Dear Wish Fairy,

For my wish I would love it if we could afford to hire a housekeeper. Someone who will do our laundry like an adult. You know, sorting things by color and water temperature along with hand washing, hanging to dry and/or ironing. Then fold items like they belong in a store or hang them neatly in the closets, ready for the next wear.

Someone who will do the dishes and not let them become a mountain in the sink and the along the counter. A housekeeper who will put heavy objects back in the high cabinets (why did the builder not think to make storage for big items below instead of insisting everything should be stored above my head?) so they don't pile up on our limited counter space. 

I would love for this person to dust on a weekly basis, vacuum all three levels thoroughly, dust the cobwebs out of our 500 foot ceiling and mop that horrible kitchen floor we are stuck with.  It would be great if s/he also swept up the laundry room so that our cat's litter wasn't spread everywhere all the time.

I need someone who will clean the toilet and the showers more often than I get around to them.  Someone who remembers to change the sheets, flip the mattress topper and buy new pillows every so often.

Cleaning the bathroom, scrubbing the floors, toilets and showers/tubs.  Rinsing out the sink, wiping down the counters and mirrors.  Someone who will vacuum the doorwall tracks, light candles to make the house smell fresh and keep the fridge clean.

They wouldn't have to but it would be great if this person cleaned the windows inside & out.  Screens would be an extra bonus.  

Wish Fairy, I want my house to look pretty all the time instead of looking like a bomb went off.  I'd like to open my closet and see clothes to wear instead of empty hangers and trying to figure out how to stay warm in a short sleeve shirt when the high is going to be 55. 

I'd like my files to be organized so when I need to find something I know where it is instead of tearing apart five boxes it might be in only to find it in my junk drawer when I frantically shoved everything in there to make the room look clean.

This person should also keep a running list of items we're low on so I don't return home after a shopping trip to discover I should have grabbed a tube of toothpaste and a bottle of face wash.

Because instead of doing these things myself on a regular basis, I come home and try to squeeze as much time in as I can with Dayne before he's ready for bed.  I roll around on the floor that needs to be vacuumed (and steam cleaned!), I bounce around outside with him as we watch the sun creep across the sky, getting lower and lower. 

I feed Dayne and then leave his highchair in the middle of the kitchen so we can get back to playing.  I join in on the scattering of toys as he reaches for a new one every five minutes.  I change his diaper, pull on his PJs and toss his clothes into a pile to be washed "later".  I snuggle with him as we rock back and forth reading a book I then let sit on the side table until I sweep through to put it back days later.

Then when that's all done, I plop down on the couch next to my husband, cuddle with him, yawn through our conversations and stumble up to bed, falling asleep before my head hits the pillow.  Only to do it all over again.

As for our weekends?  Well those are days for family time and exploring and running around with friends.  For taking pictures and making memories and laughter.  Wish Fairy, I don't have time to be Martha Stewart so I need you to send someone who does.

Thanks for taking my wish into consideration,



This weekend the temps finally dipped back into "normal" range for Michigan's fall.  We were rocking the 70's & low 80's for almost two weeks!  Love those Indian Summers.

But we knew it wouldn't last and was just a tease.  Our heat has kicked on and the sweaters have been pulled to the front of the closet.  The 40's, 50's and low 60's are back again.  Until their cousins the 10's, 20's and low 30's enter around December to pave the path for snow, snow and more snow.

You walk outside and it's like a blanket of cold wraps around you, stealing all warmth you once had.  Which makes this the perfect season for slow cookers, warm soups and comfort stews!  I love making the house smell yummy and warm it up all at the same time.

I put together a wonderful slow cooker recipe I found online, Sun-Dried Tomato Slow Cooker Sirloin Tip Pork Roast.  It turned out fantastic and was super simple to make!  I added the California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Italian Basil from Bella Sun Luci

I was sent a package of several products they proudly make to review and share!  I've been making a few recipes here & there to get the full spectrum of what these little nuggets of gold offer!  The health benefits of sun dried tomatoes are amazing!  Sun Dried Tomatoes contain Lycopene a phytochemical and proven antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body.  Ounce per ounce sun dried tomatoes have 12 times the amount of Lycopene than a raw tomato!  Recent studies show that a tomato rich diet is associated with a reduced risk of certain conditions including; Prostate cancer, digestive disorders, breast, lung and cervical cancers, and heart disease.

Mooney Farms began in 1987 as a family owned kiwi farming operation. Products were sold at the farmer’s markets in Northern California by the family members. With the addition of sun dried tomatoes, their first sale to Price Club South San Francisco changed everything. The family’s Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil & Herbs sold out in a record 4 hours! Sun dried tomatoes had become mainstream and the Mooney Family had the winning recipe!

It took a while to figure out the best recipe for each item they sent but the challenge was fun and yummy.  One of my favorite products are the sun dried tomatoes in the oils.  I LOVE that I can use the oil they are packaged in to cook them as well.  The flavors are already in the oils, adding extra flavors to the meal. 

I tried the Tomato Halves with Italian Herbs in an omelet and instead of pouring the oil I use to cook in the pan, I just poured some of the oil already in the jar. I loved how the eggs took on the tasty Italian flavor the oil was packed with.  I also threw some of the California Sun Dried Tomatoes Julienne Cut with Zesty Peppers in a quiche I made, just softened them up a bit in a pan and tossed it in the with mix of other goodies.

I searched their site for some recipes ideas and tried the Mediterranean Green Beans as a side dish for a pork loin we grilled outside.  It was SO simple and so tasty!

Check out how easy this Sun Dried Tomato Cream Soup is to make. Spoiler alert! It's also very tasty!  Recipes like these prove how easy it is to add this treasure to your everyday meals.

Bella Sun Luci would like to share their amazing product with you & your family.  Perfect for the upcoming holiday season where I know I will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen making dishes for my family & friends. 

Bring the amazing flavor of Bella Sun Luci Tomatoes into your home by purchasing any of their products on their website

Enter to win the same mix of products I was sent by entering below!  Drawing ends at 12:01 AM on Saturday November 5th. I’ll draw the winner, via, on Saturday, November 5th. I will send an email to the winner & you will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please be sure to read the rules!

Use the Rafflecopter form below. If you don't see it - click on the title of this post. Otherwise email me at tarah716[at] for instructions on how to enter.

Once upon a time my husband was single.  He lived on his own in his own house, quite well I might add.  Jason was (is) anal retentive about order and neatness.  In fact one of his brother's favorite pranks to play on Jason is to come over when he's not home and rearrange the tools hanging on the wall of his workshop to see how soon he notices.  I think the longest it took was 30 seconds.

While living on his own in this house, my husband did his own laundry, correctly!  I know!  He actually knew where the dry cleaner was and what it was for.  He sorted laundry, he hung things up, he ironed and folded and put things away.

Then one day he met me.  Fast forward to me moving in and taking over the laundry for us.  Jason spent a few cycles showing me how he preferred things washed, hung and put away.  I learned where his pants and sweaters went, which way he liked his shirts facing, how to fold his socks.

Every once in a while I ask or Jason just decides to do our laundry.  I wasn't aware there was a fairy that went around once a man got in a relationship and deleted basic cleaning knowledge from their memory.  But that must be the reason I open the dryer and find whites with darks or why I came home once to a shrunken cashmere sweater.

Jason is currently on vacation so he's home all day, with Dayne.  I know, I know, there isn't much time to get a ton done when you have a seven month old demanding your attention.  So when I opened the door after work to hear the dryer going, I was thrilled to know that one less thing would be on my to-do list this week.

I thanked Jason, gave him a kiss and went up to our room to change.  That's when I saw it.  Our bed.  Piled in neat rows were my clothing.  A pile for shirts, another for sweaters, one for pants, one for underwear and another with socks.

"Why are my clothes not put away?"

"I don't know where they go."

We have been together for almost seven years, living together for six!  My clothes go in the same place they have gone for the past six years.  At the very least you KNOW where my sock & underwear drawer is.  And yet, there they sit, on the bed waiting for me to finish the job.

Of course all of Jason's things are put away neatly so the cat doesn't decide they make a good napping location and leave fur and wrinkles all over them.  This isn't a first time offense either.  I think he does this on purpose so he isn't asked to do the laundry or for me to get in my head that he can do it correctly, he just doesn't want to.

What is an ongoing "battle" with you and your husband? 

Recipe & Picture courtesy of Smashed Peas & Carrots

I love French Onion soup, my favorite part is breaking through the thick, gooey layer of cheese to reach the yummy goodness that is the soup.  I found this slow cooker recipe via Pinterest (love that site) and decided it must be made this past weekend.  It seemed simple enough and the beauty about slow cookers, they do all the work for you while you relax, and enjoy the yummy smells!

  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 32-oz cartons of beef broth
  • French bread, sliced on the bias
  • swiss or gruyere cheese
  1. With your crockpot on high, add the butter and let melt.  Once butter is melted, add in sliced onions and cover.  Cook onions on high for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until onions are carmelized.  Mix together flour, worcestershire sauce, sugar and pepper in another bowl.  Slowly add flour mixture and broth to onion stirring well.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4.  
  2. To make the crusty bread, slice french bread on the bias and place slices of swiss or gruyere cheese on top.  Toast in oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes.  Pour soup into bowls and top with cheesy bread slices.
Changes I will make next time:

Her site shows amazing caramelized onions that I'm assuming happened in the allotted time she posted in her recipe.  After an hour mine weren't even close to looking like that.  I decided to go ahead with the recipe anyway because I wanted my soup!  Hint - caramelize them on the stove top to save time and get them looking & tasting amazing.  The onions were still sort of crunchy and I wasn't a huge fan of that, so you MUST caramelize!

Add a few beef bullion cubes to this broth mix as well, I felt there was a little bit of "umph" missing in this soup and added the bullion cubes after the first round.  I thought this beefed up (pardon the pun) the flavor just perfectly.

Of course my husband thought beer would make a great addition as well so he added some to his leftovers and claimed it was fantastic.  I'm not a huge beer fan so I guess it's something to try if you think you might enjoy the added flavor.

Overall, a very easy & simple recipe with a few tweaks for next time!  I will be attempting this again.  Also, be prepared for leftovers!  This makes a huge batch! 

The real reason people have kids is so you can dress them up in costumes for Halloween and everyone 'oohs' and 'ahhs' over them. People who say otherwise are lying. To you or themselves. Or both.

I was flipping through one of the hundreds of catalogs companies send you as soon as the pee hits the home pregnancy test. It's like they embedded a chip in there with your location. I swear, as soon as you see that second line your mailbox throws up magazines, catalogs, baby food samples and the like.

I as I'm flipping through this catalog, earmarking pages of things I want Dayne needs wants, I come across the Halloween costume section.  I was like a puppy being shown a new toy, my entire body was shaking with excitement.  This year I would finally be able to tote our child around in an overpriced, only going to be used once, costume that would have people stopping and commenting on "how cute!" he is.

I started pointing out costume after costume to Jason who finally stopped me and said we would not be dressing Dayne up like an animal.  Which meant the turkey and duck were a no go.  Jason suggested the astronaut or Yoda.

No way!  Those were costumes I could see Dayne requesting himself in the next few years, this would probably be the only Halloween we had control of his choice.  I wanted something he would never pick once he figured out he had a choice in the matter.

Then I saw it.  The most adorable costume ever.

I must have it!  Once I got Jason to finally let go of the Yoda idea I ordered this bad boy.

I came home from work yesterday and there it was, just waiting.  I opened the bag, fluffed the fur, felt the inside of the costume to make sure it would be comfortable.  Then I turned my attention to Dayne.  I plopped him down in my lap and put his foot in one of the monster feet slippers.

I glanced up at Jason to watch his face as Dayne stared at his now blue foot.  We watched as he tilted his head to the side, wiggled his foot around and then proceeded to lean forward and shove his slipper in his mouth.

"Don't try it on yet, let's wait for Halloween so it's 'special'."  Jason requested.

Instead I pulled the slipper off and held up the bodysuit up to Dayne for him to inspect.  His face lit up, he started clapping and gave us his "cheesy" grin where he squints his eyes and gives us a wide grin.  Then he started cracking up.  Which in turn made us laugh and this made Dayne laugh even harder.

I'm guessing he likes our choice.

I didn't try it on Dayne but that didn't stop me from shoving my head in the hood and walking around the house with it.  Who says kids get all the fun?

I remember several years ago when it became clear to me that sausage and I were no longer friends.  Just smelling sausage cooking was enough to make my stomach turn over and send me searching for the nearest window for fresh air.

Sharing my woe with a friend of mine one day, she suggested I try a sausage other than pork.  I tried beef first then after that failed, turkey.  Still no dice.  I chalked it up as to a food I just wouldn't eat any longer.  Then came the fateful shopping trip that took me past a display of Al Fresco chicken sausages.

I stopped, interested.  I had never heard of chicken sausage.  I read the flavors and was hopeful as I threw a package in the cart.  Jason & I grilled them outside and I was beyond thrilled to discover no ill side effects!  No only that, they taste fantastic!  Probably better than "regular" sausage in my opinion.

If you haven't heard of Al Fresco yet, let me be the first to introduce you!  Al Fresco is the #1 chicken sausage brand in the United States!  Their products have 70% less fat than pork sausage and are free of nitrites, nitrates, preservatives and artificial ingredients, but full of flavor!  

Al Fresco was kind enough to send over a few products for me to sample, I was able to enjoy the Roasted Pepper & Asiago Chicken Sausage, the Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage and the Tomato & Basil Chicken Meatballs.

I had tried the Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage prior and was thrilled to see it in the shipment they sent over.  The Vermont maple syrup is packed in every bite, it makes for a great addition to a breakfast quiche.  Al Fresco suggests their recipe for Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage with Basil, Almonds & Grapes.  

I was very excited to try out the Roasted Pepper & Asiago Chicken Sausage.  Two of my favorite flavors in one spot!  I LOVED this flavor, it was an amazing blend of the peppers and cheese, I even simply grilled on, threw on a few onions and ate it on a bun as is.

Their sausages are all fully cooked and ready to eat, just heat and go!  They're also juicy, maintaining their natural juices and flavors.  I thought their Roasted Pepper and Asiago Chicken Sausage Ragu over Pumpkin Polenta sounded perfect for the season!

What a perfect way to enjoy a chilly night in than with a warm, filling and healthy meal at the table with family & friends!  A great way to use that can of pumpkin puree other than in the pumpkin pie!  Enjoy the seasonal vegetables!  

I was surprised to see Al Fresco offered meatballs, this was news (awesome news) to me!  Again, meatballs have been an item I just figured I would have to pass up from now on.  These meatballs, just like their sausage products, are fully cooked so you only need to warm them up and add them to your meal.  I warmed mine in the oven and then added them to the spaghetti sauce I was making for dinner.

How amazing does this Pizza Alfredo with Roasted Vegetables look?  Super simple too!

If you, like myself, have issues with sausage and thought those days were gone, try Al Fresco Chicken Sausages.  Or if you just want a healthier option to fed your family their line is amazing!  


Find out where you can purchase this amazing line near you!

Al Fresco offers coupons on their Facebook, Twitter & in their newsletters so be sure to sign up and grab a great deal!  


Be sure to enter their PINK Sweeps and win $1,000!  Hurry!

I wasn't paid or swayed to write this post, I was just given the products free of charge to provide an open and honest review!

Yes, I cheer for our Detroit Tigers!  Come on guys!  YOU CAN DO IT!

But I'm talking about the other type of tiger.  The one I turned into the day I had Dayne. 

I struggled to get pregnant so I cherished every moment of pregnancy.  I loved watching my belly grow, thrilled when I had to switch to maternity jeans.  (OMG the moment I slipped my first pair on I swear the heavens opened up and angels started singing.  Pregnant mommies - do NOT push this off until you can no longer squeeze into your regular jeans.  Trust me.) 

I secretly loved hearing people say "Oh you're all belly!" - Which by the way was totally not true, I discovered this fact when I tried to pull my jeans on two weeks post-partum.  Moms - DO push this off until your maternity jeans are falling off you.  Trust me.

But I was a LOT of belly, Dayne was a big baby!  8 lb 15.5 oz

My tummy had to stretch, a lot, to accommodate his growth.  When I was able to inspect my belly weeks later I noticed stretch marks from my belly button down.  Lots of them.  I had red marks on my hips.  My belly has extra skin that I'm not quite sure will ever go away without medical help. 

I LOVE Dayne, with more love than I ever dreamed possible.  I would (and will) do it all over again.  But I fear my bikini days may be behind me.  I sometimes wonder if Jason looks at me and says "Well, at least she still has a great sense of humor."

(I've asked him flat out before and he said he still finds me attractive, that all this "extra" is just part of being a woman and a mom)

I'm not quite fitting in my clothes like I did before and wonder if I ever will or if my body is forever changed. 

I live with it, what choice do I really have?  I am hoping to finally get the green light to exercise again in two more weeks so maybe that will help with the outside and the inside. 

But when I saw this on Pinterest, it struck my heart and made me tear up a bit.

I may not have the smooth skin I once had, my belly button may make me raise an eyebrow, I may have to start shopping for tankinis but I earned these stripes.  I grew one of the most amazing people I know in me.  I cared for him, nutured him, protected him.  I held him closer than anyone else ever will.  I allowed him to come flying into this world, ready to make his own mark on it. 

So when I start beating myself up, I remind body isn't ruined.  I'm a goddamn tiger who has earned these stripes!  I just need to look at Dayne's smile to know it was all worth it. 

I've been needing to get my haircut for a while now but something always comes up. I'm tired, we're short on cash, I would rather hang out with friends than sit in a chair for an Plus I'm somewhat terrified to have "the talk" with my hairdresser. Due to a few changes coming up, we're tightening the belt big time (more on that story later). Which more professional coloring at the salon.

Oh yeah, my roots are showing too. Ha.

Sooooooo, I have to ask my stylist while batting my eyelashes if she could recommend a great at home coloring system that doesn't cost an arm & a leg and hope I don't hurt her feelings. I'm sure she'll understand, and it's only for a while - hopefully just around a year. When Jason & I were discussing areas to cut costs he brought up my salon bill. I about choked on the gasp I took in! Color my hair? At home? Myself?! Is he CRAZY?!

He said he'd help me do it. This tidbit intrigued me just enough to seriously consider trying it. Then he said he'd quit smoking. Jackpot.

I'll color my hair at home if he kicks his lung cancer habit. He spends the same amount in cigarettes in 14 weeks as I do for a coloring every 6-8 weeks. (Well that's how often I should be coloring it. What really happens is like three months go by and I wander in with my tail between my legs and receive the lecture from my stylist.)

When I brought the subject of quitting smoking up again the other day he had a million & one reasons as to why he could justify it still. Then he stopped and admitted he wasn't sure if he was ready to quit yet and realized he was justifying it. So if he stops smoking, I'll buy a box 'o color off the shelf and give it a whirl. Any brand suggestions? Tips? Tricks? I'm an at home coloring virgin!!

But as far as cutting my hair - I'll leave that to the professionals. Here are two ideas I'm kicking around:

 I've gone short before and I hated it.  Every.Single.Time.  So I'm not quite sure why I'm entertaining the idea of two short hair styles again.  The top one isn't too short, but Jennifer's style is shorter than I usually venture.  It looks great on her but would it work on me?  Would I take one look in the mirror and say:

"Frick.  Why did I attempt short again?"

Or will it work?

This past 4th of July a friend of ours showed up at their annual BBQ with bragging rights. She had just had a hair stylist friend of hers give her a Keratin treatment. We all oohed and ahhed over how soft, silky and beautiful her hair looked because of it.

My friend explained how the Keratin treatment prevented frizz and controlled her natural curl that she always fought with. I straighten my hair and hate that by the end of the work day my hair has a medium amount of frizz to it.

Interested, I asked how much it cost. She dropped the bomb that she received the discounted rate because she was a friend of the stylist. Even the discounted rate was out of my price range.

So I was thrilled to review Keratin Earth's at home system. I read the directions that came in the 4 piece set and realized this was going to be an involved process. I put Dayne down for his morning nap and got to work. You shampoo and rinse twice with their shampoo to prepare your hair to receive the treatment. It helps rinse out any product build up you may have.

Then you towel dry your hair, removing as much excess moisture as you can. This is where it got tedious. Starting at nape of your neck, use 1 inch sections of hair and apply Keratin Straightening Therapy starting at base through ends. Comb the treatment into hair. Repeat procedure, saturating entire head.

You leave the treatment in your hair for 10-20 minutes depending on what type of hair you have. The more thick/dense your hair is, the longer you're going to want to keep it on. After your wait is over you shampoo again, towel dry again and then apply the Leave-In Conditioning Masque. Apply liberally without over-saturating the hair.

I blow dried my hair until it was about 90% dry and then used a straightening iron on it. When I was done (I believe it took anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour) my hair looked & felt like I had walked out of the salon. I was THRILLED.
 But the real test was the week that followed. You are only suppose to wash your hair with their shampoo & conditioner because other brands may strip your hair of the treatment. The next day I woke up to soft shiny hair that only required a brush to detangle the pillow head. It's been over a week now and my hair is still as soft and shiny as it was after my first treatment! And it stays soft, shiny and frizz free through the day!

I cannot say enough good things about this product, it should last at least 30 days, if not longer so I see an hour out of one day, once a month as a small price to pay for envy worthy hair!

Buy your own kit from Keratine Earth's website!   Free shipping until 10/31 so hurry!

I wasn't paid or swayed to write this post, I was just given the Keratin Earth kit to provide an open and honest review!