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Chicken and Waffles – Pennsylvania Dutch

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles is not all about fried chicken! Not at all! Pennsylvania created the first version! 

My Story

My heritage is pretty boring. The family comes from a long line of people in rural Pennsylvania. Like real rural. Our town has had the same number of people in it for over 150 years. Granted it’s pretty big for a rural area (under 10,000 people), but very few people leave. People die, and their descendants move in. My aunt lived in the same house she was born in until she had to go to a nursing home. My family has lived in that town for going on 300 years. We have one grocery store, who’s headquarters happens to be in town. One hotel. The most popular restaurant is a hot dog palace, with five stools. We have history, but we are definitely small town America.

The biggest thing that we have going for it (outside of having the a first by Thomas Edison) is our Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. No, this does not mean we are Dutch, no matter what anyone tells you. We are German, through and through. And we are very proud of our Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and its cooking.

The History of Chicken and Waffles

Pennsylvania has lots of ‘war’ over the invention of foods. Whoopee Pies with Massachusetts is one. Our biggest one is Chicken and Waffles. There are two types, for those of you ‘not in the know’.  Read more

Easy Home Repairs – Without the Huge Expense

Easy Home RepairsEasy Home Repairs – Without the Huge Expense

My Story

I was forty-five, and I decided it was time to grow up and put down some roots, for the first time in my life. I grew up a military brat, was a veteran, married a veteran, and as a civilian had trouble keeping a job in one place. 

Amazingly, I finally found a civilian job where I fit in. I’d been there for eight years. I’d never been in one place eight years. I lived in an expensive area and decided to see if I qualified for a house, since I’d planned on retiring at a job I actually loved. What a shock, right? A job this diyhomegoddess loved! 

So I started looking for a house. For the first time in my life, I was going to own. I spent only a few weeks, but looked at probably about 40 houses. I got a townhouse! Unfortunately it was a foreclosure, and had a lot of work to do. There were only three former owners over its 35-year life, but sadly, they were diy-ers that had no clue what they were doing or did things on the cheap. Like putting flooring on top of the old. Like painting wrought-iron latex white! Or, my personal fav, covering the laundry room ceiling with vinyl siding!

 Easy Home Repair Skills

So I had to learn skills for easy home repairs fast! It’s been going on nine years. And I’m still fixing things. Yes, I still need to strip the wrought-iron. Or I will replace it with wood railing. I haven’t decided which would be better. But I’m doing it slowly. And what I can’t do, I am hiring professionals to do.

There are many things a diyhomegoddess can do on her own, to save a few bucks. Here are some easy home repairs you can do yourself. Read more

Libby Klein – Midnight Snacks Are Murder

Libby Klein

Midnight Snacks are Murder – A Poppy McAllister Mystery

General Introduction

Libby Klein has done it again, with Midnight Snacks are Murder. This story was totally different from the last book. That is a good thing. That means this was not a cookie cutter book. Nor was it based on a formula. I don’t like that there is always a love interest in a cozy, but at least in this series it’s not a cop! There is a thief going around in the middle of the night stealing knick-knacks and snacks from peoples’ houses. Then Aunt Ginny is accused of something much worse than this simple crime. Murder! It’s up to Poppy to prove Aunt Ginny is innocent, while fighting the police and her mother-in-law, who seemed to be trying to destroy the renovation of the B&B the gals are trying to open.

The Characters

These characters are fully developed. There were some very unique descriptions of the characters, such as “he was round and pink and looked to have the muscle mass of a canned ham”. You can picture what this man looked like, without having any actual pictorial description. 

There weren’t so many characters that you can’t keep track of them. I liked the fact that they seemed real to me. The old ladies were a hoot. I loved the scene where they kept growing in number as they were looking for Aunt Ginny. I loved how they all wanted to help. And I want to know what was in those cookies! Read more

Kate Carlisle – Deck The Hallways – A Fixer Upper Mystery

Kate Carlisle

General Information

Kate Carlisle has written several books in her fixer-upper series. This one is called Deck The Hallways. It’s about a charity fixing up a mansion to house those down on their luck, trying to get back on their feet. What an inspiring story in the first place. This is the 4th in the series, but the first one I’ve read. If you want any of my other reviews by other others, check here. FYI, a couple of these have been made into Hallmark movies!

Characters

There was a lot of different personalities in this story. And there were descriptions on the majority of the characters, so you could get a feel for them. Nothing cookie cutter here. But there was a LOT of characters. I did have a bit of trouble keeping track of all of them.

Settings

Most of the story took place in one building and the grounds, and we got a good idea of what it was like. Even though it was going through a renovation throughout the book. And there was lots of setting descriptions, which I thought was key to this kind of story, a fixer upper.

The Dialogue

There was a lot of dialogue in the story, but it wasn’t too overwhelming. You didn’t have a lot of problems understanding who was saying what. But since there was a lot of people in the story, the dialogue was predominant in the story. But like I said, it wasn’t overwhelming, because it wasn’t monologues, it was chatting.

The Plot

It did take 9 chapters to get to the murder, which seemed a little long to me. But at least the author kept showing scenes to add potential suspects before the actual murder happened.

And the indications in the books seemed to point this was an amateur sleuth, but I didn’t see too much of that going on in the story. Maybe I was reading it wrong?

The subplots were interesting, but I felt I should have started at the beginning of the series here. Some series you can jump in wherever, but I didn’t feel I could with this one.

The Pace

But, that being said, Kate Carlisle did a good ratio of dialogue, setting, exposition, and action.

Even though this didn’t seem like the typical cozy, the pace was pretty good. It didn’t drag at any one point in the story.

The one think I thought was neat was there was no normal hints like in other cozies. No lists at the end of tips on how search for antiques in those cozies. No fake ‘newsletters’ thrown at the end of some chapters like in fashion cozies. This was done totally different. The fixer upper tips were listed right in the story. When Shannon was discussing with Blake about drywall, they discussed the reason why it was hung horizontal instead of vertical. When she patched cracks with putty, Kate Carlisle (or the character) explained the process. How cool is that!

Kate Carlisle Author Information

You can find out more information about Kate Carlisle here.

Here is a list of the mysteries in her fixer-upper series:

  • A High End Finish – November 2014 (have, but haven’t read yet)
  • This Old Homicide – January 2015 (have, but haven’t read yet)
  • Crowned and Moldering – November 2015 (have, but haven’t read yet)
  • Deck the Hallways – November 2016
  • Eaves of Destruction – November 2017
  • A Wrench in the Works – Coming November 2018

She also has a bibliophile series that I haven’t reviewed yet.

The Verdict

All in all, not a bad one, and I do have other ones in the series I will be reading.

4 Stars

Do you have any of her books? What did you think?

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QUICK DECORATING IDEAS

quick decorating ideasQuick Decorating Ideas

My Story

Sometimes I need a quick decorating idea. Why? Because we all get bored with our house occasionally. I get tired of looking at the same old rooms all the time. But how does a diyhomegoddess afford a full house makeover? 

She doesn’t! She changes it up with what she has, or hits a yard sale/flea market! Or even Walmart! Quick decorating ideas are all over the internet. And in your mind.

Quick Decorating Ideas for Rooms

The easiest thing to do is to rearrange your furniture. No cost involved, only time! But what if a diyhomegoddess doesn’t have that option? What if there’s no reasonable way to rearrange?What else can she do?

Living Room

  • Buy an ottoman or two for more storage, complimenting your color scheme. Bonus!
  • Move the furniture away from the walls. It creates a more intimate setting!
  • Toss a colorful blanket over the sofa for a pop of color, and warmth on cold nights!
  • Do you have a tiny nook? Put a card table and chairs, with your game collection, ready for family night!

Kitchen

quick decorating ideas

an antique I will never use, a cookie/butter mold on the wall

  • Go to a flea market or yard sale and get some new chairs for your breakfast table. You can find some really cheap with just a bit of clean up!
  • Display a few of your most used cookbooks on an island, table, or a small shelf. That way you aren’t always dragging them out!
  • Do you have an antique spoon? Or something passed down but you don’t use? Hang it on the wall!
  • Have different kitchen towels to add a pop of unexpected color by your sink or stove!

Dining Room

  • Love your curtains, but want to replace the scheme? Use the old ones to reupholster your dining room or kitchen chairs!
  • Buy a cheap butler table, and put your coffee pot and all the accessories in the dining room. Instant after dinner coffee!
  • Buy a mirror. It will make the room look more spacious!

Bedroom

  • Have two or more sets of bedding, if you have storage. You can have different schemes for the seasons, using different thicknesses of blankets. Awesome idea Jonathan Scott!
  • Who says all your family pictures have to be in a hallway or living room?
  • Add a cheap chair, to throw your pillows on at night. And reading space when you aren’t in bed!
quick decorating ideas

These are pictures taken from an old calendar

Walls

  • Use washi tape to cover plastic picture frames. Instant pop of color. You can find washi in all colors and designs!
  • Do you have a swatch of material or wallpaper where you love the design? Frame it and put it on the wall. Who says it has to be a real picture for the wall!
  • Do you have commemorative plates? Hang them on the wall to save shelf space for books!
  • Use frames that have glass on both sides, so the wall color comes through!

Other Areas

  • Put down a rug runner on your hardwood floors. Right by the front or back door and you will leave the outside dirt on the rug instead of your hardwood!
  • Add a bold knick-knack or two to your bookshelves. Makes the look less cluttered!
  • Put out a basket for your pictures, instead of keeping them in bulky photo albums. People will be drawn to them!
  • Do your sliding doors always hop off the track? Take them down and put up heavy curtains instead!
  • Stack some books horizontally instead of vertically. Instant bookend if you put them next to vertically placed books!

Places For Inspiration for Quick Decorating Ideas

WHAT IS YOUR BEST CHEAP DECORATING IDEA YOU WANT TO SHARE?

Leslie Budewitz – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)

Leslie BudewitzLeslie Budewitz – Killing Thyme (A Spice Shop Mystery)

Leslie Budewitz wrote Killing Thyme. It is the third book in the Spice Shop Mystery series. The is a series after this diyhomegoddess’s own heart.  I hope to get to read more. It’s a unique place, a unique sleuth, and loads of fun.

The Characters

I like the idea of the repeating cast introductions at the beginning of the book. That way you have an idea of who is in the story except for the murderers, victims and suspects. The characters are described pretty well, so you can imagine what they look like.

Pepper Reece (no, that is not her real name, but only her BFF, and probably her ex know what her real name is) is a great character. She is struggling with her spice shop she purchased after leaving the corporate world. She stumbles through the mysteries, finding clues and red herrings by accident and on purpose. Just like a true amateur sleuth should. I like that she is not “perfect”, she fails all over the place. 

Tag Buhner is the cop you love to hate. He’s Pepper’s ex. He’s a hottie who seems to be obsessed with her. Why is it the ex-husbands are always falling over the wives. It is happening a lot lately; I think it is getting overdone.

The other cops (yes, there are more than one!) Spencer and Tracy are the annoying cops we love in this kind of mystery. They have different personalities, and their emotions are definitely shown.

Read more

Sherry Harris – Tagged for Death (A Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery)

Sherry HarrisSHERRY HARRIS – TAGGED FOR DEATH

Sherry Harris ‘Tagged for Death’ is the first in a new mystery series, based on the garage sale angle. Something I had not seen done before, and I liked the concept. A total stranger at Barnes and Noble pointed out the series when I was looking for something new to check out.

Characters

The characters were fully developed. I felt like I knew them, or wanted to get to know them. Sarah was fun. Going from a military wife to a civilian without the military status connection is hard to do. She had to become strong rather quickly, and used her friends (both military and civilian) to get grounded. 

CJ was an interesting character. Putting the military and police persona together was extremely strong. I liked the interactions between him and Sarah. 

The base characters were your standard military, which may set you off, but believe me, the way these characters were portrayed is on point. The actual military and the spouse sector are totally different, and it was portrayed well.

Dialogue

Read more

SHOT IN THE DARK BY CLEO COYLE

Cleo CoyleShot In The Dark by Cleo Coyle

Shot in the Dark, by Cleo Coyle is the 17th book in the Coffeehouse Mystery series. I have been in love with this series since it started back in 2003. This is one of those I don’t want to end. Let me tell you why.

The Setting Description

The descriptions in the books are very well written. There is enough detail to where you feel the energy of the city, and think you can see what is going on. And yet there isn’t so much that you was to jump paragraphs to get back to the story.

The Characters

The characters have been developed over the series. They are growing, not just being the same in each book. My favorites?

Matteo Allegro is one jerk that you hate and love at the same time. He’s protective of his family, but a bit smothering. 

Detective Franco of the police force is coming into his own. He’s in love with Claire and Matteo’s daughter. Matteo wants nothing to do with that! He is trying to do the right thing, but sometimes people just get in the way.

The baristas Dante and Esther are the best. They are recurring characters that are creative, alive, fun, and you want to be their friends.

And let’s not forget the stars, Claire and Mike. Anyone who has read a single episode of this series can see they belong together. But Cleo Coyle is not pushing them together right away, she’s dragging out the tension in the romance.

The Dialogue

The dialogue for each character is unique. No two talk the same. No two are mirror images. Even without dialogue tags, you can usually tell who is speaking, because of the quirks and such of the characters. They sounded like real people from all walks of life.

The Plot

What I liked about this plot is that it isn’t a rehash of the other plots. The backstory is not the same in each of the books either. So you aren’t hearing the same story over and over again. 

The one thing I liked about this plot, is Mike (Claire’s fiancé) kind of took a back seat in the story. Most cozies you have the amateur sleuth and the police hooking up together all the time. But Cleo Coyle did this one different. The amateur sleuth took control of the situation. Most of the cops were taking a back seat to her sleuthing. Which makes you want to root for the sleuth more. Come on, girl, you can solve this on your own!

The plot had serious depth to it. It wasn’t just 5 people, one dog and a cat as suspects. The story, and its subplots were well thought out, were interconnected, and made for some serious thinking of what was going on.

The red herrings and clues were on the money. There were enough of each to make me keep changing my mind about who the killer was. The killer was a surprise to me, but as soon as things started getting explained, I had the “ah ha” moment. There was no, ‘what do you mean?’ or ‘that doesn’t sound right!’ questions.

The one thing I gritted my teeth at was the subplot between Franco and Joy. The man is a police detective. I automatically thought he was undercover, but both Joy and Claire thought he might be cheating. No!!!!

Cleo Coyle

Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze

Bonus Recipes

FYI, each of Cleo Coyle’s books have recipes. And we aren’t talking just desserts. Simple, fancy, main course, dessert, even drinks! 

And yes, I did test one of the recipes in this book, as I try to in all culinary mysteries. I made the Blueberry Cream Cheese Scones with Vanilla Lemon Glaze. Yum!

More Information

You can read my post that show the list of all the novels in the series, as well as some basic background here.

And check out Cleo’s website here.

The Verdict

I have never had one of these books I didn’t like. I’m pretty tough on giving 5 stars, but this one definitely earned a 5 star review from me!