About karen

Karen is married to a big kid and mom to a head strong, only child. She is happy with her family of three, along with their spoiled fur baby. Karen works full time as a teacher and still finds time to blog, read, crochet, and cook. Follow along as she enjoys this life.

Book Review: Last One Home


Growing up, Cassie Carter and her sisters, Karen and Nichole, were incredibly close — until one fateful event drove them apart. After high school, Cassie ran away from home to marry the wrong man, throwing away a college scholarship and breaking her parents’ hearts. To make matters worse, Cassie had always been their father’s favorite — a sentiment that weighed heavily on her sisters and made Cassie’s actions even harder to bear.

Now thirty-one, Cassie is back in Washington, living in Seattle with her daughter and hoping to leave her past behind. After ending a difficult marriage, Cassie is back on her own two feet, the pieces of her life slowly but surely coming together. Despite the strides Cassie’s made, she hasn’t been able to make peace with her sisters. Karen, the oldest, is a busy wife and mother, balancing her career with raising her two children. And Nichole, the youngest, is a stay-at-home mom whose husband indulges her every whim. Then one day, Cassie receives a letter from Karen, offering what Cassie thinks may be a chance to reconcile. And as Cassie opens herself up to new possibilities — making amends with her sisters, finding love once more — she realizes the power of compassion, and the promise of a fresh start.

*****5 STARS*****

BEAUTIFUL story, but I was so upset that her family didn’t try to do more. It was so obvious that he had a sick control over her and yet they just let her go.

Love how she survived through it all and raised and amazing daughter. Finally she is finding a real man to love and cherish her…but will she accept his love or push him away.

How could her sisters just drop her like that? Seriously? How do you not have a clue as to what is happening to your sister?

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Karen has
read 9 books toward
her goal of
55 books.

*****Now I’m Reading*****


This sounds so intriguing and twisted

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png


Where are MY fairy tale animals?

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I’m using:

anticipation ~ fairytale ~ inmate ~ retirement ~ immortal

They were submitted by: http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html


Okay, it’s Thursday at 5:30 pm and I’m finally writing this post. I hope this post makes a bit of sense, but it just may contain crazy and unrelated ramblings.

Yup totally behind and a bit stressed with writing reading reports. They are due now even though meetings are not scheduled till March, April, and May. At least I only have one more report to write. The anticipation of it all is overwhelming, then once you get started, it’s not that bad. If only I was living in a fairy tale I could have animals write the reports. No wait, I could swish my fingers and use my magic powers.

My parents are both living the retirement life now and loving every minute of that life. I can only imagine what it would feel like to not have to commute to work and just enjoy being at home. Though, I’m a home body, so I enjoy being at home anyway. I laugh when I hear some retirees say that being home with their spouse all the time is like being in jail.I guess I sometimes feel like hubby’s my inmate in a loony bin when AJ and Bonus are wild and loud.

Guess it could be worse, I we could be immortal. Being in love with a vampire seems like a perfect romance, but you are stuck with them for all eternity. Yup, that would drive me insane if they kept the same annoying habits they had in their mortal life. Someone would have to lose a limb. Just kidding, but seriously they would lose a limb.


 Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


secret subject swap

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week, 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

My subject is:

There is something to celebrate every day. Pick a holiday or two that maybe no one has heard of and tell us all about it!

It was submitted by: http://shannonbutler.org

Love this prompt, I know I say that each time. Karen at Baking in a Tornado can testify that each time I get the prompt, I love it. It’s the little things that bring the most joy.

Okay, now on to the prompt. It was fun looking up unknown holidays. For instance, want ice cream for breakfast? Well tomorrow, the 4th you can do that!

Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day first Saturday of month

Feb 7th Wave All you Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

Or are your neighbors bothering you? Why not stick all your fingers at them? Or just flip them the bird? Hell, we need a holiday when we can walk around and give fingers to everyone all day long!!!!



National Pizza Day 9th 

Who doesn’t love pizza? Seriously who? stares at them…only kidding, maybe.

We always have our pizza on Fridays and every so often on an additional day as well. AJ won’t waver from his meatball pizza, the only meatballs he’ll eat. I like to keep trying different pizzas. Think I’ll order chicken bbq pizza and tomato and basil slice tonight.


Get a different name Day – 13th

That’s cool, thought I wouldnt change my name. When I was a teen I wanted the name Cara or Dara. Yeah, so not me, right? I would have named AJ Angelina if he was a girl. I also liked the names Marcello and Jackson for a boy. I think his names fits him perfectly!

Ferris Wheel Day – 14th 

This is just a big ball of NOPE. Enough said.

Drink Wine Day – 18th

Yup, this is an awesome holiday, though most people seem to celebrate it every day!!!! How about drink hard liquor day? I swear the best way for me to actually sleep at night is to drink jack and coke, well mostly jack and a bit of coke.

Chocolate Mint Day – 19th

AJ has my love of chocolate mint ANYTHING. It could be chocolate, hot chocolate, ice cream, ice cream bars, thin mints girl scout cookies, etc…

Love your pet day – 20th 

How could you not love your pets? Well I guess some people are evil and treat animals terribly. Don’t worry they will pay when the time comes. If you’re good to animals, it shows that you’re a good person. Anyway, how could I not love our Bonus?

Which holiday do you like? Is there a holiday you would create or one that I didn’t mention that you love?

Book Reveiw: House Husband


W. Harold Posehn is the best dad, the best husband…well, maybe not.

Detective Teaghan Beaumont is getting closer and closer to discovering the truth about Harold Posehn. But there’s a twist that she – and you, dear reader – will never see coming.

*****5 STARS*****

short read, but twisted and sick.

well written and full of revulsion, horror, and surprising twist at the end. Worth the quick read! You will enjoy it and be shocked to know who and why.

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Karen has
read 7 books toward
her goal of
55 books.


*****Now I’m Reading*****


This sounds like a sweet read about family, forgiveness, and starting over

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png


Book Review: Lift and Separate


Marcy Hammer’s life has been turned upside down. Her husband, the head of a global brassiere empire, didn’t think twice about leaving her after thirty-three years of marriage for a 32DD lingerie model. Now Harvey the Home-Wrecker is missing in action, but Marcy’s through thinking about what a cliché he is. What she needs now is a party-size bag of potato chips, a good support system, and a new dress.

Striking out on her own is difficult at first, but Marcy manages to find traces of humor in her heartbreak. Even while devastated by Harvey’s departure, she still has her indomitable spirit and her self-respect. She has no intention of falling apart, either, even when her adult children drop a few bombshells of their own and she discovers a secret about her new, once-in-a-lifetime friend. Life may be full of setbacks, but by lifting herself up by her own lacy straps, Marcy just may be able to handle them all.

*****5 STARS*****

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but it grew on me. I was upset that she was so calm and never said what she was thinking. Now I understand, she was holding it together for her children and her mother. She was being the better person as her mother taught her to be. 
As I got to Marcy, I understood her and what she wanted in life. I didn’t feel one bit bad for what happened to Harvey, he made his bed and now he has to lie in it. She became a better person from this and living the life she needs.

Some laughs, some cries, some anger, and all around great fiction book to read.


No spoilers as there are too many twists and turns, heartache and curve balls, humor and sadness…but truly worth the read.

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Karen has
read 6 books toward
her goal of
55 books.

*****Now I’m Reading*****


This is actually a short book, but looks interesting. I really hope it’s not predictable. 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png


January Funny Friday

funny friday

Today’s post is this month’s Funny Friday, a regular feature published on the last Friday of every month. Funny Friday is a collaborative project. Each month one of the participants submits a picture, then we all write 5 captions or thoughts inspired by that month’s picture. Links to the other bloggers’ posts are below, click on them and see what they’ve come up with. I hope we bring a smile to your face as you start your weekend.


Here’s today’s picture. It was submitted by Dawn of Spatulas on Parade   (http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/)



Oh shit, I don’t think I can sneak the car back in the garage now without my parents knowing. 


I think I can clean this up without the wife knowing. Yeah, she’ll never find out. Hey, is that lady taking a pic of me?  


I swear officer, that hydrant came out of nowhere.  


PUT YOUR PHONES DOWN. Today it’s a fire hydrant, tomorrow a human being. 


Tom: There was a spider on the steering wheel. What was I supposed to do?

John: Ummm, how about not hitting a fire hydrant and running out of the car screaming at the top of your lungs. There was an empty parking lot, stopping anywhere behind us might have been an option, you dingus.

Tom: It was big and could have bit me.

John: The video has forty hits already. 


Click on the links below and let some other bloggers make you smile:


AJ Reviews: Galazy Zack-Three is a Crowd


Zack is thrilled when he finds out that his best friend on Earth, Bert Jones, is going to visit him on Nebulon. Zack can’t wait to show Bert around the new planet, as well as his new school. But when Bert meets Drake, Zack’s best friend on Nebulon, some jealousy starts to brew. Drake feels left out when Zack and Bert tell stories from Earth and share inside jokes. And he feels even more left out when the three boys go to an amusement park on the planet Cisnos and Zack and Bert go on all the rides…without Drake. When Zack finally realizes how out-of-place Drake feels, he, Drake, and Bert decide to all have fun together. Because, of course, two best friends are even better than one!

AJ bought one these books home from library time at school. We discovered how exciting and fun this book was to read. Needless to say we are both hooked. I love listening to AJ read this to me at night.

AJ’s Review:

This book is so cool. Zack’s friend from Earth visits Zack on Nebulon. He forgets about Drake, his friend on Nebulon. He keeps playing and going on rides with Bert and Drake feels sad and left out.

Zack learns he can be friends with both of them. You have to be be friends with everyone. It’s not nice to leave someone out. I know how that feels and it’s not nice.   

Mommy’s Review: 

What fun to read with AJ. I love that there are plenty of books in the series and the fact that’s hes reading a series on his own is wonderful.  Each book is filled with fun adventures and important lessons.  

The first four books AJ read are:

In book #1 We learn how and why Zack and his family go to Nebulon. At first Zack doesn’t want to go, but once there he begins to love his new home.

In book #2 Zack has to deal with a bully on Nebulon, but good guy Zack discovers something scientists need and he gets all the attention the bully wants.

In book #3 Zack’s dad works for an advanced company on Nebulon. He gets to go on a space trip with his dad and the dad’s company to bring back a prehistoric animal that came from another planet.

In book #4 Zack meets what he thinks is a monster, but the monster turns out to be a kid from another planet. Zack understands what it’s like to be new and they all become friends.

Book Review: The GIft


Jenna is seriously ill. She’s lost all hope of getting the heart transplant she needs to live. But just as her life is ebbing away, she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie.
Who was Callie and how did she die? Jenna is determined to find out.

The closer Jenna gets to those who loved Callie, the more questions arise about her untimely death. Someone knows what happened to Callie. Why won’t they talk?

Jenna is about to uncover the truth, but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

*****3 STARS*****

Intriguing and mysterious, but definitely not a psychological thriller. Thought it was going one way, and it just turned out to be a bunch of people deceiving each other. Callie was leading her towards something, but not what I expected or thought would be awesome. Sure Jenna’s almost killed but it was so uneventful, at least in my opinion.

I was disappointed in the fact that what I was picturing in my head was far from how it ended. I guess she was trying to piece all the characters together like in The Husband’s Secret, but it was too convoluted and confusing.

Again intriguing with a bit of science and a lesson to not always trust those you think are sweet and kind. They may be hiding something hideous.

No spoilers, because it would too confusing to explain.

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Karen has
read 5 books toward
her goal of
55 books.

*****Now I’m Reading*****


I really am hoping this is good as the summary makes it sound. I shall let you know, as always. 

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy

???Not sure what to read next???

Click HERE for a list of all my book reviews. 

I will no longer host a book review blog hop, trying to make time to blog, work, and be a mom. Therefore I had to cut some things out. Please continue to enjoy all my book reviews. 

Linking up with

“Mrs.AOK, photo meanderingmondaybadge1014200x200_zps679d2e71.png


January Fly on the Wall



Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 9 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.


Mommy: AKA Karen, me…the wife and mom 

Daddy: AKA Tony, husband and dad

AJ – our only child, a 7 year old boy who thinks he knows it all and is the one in charge

Bonus – our sweet and lovable adopted rat terrier 

I was arguing with Tony and he got a bit loud. AJ yelled, “You can’t be mean to Mommy because then you’re mean to me. I came from Mommy’s belly, so when you’re mean to mommy you’re mean to me. That insults me.”
Oh man why do they have to ruin movies with all this kissing.
Tony refused to take out dog. AJ turns around mid walk, puts hand up in hair, and says I’ll take care of this as he marched up to Tony. “You better take Bonus out, Mommy asked you.”
AJ got mad at me, because I was talking to him while he was searching for a show on Netflix. “See you got me messed up Mommy. Great Mommy, great job.”
While laying in bed with AJ during our nighttime routine. He began coughing and sputtering. “Mommy you are suffocating me with your bad breath.”
“What? I just brushed my teeth?”
“Well you stink.”
“That’s a lie, my mouth smells great.”
How dare I ask him to clean up before breakfast. I knew once breakfast was over we would only have a little time to get ready for basketball.
He repeated this about ten times. “You’re a big meanie. You’re the worst mommy.”
My father is talking to AJ and telling him to come pick up a bag and come to the door. AJ rolls his eyes and says “Okay, hold on, Sonny Boy.”
We brought AJ to a gymnastic activity place on a recent day off from school. He spent two hours there and loved it.
“So what did you do?”
“I did jumping, balancing, kicking, and yada, yada, yada.”
Tony and AJ are chatting, Tony is wearing a knit cap.
“Take off your hat, Daddy.”
“Why? Is it bothering you?”
“Well spring is coming.”
Tony laughs, “No, we are in the middle of winter. Spring is not here yet.”

Cheesy Chicken Thighs

Cheesy Chicken Thighs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Cheesy Chicken Thighs

Note that my picky son would never eat this unless the chicken was cut up and mixed into the rice along with the veggies.


  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese
  • seasonings of choice
  • toothpicks
  • olive oil
  • 1 bag frozen broccoli and cauliflower
  • cooked rice


  1. 1. mix shredded cheese of choice with seasonings
  2. 2. make another mixture of favorite seasonings to add to chicken
  3. cut chicken thighs almost in half, leaving one edge intact
  4. 3. put shredded cheese mixture in chicken, fold, and secure with a toothpick.
  5. 4. rub seasonings on chicken and place on well oiled cast iron skillet
  6. 5. cover and cook at 350 degrees until fully cooked.
  7. 7. serve with rice and veggies (I chose broccoli and cauliflower)
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AJ: only ate it when the chicken was cut up and mixed with the veggies in the rice

Mommy: easy to make and felt like a fancy meal. Tasted amazing.

Daddy: hardly takes chicken to work…oh well, more for me.

I’m linking up with

 Lori's Culinary Creations

 Epic Mommy Adventures

Epic Mommy Adventures