Fostering A Love For Reading In Your Child

Fostering A Love for Reading In Your Child - As a little girl one of my favorite past times was reading.  I was always  excited when my Mom announced a trip to the local library.   So, it’s no big surprise that it was something I wanted to share with my own children. My oldest shared my love for reading very early on in life.  But for my middle child, reading was a little harder.  She has a significant Speech Delay, so we had to work harder with her.  It was very important to me that we not frustrate her so much with the process, that it became a chore instead of a joy. So the whole family got in on the action.

My oldest would read to her when she was younger.  We(hubby and I) would read to her, and we would let her read to us.  We were patient with her and we let her take her time, which I admit was not always easy.  As she progressed, we let her read to her little sister.  This was quite the bonding experience for them.  We always have a lot of discussion after reading,  this was just as important to me, as the reading, because it was a way to determine how much she actually understood and comprehended.

One of the most important aspects of getting your little ones to enjoy reading is to keep their interest.  So we let the kids pick out their own books.  I shared with them some of my favorites from back in the day like “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? by Judy Blume and  the Sweet Valley High Books and for my youngest, “Curious George” and “Paddington Bear”.  And, yes they have been around that long.  And, to my surprise they fell in love with them too.

Keeping them reading during the school year is a breeze but during the summer it gets a little harder to compete with the park and the swimming pool.  So every year we get involved in a Summer Reading Program.  The great thing about the Summer Reading Programs is that you can find them at most local libraries.  Most of them come with lots of added perks and bonuses for the kids such as coupons from local sponsors, special events, free books and a chance to win great prizes.

Here’s a link to one of my favorite programs the Collaborative Summer Library Program.


You can open new worlds to your children, by simply sharing a book with them.  Happy Reading!!  What are your favorite children’s Books?  What books were your kid’s favorites? Consider leaving a  comment.

His & Her – Our Take on 2015 Wedding Trends

His & Hers Our Take on 2015 Wedding Trends -


Since deciding to add Wedding Invitations to Our Etsy Shop, I have found myself immersed in the 2015 Wedding Trends.  Some of them, I could get on board with, and some I could do without.  So just for fun, I enlisted my hubby to get both a male and female perspective on the latest crazes.

Drone or Go Pro Photos –

Hers – You know the Control Freak in Me Would Never Go For That.  You are also talking about the woman who gave her photographer a Definitive List of Must Have Shots.

His – I am a photographer.  NEVER. And besides, drones are too noisy.

Dance Routines –

Her – I would go for it as long as I felt like I had mastered it. I would hate to get out there and fall.  Not to mention how much I was shaking like a leaf that day.

His – No, I don’t dance and think they have been overdone. They novelty has worn off. Time for something new.

Rustic Chic –

Her – No, I think it works for some people.  But, Burlap and Lace at a wedding are a bit too casual for me.  Maybe, I would consider it, if the wedding was outside.

His – Yes, I am all for anything that is different. A rustic wedding allows you to use non-traditional materials that are cost effective and in some instances free.

Restaurant Wedding –

Her – Nope

His – Depends on What Kind of Restaurant We are Talking About.

No Dress (Solange Style)

Her – No, The Dress is Half the Fun.  I can’t imagine not going through that process.

His – The Bride Needs Her Dress.

1-2-3 Dress Changes –

Her – It was all I could do to put on one.  I can’t imagine having to manage a wardrobe change.

His – Just Seems Extra…

Cocktail Reception –

Her – It would cut the cost of the food, but I would worry about people getting too drunk.

His – NO, too expensive and I wouldn’t want to create an Uber tailgating party outside.

Food Trucks –

Her – NOPE.  I am not opposed to them at Carnivals or Fairs but umm… Not at my wedding.

His – YES. Goes hand in hand with a rustic wedding.

Black Tie –

Her – Yes, I would love that.  I love the look of gowns and tuxedos.

His – NO. You want to be the best dressed at your wedding.

Quote on Wedding Planning

 Photo Source: on Wedding Planning 101

5 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Re-Evaluate Your 2015 Goals

First Quarter Reeval I can’t believe that we are already nearing the end of the First Quarter of the New Year (if I can still call it that).  Four months in seems like a good time to go back to the drawing table and re-evaluate the goals that you made at the beginning of the year.  Often times, we get married to the goals that we set, so much so that even if they are not serving the purpose we intended, we do not want to let them go.  But, there is absolutely nothing wrong in making changes. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you take stock.

1.  What were your goals for the New Year?  Did you write them down?  Can you quantify them?

2.  If you feel like you did a good job of planning your goals for the year, then the next step is to Evaluate.  Where are you in comparison to where you want to be at the end of the year?  Are you making progress at a rate that you are comfortable with?  Do you feel like you are developing your brand and your business in a way that makes you proud?  If you set smaller goals quarterly or monthly?  Did you meet those goals?  If your goals were not clear for the first quarter, you may find yourself working backwards.  The good thing about that is by now you should have accumulated some data for yourself.  You know how much buzz has been created about your service or product, what kind of Social Media Following you have developed, and even what does or does not work for you.

3.  If things are going the way you intended and even if they are not.  It’s time to recreate and fine tune the next steps.  For example, ABC worked for you at this rate.  But, if you tweak it how can you  make things better?  Are you spending more time advertising than you are creating?  Do you think that you need to spend more time networking or on your craft?  In setting up your plan for the next few months, consider this Are you Setting SMART Goals?  This is a tool that has worked for me in both my Personal and Business Life.  Are Your Goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Based?  These questions tend to bring you back to exactly what you want your focus needs to be.  For more information about the process click here:

4.  Now that your New and Improved Action Plan is in place, what do you need in order to reach them?  What tools are necessary to achieve your goals?

5.  Are you ready to put your Plan in Motion?  Ready Set Go.


What steps do you take when planning out the next steps for your business or your life?  What are some tools that you find invaluable?

10 Tech Tools that Run My Life

10 Tech Tool Apps that Run My Life The Right Tools are Essential in Every Area of Life.  Check out my Go To List of Tech Tools that Run My Life.

1.  Google Calendar.  Even though I am still very much a Pen + Paper Girl, I keep my appointments in Google Calendar, as well.  Mostly, because of the Reminder Feature.  I like the option of being able to set (2) reminders for myself.  I also like the option of being able to share my Calendar with my Hubby and share appointments or events with others. When my Sissy was pregnant with the twins, she shared all her appointments with me and it helped to keep me on track.  Plus thanks to Google Calendar, I very RARELY forget a birthday or important event.  If you made it on to my Google Calendar, you have ARRIVED (jk, sorta).

2.  Notes:  The Note App on my iPhone could very well hold the secrets to TAKE OVER THE WORLD.  Or maybe, I just use it because my 38 years are starting to catch up with me.  We all know that my Phone goes every where I go.  So, whenever creative genius strikes, or I get a blog idea, think of something I think I need to remember later.  I will whip it out and type it in.  Not to mention, that I use it to make impromptu grocery lists, or plan out my To Do list, before I leave the house.  It is the ultimate tool to keep me from being a hot scatterbrained mess.

3.  Sell on Etsy App:  I am sure this one is NO SURPRISE.  I love being able to see my orders come in for my Etsy Shop,  no matter where I am.  Also on shipping days, I can just sit in the car outside of the Post Office and send all of my Tracking Confirmations.  It also affords me the luxury of being able to have immediate conversations with customers, see what the traffic is to the site each day, and know what items are popular.  I almost forgot the most important thing the Cha-Ching!!  **Every time you make a sale the App makes the Cha-Ching aka Cash Register Sound.  The high that you get from that sound if enough to make the APP worth it, even if it did nothing else.

4.  Facebook Pages App:  For those of you who don’t know, this is where you can Manage your Business FB Page.  I do at least half of my FB Posting & Content Creation from my phone or my iPad.  Even though admittedly I still spend a lot of time in front of the computer, this still keeps me functional when I can’t be.  When we add new items to the Shop I can post them directly from Etsy to the Business Page with ease.  I can also respond to Messages and Comments.

5.  Instagram & Pinterest:  I am going to combine these two, because for me their purpose is similar.  I find inspiration there in droves, not to mention that I have met some amazing like minded people, fostered great networking relationships and have been directed to some phenomenal blogs, websites, and local events.

6.  Bank of America App:  I think this one is self explanatory.  I like to keep a close watch on whats going on in our Accounts, especially with Identity Theft being soo rampant.

7.  Threadflip, Groupon & Living Social:  Retail Therapy…Retail Therapy…Retail Therapy (all clickable links)

8.   SIMS Freeplay & Word With Friends:  Stress Relief…  It can’t be business all the time, sometimes you need a little play.

9.    TweetCaster:  This is the app that I use to manage my Twitter Page.  There are a million different kinds on Twitter Type Apps.  But, this is my favorite.  Very User Friendly.

10.  Kindle App & Feedly: I’m  a Book Worm.  I LOVE to read, I always have.   If I don’t know about something I will try to find out about it.  I am not a fan of paying for books, even though I do. So, I also love all the Free Kindle Books.  I try to post the links to them on our Facebook Page, whenever I can.  So if you are an avid reader as well, follow us on Facebook.  The only thing I enjoy reading as much as books, are good blogs.  There are soo many I couldn’t possibly share or read them all.  But, the Feedly app combines them all in one place, and whenever I get some time I indulge.


What are some of the  Tech Tools or Apps that you just couldn’t do with out?

Earth Day Coloring Sheets

Earth Day is on April 22, 2015 this year.  It’s never too early to teach the Little Ones the importance of doing their part and taking care of The Earth.  Have some Coloring Fun with the Little Ones, and Enjoy this “Do Your Part” Earth Day Coloring Sheet.

Earth Day Coloring Sheet

To Download:  Right Click and Save Image as to Download and Print.

Some Lessons that Still Begin At HOME


Are considerate, respectful and empathetic people a thing of the past?  If you find yourself wondering this yourself, then I am sure that you have wondered about how to raise children with these characteristics. This subject comes up often when talking to friends with school age children. It is a subject that stays on the forefront of my mind.  These days, it seems like with all the luxuries that we have been afforded via technology or our own spoiling, that most kids only seem to possess the Entitlement gene.  In teaching our kids how important they are, do we also stress how important other people are?  Or that their needs wants, and feelings are equally as important as their own.  We are all aware of the importance of a child knowing their value and worth, but where the problem seems to come in is when we don’t express that EVERY ONE has value and worth.

I was raised in the generation of cotillions and thank you cards, family dinners and Big Holidays with extended family.  We were taught that everyone was important.  We were also taught that not everyone was raised like us.  I am not sure if that was about being accepting or about just being aware.

I notice all too often that my little ones tend to think that it is ALL ABOUT THEM,  all the time.  We struggle daily with teaching them all the things that we grew up with.  To that end, we require that they wait until we finish talking before they interject what they have to say.  That they do the forgotten things like say please and thank you and that they address adults as adults, with Yes Ma’am or Yes Sir. But, when they are around other children they easily discern that this is no longer a common practice.

I don’t claim to be an expert on Child Rearing, but I do think that a return to Common Courtesy is Necessary in order to see a change in Society as a whole.  Here are just a few lessons that I think should still be instilled at Home.

1.  Teach Your Children to Have Manners.  It used to be that how a child acted outside of the home was a Direct Reflection on what they were getting taught at home.  As much as we don’t spend half the time as our parents probably did with our children, I think this still remains true.  You are still very much their First Teachers.  They are watching you.  They see how you interact with people.  They place their first values on the things that are important to you.  If you treat the waitress like she is beneath you, or don’t respect the authority of those in positions of power, then you can’t be surprised when they follow suit.

2.  Teach them to Say Thank You and to Mean It.  I know this probably falls under Manners.  But, I can’t tell you how much it irritates me to purchase something for someone and don’t get as much as a Thank You.  I am not saying that they need to write a Thank You Card for every gift they get.  Even though, I make mine do it most of the time.  But, simply acknowledge that someone took the time to think of you, and that they absolutely did not have to.

3.  Teach them to Respect Their Property and The Property of Others and to Know the Value of A $1.  I believe that all of these things are tied in together.  I see this trait all too often in adults, as well as children.  They want you to guard their property with your life, but they want to borrow and tear up your stuff.  No Bueno.  Are you kidding me?  People used to look at me like I was crazy when I said that I didn’t lend out my CD’s or Movies, but I can’t tell you how often when I did they would come back with a Scratch and a Shrug.   Hmmm…  Secondly, even though as parents, we try to protect our kids from the Day to Day ins and outs of our Finances.  I think they should know that Mommy & Daddy buying you a iPad is not the same as Mommy and Daddy buying you some from the Target Dollar Bins.  And, that is part of the reason, I believe strongly in chores and allowance.  Let them see how long it takes to make money in order to buy something that they want. O, if you are opposed to that, let them use some of the money they got for their birthday to buy or put towards something that they feel they just have to have.  It quickly changes their perspective on Money.  I remember being a Junior in High School and wanting so badly this White Cable Knit Sweater, I just had to have it and my mom refused to spend close to $100 for one sweater.  So, it was the first purchase I made with my Check when I started working.  I was soo proud of that sweater, and I was sooo pissed when I spilled something in it.  It definitely made me rethink whether or not it was worth the price I paid for it.

4.  Teach them Empathy.  In the Age of Bullying this is extremely importance.  TV has desensitized us when it comes to the Value of Human Life and Human Feelings.. In some cases, it has made us think that different qualifies as FUNNY or Tease Worthy.  And, even though we would like to believe that these problems are localized to children, they really are not.  Which is evident in all the Fat Shaming, and Teasing that I see go on in Epic Proportions Every Day on Social Media.  We lose sight of the fact that America was founded on the backs of Diversity and that our differences are what makes us special in one way or the other.  I could go on and on here, but that’s a blog for another day.

Parenting is a HUGE responsibility.  Having a hand in molding the life of another person is quite frankly one of the most terrifying things that I have ever encountered.  And, though I don’t think that these simple niceties are the be all and end all to raising productive members of society.  I do feel like it is a start.

“Children are Great Imitators. So Give Them Something to Imitate.” – Unknown

What character traits do you think are most important for your children to possess?

Making A Dent In My Rolling To Do List Over Spring Break


Confession Time.  I live with a Rolling To Do List that is totally separate from my Daily To Do List, My Monthly To Do List, and My Quarterly To Do List, I’m not proud of this of course.   But, I call it rolling because it literally rolls from Month to Month.  In my defense, although it is a rather large list, it is made up a ton of small things and projects.  I am constantly seeing different things that I want to change or get done around the house.

So, I got the bright idea, since it was Spring Break and I wasn’t playing full time taxi driver, tutor and short order cook, that I would try to mark some of these items off of my list.  Always the over achiever, the things that I thought I could get done over the break vs. what I actually got done, well… lets just say there was a marked difference.

But, I did manage to make a dent in my list…

1.  I completed Our Family Photo Book for 2014.  (I’ve been working on this since January 1st, I’m kind of a perfectionist & literally tried to fit as many pics as I could on each page.)

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2.  I printed out one of Our Own Printables, found here in Our Etsy Store and Framed it to go in the Master Bathroom. (So to answer a question many have asked, I do sometimes decorate with my own Stage Presents Stuff.)

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3.  Completed the Teacher Appreciation Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week in May.  Just one less things I will have to do next month.  I saw this EOS Lip Balm Spring Printable Idea on the TaterTotsandJello blog and knew I had to have it.  Click the Blog Name to go directly to the site.

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4.  Greenery of some sort in my Kitchen Window is a must during the warmer months.  I have had the basil for a couple of weeks now, but wasn’t sure what to  put in the second pot, I eventually settled on some succulents.  I had some of these a while back, and didn’t do so well with them.  So we will see how they fare this go round.

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6.  Lastly, my Pinterest Board is full of Cocktails and “Mock”tails that I always want to try, but never get a chance to.  My original thought was to make a Bellini with Orange Sherbet.  But, decided to try my hand at a “Mock”tail that I thought would work, and it was a Score.  It only called for two ingredients, Mango Sorbet and Welch’s Sparking White Grape Juice, which doubles as Non-Alcoholic Wine.  It was the perfect combination and a Good Idea for a Baby Shower, where you want a fab drink that is Alcohol Free.

image1 (30) Well, today is the last day of Spring Break here, so I am off to enjoy the little time we have left.  Hope you had a Great Spring Break and have a Fabulous Weekend!!

Staycations & Road Trips – Spring Break on a Budget

Spring Break Spring Break always brings to mind visions of warm weather, beaches, vacation homes, hotels and lots of sun.  But, what do you do when your budget doesn’t make those things a possibility.  The change in the economy some years back brought to the fore front the concept of Stay-cations (vacations spent at home).  I am sure most people, don’t find that idea to be too appealing, myself included. This year I had grand plans for Spring Break, but due to unforeseen circumstances they fell by the wayside.  So, I was left scrambling to find something to do with the kids to occupy their days while not graying anymore around the temples.

Luckily for us, the beginning of Spring Break happened to fall on Easter.  So we decided to go visit family deeper South.  Yep, that means a Road Trip with young kids.  That is about as terrifying as the whole idea of the Stay-cation.  Check out our post back in October 2013 on Road Tripping with Kids.  Well our kids aren’t that small so you would think, no big deal, but we have a 5 year old, who NEVER has to go potty until we are on the road, with no Rest Stop in Sight.  That lead to two unplanned stops both going and coming, much to the dismay of our less than sympathetic chauffeur aka Daddy.  But, we made it there despite the added time to our trip. Our Trip meant at least one night of hotel stay, and for the kids that was equivalent to heaven.  We were also excited to find out that their was a Fair in town.  They got a chance to experience a good old Country Fair in all its glory.  So we were still scoring, as far as the kid’s were concerned.

The hard part of course was still to come.  We were headed home and needed to figure out what to do with them for the remainder of the week.  So, I pulled out my trusty planner and decided to put together a Pseudo Schedule/Plan so that we wouldn’t drive each other batty.  I penciled in Day Trips to the local kid’s museums, the local zoo, and even some Ferris Wheel and Water Park Fun. Add to that some Easy Craft Projects, and a few inexpensive trips to Local Fast Food Joints, the Farmer’s Market, and Ice Cream Shops.  And, you have a week filled with entertainment and joy for all parties involved.  Or at least that’s what I am hoping.  Keep in mind that you have to take into account that you are planning around the weather, temperaments and time constraints, but it will all be worth it in the LONG RUN.  What are you doing or what did you do this Spring Break?

“Life is to be Enjoyed, Not Endured.” – Create your Own Joy!!

Fun Friday – The Spring 2015 Mini Home Tour

springmini This year I managed to get the house ready for Spring/Easter with a week to spare.  I am always happy when I see a plan come together.   Our Wreath from last year couldn’t be revived for another year, so I went with a simple Forsythia Wreath.  I enjoy seeing Yellow on the front door for this time of year.

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I switched out the Framed Printable in the Foyer for this great ‘Nest” free printable found over on On Sutton Place. image1 (24)

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The Idea for the Centerpiece was found on Pinterest.  Luckily, I had all the components needed here at home.  The flowers were from my wedding almost 6 years ago.  I have NEVER gotten so much use of of one item, EVER.  They have been all over my house.  Money well Spent.  The lantern was part of my Christmas Centerpiece, and the Yellow flowers, were taken from Last Year’s Spring Wreath.

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The Formal Living Room is where the rest of Last Year’s Wreath came to live, I took the whole thing apart and used it to bring a little life to this room, since the Color Palette in here was very muted.

image2 (15) This little bistro table is set up in our Kitchen.  It is most often just used as the Mail Table.  But, when we entertain, it is the Dessert Table.  I used another Great Framed Free Printable here that I found on Tater Tots and Jello.

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The last thing we changed was the Guest/Kid’s Bathroom.  I should mention that the weekend after all this change, we had Family stay with us for the weekend.  So, this was just an excuse to upgrade this space with this Great Shower Curtain, and a Plush New Mat(not pictured here.)

In case you are wondering why I called this the Mini Spring House Tour, it is because I didn’t hit every room in the house.  But, I was very pleased with the outcome and we are ready and waiting for the Pool to Open in the subdivision and for the Warm Weather to Come Pouring In.  Next Week is Spring Break here, so I will be off enjoying my little ones.  Hope you guys have a great one!!