The Greatest Showman Birthday Party [Under $100]

Frannie just turned 5 and to celebrate she wanted a Greatest Showman themed birthday party. It is hands down her favorite movie and soundtrack and she has watched it so many times she could probably recite most of it to you.

We held her party at her local dance studio which was fun because the instructor assigned to her party was able to create a little routine to one of the songs from the movie and have the kids perform for their parents.

I wanted to share some of the things we did for her party as of all of the parties we’ve ever thrown I think this was the simplest and also likely the lowest cost. Without including the studio fee of $100, the party cost us less than $100, yet included all of those fun and special details I like to include for parties.


Birthday Invite from Etsy $16 & then I send the .jpeg to Walgreens. Most of the time you can get 5×7 prints made for around $1 with a coupon code.


  • Barnum’s Animal Crackers  [24 for $38 on Amazon or around $1/box at Target]
  • I typically order cupcakes from our Target bakery as they can customize colors and flavors as desired. $17
  • I think everyone who throws parties needs a Cupcake stand [Mine is Martha Stewart brand from Macy’s that I purchased years ago but this one is similar.]

  • Clown Noses $6.99 [I displayed these in a clear glass jar on a cake stand, things I already owned but could use to display them.]

Not pictured: Temporary Tattoos   $4.70 I bought these for the kids to choose before the party began while we waited for all the friends to arrive. Super simple little treat that takes up some time.


April Reads

It’s time to share my April reads!

In case you missed it, here’s what I read in January, February and March.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This was another Book of the Month* club book. The story follows 30 year old Eleanor Oliphant who lives a rather boring life until she meets a new coworker and they happen upon an elderly man in distress. This book went in different directions than I expected and at times was slow but I enjoyed it over all. 

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders

At 29 years old, after spending two years paying off $30,000 of debt, giving up alcohol and giving her health a complete overhaul, Cait decides to give up spending for a year. She creates rules on what she can and can’t buy. [She can buy groceries but no take out coffee etc] and she chronicles the experience month by month. I really enjoyed this book. It’s inspiring, honest, relatable and most of all, authentic.

Our Little Secret by Roz Nay

This was a tangled love story that results in a missing woman and is full of secrets and lies. It’s definitely a thriller.

Dance Stand Run by Jess Connolly

I’d been reading this book month by month since the new year. I liked the way Jess honestly walked through her understanding of holiness and encouraged woman to stop watering down their faith. 

The Widower’s Wife by Cate Holahan

I LOVED this thriller- it was hard to put down. A couple in financial distress make a plan to make all their problems go away but the plan changes and twists throughout the book.

The Reader by Bernard Schlink

This book starts out like a love story around the time of WWII and gives a fascinating perspective of a woman’s role in Nazi Germany. I wasn’t sure how much I liked the first half but I really enjoyed the second half. 

A Mother’s Reckoning- Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

On April 20, 1999, Sue Klebold’s son Dylan walked into Columbine High School with his friend Eric Harris. Together the two boys killed 12 students and a teacher before taking their own lives. She writes honestly and reflectively about her son, how it felt to live in those minutes, hours and days that followed. Her story captivated me and broke my heart. Her feelings as a mother, full of grief and shame and wondering “how could my child, the promising young man I loved and raised, be responsible for such horror?” Her book is haunting and sheds light on so many dark corners of mental health and suicide awareness.



Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this post. That means if you click on and purchase a book I have linked, I will receive a small commission from Amazon. It will cost you no more or no less. 

March Reads

It’s time to share what I read in March. In case you missed it, here’s what I read in January and here’s what I read in February.  The Broken Girls by Simone St. James This was a February Book of the Month* book. The story follows journalist Fiona Sheridan as she works on uncovering why […]

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February Reads

Here’s the books I read in February [and if you missed my January reads, you can see those right here.] As always, you can follow along book by book on Instagram- #SamaraReads2018 After the Eclipse by Sarah Perry I learned about this book on the Smartest Person in the Room podcast- coined as one of […]

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January Reads

At the request of several I decided that this year I’d recap my books each month [likely with a top ten post to still come at the end of the year] but this way you can get an idea of the books I’m reading throughout the year. In January, I read: Little Fires Everywhere by […]

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Things to Know Before You Go to The Wiz at Children’s Theatre Company

This past weekend, I was able to attend one of the opening weekend shows for Children’s Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre’s production of The Wiz. The modern day twist of the classic story was very well done by a star studded cast and deserved the standing ovation it received at the end. Here’s a few […]

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My Favorite Podcasts

If 2016 was the year I [re]-discovered reading, 2017 was the year I discovered podcasts. Call me late to the party but I really, really didn’t understand the whole podcast thing for a long time. But it’s actually super easy [especially on iPhone] and there are quite a few podcasts I enjoyed or ended up […]

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Books I’m Gifting This Season

Several people I know have been looking for book suggestions for Christmas. I love gifting good books. And if they are pretty to look at, even better. Here’s a few of my favorites this season for gifting: [You can click on the images to go directly to Amazon for more information or to order.] Little People […]

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Ten Years Gone

On Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 1:05 a.m. my mother, my mumsy, passed away. She left the pain and the illness she’d been living with and fighting seven months and went home to her heavenly home. Ten years ago today my mom left us and in so many ways she left us prepared for her death. Details […]

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My Best Reads of 2017

At the end of 2016, I decided to challenge myself to read 52 books in 2017. It had seemed that throughout 2016 I had fallen back in love with reading and really wanted to spend more time discovering great books and new authors and just find time doing something I loved. [This meant for most […]

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