Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Blessedly Stressed and Surviving ...

Blessedly Stressed and therefore I have not had a chance to finish my book. But as I write this it is 10:39 pm and while I have only a few chapters left to go, I have just gotten home from a very long but Blessedly Stressed day, and do not want to rush the ending.

Somehow this day started far earlier than I had anticipated, was filled with plot twists and unexpected delights as well. In the end I got to spend the evening with my family and my hockey family, helping to build a community and send our team to a tournament in the Spring.

I also am running a 24/7 event on The Beyond The Bookmarks Page that I am finding to be the most wonderful experience. Meeting and sharing crafts, recipes, books, and more, giving me something wonderful to do this holiday season. 
A huge thank you to any and all who have joined us so far. 

If you ever need something done ask a busy person, if you need the impossible done ask a mom. I have the pleasure of working with some amazing people in my life both online and in real life. I am grateful for each and everyone of them.

I promise to be back with a review tomorrow and to live in the moment today.
Thank you for joining me here for a cup of tea and a day in reflection. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Season of Miracles For One Reluctant Reader...

Today I am sharing a personal victory story during this season of miracles, you see miracles do happen on the most ordinary of days and while many have witnessed miracles of different magnitudes, what may seem small to some is huge to others.  I can pinpoint the moment in time my youngest son, previously known as The Reluctant Reader, found a love of reading.

It was a week ago Saturday at 7:20 am, when my son said, "Mom, can I bring my book in the car to hockey." Few things have left me speechless and in this moment I found myself catching my breath.  I agreed yes he could bring his book.

That moment was a catalyst to a week of adventure and delight, mayhem and discovery I had not imagined in my wildest dreams.
I thought this was a one off moment but it actually was the launching ground for a turnaround I never thought possible. You see my son, all my boys come by their reading reluctancy quite honestly. maybe you are new to my blog or maybe you noticed all the mistakes I make. I have spent the better part of 20 years now trying to correct my profound dyslexia and overcome my inability to read and write.  So when all my boys struggled with reading I was not shocked but sad, hopeful that they would one day figure it out, with my youngest, I did not think it could be so soon.

Fast forward to last Monday at pick up from school, imagine my surprise when the Principal, and the teacher in charge of Special Needs (my kids have Autism) both separately met me  in the hall to tell me that my son had a really off day. Which is really not like him and when I got him in the car and asked him why his day was so off  and finally he admitted he was "so cranky because, (he) just could not sleep and had to know how my book ended so I stayed up all night with my flashlight reading and the flashlight batteries died on the last page..." Hard to keep a straight face I had to let him know that he could not have his book in bed and that he would have to go to bed early and apologize to his teachers the next day.  I was secretly proud and horrified.  Over the week he read all three of his books and outloud to two different visitors to our house, then Saturday morning true to his word he had book in hand while we made our way to hockey.
Saturday morning, my son, the goalie, the reformed reluctant reader sustained his first ever hockey injury. A PAPER CUT.
Few things can prepare you in life for the moment you have to rip a book out of a child's hand only to protect them from getting hurt on the ice. It is. I will tell you nearly impossible to put a chest protector on a child who has both hands on a book.
He was a good sport though, pink bandage on his finger and book in hand, it may have actually been the fastest I ever got him into his goalie gear...
While I finished helping his brother get dressed, he went to read by the side of the rink. When I got to him, the adult team that plays before us was standing their, two goalies, commenting and wishing him a good game and they tried but could not get him to look up from the book. Laughing they left saying yes books are better than hockey...

This may not seem like a miracle to you, but for this once reluctant reader herself, it is just that and a dream come true.
 Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a holiday story. I look forward to sharing more with you again tomorrow.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Honey-Baked Homicide by Gayle Lesson

I finished Honey-Baked Homicide by Gayle Lesson just before 10 last night. This is the third in the series and more complex than the previous two. While my favorite character Homer is an important side character, I would have loved to have had more time with Aunty Bess. Honestly that is the only fault I could find in this mystery. It is a very good one, I enjoyed the characters and the story. I did not have it figured out when the twist was revealed. It was sad and cozy all at the same time. This one is out now and has some great recipes at the end too!
The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . . It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning. As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation...

This one is out now and you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. 
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Saturday, December 9, 2017

On My Table and In My Cup December 2nd -9th

I am late in posting this morning, and I hope I did not cause a worry. Truth is I went to bed so exhausted I forgot one of my most favorite things to do and that is write my daily post.
This week has been a busy one though not for reading, I have felt as though I am on a speeding train and not managed to yet finish Honey-Baked Homicide, working on it though every chance I get!
On my table this week was Dressed To Kill a wonderful book from Vicki Vass and I hope you can see part of my excitement is that top left corner is my quote and name!!! I had an advanced copy of it so it was a delight to see this in print!
I throughly enjoyed Another One Bites The Crust by Ellie Alexander, this one had me on eggshells and I loved it! Out soon and such a fun series!
Exciting as a tea lover to have had this to read before it comes out. This is out December 26th and one I can not wait to have in my hand as a print book!
I had the delight and pleasure of reading Hark The Herald Angels Slay earlier in the week,this is a great series and I am thrilled to have had it to read, a little summer Christmas escape is very welcoming in the cold damp December mornings.
I have had 9 different teas already this month and what a fun advent calendar this is. Today is  a green cranberry tea.
I look forward to sharing more with you tomorrow and will do my best to have it on time!
Thank you for joining me for a look back at what has been on my table and this week in review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Friday, December 8, 2017

Fancy Friday Finds- Harry Potter Themed Tea...

I accidently stumbled into a brilliant tea shop on Etsy offering Harry Potter Themed Teas! I am so excited to see these! Caught my eye right off the bat was the Christmas at Hogwarts Tea!  Offered in two sizes this one is at the top of my list.
Click here to see the listing in the Beccas Little Boutique. 
Butter Beer Tea! I am in! This black tea with butterscotch and caramel. Check it out here! 
Not a Harry Potter Fan? How about this blend called Currently Reading...
Click here for this listing
Might these make great stocking stuffers for the people in your life?

Thank you for joining me here for a cup of tea and a few fancy Friday finds. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The first week of tea from my 24 Steeps Advent Calendar

Well it is a week into December and I swear I just blinked and the entire week went by. In addition to trying to read as much as I can, I am working and hosting a 24/7 event on Beyond The Bookmarks this month. One of the things I am taking time to enjoy this month is the tea in my cup each morning from my Steeped Tea Advent Calendar. December first and my tea was their Christmas Chai, a spicy and very sweet black tea.

Day two was my favorite of the week, it is called Maraschino Cherry and it was spectacular. I would not have bought this tea had I not tried it but now it is high on my list to buy next order!

This was day 3 and on December third I had White Chocolate Souffle Rooibos tea, this was a light and tasty treat first thing in the morning!
Day 4 was Creamy Milk Oolong, normally I like a fruity Oolong but this was light and refreshing. 

This was day 5 and Peppy Peppermint in my cup! Love this tea, it's one I regularly order from them so I was very pleased.
Day 6 was Earl Grey de La Creme and this is one I know well too so I was pleased to have it on my morning table.

Day 7 is Winter Sangria, which is a fruit tea. I will give it a try and post the photo when I get up in the morning and share it here.

Thank you for joining me here for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery tea advent week in review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ellie Alexanders Another One Bites The Crust...

The new year is going to be off to an amazing start for cozy lovers with Another One Bites The Crust by Ellie Alexander! I finished reading this last night and I was on egg shells the entire book. I was so worried the whole time that something terrible was going to happen to one of my most favorite characters in the series and I found myself holding my breath through much of the book. Ellie does a great job with character building and makes you care so much about fictional characters that you come to think of them as real. While the place is real it is so hard to not think that I could just get in my car and drive 10 hours and be sitting in Torte while visiting Ashland. Having driven through and reading about it throughout this series I can tell you first hand that the setting feels as realistic as it looks, with a few exceptions that is. I loved this one. It was suspenseful, it was nail biting and it was fun. I loved it and I think you will too. This one is out January 2, 2018 and you can pre order it now.

You can pre order on Amazon by clicking here ( I am not an affiliate and I do not get anything if you click over)
I want to thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Healing Powers of Tea by Cal Orey

I am so pleased to have gotten to preview The Healing Powers of Tea by Cal Orey. This book comes out December 26th and it is a tea lover's delight. I enjoyed this book so much I have ordered it for myself. I am so looking forward to having this book to hold in my hands! Recipes, health advice, sap treatments, oh and there are recipes too! A great gift idea, pre order this one and it will be delivered after Christmas but the Tea Lover in your life will thank you! 

Wellness in a Cup—Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind! It picks you up and calms you down, warms you and refreshes you. With black, white, red, green, and herbal varieties, there’s a tea for every taste, and now this time-honored superfood is trending as the drink of choice for health-conscious people of all ages and cultures.  This fascinating book boils down the rich history of tea—as well as the ever-expanding list of health and weight loss benefits found in its leaves.  *Discover how black and white teas are heating up the beverage world with antioxidants and nutrients that lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and fight off inflammation, viruses, and bacteria. *Learn how age-defying spa treatments made from tea can soothe your skin, soften your hair, and give you an all-over glow and peace of mind. *Get the latest knowledge from top medical researchers and tea experts on how the superfood can tackle digestive problems, depression and anxiety, aches and pains, and add years to your life.  *Stir up over 50 home cures to give yourself more energy, less stress, treat the common cold, insomnia, and more! *Enjoy comforting and tea-licious recipes like Warm Scones with Jam and Devonshire Cream, Assorted Finger Sandwiches, Scrumptious White Tea Scallops, and Russian Tea Cookies paired with the perfect brew – hot or iced. Better health is just a sip away. With The Healing Powers of Tea (sweetened with lively stories) you’ll learn the hottest tips to improve your health, boost your brain power, and even clean your house!

You can pre order this book from Kensington on Amazon by clicking here. 
Thank you for joining me here for a cup of tea and a tea book review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Monday, December 4, 2017

Wreath Making Party Recap...

If you saw my post Saturday you have already seen the wreath I made from drift wood at my friend Jen's annual Christmas party. It was a labor of love for sure and today I wanted to share some of the photos from behind the scenes at the party and the three other wreaths I made that night.
Each year my friend Jen and her mom cut the most amazing evergreens and herbs from their gardens and put them out for us all to use. Over the years we have all collected ribbons, adornments, wires, now lights and items we all share to create our annual wreaths. I use the same forms most years, however this year the first Christmas in our new rental home so I wanted something very special and something along the same lines of the cedar stars I usually make. The drift wood is from the beach I went to in the mornings in August with my husband. While he walked I would sit on the beach and drink my tea. I started to collect some of the drift wood sticks and gradually my form became the star you see in the first photo. 

This is my wreath as I was laying out my greens....
This is the wreath I made for my mother in law. Here I laid the greens out first, then wired them on with a set of lights...
This is what it looked like when I was finished. My mother in law said she loved it!

My friend Jen had this really cool wreath form and she had so much burlap, so I set to work alternating the burlap in red and tan. When i was done I laid out the greens, wired them on and added read berries and bow. This one I loved and I left it for our hostess and her family.
I also made one of the more traditional cedar stars for one of her neighbors. Jen put out a wonderful dinner and we had a lovely time. Her aunt ties the world's best bows, and the company the family keeps cannot be beat.  This is one of my favorite events of the year.
Thank you for joining me today for a cup of tea and a look at the Wreath Making Party.
I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hark The Herald Angels Slay by Vicki Delany

I was sent Hark The Herald Angels Slay to review and it was great. This is a series I have bought and read since book one and book three is a lovely read. Lovely in that while I am reading it at Christmas time and it is a Christmas themed cozy, it takes place in the summer and somehow this is just perfect. Reading it while it is rainy and cold outside but in my head as I am reading it is warm and humid and still Christmas was awesome. The dynamic characters in this series really are what stands out most. Merry, her Dad Noel who happens to be the town Santa and even Merry's Puppy Matterhorn have hugely important roles in the town and the mysteries. I love a Santa Claus parade however I am not fond of being in the cold to watch it so the idea of a water parade in the heat totally appeals to me. The town of Rudolph itself sound like the perfect year round getaway, charming shops, great bakery, right on the water and with friends and family that look out for each other, it is the perfect place to spend the holidays! I liked this mystery as it read as though it was completely plausible. With a story that seems as though it could be featured in celebrity news, it was compelling and kept me guessing. A great holiday read.   
The town of Rudolph, New York, has the Christmas spirit all year long—but when homicide heats up a summer holiday, it’s up to shop owner Merry Wilkinson to wrap up the case.In Rudolph, Christmas in July heralds Santa’s arrival by boat to begin his summer vacation at the lake, and Merry Wilkinson, owner of Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, is looking forward to a busy weekend. But she’s caught off guard when her ex-fiancé, Max Folger, unexpectedly arrives with a team from a lifestyle magazine wanting to do a feature on the July festivities.It’s clear that Max’s visit has less to do with business and more to do with winning back Merry’s heart. Merry has too much on her plate to deal with an old flame, but when Max is found strangled to death in Mrs. Claus’s Treasures, she must find out who wanted him dead—and stop a killer from ruining the summer holiday cheer.

You can find it on Amazon by clicking here 
Thank you for joining me for a cup of tea and a cozy mystery review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com

Saturday, December 2, 2017

On my table and in my cup November 25th To December 2nd

Greetings from my front door and my table this Saturday morning. Last night I went to my friend Jen's annual wreath making party and I made this wreath for my door. Over the summer I collected driftwood at the beach and used it to form my star, I got some jute rope and a cardinal from Micheals, I used fresh evergreens, holly and herbs and a burlap bow to make this year's wreath. I really like.
I have two chapters to go in Hark The Herald Angels Slay and will share my review tomorrow.
I started off my December 1st morning twinning it with my niece PB, My sister who is her mother has a pair as do both of her sisters and another of my nieces in Montreal. Love these fun tights.
Reviewing in the next week a great book for 2018 The Healing Powers of Tea...
I did a bit of binge reading this week with Jenn McKinlay's Death in the Stacks and Better Late then Never, these were such great reads and ones I highly recommend. 

Lovely to have had such great cookies to go with it this week too!
Tastes like Murder was also a great read I reviewed this week.
A huge thank you to Patricia Neely-Dorsey for her dedication and help in promoting our first day of Booked For The Holidays on Beyond The Bookmarks. Come join us all month and see what we are doing, lots of fun posts, crafts, daily questions, games, giveaways and so much more. Click here to join us now. It is a 24/7 event, so you are never late and always welcome all month long. 
I had the pleasure of opening my advent calendar from  Steeped Tea, the first one was Christmas Chai. A very bold tea! Cannot wait to see what I get today!
Thank you for joining me in a look back at what has been a cozy week in review. I would love to hear from you so please leave me a comment here or email me at karenmowen@gmail.com