Happy Wednesday, my lovely readers!  It’s time again for a new Sluiter Nation Recruit!  Not sure what in the world a Recruit is?  Check it out.

This week I am super excited to bring you one of my very first twitter friends, Julie of back to the basics.  We are so much alike!  We are both mommy’s to adorable little blond boys.  We both LOVE to read (in fact, Julie frequently adds reviews to my book blog, Katie’s Bookcase).  We both love our Canons.

Julie is an actual photographer though (I have the prints in my bedroom to prove it), and she is totally cute and pregnant with a little girl due in October.

I am so excited to have her here today.  She is so sweet you may need a glass of milk to read this post!


I am so honored to be over here at Sluiter Nation today! I believe, if I remember correctly, I found Katie and her blog through Twitter, and then I started contributing to her book blog as well! Then, when she was added to The Red Dress Club blog, I started reading there, too! Miss Katie is so talented, but if you are here, you are already aware.

I am the proud momma of a way-too-curious, rambunctious, sweet, almost two year old boy, Brayden. If you were to look up the definition of a strong willed child, I am pretty sure his picture would be right next to it. You know, just as soon as I remember to send it in.

And for the most part, his will to be independent doesn’t bother me. But it’s the days where he is just absolutely trying to defy everything when I want to throw my hands up and quit. Those days are where I close my eyes, take a breath, and say “this is your calling. this is what you were put on this earth to do. it’s not the end of the world.” Of course, in the time is takes to do that little mantra, Brayden is on to the next thing- but you get the general idea.

Motherhood was always something I wanted. Before my husband and I were even married, we talked about having kids. We just knew we wanted a family. When the time came, we were thrilled when pregnancy came quickly for us, and couldn’t wait for our little blessing to arrive.

But no one told me how hard it would be, how the sleepless nights would change my relationship with my husband, how time consuming breast-feeding would be, or how I would have to eventually figure out how to discipline this child who thought he was smarter than me! No one told me how my view of the world would change once I had a child, how shows that used to interest me about child abuse would make my stomach hurt, how my own anxiety would affect me in those early months, and how many others I would meet either online or in real life that experienced the same thing. I never knew how much being a mother would make me feel like a part of something- a group of women whose love for their child is unconditional. It’s like being in a not-so-secret club of women who all know, for the most part, exactly what I am going through.

It’s been a huge blessing so far. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
See?  Julie is the cutest little thing!  Now go read her blog and follow her on twitter!


WAIT!  Want to read some awesome posts right now?  Check these gems out….
Julie is in the same postpartum boat that I am and writes a lovely, candid post about having postpartum anxiety in her post Coming Clean.


I laughed RIGHT out loud when I saw how her son, Brayden roughhouses.  Think CPR only way cuter and then read A Little Roughhousing.


And check out how precious her wee one was when he was fresh in the post 2 1/2 week pictures.


Lastly, I love that Julie is a stay at home mom.  It’s a job I could never, EVER do.  And she busts down the stereotypes in her post Stereotypes and a Vent.

For the Love…Of Blogging GIVEAWAY #6

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

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

We are continuing our day of giveaways with one of my oldest friends on twitter and the blogging world, Julie Sancken of J. Sancken Photography.

Here is what Julie has to say about her new little awesome business:

JSancken Photography started in the spring of 2010. After taking hundreds of photos of my son, Brayden, I knew I wanted to share my talents with my local community. As well as starting portrait photography, I started dabbling in a little bit of nature photography, and soon got the idea to do 3.5×5″ photo note cards with my photos. The cards are the perfect size for a small thank you or any other short note-without that awkward white space when you can’t think of how to elaborate! They also make great gifts, and I hope to add more photos to choose from soon!

I actually have a couple of her prints in my bedroom…they are GORGEOUS! See?

Not only is she available as a photographer for YOUR family (she is based out of Pontiac, Illinois–about 90 miles south of Chicago), she also sells prints (like the ones I have) and photo card sets.

Her cards are generally sets of 10 for $15, but for the rest of the month, she is offering them to you as 10 for $10! That is a five dollar savings!  She is so awesome!

Plus Julie is giving one set of 10 photo cards away to one of you for FREE!

You have TWO ways to enter:

1) Tell me who you would send a handwritten note to and why!


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 @basicallyjulie!

That’s it!

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

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 and posted that same day.

The fine print:  J.Sancken Photography 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.