just right

Sometimes…

it’s the little things…

like gifts from friends…

O Canada...how i love your treats...

freshly painted toenails and sipping wine with your husband…

do these feet say "let me entertain you?" like the color's name says?

trips to the bookstore…

i may have a wide variety of interests right now

tiny reminders…

yeah, I know. I just have to open my laptop!

lunch with no flying food or tantrums…

mmmm...best. bread. ever.

my favorite flowers…

and yes, I kissed him on his two-lips when he gave these to me.

little hands wanting to make letters…

E...D...D...I...E...

a reminder that someone is getting a cousin (or two) very soon!

hooray for cousins...

wait...does this mean I have to share Granny?

And my two very best guys…

handsome and cutie

…to make me feel like everything in this world is just the way it’s supposed to be.

that everything is just right.

——-

interested in the journey and adventure of Eddie’s cousin(s) coming home?  Check out Cort’s sister’s blog for more details.

that was my mind being blown

In the words of our good friend, Quincy (of Little Einsteins fame):

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT!

Let me back up.

I have been having a no good, very bad week.

My depression was taking over at the beginning of the week.  I combated it by writing about it, getting lots of love from you all, and then getting over myself by doing something for someone else.

Then I got the bad news that my cat was not doing well.  He has been diagnosed with kidney failure.  I can’t blog about that right now, but he is almost 17 and I have had him for more than half my life.

I just had a cloud over my head.

When that happens…clouds and falling into depression holes?  I start to doubt myself.  BIG TIME.

I start wondering if what I am doing here in this little corner of the blogasphere is just a bunch of whining.

And then…it was like the heaven’s opened and angels sang.

There, sitting in my inbox was an email from BlogHer telling me they would like to syndicate one of my posts.

I know you all tell me I’m good.

Cort tells me I am a lovely writer.

My MOM tells me she loves my writing.

But according to Cort, I do NOT give myself enough credit.

So yes, I was still shocked.

They are syndicating “She Taught Him to Dance” today.

It would mean so much to me if you would jog over there and sparkle my world…and drop me a line.

I was syndicated on BlogHer.com

WAIT!  if this wasn’t enough to leave me with a dumb, goofy smile on my face for a week?  BlogHer randomly emailed me yesterday after my post for The Red Dress Club was put up and asked if they could use it tomorrow for Valentine’s Day.

People?  I almost fell out of my chair.

Don’t worry.  I will remind you again tomorrow.  But people?  From what I have heard?  BlogHer doesn’t just FIND you and ask for your posts.

I may have peed a little bit. (do you hear that Rita and Melissa?  You made me pee!)

Ahem.

Today I also wanted to let you in on a little change in operations here at Sluiter Nation.

Starting tomorrow I will no longer be participating in McFatty Mondays.

I just don’t feel like it’s my thing.  If you love it, please, PLEASE go read Blair and Miranda.  They are awesome and honest and so good at writing about it.

That doesn’t mean I am quitting my goal to lose the weight.  I am still participating in Healthy Train, and I am still striving to make better choices.  I am just not going to commit a whole day of blogging to it.

Instead Mondays are going to be my day to put up my post for The Red Dress Club Memoir prompt.  The link up is on Tuesdays, but I want to continue Top Ten Tuesdays because it’s just fun…at least for me it is.

Speaking of Top Ten Tuesdays…this week is my Top Ten Wears.  Yes, I have pictures of my most worn things in my closet.  Look out.

So to recap:

I’m at BlogHer today.

I’m at BlogHer tomorrow.

I have fallen off my chair.

No more McFatty.

Doing Memoirs.

Top Ten Tuesday = stuff I wear.

Whew.

For the Love…of Blogging GIVEAWAY #8

This is it!  The end of the For the Love…Of Blogging Week!

You made it to the end…and as a reward?  GIVEAWAYS!

My eighth giveaway today is someone I love as a friend, a blogger, and a crafty crafterson.  Torie is one of the sweetest ladies you will ever meet, and she happens to be the genius behind….

It is NO secret that I am love with everything Torie makes.  If you see me regularly, at LEAST once a week I am rocking something I bought from her shop!

Here is what Torie has to say about her store…

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 love accessories of all kinds. 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 their age. Thus, Twenty Five Design was created.
My goal is to provide you with funky, fresh and inspired accessories for adults. I pride myself in offering high quality items for you and those you love at an affordable price.

And Torie is so awesome that she is offering ALL of you a 15% discount on your ENTIRE purchase with the code BLISS15 (for today only! so HURRY to her shop!)

And she is giving one lucky reader a headband AND a ring of your choosing!
Yes.  This is outstandingly awesome.

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me what accessory you NEVER leave the house without and why.

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

I love blogging and I love giveaways!  Enter to win with @ksluiter and @25Design http://bit.ly/euhXjt

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog!

This giveaway ends Sunday, January 30 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

The fine print:  Twenty Five Design is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something I love from someone I love.

For the Love…Of Blogging GIVEAWAY #4

This is it!  The end of the For the Love…Of Blogging Week!

You made it to the end…and as a reward?  GIVEAWAYS!

Our next giveaway is from Sluiter Nation’s very first sponsor: Bird E Studios

Bird E Studios is my very lovely friend, Erika’s shop.  Here is what she has to say about it:

Bird E Studios is my little shop where I pour my heart into creating hand-sewn pieces for your little one and pet. It is my creative outlet and my excuse to have yards and yards of fabric filling every shelf in my studio. When I’m not busy sewing, I’m probably off day dreaming about escaping to a ski town in the mountains, re-doing the living room decor (again…), or making to-do lists in pretty notebooks. Bird E is my reminder to do what you love, and love what you do.

Erika is unbelievably talented:

She also has the biggest heart of almost anyone I know!  She has recently started the non-profit Blankets for Hope:

Before my cousin Cullen passed away this past November, I was thinking about what I could do with my shop, to really give it meaning. To make a difference, to do good things, other than just providing stuff. While the stuff is lovely, I wanted Bird E to be a part of something bigger; to do something to help others. And so, {Blankets for HOPE} was born. While Cullen was ill, I I wanted so badly to be able to help in some way, but felt there was little I could do to make him feel any better. The only thing I could think of was to sew up a fleece blanket for him to have at the hospital. My aunt told me what a comfort it was to always have that blanket there, and the fleece was the perfect soft touch when he was feeling so miserable. Why not do something to help other kids also in the hospital have that same sense of comfort? While it is a small gesture, and one that certainly won’t cure their ills, any act to soothe these kids souls is a good thing.

She is awesome, yes?  To learn more about Blankets for Hope, go here. Soon you will be able to donate materials or money to Erika for her project, and Sluiter Nation will be here to tell you how!

Now I bet you are wondering how to get your hands on some Bird E Studio goodness, right?

Well dear Erika is giving one of YOU a $25 shop credit to Bird E Studios (excluding dog collars)!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me what you would spend your shop credit on from Bird E Studios!

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

I love blogging and I love giveaways!  Enter to win with @ksluiter and @simplerika http://bit.ly/i8x59S

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog!

This giveaway ends Sunday, January 30 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

The fine print: Bird E Studios is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something I love from someone I love.

For the Love…of Blogging GIVEAWAY #3

This is it!  The end of the For the Love…Of Blogging Week!

You made it to the end…and as a reward?  GIVEAWAYS!

The third giveaway today is from someone who is so awesome…

My super awesome friend,  Jackie, from With Just a Bit of Magic:

Jackie is a lot like me…she is a working mom trying to juggle everything in life.  And when I think I have it tough with just Eddie?  I remember she has FOUR to keep track of care for every day!

Jackie doesn’t have a shop, but she is a wonderful person who contacted me with something she would like for one of you to have….

Jackie just HAPPENS to have an extra Thomas set on hand that she would LOVE to giveaway to one of you!!!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me who you would give this Thomas set to and why!

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

I love blogging and I love giveaways!  Enter to win with @ksluiter and @JackieCross http://bit.ly/eLs3za

That’s it!

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

and of COURSE you should follow her blog !

This giveaway ends Sunday, January 30 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

The fine print:  Jackie Cross is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something I love from someone I love.

For the Love of Blogging…GIVEAWAY #2

This is it!  The end of the For the Love…Of Blogging Week!

You made it to the end…and as a reward?  GIVEAWAYS!

Our next giveaway is from the newest addition to Sluiter Nation’s Sponsor Spots: Sarah Bee Creations!

Sarah is a wonderful, beautiful friend who makes wonderful, beautiful products.  I’ll let her tell you a little more…

When I started Sarah Bee Creations, I thought I’d make gifts for family and found some soap recipes. My family always made beeswax candles in the winter to give to our friends so it made sense to me to pass along the tradition. Then it turned out that my daughter, affectionately called LO around the interwebs, suddenly had her eczema clear up (after a year of wearing socks over her hands with olive oil in it to soothe her poor cracked little knuckles) when she used my aloe vera soap. I never wanted her to go back to those painful hands again and started experimenting with soap recipes.

I’d always considered myself more of a candle lady and you will see an assortment of soy candles in my shop, too. They burn cleanly with less emissions than paraffin candles. I never knew that paraffin was made out of oil barrel scrapings until I learned more about soy. Now those black rings around paraffin candle jars suddenly make more sense and I don’t want my family breathing that in. Soy also melts at a lower temperature so you can even use the melted wax as massage wax once the flame is extinguished, if you are so inclined, and it’s water soluble.

I told you…awesome.

Check it out:

Great Tea soap

Vanilla Butter Body Butter

Sarah is so talented, isn’t she?

But wait!  There’s more!

Right now you can get 10% off EVERYTHING in the shop by using the code SluiterNation10!

So really?  We ALL win.  But I know you want some free goods too, yes?

Get ready because Sarah is giving one of you a $20 shop credit to Sarah Bee Creations!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me how you started reading Sluiter Nation or if this is your first time here…I like to say hi, you know!

and/or

2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

I love blogging and I love giveaways!  Enter to win with @ksluiter and @SBeeCreations http://bit.ly/f1d6NT

That’s it!

Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.

You should follow her sweetness on twitter.

You should like LOVE her on facebook

This giveaway ends Sunday, January 30 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

The fine print:  Sarah Bee Creations is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something I love from someone I love.

For The Love…Of Blogging GIVEAWAY #1

This is it!  The end of the For the Love…Of Blogging Week!

You made it to the end…and as a reward?  GIVEAWAYS!

So let’s get started, shall we?  There are NINE here in Sluiter Nation and they will be posting EVERY hour starting NOW!

We are starting with one of the newest additions to Sluiter Nation’s Sponsor Spots: Peggy Ann Design!

Peggy Ann Design is the result of the sweet and wonderful HANNAH!  And here she is to tell you about her shop:

I am a Navy wife who has a serious fabric addiction! My shop is kind of a random mix of items, with one main focus: FABRIC!!

And yay for US that she loves fabric!  Check out here ADORABLE new clutches:

I know…I know…you are already thinking about how great Hannah is…but WAIT!  There’s MORE!

Check out her shop…she does ADORABLE frames too (I own one…I know of this greatness) and?  She is working on even MORE:

I just added 2 new limited edition clutches – there are only 4 of each of these available! http://peggyanndesign.bigcartel.com/category/limited-edition I also have 2 new products coming out very soon and LOTS of exciting stuff happening Feb 14- March 14. It would be a good idea to become a follower of the blog or on twitter before then (It’s the Month of Hannah – V-Day, my Bday, and our anniversary!)!
People?  Hannah is the AwesomeSauce for sure.
You want some of her goods?  Yeah, you do.
Hannah is giving one of you $25 shop credit to Peggy Ann Design!
You have TWO ways to enter:
1) Tell me what you like best about the blog world…you don’t have to be a blogger to love blogs!
and/or
2) Tweet about the giveaway and then come here and leave a comment that you tweeted.  You can make something up, but if you are all lazy like I am, you can just copy and paste this:

I love blogging and I love giveaways!  Enter to win with @ksluiter and @PeggyAnn_Design http://bit.ly/fuq1QO

That’s it!
Of course you should go browse (and then buy!) in her shop.
You should follow her sweetness on twitter.
You should like LOVE her on facebook
and of COURSE you should follow her blog for all the fun that is coming up next month!
This giveaway ends Sunday, January 30 at noon est.  Winners will be chosen by Random.org and posted that same day.

The fine print:  Peggy Ann Design is providing the spoils for this giveaway.  I have gotten nothing in return other than the joy of giving you something I love from someone I love.

For the Love…Of Blogging: Meet Me Monday

It’s here!  It’s finally here!

**For the Love…Of Blogging is in no way associated with the blog of a similar name, For The Love of Blogs. We did not know they existed (even though we googled our name first), but they appear to be another lovely way to get involved in the community of blogging.  All content in our event has been thought up by myself and Miranda on our own even though we realize there are probably similar ideas out in the blogging world already since not much out there is totally unique.  We apologize if you ever blogged about blogging and are offended by  us.  That is not our intent.

This is the first annual, For the Love…Of Blogging…um…event!  Yes, we shall call it an event!  A Blogging Event!

So what is “For the Love…of Blogging,” you ask?

It is a week-long commitment by me and my lovely friend, Miranda, to bring you our love of blogging, and give you some tips and fun and conversation all about BLOGGING!

We are starting the week with a meet and greet of sorts.  We are going to give you a little tour of our blogs and ask that you make up a little tour of yours.  Then, come back and link up (and grab the link for yourself to add to the bottom of your post)! This will be a lovely way to meet all sorts of new bloggers!  Hopefully you will add some to your reader and they will add you!

So here we go…at tour of Sluiter Nation.

First, you should check out my Author page to find out a little about me.  You’ll find out that I am a high school English/Spanish teacher and a part-time community college adjunct English instructor.  You will find out that I am a wife.  You will find out that I am a mother to the sweet and cuddley Eddie.

Then you should check out my The Nation page to learn about my little family that I blog about here.  There are some fun pictures there of my husband (Cortney) and I, and of our little man, Eddie.  It also gives you my contact info.

I started blogging back in July of 2007 after Cort and I traveled to Montana for a wedding of a friend.  I realized that my family and friends are all OVER the place and could use a place to keep up with us.  My first year of blogging was a snooze-fest.  Even for family and friends.

I became a mom in June of 2009 and the posts became more interesting.

In spring of 2010 I was diagnosed with postpartum depression and decided to share it with the internet.

Things sort of exploded from there.  I found community in other PPD/A moms and in other working moms.

And suddenly I found tons of blogs.

I started leaving comments.

And suddenly I had readers here!

I was suddenly being asked to guest post and to join groups.

I discovered that I don’t just like to talk a lot…I love to WRITE.

I started a participating in The Red Dress Club and Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop.

I started a meme called Top Ten Tuesdays.

Eventually I started a creative writing blog for my “not mom blog” writing called Exploded Moments, and a reading blog for book reviews called Katie’s Bookcase.

I have been featured here, here, here, and here (among other places).

I was asked to be–and accepted–a hostess spot with The Red Dress Club.

All these things in the last year…because I connected with other bloggers.  Other women like me.

I think the biggest thing I learned…and fell in love with…in the blogging world is the community that is formed here.  And community isn’t created out of me just talking to nobody.  It happens when I connect with others on their blogs and the connect with me here.

So while you get to know me here, remember:  this week will only be as helpful as the level of your participation.  The more you take part, the more you will get out of it.

I hope you learn something this week.

I hope you take risks in your blogging this week,

I hope you WIN something this week (we have a kazillion giveaways on Friday!)

But most of all?  I hope you have fun!

So tell us about YOU…and link up! It’s going to be a GREAT week!

Steppin’ Out With Mah Girls

Me: all Gap Outlet.  really.  head to toe.

Eddie: shirt-carters; pants- osh kosh

Today was needed.

Today I was restored as a girl.  As a friend.  As an individual.

And the ironic thing?  I so didn’t want to go.

This ridiculous depression that has taken over my brain had convinced me that I would not have fun, that it was going to suck away family time, that I would be miserable.

I am so SOO glad I did not give in to that.

This morning I got up on time (after a lovely Ambien-induced GOOD night’s sleep), showered, got dressed in something other than yoga pants and a hoodie, and headed out to meet my friend, Whitney.

Together, she and I traveled to Lansing to meet our other four girl friends with whom we went to college.

The six of us shared lettuce wraps and kid stories at PF Changs.

We laughed and reminisced about tattoos and living arrangements over manicures and pedicures.

We shared stories from the front lines of pregnancy and parenting while sipping coffees and munching cookies.

We realized that this summer will be the wrap up of two “rounds” of us each hosting an annual get together for us and our spouses/families. That means this is the TWELFTH year we have had a “reunion”.

We absorbed the fact that counting the two buns in the oven Erin and Tara are baking?  We will have 12 kids total between us making the kid to adult ratio equal this summer.

Today was lovely.

I laughed genuinely.

I shared freely.

I put away my misgivings (which proved to be futile and false).

I did become incredibly tired, but I was able to push through it instead of cripple under it.

Today I listened to my friends…instead of being too inside my own head.

And even though I am totally spent tonight?

I am happy.  I feel like a good friend.

And I have cute nails.

This post is part of Harper’s Happenings’ Steppin’ Out Saturday.

Thank you to Whitney, Tara, Erin, Kimmy, and Kristin for a wonderful, needed day.  This day came exactly when I needed it.  Your friendship is appreciated more than you can possibly know.

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