Color Run Clearwater December 2014 #Happiest5K

Announcing the 2014 Kaleidoscope Tour! We're hitting your cities like never before... Amazing new participant gear (t-shirt, headband, wrist band and sling bag) , Fresh music, and Color crazy race attractions. This is 5K Magic like only The Color Run can do.

The Color Run, also known as the Happiest 5k on the Planet, is a unique paint race that celebrates healthiness, happiness and individuality.Now the single largest event series in the United States, The Color Run has exploded since our debut event. We have more than tripled our growth, hosting more than 170 events in 30+ countries in 2013.


I've done The Color Run TWICE! Once in late 2012, and again in early 2014. Both great events and I can't wait to go back, this time with my son, Ronin!!

You can read about my past experiences HERE and HERE.

If you'd like to join us, you can use the code HAPPY5OFF 

and will give $5 off a registration to ANY city. Important: code must be entered at time of registration, cannot be retro-applied. Also please type the code in, do not copy/paste. Not valid with other discounts or promotions.

I hope to see you out there!!

Have you ever done The Color Run before? Tell me about it!!

Organic Food: Is it important for your dog? #OrganicPet

This post is sponsored by Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks and the Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Organix Pet Food, but you know that I only share information that I feel is relevant to our readers. Castor and Pollux Natural Petworks is not responsible for the content of this post.


You know that eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is very important to me and my family. And of course, that includes our furry family member, the #bigyellowdog, Matthew.

When we were contacted by Castor and Pollux about helping to spread the word about organic pet food, we immediately said YES!!

To be honest, I didn't even realize that organic pet food was an option for Matthew. I had never seen it offered at my local pet store.

Last year you might remember that Haley did her science fair experiment where she tested if Matthew would prefer homemade ORGANIC dog food, to his regular store bought food.

When we made his organic food, we just used our food and ground it up for him! In addition to SOME of the fruits and veggies you see here (not all are suitable for dog consumption) we also added some organic turkey breast.

Without a doubt Matthew preferred the organic to the store bought. But there was no way I had the time (or the money) to keep feeding him like this.

Every now and again he'll get a piece of organic romaine lettuce for a treat, and he LOVES it!!

But now I don't have to worry about making his organic food!!

Castor & Pollux pet foods, assures these foods are made with organic ingredients, contain no chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, artificial preservatives, growth hormones or antibiotics.

ORGANIX is the most complete line of certified organic natural food for pets made under the USDA’s National Organic Program. The food features certified organic, free-range chicken or turkey as the No.1 ingredient for excellent taste and digestibility; organic fruits, vegetables and grains for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants; plus, soluble fiber to help maintain a healthy intestinal tract. 

Castor & Pollux foods for pets are available at Petsmart, Petco, Whole Foods Market and pet specialty retailers nationwide. Use this store locator to find Castor & Pollux near you.

We'll be bringing you more information about organic and Castor & Pollux over the course of the next few weeks. And in the meantime, PLEASE take the #OrganicPet survey!

Do either you or your pet eat organic? Tell me about it in the comments below.

5 Tips on how to raise a reader

Reading has always been an important part of my life.

I was taught to read by my mother before I was 3 years old.

Nightly story time began when my children were still in the womb.

But loving to read, and raising your child(ren) to love to read are two very different things.

Children that become lifelong readers (like me!) often need that "perfect" book, something that just opens their imagination and introduces them to the wide world of fiction.

Non-fiction was always my children's first foray into independent reading. They loved to read books about animals, weather and geography.

But getting them to read fiction INDEPENDENTLY was a little challenging. I always read fiction books to them during our evening story time. Harry Potter, Little House on the Prairie, and of course, shorter non-chapter books like Ferdinand the Bull, Going on a Bear Hunt, Skippy Jon Jones, and Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel were (and still are!!) some of our favorites.

In 3rd grade I bought Haley all of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award books (SSYRA) she read a few of them, but it was more out of a sense of obligation to ME than of her wanting to do it for HER.

I found it so odd that a child of a LIBRARIAN wouldn't take the mom librarians suggestion for great books. She'd take suggestions from her school media specialist and classroom teacher but not her own mother. Undecided

So I backed off, and decided to use the tips I used with my own library patrons to try to instill a lifelong love of reading in my own children.

1. READ ALOUD. Just as I mentioned above, reading aloud is something that I have always done with my kids, and continue to do with them today at ages 8, 9, and 10. They love to have me read them a story, and I love reading to them.

2. STICK WITH A SERIES. If my kids love a book that is part of a series, I'll continue reading the series to them. But I noticed that Haley (my oldest) was often asking to read ahead in the series. I'd get her hooked on the first book, and then she'd take the series and finish the rest of it! Score one for Mom Librarian!

3. MODEL READING BEHAVIOR. I make sure that my kids see me reading. And reading a REAL book. Not an e-book. Not a magazine, but a real honest to goodness book.  I also make sure that reading is part of our family lifestyle. The kids and I have a 30 minute "silent reading" time every afternoon. I read, they read, and though 30 minutes is hard for Ronin, he's working on it. He might only get 10 minutes, and then I read aloud to him for the other 20 minutes.

4. LET THEM CHOOSE!! This one was hard for me. I despised when Haley would bring home Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. But she loved them. She could read through them quickly, she was laughing, she was engaged. I had to remind myself that even through Greg demonstrated behaviors that I didn't want Haley to do, it didn't mean that she would simply by reading the book. If anything it was the opposite. She got to "live" through Greg's bad choices.

5. CLASSICS!! As a librarian I have a TON of books in our home. And a lot of those books are classics. Charlotte's Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, etc., all take up a prominent spot on our bookshelves. As Haley started to become a more voracious reader, she started grabbing the classics to fill up her time between visits to the library.


This year, Haley decided she wanted to read the SSYRA books. All 15 of them. She started last week, and as of today she has read 8 of the 15 books.


But the BEST part of watching my children emerge as readers is that they are reading just for the sake of reading. Countless studies have shown that children that start reading earlier have better academic success AND become LIFELONG readers.

And we visit the library often!! They have so much more at the library than just books!! Like Lego's. Lego's are fun.

Do you have any tips to share on raising a reader??