Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Talk to Me Tuesday: Socks with Sandals?

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See above official Nana bus work uniform when riding the rail between late summer and early fall. Near freezing temps in the morning, lovely 70’s in the afternoon. This is my AM solution, a perfect solution in my mind.

I know, I know. Wearing socks with sandals? A fashion faux pas on so many levels. We used to tease my daddy about wearing socks (white KNEE socks) with his sandals, a haute couture nod to blindingly pale flesh-colored knees and leg skin.

But sometimes, the toes just get too cold. The tennis shoes reside in the trunk, ever ready for a walk when out running errands, the air felt too cold to stop outside in the pre-dawn and put on sneakers, and I must quickly be on my way to perform Nana bus duties.

Socks with sandals won.

So. What’s your vote? YES for socks, NO for no socks. Bonus points if you admit to wearing socks with your sandals.

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Picture book or chapter book?

This excellent post provides great questions to consider if you are writing a picture book that just won’t come together or lends itself to longer text (chapter book). I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

Thanks, Hillary!

via Is Your Picture Book Actually a Chapter Book? Five Ways to Find Out, by Hillary Homzie


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Monday Mouthfuls: Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Casserole

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Compliments of my cousin, Melissa, we enjoyed her cast iron skillet breakfast casserole. So mouth-watering, fragrant, and tasty! I can’t wait to play with the recipe when I get home.

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Cast Iron Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

1 package tater tots

1 dozen eggs

1 cup diced turkey ham (or your ham choice)

1 cup grated cheese

salt and pepper

butter

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Generously butter inside of seasoned cast iron skillet.

3. Line bottom and edges with tater tots.

4. Sprinkle ham over tater tot crust.

5. In separate bowl, whisk eggs until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix. Pour over ham and crust. (Cayenne would be great, too!).

6. Sprinkle cheese on top.

7. Bake in oven. Start checking at 45 minutes by jiggling pan for movement or sticking fork in center for doneness. We like a crispy crust, so ours cooked for about 1 hour.

8. Remove from oven. It will continue to cook for a bit more. Slice and serve while warm. Delish!

Optional toppings: salsa or ketchup (for the youngers, not me), chopped green onions, sour cream, Tabasco. I’d like to experiment with green peppers, green chilis, spinach, broccoli, kale, and cherry tomatoes, though not all at once. Mmm.

Thanks, Melissa! I am inspired to re-season my cast iron skillet and whip up some breakfast casserole!

 


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via Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth by Josh Crute & John Taesoo Kim

Oliver: The Second-Largest Living Thing on Earth

By John Crute & John Taesso Kim

Page Street Kids, 2018

 

This looks so adorable! I cannot wait to read it! Congratulations to John, John, and Page Street!


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1971: Throwback Thursday

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January 1971. My daddy and me, posing in our 70s single-wide mobile home trailer. I just turned 8 years-old.

Purchased brand new, our goldenrod and white 4-mile long mobile sparkled. Shag carpet, wood paneling, avocado/gold/rust colors, 2 bath, 3 bedroom, open concept living room kitchen dining room combo. Family of 6, plus assorted dogs, cats, birds.

It worked, this stylish model. I have so many memories of Christmases, birthdays, meals, chores, crowded rooms. This mobile home was truly mobile, as it moved from the original park in Huachuca City, to Presidential Estates further from town (moved twice while there), and then to the White Mountains. As a kid, it looked fine. But I’m sure the poor thing degraded with every move.

Dad eventually added built-in couches (convenient storage) and a full-size wood stove. Seriously! That stove kept us toasty warm in the White Mountains, come whatever snow and ice and frigid temps the season delivered. By the grace of God, we did not burn up in that mobile.

The girls scored with the bigger bedroom at one end of the trailer, mainly because we were older and bigger. The boys, including baby James, didn’t take up as much room. Both bedrooms connected to a central bathroom. Bunk beds gave us space and plenty of personal area, plus opportunities for causing havoc doing things like kicking up the bed from below or spilling liquids on the lower bunk resident.

One of my favorite memories of the top bunk, besides having Cry (our cat) crawl beneath the covers and sleeping cozied up to me, was looking out one winter night. I don’t remember what woke me, but it was probably coyotes or such. Snow covered the ground and the moon was full. I could read a book in that light! It was gorgeous and I kept the curtains open so I could continue to enjoy the feeling of being right out there in the middle of the night. The windows began just below the level of the upper bunk, so I really was floating out in space.

Others fond memories included my horse, Blaze, wanting to come inside. Why not? After all, the four of us kids, mom, dad, the cat, and the dog were nice and comfy. She just leaned up against the steps, sticking her entire head and neck through the door to see what was what. Whichever animal needed a little TLC was welcomed in. Kids (goats), rabbits, chickens, ducks. Poor mom! I imagine we created a disaster of mud, snow, dirt, footprints, grass, food, poop…

In this picture of daddy and me, he is standing right in front of a painting my parents had done of him. Handsome cowboy! I don’t remember him ever riding a horse – other than the 4-wheeled variety. Engines were his babies. He was a parts man who could rattle off part numbers and outrun anyone else in the department to locate specific items needed to repair vehicles.

Notice our caterpillar (sign of the times) and the record player and complete collection of country western music LPs. We. Were. Stylin.’

What do you remember about the 70’s? Were you even born then? The good old days.


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Stove Face

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stove top eyes, nose, mouth;

gleaming metal facade, shocked!

why is there a face?

 

Stove Face by Angie Quantrell

Happy Hump Day! Take the Haiku Challenge and share a haiku with us!


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The Mud Recipe

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“Dark chocolate looks like poop.”

So said Donavyn after I gave him some acai chocolate treats. “It looks like mud. Not dirt, but mud and water.”

“How do you make mud?” I asked.

“You take some dirt and mix some water.”

Ever the teacher of different genres of literature, “So what’s the recipe for mud?”

Compliments of a 5-year-old, here is Donavyn’s recipe for mud.

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How to Make Mud

Step 1: Get some dirt.

Step 2: Add some water.

Step 3: Mix it up. Now you have mud.

Everyone needs this recipe. Go outside. Play in the mud.

 


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Book Report: Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

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Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

by Natalie Rompella

Sky Pony Press, 2017

 

What’s a girl to do when she is suddenly placed in a class WITH the hard-nosed teacher and WITHOUT her best friend and co-chef? The project they have been planning for years is swept off the table and the friends are paired with new partners.

Ana is devastated to learn she must partner with Dasher, a new kid from Alaska. All the new girl talks about is sled dogs. Worse, she has no culinary skills! Even worse, best friend Lily is paired with Via, another non-cook but super cool girl.

AND only Lily knows the truth about Ana. OCD dogs her every waking minute, leading Ana to obsess over germs and wash her hands to the point of cracked, chapped skin.

There are so many great things about Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners! I loved the characters and the middle school angst. The finer details of friendship, making new friends, OCD, school, projects, hobbies, teamwork, trying something new – all of these important issues play together in this engaging chapter book.

I learned new information about obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and treatment for this disorder. I also learned many new things about racing sled dogs and creating unique recipes. Readers will find at least one thing to identify with through the characters in Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. Readers looking for books about dogs, friends, cooking and creating, going to school, or OCD will love this book.

Two thumbs up for Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners by Natalie Rompella.

P.S. ACTUAL recipes are shared in this book, creations by the main characters.

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I won a copy of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners after reading an interview with Natalie Rompella and commenting about her new book at groggorg.blogspot.com. You can read the interview here.


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The Stage of WHY: Preschoolers Rock

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As a preschool educator, I would like to suggest two new developmental stages.

  1. The Stage of Why.
  2. The Stage of “Actually”

1. The Stage of Why. My 3-year-old grandson is solidly in this stage, as evidenced by lengthy ‘why’ infested conversations during our daily commutes. Today, after being unable to even count HOW MANY whys were tossed willy-nilly towards me from the back seat, I turned the tables and rephrased his questions into ‘whys’ for him. To which he replied with the actual answers to some of my lobs.

Why? Why? Why? I love answering questions and explaining things we see and do (teacher!), but sometimes, I may be close to my limit of whys. Gage is on the verge of being out of this stage, but since we are taking a pit stop in the WHY questioning period, my game of counting whys and popping the questions back to him might just keep me sane.

2. The Stage of Actually. This word, used correctly in context by the younger preschool crowd, cracks me up. It usually shows up when preschoolers are able to grasp the abstractness of this word and how they’ve heard others use it. AND they can get out that many syllables, be understood, and make sense. Actually has been visiting this 3-year-old and his conversations. Waiting for the 2-year-old to pick up on it.

Preschoolers. They ROCK. Life is enriched with their preschool-ness.

What other new developmental stages would you like to add?

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Shaggy

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shaggy head, bearded

swaying, stretching for the sky

little men lined up

 

shaggy by Angie Quantrell

 

It’s Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge day! How about sharing a haiku about something you see in nature?