Posts Tagged ‘Amy Allen Clark’

Catch Me on Heart Filled Holidays Radio

Monday, March 18th, 2013

 

You can catch me live today on Heart Filled Holidays Radio dishing up our family traditions and sharing about my book at noon ET (11 CT, 10 MT, 9 PT) today! Here is a little about what we will be talking about! I hope you can listen in today!

The Good Life, it’s what we all want and we have different thoughts about why we don’t have it or when we can have it. Amy Clark is defying those thoughts and showing us how we can have it right now, regardless of circumstances. She’ll be challenging our thinking and showing us how we can love our life right here, right now, and even do it on a budget. From delicious meals to a clean home to fabulous family celebrations, she has it all covered. We’ll hear her story and pick her brain for terrific ideas we can use in our families.

While we’re enjoying our life we’ll share a few tips for enjoying the month of March and our Easter celebrations plus we’ll hop on over to Christmas Corner and peek at an old Christmas tradition.

 

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Freebie Friday: February 8, 2013 (A Podcast, Valentine’s Day Fun, & Take 5 Friday)

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I am sharing how to cook & prepare spaghetti squash for your recipes, I’m sharing 7 apps to get your family organized (be sure to check the comments on that one for more ideas), you can read an interview about our family and hear more about my latest book, the weekly notebook is filled with DIY food & craft projects, and our weekly list of 180 great giveaways to enter.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed for The Kitchen Hour podcast about my new book and our family’s own cooking traditions and celebrations. Meagan is a wonderful friend of mine that also runs The Happiest Mom site and I was so excited to get to talk to her in this episode of The Kitchen Hour podcast. I hope you can set aside some time to take a listen! We had so much fun!

This week you can catch me over at the Kenmore bog sharing some special dishes and activities our family does to celebrate the Valentine’s Day holiday. Check out a few of my favorite easy and affordable ideas for celebrating this season of love!

I am so honored to be featured in the latest issue of Project You Magazine. Check out this FREE magazine dedicated to loving yourself! I just know you will love this magazine as much as I do and I am so honored to be in it this month!

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook page today for our new Take Five Fridays feature. Each Friday on the MomAdvice Facebook Page, I will be sharing five meal ideas to add to your planners each week and you can share your own ideas for your week. Feel free to link to any of your family favorites, share recipes you plan to try, or what you have on your plans for the week! Feel free to use our free menu planner printable for your week!

I’m heading over there now to get this week’s meal plan up for you! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, friends, and enjoy all of these fabulous freebies!

 

Health & Beauty

Entertainment

God’s Smuggler Audio-Download

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This Week’s Freebie Events

February 9th – 15th

9th - Barnes & Noble: Valentine’s Day Story Time, 11 am.

9th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Chinese Dragon Puppet, 11 am – 3 pm.

9th - Lowe’s: Build a Wheel of Love, 10 am.

9th - Michael’s: Make Wilton Treat Pops, 1 pm – 3 pm.

9th – 14th – Pottery Barn: Valentine’s Day Letter Writing Station.

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Catch Me Today At the Next Book Signing (And An Interview With the Elkhart Truth)!

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

source: The Elkhart Truth

We were very excited to be featured in The Elkhart Truth today about my first book, “The Good Life for Less.”  The bonus for us, was getting to show off our incredible pizza-making skills to the photographer from the newspaper. I hope you can read a little bit more about our story and how special this book and moment is to our family.

Today I will be doing our last book signing in the Michiana area. You can catch me over at The Family Magazine office. I have set up a Facebook invitation for that event, so please head over there to RSVP if you will be able to make it. 

Lots of people have been asking if we will be visiting any other areas for signings. I am trying to organize a couple of additional cities so please stay tuned on that!  You can visit our Book Page to see what is happening, sign up for a newsletter for updates, and find retailers who are carrying the book!

Thank you again for all of your love and support for this project. We wouldn’t be here without you!

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Join Us For Our Next Book Signing

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

We just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who came out to our very first book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Mishawaka. We felt so blessed to have each of you there and we were overwhelmed at the outpouring of people who showed up to have their books signed.

We were so excited to hear that our signing had the most successful signing at their store since Dave Ramsey came to town. We are honored to be among such company and are so thankful for friends, family, and even readers I had not yet met, for coming out on a Saturday afternoon to see us. We sold an incredible amount of books in two hours and we are so thankful for your book purchases! 

This Saturday we will be doing our next book signing in the Michiana area. You can catch us over at Better World Books in Goshen from 2-4PM. I have set up a Facebook invitation for that event, so please head over there to RSVP if you will be able to make it. Here are some directions if you are heading out to the store! 

Lots of people have been asking if we will be visiting any other areas for signings. I am trying to organize a couple of additional cities so please stay tuned on that!  You can visit our Book Page to see what is happening, sign up for a newsletter for updates, and find retailers who are carrying the book!

Thank you again for all of your love and support for this project. We wouldn’t be here without you!

(Dress & Necklace: Flourish Boutique- our site sponsor! Use web code WEB25 for 25% off your purchase!)

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Come See What the Fuss Is All About (Or How the Surprise Was On Me!)

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Well, it’s official, The Good Life For Less is out in the world now! I have been so enjoying all of the photos that people have been tagging me in on Facebook with their copies of it! Can you believe all these amazing celebrities that are posing with my book? I can’t believe it myself!

I loved seeing these pictures being posted and then the comment threads that followed that got other people out there buying the book. That is truly the power of social media! I can’t imagine what it would be like to write a book and not get to see my friends with their copies of the book. It has been making my whole life.

My favorite siting yet was from two of my favorite bloggers, Claire & Lauren, over at TX M.I.L.K. It turns out even Willie Nelson likes my book… now I know that I have arrived.

The reviews have been rolling in on the book, which is so awesome to see!  I get so excited when I see the reviews being shared on Amazon & GoodReads from readers and my blogger friends have all been so generous to share about this book. Here are some of my favorite reviews so far!

Simplifying Meal Time (@ Dine & Dish)

The Good Life for Less Review (Hoosier Homemade)

Taking a Page Out of the Good Life for Less (Extraordinary Mommy)

Book Review: The Good Life for Less (This Full House)

The Good Life for Less (The Centsible Life)

The Good Life for Less (The Simple Moms)

The Good Life for Less (Beth’s Book-Nook Blog)

Review: The Good Life for Less (Northern Cheapskate)

The Good Life for Less: A Happiness Upgrade (Baby Toolkit)

The Good Life for Less (Hormone-Colored Days)

Review: The Good Life for Less (Mom’s Favorite Stuff)

Must Read: The Good Life for Less (Mom Generations)

I was over the moon with happiness and life was so darn good…and then I got the world’s worst stomach flu. I have not been this sick in years. Flat on my back, so dehydrated your eyes feel like sandpaper sick, the I’m cold, now I’m hot, now I’m shivering again sick. SO SICK. For an entire week.

I was dying and my husband was in a sheer panic about my sickness, but couldn’t let on how worried he was. Unbeknownst to me, he had been working for seven months with my best friend on the surprise party of all surprise parties to celebrate the launch of my first book and my 35th birthday.

We had a double date planned with my best friend and her husband for, what I believed to be, a silent auction. As my husband pushed me into the room, he whispered, “This is how much I love you.” Standing in the room were over 40 of our closest friends and family there to celebrate.

I have never had a celebration like that ever in my whole life. They rented a room at Legends for the big night, who catered all of the food for the event. He had been working with my publicist to have posters of my book made up for the evening, and the night of surprises wasn’t over.

1.)  He flew my brother in to be with me for the evening from New Orleans. I hadn’t seen him since last spring and I was beside myself with joy to have him there. This was a gift, not just for me, but for our entire family because we have missed him so much. He’s currently living out in New Orleans pursuing his dreams in the art world, and it was so special to have him there.

If you are into art or happen to live in New Orleans, please check out his Facebook page to find out how to commission a piece of art! It’s the Dark & Twisty Art of John Allen.

2) He managed to get my two childhood best friends to come in for the party. We are three busy women and it takes a near miracle to get the three of us together. I almost fell over when I saw them both there for the evening. Not many people can say that they have been friends since they were ten years-old and are still friends. These were my two best friends from church camp and we spent many a summer together that I will forever treasure in my heart.

3) Perhaps, the most amazing gift and demonstration of love ever given to me, my husband had been working since June, to teach himself how to DJ so he could be the DJ for my party.

We have been together since high school and I was infamous for making him a million mix tapes of songs for him and “ghetto mixes” once I became too “hood” for a traditional mix. Those mixed tapes were the inspiration for him to surprise me.

Ryan took all the music and those memories and managed to make that into the ultimate mix for me for my birthday, for a night of dancing with my girlfriends. It might sound a little corny to you, but I fell in love with him all over again. When you have been together since you were kids, it becomes hard to surprise each other anymore. To pull off three surprises? Unheard of.

In lieu of gifts, my friends remembered how important the Faith Mission Homeless Shelter was to our family. If you recall, a few years ago, we hosted a Big Give for the shelter. A wish list from the director of the shelter was given, and everyone worked on gathering donations to share with the women & children of that shelter. This was one of my favorite surprises of the night since caring for the homeless is such an important thing to our family. I can’t tell you how happy these gifts made me!

Behind every good man is a good woman. My best friend had been working tirelessly on throwing this amazing party for me with my husband. I am the luckiest girl in the world to have a friend like that and I try to never take it for granted. I am still shocked she could keep this a secret from me for that long when we talk for hours on the phone daily. She is my other “sister,” and I can’t imagine my life without her.

Of course, my friends wanted to spoil me a little bit and all had pitched in for a gift that I had been dreaming about for years and years. I now have the most beautiful and epic sounding record player and they gathered a record collection to get me started. The morning after the party, I sat in my favorite chair and listened to my Simon & Garfunkel record…weeping uncontrollably.

In the words of my mom, most people never know what they mean to people. It is usually at their funerals, that they say what a special person you are or what you have meant to them. Few people get such a demonstration during their life while they are still around.  

I remember when my husband’s grandma passed away and the way my mother-in-law’s friends orchestrated this amazing feast for all of us and took care of her in such a difficult time. As we climbed in the car to head home that day, I cried and said how happy I was that she had friends like that. The kind of friends that would just drop everything for you and take care of you like that. What would that even be like?

I know now. God put the perfect people in my life and gave me the most incredible friends in the world. They know and understand my heart, they have no jealousy for these major career milestones, they are so proud of what I do, and they are the first to say, “What do you need? What can we do to help?” when things go wrong.

More importantly, I am reminded how loved I am by my husband and by our family. I had stars in my eyes all night for my husband and what he did for me.

I am the luckiest girl in the whole world.

Tomorrow I have my first book signing at the Mishawaka Barnes & Noble. I’m so excited that my friends are even coming in from Chicago & Indy for this special day. I hope you will accept my heartfelt invitation to join me at this signing. I want to hug and thank every single person that has supported us over the years. It would mean so much to have you there! I hope I see you tomorrow from 2-4PM at Barnes & Noble in UP Mall (Mishawaka, IN).

As you can see, life has gotten a bit chaotic. I promise to try to get back in the swing of things soon, but in the meantime, I hope you will pick up my book to read our family’s story and get inspired to get your finances back on track! I know you are missing some features here so I wanted to update you and let you know that I am just having a little trouble juggling it all by myself. I hope this helps explain things a bit more.

Thank you for your love and support!!

(Party Photography: Brittani Renee Photography. Party Dress: Flourish Boutique)

 

 

 

 

The Good Life For Less Hits Store Shelves

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

I can think of no better way to start the New Year than to see your very own book sitting on a bookshelf. We made a family field trip over to our local Barnes & Noble to take a peek at my book on the shelves. It is both exciting and completely surreal at the same time. In all my life, I never imagined this moment would ever happen. We are simply OVER THE MOON with excitement.

We created enough of a scene with our shutter happiness that another couple headed to the checkout counter with one of my books in their hand and tracked me down to sign their book.

Chad & Angie, if you happen to see this picture, know that this made the moment even more special for our family.

One of us may have been a little confused about what exactly we were celebrating. Emily insisted on wearing her fabulous NYE accessories for our outing. I felt like I was with a real life Ramona Quimby as she stomped her feet and tooted her New Year’s horn all through the Barnes & Noble parking lot and screamed…

“MY MOMMY’S AN AUTHOR!!!!!”

Who could ever refuse a joyful noise like that?

Many more details soon on some exciting booking signings and events happening (maybe in your area!) Be sure to head over to this week’s giveaway where we are giving away 5 signed copies of THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS.

 

 

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Giveaway Closed: 5 Autographed Copies of, “The Good Life For Less!”

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Sorry! This giveaway is now closed! We would like to congratulate our five winners!  Sheri (#128), Elaine (#41), Renee (#148), Carrie (#201), &  Michelle (#32) on winning these books! Thank you again for entering and your love & support for this book!

 

This is a big week for our family as my book, “The Good Life for Less,” will be hitting bookstore shelves on January 2nd. I have waited so many years for this book of my words to be printed and I can think of no better way to start the year than with this big moment in our life.

I know my readers are very frugal (that is why you are here, after all!) so I wanted to share with you a little bit about why this book would be a great investment for your bookshelf and also offer you the opportunity to win a copy of it to save your family the expense of buying it!

 

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

Here is a little bit more background on what my book and family is all about:

THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS is about thrifty homemaking with heart. As a Walmart Mom and spokesperson for companies like Kenmore and Minute Maid, I am sharing the tricks and tips our family has adopted to help other families create a quality life while being able to stay within budget. Filled with clever ideas for families living on a budget, THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS provides guidance, tools, and inspiration to run happy households, such as:

  • Create a family budget book to track what money goes where, and utilize one of the free financial programs out there, such as Mint.com, to find spending leaks, or try out your spending habits by adopting the envelope system or a cash-only approach to spending. One way to jump-start your savings is by paying for everything with bills, and accumulating the change into a savings account.
  • Take advantage of online freebies such as Ebates.com and Swagbucks.com to find discounts and bonuses for shopping for necessities.
  • Delicious and affordable recipes such as rosemary ranch chicken kabobs, baked blueberry donuts with a lemon glaze, Italian veggie and pasta soup, and parmesan crusted pork chops that stretch every cent and utilize the efficient tools in your kitchen, such as the slow-cooker, to enable you more time with your kids instead of behind the stove.
  • Many people take advantage of the layaway programs featured at retailers, but also try to buy in bulk, shop off-season, and subscribe to daily deal sites, so your budget won’t take such a hit around the holidays. Buying in bulk lets you save money and pay less than at the grocery store, especially for meat, which you can divide up into 1 or 2 pound packages and freeze.
  • Take a look at your bills and utilities; be sure there is no double billing (perhaps a credit card got swiped twice at a register). If everyone in your house has a cell phone, do you really need a traditional landline plan, or could you switch to a nearly free provider like Vonage. Know what your appliances cost; one easy way to save on gas bills is to do your laundry with cold water, which cuts between 50-90% off a load of wash using hot water.

THE GOOD LIFE FOR LESS will give you this and more information, tools, and inspiration to maximize every cent of the family paycheck.

By living leaner, you and your family will gain financial stability, and as I state in my book, “living frugally has made me so much more aware of our family’s every blessing, great and small. It’s a richness that money can’t buy.” Empowering your family with the knowledge to make the best financial decisions will only bring you closer together, and give you even more enjoyment out of the time you spend together.

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

Today I want to share with you the opportunity to win a signed copy of my book. I will be giving away 5 copies this week in celebration of my book launch and to thank you all for your love and support of us over the last nine years. 

To enter to win a signed copy of, “The Good Life For Less“:

• First Entry: Leave a comment and tell me why you need this book in your life!

• Additional Entry: Let us know you are a fan of MomAdvice and join the MomAdvice Facebook Community.

• Additional Entry: Follow me on Twitter and stay up-to-date on current book promotions, giveaways, and advice on living a frugal life.

• Additional Entry: Fan my Author Profile on GoodReads or add my book to your to-be-read pile.

Five winners, chosen at random, will receive a signed copy of my first book.  Please submit your entries by Tuesday (01/08) at 8PM EST. Our winner will be drawn at random. Good luck, everyone! We are so thankful for each of you!

 

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The Good Life for Less Book Update

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

There are no words to explain seeing and holding your book for the first time. Last week a box arrived on my doorstep from Penguin and, with shaky hands, I opened the book and drank it all in. The only thing that even comes close to this experience is the birth of my children.

Last week I received an email that nearly brought me to my knees. My editor emailed to let me know that we had already sold the first print run of the book and they had to reprint it.  I can’t even begin to wrap my head around that, can you? 

The big question I am always asked is how you even begin the process of writing a book. My experience getting published was a unique one because it came through a truly unique opportunity for our family. Several years ago, I had replied to a media inquiry for a magazine that was looking for families that choose to live a life without credit cards. I submitted our family as an example and shared that we also had celebrated paying off our credit cards with our kids by throwing a debt-free party with them. They loved this unique spin on debt-free living and sent a team out to my house to photograph me for Redbook and wrote a feature on us. It was, perhaps, the most glamorous day of my life and I couldn’t believe all of these people were in our little house in Granger.

That magazine somehow landed in the hands of a literary agent who reached out to me and asked if I had ever considered writing a book.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

 
Of course, the process of going from a blog and freelance article writer to a book writer was a difficult one. The entire process took me three years, mainly due to my own obstacles with running my site and running after small children.  When we finally sold the book, I had only gone over the first hurdle. You see, with nonfiction books, you sell your proposal before you sell a book.  Writing the proposal is writing the blueprint for what you envision the book will look like. It sets up the skeleton of how it will all look, but it is not the book.

Once that was sold, I still had a book to write.

I remember talking to another author about how I had never realized what a process this all would be and he shared with me that it isn’t really about how talented of a writer you are, it is just if you have the endurance to get through the process of publishing a book. I now understand.

When I finally received a copy of my book in my hands after all that writing, it was a big girl’s little girl dream come true. I don’t know if I ever will get over how incredibly incredible it all is.  You see, even as a child, I wanted to be a writer and to write my very own book.

I remember sitting and listening to my teachers read to me and rolling around words and phrases in my head and mouth because I loved them so much. I wished that I could have that power with words that my words would someday get stuck in their heads the way they did in mine.

One of my favorite authors was Beverly Cleary and now that I am rereading her books with my daughter, it brings even more joy to me as I roll the words around in my mouth again and her stories bring new meaning to me as an adult.

When I was a kid,  I used to type furiously on an old typewriter in my parent’s basement, writing my own little books of stories of my own imagination. My mother can also attest to the elaborate storytelling (that’s how I like to think of it) and my power at embellishing every story I told. I wanted more than anything to be a writer.

Photo Credit: Nancy Lary Studios

 
When my husband suggested I start a blog for my ideas, it turned out to be a fantastic outlet for me when I first became a stay-at-home mom and has fed that creative part of my brain so well over the years. I could be a “published author,” simply by hitting a button to post my words. Granted, it was publishing that anyone can do, but I have always treated it like my life’s work to write words and have people read them. More empowering is when someone reads your words and then they share with you how you have changed their lives through them.

If you have followed me over the years, you have seen the evolution of the blog, the words, and the found love for creating beautiful images with those words. If there is one thing I have learned it is that there is always the potential to do and be better. I am still evolving.

I hope you will be able to pick up my book and read more about our family’s journey out of debt and unemployment and into a life far richer than we could have ever imagined…in all the important ways.

The book will be out on bookstore shelves on January 2nd (a slight shift in dates due to our reprinting), but is now available for pre-order.  Here are some options for great places to order it! I also encourage you to hit your local bookstore to pick it up! 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Walmart

Powell’s

Indiebound

My first book signing will be on January 19th from 2-4 PM at the Mishawaka Barnes & Noble Store in the University Park Mall.  Feel free to accept my invitation to join me on that day. I will admit, I am SUPER nervous about that. I can just picture me and my mom sitting at a table alone.

To crickets. 

You don’t want that do you? I would be so honored to meet you all and please forgive me ahead of time about  knowing everyone’s name. I know Facebook faces, Twitter profile handles, and can recognize you on IG… BUT I tend to have an old lady brain and can’t always remember actual names! That is the other part I am nervous about so I thought I would say that in advance!

Thank you all for your continued love and support for me through this project.  I find myself randomly bursting into tears when I think of how kind everyone has been to us through this process and the genuine excitement from our friends about all of it.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

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The Good Life for Less: My First Book Available NOW!

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After much waiting and years of hard work, I am so excited to share with you that, “The Good Life for Less,” (my first book, published by Penguin) is now available in bookstores nationwide. This is, perhaps, one of the most surreal moments of my life and I am so proud that I finally get to share it with all of you. It is such an honor to have my family on the cover (shot by Nancy Lary Studios) of this book and it was one of the most special days of our lives and one I will forever remember.

This book is the handbook that I wish someone had given to me when I started my family. It is a book rooted in great family traditions on a dime, how to get delicious and inexpensive meals on the table, how to care and decorate your home for less, how to have fabulous family celebrations without spending a lot, and truly living the good life for less!  It is nine years of hard research and sharing the very best gems of wisdom I have learned over the years, much learned  through my own trial and error, as well as the beautiful words of wisdom you have shared with me over the years that have helped to shape our family.

Even as a child, I also wanted to be a writer and to write my own book. I used to type furiously on an old typewriter in my parent’s basement, writing my own little books of stories of my own imagination.  I am fascinated with writers and have often admitted out loud that the main reason I have a Twitter account is simply to talk to my favorite writers. I am the girl that sends fan mail to my favorite writers. I am forever a bookworm. To be among them, is a childhood dream come true.

We so appreciate your love and support. Without you, a moment like this would have never been possible. This is one of those projects though that I truly need your help supporting- please share about it with your friends, tweet it, pin it, Facebook it, share it, buy it, etc… It would mean so much to my family!

The book is NOW AVAILABLE for ordering, both print and digital versions!  Here are some options for great places to order it! I also encourage you to hit your local bookstore to pick it up! 

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Walmart

Powell’s

Indiebound

I am so thankful for you and your belief in me over the years. Nine years ago, I would have never envisioned where this journey would take us and it has far surpassed anything I could have ever dreamed.

I thank you and love you all dearly!

xo,

Amy

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A Behind the Scenes Look at, “The Good Life for Less”

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
(found on Pinterest- original source unknown)

 

These past few months have been among the most chaotic in my life, but also have come with many great rewards. This week we hand in the manuscript for my first book, “The Good Life for Less,”  (written with Jana Murphy).  It will be such a relief to not have that looming over our heads and to finally move on to another step in the process of publishing our book in January.

I have learned that the process of writing a book is one of the most agonizing, painful, and rewarding experiences that I have ever encountered. I am thankful for the amazing team that I have had, from my literary agent who was biggest cheerleader, to my co-writer who added the polish to my words and saw the vision of my book, to my editor who has held my hand through each stage.

When it came to the cover, I had a clear idea of what I wanted on the cover of my book. I wanted something that was pastel and illustrated inside and out. When I spoke to the publisher though they said that everything on the market on saving money was pastel and illustrated right now. They wanted this book to stand out among the crowd.

Our family pictures had caught their eye, taken by my dear friend Nancy Lary of Nancy Lary Studios (photo credit for the above photo). They wondered if they could see more of our pictures. After seeing these photos, they asked us how we felt about our family being the cover of the book.

I had a long talk with my kids about how they felt about it. I have always made it their choice, especially as they have gotten older, on if they want to be photographed for the blog or any of the other media appearances that I have done. Their response?

Ethan, “I am going to start practicing an epic pose for the cover.”

Emily, “I know why they want me on the cover of the book. Because I am awesome.”

Clearly, they were not the issue.

Who was the issue with the book cover?

Myself.

Don’t love the book? That’s okay! The illustrated me can take the criticism. For a long time on the site, we only had an illustrated version of me. Which suited me fine. It has taken a lot of bravery for me to come to terms with our family on the cover, but I also understand that it will make us more real and (hopefully) easier to relate to another mom reading the book.

After it was decided that we would be the cover family, it was a flurry of activity to pull everyone and everything together. Outfits were selected for the kids, I ordered and shopped for a dozen different options for myself, coffee was drank, our fabulous photographer was secured, more coffee was drank, a location was selected (my girlfriend, Andy, offered her beautifully renovated kitchen to us), and my best friend was on standby to take all my meltdown calls about dresses not being shipped, what props to choose, and how I was going to coordinate all these people on a Sunday afternoon.

Some small miracle occurred and everything came together. I still can’t believe our luck.

My baby girl looked amazing on this special day. The hairspray was flying and the curling iron was on full blast. After much primping, my Emily looked like a cover model. We are so thankful to Jesica Keller at, “That Hair Place,” in Mishawaka, Indiana, for coming in on her day off to make Emily & I look so fabulous. She is a fantastic hairstylist and I can’t recommend her services enough. If you live in the Michiana area, please hire her for your hair. You won’t regret it!

I am also so thankful to Gabrielle Thompson, from GabGlam,  for doing my make-up for this shoot. Gabrielle did my make-up for our Redbook Magazine photo shoot and I knew she was just the girl for the job. She is an amazing make-up artist with endless talent. If you live in the Michiana area, please keep her in mind for your next event! She is truly a miracle worker, especially for this tired mama with big bags and circles under her eyes!

I was so lucky to get to have my sweet friend Nancy of Nancy Lary Studios shoot this for our family. She has become one of my dearest friends and I was so happy that we got to have her capture our family. She does amazing lifestyle portrait sessions for families in the Michiana area. I would highly recommend hiring her for your next family photo.

My best friend, Becky, came and helped with everything from food props to doing the behind-the-scenes photography. She is truly the best and the first person I call when something big goes on in my life. I am so thankful to her for being a part of this day for our family. I could not imagine my life without her!

Here is my whole team- Andy (Nancy’s “assistant,” maker of great coffee, provider of the most awesome kitchen, a fantastic cheerleader always), Nancy, myself, & Becky. I am so lucky to have got to share this day with my amazing friends. I am truly, truly blessed.

Of course, the biggest supporter to this day was my husband. I never get tired of this guy. He spent hours and hours playing board games with the kids while I was changing outfits and getting my make-up touched up. He pushed me when I was ready to give up on this project and he believed in this book from the day we talked about it. I am forever grateful that God gave me such an amazing life partner.

I can’t wait to see what the cover ends up looking like and can’t wait to see it on bookshelves in January ’13!

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