Hippity Hoppity Easter Memories

The minute my crocus poke their heads out of the ground signaling the start of spring, I start thinking about my Grandma.  I have warm memories of my Grandma from every season and holiday, but somehow Christmas and Easter are the most powerful.

When I was very little–probably Eddie’s age–my mom and I would go with my Grandma to our town’s sunrise service on Easter. The more vivid memory, though, is the Easter egg hunt at her house. We didn’t really hunt eggs; Grandma hid candy–lots of candy–throughout her house for me and my brothers and cousins to find. She hid so much, she couldn’t always remember if we had found it all, so inevitably, one of us would find a stale malted egg in the middle of October.

My brothers and I didn’t get elaborate Easter baskets or gifts. We got a boatload of candy from Grandma’s house.

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People seem surprised when I say we don’t do Easter baskets for our kids, but just like when I was a kid, we leave the Easter magic to the grandparents.  My parents get the kids a basket with some candy treats and a few little toys. This year the boys got tennis balls, bubbles, and another small toy (Eddie got a little Lego set and Charlie got some Hot Wheels). Cortney’s mom does the big egg hunt. This year she had 150 eggs in her yard for the kids–six that were able to hunt plus two babies. She also gives each grandchild a small bag with a few dollar store treasures like stickers, balloons, and pinwheels.

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The kids love it.

This year Charlie got an extra Easter gift from Ragtales: a Bo Bunny.

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I have never been big on stuffed animals. Eddie went through a stuffie phase when he was little. He liked to line them all up and watch TV with them. Or make a “parking lot” out of them (to be fair, all lines of things were called “parking lots” to him).

Charlie, on the other hand, adores stuffed animals. Little dude is actually starting to boarder on hoarder status. I try not to encourage it, but I couldn’t say no to Bo Bunny (who Charlie has renamed Bun Bun).

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And I’m glad I didn’t.  I didn’t tell him it was for Easter, but because it came the week of Easter, he said it was for Easter day and he loved it. Aw.

To be fair, Bo Bunny (aka Bun Bun) is super soft. I sort of wanted to tuck it next to my pillow and keep it for myself. The Ragtales line has all sorts of cute animals and dolls and can be found in department stores like Neiman Marcus and FAO Schwartz, but you can win one here! Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below and one of you may get the gift of Bo Bunny for a little person in your life!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I was sent Bo Bunny, but have not been compensated for blogging about it. Opinions are my own and the giveaway is for you from Ragtales. Giveaway open to US shipping addresses only. Ends Monday at midnight (so Sunday night, peeps).

Five Reasons to Love Cloud B

When Charlie was just two, we were gifted a Tranquil Turtle from cloud b. We were trying to have another baby at the time and we thought if he liked it, we could keep it in the nursery for the new baby.

He liked it so much that it moved downstairs when he did.  Ok then.

Recently, cloud b reached out again, and sent Alice a Glow Cuddles Bear. We were so excited because we have fallen pretty hard for cloud b products. And the great news is that one of YOU will win the cloud b Glow Cuddles Bear too! But why would you want one? Read on for the Top Five reasons to shop cloud b!

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1. Sights and Sounds are Soothers

One of the greatest things as a parent is when your child can finally put him/herself to sleep. Eddie was terrible at it, but Charlie was good. As a baby, he had a glow worm whom he called Glowy, and then he got his Tranquil Turtle. The way the Tranquil Turtle played soothing water sounds and made glowing “waves” on his walls mesmerizes him and helps him to quietly fall asleep without needing someone in the room.

2. They have actual Sleep Specialists

It’s true. Cloud b has pediatricians and parents constantly researching and giving input. I am guess that is why Alice already seems to love her Glow Cuddles Bear and it’s heart beat sound.

3. The toys are just cute

I mean…awww!!! And so soft!

glo_cuddle_bear_frnt4. It’s on a timer

Yes, these cuddly lovies turn themselves off.  That may not seem like a big deal because, hey, you aren’t in the room, right? However turning themselves off means saving on batteries AND it means if you sleep in the same room with your child for whatever reason? The light beat of the bear’s “heart beat” or the soothing sounds of the turtle’s sea sounds will not go on and on all night.

5. They make great gifts!

You don’t have a baby? That is fine! Give a Cloud b animal as a gift!  Alice agrees.


To enter to win a Glow Cuddles Bear, simply follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Contest closes midnight of March 24 and is open to US shipping addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. Cloud b sent us a Glow Cuddles Bear and is providing the spoils for this giveaway. I was in no other way compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

New Year, New You! Kicking Off 2014 {Giveaway}

The holidays are over and all the decorations and traditions are packed up and put away.

The New Year has started and resolutions have been made {and perhaps already broken}.

I’m not a big resolution-maker, but I do always tell myself that I am going to treat myself a little gentler, a little kinder in the new year. I’m going to let myself have small moments and things that bring me joy.

Maybe that is a latte from Starbucks on the way to work instead of my coffee from home. Maybe it’s an hour alone to read a book. Maybe it’s treating my kids or my husband to something for no other reason than it will make them smile…and in turn, make me smile.

To kick off the new year, I want to make you smile! So I have a MASSIVE GIVEAWAY that I, along with my friend Alison of Writing, Wishing, set up!

Twelve prizes means TWELVE winners!  Check out the goods Alison and I have lined up for you!

New Year New You Giveaway

Two book package from author, Kate Hopper

Ready for Air

“After severe preeclampsia derails Kate Hopper’s birth plan, the author confronts her fears of preemie parenthood with brazen honesty and an occasional fitting expletive. Her memoir, a testament to the delights and uncertainties of motherhood, reads like a novel, though you won’t forget for a second that her story is true.” —Pregnancy & Newborn

Ready for Air is a harrowing, poignant, and occasionally hysterical journey through premature motherhood. Ready for Air is a testament to the strength of motherhood—and the sharing of stories—to transform lives.

Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers

“Part instructor, part motivator, part best friend, Kate guides mother-writers from idea through finished product, offering encouragement and hard-earned wisdom along the way. She intersperses poems, essays, and short memoirs…with passages about the craft of writing, and ends each chapter with helpful, short exercises for readers to try at home. Any mother who picks up Use Your Words and follows the carefully-planned instructions will be able to call herself a mother-writer by the final page.” —Hope Edelman, international bestselling author of Motherless Daughters

Both of these books will lead you to your notebook or computer and inspire you to write your own truths. Learn more about Kate’s writing and teaching at www.katehopper.com.

 Sunshine After The Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother anthology from Alexa Bigwarfe

Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother is written for grieving mothers, by grieving mothers (and a few fathers) who have managed to find their way through the muck after losing a baby. If you have found yourself feeling lonely or isolated after the death of a baby or child, this is a book for you. If you have found yourself trying to help someone you love after they have lost a baby and do not know how to do that, this is a book for you. This book is meant to bring hope and encouragement to those who have suffered through the death of a child, the loss of a pregnancy, and for all of those who support them in surviving afterwards.

 Plata Playa Handknit Cowl from Alma Boheme

This lusciously soft handknit cowl by Alma Boheme is made from handpainted merino wool from South Africa. It is a vibrant piece that is perfectly chunky to make you feel cozy and warm. Wear it draped around your neck once or twice depending on your mood. Plata Playa is Spanish for silvery beach, a tribute to its hues of grey blues and raw sienna. The cowl measures 49 inches round and 8 inches wide. It happens to be the first anniversary of Alma’s Etsy shop, which was born out of her love for designing and creating. All her items are easy to wear, and made from carefully selected fibres. In her words, “This giveaway is a gift of love of one of my favorite items, for all the love I have received.”

 A Lady In France, a memoir by Jennie Goutet

In this beautiful memoir, Jennie Goutet details the evolution of one woman’s faith and love in a singular story that is – at once – both intensely personal and universal in its themes. I soared and plunged along with her from beginning to end. ~ Julie Gardner. A Lady In France is available on Amazon.

 The Mother of All Meltdowns anthology from Crystal Ponti

Every mother, at some point, inevitably becomes her own worst enemy. In a millisecond, her halo crumbles and she has a moment so crazed it is forever known as the one—The Mother of All Meltdowns. This eye-opening anthology was written by women who have had their moments. Together they have experienced the anguish and frustration of the adult-sized tantrum. They have shed the tears, dropped to their knees in agony, and asked the age-old question, “Why me?” From poop-decorated rooms to having their liquid gold scrutinized and confiscated by TSA, they’re not afraid to share their collection of thirty tell-all stories. They are survivalists and know that within every meltdown there is a silver lining.

 Karma Gone Bad, a memoir by Jenny Feldon

When Jenny’s husband gets transferred to India for work, she looks forward to a new life filled with glamorous expat friends and exciting adventures. Ten thousand miles away from home, Jenny struggles to fight off depression and anger as her sense of self and her marriage begin to unravel. But after months of bitterness and takeout pizza, Jenny realizes what the universe has been trying to tell her all along: India doesn’t need to change. She does. Equal parts frustration, absurdity, and revelation, this is the true story of a Starbucks-loving city girl finding beauty in the chaos and making her way in the land of karma. Karma Gone Bad is available on Amazon.

Vanilla Scooter from Imagine Toys

 “Retro-styling makes this classic balance bike even more hip. Popular in Europe, balance bikes help develop skills needed to ride a pedal bikelater. Kids sit and make it go by pushing with their feet and gliding. Once they gain balance and momentum, they can lift their tiny toes and just cruise.” The scooter includes: Inflatable tires, adjustable-height seat, pretend lights and tachometer. Imagine Toys is a specialty toy store that carries unique toys that “encourage children to use their imaginations.”

 Alive Leather Slip Knot Bracelet from Simply Om

This gorgeous slip knot bracelet made by female artisans in remote areas of Guatemala will make you feel more alive…or at least your outfit! Simply Om offers beautiful hand-crafted jewelry in a fair trade marketplace. Each piece of jewelry comes with a story–a story that needs to be told, and can be told over and over each time you wear your piece.

$25 Gift Certificate to Sew Curly Creations

 Kristina Grum created Sew Curly Creations after realizing her family used far too many disposable plastic baggies. She started sewing up reusable fabric pouches for snacks, and then larger ones for sandwiches. From there her shop was born and grew to include everything from aprons for kiddos to burp clothes and personalized birthday shirts. She uses all organic, AZO-free dyed fabric for the snack bags.

Set of Coasters from Nicci @ Saving the Universe

 Nicci started her etsy shop, Changing the Universe, in an effort to share her love of creating with the universe. While she still loves to create, she is closing up shop and blog this new year to concentrate more on her children. Her unique fabric coasters are a fun way to add a splash of color to your livingroom, and have a useful design that can attach to the bottom of your wine glass!

$70 Gift Certificate to California Footwear

 California Footwear is a company based in…California, of course! Their mission is to “combine all of the best that California represents into high-quality footwear for people who care about their foot health.” Their sandals and clogs are not only super cute, but they are ergonomically created to treat your feet to comfort and functionality.

 Faith Necklace from R&L Design

This necklace by R&L Design is made of antique bronze with a matching “faith” pendant. The pendant measures 25×5.5mm and the  18” chain has a lobster clasp. Rebekah hand-makes each piece in her etsy shop with skill and love. This piece is simple, yet elegant and adds a bit of personality to any outfit.


Good stuff, right?  To enter to win, simply follow the instructions in the widget below. Twelve winners will be chosen and randomly paired with a prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck & Happy New Year!!

The Music of the Season {A Giveaway}

I think I’ve mentioned no fewer than a bazillion times that my boys love music.

This summer I received a Kidz Bop CD and Eddie has listened to it so many times I actually find myself preferring The Kidz Bop version of that Selena Gomez song “Come & Get It” than the Selena Gomez version. This is ridiculous because I shouldn’t like EITHER VERSION.

When I had the chance to review the Kidz Bop Christmas album, I jumped on that wagon super quick.

Last year Eddie listened to a Little People Christmas CD that was so bad I thought my ears were going to bleed. They voices were grating and the songs were just…

Let’s just say that CD accidentally broke in half.


It was time for something new.

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The new Kidz Bop Christmas CD has fifteen songs and I’m only giving one the side-eye. “Christmas Wrapping” is just not my favorite song no matter who sings…er…”raps” it.

It does have some of my favorites though like “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and “Silver Bells”, and some of Eddie’s favorites like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Must Be Santa”–which he knows every word to.

I know Cortney loves when Eddie and I start belting out “special night, beard that’s white…MUST BE SANTA, MUST BE SANTA, MUST BE SANTA, SANTA CLAUS!” You only WISH you were in the car when that happens.

Wait! You CAN be in the car when that happens…well, not in our car, but you can have the sing-along in your car.  All you have to do is enter to win a copy of your own!

Hit up the Rafflecopter widget below and warm up your singing voice!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. I was given a copy of Kidz Bop Christmas to review, but the opinions are all mine (and Eddie’s).

Baba + Boo Review {and Giveaway!}

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Being the second child and the second boy, poor Charlie doesn’t have many things that are new to him.  For Christmas he got a couple things, but really, he just didn’t need anything.

I kind of feel bad for him.  I mean, not that he cares, but he doesn’t have a lot that is just his.

When the UK company Baba and Boo announced that they would like to make a United States debut, I jumped at the chance to help them out and give Charlie a little something of his own.

Continue Reading…


It’s my blog’s birthday!

::cue the confetti and balloons falling from the ceiling::

Over on the giveaway page, I’m spilling the winners of all the giveaways.

If you entered, you may want to go check that out.

I’ll wait.

Ok back to this birthday.  Or “blogoversary” as it’s called on the interwebs.

I told you my blog’s birth story yesterday.


I am celebrating what Sluiter Nation has accomplished in five years.

Sluiter Nation has…

been on 2 blogging platforms (blogger and now wordpress).

3,563 twitter followers.

5 live pages you can visit (see the tabs at the top).

19 categories…which is probably about 14 too many. oh well.

undergone 3 professional design makeovers.


first ever button

1,347 different tags.  I go crazy with tags. allegedly.

a population of 4…double what it had when it was born.

started (and suspended) 1 weekly meme.

Top Ten Button

it didn’t last

over 50% of it’s traffic from referral sites like facebook, twitter, and other blogs.

a lovely 8 sponsors helping pay the bloggy bills.

a whopping 53 Sluiter Nation Recruits.

recruit button

1,047 posts.

1 author.

780 awesome “fans”.

been part of 2 ad networks, but is currently only with 1.

had 35 visits from Malaysia this month (thank you, Alison!)

10 posts in draft form.


first paid bloggy makeover

been to 2 blogging conferences: one miniature and one massive.

gone through 3 laptops.

14,230 comments (at time of drafting this post).

over 500 subscribers (are you one?)


current look

been here for me when I need to process my feelings, unload my fears, and celebrate my joys.

Thank you for your part in the past 5 years.

Even if this is your first visit.

To show my thanks, one of you will win this:

only entries recorded in the rafflecopter widget will be eligible to win.

Giveaway closes Monday, July 9 at midnight est. and will be announced Monday at 9am est.

US and Canada residents only are eligible to win.

But know that I wish I could send you all my “mug”.  He he.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


I have wrote a post about summer on a budget for Borderless News and Views if you are interested.

self-care is not self-ish

The last time I was eight weeks postpartum I was crying.


Because Eddie was crying constantly.

My first day home alone with him after Cort went back to work he cried from the moment he woke up until about 15 minutes before Cort walked in the door that afternoon.

I remember sitting in my bed with him trying everything that people had suggested to me to try and soothe my precious newborn.

By the time Cort came home, I had not showered, eaten, or peed all day.

I was in my chair with an infant who had exhausted himself and passed out.  And I was afraid to move for fear he would wake up and it would happen all over again.

Turns out this fear was legit because for the first 3ish months of his life, Eddie screamed.

He had colic.

Something FIERCE.

As a new mom who everyone predicted would rock the mom thing because “you are SO organized!” and “you are so good with tackling issues!” and “it comes so naturally!  DON’T WORRY!”, I was flailing about like a cat in water.

In order to keep the facade of the mom who does it all, I put every single one of my own needs not just on the back burner, but out of the dang kitchen.

Doing anything for myself seemed selfish when I had a husband who was working a full-time job and a baby who couldn’t be soothed.

Shouldn’t it be me who is up every night, all night?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up showering and leaving the house?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up time with her friends?

Shouldn’t it be me who gives up cute clothes for frumpy “mom” sweaters?

I was his mother, damnit, I was supposed to make sacrifices.

This was my life now…an endless sacrifice.

And then I got sick.

Giving up who and what I am completely to ONLY be “Eddie’s Mom” contributed to invasive thoughts, anger bursts, and sob fests.

I became mean to everyone other than Eddie.

The Baby Blues turned into the Baby Rages FAST.

After nine months of this I was finally diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety.  And now, almost three years later, it has been suggested that I may have even had a bit of post-traumatic stress syndrome from the emergency c-section and the lack of bonding I had with Eddie in the hospital.

You can imagine I was nervous that all of this would come back when I had Charlie.

But here I am at eight weeks postpartum, and aside from a bad four days of Baby Blues when my milk was coming in (and drying up), I have been amazingly great.

This time I decided to call bullshit on all that “selfless” crap of turning myself into a raving lunatic for the sake of appearing to be a perfect mom.

Right from Charlie’s birth I demanded more self care.

I needed quiet time in the hospital.

I announced I didn’t want at home visits until at LEAST three weeks postpartum.

I allowed my friends to help me even if I felt like I didn’t need them.  They made me laugh and feel like myself.

I asked for help and requested time out of the house alone.

I allowed myself to just take naps and stare at the baby during the day…instead of thinking I had to clean and do a million things while he slept.

If there were days when he needed a buddy, I was that buddy, with no guilty feelings of what didn’t get done.

And I took a long weekend away from “being connected” just so I could get through the Baby Blues and rest my post-op body.

Eight weeks after Charlie’s arrival, I haven’t given up on the self-care.

In fact, the photography class I am taking is a form of self-care.  It gets me out of the house to do my own thing.

May is mental health awareness month, and Sunday is Mother’s Day.

The greatest gift you can give yourself this month is the gift of taking care of yourself.

Every mother deserves daily nourishment and nurturing.

YOU are worth it!

I am happy to share two opportunities you won’t want to miss.

All you have to do to enter is tell me your favorite self-care activity (make sure you click “enter” in the rafflecopter widget to be entered!) and you will be entered for a chance to win a Yummy Mummy Self-Care Package from me and Renee Trudeau.

I’ll draw a name randomly on Mother’s Day and the winner will receive:

That is so not even all…you ALSO have a chance to win the Yummy Mummy Year-of-Self-Care Package (winner also will be announced on Mother’s Day) by following the details here.  (Um, you KNOW I entered this!)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Legal Beagle Stuff: I received no compensation for this giveaway.  I was contacted by Renee Trudeau & Associates to do this, and because I believe so much in making time for yourself, I agreed.

the coaster roller coaster

I have a long and torrid history with coasters.

Yup.  That’s right.  Coasters–those things you put your drink on so that a ring isn’t left on the wood from the dripping condensation?

mmm hmmm.

Growing up, my mom hated coasters because they were “clutter”.

But she was also ridiculously meticulous about spills and not having drinks anywhere other than at the table or counter.

When I got my own place, I bought these coasters that were square hunks of glass that I could put pictures in.  They were cute.

They traveled with me to the home Cort and I bought together.

They were still cute, but they were a pain to keep clean.  The dried condensation was like a magnet for dust and ick.  I had to use Windex to get them clean.

And then we had Eddie.  And I suddenly realized they were Weapons of Mass Destruction.

They could gouge my tables, rip my leather, dent my baby.

They were donated to Good Will.

We invested in some nice, round, cornerless, brown leather coasters.


They went into the toddler mouth.  And then they looked like used dog toys.


We have been coasterless for the past year or so because we can’t find family-friendly ones that aren’t totally ugly.

And that, my friends, is why the interwebs are such a lovely place.

Continue Reading…

a story, an announcement (or two), and a giveaway


Hey, you.

With the face.  Yeah, you.

Guess what?

I have something to share.

I have a little story to tell you.

Four years ago, I accidentally got pregnant, but miscarried.

We had told everyone I was pregnant and it was crippling to me to have to one by one, announce the end of what we thought was going to be.

Three years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We miscarried again.  I was crushed by the pain–physically and emotionally–but so relieved not to have to “take back” the pregnancy news again.

Two and a half years ago, I got pregnant again.  We told no one.

We found out I have low progesterone.

We fixed that.

At 10 weeks, we told everyone.

Almost 21 months ago we had Eddie.


So why am i telling you this story that so many of you already know?

Because Cort and I have made a decision.

We have an announcement.

Qe have decided to let me blog about trying to get pregnant when we decide to get pregnant again.

Cort (and my therapist) understand that the best way for me to process things is to be able to put my words here for you.  for me to be able to reach out when i have joy and pain.  For me to have you.

It’s my way to tell all of you I know in my real life things the way I want and need to say them too.  I hate the phone.  I get befuddled and don’t get my words straight.

Here,  I can put down the exact words I want to use.  I can pace things.

I am so grateful to all of you for being that support and for reading my words.

And I feel so lucky to have a husband who understands my need and is willing to let me put something so close and personal out here.


But wait…we have one more announcement.

We have decided to try to get pregnant again!

Get ready for some of this (God willing!):


oh yeah, rocking the flowers ALL OVER!


Guess what else?

I get to give YOU something in celebration of our announcements!

Have you used Shutterfly to upload and print photos?  They are AWESOME!

Since I am feeling all annoucey lately, I was looking through baby announcements, but then because of the 800 weddings we have this year, I was also looking at save the date announcements and remembering how fun it was to be in those planning stages.

Pretty sweet, huh?

You want some, don’t you?

Yeah you do.

Shutterfly gave me a coupon code for 50 free announcements each, and I am giving it to one of YOU!

To enter to win, just leave me a comment!  That is all!  I want to hear from you about my announcements!

To get a bonus entry, tweet something like the following and then come back and tell me in a separate comment that you did:

i’m helping @ksluiter celebrate her awesome announcements by entering her #cleverspring #shutterfly giveaway! http://wp.me/p1qChn-zb


This giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 19 at 4:00 est.  A winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday, April 20.


Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Celebrate Kate birthday giveaway WINNERS

I have been having a LOVELY birthday weekend!

Which is why I am four hours late in announcing the winners of my giveaways.

But here they are!

The people who are getting gifts today on MY birthday!

First is the Hugs and Kisses $25 shop credit:

Gina (@gsc418) who said…

If you didn’t win, don’t forget that you can get 25% off through tomorrow (March 28) with the code HAPPYKATIE !


Next up is the Herbal Philosophy organic tea (3 tins):

Miranda (@mylifeinsideout) who said…

If you didn’t win this one, you can get 15% off until March 31 with the code SLUITERNATION.


Next week have the TWO winners of the snack bags with embroidery from Sew Curly:

Suz B (@suzstreats) who said…

AND Tracy Mossburger who said…

If you didn’t win this one, you can still get 10% off through Tuesday (March 29) with the code SLUITER


And lastly, we have the $33 shop credit from Eleri Evans Designs:

Stephanie T. who said…

And if you didn’t win this one, you can still get a whopping 33% off by using SLUITER33 at checkout!


Yay!  Congrats to all the winners!  I will be contacting you soon and you will have 48 hours to respond or I will redraw a winner.

And now I will leave you a sneak peek at how awesome my day has been:

Full Birthday in Review coming tomorrow…stay tuned.

And thank you all so much for all the wonderful birthday wishes.

I am truly so very lucky.