December 1, 2012

• READING NOOK • Favorite Children's Books for the Gift Giving Season

It's already the first of December and Christmas Day is quickly approaching. I have decided to compile a list of my favorite children's books for gift giving. Of course those who do not celebrate the holidays, these make great gifts throughout the year.

The Velveteen Rabbit
Author:  Margery Williams

Goodnight Moon
Author: Margaret Wise Brown

The Little Engine That Could
Author Watty Piper

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Author: Eric Carle

**Of course every child should have at least two ALL the Dr. Suess books**

My childrens favorite was...

Charlotte's Web
Author: E.B. White

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Author/Illustrator: Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Chronicles of Narnia
Author: C.S. Lewis

Harry Potter Series
Author. J.K. Rowling

**For those teenagers and adults, one of my daughters favorites**

The Lord of the Rings
Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Ok, this is a short list considering all the books out there and honestly you really can't go wrong with these. Unless the child you are giving them too has already read them!

Hope this helped with some gift giving ideas. If you want more ideas, click on "Welcome to My Bookshelf" tab above to see some of the books I'm reading or read.

November 4, 2012

• READING NOOK • What I've Read, 7

Author:Ransom Riggs

This is such a cute book. Now I will admit that it wasn't one of those books that I just had to devour in one sitting, in fact it took me about a week to read all 225 pages. But it was entertaining, Also from my research I have discovered that sometime in 2013 there will be a part two released. I will definitely be purchasing it, so I can follow his adventure into the world of the peculiar.

Jacob, whose grandfather was a child during the Holocaust, loved to hear his Grandpa's fascinating stories about growing up in a home during WWII. While he told his stories he would show Jacob, rather peculiar pictures of his friends within this home. As a youngster he believed the stories of monsters, the invisible boy, the levitating girl, etc. But as he grew older he started to doubt what his grandfather was telling. However, when his grandpa is killed, Jacob world goes spiraling out of control.

Book Description
Courtesy of
"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs."

"It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive."

"A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows."

Let me end by saying......


Long time ago I did BUT after some . . . well . . . bad reads . . . I stopped. Now don't get me wrong...I know that what I think is good or bad others may find the opposite. But how many of you have picked up a book because of the RAVE reviews, got all excited . . . only to be disappointed? YEP . . . been there, done that !

Now once I am finished with the book I will read reviews; and sometimes I am left wondering if I read the same book as others!! (haha) As is true with this book. I read the good and bad reviews. Many complained about the familiarity of the characters (the invisible boy, the strong girl, etc) but aren't the majority of stories based on ideas from other stories or surroundings. The only difference is the way the author manipulates it to tell his/her story!

 However, there was one review that just stuck out. If fact, it struck me so, that I went back and skimmed the book again to figure out what in the hell this person was talking about! Now I will not bore you with the review but I will give you the condensed version of the complaint!

So . . .
are there curse words? YES
are there a lot? NO
sexist remarks? YES
do they fit with the time period of the book? YES

PLUS . . . you have to remember the main character is 16, so what is written on the pages is not bad considering what many at 16 hear and say on a daily bases. With that said...

Here is what I recommend . . .

Though this book is labeled young adult, if I were you I would read it, then decide if the young teenager, or the young advanced reader you want to give it to can handle the language and sexist remarks! If they can't handle it, then you just saved yourself some heart ache. If the can, then I hope they enjoy it.

October 23, 2012

• READING NOOK • Murder of the Century. . .

Among the many genres of books I love to read, true crime is right up there at the top. I believe the very first true crime novel I ever read was "Helter Skelter". Have you ever read it?

Well, this next true crime, is a culmination of news reports, court transcripts and the like. It isn't exactly a quick read (IMO), BUT, it was a good read.

If you find it fascinating to read how murders, the investigations and newspaper stories were handled not so long ago, then this is the book for you. If you have ever wondered how tabloid journalism got its start, then this book is for you.

I came away from this book realizing that we as a society haven't veered to far from this type of journalism. In fact, we are faced with it everyday, to the point where the truth is untrue and the untrue is the truth!

Maybe you will come away feeling differently?

On Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects.

The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives
headlong into the era's most baffling murder mystery. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Reenactments of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio--a hard-luck cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor--all raced to solve the crime.

What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim whom the police couldn't identify with certainty, and who the defense claimed wasn't even dead. The Murder of the Century is a rollicking tale--a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.

October 15, 2012


Last weekend my hubby and I went to Southport, NC for a surprise birthday party. While there we visited many of the local shops. This is where I found the book I am going to talk about today.

The title caught my eye first, then the authors name, when I flipped the book over and read the exert...I knew I had to read it. Let me say now, that was the best  six dollars and change I spent on a spur of the moment book purchase in a while.

Author: Wanda Canada

This story takes place in Wilmington, NC. From the very first the murders begin. Carroll Davenport is the main character. She is spunky, stubborn, has dealt with some rather harsh situations in her life, and has a tendency to react before she thinks, which lands her in some rather tight spots.
Island Murders is a fast paced read. I read it one day (between all the other things I am working on), it draws you in and you can't wait to read who is going to be the next to die, or who will be the next suspect.
Will you be able to figure out who is doing what and why?

Figure Eight Island is not what you'd call a sleepy little hamlet. Home to million-dollar houses and wealth, the island near Wilmington, North Carolina is the place to live and vacation for the South's privileged class.
Contractor Carroll Davenport doesn't party with the jet-setters; she builds houses for them. But when an arsonist destroys a house she's building and her job supervisor is found buried under ten feet of topsoil, Carroll is drawn into a world of drug smuggling, corruption and murder. It's enough to wreck her day.
The challenging task of keeping Carroll safe becomes perilous when a rogue cop pegs her as the murderer. Under the protective eye of Sheriff Stan Council and with the help of a not-unattractive off-duty FBI agent, Carroll struggles to clear her name—but what she doesn't know could get her and everyone she loves killed.

I love quick reads. Hopefully you will check this one out.

October 1, 2012

• HOUSE & HOME • Welcome To.......Black Widow Cafe

  Black Widow Cafe!!!

Well, I didn't get a lot of Halloween decoration up; But I did  get the dining room table set up for my Grandson.  

Let me show you around........
(Majority of the things used came from the Dollar Tree and things I had laying around the house.)

The menu for the Black Widow Cafe was created on Microsoft Word then stained with tea and the edges burned, placed in a Dollar Tree frame I bought sometime ago, which was spray painted black.
Here is a close up

Some of it can't be seen, here is what's on the menu:
Shrunken Skull soup
Zombie hearts with Wolverine blood glaze
Boiled spiders and roaches
Candied centipedes
Arsenic pumpkins with bats and skulls

Here is the table
(excuse the mess)
OH LOOK! We have two guest already!!!!

Here are the Arsenic pumpkins.

I used some faux sugared pumpkins, haphazardly painted them with brown craft paint, added plastic bats and skulls, glued to a black plate and added spanish moss. Very easy to do.

The shrunken skulls, spiders and roaches................

Next, I took some deviled egg trays (that I never used), painted two black, found an unused glass candle holder, put a little spanish moss in the bottom, added a spider, glued the candle holder to the center of one plate and glued the other on top of that. I then took some skulls and glued them in the area for the eggs, took some more plastic bugs and placed them in the center; the finished product.

Candied Centipedes.........

The candied centipedes are in another glass candle holder that I also painted black.

Zombie hearts with wolverine blood glaze..........

For the Zombie hearts. I purchased hearts from the Dollar Tree, placed them on a cheese and cracker tray that has been placed upside down on a big margarita glass. Under the glass is more spanish moss and spiders. Over the top, on the edges and on the runner I placed faux blood, also purchased at the Dollar tree. 

Would you care for some?

I also did something small in the kitchen...........

I took a metal tray, purchased from Kirklands, placed some spanish moss, two wine glasses, a bowl filled with eyeball ice cubes, some skulls, and a bottle that was spray painted black with a label purchased from Michaels last year. 
Care for a drink?

OH! Beware of Edgar the crow....he will peck you hand!!

Hopefully you enjoyed it. Thank you for visiting and come back soon!!!


July 21, 2012

• RECIPES • Baked Ziti

*This is a featured post from Our Home in the Maples*

Guess what? I cooked!! applause! Really it was nothing spectacular, really.

OK, I will get on with the post. For dinner the other night I made Baked Ziti. I honestly can't remember where I got the recipe, but like many other recipes I get, I adapt to suit the family.

Doesn't it look delish?



  • 9x13 pan
  • 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1 pound ground beef or any other meat (optional)
  • 2 -16oz boxes of ziti (or any small tube pasta ,you will only use about 1 1/2 boxes)
  • 1- 6oz pkg Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1- 8 oz pkg Italian Style Cheese, shredded
  • 1- 26 oz jar/can Spaghetti Sauce


  1. preheat over to 350 degrees, cook and drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water), pour back in pot.
  2. brown meat, then drain
  3. Stir meat into pasta
  4. stir in all ricotta cheese and mix well
  5. add the 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  6. add 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, combine well
  7. add all the spaghetti sauce, combine well
  8. pour into 9x13
  9. sprinkle a layer of parmesan cheese
  10. then layer on a thick layer of Italian blend cheese
  11. Cover with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes
  12. remove the foil the last 5 minutes so the cheese can brown a wee bit (optional)
  13. cut and serve with garlic bread.
Created using The Recipes Generator

num, num,num,num

Thank you for visiting.
Enjoy your day,

Linking to:(SUNDAYOverflowing with Creativity - Its So Very Cheri - The Tablescaper (MONDAY) Meet Me Monday - On the Menu Monday (TUESDAYOne Project at a Time (WEDNESDAYAll Star Block Party - Whimsy Wednesday (THURSDAYLink It Up - Tasty Thursday (FRIDAY)


June 12, 2012

• PROJECTS • Burlap Wreath, Design #1

     Wreaths made from strips of burlap can be seen all over blogland and Pinterest.

With all the burlap that DH brought home for me (you can read more here), 

I decided the best way to get rid of some of it was to finally break down and make a wreath.

They are really easy to make
really time consuming!!

Cut your burlap in to strips about 1 inch wide and 12 inches long.

 Please don't ask me how many strips I cut all, I know is it took me about 6 hours to cut them all.
I used a Christmas wreath that I was no longer going to use and after cutting all those strips all I wanted to do was get this wreath finished!!!

Take all your strips and begin to tie them onto the wreath; making it as full as you can.
Once finished it should be full and fluffy.
After all the strips are tied on; go through with scissors and cut strips to approximately the same length.

June 4, 2012

• READING NOOK • Book Recommendation

Three of my followers have been so gracious to recommend books for your reading pleasure.

**The first is Terry (who is closing down her blog These Peas Taste Funny) @ WRITE. CREATE. CONNECT. recommended the following book, and let me just say from what I have read this book is right up my alley. I have it on my Christmas list and I honestly do not know if I am going to be able to hold off until then.

In medieval Cambridge, four children have been murdered. The Catholic townsfolk blame their Jewish neighbors, so to save them from the rioting mob, the Cambridge Jews are placed under the protection of the king. King Henry II is no friend of the Jews-or anyone, really-but he believes in law and order, and he desperately needs the taxes he receives from Jewish merchants. Hoping scientific investigation will catch the true killer, Henry calls on his cousin, the King of Sicily-whose subjects include the best medical experts in Europe-and asks for his finest "master of the art of death," the earliest form of medical examiner. The Italian doctor chosen for the task is a young prodigy from the University of Salerno, an expert in the science of anatomy and the art of detection. But her name is Adelia; the king has been sent a "mistress of the art of death."
In a backward and superstitious country like England, Adelia faces danger at every turn. As she examines the victims and retraces their last steps, Adelia must conceal her true identity in order to avoid accusations of witchcraft. Along the way, she's assisted by one of the king's tax collectors, Sir Rowley Picot, a man with a personal stake in the investigation. A former Crusader knight, Rowley may be a needed friend ... or the fiend for whom they are searching. As Adelia's investigation takes her along Cambridge's shadowy river paths, and behind the closed doors of its churches and nunneries, the hunt intensifies and the killer prepares to strike again...
Doesn't this sound like a great book and apparently this is part of a series. OH BOY! I am in love and I haven't even read it yet. THANK YOU TERRY!

**The next book recommendation is from Maggie @ LITTLE MISS MAGGIE. This is just the cutest book and what she created from it is......well..........just BEAUTIFUL.


Here is what Maggie says about the book.
The book was authored by Anna Corba and it retails at 16.95.  Worth every penny for the amount of inspiration she offers.Anna includes beautiful French graphics and typography.She offers a sketch page and then a scrap booking style format on the opposite page.I have spent a lot of time studying and enjoying this book. Her sketches are so easy to follow.  Even a child could do it (or an inner child if you are an adult like myself.)I hope you have found this book as inspiring as I have. 
 Head on over to Maggie's blog @ LITTLE MISS MAGGIE to see what she created with this book.
 I really want to create something beautiful like she did; BUT for know I will just drool, ooh and aaahh over what she created. THANK YOU MAGGIE!

**Our final recommendation is from Sonny @ 155 DREAM LANE. You want to know the funny thing about the book(s) she suggested? This author has been writing these books for years, and although I LOVE a great who-done-it, I have NEVER, yes you read that right NEVER read one of her books!! I have no idea why either. I guess I better get on the ball and start reading them, huh?

Here is just a sampling of what Sonny has to say:
I get so into these stories I actually considered taking a Private Investigator course, ROLF..  Yes I dream of being a super slouth out and about gathering clues, information, just making a pest of myself in general and then, against all odds I SOLVE the case , take a deep breath of satisfied contentment, collect me fee and on to the next one..
Here is an excerpt from the first in the series:
My name is Kinsey Millhone. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state of California. I’m thirty-two years old, twice divorced, no kids. The day before yesterday I killed someone and the fact weighs heavily on my mind . . .’ When Laurence Fife was murdered, few cared. A slick divorce attorney with a reputation for ruthlessness, Fife was also rumoured to be a slippery ladies’ man. Plenty of people in the picturesque Southern California town of Santa Teresa had reason to want him dead. Including, thought the cops, his young and beautiful wife, Nikki. With motive, access and opportunity, Nikki was their number one suspect. The Jury thought so too. Eight years later and out on parole, Nikki Fife hires Kinsey Millhone to find out who really killed her husband. But the trail has gone cold and there is a chilling twist even Kinsey didn’t expect . . . 
Head on over to see what else SONNY @ 155 DREAM LANE has to say about this great series. I have added these books to my Christmas list and I will definitely be downloading these on to my touchpad! THANK YOU SONNY!

So there ya have it. All the recommendations for this months RDR. I hope you have discovered some books you are interested in. PLEASE DON'T FORGET TO STOP BY:


June 3, 2012

• READING NOOK • What I've Read, 6

Hey everyone!
I have been thinking! stop........the smoke you smell is not coming from me thinking...............SHEESH!

With everyone's hectic schedule, I have decided to make some changes to my Rainy Day Reading.

First, I will only be posting 1 or 2 books, instead of the usual 3 to 4. Not that I don't have enough books for many more post, but a change is needed.

Second, Rainy Day Reading will be posted the FIRST FRIDAY of every month (starting in July). This way it is posted for the weekend when most people enjoy some down time.

So there are the changes. I really do hope that those I contact will be willing to participate. It will be gratefully appreciated.

Now on to the book suggestions:

1. I'm sure many may have already read this book, but I enjoyed it, and if any haven't here is your chance. THE HELP

Click here to read description: 

2. Now here comes one by Stephen King. This is on audio so you can listen to it where ever you are. THE GINGERBREAD GIRL

Click here to read discription: King/dp/0743571185

May 31, 2012

• READING NOOK • Book of the Month

Now for the pick of the month. Several of my friends are going to see the stage production of this next book. 

Those of you who have grown up watching the "Wizard of Oz" and can probably recite it word for word, this next book may or may not be want to read it. I read it, I liked it but I wasn't over enthused with it. It was just to far out in left field for me and it was SLOW! However, some of you might enjoy or may have enjoyed it. So without further ado.............

4. "Wicked" 'The Live and Times of the Wicked Which of the West', BY: Gregory Maguire