Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Fun Friday: Have My Cake, Will Eat It Too!

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My mama gave me my birthday cake yesterday. Now it’s up to me to bake it and eat it.

This family joke began years ago when my elegantly aging sweet mama just couldn’t get the energy to bake my baby brother a cake. So I told her she should just give him a cake mix box and the frozen strawberries (strawberry shortcake) and let him make it himself.

That’s become the norm for many birthday occasions, and it’s perfect for me. And we laugh and enjoy the shared memories and fun. Stress is taken from my mama, she doesn’t have to worry about baking a cake, and she can just love on us as only mamas can.

Do you have any funny family traditions? Share in the comment section. Thanks! Have a wonderful day!

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: oil change

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My car in a place I’d rather be than sitting waiting for an oil change 

waiting, oil change task;

quick time promise dashed to bits

time unproductive

 

by Angie Quantrell

 

I ALWAYS have something on hand to do if I have extra wait time. Except for today. When, through a fluke of the nature of the beast (cars and things that can go wrong), I ended up with over an hour of wait time. This business requires customers to stay inside car. Keys are placed in a safety box. No radio. No book on CD. No steno pad. No newspaper or magazine.

What? How can that be true? Alas, I was sure it was a 20 minute stop and I’d be back home writing away.

After one hour 10 minutes, I was still waiting for a replacement plug. My honey came and got me and dropped me off for a quick lunch. I wrote tiny notes on my pocket-sized pad of paper as I (again) waited for food. I took off with his truck to get home while he waited for the car. Probably 2.5 hours? That was one LONG oil change. If they rate efficiency, my visit tanked their numbers.

But rest assured, they say I am good to go. No leaking oil, no stripped plug, no engine burning up. At least for now.

How about you? What do you do with unexpected wait time? I’d love to read your comments. Bonus points for writing a response in haiku!


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Book Report: Sophie’s Squash

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Sophie’s Squash

Written by Pat Zietlow Miller

Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf

Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013

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My collection of potential Bernice squash

Meet one of my favorite fall books: Sophie’s Squash.

One day, Sophie falls in love with a butternut squash while shopping with her parents at the farmers’ market. And names her Bernice. While Sophie’s parents have culinary plans for the squash, Sophie adopts Bernice as her child and lovingly, protectively, and firmly cares for her new baby. Plans contradict each other as Bernice matures the way of other squash and Sophie’s parents attempt to put Bernice out of her misery. But Sophie remains committed to the relationship and cares for Bernice in such manner as dictated by squash. And then, surprise!

I won’t ruin it for you, but I love the ending. And the sequel, Sophie’s Squash Go to School, is just as much fun.

What I love: The VOICE of Sophie and the entire cast (even Bernice) is fantastic. I love her character. I adore fall books. I love stories relatable to young children. Everyone knows at least one kid who forms an odd yet endearing attachment to some random item. I love that about this book. I love Sophie and her commitment to Bernice.

Thanks to Pat for this copy of Sophie’s Squash in Chinese! How fun is that?!

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Fun Friday Cereal Necklace

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What craft can you make and eat at the same time?

Circle cereal necklaces!

Materials: yarn, tape, circle cereal, scissors

1. Cut a generous length of yarn that will fit easily over heads.

2. About 4 inches from end, thread and tie a piece of cereal in place to keep cereal loops from falling off the end. On the opposite end, form a needle by tightly wrapping tape around the yarn and cutting off the tip at an angle.

Tip: For really young crafters, I love to tape the end of the yarn to the table. This keeps the necklace from falling off the table and helps them know which end to use.

3. Fill a bowl with circle cereal loops. Show how to thread cereal on the necklace, pushing it down to the knotted cereal. Let crafters add as many cereal loops as they want. I always tell them they get to eat the broken ones!

4. Tie the ends together and trim off the ends. Ready to wear! Snack on the go.

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For older crafters, use colored cereal circles and challenge them to create a pattern as they make necklaces.

SAFETY: ALWAYS remove necklaces before sleeping or playing on playground equipment.

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: 31 October

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autumn’s pumpkin king!

here today, cooked tomorrow;

commence with slaughter

 

by Angie Quantrell

 

good-bye 31 of October, hello 1 November!

Besides pumpkin delicacies, what are you looking forward to in November? We’d love to read your haiku! Or just your comment. But you could write your comment in 5-7-5 syllable format! That would be fun. 😉 Also, it would be haiku.

 


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Throwback Thursday: Colors of Desert Sun

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The opposite of sun-bleached, we were sun-drenched.

Long shadows, blinded eyes, rich dense colors.

Yes, this was us in the early 1970’s. I was most likely in 2nd grade, dressed for Arizona heat. My brother was in kindergarten, already pursuing his unique personality and sense of humor. Little sister must have been preschool-age, but back then going to preschool was not a thing families did.

Yes. That was how our yard was landscaped. Gravel, dust, scrappy weeds. The interesting parts were the critters and wildlife we discovered as we played and explored the desert environments. In this location alone, I remember collecting gallons of tadpoles after desert storms, and hunting horned toads, tarantulas, scorpions, snakes, spiders, jack rabbits, and those scary spider wasps. We also rescued a tortoise from the middle of the road and let him burrow around in the back yard. Thaddeus Humperdinck. That was his name. No idea why.

Yes. Windows open. The weather must not have been too drastically hot, and judging from the distant clouds, we might have recently enjoyed rain. We had a swamp cooler on top of the trailer and I remember lying on the floor beneath it during the hottest part of summer days with my coloring book and crayons, cooling off in the damp wind it created. But in this photo, the time of day was when the desert sun was kissing the horizon, ready to give us well-deserved shade and respite.

Yes. This was a very cool station wagon. Not only a wagon, but a magic vehicle capable of transporting us on weekend family treks to historical, dusty, engaging, scary, crowded, isolated, or deserted Arizona hot spots. Haha, “hot” spots. Soda pop bottles, white bread, bologna, and we were ready to roll. Up hill, down hill, across stretching southwest landscapes, stopping for rare shade trees and dusty gullies, drips of streams and gorges filled with flash floods. Life was an adventure. Include: dogs, kids, play pen, stroller, and avid interest.

Yes. A home on wheels. And we used those wheels to move the trailer several times over our life within the metal, possibly uninsulated, walls. We survived desert thunderstorms, lighting shows, freezing temperatures, snow storms, and heat hot enough to cook (insert your favorite food). Home it was. 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, dining room-kitchen, and utility room. Kids lived on the right end, parents on the left. We six (plus critters) crammed a magnificent amount of life into that gorgeous tenement on wheels.

I loved living in the desert, back when heat didn’t bother me and I spent all my days outside, digging in the dirt, catching insects and reptiles, chasing kids in the ‘neighborhood,’ and making up daring adventure stories while riding horseback with my similarly minded friends. The nostalgia of childhood paints beautiful masterpieces in my mind, blotting the difficult times (were there any?) and adding exquisite details to enhance my thankfulness to God for a good, excellent, childhood.

What about you? Which photo takes you back to your childhood?


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Eat Your Colors: Curry Zoodle Soup Recipe

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This collage of colorful fruits and vegetables just screamed, “TAKE my picture!”

So I did. And then I cooked them all. That’s what they get for drawing attention to their beauty. A healthy diet is a colorful diet. So to this food art, I added a few more things to make curry noodle soup. Yummy!

 

Curry Zoodle Soup

2 T. vegetable oil

2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. ground turmeric

Saute’ over high heat, about 1 minute, stirring the whole time.

 

Gently add:

4 cups chicken broth

1-15 oz. can coconut milk

5-6 cups cubed butternut squash

1 sliced red pepper

1 sliced onion

Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and cook until squash is soft (about 15 minutes).

 

Add:

1 med. zucchini, zoodled

1 bag or half a plastic container of fresh spinach, stems removed

Juice of 1 lime

Heat 5 minutes. Stir well. Serve over cooked and shredded chicken breast.

 

This soup is so fragrant and tasty. You can also add any other favorite veggies (pea pods, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower). Good thing there’s plenty more for tomorrow!


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: pumpkin

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harbinger of change

fecund to bursting with life,

sleep cycle begin

 

pumpkin by Angie Quantrell

 

Pumpkins are some of my favorite fall sights. Add colorful falling leaves, the crunch and swish of piles swirling as I walk, brisk air, silver mornings, and bustling life preparing for winter’s rest. Autumn is the time to stock up, cozy up, and cuddle in to enjoy hot soup, warm drinks, and wild weather. Who’ll join me?

What signs of fall do you enjoy? Add your favorites in the comment section. Bonus points for haiku!

 


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via Tuesday Debut – Presenting Laura Renauld!

Porcupine’s Pie

By Laura Renauld

Illustrated by Jennie Poh

Beaming Books, October 2018

 

Happy book birthday, Laura and Jennie! What an adorable picture book! I know I can’t wait to get my hands on it and read about Porcupine and friends. And I hear there is a great pie recipe at the end, so let me at it!

Congratulations!

Note to writers: This interview is chock full of information about the Laura’s publishing journey. I loved learning more about the process.


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Drink

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burbling, calling drips,

water-tongue speaks peace, quiet

drink serenity

 

drink by Angie Quantrell

 

A dear friend (college buddy and fellow Jello Molder) recently shared her lovely home and serene garden with several of our solidly middle-aged Jigglers. I could sit for hours beside this potted fountain, just resting. Listening. Dreaming.

Or wondering. Who lives beneath the leaves? Besides the dog drinking with noisy laps, who else visits for refreshment? Birds, squirrels, cats, frogs? Do bees bumble along the edges and butterflies dance above the leaves? Do raccoons dare to stop for a wash of dinner? Maybe spiders consider nearby locations to capture insects who venture in for damp moisture. I could imagine larger wildlife guests if the high fence disappeared. Do children press against the fence, hoping to spy the source of splashing? Are passing adults desperately wishing to sit and ease their minds beside the talking water?

A drink of serenity goes far to refresh a heart heavy with life.