a give-away and plane tickets

Well, that could be misleading. No, I’m not giving away plane tickets. I am, however, giving away one of these:

Oh my word. Aren’t they CUTE? And the cool thing? You don’t have to get one that says Grace or Ben. You could get…


Or the name of someone you actually know or even gave birth to! You can pick any name in all the world! My friend Jenny, of Initial Designs, is offering one of these SWEET personalized quilted backpacks to one lucky winner.

A little background on Jenny. She’s the younger of two beautiful sisters. Her older sister, Jodie, and I met at Cedarville College and became dear friends. Jodie was one of four bridesmaids in my wedding back in the day. Jodie and Jenny are both married to great guys and each have 2 little blond cuties–a boy and a girl. Jenny lives not-too-far from me, and last summer, I snuck over to her house and surprised Jodie who I hadn’t seen in ages. Too fun!

Jenny’s wonderful and talented, and you’d be CRAZY not to enter this give-away.

Now, here’s the catch:

As you might know, my family is on a Quest of Gargantuan Proportions. We thought it might be fun to try to visit 52 Zoos in 52 Weeks. We thought it’d be even more fun if we took a ginormous leap of faith and did it all with very little money, no book advance, and without going into a cent of debt.

If you’ve been following our story, you know that God has taken us downtothewire a bazillion times, and each time He provides in a HUGE way.

Now. My human mind is telling me that there’s no way He can pull off the rest of this thing. We have about 20 zoos to go. In just over 2 months. No money earmarked for Zoo Trips. Just lots of hope, trust and prayer. On paper, it will be IMPOSSIBLE to complete our challenge.

But my God specializes in the impossible.

We’ve spent so little money on these trips that it’s really just mind-boggling. But one leg of our trip will involve flying out to the West Coast. Five plane tickets. Eek.

So, here’s our plan. We’re selling ad space on our Zoo Site: www.52zoos.com. For $4/week, you can advertise your business for 52 weeks. (We sell 6 spots, and we’ll just about have enough to fly ourselves to Cali and back.) More people are checking out the site every day, and by the time the books (yes, bookS) come out, there’ll be oodles of people seeing your ad.

So, to enter the contest for the SWEET personalized-with-any-name-you-can-think-of quilted backpack, here’s what you need to do (2 things):

1. Check out Jenny’s site and tell me which backpack is your favorite. (you can check out all her stuff here)


2. Go to our 52 Zoos site and tell me something you like about it OR something you’d like to see added to it.

AND if you want to enter a 2nd comment (Do this separately. As in, actually enter another comment entirely.):

3. Spread the word about the ad space available at http://www.52zoos.com by posting about it on Twitter or Facebook (or e-mail some friends) and tell me you did it.

And that’s it. I know this is going to confuse some of you sweet people. I’m ready for you. On Friday, I’ll draw a lucky winner!

And if you’re looking to advertise for just a month or two, I have 2 ad spaces available to the right for $20/month.

Happy Wednesday! And Good Luck!

47 thoughts on “a give-away and plane tickets

  1. Marlen

    I love the monkey one for the boys and the pea pod one for the girls! Totally cute bags!

    Your zoo site is awesome! The pics are great. WTG!!

  2. Chris

    I love the monkey back pack. For the zoo site, the pictures of your family are really small. I’d like to see them bigger. I can’t wait for your book to come out.

  3. Jill

    Tha backpacks are adorable. I have a little boy and a little girl so it was hard to choose just one. I like dog backpack for my little boy and the ballerina bag for my little girl.

    I think the 52 zoos site looks great. I especially like your family photo in front of the zoo signs.

  4. Serena

    The one i would i would have to be the pink butterfly one for my little Girl.

    and about the 52 zoos in52 weeks, this is the most awesome idea ever. i love everything about the website. But i am big on family and taking pictures so that would be what i love most is all the pictures..

  5. Carrie

    Ooh, I would probably get the puppy bag for Zachary – so cute!!! 🙂

    And, also, we accessed your 52 zoos site the other night, when we were planning a trip to the Buffalo Zoo, to see what your site said about it. 🙂 I like how you can click a link to see all the pictures from that zoo, that’s neat. 🙂

  6. Ashley

    I love the little monkey backpack…so cute! Your zoo website is very cute. I love how the animals are peaking out. Your family is going to have so many great memories from this adventure.

  7. David Noble

    Oops it would be helpful if I commented on the right page. Anyways, the zoo52 is awesome. I truly believe the reason I love science so much is due to frequent trips to the Columbus zoo as a child. Keep up the good work. As I mentioned before, I like the firetruck backpack in primary colors.

  8. Lacey

    How to choose? Those backpacks are adorable! I guess I’d choose the flowers for a girl or the construction one for a boy. And your 52 Zoos site – I really like the design (great header, love the animal prints). Guess it’s nice to have a web designer hubby, huh? 🙂

  9. Colleen

    The backpacks are adorable! I love the flowered one best! And you KNOW I love to follow the zoos with you! My favorite thing about the site is the title with the 52 zoos in all the animal prints! I wish i had that font:)

  10. melissa

    I love the monkey bag for boys! My son would love it.

    I really like the map on the 52 Zoos site. I’m so impressed with this amazing journey you’re on with our family!

  11. Elizabeth

    My favorite backpack is the mint green one with the flowers. It looks just like my baby’s crib bedding.

    I’ve looked at your 52 Zoos site quite a few times and I wouldn’t change a thing! I love all the pics on the front page with the description of your time at that zoo.

  12. Donita

    I love the backpacks. We have an abundance of small boys in the family, so I am especially fond of the monkeys and the bugs.
    I think the 52 Zoos page is fine. And I have to tell you that you inspired me to branch out of my local zoo rut. Just yesterday my friend and I (+3 kids visited) the Phoenix Zoo in 103 degree weather. I would not recommend it in May (or June – September), but it’s only 2 hours away from me and I never remember visiting before. We had a great time…thank you Jesus for a kid’s water-splash-park area!

  13. Annie Luidhardt

    Cute backpacks! My daughter would really like the ballerina one but all of them are so cute! As for your 52 zoos blog, I really like how you have a page of where you have been and where you are going! It’s neat to see it like that all on one page plus, I like how you have linked it to the post!

  14. Sarah W

    Hi Marla…I “found” you through Jen Faulks and have been following your zoo journey. I also intend to get your books when I am stateside at the end of this year. My hubby and two kids are missionaries in Botswana. If you ever want to come to the ultimate zoo…..well we’ll hook you up! 🙂 I know you posted about wanting to come to Africa…..Botswana has some great wildlife!!

    As for the contest….I would love to win one of these bags for my little girl. I like em’ all but my fav is the butterfly or the princess one.

    As for your zoo site, well I love the family photos by each zoo sign but I also love the animals peeking out of the side of the main page too!! Very cute site.

    Bless you….keep up the great work! 🙂

  15. Janell

    Love all the backpacks, especially the construction one for my baby boy because he’s into cars and tractors right now. Perfect for traveling.
    Love the site also! What a great idea. We’re heading to the S.A. zoo and Sea World next month, so that was nice to see on there. (Maybe you could add the prices to some of the places you visited since that’s kind of part of your journey or add discount ideas.)
    Posted your site on myspace and facebook!
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. Rachele

    I love the construction bag for my little Timothy. So much fun! I posted a comment about your 52 Zoos on Facebook. I can’t wait to read your book!
    As for your page: I agree with Katie, there is so much small print on the home page, it’s daunting. I LOVE the map!
    Thanks for all your encouraging posts lately! 🙂

  17. Emily Kay

    My favorite bag is the one with “Alivia” on it.

    I tried to find something I’d add to your site, but honestly it seems pretty perfect to me! Maybe a “donate” button so people could help you out on your journey if they were so inclined?

  18. Tara

    I love the lime green and pink flower backpack for my little sweets! Good church diaper bag! 🙂 And I think the zoo website looks amazing! I love the Where will we be? And map of progress. Super fun! 🙂

  19. Tiffany

    It was very hard to choose a favorite. So I have like three the turtle, the flowers, and the princess.

    I love all of the family pictures at all of the different zoos. I just love the idea of visiting 52 zoos in 52 weeks. What an amazing adventure for all of you. I can’t wait for the book. Blessings in all of your adventures.

  20. Katie

    I don’t want to be in the drawing, but would like to include a little helpful feedback on the website. I love the work that Gabe’s done on this, my suggestion has to do with the front page. I find it a tad wordy… haha… wordy writer, imagine!

    But to me – I feel overwhelmed by all of the small font and different entries and shut down, rather than read. My suggestion is cut the number of featured “blurbs” on the front page to 3 or 4 (the rest are linked in other parts of the website anyway). Increase the font on these 3 to 4 so that they are more inviting to read. Make sense?

    Also, I love the pictures you have available, but these are vast also. Is there a place on the front page where you could make a larger photo spot (so you can see all of your adorable faces without clicking on it) and make that space have a revolving pic? So people can watch a little slideshow while they figure out where to navigate too on the sight?

    Just some suggestions! Best of luck on your journey!

    ~ Katie

  21. Charity

    Love these bags! I think I’d pick the red or black tote bags. Maybe with a Red Wings logo?!! As far as the zoo site, I love the map and was going to say include links to the zoos. And then my impatient self looked closer and saw that you made the links pop up when I move the mouse over the circles. Perfect! And by the way, 2 of my 4 brothers went to Cedarville. Small world!

  22. Sarah

    As for the zoo site…I think it’s fabulous! I’ve checked it out several times. I don’t think you should change a thing about it – it’s perfect!!

  23. Kelsie

    I have 2 boys, so I would choose the trucks – too cute!
    As for the site, I think the logo is super creative – really catches your eye…I love everything about it, though!

  24. Heather

    Zoo website…

    I love how you give so much info on each zoo…when we take our next family trip to a zoo, all I have to do is check out your website. Very informative!

  25. deanna

    Oh yeah! A fun giveaway!

    I love the packbacks and I think my son would too. Since we live in country and my family farms, I particularly like the packback with the tractor and barn on it. But my son is also into trains right now so he may like that one too. THEY ARE ALL SO CUTE! TOO HARD TO DECIDE!

    And your zoo website, I love how you put a picture of your family in front of every zoo entrance on the main page. I enjoyed scrolling through and looking at those.
    I can’t wait to see what all kinds of ads you get on there!!

  26. Heather

    Hi Marla!

    I love the bag on the site that has the name “Grace” on it. It is pink with a lime green flap on it. What a creative idea- and they are so pretty!

  27. Amy

    I love the construction backpack for my boy and I would have to purchase another one for my girl (the flowers one). And another one for the little one on the way. And several others for my nieces and nephews. I think my husband’s going to wish I hadn’t come across these backpacks. 🙂 These are so cool!!!

    I have to say I think you have covered all the bases with your 52 zoos in 52 weeks site. The map and itinerary are very useful.

  28. Nichole

    I asked someone more qualified than me and she says she really likes the one with the “horsey”. Haha!
    I love your 52 zoos site- especially the pictures and the little recaps.

  29. Laura

    I love the sports bag and the firetruck bags but when you have 3 grandkids and another on the way ……how do you choose???????

  30. JustBetty

    Love the Stephen Joseph backpacks. Need FOUR of them ~ but our “Monkey” has a birthday next month.

    What would I like to see on your zoo site? All of the ad spaces filled … so you can focus on the adventure. =) Hope you can one day go to the Phoenix Zoo! PhoenixZoo.org

  31. Mary

    oh boy. i like the sports, dog, or monkey bag for a boy. personalized of course!! 🙂

    as for the website, i love the map to follow your progress. the amount of zoos just blows me away! and the “where will we be” calendar is a great idea.

  32. Ali

    Farm! Farm all the way!

    As for 52zoos – I love it. I love what God is doing. I love what you are doing. I love what your family is doing. I just love it.

    I love the map feature and the itinerary – so well done. You rock.

  33. Michele

    Hi, I just saw a post on facebook for this. What a cool idea, I love it!
    All the bags are so unique, but if I had to choose it would be the girly hot pink butterfly one for my sweet little adopted miracle of a niece.
    The zoo site is awesome!! I like the “where will we be” button that shows where you have been and where you will go. You look like your having loads of fun with this project. I hope you get to finish in time.
    I just posted your website on facebook, have a great summer!

  34. jess

    mornin’ marla 🙂
    those back packs are ADORABLE!!!!! oh my goodness. I think if i won, I’d have to choose the train one for the little man. or the monkey. or the sea animals. poor kid is surrounded by all things girly & could use a little manly personal space to call his own. 🙂

    and i checked out the zoo sight. I tried to find something I’d add. The first thing I thought of was a comprehensive list of all the zoos. But, then I found it–it’s already there! I also love the family pictures. I think maybe you should add a button for a free spa day, because after seeing those pics of your fam at ALL those zoos, I was very tired & could use a little spa relaxation. 😛

  35. Jen

    I am really big on family pictures, so I love that you have a family picture by each zoo sign. Sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time…can’t wait for the book!

  36. Jen

    It’s hard to choose, but I like the kitty, turtle, and butterfly ones for girls. My son is probably too old for one, but the monkey one is awfully cute on the boys side!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *