Tag Archive | recipe

Spotless Murder… a Book Review

Sometimes all you have time for is a quick novella. And that was what I had this past afternoon… an hour of free time between kids and the YMCA trip. So I picked up a freebie and started reading. Spotless Murder is the third book in the Sophia O’Malley Cozy Mysteru series by Natalie Woodley and Angela Arganoff. I have not read the previous two books but the beginning of the story cleared up enough that I really felt like I was not missing out on a huge plot twist or something. (This was a one day freebie on Amazon)

This book is definitely a shorter read. Your prospective is not limited to a main character as the story scoots along showing all of them equally. You do learn a bit about the three main ones – Sophia who runs a business called the Travelling Organizer where she does just that, her new employee Mattie (though you don’t learn too much about her) and a character new to the series – Paul who works for the chain that employed the ladies and sent them to Hawaii for their newest murder mystery. 

The end of the book includes some Hawaiian recipes and some travel and organization tips. The murder itself is interesting, the solution rather intriguing and the pace a nice quick trot on through. I don’t try to solve these myself so cannot speak to that, but I really enjoyed following along as the characters work with law officials to solve the case. 

Add to the mystery, the organization, the exotic setting just a touch of romance, a little nostalgia and a sweet goodbye to a love now gone and you have a novella to pick up and enjoy in a single sitting. I would totally rec commend this contemporary cozy for a quiet hour. And once my book budget goes up from, well, zero… I may just read and review the previous books! 28481637

A Ghost for Christmas…a Book Review

Right off the bat I have to say – I thoroughly enjoyed A Ghost for Christmas by J.D. Winters. This is the first book in the Destiny Bay Cozy Mysteries. It was a one afternoon read for me, but I honestly had a hard time putting it down. As seems to be a trend with a lot of these cozy mysteries, this one also includes a recipe – a Hawaiian one, for Chicken Hekka… and for once I may just be tempted to try it! (without the mushrooms as I seem to be semi allergic)

But, enough of that… back to the story itself. The main character – Mele Keahi is half Hawaiian, half Caucasian. Her father has passed away and her mother disappeared when she was quite young. This left her with her grandmother (who was Hawaiian) and her Aunt Bebe (the same). Having recently lost her job and had her relationship suddenly end, Mele has traveled to Destiny Bay to sort herself out and enjoy a vacation with her aunt. Cue body in the front yard and the mystery begins.

Mele has more issues than just a murder to cope with. As we learn in the early portion of the book she has also (at least as a teenager) been haunted, or at least seen the ghost of a man who she calls Dante. Why, she doesn’t know, but he is back.

Add into the mix a bit of Hawaiian flavour, a detective who seems to be both suspicious of Mele and flirtatious, neighbours and workers who have dubious motives and even more dubious alibis and that ever present hint of the paranormal and A Ghost for Christmas is a wonderful contemporary cozy read.

The Destiny Bay Cozy Mysteries series has great potential. I especially love that the main character, while “damaged” is still confident, she is who she is and is shaped by her past, but the future is an open book! One which I look forward to reading further! 51iu5UWfgJL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Halloween Here We Are

October 30-31

The day before Halloween was the best day for us to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas. I was surprised… Trinity watched it one and a half times! Even Echo sat through most of it. They giggled, they wiggled along to the music… it was great! I really need to get my hands on a copy of The Corpse Bride.  The kids decided the front needed some Halloween decorations and went out and did all this wonderful art on the sidewalk without telling us as a surprise!!

I think this is the haunted house

Jack-o-lanterns

Zander’s skeleton

What else did Tuesday have going for it? Well, we worked on our pictures from our Lego and birthday party sticker sets… the kids did their spelling and such as usual.. Emanuel coloured a child in a DINOSAUR costumepicture instead of learning about a NEW dinosaurs…

In dinosaur costume

There was also that SECOND pumpkin to spiffy up. This time everyone but Trinity put their hands in (or spoons at least) and got it cleaned out. We did a ghosty, vampire face on this one! I think it turned out rather neat!

Group effort

Gavin trying carving

Pumpkins together

And then to top off the day we took the kids out in the front yard for a trial run of the costumes! I will definitely redo the ones of Trinity and Echo, Trinity with face paint and Echo to get the BEST image we can of her with the Death of Rats (seriously we love Terry Pratchett can you tell?). In fact, that feltie is my idea designed by Ken and stitched by yours truly! 

Death and her Death of Rats!

Our very own Chococat

Batman (Zander) and Spiderman (Gavin in ACTION POSES

One of my all time favourites… PENGUIN !!!

The 5 together

We took the advice of Art for Kids and did our own water colour resist using crayons and black water colour paint. You can find instructions HERE. They had a blast drawing their spooky pictures and then painting the black over. I am not sure where all my water colours went as I am rather sure I had some small packages BUT Gavin was nice enough to share his set! 

The painting

Our finished art!

Now HALLOWEEN! Well, it was a wonderful day! I slept in way more than I expected to… this bug had me looped and I was up late the night before working on Echo’s Christmas present (photos  to come), thankfully Ken was able to continue his application code and job search and let me sleep while the kids had fun with Legos and toys and things. We have recently done a clothes sort for the season so it SHOULD be easier for the boys to keep their room clean with less clothing in the drawers. Note I said SHOULD. We did work on some pictures I printed from Activity Village(my go to place for so many crafty things) and enjoyed the sunshine at the kitchen table. 

Playing with goo

I have yet to let the twins know but as of Halloween they BOTH met their 20 sessions of reading and earned their pizza coupons! So now we have to determine when they can use them.  I took some time and baked some chocolate cakes and as per Darcy’s request we covered one in ORANGE cream cheese icing (sorry no picture). I actually found a nice and simple recipe for it as follows (ok not the cake, that was a box mix!): Quick and Easy Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
  • 2 – 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

METHOD

1 With an electric mixer, mix the butter and cream cheese together, about 3 minutes on medium speed until very smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure even mixing. 2 Add the vanilla extract and mix. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Keep adding until you get to desired sweetness and thickness. 3 Either spread on with a blunt knife or spatula, or spoon into a piping bag to decorate your cake or cupcake.

Once all of that was done, Ken showered and the kids prepped to go we packed our pumpkins up and headed out to the Novak’s. When we got there they were having an impromptu dance/carving party so our pumpkins fit right in. 

Carving

Our pumpkins came along for the ride

Since Andrew and Anthony were not ready for their plans Ken and I took Aidan (and briefly Alex before he headed back to wait for his ride) and our 5 and started trick or treating on the street the Novaks live on. We made it all around and back to wait for Darcy while she dropped off the 3 big boys for their groups. Darcy got back and we piled into their van and headed to a newer neighbourhood to round off our fun with a couple more streets.

Trick or treat!

The 6 we took out all together

After that it was back to the house to eat some candy and play some bingo! 

Bingo!

We hung out until nearly 10 when Echo was definitely in need of bed and all of the Novak boys were home (well except Big Andy who ended up with truck issues).

The whole group!

On the ride home we had 4 of 5 kids ASLEEP in the van (Echo went back and forth, I think she is getting closer to potty training and was annoyed that her diaper was wet… sadly with all the goings on we have been doing disposable more now). We stopped off for the closest thing I could get to a slurpee – fountain pop… and then home we went.  Definitely different from our previous Halloweens but in a good way. Our kids had fun, they spent time with special friends and basically family and Ken and I got to spend time with not only an amazing friend but our godson too. The kids really look forward to their time with the Novaks and when they ARE all together it seems like they do nothing but have fun. 

We had soooo much fun!