My 2015 Reading List

Happy New Year everyone!! Here is my reading list for 2015 and I can’t wait to get started. I got some books for Christmas and am almost done with them so I needed to find some new ones. I’m super excited to read these as they were highly recommended on a variety of other reading lists. Do you have any good book suggestions?

Book List

1. Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall

2. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

3. I Forgot to Remember by Su Meck

4. The Second Life of Abigail Walker by Frances O’Roark Dowell

5. Love Stories of World War II by Larry King

6. Summerset Abbey by T.J. Brown

Life In Five

IMG_0722Reading: The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans. Ever since The Horse Whisperer I have wanted to read something else by Mr. Evans. So far this is a really good book! I love books about fire jumpers and his writing style is so easy to read, it’s the perfect before-bed book!

Craving: Cheesecake. I LOOOOOVE cheesecake and it just sounds so perfect right now. This recipe sounds amazing!

Learning: Some new tools to make Project Life more interesting as well as some new Photoshop techniques. I am loving this and this action from The Coffeeshop Blog.

Drinking: Lots and lots of juice. I have been pinning recipes like crazy and I am really enjoying the various combos that I have come up with. So far my favorite is green apples, lemon, ginger, green grapes, and pear. You can find more juice recipes on my Healthy Living Pinterest Board. IMG_0703Anticipating: Valentine’s Day and Klint’s birthday. I have a special surprise coming and am super excited to see and share!

What does your life in five look like in five?


Today it was freezing out… again. So we ventured out to the Cleveland Rainforest to warm up and visit some of our favorite animals. It was a lot of fun and a welcome feeling, the warmth and humidity. The animals were playful and thankfully the zoo wasn’t too crowded. IMG_5794

After the zoo we ventured out for lunch and then a quick trip to the library, which turned out to be not so quick. I don’t know what it is about libraries, but they suck me in. I could spend hours at the library, curled up in the chair with a good book. I always try to limit how many books the girls take home, but really I am the one who needs a limit. I always get more than I can carry! The girls love exploring the different libraries and meeting new kids. IMG_3581

One of the coolest books that I found was one called Sneaky Art by Marthe Jocelyn. It is basically a junior covert art installation how-to. I love it!! All the projects in the book are simple, very do-able, and sneakily cute- everything the girls and I like!

And finally, the day ended with relaxation (especially since Moira is getting over a cold, and me getting some Project Life pages done since last night my photo printer came! (Insert SQUEALS of JOY!) Here are two of the pages that I have done- more photos to follow!



Whew!!!! It was a loooooong day! Tomorrow promises to be another doozy as well, have a good night friends!

My Reading List 2014

There is nothing better than reading a good book on a rainy dayOne of my Christmas presents was a book that I have been wanting called One Good Deed a Day. It is super cool and is just the thing I need to really get going in 2014. What I like is that some of the deeds are for your own benefit, some are for the greater good of the world. Today I chose one for myself because one of my focuses this year is to concentrate more on my personal well being.As you all know I love to read, it is a daily habit that makes me super happy. So today’s good deed is to make a list of books that I want to read this year. Fun!!!! Here are some of the books that I want to read, and if you are interested, you can see the whole list here. (If you click on the books at the end then you can read the synopsis and such!)

reading list

  1. To The End of June by Chris Beam
  2. The Lions of Little Rock by Kristen Levine
  3. Slated by Teri Terri
  4. The Collector by Nora Roberts
  5. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
  6. The Time Between by Karen White
  7. Island Girls by Nancy Thayer

Sea Dragons, Books, and Ballet Shoes!

Whew! What a week so far!! This week has been chock full of funness and it seems like the fun isn’t going to be over anytime soon. =) Hmmmm… where to begin?

Well Tuesday the girls and I got to model for my friend Ali who is a face painter and VERY gifted artist. It was beyond a blast! I am just as giddy about it and can’t wait to have her come to AJ’s birthday party to paint faces. I think my friends and their kids are in for a treat, just check out Gabby’s cat face and the awesome sea dragon on mine. (AJ blurred hers out accidentally before I could get a good pic.)

Aren’t they amazing! I am in love with sea dragons so this was especially cool for me. =)


We have been spending a lot of time in the various libraries lately, always a plus in my book.It’s funny because we always agree to not get more books than we can carry and then end up taking out way more books that this poor mama ends up carrying. I honestly don’t mind though… the girls and I have a lot of interests and books only fuel the fire. Here are some of the books currently on our shelf:

A wonderful list and only a small fraction of what we actually have out, lol!


Finally, Miss Amelia had her first real dance class yesterday! It was exciting and a little bittersweet because it made me see the little lady that she is all too quickly becoming. I would have put her in dance last year but I wanted a year at my studio to get acquainted before I threw my kids in the mix lol! I also didn’t want her to be in one of my classes, been there done that, it just doesn’t work out well. So this year AJ is in Miss Mandy’s class, a lovely teacher who I know will both teach and inspire. She couldn’t stop talking about class and her favorite teacher, lol, it was cute. Here are some of the photos this proud Dance Mom had to take, lol!

Sigh… she is growing up too fast!!!!!

Have a great day friends!

Raising Readers

All the girls have loved books from an early age.

My dream house has a bookshelf in every room and a library complete with a fireplace and some comfy chairs. I have always been a reader and was raised to love all books from nonfiction to completely cheesy romance novels. When I entered school I was already reading a couple grades ahead and had to sit outside the class and do separate reading assignments. I didn’t care though because when I am reading the world stands still. I knew when I had kids that I wanted to pass that love to my girls.

One of my earliest memories is of my grandmother reading me Snow White. She would change her voice to sound like the characters and I would listen to her with all my heart, memorizing the words, living the book. I knew that this is one of the biggest reasons that I love to read, I was read to. Studies show that children who are read to excel in school, are more confident, have a larger vocabulary, are better listeners and have longer attention spans, and are more creative and curious about their world. Most parents assume that once children can read they will not want to be read to, however if you get in the habit of reading aloud every night, children will never tire of it!

Another way to encourage reading is to change up your home library every couple of months. Kids should have new books as often as they get new clothes. (New meaning, new to them- we buy from Half Price Books all the time!) Change the books to go with the seasons, to accommodate new interests, and to challenge your children to push their reading skills. In our house we are constantly trading in books to fit our needs, that way others can benefit from them and the books we are interested in are not buried in piles of others.

The library is also a great place to foster a love of reading. It costs nothing, the possibilities are endless, and you can rest assured that given free rein your child will find something that he or she wants to look at or learn about. I made each of the girls their own book bag to take to the library and they can take out as many books as they can fit or carry. (Usually I end up carrying a few for them as well because I can never say no to books.) If they want a certain book or topic I have them ask the librarian if she isn’t busy, that helps with their social and communication skills. Our library has morning reading activities as well which are always fun to drop in for and reading challenges to make reading a habit.

I think that one of the biggest influences on how your children view reading is your own attitude. Many nights the kids will come downstairs to see me engrossed in a book, after lunch they will sit with me while I listen to a book on my iPhone and crochet. I am just as excited to find new books at the library and at garage sales that peak my interest, and often I will explain why I like a book or didn’t enjoy it. My husband is also a reader and we share many recommendations with each other, which is nice because left to my own devices I tend to stick to my favorite authors.

Hopefully the girls will keep their love of books and pass it on to their own children. They can see the value of books, the satisfaction in learning from them, and the enjoyment when I am reading aloud to them at night. Currently we are reading the Harry Potter series and then watching the movie, which leads to talking about a variety of things from budgets, casting, plot changes, and story development…. it is really nice to know that they look forward to our special time together!

What about you? Were you read to as a child and do you read aloud to your children daily?

**For more information about reading aloud to your kids I really recommend The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease!!

Also, don’t forget to enter the giveaway to add to your own library a wonderful book about a squirrel waiting for winter!

The Books Are Back!

One of my favorite aspects about owning my own business is the luxury to take time off when I need to and the ability to really push myself when the need arises. I have been an Usborne consultant for about 3 years now and in those three years I have sold a lot of books, met some great people, and introduced many many children to our wonderful world of reading. Usborne really appeals to me because there are no minimums, you get your own website, and their stock pretty much sells itself.

I recently reopened my online store after taking a pretty long break when I had Moira. I am slowly getting back in the swing of book selling and am really looking forward to having more home shows and getting into some schools and libraries!

If you aren’t familiar with Usborne books and have children in your life, here are just a few of the titles that we offer. We have books from newborn to high school, they are lifetime guaranteed when you purchase from a consultant (rather than from a chain bookstore), and they are commercial free- meaning no TV characters or Justin Beiber pushing kids to buy merchandise!

(Click on the pic to go to my Usborne online store- Sunny Side Up Books)

As you can see we offer quite a selection.

Anything your child is into… we have a book about it. From monsters to pirates, ballet to bunnies- these books make great gifts for the upcoming holidays!


Now here is the awesome part!

I am giving away ONE COPY of one of my favorite books to one of YOU!!!!

“Squirrel has never seen it snow, and this year he is determined not to miss it. He wants his friends to see it too, but it’s hard to stay awake. Finally, winter arrives and snow is falling, or is it?”

Here’s how to enter to win:

1. Go to my store here.

2. Come back and leave a comment, telling me what books you would love for your kids! (Make sure you leave me your email so I can contact you!!)

**Bonus Entry- Have me set up an e-show for you so you can earn more free books for your children!!

It is FREE and I can leave the show open as long as you wish! **

The drawing closes at midnight (EST) on Monday, November 14th!

I will announce a winner on Tuesday, November 15th and have the book shipped directly from the store to whoever you choose.


Did you have a favorite book as a child? What is your favorite memory with books?