Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book Review: Nancy Drew #41

The Clue of the Whistling Bagpipes

By Carolyn Keene

Haley, Kaya, Kirsten, Lanie, Melody, 2 or more

Can you tell we really like Nancy Drew mysteries? (giggling) 
We love the Hardy Boys too! 
Frank and Joe are cute. (giggling) 
Chet cracks me up he's so funny!
We like lots of others too.


Ned is such a great guy. It's good he was able to help Nancy and the others with clues from the states. I LOVED that everyone was able to travel to Scotland to meet Nancy's great-grandmother. She was such a fun lady. I wish they had explored the estate more. Anyway, I liked how the team worked together to figure out what was happening to the sheep and find Nancy's heirloom pin.


Oh, those poor sheep! Nancy, George, and Bess to the rescue! Reading this reminds me of why I didn't like the new movie all that much...Nancy made friends wherever she went, but in the movie she was bullied. Okay , she was bullied and harassed in the book too, but it was by shady characters who were up to no good. Fiona was a great friend to make. She was very helpful in deciphering code and she taught them a lot about her homeland.


Can I travel like Nancy and her friends? Well, minus the car accidents.Nancy is so brave. I don't think I'd want to get back into a car after being run off the road. She's so smart too. Figuring out all the clues to so many different puzzles...she's brilliant!


I'd love to visit Scotland. The pictures I have seen are so lovely. This was a very interesting story with so much going on. At first I was wary of Fiona and her offers to help Nancy, Bess, and George; she could have been in on it with the bad guys. You know, the spy who infiltrates the good group to throw them off the track. I'm glad I was wrong. Fiona and her friends were fun.


Honestly, I don't know what's so great about Scotland. I once read that the reason the thistle is the country flower is because it was planted because the thorns would deter the barefoot vikings from invading. (giggles) I guess I'd have done the same to keep my family safe. Okay, back to the review at hand. The story is well written and really moved along. It was a little too easy for everyone to travel together this time, but it's good all three girls could work together. Everyone has input and helps.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love, love, love the classic Nancy Drew mysteries! While a lot of the activity couldn't and wouldn't happen today [teens renting a car, attending church (two times), staying overnight in a complete stranger's house, etc.] it really is a nice lesson in how being polite can be helpful and positive. Plus the classics do so much more in widening vocabulary than the newer incarnations. Although, I did get a good chuckle out of the use of "quicksilver." There are very good reasons we don't have such ready access to mercury anymore.

This Nancy Drew installment is very intriguing beyond the normal mystery. In it we learn more about Nancy's heritage and her ancestral homeland - Scotland. There are bits of history, local sites, geography and language lessons to be found as well. [If you're an adult reader and fan of Diana Gabalon's Outlander series I bet you could picture Jamie Fraser walking through the same areas Nancy trod. I know I did.]

The story is well written with an ebb and flow of action interlaced with clues and deductive reasoning. Ned tackled some sleuthing back in River Heights, while Bess and George were able to accompany Nancy and her father to Scotland. There they added a fourth member to the team, Fiona. In the end Nancy proved to be worthy of the same motto as the Canadian Mounties...she always gets her man.

I highly recommend this book and this series to any mystery fan; especially those honing their reading skills. These are wonderfully written chapter books.

Kid Lit Blog Hop

The Kid Lit Blog Hop continues. I hope no one is bored with our current focus. The next entry will be a different type of book. 
If you'd like to see more reviews, check out the Kid Lit Blog Hop hosted by The Logonauts among others.

Have you ever thought about traveling abroad? Where would you want to go? Why? If you went to Scotland what would you want to see or do? 

Best wishes,

Monday, March 30, 2015

Night on the Town

Off to the Movies

Haley, Kirsten, Lanie, 2 or more, Xyra

Hey, Lanie! Where are you going all dressed up?
The movies! I'm going to see Cinderella!
You look just like Cinderella!
Thank you.
Who is going?
Xyra and I are meeting her friend Lady Apple in a bit and I can't find my mittens. Have you seen the blue mittens? They go better with the red cloak.
The scarf is over here with the cloak.
I don't think I'll need that, but the mittens...
Oh, they're here on the table.
Thank you! See you soon!
Have fun!
Don't lose your shoes! (giggling)

The Grand

This is so cool! I can't wait! I love this poster. It's too bad it got a bit wet.
Getting my ticket.
Great seats! I have my popcorn and soda.
I stopped at the concession stand on the way out - it was too full to get pictures before the movie. 

I love how they have the brass register and soda fountain. Looks like I was dancing a lot too. Huh?

Movie Review


Oh. My. Goodness! What an exciting night! Not only did we see Cinderella, but also Frozen Fever! Both were great!

Ella's mom and dad and house were beautiful. It was so sad how she ended up with a devious stepmother and two very odd step sisters. I learned three great things tonight: "have courage and be kind" and "believe." Loved the captain. The grand duke not so much. The king was a great dad. Fairy Godmother was FABULOUS! She really does know how to do shoes. And the gown! Who could forget the gown! All those puffy layers floating around during the dance...*sighs* A really good movie! I highly suggest it to all!


Cinderella is my favorite Disney princess movie. I remember seeing it at Disney World when I was little. Jacques and Gus Gus are ever my favorites! Was Jacques female counterpart Jacqueline? I can't remember that. I do miss the little clothes on the animals, but this was really nice. One problem - the average lifespan of a mouse is 2 years (I've had many as pets). These lived so long with Ella that I started to think they were really animagi like Scabbers.

I think I've seen almost every incarnation of Cinderella that has been made. A live action of the original Disney movie was a new twist. Very well adapted. It kept all the love and challenge and obstacles and hope and comedy. A few twists, but nothing outrageous (except the long lived mice). Some very touching additions. 

Cate Blanchett was superbly evil/conniving/devious as the step mother. The stepsisters were not ugly in their outward appearance (looked like residents of The Capitol, if you get my drift, as did their mother), but were pretty darn ugly on the inside and they let it show. Thankfully this prince was charming and sincere. Richard Madden's eye are captivating. Helena Bonham Carter is wonderful as the fairy godmother. Perfectly cast!

There was not a bad moment in the movie. Some outstanding scenes included meeting the prince, going to the ball, escaping at midnight, the shoe fitting, and...have to keep somethings "secret." The theater erupted in applause at the end.

Movie Going Notes

  • Don't touch or take anything that is not yours.
  • Leave lighted footwear at home.
  • Turn off your cell phone.
  • Whisper if you must comment to your friends.
  • At the end, if someone behind you is still seated, they are trying to watch the credits. Move to the side, so they can see.

Do you like to go to the movies? What do you get at the concession stand? Have you seen this Cinderella?

Best wishes,

Saturday, March 28, 2015

National Respect Your Cat Day

How Are You Celebrating?

We're having fun with the kitties today. 
What kinds of things can you do to respect your cat?
Have a great day!

Best wishes,

Friday, March 27, 2015

Tea Review: Tetley Tea

Tetley Tea

Classic Blend

Hi! I'm working solo today. Well, sort of, I have support from the camera crew. (giggles) Today I want to look at a popular tea you can find in your grocery store - the tiny little tea leaves. That's right, Tetley.
Tetley mentions five blends on their website. We found the classic black in our grocery store. You might be able to find British; green; black and green; iced tea; and, of course, decaffeinated. These three are recommended on the back of the classic box.

The box contains 48 unwrapped tea bags. That means if you leave them like this they could lose flavor intensity over time. Or worse, take on flavors from other things.
If your tea is unwrapped or in a paper wrapper, the best thing to do is put all the bags in an airtight container (FAQ What is the best way to store tea?). You can use an empty tea tin or Tupperware canister or a mason jar.
Tea bags are pre-measured so you can put it right in your cup or mug. I'm using the glass pot so you can see the color.
Put the bag in the pot, pour over the boiling water, and set the timer. You can steep as few as 3 minutes or as long as 5. I'm going for 4 minutes. 
It's already starting to give off a lovely color.
(timer beeping)
Done! Look at that lovely dark, amber, brown color!
It smells nice, but not floral, fruity, or overly malty. Just a nice combination. 
And now you see why I only did 4 minutes on the timer...I still have the bag in, so now it's been 5 minutes. (giggles) Remove the bag - squeeze all the liquid out if you want to; I did. I'm going to try it clear first; that's nothing added or plain.
Mmm, nice. Not weak. Not too strong. Not bitter. Full body. I wonder what it would be like with some agave syrup?
Oops! Too much agave. (giggles) Made it really sweet and the flavors's a little more floral now. Time to try milk and sugar.
Very good!

Overall, you can't go wrong with this tea. It holds its own with additions and can also be enjoyed plain.
I'm looking forward to trying to make iced tea with it when the temperatures get warmer. Hope you enjoyed, my review.

Xyra's Review

I grew up drinking another brand and always thought Tetley was kind of bland in comparison. I still find it to be a bit bland, but that is because my tea preferences include British, Irish, Scottish blends and Earl Grey. According to the Tetley website, the classic blend sold in the US is more mild than the blends offered in Canada and the UK (FAQ Is the Tetley I buy in the US, the same as the Tetley in Canada or the UK?

The Tetley classic blend provides a nice cup of tea whose flavor and body pairs well with those who like it with or without milk. Plus if you want sweet tea, you can choose you favorite sweetener. It's a well rounded tea for any occasion. Quite enjoyable.

Best wishes,

Note: Tea Time with Melody Q is not affiliated with American Girl or Tetley Tea. The tea reviewed today was purchased at our local market. The above review is unsolicited and reflects our own opinions.  All links provided are for educational and informative purposes; no purchase is required.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Interesting Holidays

We Missed It

National Puppy Day

Monday, March 23 was National Puppy Day.  We missed it and the pups are telling us about it. 
I think they are also telling us we should mark the pet holidays on the calendar.
So, I decided to search out National Dog Day and National Cat Day, but I found a LOT more! These are the ones we are marking on our calendars you can find more on Holidays and Observances.

Pet Holidays

I'm not going to list the ones that have already past.

  • March 28: Respect Your Cat Day
  • April 11: National Pet Day
  • April 26: Bulldogs are Beautiful Day AND National Pet Parent's Day
  • April 30: Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
  • May 3 & June 4: Hug Your Cat Day
  • May 30: International Hug Your Cat Day
  • June 21: National Dog Party Day
  • June 26: Take Your Dog to Work Day
  • July 31: Mutt's Day
  • August 8: International Cat Day
  • August 10: Spoil Your Dog Day
  • August 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day
  • August 26: National Dog Day
  • September 13: National Hug Your Hound Day
  • October 29: National Cat Day
  • November 17: National Black Cat Day
  • December 2: National Mutt Day

Other Holidays

I also found a list of all sorts of holidays. Did you know there is a Hula in the Coola Day and a National Tooth Fairy Day and a Talk Like Shakespeare Day? It's true! You can see the list on Holidays Calendar.

What would you like to see celebrated as a holiday? You can celebrate that today because it is "Make Up Your Own Holiday Day." (giggling)

Best wishes,