Author Archives: Tarah

G’s First Birthday Party


Every mom says it but I feel the need to say it again, “Time Flies”.

With D, the first year went by quickly but it feels like it just raced by with G.  It feels like it snuck up on me, I have one month left with a “baby” before we’re a household with two toddlers.  How is my baby almost one?!  Here I am, frantically trying to pull together a party for him at the last hour.  With D, I started planning several months in advance, had everything planned & ready to go.  G….poor second child G, I just printed off the invites and the party is in a month.  That’s still plenty of time to RSVP right?

Anyway – I’m hoping to pull together a few ideas for his monster themed party that are doable.  I’ve pinned a million ideas but with our schedule (and budget), I’m hoping to get at least one or two done.  Here are my top “hopes” on ideas:

**click on the picture for credit on where I found the idea.  Some pictures didn’t link to anything – if you know the original source, please let me know**


This seems simple enough – buy regular balloons, fill them up with helium and draw monster faces on to them.  Maybe a job for my artistic husband?

I found this and thought it would be adorable for pictures & as a way to identify where our party was in the park – again…something my husband would probably make.  (I wonder if he is aware of the growing “to-do” list I have?)


Maybe used for leading from the parking lot to our pavilion?


I really love the ideas of the wiggly eyeballs on the toothpicks for the food – fun & easy way to add more monster decor.

tablescapeMore wiggly eyeballs on everything – even the drink bin!

party hats

Cute party hat idea!

party bags

goody bags

I really like both of these ideas for the party favor bags.  If the dollar store has cheap buckets, I may go that way.


Since our party is at a local park, I love these ideas.  I don’t know if we’ll be able to build the beverage station but I like the idea of having everything in a pail to keep it organized.  We’re feeding everyone hamburgers & hotdogs – this layout for toppings is perfect!


A Match Made in Heaven


lasting-color-liquid-makeup.ashxOnce upon a time I found the most AMAZING tinted moisturizer that I used religiously.  It gave the perfect amount of coverage without making my face & neck look like they were two different colors.  Then one day I was at the store to pick up more and realized they had changed the packaging a bit.  No big deal.  On day three of using this new packaging, I broke out into an itchy rash all over my face.  What had happened?!  I went without makeup for a few days and the rash cleared right up.  I decided to try a different foundation, day three…the rash was back.  Confused, I made an appointment with my dermatologist and asked WTF?!

Turns out SPF in any of my makeup causes my skin to flare up.

Guess what is in almost every makeup product these days?  SPF.  It makes it SO hard to find a quality product that doesn’t cost an arm & a leg.  I cannot afford an arm & a leg!  I’m a mom on a budget.  Up until just recently I had been trying out different products in hopes of finding “the one”, with little success.  Some were big flops…such as one foundation that sparkled when I applied it…like I had face glitter all over me and it wouldn’t come off for days!  Others were OK, I’d use up the bottle and try something else out.

As I was browsing the drug store aisles in search of my next guinea pig (I love shopping the drug stores because they let you exchange opened product if it doesn’t work for you), I found Almay’s TLC Foundation.  First thing I checked for was to see if there was any SPF.  Nope.  Then when I saw 16 hour makeup, I was almost afraid to let myself believe such a thing could be true.  I debated between two shades for a minute, finally settling on “naked”.  I tried it out the next morning and was thrilled to see the perfect amount of coverage, without feeling like I had just applied a mask.  And it matched my skin tone, so no two toned face/neck combo going on.  The real test would be how I looked at the end of the day before I washed my makeup off.

I had the makeup on for about 15 hours, it went through the morning rush of getting myself ready, packing lunches, backpacks, hustling the kids out the door, rush hour traffic to work, a stressful day at the office, rush hour traffic back home, picking up the boys, making dinner, cleaning the house up, bedtime stories, and me scrubbing my face with my hands as I plopped on the couch.  When I looked in the mirror to wash my face, it was still in place.

I had finally found “the one”.  My search was over, finally.  I could rejoice and not have to spend hours reading makeup labels in hopes of finding one that did what it said without causing my skin to rebel against it.  I’m in love with this product and I’m so excited to share it with anyone else who may have the same issue.  Even if you don’t – this makeup LASTS.  It covers well, it holds true to its promise.  Try it out, you won’t be disappointed.

**I was not compensated in any way, by any of the above mentioned websites and/or companies to mention their product.  All thoughts are my own opinion and may be different from your own.**

Book Review: I’ll Be Seeing You


16160079I’ll Be Seeing You – Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan

I was lucky enough to receive this book as an advance readers copy in a giveaway.  I read the summary of what the book was about & thought it sounded interesting.  When the book arrived to our house months ago, I truly meant to read it but as a full time mom & full time out of the house job on top of that…it just sat in a pile with the million of other books & magazines I keep meaning to get around to.

This past weekend I was reading an article in one of my magazines & at the end of the story, there was a little blurb about how the author wrote a book about her experience, with the same title.  It reminded me about the book sitting on my dresser.  It was an very unusually cold weekend in Michigan, we didn’t get above 60, so the boys were content in their cozy PJ’s, playing inside, and I decided to crack open the book.

Some stories take me a few pages or chapters to really immerse myself in, to start believing in the story.  This book had me hooked on the first line.  I am in love with this format & how well done the authors did it.  This book is strictly you flipping through old letters during the war between two women who have never met.  Pen pals – the real deal.  Glory was given the address of Rita – both on different coast lines – because they both had husbands fighting in the war.

You’re bouncing between two women’s lives as they endure the same waiting game, waiting for the latest V-Mail from their husbands to reassure them they’re still alive, waiting for the dreaded telegram to tell them they’re not.  They trade recipes back & forth with ideas on how to “spice up” the limited ration amounts they are allowed to purchase.  They trade advice, they lean on each other during hard moments and whisper secrets they wouldn’t share with anyone else.

I was thrilled to learn that not only was the book written in the point of view through letters, but that is literally how this book was written.  Suzanne Hayes & Loretta Nyhan, the amazing authors behind this book, have never met.  The same as Rita & Glory.  They found each other online & emailed back & forth with the idea of writing a book together.  Then one day, Suzanne wrote an email to Loretta in Glory’s voice, the first letter in this book.  When Loretta wrote back as Rita, they started forming this book.

I couldn’t put it down, I read it from start to finish in three days.  Yes…I let the kids watch one more episode of TV than I normally would to do so.  Win win right?  I had the book cracked open as I put meals together, reading it as I stirred breakfast together or plated up lunch.  I gobbled up the story line during naps and stayed up past my bedtime because I just had to know what happened next.  I am so excited to pass this book on to a friend to share the magic I just witnessed.  I think both of these ladies have a bright future in writing.

Copycat – In My Budget


I feel like I’m clueless with fashion, I see stuff I like but never know how to pull it all together.  So I’ve decided to copy some outfits I see online, in magazines, in the store, wherever – but in my budget.  Meaning…for as little money as possible.  Today’s copycat is the beautiful Jennifer Aniston.  I love this casual, I didn’t try to hard, but I still look amazing, outfit she (or her stylist) put together.

outfit1So I found this shirt at American Eagle for $10!

greyshirtThese shorts at Target for $17.99

This amazing belt on Amazon for $29.55

I think these shoes would look great with the outfit & at only $46.72 too!


And after a long search on the internet for a great necklace to tie it all in, while still sticking to my budget – I found this on Etsy $12.50:

Recipe Review: The Easiest Fish Tacos


Fish Taco*Image & Recipe Credits*

  • Yield: 4 servings; 8 tacos
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 8 pieces frozen prepared fish sticks
  • 8 small flour tortillas
  • lettuce
  • avocado

for the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • juice of 1 lime

for the salad:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • chopped cilantro, to taste
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. Cook fish sticks according to package directions until golden and crispy.
  2. While fish is cooking, make the sauce: stir all ingredients together until smooth.
  3. For the salad, stir all ingredients together until evenly mixed.
  4. To assemble, place 1 piece of fish onto 1 tortilla and top with salad, sauce, lettuce and avocado. Serve.

 Tarah’s Thoughts:

Lauren isn’t kidding when she named this “The Easiest Fish Tacos”.  It was so simple I plan on having this dish on rotation in our house for a long time.  I read over the recipe and decided this sound totally doable.  I did make a few changes, but not many.

  • Instead of lettuce, I “made” coleslaw.  And by made I mean I bought a bag of pre shredded coleslaw mix and a bottle of  Marzetti’s Coleslaw dressing, mixed them together and called it good.  I am a very picky coleslaw eater, not many slaws earn my stamp of approval.  Marzetti’s is probably #1 in my book, their dressing is AH MAZING!
  • Our grocery store had LOTS of avocados – but they were all firm to the touch.  Which means they weren’t ready for eating.  So we went without avocados but I hope to add them next time.
  • Instead of tomatoes and onions for the salad, I just put half a tub of the Garden Fresh Wild Mild Salsa in with the beans & corn.  I did add the cilantro & lime juice as well.  I think it turned out awesome.

All four of us chowed down on this recipe.  My husband, myself, our two year old son who is going through a “everything is gross” phase, and our ten month old son who is starting to feed himself.  My husband took a few bites, looked up at me and said “I would pay money at a restaurant for this.”  I cannot explain how amazing simple and amazingly awesome this recipe tasted.  Four thumbs ups!


**I was not compensated in any way, by any of the above mentioned websites and/or companies to mention their product.  All thoughts are my own opinion and may be different from your own.**