Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Busy Mom's Year in Review

We are heading into a new year tonight and that's the perfect time to consider the year we are leaving behind.

As far as business goes, it's been great:

I sold a little over $2.9 million in real estate in 2016. That's a 66% increase over last year. Honestly, I don't track my numbers religiously. It's the people I meet and help that motivate me to do more. My manager is the one who brought it to my attention as he was pulling year end reports. Not sure what 2017 will look like yet, but I've been refining my systems and setting up geographic farming to increase my productivity and numbers. My business plan is in order and I'll have my first business planning meeting of the new year coming up soon. 

In other exciting news, my third children's book was released. 

Though writing has taken a back seat to real estate, I'm still active in a local writing group, sit on the planning conference for the Write Angles Conference, and blog at a variety of sites. 

Thanks to the 21 Day Fix and my Beachbody® coach, I lost 14 pounds this year and got to my goal weight of 110. This has been a year of eating better, exercising more, and changing how I shop at the grocery store. 

At The Busy Mom's Daily we shared a handful of book reviews, some recipes, and a few tips along the way. We posted 29 Mailbox Monday posts and 5 Wordless Wednesday posts. The electronic newspaper, "A Busy Writer Mom's Daily," continues. I've made a few changes to content sources, so it might look different. 

As far as the family goes, the Lil' Diva is now 15 and the Lil' Princess is 13. How did I end up with two teenagers? They dance. They sing. The youngest plays soccer and violin. And though you can't tell from this photo, they are both beautiful. 

Then there is Dad--the guy who keeps us all together. He's the voice of reason amid the chaos. He's the dedicated family man who wakes up five days a week to put in 12 hours of work so that we can do what we like to do, support the charities we like to lend a hand to, and make sure we are well taken care of. 

We can't forget our furry beasts that give us so much joy and more than a few laughs.

A little elf told us that we will be adding a dog to the mix soon. 

As we head into the new year, it is my sincere prayer that it will be a year filled with blessings, health, and much happiness for all of you.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Mailbox Monday - Dec 26

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Welcome to the final Mailbox Monday of 2016. I hope you had a nice Christmas. Hanukkah and Kwanzaa have started too. I love this time of year.

The family spoiled me with some great book gifts this year.

Charlotte Stewart is known by millions of fans worldwide for her role as the beloved schoolteacher, Miss Beadle, on the iconic TV show, Little House on the Prairie, currently broadcast in syndication in more than 100 countries around the world.

Here for the first time an adult cast member writes about the experience of making the show --the challenges, the joys, and the sometimes-turbulent behind-the-scenes relationships. Charlotte, with Andy Demsky, reveals fifty years in film and television offering a backstage pass to Hollywood's cocaine-fueled 1960s, '70s and '80s, including Charlotte's celebrated work as Mary X in David Lynch's cult classic film, Eraserhead, as well as her later work as Betty Briggs in the highly-rated television series, Twin Peaks.

Charlotte recounts stories of working with leading men from Jimmy Stewart and Elvis Presley to Kevin Bacon and Kyle MacLachlan. She details off-stage friendships with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, as well as relationships and flings with some of TV, film, and music's biggest names, including Jon Voight, Richard Dreyfuss, Tim Considine, Bill Murray, Jim Morrison, and more.

Ultimately, Charlotte's story is that of a survivor. Six years after her career-making role on Little House on the Prairie, she lost everything. Yet through the darkest periods of her life -- divorce, drug-use, cancer, financial ruin, the death of a spouse, and alcoholism -- she never lost her humanity or sense of humor.

Charlotte's story is far from over. She is set to reprise her role of Betty Briggs in the new Twin Peaks series to be seen on Showtime in 2017. Throughout the year, she is a featured celebrity in fan events and festivals for Little House on the Prairie and Twin Peaks both in the U.S. and abroad.

Co-author Andy Demsky is a writer and journalist, whose work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times magazine and Better Homes & Gardens, and he co-wrote Doug Shafer's critically acclaimed memoir, A Vineyard in Napa.

I also received "The Mistletoe Collection." This is a boxed set of Richard Paul Evans' Mistletoe books.

Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful.

Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:

1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day

The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.

At thirty-two Kimberly Rossetti, a finance officer at a Lexus car dealership, has had her heart broken more times than she wants to remember. With two failed engagements, a divorce and again alone with no prospects, she hardly seems the type to dream of being a published romance author. Dreading another holiday alone, she signs up for The Mistletoe Retreat, a nine-day writing retreat in Savannah, Georgia. Deep inside Kimberly knows she's at a junction in her life and it's time to either fulfill her dream or let it go. The other reason she decides to attend the conference is because famed romance writer, H.T. Cowell, once the best selling romance writer in America, and the author whose books instilled in her the desire to be a writer, will be speaking in public for the first time in more than a decade.

In one of her breakout sessions Kimberly meets another aspiring writer, and one of the few men at the conference, Zeke, an intelligent man with a wry wit who seems as interested in Kimberly as he is in the retreat. As Kimberly begins to open up to him about her stories and dreams, she inadvertently reveals her own troubled past. As Zeke helps her to discover why her books fail to live up to their potential she begins to wonder if he's really talking more about her life than her literature. But as she grows closer to him, she realizes that Zeke has his own darkness, a past he's unwilling to talk about.

The theme of The Mistletoe Inn is that like literature, relationships must be lived with passion and vulnerability to succeed.

Dear Universe,
Is anyone out there?

Thinking no one is reading, a blogger who calls herself LBH writes about her most personal feelings, especially her overwhelming loneliness. She goes from day to day showing a brave face to the world while inside she longs to know how it would feel if one person cared about her.

Alex Bartlett cares. He’s reading her posts in Daytona Beach, Florida. Nursing his own broken heart and trust issues, he finds himself falling for this sensitive, vulnerable woman whose feelings mirror his own. Following a trail of clues LBH has inadvertently revealed, he discovers that she lives in the small town of Midway, Utah. He makes his way there just after Thanksgiving, determined to find LBH. Maybe she’s a Lisa, Lori, or a Luanne. Instead, he finds a woman named Aria, a waitress at the Mistletoe Diner, who encourages Alex in his search while serving his pie along with some much-needed sympathy and companionship.

Alex finally finds his LBH, a woman who is as beautiful and kind as he imagined she would be. How can he tell her that he knows her secret? What’s holding him back? Could it be his feelings for Aria?

I also received two coloring books for Christmas. I don't have a picture of the one I picked up at the office Yankee swap, but the one my hubby gave me is something I requested.

Immerse yourself in a world of coloring classics!

Go back in time to Victorian London on Christmas Eve, where you'll encounter the formidable Ebenezer Scrooge and witness his incredible transformation after a harrowing spiritual journey with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

Filled with handpicked quotations, festive patters, and traditional scenes, this beautifully detailed book perfectly captures the history and holiday atmosphere of Charles Dickens' classic tale A Christmas Carol.

That's it for now, I hope you have a happy and healthy new year. Let us know if you received any books for Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Grown-Up Christmas List

This is one of my favorite seasonal songs. I hope all you buys moms will take a minute to rest and enjoy the peace of the Christmas season. Thank you for your loyal readership. Wishing you and your family a blessed holiday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Family Christmas Book: A Tree's Christmas by James Andrew Bowen

What if your Christmas tree could talk? What would it say? Did Anne dream this story of the talking Christmas tree, or could it be real? You must decide for yourself. The story starts when a love-filled family's Christmas in the country is over. The Christmas tree's decorations are gently removed. Anne, her dad and their dog, Lucky, take the tree outside and lay it down in the snow-covered garden. That night, to the amazement, surprise and delight of the trees around the garden, the Christmas tree begins telling the exciting story of its wonder-filled adventures inside the family s home during the Christmas season. All night, the trees listen as the Christmas tree tells its stories, and then ... A Tree's Christmas will inspire children of all ages to appreciate anew the wonders of a family Christmas, and how the tree, at the center of it all, can play an even more meaningful role in the celebration than anyone can imagine. And, as the Christmas tree tells of its adventures, readers will come to understand the importance of leading a rich, full life that makes a difference no matter what others say. It s a story that can be told over and over every Christmas, for generations to come, and still have genuine meaning for all who read it.


"This could be a new Christmas classic!” -- Chicago Daily Herald

“A Tree's Christmas: A Talking Tree's Story of its Christmas Adventures, is an inspirational children's chapter book with heartwarming appeal for all ages. The Christmas tree itself is the gentle story's star, and even though other bigger trees in the forest have ridiculed or belittled the tree, it is true to its own story and attests to the virtue of perseverance and fidelity in the face of hardship. A Tree's Christmas deals with many relevant themes; the circle of life and death, family love and support, and enduring hard times to remember joy in the end. A Tree's Christmas will be a treasured gift to share with a loved one, child or adult. Its lessons of a brief life fully lived in gratitude for the wonder of creation are to be respectfully passed on to new generations.”
--James A. Cox, Editor in Chief, Children’s Bookwatch in The Midwest Book Review

“It’s a sweet children’s Christmas story that I’m sure young children will like,” commented reviewer Dr. Judith Briles, author of more than 20 books and board member of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. “Adults will understand and love the circle of life theme. And, of course, the author reminds us there’s a lot more to a tree than its branches and leaves! The surprise ending will touch everyone’s hearts.”

For more information, visit