Monday, April 29, 2013

Cozy Mystery Books

I love to read. My favorite books to read are "cozy mysteries." I once read a definition of what a "cozy mystery" is. It said "A cozy mystery usually takes place in a quaint little town with everyday characters. You can easily see these characters as your friends and neighbors. There's always a mystery going on, but it's usually not too scary and generally free of gore." I have to agree with this description. The type of cozy I like usually talks about family and kids and everyday life and there's usually a few recipes included. :)

This may sound weird, but I love books where the characters talk about their daily routines like driving the kids to school, grocery shopping, cleaning house, cooking, etc. Maybe it's because that's the stage of life I'm in right now. :) Most cozy mysteries incorporate these things into the story.

 I thought I'd put together a list of a few of my favorite cozy mysteries out there. I put a link below each pic where you can find out more about each of these books. I'd probably just confuse you if I tried to explain what each one was about. :) There are also a couple of links at the bottom of the page where you can find more info about cozy mysteries.
cozy mystery books
God bless Anne George! She's the one that got me hooked on cozy mysteries. Her "Southern Sisters Mysteries" are a fantastic read. It's about a couple of 60 year old sisters in the south that are always getting into one mess or another. Now, you might think "I'm too young to enjoy a series about 60 year old women." Well, let me tell you, they'll have you laughing in no time! I've read the whole series (all 8 books) three times. 

The  "Miss Zukas Mysteries" by Jo Dereske. 

The "Fresh Baked Mysteries" by Livia J. Washburn

The "Gray Whale Inn Mysteries" by Karen MacInerney

cozy mystery books
The "Domestic Diva Series" by Krista Davis

Here are some more I love:

1. The "Jane Jeffry" books by Jill Churchill
2. The "Lucy Stone" mysteries by Leslie Meier
3. The "Yellow Rose Mysteries" by Leann Sweeney
4. The "Cats In Trouble Mysteries" by Leann Sweeney
5. The "Candy Shop Mysteries" by Sammi Carter
6. The "Hannah Swensen" mysteries by Joanne Fluke

*I love the Leann Sweeney books because the author lives in Texas. :) And they're really good books!

Here are some sites that are really helpful when looking for a particular book or book series:

I hope you found something new to read. Be sure to tell me about your favorite books too!

I'm joining these parties: Tuesdays At Our HomeWorks For Me WednesdayGrace At Home

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cake Balls Recipe

I love cake balls! Believe it or not, I just discovered them a few years ago. They are so simple to make and oh so good! What I love about this recipe is that you can use ANY flavor candy coating, ANY flavor frosting, and ANY flavor cake mix. Just use whatever sounds good to you. :) 

Here's what I used: Chocolate Coating, Cream Cheese Frosting, and a White Cake Mix . I just baked the cake as directed in a 9x13 pan. I let it cool, then crumbled it up into a bowl. Then I added the entire jar of frosting and mixed it all up. 

Here's what it looked like after I mixed the crumbled cake and frosting. I covered it and put it in the fridge for about an hour.

Then I used a cookie scooper and placed the balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

Look how many it made! After I had all of them on a cookie sheet, I placed the cookie sheets in the freezer for about 30 minutes. 

cake balls recipe
I melted the chocolate in the microwave using the instructions on the bag. Then I took out one cookie sheet at a time and used a fork to dip the balls into the chocolate. As you can see, I wasn't very neat about it. :) You can always trim the excess chocolate later as you can see in the pic below.

And here they are! 

Don't they look good? I put mine in a tin in the freezer so they would keep longer. They only take a few minutes to thaw. Have you ever made cake balls? 

Friday, April 26, 2013

This and That

Pretty silly title, huh? I wasn't sure what to call this post since it's kind of just some random things. :)

My sweet Holly cat. Here she is in her favorite sunny spot. 

These little fellas live in my garden. Their names are Jett, Cal, and Jim. Can anyone guess where I got those names from???  :)

This is little Wilbur. (I know it's totally weird to name things like this, but that's just me.) :)

Meet Elvis and Priscilla. My boys gave them to me one Christmas.

fairy door in tree
After seeing all the little fairy doors around, my hubby made this one for me. It sits below our bald cypress tree. I'm thinking of painting it. Any color suggestions?

This is my first time trying to grow a lemon tree. We'll see how it goes. I'm hoping to gets lots of lemons this summer.

I guess that's it for now. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Foyer and Dining Room Tour

Today I'm sharing my foyer and dining room. All pics enlarge when clicked. To see the Kitchen Tour, click HERE, to see the Family Room Tour, click HERE, to see the Laundry Room Tour, click HERE and to see the Bathrooms Tour, click HERE

foyer table
This is the sofa table in our entry. I just bought the mirror at Kirklands. Love that store! The basket underneath holds Holly's toys. : )
This lavender wreath came from JoAnn's.

Here's the dining room.
dining room
I got the chair covers at Walmart and the floor lamp came from Kirklands.

This is our buffet table. 
I think this corner table came from The Bombay Co. Remember them?  Gosh I miss that store. I did hear they're selling some Bombay furniture at Bed Bath and Beyond now.
My cat loves this spot!
I love this little quote from Anne of Green Gables. :)
That is a dollar store silver tray I painted with chalk board paint.
This is the other side of the sofa table in the entry. Not sure how this pic got out of order.

Another view of the buffet table. I store napkin rings, napkins, tablecloths, and serving pieces in here.
Those are Thomas Kinkade pictures in those frames. I just bought a book about Thomas Kinkade and carefully tore the pics out and put them in a frame. My hubby cut out the mats for me so they would fit. 
This print was purchased a long time ago from either Linen's and Things or Bed Bath and Beyond. I can't remember which.
We recently recovered this cornice board with fabric from JoAnn's.
I love this little table. The top is actually a tray and is removable. It contains the china and crystal from my mother's wedding.

I guess that's it for the dining room and entry. Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bacon, Truffles, and a Household Tip

I thought I'd do a post about a few things that are making me happy right now. I talked about a few of these on Instagram (chels70) but thought I'd share them here too.

Remember the Mak N Bacon the little girl named Abbey invented? Well, we finally bought one about a year ago. Oh my goodness...we love it! 

You just drape your bacon over the top and cover it with a paper towel and cook it in the microwave. A lot of the grease falls to the bottom, so that makes it healthy, right? :) The only bad thing is that now we're making bacon more often. And of course EATING it more often. Oh well. 

We've been buying these for years at our HEB store. They're $5.99 for a box and they're so good! I like chocolate, but I LOVE dark chocolate and these literally melt in your mouth.

I wanted to leave you with a little household tip...did you know that crumpled up black and white newspaper can get rid of odors in your fridge? I heard this from a friend and had the chance to try it out when I accidentally left a sliced onion in my fridge overnight. I just crumpled up a few sheets of newspaper and placed them around inside my fridge and over the course of a few hours, it really got rid of the odor! I heard that you have to use black and white newspaper because color pages (like those glossy store ads) won't work.

That's all I got for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Kitten Products

We recently got a new kitten named Holly. I've been slowly figuring out what works for us and what doesn't. I thought I'd do a post about a few kitten related items we've found helpful. (actually, there's a couple of things that would work for dogs too) All pics enlarge when clicked.

Holly loves her Kong Kickeroo! Plays with it constantly. We got it at Petsmart.

My husband and son made her this Kitty Condo. They used leftover scraps from when we had new carpet installed so it would match. A kitty condo HAS to match the carpet, right? :)

kitten toys
These are a few of her toys. Notice her feet in the upper left corner. She's wondering what I'm doing with HER stuff. Ha! She loves the catnip mice. She REALLY loves the pink one, as you can probably tell. I think most of these came from Petsmart.

slicker brush
There she is, still guarding her stuff! This is her flea comb and slicker brush. She loves it when we use the flea comb on her. I guess it feels like a massage. She had a few fleas when she came to us, and the flea comb was very helpful in removing them. These were purchased at Petsmart too.

Here's a pic of the flea comb.

We try to keep her toys in this basket in the front hall. We have to pick them up every night or she'll make tons of noise playing with them. :) The basket is from JoAnn's.

Holly is an indoor cat, so that means we have the "joy" of maintaining a litter box. :) We use a scoopable litter and it works great. I like the fact that we can scoop the poo AND pee that way. I didn't get a pic of her litter box or litter, but we keep it in the laundry room. This little black container holds the baking soda and room spray. Before adding the new litter to the litter box, I sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom. Then we periodically sprinkle a little on top of the litter after we remove her "presents." :) More on the room spray in a minute...

These are FANTASTIC!! As you can see, they're really for baby diapers, but I use them when I clean out the litter box. I just scoop her poo/pee into a bag, tie it shut and take it outside to the trash. They even smell like baby powder! They're A LOT cheaper than the kind that are actually for dogs. I've seen bags for picking up your dogs business at the big box pet supply stores and they're around $7 for 30 bags. These were purchased at the grocery store (HEB) and they contain 50 bags for only $1! I was just in Dollar Tree and they have these too! They're a different brand, but basically the same. At Dollar Tree, they were in the baby section and I think there were 75 in a bag for $1.

Here's what they look like when they're opened up. They have two handles for convenience.

Here's how I store them. I pre-open each one (they kind of stick together and they're easier to work with if they
are pre-opened) and just pop them into a gallon ziplock bag that I keep in the laundry room  where her litter box is. 

 body sprays
And now for the room sprays...After we clean the litter box, we sprinkle a little baking soda on top of the litter, then we spray some of this room spray in there just for good measure. These are from Dollar Tree. This is just a sampling of the scents they have. They carry a ton of different scents. I like them because they aren't over powering. I also like Bath and Body Works sprays, but they seem to almost smell up the whole house (which can be a good thing sometimes). These from Dollar Tree kind of stay where you spray them. And of course, they're only $1. 

Here's one more thing I just added to the laundry room where her litter is. I actually bought this reed diffuser in December from Pier 1. I recently pulled it back out to see if it works in here. So far, so good. It seems to give a nice scent in there. If this works, I may not have to use the room sprays as much.

Here's what it looks like. Sorry about the dust. I should have dusted that shelf first. :) 

I don't know why I felt like I had to keep the diffuser hidden. Maybe because it was a Christmas scent and has gingerbread men on it? Ha! I guess it is a little out of season. :) I just tucked it behind this candle on a shelf in the laundry room.

Here's one more pic of sweet Holly. :)
I almost forgot to add a pic of her bowls. She's finally big enough to use them now. When we first got her, she was so tiny, she couldn't even see over the top of these. We've had these bowls for years. We used them with our last cats too. I think I bought it at either Petsmart or Walmart.
This pic cracks me up every time I see it! She was mid-yawn! That's her corrugated cardboard scratcher in the background and her "fishing pole" toy in front of her. The scratcher is from Petsmart and the fishing pole toy was a gift from my mom. :)

This is a little night light we put in the laundry room. Since this is where Holly's litter box is, I wanted her to be able to see it well enough at night. She could probably see just fine without it, but it makes me feel better knowing there's a little light in there at night. :)

Like I said, Holly had a few fleas when she came to us. I ordered this from We put it on her and haven't seen any fleas since. It's just a once a month application and it really seems to work. As a bonus, we saved $20 on the Advantage II vs. getting it at a local pet supply store. (even with shipping, we still saved $20)

I'm not getting paid to endorse any of these things. They are just a few products we found very helpful. Hopefully soon I will get a post up about how Holly came to our family. Thanks for visiting!

I'm joining these parties: Sunday Showcase PartyThe ScoopTuesdays At Our HomeWow Us WednesdaysGrace At HomeFlaunt It FridayWorks For Me WednesdayMoonshine Monday

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