An Arizona girl whose roots grow deep in the state - her grandmother graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1935 - Tami Butcher has seen the Valley grow into the metropolis it is today. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in business communications and later earned a teaching degree from Grand Canyon University. It was while teaching seventh-graders at Phoenix Prep Academy, that she made it her goal to write a children's book. But first, she married the love of her life, Mike, and started a family. She currently has three children ages 6, 9 and 13.

As a child, Butcher grew up with what she lovingly refers to as her "bonus mom," a nurturing, caring woman many in society would refer to as a "stepmother." Butcher's parents amicably divorced when she was 11, and for the sake of Butcher and her three sisters, decided to keep each other fully involved in their children's lives despite the divorce. Eventually both her parents remarried, but they continued to share birthdays, holidays and special times together with their children, as well as with their new spouses. Because of her parents' efforts, Butcher and her sisters grew up feeling blessed for having two moms and dads instead of "stepparents."

Reflecting on her own family dynamics, Butcher realized that if she could plant a seed in children's minds that having a stepmother or stepfather can be a "bonus," then their minds and hearts might grow to accept their parents' new spouses instead of automatically thinking of them as evil as many childhood fairytales portray them. The product of that revelation was My Bonus Mom! Taking the Step out of Stepmom.
Jenni O'Brien Photography

Mike, Tatum, Madison, Tami and Brooks Butcher

Always a philanthropic person, Butcher dedicates her time to helping others in need. She is currently a member of the East Valley Women's League, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that raises funds for more than 13 projects for women and children in the Valley, and is slated to be president for 2011-12. Tami gives time to New Hope Church, an inner-city church located in the most impoverished ZIP code in Arizona, and she teaches Art Masterpiece to kindergarten and third-grade classes in Chandler, which lacks the funds for regular Art classes.

Currently, Butcher resides in Chandler, Ariz. with her husband and three children, where she helps with the family restaurant business. Her mother and "bonus dad" own two popular restaurants in Phoenix, Rustler's Rooste Steakhouse and Aunt Chilada's. Tami and her three children love to travel to Southern California during baseball season as her husband, Mike, is the pitching coach for the LA Angels of Anaheim. He has been with the Angels for 21 years as both a player and a coach.

Bonus Mom, Nancy Jefferies, Tami Butcher and Mom, Candice Nagel