Using What I Have To Be Different: Strawberry Cupcake Icing

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My daughter picked out some strawberry cake mix and strawberry icing for us to make cupcakes yesterday. The cupcakes themselves we baked using the back of the box. I’ve been itching to use my new hand mixer for some time, so we decided to try something different with the icing.
First I used some of my daughter’s Dannon Danimals Smoothie (Strawberry Banana Flavor) and dumped it in a bowl. 

Then I grabbed some of the leftover “icing” from our gingerbread house at Christmas from the fridge. It’s the stuff you use to basically cement the house together and the decorations on it. I put both bags (one red and one white) in the microwave to melt the icing. Then I squeezed them both into the bowl. 
Next I used half a container of the strawberry icing my daughter picked out and added some of the whipped icing I had picked out for my failed cupcakes the night before. 

Using the hand mixer on the lowest setting I mixed everything and noticed it was a little runny. I added just a little of the actual cake mix and it firmed up quite nicely. It was very pillowy and soft at that point and iced the cupcakes very well. We even had some left over for next time. 

Have you ever improvised something in the kitchen that turned out great? What was it? Or did you mix things just to get rid of that item in the fridge that needs to go? I can’t wait to hear from you!

Until later,

My Top 5 Mystery Novels

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Before we begin this list, I would like to explain a few things. I got started reading mystery novels the same way a lot of kids did: Nancy Drew. There’s always something fun and exciting about trying to figure out the puzzle at hand while the stakes get higher and higher. This would be how I would describe great mystery novels. So let us begin!

Number 5

The Sasha McCandless series by Melissa F. Miller 

I stumbled upon this gem of a series on Amazon Kindle because they give you the first book for free. And believe it or not, I’ve willingly paid for each book in the series since then! 

Synopsis for Book One

A female corporate lawyer finds out that there is more to the case her firm is handling regarding a place crash. She teams up with an air marshal and they rush to get to the bottom of things as bodies start piling up around them. 

The series pretty much follows a similar pattern every book. There’s a case or mystery that needs solving and Sasha does the best she can to solve it. Plus the writer fits in some various elements of the lawyer’s personal life to keep you interested in her as a human. The balance between the two is very well written.

Why I Enjoyed It

Well I always love a good lawyer or legal story. But also, once the mysteries are solved, the solution always makes sense. Plus the characters are so likable that you’re rooting for them the whole time. 

** I know this may not necessarily fall into the category of mystery, but it is definitely a thriller with mystery undertones. There are puzzle pieces that are periodically revealed throughout and you’re trying to determine the culprit, so that’s mystery enough for me. 

Get Book 1 Here!
Buy Volume 1 Here!

Number 4

Before I Go To Sleep by S. J. Watson


A woman wakes up next to a man she doesn’t know and barely recognizes her own face in the mirror. She has a rare form of short term memory loss and amnesia. Things aren’t as they seem and she works with a doctor to piece her life together with the help of a journal she keeps ever day before her memory is erased before she goes to sleep. 

Why I Enjoyed It

It’s a little bit slow to start, but the reader really feels just as confused as the protagonist. My favorite part was her quest to understand her life by discovering small pieces here and there. The journey itself. Even though the protagonist wasn’t the most likeable of characters at times, the reader can’t help but feel for her and what she’s going through. I have yet to see the movie, but it’s definitely on my to do list.

Buy the book here! 

Buy the movie here! 

Number 3

Tin God by Stacy Green 


Jaymee is a waitress in a small town in Mississippi. When the only person who knows her secret is murdered similar to her best friend years ago, she teams up with the widower to find out who did it and why. The readers learn the secret Jaymee is hiding as well as why someone wants to keep it hidden. 

Why I Enjoyed It 

I stumbled upon this book because it was free on Amazon Kindle. One of my favorite parts is the setting, a small town close to Natchez, Mississippi. Stacey Green does a great job capturing the physical description of the area plus the small town dynamics therein. Jaymee is a very likeable character from the beginning because the readers can tell she’s been through so much to be so young. You can empathize with her, even though you don’t learn why she’s troubled until later. Between trying to find the murderer and learning about the secrets Jaymee is keeping, this book will keep you on your toes and thinking. 

Get it here!

Number Two

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight


Kate is beckoned to her daughter’s school to learn that her daughter fell to her death from the roof. The official story is that she committed suicide, until the mother receives an anonymous text telling her that Amelia didn’t jump. Through reconstructing her daughter’s last days, Kate pieces together the story and eventually learns what happened to Amelia. 

Why I Enjoyed It

A co-worker of mine referred this book to me after we both read Gone Girl. After the hot mess that book turned out to be (in a good way), I was a little wary of this one. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. There are some slow parts that I had trouble pushing through, but none the less, the conclusion made it all worth it. 

Buy it here!

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for! My very favorite mystery novel

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn 


Twenty four years after her family was slaughtered in their Kansas home, Libby Day is starting to struggle financially. A letter from a amateur crime solving club piques her reluctant interest. The club’s members introduce some new information for her and she reluctantly follows along for the money, at first… The truth is revealed slowly but surely, using modern day and flashbacks of the time leading up to the murders. 

Why I Enjoyed It

Gillian Flynn is one of my favorite writers to date (only behind John Grisham) and this book does not disappoint. Of the three books I’ve read of hers (Gone Girl and Sharp Objects being the other two), this one is the best. It has a satisfying ending and ties up every loose end introduced. Plus I really loved Libby’s attitude. She really stuck to her guns even when various things are brought into question. She acts very much like you’d expect a messed up survivor would. 

The Movie 

I’ve also had the immense pleasure of watching the movie adaptation of this book. Starring Charlize Theron in my favorite role of hers to date, it does not disappoint. I’m usually the viewer who throws popcorn at the screen when they change or alter too much of a book adaptation. But this movie does not change much of anything. And there are some bonuses that I love, such as Gillian Flynn’s own cameo and Charlize Theron’s idea of making Libby a hoarder. Yes, I watched the special features on the DVD to learn these things. Even if you don’t like to read, this is still a great movie! 

Buy the book here! 

Buy the movie here! 

Have you read any of the books or series I listed? If so, what do you think of them? Are there any books I’ve missed or that I need to read? 



Hello there everyone.

After quite a few failed blogging attempts, I figured I’d give this thing another go. First and foremost, I’m more excited this time because I’m actually going to be talking about things I care about. I’m not your typical stay at home mother blogger by any means; I have a full time job on top of raising my 5 year old daughter and navigating my marriage (6 years and counting 😀 ). But regardless,  as you can tell from the headings on the page, I’ll be discussing mysteries and conspiracy theories; various domestic things I encounter like recipes, diy, and parenting things; reviews; creative writing for the rare occasion I get hit with a short story or idea; and ramblings is planned for a place for things that aren’t already categorized. 

I’m excited to see where this journey will take us and can’t wait to hear from you. If you have any suggestions for things to discuss, please feel free to let me know!