Restaurant Review: Wings Suds and Spuds in Moon Township, PA

We seem to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so often that I think I am becoming almost as familiar with the area surrounding the Pittsburgh Airport as I am with Columbus!  We frequently stay in Coraopolis or Moon Township during at least one of our overnights in the Pittsburgh area.  A recent visit found us in Moon/Coraopolis at dinner time--and we were all in the mood for chicken wings.  We had driven by Wings, Suds and Spuds roughly a hundred times over the past few years--and, finally decided to stop in.  What was our family's review of Wings, Suds and Spuds on the edge of Pittsburgh?

Is Wings, Suds and Spuds family friendly?  Okay.  This was our first concern--as it always is when we venture out to an unknown restaurant with family in tow.  The parking lot at Wings, Suds and Spuds is a little larger than we first thought as we view it from the road.  The outside of the restaurant is nothing fancy.  The husband opted to venture inside for a look around before taking the family in.  We knew that beer was a menu focus--we just didn't want to walk unwittingly into a local bar with a couple of kids!  While he was heading inside, I noticed a family with tweens/teen girls leaving.  He returned and gave it it the "family-approved" go ahead.

Small and Simple.  Wings, Suds and Spuds is a small, local, casual spot.  The dining area is small and simply furnished. The music was set to classic rock n roll.

The menus are pretty straightforward.

 A one page, laminated menu for food and fountain drinks.

A chalkboard sign on the wall for the draft beer options.

There were a few servers working the tables--all of which were filled as the evening moved more toward dinner time.  Orders were taken quickly and efficiently.  Drinks were kept filled.  The front kept busy with a steady stream of take-out orders.  Our "family friendly" worries were gone immediately as most of the groups dining (or pick up carryout orders) were families.

How was the food at Wings, Suds and Spuds?

We ordered Fresh Cut Curly Fries

Yes.  That is a container of cheese sauce.  The cheese sauce was a little spicy (like a nacho cheese sauce).  The fries were fried and virtually unseasoned--and, while they probably weren't the healthiest food choice of the weekend--they were really good with the cheese sauce.

....and Wings

We ordered the Hot Buffalo and the Garlic Wings.  I love chicken wings.  I make homemade wings a lot--and I have adapted my own sauce recipes from styles that we have liked at various restaurants.  The garlic wings at Wings, Suds and Spuds are the best I've had.  They are even better than the ones I make (and this Parmesan Garlic Buffalo Chicken recipe was previously the best I'd ever had.)

Would I recommend Wings, Suds and Spuds?  If you are looking for a fine dining experience--with loads of healthy food options on the menu--this place won't work for you.  However, if you are looking for a laid back, casual spot for good chicken wings, beer and fried foods--I would recommend Wings, Suds and Spuds.  If we are in the area again; we'll probably simply order wings and fries for carryout--we frequently stay at a nearby hotel.  The atmosphere is a little dated--and table service includes paper plates--but, it was family friendly, the service was fine and the food was a hit.

Visit Wings, Suds and Spuds on Facebook

Wings Suds & Spuds Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

5 School Project Tips for Parents

School is well in session for most of us--whether our kids are off to traditional school or are homeschooled.  You have probably had several weeks to adjust to your children's teachers (and to those teachers' expectations) for homework and projects.  If you found yourself struggling through your child's school projects--it's time to step back and regroup.  After three kids in STEM and STEAM education for many years; my kids have become school project pros.  I wanted to share a few of our tried and true school project tips for parents.

Read the Project Grading Rubric with your Child.  First.  There is nothing worse than having your child plan an incredible (time consuming, costly, messy) project--only to realize it is missing some required, key elements when it's almost completed....or, worse yet, when it's completed. Take some time early on to ensure that your child begins the project on the right foot!  It will save you so much energy and stress later!

Keep an Assortment of Arts and Crafts Supplies on Hand.  You don't have to go out and buy supplies for each project with if you keep an ongoing assortment of school project supplies on hand.  Pick up art supplies and project boards on sale--and buy extra art material, markers, stickers, paint, etc., during back to school sales.     Store away scrapbooking papers, construction paper, glue, glitter, beads, buttons, fabric scraps, cardboard, and such--and add to your stash from store clearance sales and future projects.

Keep your Project Supplies Organized.  My kids know where to find markers or fabric in a hurry because we have our supplies stored away in organized bins, bags and boxes in one central location.  It takes a little time to organize--but, it is so much easier to know that the girls can take a quick look through available supplies and grab the ones they need.

Encourage Creativity--and Resourcefulness.  My kids "shop" from our available project supplies for every school project.  Occasionally, I must buy a new poster board or project board or replace a certain color of paint or pick up a special item--but, most of the time--they are able to creatively complete their project requirements with our on-hand supplies.  This encourages the kids to think outside of the box a little--get creative with project parameters and it saves you money.

Don't do your Child's School Project.  In our fast paced world where everyone is in some crazy competition to be the best and brightest--it is really hard for parents to keep their hands off the kids' school projects.  In our "Pinterest perfect", "Facebook sharing" world.....projects made by 10 year old children are works of perfection.....Too often because those projects weren't made by the 10 year old...but, by her 35 year old parents.  Let your 10 year old create a project that looks like it was made by a 10 year old.  Trust me--teachers know when parents do the project.  Trust me.  Your child doesn't learn as much from a project if he doesn't actually do the project.

Once upon a time--I hated school projects as a parent. After putting these tips into place--we have a school project routine that works for us--and yields great project results!


Book Review of Corporate Citizen: Roma Series, Book 5 by Gabriel Valjan & a Giveaway

I love international thrillers and mysteries--and fell in love with the Roma Series by author Gabriel Valjan with the 4th book, Turning to Stone. I was very excited to have the opportunity to review his latest addition to the series, Corporate Citizen--and to both offer my review and offer our readers an opportunity to win a copy of the book at the end of this post in the iReads book tour giveaway.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post; but, we may receive slight compensation from affiliate linking within our posts. 

Quick Summary of Corporate Citizen (Book #5). A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder  than she thinks.

Plot, Characters and Setting Blend Perfectly in Corporate Citizen. Valjan has quite a knack for creating intricate plots, strong characters and well-drawn settings. Readers will connect well to the characters and be pulled flawlessly into the locations and scenes the author creates. Again, as with the previous books of the series, readers will need to read with a bit of attention to detail and focus. But, the attention is well worth it!

The Roma Series is best read as a series. I read the 4th book of the series without having read the first three. While it was a wonderful book--and I loved it--I found that I loved it much more after reading the first three books! The stories really do build and grow upon each other. While you could certainly read the books individually--I think readers would not feel the same connection and depth with the 5th book as series readers would.

Would I recommend Corporate Citizen? I loved this series--but, I read the complete series prior to reading this book. The plot twists and turns are complicated--and the character histories and previous "adventures" are at work throughout the novel. I would recommend this series to thriller/suspense fans or fans of international spy novels. The books aren't "light" reading--but, they are well worth the time and attention to detail! Readers will not find a lot of resolution by the end of this story to some of the lingering loose ends--but, that should only make us look more forward to the next book of the series!

If you are interested in reading the series:


Savvy forensic accountant Alabaster Black is hiding in Rome from her former employer, covert U.S. organization “Rendition.” While there under an assumed name she meets Dante, an investigator, erstwhile explorer and member of the Roma Underground, a band of amateur archaeologists who map the city beneath Rome. With Italian artifacts disappearing at an alarming rate, Alabaster and Dante search for answers and create a trap for the thieves. Through a mysterious online contact Alabaster learns she is being followed, and with her safety at risk she is forced to rethink her chosen alliances and discover hidden truths about herself.

“A provocative thriller with a riveting and surprising plot.”
—M.J. Rose, International bestseller

“...the strong, captivating heroine and an allure of conspiracy and organized crime make this novel an undoubted success.”
—Kirkus Book Reviews

“Conspiracy, double identities, car chases and espionage, all against the backdrop of magical Rome, with its great food and marvelous art history, make this an entertaining, intriguing read.”
—Blogcritics Book Reviews in Brief

WASP’S NEST (Book #2)

In the highly anticipated sequel to Roma, Underground, Bianca returns to the U.S. for her former employer, the covert organization Rendition, to investigate Cyril Sargent and Nasonia Pharmaceutical. Although ambivalent about the assignment and uneasy about her online “friend,” Loki, she is enticed into researching what Sargent is doing with insect genetics that might upset the world of cancer research and treatment. Old friends Farrugia and Gennaro uncover a twisted conspiracy from their past and join Bianca in Boston where they will experience conflicted loyalties, question allies, and confront uncertain enemies, as they’re drawn into the wasp’s nest.

“Again, Valjan successfully conflates multiple sophisticated narratives that bring the past and present together, which the archaeological theme of the last novel also helps accomplish . . . Black is back and just as entertaining as ever.”
—Kirkus Book Reviews

“…a compelling reading, action-packed and with intriguing characters. The plot had plenty of twists and turns, some surprising secrets, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end.”
—The Book Junkie

Buy on Amazon


Milan. Bianca’s curiosity gets a young university student murdered, but not before he gives her a file that details a secret weapon under development with defense contractor Adastra. Guilt may drive her to find justice for the slain Charlie Brooks, but she is warned by the mysterious Loki to stay away from this case that runs deep with conspiracy. Bianca must find a way to uncover government secrets and corporate alliances without returning Italy to one of its darkest hours, the decades of daily terrorism known as the “Years of Lead.”

“It is even more to Gabriel Valjan’s credit that with Threading the Needle he, as an American, was nonetheless capable of unusual insight into the Misteri Italiani, the Italian Mysteries, without taking any prejudicial standpoint, one way or the other, or putting the blame on anyone, but rather inviting readers to judge for themselves.”
—Claudio Ferrara, Italian journalist and translator

“But after the first few pages, I knew I was committed to the end of the book ... and would be reading the two earlier books…Characters, plot, ideas, background: In Threading the Needle, Valjan weaves it all into an international crime novel worth the read.”
—Beth Kannell of Kingdom Books, a specialty mystery bookshop in northeastern Vermont.


Forensic accountant Alabaster Black has always been steps ahead of her former employer, Rendition, a clandestine and apparently lethal organization. Once the star investigator of financial crimes, she fled from the United States to Italy, under a new name: Bianca Nerini. She carries on her work with a group of trusted friends, although a mysterious contact by the name of Loki reaches out to her on occasion. In this fourth installment, Bianca is in Naples against the Camorra, a crime syndicate unlike the American or Sicilian mafia.

Buy on Amazon

​Buy Corporate Citizen:  Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble

Meet the Author:

Gabriel Valjan lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the author of the Roma Series, available from Winter Goose Publishing. Gabriel has also written numerous short stories and essays found online and in print.

Connect with the author:  Website ~Twitter  ~ Facebook

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Book Blast: Lights Out New Release by Cooper & Paulson


What happens when two of my favorite independent authors join forces to write a new book?  I have to add it to my overly-stuffed reading list (somewhere near the top!)  Learn about the latest book from authors Jill Cooper & Bonnie R. Paulson--and pick it for a limited time for only .99 on Amazon!

Quick Summary of Lights Out by Jill Cooper & Bonnie R. Paulson.  When an alcoholic doctor and guilt-plagued nurse are stalked by a vengeful mother during one of the worst storms in the region’s history, an entire town’s survival hangs in the balance.

After a botched emergency C-section, Terri lost her son. With her marriage a wreck, Terri holds the hospital staff responsible for destroying every aspect of her life and will exact revenge as the snow pours down. Karen was in the surgical room when it all went down. She has the evidence to prove Terri’s story of corruption and medical malpractice. Instead, Karen falsifies the records in exchange for a briefcase full of cash she needs to save her parents.

The guilt of her actions and what she protected erodes her life and brings her to the brink. As the storm rolls in, Karen succumbs to her guilt, ready to set the record straight—but will she get her chance? She’s at the top of Terri’s list. As residents are stranded and seek shelter, the power goes out all over town and provides the perfect cover. Those that know Terri the best—fear the worst. Terri, a survival wilderness expert, will take to the snow to exact her revenge and to hell with anyone who gets in her way. Sandpoint, Idaho is about to be put on notice by a grief-stricken mother without a child and the residents will never be the same. Get lost in the storm and purchase Light’s Out today!

Get it on Amazon for $.99

Free on Kindle Unlimited

Meet the authors 

About Jill Cooper...

I could write this in the third person. I could tell you what I like, where I was born, and what my favorite things are. But instead, I’ll say I don’t want to write like everyone else. I don’t want to craft stories you’ve read a thousand times before. I want my novels to be a cinematic experience, blending themes, genres, and situations unlike any you’ve ever read. I want to break the rules. I want you to break out in a cold sweat as you read my books out of fear, love, and excitement. I want my books to be an experience. When you finish, I want you to feel something. Good or bad. If you do, then I’ll have succeeded. If not, I’ll keep trying.

She can be contacted at http://www.jillacooper.com and please like her to keep up to date: Facebook

About Bonnie R. Paulson...

Bonnie R. Paulson mixes her science and medical background with reality and possibilities to make even myths seem likely and give every romance the genetic strength to survive. Bonnie has discovered a dark and twisty turn in her writing that she hopes you enjoy as much as she has enjoyed uncovering it. Dirt biking with her family in the Northwest keeps her sane.

Follow on: Facebook / Website/ Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter/ Literary Addicts / Amazon


Our Favorite Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe for National Chocolate Cupcake Day

I bake a lot of chocolate cupcakes! Chocolate cupcakes are my "standby" dessert for dinners honoring the girls' special awards (National Junior Honor Society, Straight A's, etc.) or special, weekday events. On busy evenings, I may bake my chocolate cupcakes from a commercial mix--but, most of the time, I use a recipe from a clipped recipe tucked away inside an old cookbook. My grandma never made cupcakes--but, would make a chocolate cake every now and then. I am betting that the original recipe came from a Pillsbury Flour package years back! At any rate; in honor of National Chocolate Cupcake Day--I wanted to share our basic, easy, go-to, chocolate cupcake recipe. We've tweaked the recipe a little in recent years--subbing in Stevia and almond milk--and mixing in some chocolate chips!  

Our Favorite Basic Chocolate Cupcake Ingredients
1 1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
2/3 c. Cocoa
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 c. Sugar or Stevia
1/2 c. Butter or Margarine, softened
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Vanila Extract
1 c. Milk or Almond Milk
1/4 c. Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)

Frosting of your Choice (I use Buttercream--and pipe it on pretty heavily!)

Instructions for Our Favorite Basic Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Preheat Oven and Prepare Muffin Tins.  Preheat oven to 350F and line two full sized muffin pans (I currently have Farberware Muffin Tins with approximately 20 muffin liners.  (I usually end up with 18 cupcakes from this recipe..some yield 20.)

Prepare the Chocolate Cupcake Batter.  Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa) in small mixing bowl. Beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl. Add half of the milk.  Then, beat in half of the flour mixture.  Add the remaining milk and the remaining flour mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon slightly less than 1/3 c. of the batter (I use a dry measuring cup) into cupcake liner.  (Fill the liners about 2/3 of the way full.)

Bake and Cool.  Bake or 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove the cupcakes and place on wire racks to cool completely.

Frost and Decorate as Desired.  I use the Wilton Dessert Decorator Plus to pipe frosting onto my cupcakes.  I LOVE this tool.  It's small, easy to fill and use (the kids can even use it easily to help frost & decorate cupcakes and cakes without making a mess) and it's easy to clean. 

I almost always use buttercream frosting or chocolate buttercream frosting on these.  Not that we really need an excuse to make chocolate cupcakes--but, National Chocolate Cupcake Day does provide the perfect opportunity to bake a batch (or two) to share!