Saturday, July 24, 2021

Is the Lemon Pod the Best Lemon Keeper?

Let's review why I love my Lemon Pod and why I think it most definitely IS the best type of lemon keeper or lemon saver around.   You could always try and convince me otherwise of course!

The Lemon Pod Review
The Lemon Pod (photos Lou16, design Canva)


I do love lemons and have over the past year discovered lemon and blueberry proats which have become my absolute favourite breakfast.   When making these proats I only use half a lemon.   What I would do before I had the Lemon Pod was - I placed the remaining half of the lemon in a plastic sandwich bag and stored it in the fridge until the next day.

Obviously, this is not very environmentally sound so I decided to look for a lemon keeper or lemon saver.   During my hunt I discovered the Lemon Pod and I thought it was the best one available so I brought it.   I absolutely love it and use it along with my lemon squeezer several times a week.

What attracted me to the Lemon Pod?  It's not a rigid container that you just pop your lemon half in, it has a top that actually stretches to fit the lemon.   The different sizes of lemons that I get throughout the year can all be catered for with the Lemon Pod.

The Lemon Pod is actually made up of two pieces.    A bottom solid piece of heavy plastic is where you put the half lemon, cut side down.   The top piece has a heavy plastic ring around the outside which twists into the bottom locking it in place.   The middle of this top piece has a stretchy material that stretches over the lemon.   When you take the lemon out the stretchy material goes back to its 'normal' size.

I believe that as this stretches to 'fit' the lemon it helps it to stay fresh longer because less air can be trapped in there.  To be honest, I couldn't tell you exactly how long the lemons will stay fresh because the longest I've kept half a lemon is two days, but I won't part with my Lemon Pod and I won't swap it for another Lemon Keeper.

If you don't fancy trying proats and you don't add lemon juice to your hot drinks you might be interested in trying a couple of sweet lemon recipes a couple of our contributors make.   First Sam makes fresh Lemon Hand Pies which sound absolutely delicious and then Mary Beth makes some amazing Lemon Cookies.





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Friday, July 23, 2021

The Best Sizzlin' Hot Barbecue Aprons

Love your grill? You need one of these sizzling hot barbecue aprons!

Grilling Something on the barbecue? Put on an apron first! It is summertime and the living is easy. Great weather, good music and your trusty friend, the barbecue, will help you prepare good food but before you throw your meat on the grill you might want to throw on a fun, spirited and practical grilling-themed apron. Here I review six. That is, six sizzlin' hot BBQ aprons. Six of the best. 'Cause only the best will do for you!

GRILL MASTER APRON


Perfect for the individual who has mastered his grill!

This grilling apron by Attitude Apron is a one-size-fits-all (which is usually the case) apron made of a polyester blend perfect for cooking and grilling.  One reviewer said, "We gave this and a grilling cookbook as a gift to my father-in-law and he loved it! The apron is just as pictured and was a perfect fit for my 5'9" father-in-law."  Find the Grill Master apron here on Amazon.

REAL MEN DON'T USE RECIPES APRON


For the man who crafts unique creations at his bbq, a real men don't use recipes apron!

This Real Men Don't Use Recipes apron is another one-size-fits-all apron. It is made in the United States from a polyester blend, perfect for cooking and grilling. Perfect for any man who likes to ad-lib as he cooks. Find the Real Men apron here on Amazon.

A MAN AND HIS GRILL MEN'S APRON


For a man who loves manning his barbecue, a man and his grill apron.

This a man and his grill BBQ apron is a 65 percent polyester, 35 percent cotton blend and features an adjustable neck and back ties. Just throw it in the washing machine after those big grilling events! "We bought this for my brother in law's birthday (along with grill utensils) and he loved it." Find the A Man and His Grill apron on Amazon here.

BOSS OF THE BBQ APRON


Boss of the BBQ - Smokin' Hot and So Is My Grill apron!

This Boss of the BBQ - Smokin' Hot and So Is My Grill apron, is yet another black, one-size-fits-most apron that will delight any man who is in charge of the BBQ...or who is just plain hot, LOL. Find the Boss of the BBQ apron here on Amazon.

WHO REALLY IS THE KING OF THE GRILL? 


This video will leave you smiling. It captures barbecuing stereotypes, whether they are true at your house or not. At our house, my husband cannot take a book out with him when he tends the grill because that only leads to disaster. The lesson we have learned the hard way is don't get between a Little and his or her reading material even if food is involved.


KING OF THE GRILL APRON


Do You Know Someone Who Is The King of the Grill?

Do You Know Someone Who Is The King of the Grill? They should definitely have their own King of the Grill Apron! Also made of a polyester blend, it is perfect for all of the king's cooking and grilling! This is an apron with attitude, making grilling even more fun! Order your King of the Grill apron from Amazon here.

Are you loving your barbecue? How about these barbecue aprons? And for interest sake, who Is The King of the Grill At YOUR House?

Tie one on! 
Brenda




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Thursday, July 22, 2021

Review of Photography Scavenger Hunt Game

B=Butterfly

 At our last photography meeting we were told to meet at a local park.  When we arrived we were given a sheet of paper with rules for a photography scavenger hunt.  I wasn't sure about this game, but it turned out it was a lot of fun and really got our creative juices flowing.

Rules for Scavenger Hunt




The sheet of paper we were given had place to enter our full name at the top.  We would then circle 7 letters from our name.  Below that were ten lines each starting out with a box for the letters we had chosen.  We entered the 7 letters from our name and then added three additional letters of our choosing.


My Letters and Photos


The letters I chose from my name were: M-Y-B-T-H-A and R.  The three additional letters I chose were L-D- and S.  When we chose the letters we were not sure what we were going to do with them so they were pretty random.  After we chose the letters we were given the rules and then we had an hour to go through the park and find something to match each of the letters.  I found the first few letters to be easy.  I took a photo of a tree for the T, a bench for the B, a house for the H and a sculpture in the park for the A (art).  I got down to the M and Y and really struggled to complete the last two.  I ended up photographing a yellow flower for the Y and mulch for the M.  I finished in about 35 minutes and then took some additional photos that could also be used with the letters.  I found it a fun activity to wander the park with a purpose and take photos.  It will be interesting to see what photos everyone took when we share them at our next meeting.

Photos Taken  during the Game



B-Bench

Y= Yellow Flower

Amazon Products on Scavenger Hunts



This one looks like it would be great for children to spark their interest in photography.




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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Happiness at the Cottage, National Hammock Day July 22

Nothing says Summer better than lying in a Hammock during these lazy, hazy and long summer days and evenings.  A Product Review!


Image by Svetlana Chernyshkova from Pixabay

There is something that is so relaxing and wonderful about being able to plunk yourself down in a hammock!  July 22nd is National Hammock Day!  Sunnydaze Decor has hammocks that will make your eyes pop open and your family drool.  To make things even better Sunnydaze Decor is having a "One Day Sale" on National Hammock Day, July 22nd.  You can save 10% on Hammocks and accessories with the code RELAX10!

Your cottage or backyard is just waiting for a nice relaxing and inviting place!  Hammocks are wonderful in that they can be set up easily between two trees or on a hammock stand.  If you choose the Hammock Stand, you have more options! These stands are wonderful in that you can choose where you want the hammock to be.  Do you like the sun, then just move the stand into a clear area so that sunshine can be an added bonus.  If you are not a sunshine lover, then move the hammock into a shady area.  With the hammock stand, you are not limited to placement

Tethering them between two trees makes the hammock a fixed relaxation spot! And that is not necessarily a bad thing either.



.





Hammocks make a great place to rest on your own or with a friend. Your other half, one of the children (grandchildren) or the family pet will find a nice comfortable spot where they can be with you and relax at the same time. All you need is a favorite book and a little bit of time to read!  What could be better?   A little bit of a breeze will rock you gently and you might even find yourself in dreamland for a bit! Who doesn't like the idea of an afternoon nap?

 
Typically hammocks come in two styles.  Both styles have two point anchoring spots (one on either end).  The hammock that you hang from the anchoring spots,  comes in two styles as well.  There are hammocks that have spreader bars (spreader bars can be straight or curved) on either end, that makes the fabric of the hammock lie flatter.  This makes it easy to get into the hammock and get out of it too!  The other style without the spreader bars is more like a cocoon that wraps itself around you and whoever you are sharing the space with.  Each one is comfortable so there is no problem there.  It really is a personal choice!  

https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1627782&u=577487&m=15199&urllink=&afftrack=
I like the colorfulness of the Mayan Rope Hammock for my own personal use, but I can also see using the fabric ones if you have pets and children.  The rope hammocks can let little fingers get between the cords or paws for that matter!  We don't want accidents, so these are just a few things to think about before you buy one of these amazing outdoor beds! 
 
https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=1627782&u=577487&m=15199&urllink=&afftrack=



Hammocks work both at the cottage or at home!  Where ever you decide to place this, I know from experience that there will be many friends and family just itching to let themselves be rocked by the breezes and relax while enjoying the great outdoors.

If you don't want a Hammock bed, they also make Hammock Chairs as well.  Check them out on the Sunnydaze Decor website!  

If you are in the market for a hammock, I hope you can take advantage of the Sunnydaze Decor sale tomorrow July 22nd!  





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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

National Lollipop Day Review

 

National Lollipop Day

July 20 is known as National Lollipop Day – a fun holiday founded by the National Confectioners Association. 


What is a Lollipop?


Lollipop Shop - Pixabay


Definition: Lol-li-pop – a flat rounded candy on the end of a stick.


Lollipops are a type of sugar candy – usually hard candy – mounted on a stick. You eat it by sucking or licking.  Lollipops are also called a lolly, a sucker, or a sticky-pop, depending on where you live.


Lollipops are available in many flavors and can be found in several shapes, as well as the usual round shape. They range in size from small candies often purchased by the bagful, to giant lollipops made by specialty candy shops.


Banks, barbershops, some stores and vendors at parades often give away this sweet treat to customers. 


Little Boy Lost – a Personal Lollipop Story


When our youngest son was four years old, we went to visit the grandparents in a small Kansas town. Grandpa was a doctor and kept a large glass jar filled with lollipops in his office.  Naturally we stopped by his office one day and our son, Greg, got to choose a Lollipop from the jar. The office was located one block over and two blocks up from grandpa's house. 


The next morning, we were in the kitchen with Grandma, having coffee. Greg was outside on the front porch with his older brother & sister and cousin. Several workmen were laying a new sidewalk right in front and the children were all watching. We figured 3 older children could watch one 4-year-old, but we didn't figure on the adventurous little boy our youngest was. We learned later that Greg had gotten bored with watching the workman and decided, all on his own, to go over to Grandpa's office to get another lollipop. But ….. instead of walking one block over and 2 blocks up, he went 2 blocks over and started walking trying to find the doctor's office. 


About 30 minutes later the other children came inside and we (naturally) asked “Where's Greg?”. They had no idea – never having seen him leave and figuring he'd gone inside the house. Now we've got panicked parents, an aunt and grandma all going in different directions looking for Greg and calling his name. About the time we figured we should call the police for help, we spotted a police car coming around the corner with a small boy standing up in the back seat. We flagged them down and re-claimed our child.  Turned out they had found him standing on a corner on a downtown street – over a mile from where he started. He'd gotten lost and was crying and a kind lady had found him and called the police.


We never even had to punish him.  He'd scared himself so much, we figured that was punishment enough! And he never even got his LOLLIPOP! :) 


Lollipops in Pop Culture


Image Source: Pixabay


In the TV series Kojak (1973-1979), Telli Savalis played a lollipop-loving detective known as Lieutenant Theo Kojak. 

In The Wizard of Oz (1939), Dorothy is welcomed to the Land of Oz by The Lollipop Guild armed with a giant spiral sucker. 

In 1934 – In the movie Bright Eyes, Shirley Temple sang the song “On the Good Ship Lollipop”



Summary


So - on July 20 - or any day - enjoy this candy-on-a-stick!


Lollipop Day - July 20



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Lollipop Day reviewed by Wednesday Elf





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Monday, July 19, 2021

Reviewing the Care Of Beautiful Anthurium Or Flamingo Flower House Plants

 

Stunning Anthurium Or Flamingo Flower Houseplant. 

 
I do love Anthurium. This beautiful house plant has a special place in my heart as the stems and red flowers of this plant were given as a gift as a gorgeous bouquet of stunning flowers to my husband and me as we came to the end of our honeymoon.

We kept these stems and flowers for weeks. So when we were all settled in our home, we decided to buy ourselves an Anthurium plant so that we could keep it always. 

I have to admit I was a little concerned about how I would look after this Flamingo Flower plant as it looks so exotic. I was sure it would need so much looking after!

However, while it does need a little care I was wrong that it needed a lot. 

I commonly knew this plant as a Flamingo Flower but it also has the common names Laceleaf, Painted Tongue Plant and Tail Flower.

Ours has bright red "flowers" although they are not technically flowering, as I will explain later. 

These Flamingo flower plants would grow in a very tropical environment in nature. They have no scent, just their stunning good looks! It is a lush, stunningly beautiful plant that graces any house with a subtle yet distinctly tropical look. Yet I feel most people could care for this plant with relative ease and just a little knowledge and have a gorgeous display in the home. 


Gorgeous Lush Leaves Of Anthurium Houseplant
 

Where To Site An Anthurium Houseplant

Where we position this plant in the house is vitally important and like with many houseplants, if you get that right the rest is really easy. 

We need to grow this plant in a bright position. If it is in direct sunlight it will scorch the leaves. If it is in constant dull light or too much shade, it may slow growth and stop producing its gorgeous flowers.  

The Flamingo plant benefits from a consistent temperature. We will know if the room you have it in is too hot as it will wilt. We need to remove it from the environment and try somewhere a bit cooler to give it a chance to survive. 

The ideal temperature is around 70-90 degrees but in my experience, the average house temperature is perfectly fine. Our house temperature is significantly lower than 90 degrees and our plant does well in our living room where it is generally warm and constant. Ours is positioned where it is not near an open window in case of drafts or cold chills in winter but it does have lots of light.

If your house goes from extreme heat to extreme cold that this plant will suffer badly, but I doubt many of us will do that intentionally in our homes for our own comfort! 

In a warm summer, we can take them outside for a while in daylight hours only but must keep them in a lightly shaded spot and bring them in before dusk.

I sometimes do this during June and July for a couple of hours a couple of times a week if we get a warm dry summer! 


Heart-Shaped Flower Or Spathe
 On Anthurium

Anthurium House Plant Flowers

Now to explain the "flowers" of this plant. They are very beautiful and shaped like a heart which is rather lovely! The bright red heart shaped structures on our plant do look like flowers but they are not. 

They are in fact waxy leaves and are called spathes. They can come in a gorgeous range of colours from pink, purple, white or red like ours. So if you have one in your home you can usually find one to suit your decor.  However, during this article, we will just call them flowers. 

In order to get those gorgeous waxy leaves that look like flowers, we need to feed the plant a feed with high prosperous content. This is only required about once every month and only during Spring and summer when actively growing. There is no need to use fertiliser in Autumn or winter at all.  

I find the flowers last quite a long time up to several weeks then they gradually dry up and my red one turns a dark brown. I like to trim them off before they start looking unsightly. However, do not just snip them off below the flower head. You need to feel right down the base and cut off low down with a pair of secateurs like these Wolf By Pass Secateurs or a strong pair of scissors. More flowers will soon appear! 


Anthurium Flower


Soil Conditions For Anthurium Houseplant

They grow naturally either in rich soil humus or on the surface of other plants.

For our purposes of growing this as a house plant, it is best and easiest to pot into a soil that is free draining but not as light as pure cactus soil. It is best in soil that has some water retention but is free draining which means the water will quickly pour through drainage holes. A blend of cactus soil with richer compost and grit would be good. 

However, as I could not get any cactus soil at the time, mine is potted into an ordinary multi-purpose compost that is sifted and mixed with fine grit and it seems to do just fine. 

As with most houseplants if the plant starts to look overcrowded and fills the pot that is the time to re-pot into a larger container. I do try to do this before it starts into new growth in early spring, though with this plant you may only need to do it only every few years.


Anthurium Flower Houseplant With Other Houseplants

Watering The Flamingo Flower

I only water when the soil is dry. To test this easily simply pop your finger in the soil and if the first part up to your first knuckle joint feels dry,  give it a good watering until the water pours out of the drainage holes. Allow it to drain off completely then place it back into its outer pot.

Ideally, you do not want Flamingo flower houseplants in any standing water. They like a humid atmosphere but from my experience no more humid than is comfortable for us.

 If you want to make it more humid without changing your comfort levels then a saucer with pebbles covered in water underneath the plant will help. We can also grow it together with other houseplants who like similar conditions or are not fussy about conditions and that will also increase humidity for all of them. I have our Anthurium keeping company with our spider plant and I like the contrasting forms and habit. 

We can mist these houseplants lightly as they like humidity but do not overdo it as they will respond badly to being soaked. I only mist once every couple of weeks in warm weather. Bathrooms often have natural humidity but you would also need to make sure the light levels were good for the plant. 

Beautiful Flamingo Flower Houseplant


Safety Around the Anthurium Plant And Health Benefits.

It is important to note that these plants are poisonous if eaten or tasted. They can cause swelling of the mouth and organs of the digestive system and severe pain. If you buy one do keep it well out of reach of children and pets. 

The sap can also be an irritant and can irritate your eyes quite badly so I am careful as I have very sensitive skin but it's probably best for anyone to wear gloves when handling a lot or especially when taking cuttings.  Do not rub or touch your eyes or mouth with gloves or your hands until you have washed them.

We have ours on top of a tall cupboard where you can see it and admire it but there is no danger to any visiting children or pets.

For these reasons, I try to keep handling this plant to a minimum. I have not yet taken any cuttings as that means much more contact with the plant and I have super sensitive skin. So far I have just repotted it probably every 3 years.

If you are ever lucky enough to see this plant in the wild, best to admire it visually and do not touch it. 

However, they are also good for our health being excellent plants for helping to purify the air in our homes and offices and can help rid the air of many toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and ammonia. They are also particularly good to help the air quality if you use technology like printers or photocopiers.  




So to summarize, Anthuriums or Flamingo flower plants are beautiful, stunning looking and will grace any home with a touch of the exotic. They are toxic if eaten and we do need to be careful when handling them due to the sap, but they are good for our health too in helping to purify our air. For such a tropical-looking plant the care is surprisingly easy. As with most houseplants, if you get the position, soil and watering correct the plant will be a gorgeous addition to your home for years to come. 


More Gardening And Houseplant Articles

Reviewing The Growing And Care Of Dracaena As A Houseplant






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Sunday, July 18, 2021

Radio Red Flyer Wagon - Reviewed

 

Radio Red Flyer Wagon Reviewed

Four wheels, a box, and a handle, what could be simpler. What I’ve just described is a whole bunch of fun with your kids or your grandchildren. 

The Radio Flyer Red Wagon, we bought one when our grandson Bobby was almost 2 years old. We have had such wonderful times taking walks around the neighborhood, to the local playground, and to parks with all of our grandchildren.

 


Are you thinking about joining the gym to get yourself in shape? Save your money, just take the kids for a stroll in the red wagon, and you’ll get plenty of exercise, especially if you take on some hills, and I mean going up the hills not down.

Every ride we used as a time to learn new things with our grandchildren. In the spring when everything is blooming we would point out the different flowers and trees in bloom. In the fall when the leaves were turning all of the vibrant colors, we would collect them and talk about what makes them change colors.

Bobby is going to be 16 years old now, so he is a little too big to fit in the wagon. His little brother Tyler also had so much fun with this wagon, Tyler is now 10 years old.

Now the fun is with our two granddaughters Giada and Guiles. Every time they visit they enjoy the wagon rides just as much.

Radio Red Flyer Wagon

A few years ago we decorated our wagon for the local village, July 4th celebration. The village held a contest and a parade for the best-decorated bikes. So, we decorated the wagon, we didn't win but we sure had a lot of fun.

Red Flyer Wagon Features:

The wagon is made of sturdy plastic; it has 2-fold up seats, and seat belts to hold your precious cargo securely. There are four molded cup holders so you can bring along the kids’ favorite drinks. The wagon has the National Parenting Center’s Seal of Approval.

If you have kids or grandchildren the Radio Red Flyer Wagon makes a perfect gift. Our wagon is now 14 years old and still in great shape. We have made memories for a lifetime with our wagon.

This is the wagon we have but they make so many different styles. Check them out and find one that's right for you.

Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, Base Red, 39Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, Base Red, 39Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon, Base Red, 39

 

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Saturday, July 17, 2021

The Scholastic Book Fair Birthday Gift – A Gift Review

 


My youngest grandson, Tyler, just had his 7th birthday. He's outgrowing the younger toys and books I've given him on baby, toddler and kindergarten birthdays and I have been trying to find something appropriate for a boy who will soon be ready for the 2nd grade.


Scholastic Book Fair


Every year, Scholastic holds 120,000 book fairs at schools across the US and abroad. They have been putting on regional fairs since the 1970s and nationwide fairs since the ’80s. Schools host them in school libraries – or gyms or cafeterias – wherever they have room. The book fair is usually held for a week, with the school receiving either a percentage of sales or some remaining stock for hosting the event.


Some of  these book fairs are held at local libraries, if a school does not have room.

These Scholastic Book Fairs are very popular with children and adults alike.  


A Birthday Gift for Tyler


Now that Tyler has learned to read (just finished first grade), age-appropriate books seem to be a good gift choice.


Tyler is currently interested in the DC Comics Super Heros and Legos. While attending a variety of garage sales in a nearby small town last weekend, I discovered that a Scholastic Book Fair was being held at the local elementary school. I think I spent an hour browsing, since there were so many terrific choices. I finally decided on the Lego series and narrowed it down to two selections.


My Book Choices for Tyler


Lego DC Comics Super Heroes Handbook


LEGO Super Heroes Handbook
(c) Elf

This handbook is the perfect introduction to a child's favorite LEGO heroes and villains.  From Batman to Superman, Catwoman to Wonder Woman, to their arch-enemies like Joker and Lex Luthor, this official guidebook describes each Super Hero and their histories, all the villains, their vehicles and their locations. 


From the pages of the long-favorite and famous DC Comics, these Super Heroes have been popular for years. They have even starred in movies. And now these amazing fighters for justice have become LEGO Minifigures. This handbook gives an overview of them all. 


Lego - Batman Night Patrol! - Activity Book with Free Batman Minifigure


(c) Elf

(c) Elf

This is a Batman themed activity book with pages of comics telling a story, plus mazes, drawing pages, dot-to-dot, pages to color and more. The book comes with a free Batman Lego minifigure.


Summary


(c) Elf

These LEGO Super Hero books are geared to ages 6 – 8, so should be just right for 7-year-old Tyler. 


If you don't have a Scholastic Book Fair being held soon near you, these LEGO Super Heroes books – and other similar ones – can be ordered online from The Scholastic Store. Many are also available on Amazon.


Quick Links to Scholastic Fair Books:


A Gift Ideas Review written by

Wednesday Elf






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Friday, July 16, 2021

The Hallmark Aurora Teagarden Mystery Series Reviewed

Aurora Teagarden Review
Several years ago, our contributor, Bev Owens, reviewed the Aurora Teagarden book series by Charlaine Harris. I was immediately interested in the great cozy mystery books. I love a series that allows us to follow the main character through multiple intriguing mysteries.  Since this series has 11 books, and because Bev highly recommended them, I knew I was in for a real treat that would last for perhaps a few weeks of great reading.

I recently discovered the Hallmark Aurora Teagarden mystery movie series based on the books and immediately started watching them.  I enjoyed the first movie so much, that I watched the second movie as soon as the first one ended.  By the time I turned off the videos, I had watched the first 4 movies back to back.  I only stopped there because I had to get some sleep!  Honestly, I can hardly wait to have another evening to dedicate to more of the movie series.

I decided it would be more economical for me to buy the complete series instead of paying for each movie individually.  I want to see all 15 of them that are currently available on dvd!  I expect to watch them more than once, plus I plan to share them with my mother, who also loves Hallmark movies.  Therefore, the seasonal box sets were my best option.  You can see the box sets I selected at the bottom of this article.  I tried to get the most movies for the least investment, but I did have to purchase 2 sets to get all 15 movies.

While the books do give a lot more background and details, I found the movies felt "complete" and I love the actors!

 

Meet Aurora Teagarden!  

In many mystery movies, we follow detectives as they investigate murders, but Aurora is not a police officer or detective.  She is simply a librarian with an penchant for solving murder mysteries.  She is a member of the local Real Murders club that consists of armchair sleuths who enjoy studying real murder cases and known murderers. Give them a real murder mystery to solve, and they are all in!

In each of the episodes, Aurora discovers evidence of a murder, or finds the actual victim. She calls on her amateur detective fellow club members to help her solve the case, much to the distress and disapproval of the local police.  But, the detectives tolerate her because she does seem to have a natural aptitude for ferreting out information from people and evidence that the police would never be allowed to find.

 Aurora Teagarden: 6-Movie CollectionCheck PriceIn the first movie episode, A Bone to Pick, Aurora finds a hidden skull in the window seat of a home she inherits. Instead of contacting the police, she starts her own investigation based on what else she can find around the house and on her knowledge of the deceased homeowner.  It is interesting, and sometimes comical to watch Aurora "work".  If she were my neighbor, I would consider her way too nosy, but that is how she solves cases.  She asks a lot of questions and does a lot of snooping.

The second movie, Real Murders, focuses on her Real Murder club when one of their own members is murdered and the club members are the main suspects. Aurora is joined by one of her favorite fictional crime book authors in this investigation, but there are times when it is hard to know if he is an ally, a romantic interest, a suspect or all of the above.  

In Three Bedrooms, One Corpse, which is the third movie, Aurora is helping her mother by showing one of her real estate properties to a new client.  Sadly, they discover the body of one of the real estate agents working for her mother's agency.  While in the home, Aurora notices that something doesn't look right.  She can't quite figure out what detail is off until she compares current pictures to old pictures. Her keen observation and attention to detail points the detectives in the right direction, but also puts her in great danger.   

The Julius House is the fourth movie in the series and happened to be my favorite thus far.  In addition to being an excellent cozy mystery with a surprising end, there is a touch of romance developing between Aurora and Martin, her mother's client from the previous episode.  The mystery revolves around the disappearance of the entire Julius family.  It was believed that the family was probably victims of a car accident that simply hasn't been discovered. Or, perhaps, they decided to leave for unknown reasons. Aurora's "detective" sense is aroused when she buys the family home and meets the heir, Melba Totino (the wife's mother), who sold her the home.  Conversations with Mrs. Totino, coupled with Aurora's natural inquisitive mind, set off a chain of events that finally lead to discovering what really happened to the Julius family. 

 

Each of these movies would be enjoyable alone, but as a series, the characters become more developed as they move along, and as I said in the introduction, I really like the actors who were selected to play the parts.  Candace Cameron Bure is a very believable Aurora Teagarden.

 


These are the two box sets that I purchased!

 The Aurora Teagarden Mysteries: Collections 1-3Check Price Aurora Teagarden Mysteries - Collection FourCheck Price

  


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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Catching Dawn - Book Review

To what lengths would you go to keep a promise to a stranger?  To whom would you turn when fulfilling that promise proved to be beyond the scope of what you alone could do?

Catching Dawn starts as a rescue story that becomes a story, within a story, within a story.  There is the story of what it means to rewrite your own story as you do everything within your power to help the ones barely surviving.

And then there is the story of how the strays of the world find their belonging, their purpose, their peace.

Nested within those stories are the circular beginnings and endings where the lines blur between having rescued and having been the one most in need of saving.

When Melissa Armstrong is approached by a stranger about helping a litter of newborn puppies born to a dog living on the streets, she is quick to take on the mission.  After all, how hard could it be to gather up a nursing dog and her babies?

It turns out that a highly traumatized dog is one of the hardest things anyone could ever attempt to catch.  Six months of failures could have been the end of that story (and the end of those frail puppies).  Instead, this book reveals how both humans and animals in desperate need helped one another rise above those initial failures.

As a young girl, Armstrong grew up feeling there was something wrong with her that made her unlovable.  She felt out of place and knew great loneliness.  Her inner stray could relate to the fear and lack of trust displayed by dogs that felt a need to hide and avoid the kind of pain associated with people.

While going to great lengths to catch a dog that did not want to be caught, Armstrong simultaneously found herself catching the things that had proven so elusive during her earlier years: feeling loved, being needed, and discovering the embrace of a real family.

Having been immersed in challenging dog rescue scenarios, there was much that resonated for me in these embedded stories of transformation, friendship, and healing.  The writing revealed the beauty and wonder of the truest of relationships.  This book reminded me to never take for granted the many gifts offered up by my animals every single day.  It deepened my gratitude for how my rescue dogs have helped me rewrite my story.  

There are no small promises when lives are hanging in the balance.  There are no lengths too great when it comes to living out our promises.  Catching Dawn inspires us to be the promise needed in this world.





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