About Us

Why Eat, Think and Be Merry?

Life is filled with joy, but it takes effort to recognize and experience that joy. We started this blog to remind ourselves (and encourage you) to look for and savor the joys in life. Making happiness a priority is not selfish. After all, happy people have a powerful influence for good—in homes and families, in neighborhoods and communities—everywhere they go.

Join us on the Sunny Side – Life tastes better here!

Shawna Profile Pic

Hello.  I’m Shawna.

When I was a kid, I dreamed I would grow up to be awesome.  I figured I would earn a doctorate degree and teach and write and publish and basically be famous.  I never thought of getting married or of having children.  In fact, I had a really hard time talking to people, especially boys.  I compensated by being condescending and abrupt … which, in high school, got me voted:

“Most Likely to Offend Millions”

I know God has a sense of humor (and irony) because he sent me a soul mate my first year of college.

Mike's a babe

Mike was sitting on the stairs of the apartment complex where we lived.  He was blonde and broad-shouldered and had a twinkle in his eye.  He was reading, of all things, The Taming of the Shrew.  I shuffled by sideways, trying to avoid eye contact.  He chuckled charmingly, “Are you seriously going to walk by and not say hello?”

Mike somehow sensed that I was a big, bleeding-heart softie.  I guess I married the first man to call my bluff.  It was the best decision I ever made.  Eight children (yes 8), five degrees, four states, seven cities, ten homes, many tears and a millions smiles later, I am writing this blog.

It might not make me famous, but it gives me the opportunity to share the things I believe and experience and learn.  And just maybe I can reach out to (if not offend) millions.

I hope something you read here inspires you to enjoy life more deeply, or at least makes you smile!
flourish

Anita Profile Pic

Hi.  I’m Anita.

I’m primarily in charge of the food around here!  I might chime in every now and again with some thoughts, but don’t worry, I usually let Shawna do the deep thinking.

I’m pretty sure my mom would say I wasn’t born with a serious bone in my body. When I was very young, my grandma started giving me clown figurines for my birthdays. She apparently realized early that I would never take life very seriously. And when I got to be a teenager, I realized I had the biggest collection of spooky clown figurines ever. That was, um, nice.

The clown collection is gone (sorry Grandma, but it had to go after the sticker eyes fell off of that one clown’s face), but my clowning personality has remained.

I love to laugh and joke and I LOVE LIFE!  Even when things are looking bad, I try to keep in mind that if it makes a good story, then it is worth going through. (Like that one time a guy tried to put me under citizen’s arrest.) In real life, I’m a physical therapist and a mom. And I’m learning to ride a unicycle.

My soul mate is a junior high school English teacher who enthralls his students, not with his mastery of syntax, but with his ability to grow facial hair.  I often refer to him as the Strong Man because his current facial hair makes him look like an old time carnival strongman.

Jason Circle

We laugh together through all the hard times.

Together we have three spunky kids, Dr. Jones (7), The Wrecking Ball (4) and The Rattler (1).

Have you ever heard of the five languages of love? Well, they forgot one and it happens to be the one I speak.  It is the love language of food. It’s how I tell you I’m thinking of you and how I apologize.  The Strong Man jokes that I have never said, “I’m sorry” but I have made A LOT of brownies, cookies and pork chops.

I just love delicious food! I love trying new foods and recipes. And yes, my kids sometimes complain about the food I cook. But I hope I’m raising adventurous eaters.

I’m excited to share a lot of everyday family friendly recipes – some classics and some recipes that stretch you out of your comfort zone.  And every so often I like to make something really special.  It might be complicated or time consuming, but it is always so fun to wow your friends and family with something they didn’t think could be made at home.  My goal is to help you find joy in the often mundane task of feeding yourself and the troops.

What’s with the cookies, you might ask. A while ago, I started making sugar cookies decorated with royal icing. It has become a serious obsession. People ask how I have time to make sugar cookies. I assure you, that I am neglecting other duties and yelling at my kids a lot. I’m not Wonder Woman.

We hope you will enjoy our site and come back often. Be sure to subscribe to our email list, so you will never miss out on a new joyful post!

Thanks for stopping by!