Friday, September 30, 2016

Unboxing September's Fall Back CatLadyBox

The theme of September's CatLadyBox was "Fall Back"...this is what was inside!

Featured Cat Lady Artist Evgenia of Goosi Studio: What can I say, each art card is more amazing than the last. Every single one is worthy of being framed and hung on the wall.

Cat Wall Clock (CatLadyBox Exclusive): Sleek, shiny, and oh so modern. This clock went up in my bedroom the day it arrived!

Photo: CatLadyBox

"Purr" Gold Layered Necklace (CatLadyBox Exclusive): I never should've taken this necklace off the card before taking a picture of it because it was impossible to get it back on properly, but I couldn't help myself. I had to try it on immediately! It is such an elegant piece of jewelry and I can't wait to pair it with a black turtleneck this winter for maximum impact. 

Cat Lady Bandages (CatLadyBox Exclusive): How clever is this? The theme of September's box is "fall back" and it includes band aids for when you actually take a tumble! Only trouble is they're too cute too bleed on! The adorable tin can be repurposed to hold other goodies too.

And for Miss Mudpie...

Fluffy Feather Boa Teaser Wand (CatLadyBox Exclusive): Mudpie is a total goner when it comes to feathers. This one is super soft, furry, PURPLE, and her new favorite wand toy.

World's Cutest Cat Catnip Gold Medal (CatLadyBox Exclusive): Surprise, surprise...Mudpie won the gold medal for Cutest Cat Alive! 


Not a subscriber yet? Visit CatLadyBox today!

Interested in purchasing individual items from past boxes? You can do that too!

Disclosure: I'm not being compensated in any way for this review. I am a proud CatLadyBox subscriber!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Coffee Junkies Rejoice!

With regards to the name of our blog, we've often heard that we cover the meows and the mysteries, but where do the mochas come in? I guess I never really intended to write about coffee, I just wanted to choose a name that reflected some of my favorite things. Pure bliss to me is being curled up with a book, a cat, and a hot beverage. If not for wanting to use alliteration with the "M" in my name (this was pre-Mudpie) I could've used the name Coffee, Cats and Cozies!

Yes, I am a total coffee junkie; I only wish there was a way to pipe it through my veins intravenously. And mochas are my favorite because of the added chocolate factor!

Today is National Coffee Day, and many coffee chains are planning special freebies and deals to celebrate. Here's a list of some we've been able to find:

Dunkin’ Donuts: Medium hot coffees are 66 cents to commemorate Dunkin' Donuts' 66th anniversary plus 66 Dunkin's Donuts' Twitter followers will be surprised with a Dunkin' Donuts card good for a year's worth of free coffee.

Krispy Kreme: Free coffee and a free glazed donut!

Cumberland Farms: Text “FREECOFFEE” to 64827 to redeem a coupon for a free hot or iced coffee.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea: Get a free medium coffee when you purchase a select food item.

Caribou Coffee: Caribou Coffee will donate a free cup of coffee to caregivers at health facilities and hospitals across the country, when people purchases a cup of Amy's Blend coffee on National Coffee Day. Amy's Blend Coffee and merchandise sales support CancerCare.

Chick-fil-A: Giving away a Free small Iced Coffee with any purchase. One per person.

Wawa: Get a free coffee of any size all day. The offer is valid at all 730 of their locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Florida.

Stewart's Shops: All upstate New York locations will be offering free hot and iced coffee from noon to close on Sept. 29. Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 2, Keurig will offer deals on several coffee drinks. Customers will get 20% off Green Mountain Coffee K-Cup pods and 15% off other beverages like Green Mountain Coffee and the Original Donut Shop with the code GREENSAVINGS at checkout.

Starbucks is donating a coffee tree on behalf of each customer who purchases a brewed Mexico Chiapas coffee.

If you've heard of any others, please let us know! Remember that all of these offers are valid at participating locations.

Now everyone go forth and get caffeinated today!!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Saving Raggedy Ann, Part 2: The Recovery

Yesterday we introduced you to the amazing Raggedy Ann, an innocent victim of animal hoarding. From the comments we received it's obvious she continues to touch hearts everywhere.

As promised, today we present part 2 of Mudpie's exclusive interview with Ann as she tells us about how life has changed since being rescued, her ongoing recovery, and her hopes for the future. (If you missed part one yesterday, you can read it here.)

Mudpie: What's life like for you today?

Raggedy Ann: My life is very different now. I have a clean home that isn’t overcrowded with other pets and doesn’t smell like pee or poop. My litter box gets cleaned twice a day, or more if it is needed. I really appreciate that cause let’s be honest, who wants to step in a dirty litter box. I have food brought to me multiple times a day, sometimes even while I’m still in bed. Oh did I mention, I have a heated bed. My foster mom keeps calling me “The Princess and the Pea”, whatever that means. I just know that it’s really soft and comfy, especially since my fur had to be shaved because I was so badly matted. I tried really hard to clean myself, but could never get ahead. Now I have no problems grooming myself. I actually find it really peaceful and relaxing.

What struggles are you still facing?

Right now I am still fighting an infection in my mouth from my rotting teeth. They soon will be coming out so that should clear up soon. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is the result of the tremendous malnutrition that clearly went on for a long time. I am extremely anemic. Doc says my levels were so bad, I should have had a blood transfusion. Thankfully the rescue that took me in, Saving One Life, told my mommy to start giving me chicken liver to help me gain more iron in my blood. So far it is working. I’m not where a normal kitty should be yet but am on my way.

Now that I am gaining weight back at a healthy rate, I am feeling better and getting up more and exploring my room more. My foster mom opens the window for me every day so I can sit in the windowsill and watch the birdies or lizards run by. The more I get up and explore, they say the more muscle I will build.

What are your hopes for the future? Do you think you'll be able to live in a forever home one day?

I hope that my original mommy gets the help that she needs, so no other kitties have to suffer like I did. I’m so happy that Saving One Life took me in and never gave up on me. I’m thankful for my foster mom, even when she has to give me yucky medicine, because she has always made sure I’ve had food to eat and a warm bed to snuggle up in.

Wouldn’t it be purrfect to find a furrever home. My foster mom tells me about it every day. That I will never know what it is like to go hungry again, that I will always have a warm bed of my own and that I will always know love. Which to her means, kisses. I’m still not 100% sure of them, but they are starting to grow on me.

What do you want people to learn from your story?

I want people to learn the signs of animal hoarding, so they can report someone if they think they need help. Even if it is a family member, you are our voice. We need you to speak up for us. I’m thankful to whomever called the police. We weren’t safe anymore and without them stepping up, I wouldn’t be here today. According to the ASPCA these are the signs to watch out for:

· They have numerous animals and may not know the total number of animals in their care.
· Their home is deteriorated (i.e., dirty windows, broken furniture, holes in wall and floor, extreme clutter).
· There is a strong smell of ammonia, and floors may be covered with dried feces, urine, vomit, etc.
· Animals are emaciated, lethargic and not well socialized.
· Fleas and vermin are present.
· Individual is isolated from community and appears to be in neglect himself.
· Individual insists all animals are happy and healthy—even when there are clear signs of distress and illness.

Also, I hope that I can inspire people to foster other animals in need. I hear that there are between 900-2,000 cases of animal hoarding reported every year. We would all want to be loved and cared for. Even if we only stay with you for a short time, you can show us to trust again. Please consider opening your home and your heart to animals in need.

How can we all help with your recovery?

Well, my foster mom has been sharing with me all the nice letters and cards people have been sending. I love how many people all over the world are rooting for me. I just got a beautiful blanket and I hear a sweater is on its way to me, too. My recovery isn't over yet but all the support and love has made a huge difference. Something that would help is remembering I am not the only one who has had such a bad experience. Saving One Life just took another six sweet kitties from the same shelter who were in another hoarding situation. You can learn more about them by visiting their Facebook page Six Sweet Souls Saved

Lastly, I want everyone to know that I appreciate all the support. As much as my foster mom and rescue love me, saving a kitty like me isn't cheap. Saving One Life has given me world class care and the financial support from our many followers has made that easier for sure.

Thank you, Raggedy Ann, for sharing your story with us over the past couple days. Your incredible courage and beautiful heart are an inspiration to everyone, and we wish you nothing but happiness and love from here on out.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Saving Raggedy Ann, Part 1: The Rescue

Every cat has a story. For some it's happy, for others it's tragic. For many it's unknown.

Over the past several weeks Mudpie and I have been following the story of a cat named Raggedy Ann who was rescued from a horrific hoarding situation in Yuma, AZ. Our hearts were touched by her sweet face, her adorable name, and her incredible spirit, and we've been thrilled to see how she's thrived under the care of her amazing foster family.

When Mudpie reached out to Raggedy Ann with the request for an interview she readily agreed to take time from her rehabilitation to answer our questions, and she left us in awe once again when we discovered she holds no ill will in her heart towards the person who mistreated her. She only wants her original mom to get the help she needs and to shine a light on the mental health issue of animal hoarding. If only humans had such a forgiving heart.

Raggedy Ann's "tail" can't be told in just one day, so we've broken down the interview into two parts. Today's installment covers the horror Ann was rescued from. I hope everyone reading this is as inspired by Raggedy Ann's story as we are.


Welcome, Raggedy Ann! Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you came to live in your wonderful foster home?

Thank you Mudpie for wanting to tell my story. My name is Raggedy Ann, they guess that I am around 14 years old, but I only have four teeth so it is hard to really tell how old I am. I was rescued from what is known as a hoarding situation. I wasn’t safe there and the police were called. Animal Control also came out and they took my friends and me to the local shelter. That’s where I met my first human friend, Karen from Azure Sky Imagery who does volunteer photography for the shelter. She took a liking to me and posted a picture of me asking for help. That’s when my foster mom saw me for the first time. She said her heart broke and she had to do something. Luckily, she fosters for Saving One Life and they also thought the same thing. So, Saving One Life and my foster mom decided to take me in.

What conditions were you forced to live in and how were you treated?

When the police and animal control came to inspect where I was living before, I was found living in really bad conditions. I had 40 other kitty friends that lived with me and as well as two dogs. We all shared a double wide trailer our mom was renting. The house was so filthy and full that our mom was living outside in her driveway. Some of my friends had passed away before being rescued. It was so sad and it could have easily been me. They were great kitties, that just didn’t have enough to eat and a chance to see a vet when they got sick.

How long did this go on and how were you finally rescued?

My rescuers aren’t quite sure and to be honest it was such a blur. I just remember being really hungry and my teeth hurting. It must have been a while though, because I lost most of my teeth and according to my foster mom I looked like a walking skeleton.

What makes people hoard animals?

My foster mom tells me that it wasn’t my mommy's fault. That animal hoarding is part of a disease and that without treatment, can just get worse. Many people who hoard animals, do in fact love their animals, they just become overwhelmed. They also are in denial that they are overwhelmed so they continue to take in animals and that what results in starvation and deaths. When my foster mom picked me up from the local shelter that took me in, I weighed only three pounds and fifteen ounces. My foster mom says that’s the same weight as a four month old kitten. I am missing most of my teeth, due to not having enough good healthy food to eat. I have four remaining ones that are rotting and keeping me sick. My vet says I should be healthy enough to get them removed next month and that it will make it so I don’t have an infection anymore.

What's going to happen to those who hurt you?

I’m not sure what is going to happen to my original mom. She has a court hearing coming up and my foster mom is going to attend and speak on my behalf. She wants to be able to remind the court that my mom needs help. She is suffering from a mental health disease and needs treatment, otherwise she will just continue to collect animals because she thinks she is helping them.

How did you get your adorable name?

I love my new name, my foster mom just calls me Ann for short. Since I’m not so Raggedy anymore. She picked that name because of the way I looked when she first picked me up.


A new name. A new life. 

Please join us tomorrow for part 2 of Raggedy Ann's story: The Recovery. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday (w/Giveaway!)

Meows from Mudpie!

We have 3 book reviews for you again this week...with a twist! We're excited to be able to give away a set of all 3 books to one lucky winner in the US. To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below!

We hope you enjoy our choices.

By Familiar Means (A Witch's Cat Mystery) by Delia James

From the publisher: After discovering her mystical heritage—and being adopted by furry feline familiar Alistair—artist Annabelle Britton has decided to make picturesque Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her new home. Now, she can take the time to figure out her new abilities and welcome her grandmother, who is visiting Portsmouth, and her old coven, for the first time in thirty years. 

But being a witch doesn’t magically put money in the bank. When she’s hired to paint the murals for a new coffee house, it seems like a wish come true. But then a series of spooky sounds and strange happenings convince the owners that their new shop is haunted. They want Anna and her coven to evict the restless spirit before the grand opening.

Annabelle is certain the haunted happenings at the shop are just hocus pocus. But when her search reveals hidden smugglers’ tunnels beneath the shop—and a dead body—Annabelle, Alastair, and the coven suddenly find themselves in a cat and mouse game with a killer...

Tortie Shorties Review: The first book in the Witch's Cat mystery series was one of my favorites of 2015 so I've been on pins and needles waiting for By Familiar Means! Annabelle needs to start bringing in money so she takes a job painting a mural for the new coffee house owned by her friends Jake and Miranda. The couple fears the shop is haunted so they ask Anna to use her witchy powers to investigate. What she finds is the dead body of a nearby hotel's sous chef in the secret tunnels below the shop. Anna suspects the various members of the family that own the hotel, and the identity of the killer is a perplexing mystery until the very end.

The scene stealer here (besides the furry familiars) is Anna's Grandma B.B. who's visiting Portsmouth to help Anna learn more about her heritage, while also renewing her quarrel with Anna's mentor Julia. Of course Alistair the magical cat is always there when Anna needs him (when he's not otherwise occupied by catnip trips and Miss Boots the hotel cat) and leads her to the necessary clues.

Be prepared to be entranced by a world of fun, fantasy and four-legged familiars!

From the publisher: Cassie Miller returned to her sleepy hometown in the Berkshires to start over as the new postmistress. But she soon finds that dead letters are nothing compared to murder victims...

With a massive storm about to hit North Ashcot, Massachusetts, threatening floods and widespread wind damage, Cassie is forced to close up the post office along with the rest of the local business owners and residents, who are battening down the hatches and bracing themselves for the worst.

Although the storm proves not to be as bad as predicted, fabric shop owner Daisy Harmon is found dead, seemingly killed by a fallen branch. But the police quickly determine that her death had nothing to do with foul weather and everything to do with foul play. After Daisy’s widowed husband approaches her to help solve his wife’s murder, Cassie vows to find the killer before another innocent victim is taken by storm.

Tortie Shorties Review: The life of a small town postmistress is such a fascinating premise for a cozy mystery series. In this second book a huge storm is making it's way towards North Ashcot and everyone is busy battening down the hatches. On Cassie's way home she sees Daisy Harmon of Daisy’s Fabrics closing up shop. Daisy ends up being the sole casualty of a storm that thankfully isn't as bad as predicted; she's found dead under a fallen tree limb. Who on earth could want an innocent fabric shop owner dead? Daisy's husband asks Cassie to find out, and she ends up uncovering a wealth of information thanks to all the local gossip at the post office. Even in gentile small town New England local politics is a nasty business!

From the publisher: The holidays are a busy time for scrapbook shop owner Carmela Bertrand—but not so hectic that she doesn’t have time to enjoy browsing the booths at the Winter Market with her best friend Ava. The last thing the ladies expect to see is a lurching man stabbed by a serving fork, dying in front of them.

The victim is loathed restaurant critic Martin Lash, who posted his scathing reviews on the Glutton for Punishment website. And the prime suspect is New Orleans restauranteur Quigg Brevard—who was seen giving the critic a tongue-lashing minutes before someone stuck a fork in him. An old flame of Carmela, Quigg asks for her help, which does not please her current beau, Detective Edgar Babcock, to say the least.

Before her relationship is the next victim, Carmela needs to find a murderer who had no reservations about punishing the culinary curmudgeon...

Tortie Shorties Review: Laura Childs' Scrapbooking mystery series has long been special to me because it's set in New Orleans, one of my favorite locales for a cozy. The vivid descriptions of the Big Easy in these books instantly makes me feel like I'm on Bourbon Street, eating a Muffuletta or beignet and sipping on a cafe au lait. The fact that Crepe Factor also takes place during the holiday season is just icing on the cake. The murder of a despised food writer at the Winter Market (a serving fork to the carotid artery!) plunges Carmela into her 14th adventure when she gets involved because an old flame is the prime suspect, much to the chagrin of her current love Detective Edgar Babcock. Carmela is forced to walk a fine line to catch a killer, protect her relationship, and survive to see Christmas!

Disclaimer: I received free copies of these books from the publisher in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Counter Surfing #SundaySelfie

Meows from Mudpie!

This week I took my selfie while surfing across the kitchen counter. (It's okay...I'm allowed!)

We're joining our friends at The Cat on My Head for the Sunday Selfies blog hop!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Autobiographical #CaturdayArt

Meows from Mudpie!

If you read our Friendly Fill-Ins answers yesterday you saw that I would title my autobiography, "Some Days You're the Mud, Some Days You're the Pie". Many of you thought it was a really good idea so we decided to design a book cover for our Caturday Art project this week.

I think it has best-seller written all over it, don't you?

Visit more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fun Feline Finds & Friendly Fill-Ins

I haven't been asked to help spread the word about this KickStarter project; I'm doing it out of purely selfish reasons because I desperately want to see it succeed! (I'm sure you won't have any trouble figuring out why.)

The Purrista Pawfee coffee shop plush cats have already been wildly popular, and the latest in the line is the Torta-shell plush. I've made my pledge and cannot wait to see this little cutie in purr-son!!!

Also, if your travels this weekend happen to take you near at TJ Maxx store, stop in and pick up one of these adorable reusable totes. They can typically be found at the front of the store near the cash registers and they're only 99 cents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader!

Mommy's answers:

1) The last movie I saw at the theater was a special event screening of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. This was last September, and the year before I went to a 75th anniversary screening of Gone with the Wind. Except for the opportunity to see my all-time favorites on the big screen I'd much rather watch a movie at home. (Who remembers Mudpie's recreation of Psycho's famous shower scene???)

2) I am glad that I learned how to drive, because I enjoy it far more than I thought I would. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 30. I was petrified to start driving and avoided it at all costs for as long as possible. My dad used to laugh at me for being such a huge NASCAR fan, yet I was afraid to drive. Now I love being behind the wheel!

Mudpie's answers:

3) The title of my autobiography would be Some Days You're the Mud, Some Days You're the Pie.

4) I would love to learn to enjoy wet food. I'm trying, honest I am, and I know I'm driving Mommy crazy but I just prefer my kibble! I have one brand of wet that I eat some of each day, and Mommy rotates others that I'm willing to eat once every few weeks, but I'm one stubborn kitty and I refuse to eat it exclusively. Maybe one day!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Be a Voice for the Voiceless #RememberMeThursday

Meows from Mudpie!

I've been thinking about what a lucky little girl I am. I was rescued from the streets and brought to the shelter where I eventually found my forever home. I have yummy food and treats, warm beds and blankies, and a Mommy who loves me to pieces. I know that millions of kitties just like me aren't so lucky; they live without food, warmth, and love, and then either die on the streets or in a shelter because no one ever shows up to adopt them.

Did you know:

Each year in the United States 3.4 million orphan pets lose their lives without finding a home.

Yet only 30% of pets in US households come from rescue facilities.

That's why animal-lovers and animal welfare organizations across the globe will unite today with a Remember Me Thursday pet candle-lighting ceremony. The candles, which will be lit on the exact same day across the world, will honor the millions of pets who lost their lives without the benefit of a loving home and shine a light on the millions of healthy pets who are still awaiting adoption. The Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign encourages individuals to light a candle this day (literally or virtually) and to opt to adopt, reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year.

Orphaned pets can't speak for themselves. We are their only voice. Spread the word about Remember Me Thursday on Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels. Don’t forget to use hashtags #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday to share your thoughts and feelings about the importance of pet adoption.

CONTEST: This year, you can win life-saving funds or food for a rescue or shelter of your choice! Take a photo of your rescue pet and tag the picture with #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday on Twitter and Instagram to be entered into the challenge!

Today we're shining a light on two kitties who have been waiting for their forever homes for far too long, both at Tara and Truffles' alma mater Franklin County Animal Rescue.

Ralphie is a sweet older gentleman. He would be happiest in a home where he is the only pet, spending time with gentle people. He’s a curious guy who likes to explore, yet napping is his all-time favorite hobby. Ralph is between 10 and 12 years old. He’s neutered and up-to-date on vaccines. Ralph is part of FCAR's Adoption Hope Project where the adoption fee is waived (with an approved adoption application) to help remove barriers for potential adopters and place long term residents and senior cats in forever homes. Information on how to adopt Ralph can be found at his Petfinder profile.

Mimm was brought to the shelter after her owner, who she'd lived with all her life, passed away. She doesn't like other animals and is very unhappy around all the other cats at the shelter. (Boy, can I ever identify with that!) Mimm is a 10 year old spayed female, up to date on her vaccines, and tested negative for feline aids and leukemia. She's also a Project Hope cat. Information on how to adopt Mimm can be found at her Petfinder profile.

Please remember: Animal shelters are full of kitties who are in need of a second chance. They are homeless due to no fault of their own. If you have room in your heart and your home for a new best friend, one is as close as your nearest shelter. If you're not in a position to adopt right now, share these precious babies' stories. They are counting on us...let's not let them down.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Tortie Shorties on Tuesday

Meows from Mudpie!

We're still playing catch up with our book reviews, which is why we have three for you again this week. We hope you enjoy our choices!

From the publisher: First in the Farmer’s Daughter mystery series set on a picturesque farm in Michigan, where Shelby McDonald runs a popular lifestyle and cooking blog, from the national bestselling author of the Cranberry Cove Mysteries. 

On her blog, The Farmer’s Daughter, Shelby McDonald is growing her audience as she posts recipes, gardening tips, and her experiences raising two kids and running Love Blossom Farm in the small western Michigan town of Lovett.

Working the farm is demanding but peaceful—until that peace is shattered when the minister’s wife is murdered on Shelby’s property during a fund-raiser for a local church. But the manure really hits the fan when Shelby’s good friend veterinarian Kelly Thacker emerges as the prime suspect. Shelby decides to dig in and find the murderer by herself. As more suspects crop up, she’ll have to move fast—before someone else buys the farm. . . .

Tortie Shorties Review: Step aside, Pioneer Woman! There's a new farm girl in the food blogosphere...and she solves mysteries too!

Shelby McDonald works hard to build a stable life for her two young children left devastated by the tragic death of their father. From gardening to animal care to making cheese for the local general store there's always work to be done. When the church decides to hold a potluck fundraiser for a new roof Shelby is more than happy to host it at Love Blossom Farm, but the day goes tragically wrong when the new minister's wife is found dead in the mudroom...strangled by the cord from a crock pot! It seems prim Prudence had a nasty habit of spreading lies about good people, making more than her fair share of enemies. Shelby's best friend, local vet Kelly, even has reason that her very own fiance might be the killer and begs Shelby to prove her wrong. In a rare occurrence I correctly fingered the culprit early on, but the motive remained a mystery until the final page-turning scenes. 

As a wanna-be country girl myself I thoroughly enjoyed a glimpse inside Shelby's life. Not a huge fan of kids in cozies I was a bit ambivalent towards Amelia and Billy, although I will say Amelia needs a serious attitude adjustment. Shelby's pups, a Westie and mastiff, are her constant companions and even help out when she's cornered by a killer. (While Patches the calico barn cat was wisely MIA!) Shelby's love life has interesting possibilities, from the general store owner to the farmer next door to her very own brother-in-law, recently separated from his wife. I'm definitely looking forward to spending more time in her cozy little world.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

From the publisher: Newly jobless and recently dumped by her fiancé, Eleanora Pacelli moves back to her childhood hometown to take care of her grandmother after her grandfather’s unexpected death. What was supposed to be a temporary stay becomes permanent when she takes over her grandparents’ old pizzeria. Determined to turn her life around, Ellie sets out to bring the old restaurant to life while also putting the pieces of her own life back together. Things seem to be going well until a body is found outside the pizzeria, under very suspicious circumstances. Ellie has to work against the clock to find out who the killer is in order to keep from losing everything that she’s worked to rebuild.

Tortie Shorties Review: Excellent beginning to a series set in a pizza parlor starring Ellie Pacelli, back home to help her elderly grandmother run the local institution following the sudden death of her grandfather. She arrives to find the place deteriorating and a staff who just doesn't care. The one bright spot is a date with her old friend Ben, but then the next morning he's found dead at the restaurant's back door! Ellie sure has a lot of work to do to pick up the pieces. I look forward to more visits with Ellie, her Nonna, Bunny the pup and Marlowe the parrot.

From the publisher: With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder. 

Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan, three years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the twenty-nine-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York.

But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.

Tortie Shorties Review: Poor Marlee returned home to Michigan to escape her involvement in a murder back in NYC, only to find herself plunged into yet another one involving her good friend Natasha, an abused wife. When Natasha goes missing following a vicious fight with her husband Cole, Marlee is very worried about her friend's safety and goes to her house to look for clues. Cole unexpectedly arrives home and is bashed over the head with a muddler from Marlee's Berry Basket shop. The missing wife is of course the prime suspect, but Marlee had involvement with the victim herself as he was threatening her business.

This is a book I wanted to love but just couldn't get pulled into the story. Too many characters with very little introduction, and I particularly disliked Marlee's fiance. The next book takes place at the Blackberry Road Rally so maybe that one will tickle my fancy a little more.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Cat in Paris DVD Giveaway #MovieMadnessHop

Meows from Mudpie!

We're excited to be joining in this fun blog hop hosted by Miss Molly SaysIt's Free at Last and Mom Does Reviews. Each blogger participating in the hop has been asked to give away a DVD, gift card for digital downloads or movie tickets. The only requirement is to pick a movie your readers will love, so of course for us that means a cat movie!

Mommy never met a cat movie she didn't love, but we settled on one of our all-time favorites, A Cat in Paris:

The Academy Award-nominated A CAT IN PARIS is a beautifully hand-drawn caper set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of Paris. Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother is a detective in the Parisian police force. But at night Dino sneaks out the window to work with Nico a slinky cat burglar with a big heart, whose fluid movements are poetry in motion as he evades captors and slips and swishes from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline. A CAT IN PARIS is a delightful animated adventure perfect for both adults and children a witty and stylish "animated noir" with a jazzy soundtrack featuring Billie Holiday and a thrilling climax on top of Notre Dame cathedral.

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below. (US residents only please, although our overseas friends are welcome to enter and have their prize sent to someone in the US.) Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Meow Like a Pirate Day #SundaySelfie

Ahoy! It is Mudpie, pillager of cat treats! 

I'm a day early for Meow Like a Pirate Day, but I wanted to be a pirate for my Sunday Selfie this week. I'm hope you don't mind, and I hope I don't scare you too much!

Are you ready? I warned you...

And look! The poster boy for Meow Like a Pirate Day is my handsome Bear Cat! *swoon*

Don't forget to join in all the fun tomorrow!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Visions of Autumn #CaturdayArt

Meows from Mudpie!

I almost can't believe we made it because the summer has been so stinkin' hot, but we're just days away from the first day of fall!!! There's even a bit of a nip in the air...last night I curled up in my cozy winter bed for the first time in months! 

Here in Vermont there's no more beautiful time of year. Slowly but surely the leaves are changing color and soon will be falling to the ground. Wouldn't you love to find a leaf that looks like this in your yard???

Visit more artsy kitties at Athena's Caturday Art blog hop!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Flashback Friday & Friendly Fill-Ins

I guess it's only natural as each birthday rolls around to feel a bit nostalgic about the past. While looking for something else I stumbled upon this picture taken on my 19th birthday, which was 20 years ago last week. I had to laugh realizing that even in my late teens I wasn't out partying; I celebrated my big day at home with my cat (Sebastian at the time). So much has changed in the last two decades, but one thing that hasn't (and I'm sure it never will) is that I'm the most content with a cat in my arms!


And now our weekly answers for the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by 15andmeowing and McGuffy's Reader!

Mommy's answers:

1. Something healthy I do daily is take vitamins. I've taken them off and on over the past few years and then tended to forget about them, but over the past 6 months I've done so religiously.

2. Something unhealthy I do daily is eat junk food. Put a bag of tortilla chips and a container of hummus in front of me and I'm done for. (I suppose that's healthier than some things.) And in the Halloween candy I just discovered the Triple Chocolate Kit Kats. OMG.

Mudpie's answers:

3. This Summer, I spent most days sacked out by the back door soaking up some rays. It was too darn hot to do anything else! I'm definitely ready to spend quality time in my nice, cozy cat beds.

4. This Autumn, I need to make an appointment to go to the vet for my check-up. We've received a few emails that I'm overdue and so far I've managed to delete each one before Mommy sees it. Don't tell her, m'kay?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Purring Buddha Needs An MRI

As a CatLadyBox subscriber, each month I'm introduced to unique cat-themed items produced by small business owners and artisans who are inspired by their own furry muses. Back in June's box I received a handcrafted soap and spa washcloth from the Purring Buddha Etsy shop. I fell in love with the soap and have my credit card ready to place an order for more. (Who else loves putting pretty soaps in their bureau drawers?)

Purring Buddha makes artisan body products (soaps, bath bombs, lip balm, body scrubs, butters and lotions) with a "higher conscience" using organic, natural, fair trade, palm oil free, cruelty free, non gmo, vegan , vegan friendly, eco-friendly and locally sourced ingredients. They donate a portion of their profits and products for rescue fundraisers and encourage adoption, rescue and fostering. Now they need a little help themselves.

A photo posted by Purring Buddha (Mieke) (@purringbuddha) on

Purring Buddha is named after the shop owner's beloved 3-legged kitty Buddha. The little guy is having seizures and needs to have an MRI to find out what's causing them. The minimum cost is $1,250 so a GoFundMe has been set up to raise money. You can also support the cause by shopping for Purring Buddha products. Use the coupon code "MRI4BUDDHA" at checkout for 15% off your purchase!

Ready to start shopping? (Think stocking stuffers!!!) Here are some of the Purring Buddha products we're purring over:

Treat yourself to a yummy indulgence or get a head start on your holiday shopping list while also helping a kitty in pawsome is that???

These are affiliate links, which means if you click on one and buy something Mudpie gets a little money for her piggy bank!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

D-Mannose & Your Cat's Urinary Tract Health

One morning a few weeks ago I was rushing around getting ready for work when I realized Mudpie had made several trips into the bathroom. In checking out her litter pan I discovered a couple little squirts of diarrhea. A few minutes later she meowed, and it was different than her usual tortie chatter. It sounded like something was causing her pain. Then she headed to the bathroom again and this time there was a tiny pee clump and an itty bitty spot of blood in it.

Immediately noticing the signs of a urinary tract infection, my mind went into overdrive. Should I call the vet right away or keep an eye on her for a while longer? Since she subsequently chowed down on her breakfast and acted like nothing had happened, I decided to take the wait and see approach and asked my mom to stay with her while I was at work. Happily her next trip to the potty several hours later was perfectly normal, and continued to be so. Still, not knowing if she might have a slight infection I decided to start giving her D-Mannose for a number of days.

D-Mannose is one of the many holistic alternatives I discovered through Angel Tara's various health issues. Diabetic cats are prone to urinary tract infections because the sugar in their urine is a breeding ground for infection. In the first 6 months after her diagnosis she had 3 infections and I was desperate to find something to prevent yet another round of antibiotics. When I stumbled upon information about D-Mannose I was skeptical, but I became a fan for life when over the next 18 months taking the powder in her food twice a day Tara had only one very minor infection!

Interested in learning more? Here's what you need to know:

1) D-Mannose is a naturally occurring, entirely absorbable sugar that is extracted from cranberries and other fruits, but is reported to be up to 50 times stronger than cranberry, non-toxic and completely safe, with no adverse side effects.

2) Most of the D-Mannose is filtered through the kidneys and routed to the bladder, then quickly excreted into the urine. Once it's is in your cat's urine, the bacteria clings to it and is then flushed out when the cat urinates.

3) D-Mannose is safe for even diabetic cats. Although it's a simple sugar, very little of it is metabolized and therefore doesn't interfere with blood sugar regulation.

4) It comes in both pill and powder form. The best cat food for urinary health is wet food, so the recommended dosage can easily be mixed into your cat's regular meals. Since I can't depend on Mudpie eating all of her wet food each day, I mixed it into her daily yogurt treat.

5) It's effective for both short and long-term use, so you can administer it only when symptoms of an infection appear, or on a daily basis as a method of prevention if you cat suffers from frequent infections.

6) Use of D-Mannose originated in the large animal veterinary industry! As the daughter of a former dairy farmer I know that nursing dairy cows are predisposed to urinary tract infections. When these cows are receiving antibiotics their milk must be thrown away, resulting in a loss of income. With D-Mannose there's no wasted milk! D-Mannose has subsequently been found to be helpful for women with recurrent urinary tract infections and now it's being used to treat our household pets!

Antibiotics are highly overused both in humans and in our pets, so an alternative for such a common medical issue is definitely worth discussing with your vet, especially as a preventive supplement. I know my home will never be without it!

Have you or your cats ever had a urinary tract infection? 
Have you heard of D-Mannose or used it?

I am not a veterinarian. We are sharing information we've learned about a product that we use and believe in. If your vet recommends that your cat's UTI should be treated with antibiotics, you can use D-Mannose as well, but it should not take the place of prescribed medication.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday

Meows from Mudpie!

This week's Tortie Shorties on Mystery Monday might look like Mommy and I have been on a reading frenzy, but that's not the case. During the month of August we participated in several blog tours which didn't allow us to post our regular book reviews, so we're playing catch-up just a bit! 

Today we've got a cat mystery, a Halloween mystery, and a Christmas mystery, so we hope you enjoy our choices!

Petectives: Stalking Horse by Robert J. Smith

From the publisher: A horse in danger. A farm full of suspects. A cat detective is on his own and out of element.

When cat detective Gatsby is called out to the Blue Moon horse farm to investigate a possible murder attempt on an ex-racehorse, he finds that the farm is a hotbed of new rivalries and old grudges.

With no help from his housebound partner Yoshi, Gatsby finds himself out of his element and in the line of fire.

For the first time in Petectives history, Gatsby’s on his own and can’t rely on Yoshi to unravel a deadly mystery. Or can he?

Tortie Shorties Review: Each story in the Petectives series gets more adorable than the last. Feline detectives Gatsby (the impulsive risk taker) and Yoshi (a black cat scared to leave his house who uses his superior brain to solve mysteries in between naps) are asked by Gatsby's little girlfriend Molasses to investigate the attempted murder of a former racehorse at Blue Moon horse farm. A hole was dug in the pasture where Jupiter eats breakfast each morning and then covered with straw. If he'd stepped in that hole and broken his leg it would have been a certain death sentence. Since Yoshi refuses to leave home, Gatsby is flying solo on this one, but it doesn't take long before he feels in over his head. Will Yoshi arrive in time to solve the mystery and save the day???

We've been huge fans of the handsome boys in the Petectives series since the beginning, and were so excited to also see a sneak peek of the next story at the end of Stalking Horse. A couple years ago Truffles got to interview Yoshi and Gatsby. If you missed it you can read it here!

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

From the publisher: For Hayley Powell, food and cocktails columnist for the Island Times, Halloween is all about costume parties and holiday treats—until a killer crashes the party...

This Halloween, Hayley can’t imagine a worse trick than her ex-husband Danny returning to Bar Harbor. Her kids may be happy to see their dad, but Hayley’s determined not to be taken in by his charms, and suspects he’s in financial trouble—again.

Still, the haunted holiday is about to get a whole lot scarier after Danny’s moonshine-making uncle is found lying dead next to a tombstone in a cemetery—and Danny quickly becomes the prime suspect. To prove her ex is innocent, Hayley will have to dig deep into her own bag of tricks to unmask the real culprit . . . before anyone else—including her—ends up in the graveyard...

Tortie Shorties Review: I haven't read every book in this long-running series but I've read several and enjoyed each a great deal. Set in Maine and with a Halloween theme, this is one of my favorites so far.

In Death of a Pumpkin Carver, Hayley's ex-husband Danny has returned to town and is winning everyone over with his charm once again. She's determined not to fall for it, but when Danny's moonshine making uncle is found murdered in the cemetery next door to a famous horror writer and his stolen money is found in Danny's possession, she has no choice but to help the father of her children.

The mystery is light and fun, but a total page-turner, and the ending is quite chilling as the action takes place in a gothic mansion straight out of Psycho. Hayley and Danny's love lives come into play too, from Danny's crazy girlfriend coming to town to Hayley's ongoing friendship with the local vet who her daughter now interns for. And the multitude of pumpkin recipes will have you itching to start baking once you're finished the book!

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

From the publisher: Liz McCall grew up in a playful winter wonderland but it was never her dream to manage her father’s vintage toyshop. However, after he sank his entire police pension into the business, someone needed to help him turn his dreams into reality—and keep him from sneaking off to patrol the not-so-mean streets of East Aurora, NY.

The mood goes from nice to naughty when a nervous man, who was trying to have his antique toys appraised, is found in the shop with a lawn dart through his chest. Suddenly, Liz’s business plan is plunged into deep freeze, while she and her father find themselves toying with a cold-blooded killer who’s playing for keeps.

Now, it looks like Christmas might be cancelled for the neighborhood kids if Liz can't wrap up the case in Barbara Early's delightful debut Death of a Toy Soldier.

Tortie Shorties Review: As a bit of a toy collector myself I spent the entirety of my time reading this book wishing I could crawl inside the pages and browse the shelves of Well Played, the fictional vintage toyshop in East Aurora, New York.

Liz McCall runs the shop with her father Hank, retired police chief who still enjoys patrolling the streets any chance he can. When he doesn't tell her about a scheduled appointment to appraise a box of toys, Liz must meet with the gentleman herself. Later that night the man is found dead inside the shop, Hank has been whallopped upside the head and doesn't remember a thing, and the box of toys is missing. It doesn't take long before Liz and Hank are plunged into the investigation, tying the dead man to a local collector/hoarder who recently passed away. His family is anxious to get their hands on his treasures...until his young bride arrives on the scene claiming the house is hers. Is she a greedy gold digger who sped up the old man's passing or does she have ulterior motives? Does his death have anything to do with the murder at Well Played? The twists and turns keep coming until the reveal of a killer I never saw coming.

Taking place during the Christmas season (perfect for a book set in a toy shop!), I instantly grew attached to these characters: from the special father/daughter relationship Hank and Liz share, to elderly sisters Irene and Lenora, to shop kitty Othello who has unnatural feelings for a particular pull toy. Add a little romance in the air and even a touch of the paranormal, resulting in one of the best debuts of the year!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.