Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Mer-mazing You! Rubber-Stamping Fun on a Writing Retreat

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One can’t be all work and no play, especially on a writing retreat.

First, there is the cat. Cosmo is quite happy to give me as many breaks a day as I can handle (and then some). Plus he delivers wrap-his-paws-around-my-neck loves, a warm kitty neck warmer, and blankets of kitty fur.

Then there are the windows. Such delightful windows, with a garden full of butterflies, hummingbirds, blue jays, finches, bees, bumblebees, squirrels, other cats, flowers, trees. Not to mention passers-by of uncounted numbers.

Meals and snacks come in handy. As do walks in the historic neighborhood and nearby downtown Snohomish.

And if you know me, rubber stamping provides mental breaks and opportunities for creativity.

This mermaid card was made with rubber cling stamps, watercolor paints, patterned paper, and a bit of glitter glue. She’s pretty cute, isn’t she?

From me to you. You are MER-MAZING! And don’t forget it.

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Seize the Moment ~ #ThrowbackThursday

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Now, mamas, I’m not going to tell you, “Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,” but I will say, “Seize those moments!” I’d love to go back to this moment and enjoy that face-smashing hug a few more times!

Circa 1992, this photo shows my (our) daughter, Chelsie, loving her mama, right there in the middle of the floor. Sometimes you have to just be on the floor. Or the couch, the bed, the dirt, the tub, even, eh-hem, the potty. Wherever and whenever the moments present themselves, go for it! Abandon the to-do’s and not-right-now’s and seize the moment.

Lesson to me, the Nana. I need to remember this when my grands are all over the place. They are growing up so fast! Nothing is more important than those sweet hugs and kisses. I’d pass on the germs they share, but that goes with the territory of young children building up their immunities.

Seize a moment today.

P.S. Comment below and let me know which moment you captured!


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A Tub Can Be . . . Creative Uses for Everyday Items

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Taylor and Chelsie enjoy a sticky treat while lounging in a plastic baby bathtub.

A tub can be . . .

Actually, a child’s plastic bathtub can be:

  • a snacking spot
  • a boat
  • a water table
  • a push car
  • a chair
  • a sink for washing
  • an actual bathtub
  • a container for small animals
  • a storage unit
  • a reading nook
  • a garden box
  • an art project
  • a doll bed
  • a watering tub (for animals or kids)
  • a pond
  • a fairy garden
  • a mud pie factory
  • sand box
  • a cat box (if one is not careful)

Taylor and Chelsie (circa @1992) are enjoying some good old sticky lollipops as they sit in the baby bathtub. It was no longer a bathtub at this point, but instead became the object of many imaginative games.

How about you? What other uses have you found for a plastic baby bathtub?


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The Station Wagon #ThrowbackThursday

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The Hill kids, Mark (blue suit), me (tallest), Tracy (white knee socks), and James (bib), next to the family roadster!

Station wagons and me, we go way back.

In the late 80s, my husband accepted employment with a new company, one benefit being a company car. “Anything would be cool, but please don’t come home with a station wagon. And especially not one with fake wood details.”

Ahem. Yes. He came with a station wagon. Adornment of imitation wood panels? Whew. Dodged that faux grained bullet.

Even earlier than the 80s & 90s version of the station wagon work vehicle was the early 70s family models owned by my parents. We had at least 2 different family touring vehicles, blue and white. Those wagons could really hold people and belongings. And pets, groceries, camping equipment, children, toys. Nothing like the little trunks in modern cars.

 

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The family station wagon, mid-trip exploring the Arizona desert.

Some of my fondest memories are the days we spent exploring the southwest. We’d load up 2 parents, 4 kids, and 1 collie dog. The first mandatory stop would be a mini-mart so we could purchase the required bologna, cheese, white bread, and soda for our snacking pleasure. Sometimes we ate hot dogs (always cold) instead of bologna, but either one was a treat. Then we would hit the road.

The Arizona desert is a wondrous place for questing. Forests, rivers, desert lands, mountains, ghost towns, dirt roads, historical sites. My parents loved to haul us around seeing what we could see. I have vivid pictures in my mind of those trips, but I can’t help but wonder if we didn’t drive mom and dad the slightest bit crazy. 4 kids and a dog in a station wagon? Even if we did use the fold-up seats in the way back to separate us.

Horned toads, tarantulas, snakes, spiders, scorpions, cacti, sagebrush, thorns, stickers, heat mirages, dust. Treasure is all in the eyes and heart of the explorer.

What about you? What memories do you have about a vehicle or early days with your family? I’d love to hear your tales on this #ThrowbackThursday.


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Happy Hump Day Haiku ~ Haiku Challenge

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farewell gate

 

hugs and kisses, love

not bound by earth, I miss you

always in my heart

 

By Angie Quantrell

Photo taken at Terrace Heights Memorial Park in Yakima, Washington. I’ve gone through these gates so many times, and all it took was one glance in the right light to see the XOXO designs in the center of the gates. What a fitting tribute to the loved ones who have gone before us.

Happy Hump Day Haiku!

Haiku Challenge: Let’s play with words! Share a haiku with in the comments. I’d love to read your thoughts.

*Family friendly please.


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Will Stop for Pennies

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I’m one of those people.

You know, the ones who dart out between cars to grab one penny. The ones who poke gum on a stick to secure a coin in a hole. The one who makes others fall over the top of her as she stops post-haste and bends over to get whatever coin catches her eyes.

I will stop for pennies.

Pennies don’t carry much value, except for making change. They are perhaps the least favorite coin due to the fact that you need 100 before you can even get a dollar bill. Or 25 for a quarter, 10 for a dime, 5 for a nickel.

I still stop for pennies.

No matter their size or value, small things are important.

A smile. A wink. A hug. A pretty rock from a grubby little hand. A ladybug on a sleeve. Flowering weeds clutched and given as a bouquet. A scribbled drawing. A gentle touch. A helpful hand. A peanut butter kiss. A wave. A friendly, “No, you go first.” A penny on the sidewalk.

I stop for pennies. And small things. For small things pile up like treasures until our cups and hearts run over. It’s the small things that count.

Go ahead. Stop for pennies.


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Monday Mouthfuls – Breakfast Sandwiches

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We love breakfast sandwiches! Or at least I used to, before cleaning up my diet. But my honey still enjoys taking a break from muesli and yogurt to eat a yummy protein-rich breakfast sandwich. I make these at home, usually 3 at a time. They freeze very well and he can pop one in the microwave any day he feels like a little something different. The filling possibilities are endless.

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Whole Wheat Egg, Ham, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:

3 whole wheat English muffins

3 slices ham (we prefer thinner slices)

3 slices cheddar cheese (Swiss or pepper jack are also great)

3 eggs

black pepper

olive oil

Dijon mustard

plastic wrap

ziplock bags

 

Directions:

1. Toast the English muffins. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each sandwich. Place open-faced on a cutting board.

2. Layer ham and cheese on one half of each muffin, cheese is on top.

3. Fry the eggs in olive oil, liberally doused with black pepper. For freezing, cook the eggs all the way through. For immediate consumption, a runnier yolk is fine.

4. Place one egg on top of each cheesy muffin. The egg will melt the cheese. Leave open-faced to cool. Unless you are eating right now, then close it up and enjoy!

***If you want, quickly place eggs on a folded paper towel to remove excess oil, then add to sandwich.

5. For freezing, let sandwiches cool completely. Add muffin tops and wrap snuggly in plastic wrap. I also like to put mine in sandwich ziplock bag. Pop in the freezer until time to eat. Rewarm in the microwave.

Delish!

Other things to add: baby kale or spinach, turkey, onions, sausage patties, bacon, different mustards. For fresh sandwiches (not frozen) you can add tomato slices, thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, or any other fresh veggie from the garden.

The sky is the limit! Or should I say the amount of space between muffin top and bottom and what you can hold together in your hands is the only limit. 🙂

Bon appétit!

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Hump Day Haiku

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Scone

maple icing treat

warm from oven, coffee too

yearning for a taste

 

Welcome to Hump Day Haiku!

Everybody loves Hump Day – Wednesday! Otherwise known as half the week is gone, we’re over the hump, and we’re so close to the weekend we can taste it.

If you enjoy Haiku, join in by sharing a Happy Hump Day Haiku.


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Clay Tiles + Wood Benches = Fun for Kids

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Did you know that:

  • Dried-up markers make excellent painting tools when dipped in clay saucers of water?
  • Water color makers make pretty cool paintings on the clay tiles of a patio.
  • Chalk is another fun tool. Water, chalk, clay tiles. That’s it.
  • Dirt. Always fun. Anyplace. Dig out the gardening tools and construction toys.
  • Wood benches also make the perfect canvas for dried-up markers and water and chalk and water.
  • River rocks, those flat, smooth sorts that are so awesome to hold and touch, make wonderful stacking blocks. Add them to clay saucers to experiment with how they change colors. And paint them with chalk and markers.
  • Add some off-roading or construction vehicles for a different type of exploration.
  • Turn the tiles over. Bumpy road! (My tiles have ridges on the back.)
  • Cut fallen branches into logs for building. Birch trees are a personal favorite. My kiddos love peeling the paper off (extra fine motor practice) and I can use it for crafts. Or they can.
  • All of the above? Leave as is and let the rain or sprinkler wash away the traces. Or spritz the clay tiles and benches with water and TA-DA, clean, fresh canvases for more fun!

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So go ahead, enjoy those dried-up markers, clay tiles, rocks, branches, and benches. I love watching my grands explore, create, make a mess, and explore. Me? Not a care in the world since it all washes off.

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Frankenbunny – Picture Book & KID KANDY

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Frankenbunny

Written by Jill Esbaum

Illustrated by Alice Brereton

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2017)

 

Sibling rivalry, picking on the youngest, evil plans, plans thwarted, scary premise – Jill Esbaum delivers them all in Frankenbunny. Wonderful characters, setting, and interactions. The illustrations perfectly add to and tell the story.

I won a copy of Frankenbunny from Jill Esbaum and Picture Book Builders. I couldn’t be more excited!

The power of suggestion. It really packs a punch, doesn’t it? When big brothers tell Spencer about Frankenbunny, he doesn’t believe them. At first. But after many conversations, Spencer becomes convinced that monsters are real.

Or are they?

You will have to read Frankenbunny to find out the truth of the matter.

KID KANDY

Make Your Own Frankenbunny

Supplies: paper scraps, scissors, glue sticks, markers, construction paper

1. On construction paper, draw the scariest Frankenbunny you can!

2. Add clothes, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, fingertips – everything – by cutting up paper scraps and gluing them on.

3. Finish up with markers.

Show off your Frankenbunny! I bet it scares everyone!

P.S. I’d love to see your Frankenbunny! Ask a parent to help you post a picture of your artwork in the comments. Wow! I can’t wait!