Book Review: Fifty Shades Trilogy

Saturday, February 23, 2013

You might be thinking: woah, you're reviewing the entire series? What happened to a single book review? Well, I might as well review the whole thing, considering I lost many hours of sleep last week thanks to it. E.L. James does an amazing job accomplishing her goal of writing a story people fall n love with.

I was not joking when I said I lost quite a bit of sleep over this series. Between Tuesday night and Friday afternoon, I'd had about 13 hours of sleep. I could not put it down. Fifty Shades of Grey is the first in the trilogy, and I read at a more leisurely pace than the other two. I think it took me about 2.5 to 3 days. Of course, I did not know that this series was so, well, erotic. Before you tell me that the word erotic is on the back cover, I'm going to admit I didn't even read that.

My purchase of Fifty Shades of Grey was spur of the moment, when I couldn't find the book a was looking for at Wal Mart. I realized just what I was getting myself into when I, without much preamble, found myself reading this:

Firstly, I don’t make love. I fuck… hard.
I think my eyes became the size of saucers, but I just had to read on. Throughout Fifty Shades of Grey, and the entire trilogy, E.L. James tastefully and artfully explores and exposes the erotic fantasies of Christian Grey. Even those light of heart might find themselves unable to put this series away because it is written in such a way that its not "dirty" or inappropriate, but a beautiful story.

I read Fifty Shades Darker in less than 36 hours. By the time I finished the first book and moved on to this one, all hope was lost for me. I was madly in love with Christian and Anastasia and all the characters throughout. The story was enchanting and I was lost in Fifty's world. I finished all but 50 pages of Fifty Shades Freed in 24 hours.

I hope that I have put into perspective how amazing I think the Fifty Shades Trilogy is, because I think it should be on everyone's reading list. In a few months, I'm sure Ill return to the series and fall head over heels for it again.

Have you read any of the Fifty Shades books? What are your opinions on them?

Homemade Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I love, love, love me some au gratin or scalloped potatoes. Seriously, what is the difference between the two? I need to do some research on that. Anyway, the other night when making steak, I really wasn't sure what I was going to make with it. Mashed potatoes again? No way! But I really wanted potatoes and I really did not want to fry them.

Then BAM, it hit me. Duh! Why not make cheesy potatoes? I had Velveeta cheese, which we all know is amazing...right? What more did I need? I'll admit I cheated and googled them to get approximated cook times. However, I really just kind of winged it, which is what generally happens. I think I just lie the reassurance of seeing someone else's recipe and knowing it really is possible.

The turned out amazing. Even my six year-old commented on how good they were, while insisting us father eat them. I had the hubby's approval, too. He ate what little leftovers we had before I got home from work the next day. Talon cutely announced that he knew my secret ingredient. "What is it?" I asked him. "Cheese!" He declared, and I could only laugh. He surely knows my "secret" ingredient.


  • 6 to 8 potatoes (depends on size)
  • 8 oz Velveeta cheese (about 1/2 a block & you can afford some give/take on this, depending on preference)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded cheese (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Cut potatoes about this thin.
  1. Place pot of water on stove to start heating up.
  2. Slice potatoes into desired thickness & add to boiling water.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while potatoes cook
  4. Boil for 8 minutes and check every 1 to 2 minutes after until fork tender (not tender enough for mashed potatoes, remember)
  5. Cube velveeta cheese for easy melting.
  6. Strain potatoes and put on baking dish.
  7. Put in milk, velveeta cheese, salt and pepper.
  8. Cover and bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Add the other 1/2 cup on top.
  10. My Velveeta cheese blocks/slices.
  11. Uncover and bake until cheese is melted and potatoes are desired tenderness.
What my taters looked like before the cheese topping!

~ 3 adult servings

DIY Air Freshener/Neutralizer from a Baby Food Jar

Friday, February 15, 2013

DIY Air Freshener from a Baby Food Jar

This simple neutralizer/air freshener is simply baking soda plus 20 to 30 drops essentials oil.  The idea can be found all over Pintrest, so don't think I'm too original.  Use an open container or one with a lid and poke holes in it.  Shake every day or so to renew scent.  I shake mine daily and intend on decorating the baby food jar, as some point when I get around to finishing up all the projects I've started.

Cheese Rolls: An Even Faster Alternative to Grilled Cheese

Thursday, February 14, 2013

So in a pinch the other night, I had planned to make grilled cheese. I could have very well made grilled cheese sandwiches. It doesn't take very long and I had all the stuff. Do you know what's even faster? Cheese rolls. With only three ingredients, my microwave, and about five minutes... Gabe and I had supper.

Cheese rolls can be made in the oven or you could even grill them, but I just put one slice of cheese on a corn tortilla and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds. When done, I rolled them and enjoyed with the tomato soup I made while the cheese rolls were in and out of the microwave. Flour tortillas work just as well, for those who don't want corn torts. Also, for extra cheesy goodness use two slices of cheese and melt for 45 seconds.


  • Cheese slices
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Can of tomato soup


  1. Take 1 tort and 1 slice of cheese. Place on plate and pop into microwave for 30 seconds or until cheese is melted.
  2. While cooking cheese rolls, pour tomato soup into pot and bring to boil.
  3. Enjoy!

Unexpected Sweetness

Friday, February 8, 2013

So, on occasion, I have been known to go a little crazy with the dry erase marker and leave corny, sappy love notes on every dry-erase-friendly surface. My husband enjoys lovingly teasing me about it when I do, taunting me about how "cute" I am; all the while infuriating me and making me blush, at the same time.

Anyway, rolling out of bed at 7ish Tuesday morning and turning off my alarm (I really, really wanted to hit snooze again and go back to bed!), I almost don't notice the piece of notebook paper haphazardly stuck under the alarm clock. If I wasn't so anal about attempting to have a perfectly clean house, I might not have noticed it. After all, crap accumulates in weird places all the time. Deodorant on the kitchen counter? Whatever. Dan's clothes from yesterday on the dining room floor? Not weird, at all.

A piece of notebook paper under the alam clock? Now, that I find to be something worth investigating. Of course, it turns out to be a little note from the hubby directing me to other notes. Gabe was, at this point, latched on to my leg. He wanted some mommy attention before I went to work. So together we ventured downstairs to discover what daddy had in store.

It turns out, on Daniel's trip to exchange my oil filter (for the right one) and buy us some more hangers, he'd picked me up a nice peacoat! I haven't owned a coat in at least six years. I know what you're thinking. How in the heck did you manage that? Well as a teenager I would just wear my hoodie. Since being with Daniel I'd either take me of his coats or hoodies and/or layer up. Seemed to work so far.

I was delighted! To be honest, though, the sweet note on the dry erase board was my favorite part of the surprise. A few sweet words from my rough hubby is enough to make me go all gooey inside. I'm probably not going to share it, because it's just for us. Rest assured, it was very sweet of him.

So that's how I had a wonderful Tuesday! Do you ever give or receive random I love you gifts or declarations?

One of Those Parents: Helicopter Edition

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Up until two weeks ago, I had never heard the term helicopter parent/parenting. If you're unfamiliar with the concept, I'll give you a quick run down. A helicopter parent is, essentially, a hovering parent. A parent who always does everything for their child and/or never let's them make mistakes is, most likely, a helicopter parent. Some of us have a hard time letting go of that infant who, seemingly not so long ago, needed mommy for everything.

I'm not going to go in depth highlighting why it's important to let our children make mistakes and do things for themselves, because even a helicopter parent usually knows what they should be doing.

I'm bringing this up because today I took my two-and-a-half year-old to work with me for the second t,e ever. I want to start bringing him to preschool two days a week. Today I was up at 3AM and him at 4AM. Work is about a 40 minute drive for me, so I have to leave my house fairly early.

I'll admit that I worry. And I definitely miss him when he's gone. However, today that meant I was "one of those parents". When I left him with his own teacher, he was furious with me. I think when we first entered the classroom he realized where he was and that I'd left him there last time because he started crying. Because I wasn't leaving right away he calmed down, started eating his snack, but that all changed when I left him

The cook caught me peeking through the widow to check on him a few minutes later, and said "Oh, so you're one of those parent." My first instinct was to be hurt, offended, and deny the allegation. It's true though, if by one of "those parents" you mean the ones who worry when there children is with others, especially strangers to him. It's not like that when he's with my sister, his grandparents, or my aunt. When I left him with my dad for the first time for 4 to 6 hours, I was having a silent, inner freak out a little.

I'm not a helicopter parent normally. My kids definitely get to make their own mistakes and do things their own. Even after he easily transitions to preschool, I'll probably peek sometimes. I want to see him growing and learning and being part of it all. It makes me proud and happy.

What annoying habits of other parents do you see?

Baked Chicken or Turkey Legs

Monday, February 4, 2013

(Pictured:  Turkey Legs)
For once, I left work on time (early even) and came waltzing in the door at 5:58PM. My mood was a little deflated when no one was there to greet me. I can honestly say, that loving, excited "Mom!"--usually followed by a big hug--when I walk through the door makes my heart melt...every time.

Nonetheless, this gave me a little time to get stuff done before the boys came home and demanded my attention. Thankfully, the hubby remembered to pull out meat to thaw. Chicken. I, for one, love fried chicken. However, I hate cooking it. It's time consuming and messy and you just might get grease splattered in your face or start a fire (yeah, I did that once).

Thanks to a little guessing and, possibly, a few random recipes via the Internet, I found an alternative way to cook chicken that I like almost as much; bake it.

Now I don't remember how I used to do it. I only remember that I didn't like it so I didn't really bake chicken unless it was drowning in barbecue. This way is sans barbecue (and the time/mess that comes with it). You can also cook turkey legs like this and probably other stuff I haven't tried. Either way, meat should be falling off the bone by the end.


Chicken or turkey
Spices of choice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (You can choose a higher temp if you are impatient like me. I wouldn't go over 400.)
  2.  Place chicken in baking dish with about 1 inch of water.
  3.  Season the crap out of one side with desired seasonings. (See my favorite seasonings in a later post.)
  4.  Either cover dish with lid or, if no lid, use aluminum foil. Place in oven.
  5.  When I looks pretty done on the one side, flip it over and season the other side.
  6.  I don't like my skin on my chicken all flabby/soft, so I like to remove the aluminum foil (and, if necessary, all/most of the water) and brown each side.
  7.  Remove when cooked thoroughly. Chicken falls off the bone.

I hope you enjoyed it! How do you like to cook your chicken?
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