Dana Mentink

Here’s a scoop of fun!

“Life is like an ice-cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time.”-Charles M. Schulz

We all scream for it, don’t we? Yep! Ice cream is that universal crowd pleaser that makes us think of celebrations and summer days. So what better way to indulge in that sweetness than a mystery series centered around an ice cream shop in the wacky little town of Upper Sprocket? To whip up a sweet mystery series, we’ll have to have an interesting protagonist. How about, Trinidad Jones, a woman who lands in the same hometown as her two ex sisters in law and finds out the police chief is her felonious ex hubby’s sister? How is she going to keep her Shimmy and Shake Shop going when there’s a murderer on the loose? And any worthy cozy will need an animal sidekick, of course. Trinidad’s faithful friend is Noodles, the aged labrador, who flunked out of service dog school due to his myriad of quirky behaviors. He’s been known to hoard the mail and activate the car’s turn signal upon occasion. Okay! We’ve got the protagonist, the fuzzy sidekick and the town. On to the good stuff!

Writing a series of this kind necessitates LOTS of research! In the course of writing the first book in the Shake Shop Mystery series, Pint of No Return, I have spent a lot of time engaged in important dessert fact finding. Trinidad has opened her Shimmy and Shake Shop where she creates fabulous “freakshakes,” massive ice cream extravaganzas featuring all manner of fabulous toppings. Donuts? Brownies? Sparklers and slabs of pie? Trinidad’s done it all, but the most important thing in creating a freakshake is to whip up the very best ice cream possible. Exotic flavors are a bonus. To that end, I’ve been scouring Northern California in search of wild and wacky varieties. I’ve sampled some interesting flavors; rose, basil, bleu cheese and pear, red currant and even yam. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it! In my explorations I have learned three tricky bits of trivia about everyone’s favorite dessert. Want to test your ice cream knowledge? Go ahead and take a lick at it. When you’re done, check out the special “doggie approved” ice cream recipe you can try out on your pooch!

  1. What country consumes the most ice cream? (The United States with New Zealand landing in second place. If you’re wondering, vanilla is still the most popular flavor.)
  2. What type of nut is most common in American ice cream? (The pecan!)
  3. How many licks does it take to finish a regular size scoop of ice cream? (That’d be 50!)
  4. In what country was Haagen Dazs invented? (It was created in the U.S. Reuben and Rose Mattus, founders of Häagen-Daz, made up a name to mimic the sound of the Danish language, in order to give their produce premium panache.)
  5.  What was Ben and Jerry’s most popular flavor in 2020? (Half Baked, a mixture of chocolate and vanilla ice creams, gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough and fudge brownies.)

Did you know that ice cream isn’t just for humans? With a few tweaks, your canine companions can enjoy America’s favorite dessert too! Trinidad’s dog Noodles is an ice cream aficionado. Here’s a Noodles approved recipe you can make for your own pooch! Enjoy!

The Chilly Dog – A doggie ice cream recipe


-I medium ripe banana

-2 Tbsp. all natural peanut butter (NO artificial sweeteners, those are toxic to dogs)

-2 Tbsp. lactose free milk

Blend the ingredients in your food processor until smooth. You can easily double it, and since Noodles is watching his waistline, Trinidad freezes the mixture in ice cube trays and pops one out when her canine pal needs a treat.


Kathleen J. Robison

Not enough?

Lauren Daigle sings about feeling like you’re not enough in her song, You Say. Don’t we all? And that lie messes with everything. Yet, I believe it because I’m not enough on my own. But I forget that as a Christian, in Christ I am.

This last month was a rough one. Lots of deadlines, challenges in my adult children’s lives, and heavy prayer requests from friends. I wanted so much to do more than pray, but it just didn’t seem like I’d have the time to fit everything in, and even if I did, my efforts would be lacking. Finally, I thought, I just need to get back into my routine and follow it. So, I got up extra early. I did my quiet time, but the thoughts and lies crept in. Still, God’s Word strengthened me, and I hit the computer with renewed vigor! It had been a week since I’d been able to do that.

I pulled up my latest manuscript, Restored Grace. I was in the final edits, I made a few changes, but my computer was running slow and glitching, not a usual thing. I waited, then finally I restarted it. When I pulled up my document, my computer informed me it was corrupted and couldn’t be recovered. Not from my PC, not from the Cloud, nowhere.  For over an hour, I tried everything I could find on the internet and help chats to recover it. All in vain, and my early morning was slipping away.

Another hour went by, and it was time for my walk. I left my computer and off I went. Usually, I listen to a book on tape. It’s my way of learning to be a better writer, more than escaping into a good story. The advice of many accomplished writers, right? Instead, I played my Christian Playlist, and Lauren Daigle’s song came up first. Then one after another, worship songs and hymns pointed me to Christ. His glory, His light, His strength. My steps got lighter, and I landed up, walking almost half more than my usual steps.

I returned to my computer, knowing I didn’t have too much time before grandkids would fill my home with laughter. I surrendered my document but begged God for recovery. An unsettled peace filled me. Is there such a thing? I searched again and found a new fix. Guess what? It worked! It’s a little button called, history. Halleluiah! Restored Grace was back on track. I’m still behind but am trusting in God’s strength, not mine.

And the family challenges and heavy prayer requests? My heart breaks because they’re still there, and I want to do more, and I’m not enough. But in Christ … I am. He is a big God. Gracious, loving, merciful, and trustworthy. I pray for those who occasionally struggle as I do and those whose struggle is daily and much more significant than mine. I pray you’ll feel Jesus’ loving arms around you. I pray you will experience the height, depth, and breadth of his love for you. His mercies are new every morning, and in Him, you are enough!