Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Gift + A Hope: Giveaway + Fundraiser {CLOSED}

{Kai before his surgery}

Hello lovely readers,
I've been hinting about this post all month. Thanks so much for being patient as I put all the details together. This is a giveaway and a fundraiser for Malakai's surgery. To be candid, we are insured but our deductible is so high that we end up paying $10,000 before insurance covers our expenses. We have had many people ask what they can do to help and honestly we need the most help with financing. We are hoping to avoid starting the next chapter in our lives (with our 2nd baby due in October) deeply in debt because of all these hospital bills.

So I had an idea to host a giveaway where participating shops would donate prizes and entrants could donate toward our fund for chances to win some exciting goods. I was inspired by the Anderson Crew when they did something similar for their adoption fund. They actually helped me a bit while I was figuring out the logistics of accepting donations + such. A BIG thank you to Mr. + Mrs. Anderson.

We have 11 wonderful sponsors. This event would not be possible without them and I am so beyond blessed and truly thankful for their participation. There is a lovely mix of handmade items, manufactured goods, small shops and big stores. They all offer wonderful products and I encourage you to click through and visit each site. 

Now, for the items you can enter to win!


Helloooo! My name is Gussy. I sew ruffles and share my adventures of having a handmade biz on my blog. I live in Minneapolis with my husband Zack and puppy Bauer.Inside my shop you'll find colorful, ruffled accessories: tote, laptop and market tote bags, zipped pouches, make-up bags, wristlets, headbands -- even eReader cases. Visit my shop and get Ruffle-licious with our products :]

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{Katrina's shop, Red Baby, has just come back from vacation. Be sure to check it out!!}
I am a creative mom who loves to make original things for other moms, babies and individuals who crave unique items for the special moments in life.

I dabble in everything from sewing and painting to digital photography and design. Baby slings, booties, and interesting / original /personalized clothing and carseat blankets are some of my favourite things to make. 

I teach art at a high school just outside of Monreal and get lots of inspiration from my students!

Feel free to contact me about your specific needs!

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 one headband + one ring. Winner's Choice.

Hey there! My name is Torie and I am excited to share my work with you! I am a stay at home mom to a wonderful little girl named Rylie. She is the reason for opening up my shop. I started out making baby and toddler hair products as a hobby when I realized that all women want to look and feel pretty no matter what their age. Thus, Twenty Five Design the store was created.

My goal is to provide you with funky, fresh and inspired accessories. I pride myself in offering high quality items for you and those you love at a reasonable price. I believe that customer service is so important and I would love to have you become a returning customer! 

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I am so excited to be offering a new line of products sporting the maranda lee label! My boys are growing up and so are my products! With maranda lee you will find bags and accessories beyond the diaper bag! Watch for new bag designs, messengers, totes, coin purses, Mini Mama bags and even "leapster" pouches!
Same great designs, service, quality, durability and of course function! There is something for every woman with bold and flirty fabrics to choose from, you too can have a custom bag to reflect your style and personality! Not only is your bag gorgeous, but each bag is designed to be amazingly functional!

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 Founded to address the connection between the health of our children and the health of our environment, ecomom is committed to making eco-conscious living easy, affordable, and rewarding. By helping women begin to take better care of themselves and their families – with education, support, tools and products - we empower them to take the all important first steps toward a healthier, more balanced, and sustainable lifestyle.

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hello, my name is meg, and i'm the owner/designer behind pretty things by meg, a collection of vintage-meets-modern jewelry. if you take a peek at my shop, you will quickly see that i love color. i also love using a variety of materials in my pieces, including linen, antique bronze, vintage glass beads, and chiffon. hope you find something you like!

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PhotobucketHello! My name is Julia. I'm a graphic designer and a stay-at-home mom of one. I enjoy simple and clean-lined artwork. Creating Dots and Dahlias has given me the opportunity to work, and take care of my son at home, while giving me a wonderful creative outlet.

I hope you enjoy looking around my shop.

We create personalized paper products which make lovely gifts–stationery, invitations, address labels, notepads, business cards, art prints and more... Our customizable products are designed, printed, and packaged in our studio and most items ship within a few business days.
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1 towel set. Winner's Choice.

Oh, Little Rabbit is my dream come true! I have loved crafting since I was old enough to glue glitter to construction paper and having the ability to now share my joy of creating with others is so enriching!
I have been blessed with my dear sweet husband who is creative, encouraging, supportive and young at heart. Together we have become a crafting duo! We love the unique look of hand pressed block prints and their ability to capture the style and feel of honest hand made goods.
Living in the Northwest we have a great love of nature and the outdoors. We are inspired by raw materials and whenever possible we use organic, recycled and eco friendly products.
Our ultimate goal is to share the love with you! We want to provide you with beautiful one- of- a- kind pieces of practical art that can be used in your home time and time again.
Thank you for allowing us to share our passion with you!
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Baggie or Print, valued at $15

What happens when a seamstress and a photographer open an Etsy shop? We're not real sure, but we're having fun! 

Married for 7 years with two crazy boys thrown into the mix, Adam and I decided to open Pure and Noble in an effort to share with others the things we enjoy. We both graduated from the University of North Texas with BFAs - mine in Fashion Design and his in Photography. I'm a work-at-home mommy and Adam is an Advertising/Editorial photographer. While Adam usually follows the directions of his clients and I the mayhem of boys we enjoy the outlet Etsy provides to showcase what we do for fun. 

**10% of our proceeds go to Seed Effect!**

We hope you enjoy our mix of goodies. 

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Blabla is a popular children’s line of soft and whimsical knitted playthings and clothing, which was founded on the belief that children are driven by their senses and imagination.
Company History
Blabla was founded in 2001 by long time friends, French native, Florence Wetterwald and American Susan Pritchett. Blabla’s collection is designed by Florence and knitted by Peruvian artisans. Everything is made from natural fibers of exceptional quality grown in Peru, making the line irresistibly soft and cuddly. Forence’s poetic, simple and vibrant style combined with the ancestral knowledge of the knitters has created products which look contemporary, yet feel like old friends.
With a commitment to fair trade and keeping environmental awareness in mind, blabla has grown from humble beginnings in a cottage office to become an internationally recognized brand. Based in Atlanta, blabla has a strong retail business and distributes wholesale to over 40 countries.

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PhotobucketLisa is the creative mind behind my little buffalo. With an eye for simplicity and a love for the quirky, she has an undeniable talent for taking her customers' ideas and bringing them to life in all of her designs. The result is always adorable, streamlined and fun.

Lisa hails from Michigan, but currently lives in the wildly unique city of Portland, Oregon with her fabulously-bearded husband, Nate (whom my little buffalo was named after) and their kitty, Abe.
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One winner takes ALL! 
That means that the more times you enter, the better chance you have of winning all eleven fantastic prizes! The total package is valued at approximately $300.

How to Enter:
Each entrant has one "free" entry. To complete your free entry simple share this giveaway! Post on your blog, twitter, and/or facebook account and then let me know you shared by leaving a comment on this post with a link back to where you shared.

Another handy way to share is to post this button on your site. Just copy the code in the text box at the upper right of the page. Then leave the URL of your site in your comment.

additional entries/the fundraiser:
Please donate to Kai's surgery fund by visiting our Deposit a Gift site. This is a registry site, click the "registry" link on the left when you get there. We've "registered" for unlimited amounts of $5 donations so you choose the amount you want to purchase based on how many entries you would like. 

So that we can track your entries, please leave your name + email address in the message section during step two "Gift Details" when purchasing your entries. This means you will leave your email twice as their is another spot for email entry so that Deposit a Gift can send you a receipt. I will not have access to that email info. Also be sure to select "no time delay". 

Entries can be purchased as follows:
1 entry- $5
2 entries-$10
3 entries-$15

and so on... This means if you're feeling generous and donate $50 for example, you will have 10 entries (11 if you do the free one too)!!! That is unlimited entries for this giveaway based on your desire + ability to give.

Recap: for your free entry, leave a comment here letting me know where you've shared this post. For your donation entries leave your info in the notes at Deposit a Gift* when you make your purchase (no need to comment here about donations).

DETAILS: please, oh please be sure that your email address is in your blogger profile, on your site linked to your open ID or within your comment (format shanleann1 at gmail dot com) so I can notify you if you win. Otherwise, you forfeit your chances. This giveaway will end Tuesday June 14th  at 11pm PDT. Winner will be selected at random via random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to an email in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. 
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. 
*I'm unable to use paypal for payments due to their terms + conditions concerning giveaways. If you would like to donate by alternate means, please email me

Monday, May 30, 2011

our long weekend + 20 weeks

We spent all day Saturday at my in-laws house. Ben's sister Kristi and her boyfriend Nick came down from Portland to hang out. They hadn't been here for 6 months so we were really looking forward to spending time with them. It was supposed to be all of the family, but with the holiday weekend, Ben's brother David couldn't get the day off. Hopefully we can get all of us together soon!

Kristi brought her dog Jordan, who Malakai adored. They totally wore each other out. Malakai loved it when Jordan licked him and chased him. Kai even tried licking him back (blech!). He even learned Jordan's name "dordan" and told him, unprompted, that he loved him. It was pretty sweet to watch them interact.


Kai also spent a lot of time playing with his grandparents and their mr. potato head toys. Malakai became enthralled with a pair of mr. potato head glasses and put them on...


What I love about this is that my sister Amanda (now 20) did the same thing as a child...

{aunt nans}

We had a fairly normal Sunday with church, Kai's nap, some yard work,  and hanging out at my parent's place with them + my siblings. Malakai had a lot of fun running around with G'Pa. 

Today we had planned to get a TON of yard work done. First we got ready to head to the local garden + hardware store, Jerry's. Before we headed out the door Kai rolled his ankle. He fussed for a minute but it looked fine and he walked on it. However, an little over an hour later after being in his car seat and a shopping cart I set him down here at home and he wouldn't put any weight on his right leg. I looked again and it looked slightly swollen, but this little mister has some cankles on him so it was hard to tell. 

I called our pediatrician's office and spoke to the nurse practitioner who sent us to urgent care. We took our time packing up knowing it would probably be a very long wait. There were only 8 or so people ahead of us but somehow it still took 2 hours for us to be called back. The appointment took about 15 minutes.Thankfully it's most likely just a sprain and we didn't do x-rays, I'm still not looking forward to the bill though! Now we have the challenge of keeping him off of it and trying to ice it. If it's not better within 3 days we have to go back in, but to our doctor's office. We are praying for quick healing!

Kai passed out on the way home, so Ben + I were able to get some yardwork done after all. Ben finished transplanting our japanese maple while I prepared my raised beds for some veggies. I'll post more about that with some before + after pictures later. I got as far as setting up a "trellis" for climbing sugar snap peas, planting the peas, and planting pumpkins + some squash. I still have carrots and some tomatoes to plant. I can't wait to harvest some fresh veggies from our backyard!

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Today I am 20 weeks pregnant! Halfway through already, I can hardly believe it. I'm feeling pretty energetic most of the time, but my body is still fighting me. Although I was sick for the first 3 months of this pregnancy, I still enjoy being pregnant. Feeling my son move and watching my belly grow is such a joy. 


How far along? 20 weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 12 lbs. and still weighing less than this point in my 1st pregnancy. 
Stretch marks? no new ones.
Maternity Clothes: yep and a few larger sized pre-pregnancy clothes still. The benefits of keeping everything!
Sleep: awful. Friday night I woke up at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep! This has been happening quite often and is SUPER annoying. 
Best moment this weekfinding out that we're expecting another boy and seeing his sweet features. 
Movement: more and more each day. On Saturday he had moved more that I had felt in any one day previously.
Gender: BOY!
Labor Signs: nope.
Food Cravings: nope.
Belly Button in or out? getting flatter.
What I miss: flexibility. It's getting harder for me to bend over or get over our baby gate. 
What I am looking forward to: registering and turning the 3rd bedroom into a playroom.
Weekly Wisdom: start exercising early. I keep putting it off still!
Baby Brain Moment of the Week: Today at the store I frantically asked Ben where Kai's hat was, thinking it had fallen off in the store...it was in my hand. 

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my biggest giveaway yet!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Episencial Winner

With only 10 entries the odds were really good for those who entered the Episencial giveaway this past week. I'm still in shock at how low the entries were for such a fabulous prize, especially with summer coming our way!

The winner of the Sunny Sunscreen Kit is ...

The odds were really in her favor since she took advantage of the first day's two bonus entries. Congrats Anne-Marie. You have 48 hours to respond to an email I just sent you, otherwise an alternate will be chosen.

Be sure to stop in on Tuesday for the start of my biggest giveaway yet: 11 prizes, 1 winner!


Friday, May 27, 2011

random thoughts + updates

Today is the last day to enter the Episencial giveaway. Free sunscreen + lotions, there are only 9 entries so far! Go check it out. Winner announced tomorrow.

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Even though I've been enjoying the cooler weather, I have gotten little to no exercise this week. I feel like a lump. The bummer is that the lack of outdoor activity just makes me want to go take a nap.


We attempted a  walk earlier in the week, but the wind made me too cold about 2 blocks in. We turned back to grab my sweater, but just played out back instead. I should probably pop in the yoga dvd my cousin let me borrow...

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Ben's sister is coming to visit this weekend. She hasn't been down for 6 months, we are so excited to see her + visit. We are also going to try and get some gardening done during the long weekend. I plan on getting some composting soil and planting carrots, squash, and sugar snap peas!

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Crayons are Malakai's latest obsession. I kept him fairly quiet through a 2 hour meeting at work with a box of crayons and two paper cups. He doesn't so much draw with them anymore,  he loves to sort them and say the colors.


This is how I got him to stand still for my weekly photo earlier this week and what kept him entertained for most of the ultrasound yesterday. The second best bet, a stack of paint sample cards I snagged at the local hardware store last weekend. Can't go wrong with free toddler entertainment.

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Yesterday Malakai's friend Henry turned two. I can hardly believe that it's that time of year already! The park party got rained out for the most part, but we had a lot of fun seeing friends. Malakai ended up taking a header into the water + muck outside while Henry was discovering his new balance bike from his parents. He didn't cry but we were both a bit muddy for the rest of the evening. It was still a great day. So much fun to watch these boys play together and call out each other's names!


Malakai's birthday is in just 8 short weeks. I should probably get on the party planning...

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I'm still getting used to the thought of two boys. After yesterday's muddy mess I got a glimpse into my future...lots of laundry. ha! I'm also seeing Malakai as such a big boy these days. I must confess I had to steal a moment with him yesterday during nap time. I waited for him to fall asleep and then I carried him to my bed and we took a nap together. It won't be long before baby brother will be taking up the space in our bed.
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I have a lot of reviews coming up which means discounts + giveaways for you (hooray!). The biggest one is going to be a fundraiser for Malakai's surgery. It'll kick off on Tuesday and we have 11 AMAZING sponsors who have donated fabulous prizes for the winner. You won't want to miss it!


Happy long weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thankful on a Thursday: it's a...

I've been holding it in all morning. We agreed to wait to tell Ben's parents until they were able to find out together at 3:30pm when his dad was done teaching. Which meant waiting to tell everyone else until after they knew the big news. I told my mom and Ben told my dad this morning and I've been saying it to Malakai all morning, but now I finally get to share with you all!


Malakai is going to have a sweet little brother! Yep, it's a boy! 

It's funny how split the guesses have been. It started out being heavily in favor for a girl and then ended with fairly even numbers for both, even on facebook this morning.

At the ultrasound Malakai did fairly well, but got restless a couple of times. The tech was mostly patient with us and our littlest boy who was being very wiggly near the end. Here is a video she took for us of him just relaxing before he started to get jumpy.

I am so excited to have a pair of little boys. I pray that they'll be the best of friends. I can't wait to see if they look alike and how they interact together. I'm not at all disappointed that we aren't having a girl this time around, but finding a name just got a little more difficult!

This week I'm so thankful for...

651. a healthy baby boy!

652. a patient toddler.

653. their doting daddy.

654. fresh banana-carrot bread for breakfast

655. seeing our sweet little one's features

656. an afternoon nap with Malakai (I carried him from his room to ours so we could snuggle)

657. being able to say "he" instead of "it" and "the baby"

658. cooler, wetter weather.

659. getting to stay home with my son each day. 

660. the joy that comes with sharing exciting news with family + friends.


What + who are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

blustery spring

Oregon's blustery spring weather has returned. We've been spoiled the last week or so with clear skies and temperatures in the 70's. I may be the only one welcoming the rain. Less work for me to do in the yard and another reason to stay inside. I've been trying to get stuff done in and around the house but the sunshine makes it hard to stay inside. I've also been wanting to do some baking but who wants to mix, measure, + pour in a hot kitchen on a hot day?

So it's very windy and wet out today. I ran some errands + went in to the church offices this morning. I think I'll join Kai for nap time in a few (hoping to sleep off a headache). Then I'm going to bake this, or maybe try some of these. Afterwards I may fold some laundry or just read books + color with my boy.

What do you like to do on the blustery days?

P.S. Don't forget to enter my current giveaway here and vote in our poll in the upper left column. We find out the sex of our new baby tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

19 weeks already!

How far along? 19 weeks, 1 day
Total weight gain/loss: 7 lbs. as of my last appointment three weeks ago.

Stretch marks? I do believe that the ones on my hips are threatening to get bigger.
Maternity Clothes: oh yes. I wish I had more! I'm already growing out of some of them! 
Sleep: aided by tylenol PM the last two nights thanks to horrendous pains + leg cramps.
Best moment this weekgetting out in the sunshine for some exercise with my boys.
Movement: quite a bit but not nearly as much as I remember with Kai. probably because I sit still much less this time around. 
Gender: get your votes in, we have our big ultrasound on Thursday morning, T-minus 3 days!
Labor Signs: nope.
Food Cravings: nothing too strong, I still tend to watch sweets but am trying to stay away.
Belly Button in or out? getting flatter.
What I miss: being able to "do" as much. My back and legs start aching while I still have a lot of energy in me to keep going. 
What I am looking forward to: our ultrasound on Thursday of course, I can't wait to see our baby!
Weekly Wisdom: take it all in. 
Baby Brain Moment of the Week: still can't think of words for things. Good thing Ben can almost always guess what I'm trying to say.

{Malakai's face is much more photogenic than mine}

P.S. Thank you so much for those of you who voted for Breaking New Ground in the Circle of Moms Top 25. We placed 11th! We'll be featured on their website some time next month!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Episencial Skincare Review + Giveaway {CLOSED}

The sun has been staying out long enough to warm up our chilly Oregon spring. Malakai is also feeling up to playing outside for a little while here and there. I took him out back and lathered his face, ears, neck, and hands in our new Episencial Sunny Sunscreen. We received the Sunny Sunscreen kit from Espisencial  with SPF 35 natural sunscreen, protective face balm, and soothing cream. 



Since the sun took til now to come out, we tried the face balm first. It is meant to soothe and protect sensitive areas like the face and lips. Malakai has actually been picking at his lips causing them to be cracked + dry. I applied a little of this and hoped he wouldn't just smear it off. He actually rubbed his lips together and left it on! By that afternoon his lips were already softer and the skin wasn't peeling. 

I also put some of the balm on his cheeks that had been chapped. I did this a couple days before bed and the redness and dryness went away fairly quickly. I think I may have overdone it though because he did end up getting a pimple on his cheek, although the lotion may not have been the cause. 

Next I actually used the soothing cream on myself. Since Malakai's troubled areas were responding well to the face balm and he doesn't really have any other skin care needs I used the cream on my hands. They get really dry from washing so often, especially my knuckles. I smoothed some on where my skin tends to crack. It provided some nice relief. I'll definitely use this on Malakai if he has dry skin patches on the rest of his body in the future. 

We've used the sunscreen several times but for the longest duration this morning when we played out back in the garden. Malakai's fair skin is still a healthy color, not pink at all!


I love that these products are natural AND affordable. I have such a hard time justifying spending a lot of money on something just to get the natural product, although it's what I'd prefer. 


In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month - Episencial is offering 15% off all of their baby safe skincare products when you buy Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35! Only at Dermstore.com. Code DSSUNNY. Offer ends Monday, May 23rd. 

Today is the last day to take advantage of this discount code above so please head over and stock up for summer to keep your kiddos skin safe!


One lucky reader of Breaking New Ground will have a chance to WIN the Sunny Sunscreen Kit that I reviewed here. 


Mandatory Entry:
Visit Episencial and leave a comment on this post with your favorite product or one that you want to try the most (other than the 3 mentioned here). 

Extra Entries:
~follow Episencial and tweet about today's 15% off deal. (this entry only good when completed today 5.23.11) Comment with a link to your tweet. Please use the following tweet:

ENDS TODAY- enjoy 15% off Episencial products when you buy Sunny Sunscreen! Only at dermstore.com. Code DSSUNNY. http://bit.ly/kcOwnb 

~like Episencial and Facebook about today's deal (again this entry only good when completed today 5.23.11) comment with a link to your status. Please use the following text:

In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month - Episencial is offering 15% off all of their baby safe skincare products when you buy Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35! Only at dermstore.com. Code DSSUNNY. Offer ends Monday, May 23rd. http://bit.ly/kcOwnb 

~ follow Episencial + Tweet or like Episencial + Facebook about this giveaway, may be done at any time during the length of this giveaway. Comment with a link to your tweet or FB status. Please be sure to link back to this specific post. 

That's 4 chances to win. This giveaway will end on Friday May 27th and the winner will be announced on Saturday May 28th. 

please, oh please be sure that your email address is in your blogger profile, on your site linked to your open ID or within your comment (format shanleann1 at gmail dot com) so I can notify you if you win. Otherwise, you forfeit your chances.

This giveaway will end Friday May 27th 2011 at 11pm PDT. Winner will be selected at random via random.org and will have 48 hours to respond to an email in order to claim the prize or it will be awarded to an alternate. 

Open to U.S. + Canadian 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. 

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