinions are my own. Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Best of luck!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I went to bed with a headache at 8pm with the intent to rest up before tackling some holiday to-do's. I fell asleep for two hours and am now wide awake while the rest of the house sleeps.

I found myself clicking through posts around here, updating my About Us page,  and um whoah, who's child is this?

{10 months, May 2010}

This year has gone by crazy fast. I sense a year-in-review post coming soon...

Good night (I hope), 

my new obsession: chalkboard paint

Lately I've been painting quite a few things with chalkboard paint. It started in the kitchen, but I wanted to find ways to use up some of the leftovers, so I started to get a little creative. 

First I wanted to get rid of our unsightly white board on the fridge in the kitchen, but still wanted a spot to write notes without going through tons of paper. I love making lists.

I decided to paint a chalkboard on part of the wall. Technically it's the outside of our pantry. About a month ago I ordered the paint and some chalk ink markers and painted the wall.

Per the instructions on the bottle I painted one coat vertically, then an hour later painted a second coat horizontally. After that, I let it "cure" for 24 hours.

It turned out pretty great. I tried the "frog" tape again. It worked great on the top + bottom, but I have now vowed to never use it on an edge again. It just seeped under the tape and made a mess. It's way easier to just paint the edge free hand and clean any drips as I go.

The next day I had to "season" the chalkboard by rubbing the whole thing with the side of a piece of chalk. Afterwards, I tried out my chalk markers. I bought some lower priced ones on amazon (in the past I had success with the Chalk Ink brand) and was very disappointed.

The marker looked perfect, and works better than chalk because of the texture of my chalkboard, but sadly, it would NOT come off. Fortunately, Amazon let me return them since they didn't work as advertised. And I repainted my chalkboard this past weekend.

{messy lines, "seasoning", chalk ink fail, repainted board}

So, a month later I have a lovely chalkboard in my kitchen. Now I'm hoping to save my pennies for some better chalk markers, but for now I'm using standard chalk. 


Afterward I had leftover paint in the tray. I have a really hard time wasting just about anything, so I looked for some things I could spruce up. I painted a magnet on the fridge, some gifts I have yet to give (I'll post on these after Christmas), and tags for presents. 

{brown gift paper + chalkboard paint}

{"short rounds" for our friends}

Anyone have other ideas for chalkboard paint?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Featured Etsy Shop, Review, + Discount: Pure and Noble

I discovered Pure and Noble over at Today's Letters. Brooke is one of their sponsors and had a featured post about her there a while ago. I knew I wanted to feature her shop here as soon as I looked through her creative handmade goods.

When introducing you to shops, I love to introduce you not only to beautiful goods, but creative minds. I love connecting with people through these features and I hope you enjoy it too.

So here's a behind the scenes look at Pure and Noble with Brooke.

Where are you located + are you from there originally? Dallas, TX - from High Point, NC

How did you come up with your shop name? Philippians 4:8 - I want to honor God in all I do.

How long have you had your shop? 2-3 months

What inspires you? everything! Color, texture, prints, nature, fabric, others, my husband's photography... all of it.What is your favorite item in your shop? Oh gosh, that's a tough one (good question!). Hmmm... I guess it would have to be my Say Something line because it can be personalized and the new plaid bag I just added. It has just the right amount of color and femininity. 

Do you have any other jobs or hobbies? I'm a full time stay at home Mommy. It's the absolute hardest and most worthwhile job I've ever done. I also work with my husband doing books for his business and styling the occasional photo shoot. I also serve up at church at least once a week.

Share an interesting fact about yourself. Really? Interesting? I guess I don't think of myself as that interesting. I guess one cool thing is that I used to be a fit model for a big time New York fashion designer. It was really cool to see him work and help make some of his super cool creations as well. He definitely inspired my love of color and Charley Harper.

What do you hope your future holds? I hope to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord, be a better parent to my boys, honor my creator and my husband every day. And, once both boys are in school I hope my business really grows so that I can design more and meet loads of interesting folks while showing them the love of Christ.


Shandell's Review

Brooke sent me some lovely holiday cloth napkins for my review. I was so excited about them because they match my kitchen's decor perfectly. For those of you who know me in person, or maybe if you're read here for a while, you know that my kitchen colors are red, black, + silver. 


These napkins are beautiful and so unique. My absolute favorite thing about them is that she repurposed a shower curtain! So other than those of you who head over right now to purchase the other 4 sets she has available, nobody else is going to have these beauties in their home. Don't you just love that?!


Discount Code!

Brooke is offering an exclusive discount for Breaking New Ground's readers. Just enter the code BREAKING10 for 10% off your order at Pure and Noble. She has a ton of new + super fun items in her shop, including prints, bags, + home goods.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our 2010 Christmas Card

Merry Glee Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Merry Christmas!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

certified site

certified site