Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Bat in the Belfry (Review)

Book Title and Author: A Bat in the Belfry by Sarah Graves (This book is #16 in the Home Repair is Homicide Series.


When it comes to home repair, Jacobia “Jake” Tiptree  is a fervent wielder of power drills and paint brushes. And when catching criminals, she’s been known to really bring down the hammer. But when a shocking murder rocks the small town of Eastport, Maine, Jake may be the next victim for whom the bell tolls.
It is nearly midnight when the enormous bell in the belfry of All Faith Chapel—silent for decades—booms forth, startling awake the entire town of Eastport. Upon inspection of the steeple, the police uncover the body of local teenager Karen Hansen, who had climbed the belfry’s dark, rickety stairs for a midnight rendezvous. But instead of the promise of an exciting new life, Karen meets her death.

Meanwhile, as an epic nor’easter bears down on the idyllic island town, Jake Tiptree hurries to shore up her ramshackle old house against the big blow. An amateur detective, she has sworn off chasing criminals. But when the news of Karen’s murder spreads and much of the evidence points to Jake’s likable houseguest, she and her sleuthing partner, Ellie White, get to work.

They discover an unexpected ally in newcomer Lizzie Snow, a woman from “away” who seemed to have blown into town with the nor’easter, and who also seems to know a lot about the mind of a killer. Can Jake and Ellie trust her? As a killer roams free and the townsfolk struggle against the pounding, screaming storm, the resulting tempest of gossip and suspicion rivals anything the Atlantic could brew up—and threatens to keep Jake and Ellie from putting the final nail in this cold-blooded case. (source)

My Thoughts: I've been wanting to read this series for a long time, so I glad I got a chance at this advanced readers copy. At first I was confused because it doesn't follow the 'normal' pattern of telling the story from just the protagonists point of view. Once I realized I was going to see a culmination of many different stories from different angles I was hooked. A couple times I thought it might be too much, but in the end I really enjoyed it. So much so I read it in one day! :)

Now of course I will have to find the books in this series and catch up, since I think there was stuff that went on in the past that although didn't completely leave me at a loss, would have been much easier to understand. This did not take away from the book at all.

This book is scheduled to be released in May of this year so if you're a fan of this series make sure you pick it up!

*I received an Advanced Readers eBook copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review of the book*

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Homemade Liquid Hand Soap

In April of last year (yes, April!) I was intrigued by a recipe I found for making homemade Liquid hand soap. I wish I could remember the blog I found it on, but I can't - and I hate not giving credit. But if you google homemade liquid hand soap trust me, you will find a ton of recipes and they are all pretty similar. The one I tried used grated bar soap, glycerin, and water.

This was the soap I used

Grated with a regular cheese grater

added a couple tablespoons of glycerin and put it on the stove

Then I cooked it - which was pretty interesting because at first it looked like this

Once the soap was all dissolved I had to let it sit overnight (12 hours) and it looked like this

The bad news, it ended up pretty snotty-like. Which was gross. I used a whisk, which didn't work too well, to try and make it a better consistency.

I did end up using a hand blender - but it didn't turn out much better. So I went ahead and put it in an old rinsed out vinegar container for storage.

I just used the last of it this week - so it lasted almost a year, cost a tiny bit of money and time to make, and by the way, was fun to make (I think). BUT since my boys hate the consistency I've been asked to refrain from making anymore and go back to store bought. That's ok though, I still have oodles of homemade laundry soap and there's been no complaints about that!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Glade Expressions Collection

I'm not big on air fresheners - usually they smell too strong, or just "off" somehow. Recently I picked up both the Glade Expressions Collection mist and oil diffuser to try.

In the mist I picked up the Fuji Apple and Cardamom Spice. Oh my I really like the way it smells. Just a little spritz and you're in business! What I find intriguing is that the spray part is a holder - and you just buy refills. It doesn't look any fancier than any other mist freshener, but you can take the label off, so maybe people might not know it's air freshener? Let's face it though, you usually don't buy spray fresheners for the fancy container anyway.

The oil diffusers are what are supposed to be fancy enough to leave out. I really like the way these look. In my opinion, a little zen. I picked up this one in Lavender and Juniper Berry. I don't know what a Juniper Berry is - but I have this one on a shelf in my living room and it smells ok - a little strong. Maybe that's because I don't usually use fragrances. Now that I have the starter kit though I'm going to try some of the other scents, they might not be as overwhelming.

Overall I like the look of the diffuser and the smell of the Fuji Apple and Cardamom Spice. They also have Cotton and Italian Mandarin, and Pineapple and Mangosteen.

I received the Glade Expressions Collection mist and oil diffuser free for my honest opinion of the products.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


As many of you know we are a scouting family. My son has been involved in Scouts since first grade as a Tiger, he is now a Tenderfoot in Boy Scouts and although we've had our ups and downs it's been a part of our life for so long I can't imagine the fun stuff we would have missed if we hadn't been involved in Scouting.

I was asked to step back in as a Tiger Den leader late last year and I didn't hesitate to say yes. Why? Because it's a program I believe in. I love to be around the kids, teach them that being a scout is something you do all the time. Having fun with them, making instruments, learning songs, camping. I think that most boys (and girls) need to be reminded that you have to work to earn things - whether it be rank, patches, or belt loops.

I have made friends, people who will continue to be a part of my life no matter where we (or they) are. People I never would have met otherwise. Boys my son is now friends with he would have never met otherwise. Are there parents and boys that we don't like or get along with? Sure, but since the boys have to work together they learn that sometimes you have to work with people to reach a goal. Even if you don't like them. That's real life.

Do we have parents who think they're kids should get special treatment? Yes. Receive things without following the rules? Yes. And sometimes, after I've told them the same thing five times do I lose my temper? Yes. But for every parent there is a boy - a boy like this one:

This boy is an awesome example of not only a scout, but of a wonderful person. He's been a scout since Tigers and this is at his Eagle Award Ceremony. Without scouts we would have never met him, my son now wants to be a great scout like him - and that's a great thing.

One thing I wish we had more of is involved parents. It's very easy to bring your son once a week, hang out and watch what's going on, but parent volunteers make the program work. I know everyone is busy, I am too - and I'm volunteering with a group that doesn't even include my son - anyone can help! Ultimately the program is as good (or bad) as the people running it - so if you want it to be better step up. This doesn't just apply to scouts - it's any program your child is involved with!

So, even though I don't always like the parents (and sometimes the boys) overall we love being a scouting family.