Happy Blogiversary, SweetSugarBelle!

*********************GIVEAWAY CLOSED************************

The winner is:

Congratulations Caitlin, I’ve sent you an email, hope to hear from you soon!

To those of you who did not win this time, keep coming back!  There are many more exciting things to come!

 

This makes {approximately} a year of blogging for me.  I wish I could give you an exact date, but the truth is, there isn’t one.  I kind of had to make it up.

Anyway, I promised myself I wouldn’t talk too much or let this get mushy, so here’s the short story.

I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I was going to be a blogger.  Actually, it was about the furthest thing from my mind.

I used to be a regular old girl/mom, who made cookies from home.  I baked mostly to keep myself busy, but I enjoyed the extra money.  It supplemented my home decor habit and allowed me to buy extra things for my kids.  I liked my “job” and it worked for me.

Then one AWFUL day right before Halloween, I got a visit from the health department.  At that time, it was illegal to bake from home in my state, so just like that, my days as “the cookie lady” were over.

At first I was devastated. My life as I’d known it changed in a matter of minutes.  I realize that there are far worse things that can happen, but it was so weird to wake up one day and not have a plan.  I cried for about a week, but sometime during that week, something strange happened.  In between the hurt, anger, and fear of the unknown, I came up with a plan.

I wasn’t even sure if it would work, but I’m not a giving-up kind of girl.  I believe from the bottom of my heart that even if you fall, you never EVER stop getting back up.  So, after a week or two of mourning, that’s what I did.

Even though I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into, I got up, dusted myself off and said, “I may not be able to make cookies for people anymore, but no one can stop me from sharing cookies with the world.”

And that’s my story.  I stopped pouting, came here and got to writing.  Now this blog is part of my life.

I love almost everything about it, the freedom to create all of these things that float around in my head, the friends I’ve met, and the people who kept on reading as I learned {sometimes the hard way} how this stuff works.

Fast forward about a year.  So much has changed.  Home baking is now legal in Texas but I’d never go back.  I like where I ended up, even if I was dragged here kicking and screaming.  Funny how things work out…

All that brings me to this giveaway.  Many many months ago, I set a goal for myself.  I said that if I did well with this “blogging thing”, I would give back to the people that helped me get to this point.  It’s those of you who came here and read that made this grand plan work.  You kept me excited and encouraged, and taught me more than you’ll ever know and for that, I am grateful.  So, to show you how very much y’all mean to me, I am giving away the toy of all baking toys!

Pretty isn’t it!

So, that’s the big news.  I am giving one reader a 5-quart KitchenAid Artisan Mixer in the color of your choice {subject to availability, of course}.

My Kitchenaid is the best investment I have made as a cookie-er and I could not have survived without it.  So I’m sharing the joy.

Excited?

Well guess what?  There’s more!  To sweeten the deal…I am also giving away  a full set of mixer decals courtesy of Kitchen Couture.  In case you don’t know Nicole, she is the owner of Un Amore designs, and is the person behind Pioneer Woman’s GORGEOUS hand-painted mixers.

Now even if you can’t swing a custom job, you’ll stilll have the prettiest mixer in town!

Okay, time for the technical stuff…

To enter to win one KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Stand Mixer and one Un Amore Mixer Decal Package, {Required Entry} leave me a comment ON THIS POST.  I’m not picky about what you say, just tell me something good…and nice.  It has to be nice.

For a second entry, if you are a liker of my Facebook page, leave a comment ON THIS POST.  It has to be here to count  It’s my way of saying thank you for listening to my ramblings in TWO places!

Official Rules {this is not as scary as it sounds}

  • You have to be eighteen to enter
  • This giveaway it for US residents only {sorry about that one, legal technicalities}
  • Entrants are identified by their email address, so use your own
  • I’m not responsible for any technical issues affecting entries, it’s your responsibility to ensure that it’s received
  • If you cheat, will be disqualified, because cheaters never win
  • I  reserve the right to cancel, terminate or modify this sweepstakes if it cannot be operated, conducted or completed as planned, for any reason
  • By accepting the prizes, the winner allows me to share their status and identity publicly
  • Approximate Value of this prize is $300 Dollars, US.
  • This giveaway begins at 9:00pm CST on Tuesday November 1, 2011 and will end at 12:00am CST November 9, 2011

Once again, I would like to thank all of you who gave me the encouragement to do something I never imagined myself doing.  It means more than you’ll ever know.  I’d also like to give a special thanks to those who “adopted” me, took care of me, and encouraged me in the beginning when I didn’t even know what a WIDGET was.  This means you, Bridget, Glory, Bea, Pam, Lisa, Maryann, Marlyn, Meaghan, Marian and the many other friends I made on this crazy journey!

And most of all I need to mention my super supportive, puts up with sticky floors, late nights, and every single nutty idea I ever had, including this blog HUSBAND, Bernie, who I love with all my heart!

Okay, this is getting to sound like one of those award acceptance speeches, so I will leave you with this, one of the most important lessons I have learned from all this, and something I would like to pass along…

In my experience, most of the biggest trials in my life have been the beginning of the most wonderful experiences and blessings.  So, always remember that if you’re facing difficult times or a setback, keep going, smile always, and never give up! I promise you’ll see the sunshine in the end.  GOOD LUCK!