The Ultimate Escape

It should come as no surprise to anyone when I make this statement: KATIE ADORES ESCAPE ROOMS. Since her first in-person escape room during a birthday celebration, Katie has gone on to design many awesome literary escape rooms, both in-person (see here, here, and here), and virtual (see here, here, and here)! So it makes total sense for her to test drive Finders Seekers, a mailed-right-to-your-door escape room company. Take it away, Katie!


Yes, I adore escape rooms, both participating in and creating them! Not being able to partake in a live escape room because of the pandemic, I eagerly started searching for a worthy “at-home” alternative. That’s when I found Finders Seekers.

Finders Seekers is a monthly subscription where you receive a box in the mail with an escape room mystery adventure inside. The rooms are based on the culture and history of a different city somewhere in the world. The cities have covered the entire globe, including Sydney, Australia; Athens, Greece; Petra, Jordan; and San Francisco, California. There are a couple options for purchasing: you can sign up for a month-to-month service for $30, or you can select up to 3 levels of prepay spanning a year. There’s a gift option for sending a box to an escape room fanatic as well. You can cancel your subscription at any time.

Your “Escape Room in a Box” literally comes in a Finders Seekers marked box, which tells you that “The Mystery Begins Inside.” When you open the box, you find a “Classified” envelope with all the materials you’ll need to solve the escape room, along with a letter of specific instructions from Lucy Calder, Chief Seer of the Society of Seekers. Chief Seer Calder provides a website with links to different locations within the city, along with supporting information to help you solve the clues and puzzles.

Our first Finders Seekers adventure took us up the East Coast to Boston, Massachusetts. From the deck in our backyard, my son and I raced along Boston’s Freedom Trail and visited 10 historical stops along the way. We were tested by 10 “patriots” at the sites and once we solved the riddle, we were given a token that helped us decipher the final mystery to the location of a stolen relic.

The descriptions and data provided within the website work hand-in-hand with the materials found inside the envelope. You definitely need both elements to figure out the solution. If you get stuck on a puzzle, never fear. The website provides additional hints (and even the final solution!) if you need help as you work through the escape room.

My 13 year-old son and I found some of the puzzles rather easy to figure out, whereas others required us to put in a bit more thought to figure out the solution. Some friends of ours did it with their daughter and her friends (ages 9-11) with success as well. Even though my son and I had decided to not use any of the extra hints, we did get help once because it was difficult to read part of the clue on our materials and the puzzle wasn’t terribly clear.

Otherwise we managed to solve the escape room entirely on our own. Together we traveled through the city, learned fun facts about one of the most historical places in the United States, and crossed the Boston Marathon Finish Line in a little over two hours!

Our other Finders Seekers adventures had us jetting off to Paris, France and making various stops along the Metro, including the Catacombs and Moulin Rouge. We also have a mystery in Beijing, China waiting for us to solve.

For families who like game nights, for couples searching for a fun date activity, or for anyone who simply loves escape rooms (including yours truly), Finders Seekers is ideal. You finish the escape room in one sitting, rather than having to solve one section and then wait another month for the next part of the mystery. You can also do it entirely on your own! It provides enough challenges to foster excitement and intrigue for several enjoyable hours and introduces the adventurers to new places and cultures. Finders Seekers receives my highest recommendation!

Cordially Yours

My post about dabbling in the world of watercress has led to another culinary experiment, this time from Katie’s kitchen…a splendid raspberry cordial! Do you have an literary recipe you’ve always wanted to try? By all means, let us know and we’ll give it a whirl! And without further ado, Katie’s adventures in cordial…


There are a few books from my childhood that I have read multiple times and enjoy more with each additional read. And there are a few scenes from those books that never fail to make me laugh out loud. Anne of Green Gables is one of those books. The scene when Diana gets sick drinking what Anne thought was raspberry cordial always brings me into fits of giggles. Poor Anne, who didn’t realize she was serving currant wine to Diana and made her friend “simply dead drunk” from the generous pours of the delicious beverage.

I’ve always wondered what the infamous drink tasted like, so I did a quick search online and found a plethora of recipes for raspberry cordial. I decided to use an original recipe from the official Anne of Green Gables website. The only change I made was using frozen instead of fresh raspberries, which are tough to find in the winter season.

I thawed out two bags of frozen raspberries and placed them into a large bowl. Using my handy lemon/lime press, I juiced two lemons and was surprised to find I already had a ½ cup of juice.

I decided to use it all and carefully mixed it with the raspberries. Once the sugar water was ready, I transferred the raspberries in lemon juice into the pot with the boiling water and let it all cool on the stove before putting the concoction into the fridge overnight.

After 24 hours, I strained the raspberry mixture through a sieve in batches so that I could make sure there were no seeds in the juice. After a quick mash of the raspberry mush and another pour through the sieve, the raspberry cordial was ready.

Raspberries are my son’s favorite fruit and he eats lemons raw (as I mentioned when he helped me make Harry Potter’s Triple Power Icy Lemon Pops). When I told him about the cordial, he was more than willing to give an official taste test. Here’s his review:

Overall, I think this drink should be a staple in every house around the world. It has the perfect mix of sour and sweet with the raspberry and lemon juices combined. I would drink this every day if I could because it’s a very high quality refreshment that can be made easily. The only thing I would say about this is to make sure to do everything in the recipe correctly, as the cordial has a very delicate taste that could be changed and you just can’t let that happen.

It’s a super simple drink that packs quite a delicious punch. It would be perfect to sip on a warm summer day while having a picnic outside with your loved ones, or enjoyed by a crackling fire on a cold snowy evening. My family and I give it our highest taste bud recommendation!

If you are searching for other culinary inspirations, check out these interesting cooking pamphlets or learn about the book that gets Dr. Dana’s creative juices flowing.

The Snack of the Swan

My son is bird-obsessed these days, so I presented him with E.B. White’s classic, The Trumpet of the Swan. He loved it and I was soon fielding questions about swans, trumpets, and what watercress sandwiches taste like. I’m not a swan or a trumpet expert, but watercress sandwiches? That I can do!

A quick Google search reveled 559,000 recipe results. In the end, I went with the simplest one: white bread, mayonnaise (or in our food allergic house, Vegenaise), and fresh watercress. I did have a little trouble locating the watercress, but finally found success in the produce section of Whole Foods.

And what did my son think of the sandwiches? Here’s his full report…

To be honest, it did not have much of taste, sort of like spinach. But it did have a bit of spicy aftertaste. Which was not much compared to the mustard cabbage I once tried. That was a dark day. I am obsessed with waterfowl (scientific name Anseriformes). And in one part of the book, the swan eats some watercress sandwiches, and it is said in the book that all the swan really wanted was the watercress. I guessed that waterfowl eat watercress, and other stuff that grows underwater. So we tried it to see what it tastes like. So overall, it wasn’t bad or anything. Just a little bit tasteless. Maybe next time I’ll try bird seed.

Yes, I was a bit surprised. Watercress is a tad spicy. Not unlike arugula. However, the spice added a nice kick to counter the creamy mayo. Nom nom nom. Watercress is also a gorgeous green. I couldn’t resist garnishing Fred Marcellino’s illustration of Louis being presented the bill for twelve watercress sandwiches, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Boston (Harper Collins, 2000 paperback reissue).

If you are looking for a few more recipes, yummies, and challenges heading into the holiday season, you might want to try some rock cakes, say hello with this chocolate pen, or take our literary food quiz!