Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Non-Traditional Thanksgiving

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It’s been a rough year for my family, so we decided to switch things up. This year, we went off the charts for Thanksgiving.

We chose to:

-travel to the beach (off-season is awesome)

-cook our own little turkey breast

-decorate for Christmas

-begin our annual Christmas movie countdown

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What really happened:

-beach plans were cancelled due to health issues

-went on a drive to the mountains to collect pine cones for art projects

-soaked by pounding rain

-did a little off-roading to travel up a steep, rocky, bumpy, muddy path

-met a wolf

-the wolf turned into a Husky, lost VERY far from civilization

-he loved us. And jumped eagerly into the pickup

-had to figure out what to do with a huge lost dog (wearing a collar, but no tags)

-Did you know everything is closed (pretty much) on Thanksgiving? Unless you are shopping.

-which was good, since we needed dog food

-by the time we got home, it was very late when our little turkey breast went in the oven

-spent all afternoon taking photos, hanging out, searching for lost dogs, and contacting friends and social media groups in efforts to find this handsome boy his family

-nowhere to keep a large, very large dog in the RV

-our daugther and family took Mr. Handsome home to sleep

-Mr. Sweetie (SO good with kids, pets, noises, crowds) hunkered down in exhaustion

-turkey dinner became our traditional leftovers meal: turkey, cranberry sauce, cream cheese, sliced red onion sandwich (I had a salad)

-actually had a six-course meal. That’s what I told Kevin as we ate and drank different courses while waiting for the turkey to get done

-nearly sugar-free crustless pumpkin pie is delicious!

-decorated the RV. Put up our tree in less than 5 minutes. Done.

-put up the outdoor tree. Less than 5 minutes. Done.

-finished the Harry Potter movie marathon. Next, Christmas.

 

Our day was totally nontraditional. But we liked it.

Who knows? Next year we might go back for pinecones.

Or another lost dog.

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P.S. More about our Mr. Handsome later.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;

His love endures forever.

Psalm 107:1

 

While I always remember to give thanks this time of year, I wish I would remember to daily recall the many blessings and gifts the Lord has given me.

We hear the saying,”Christmas is not just one day, but 365 days a year” and “Keep Christmas alive every day of the year.” I think the same could be said of Thanksgiving.

I’m just going to bring my New Year’s resolutions forward a bit…I’d like to spend 2018 remembering and giving thanks each day. Happy Thanks-for-giving from 1 to 365.

Happy Thanksgiving, lovely ones. I pray you are surrounded by loved ones, great food, warm houses, and thankfulness.

Feeling thankful.

 


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With You Always, Orphan Train Book 1 by Jody Hedlund

By Angie Quantrell

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WITH YOU ALWAYS, ORPHAN TRAIN BOOK 1

By Jody Hedlund

Bethany House, 2017

 

I was gifted a copy of WITH YOU ALWAYS, ORPHAN TRAIN BOOK 1 from Jody Hedlund.

Set in New York City, 1857, Elise found herself an orphan with younger siblings. Befriended and helped out by Miss Pendleton, Elise and her remaining family took a room in a renovation-in-progress future home (instead of living on the streets). As circumstances changed and the need arose, Elise took a seat on an orphan train and headed out to work far from the city.

Danger, disaster, determination, foreboding, friendship, and romance fill the pages of WITH YOU ALWAYS. Before reading this book, I had not heard of orphan trains, but was fascinated to learn how they were used to gather orphans from the city and send them out into surrounding areas to work and become a part of new families. Some orphans had good experiences, but not all.

I loved the writing and setting. Hedlund did a fantastic job of building up characters and tensions between those characters. The events felt very realistic, both in the feeling of New York during that time period and the new situation and location Elise lived and worked. Hard work and a growing spark between Elise and Thornton fill the pages of this book.

WITH YOU ALWAYS is a very good read. Well done, Jody Hedlund. Thank you!

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Dead Stuff

by Angie Quantrell

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dead stuff

every. single. day.

dead stuff is delivered.

fur. teeth. tails. tiny feet.

feathers. skulls. wings asunder.

the odd beak.

legless bugs. drips of blood.

eerie green body parts.

dead stuff. in life. in dreams.

felines hard at work.

freeze. winter. come soon.

put to ground the endless corpses

delivered as gifts.

pause the need for caution

when opening the door or

placing feet along the body strewn gravel,

blending in, creating traps for thoughtless tread.

drop. temperature. ice-over.

to sleep. to fly south. to hibernate.

what happened to lumps of fur nested

in front of roaring fires?

rest, kitties, rest.

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Wonders and Mysteries of Fall

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By Angie Quantrell

 

Caramel apples

Leaves poised to drift and rest

Golf course cowboy in full roping regalia

 

Kites of black crow

Squabbling magpies dropping nuts

Blaring country western music serenading golf athletes

 

Fruity wafts of fallen apples

Crisp air floating watchful hawks

Horseshoes traded for clubs and pixellated balls

 

Scrambling squirrels pursuing future feasts

V’s of noise and harsh wing beats

Cowboy hats capturing sun-touched heads

 

Hollow seed pods knocking one another

Waving grass kissing heat and drought good-bye

Wheeled-steeds rolling into the tees of sunset

 

Familiar autumn memories prance and greet

A lifetime of fall memories merging together welcomes interlopers

Cowboys and golf marry, valley mysteries

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Food Time Machine – One Bite Whisked Me Back to a Favorite Place & Time

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Do you ever taste something and it takes you right back to a specific time and place?

That just happened to me. Tummy rumblings broke my concentration from a writing task, so I grabbed a slice of Swiss cheese from the fridge. At the first bite, I was instantly transported to France. Such delicious memories!

My husband and I were on a short-term missions trip in Paris. Near our motel was a wonderfully fascinating store, Auchan. Auchan had pretty much anything one could want or need at reasonable prices. The chocolate aisle and cheese cases kept us returning nearly every day for meal items. Yes. Chocolate and cheese do make a meal.

Today’s bite of Swiss cheese took me right to the cheese counter. The gentleman who worked the cheese aisle was so very kind and cut us off a chunk of Swiss from the large wheel. With our garbled French and hand gestures, he whacked off the hard rind and sliced the rest for us – perfect. He even gave us a bit to taste, just to make sure it was what we wanted. We wanted.

Fresh baguette, sliced Swiss, some fruit and veg, all the makings of a perfect meal. Thank you, Mr. Auchan cheese guy. You made our day.

How about you? What have you eaten that transported you back to particular event or location? I’d love to hear about it. Just so I know I’m not the only one who is consumed with love for food.

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Let’s not forget the crepes! Be still my hungry mouth…


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One Year in RV: Survival!

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August 20 was our one year anniversary of moving into the RV. And guess what? We made it!

I haven’t taken him (my honey) out, though I’ve sent him out when I need to clean (or write, cook, organize, read . . .).

He still loves me even if the heat factor in an RV – during summer – is higher than my happy tolerance level.

He survived record-breaking snowfall and freezing winter temps regardless of how close I came to helping him build his own snow igloo far far from the RV.

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I managed not to throw out the superfluous (not for him) heating items – throw, bed blanket, heat lamps, floor heater – and we were both able to speak in civil tones. Most of the time.

Long-time RV living is not for the faint of heart, but definitely for the adventurous!

Let’s pretend you just arrived for a fancy cooked-mostly-by-BBQ meal. We’ll fill you in on some observations and interesting events that came about from our inaugural RV year.

– It is possible! One can live without piles of stuff – and survive!

– Storage? Premium. If we don’t use it, it has to go. To storage, to someone, to the thrift store…

– Less is more. Truly. The less we have inside the RV, the more space we have to move about.

– Cooking is a bit tricky. Too hot in the summer for the stove. Very humid in the winter.

– Humidity is an issue. One chore I never dreamed of having? Wiping down windows on a daily basis.

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– Electrical circuits can and will be blown. Until you figure out which items can be used at the same time.

– The electric skillet will most likely blow the fuse if anything else is plugged in and going. Anything.

– Do not use the skillet and the AC at the same time.

– Splurge on the skirting. We only experienced one tiny freeze in a waterline. That’s saying something when we were below zero several times and hovered in the frozen zone for months.

– Cats. Litter. Fur. Toys. Cat tree. A bit crowded. Now that they are free to roam, we are all much happier. The catio is disassembled.

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– Mice. Peek before letting cats back inside. Trust me on this.

– Company. Things will be different when guests arrive. Say, for instance, seating. Or standing. Finding room to maneuver. But that’s what makes entertaining exciting.

– Breezes in the bedroom. This is awesome. Open both windows and the wind just blows across our bed. As does dust, smoke from fires, and stinky skunk fragrance, but still!

– My office. A drawer. Half the dinette bench plus the table. That’s it. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I yearn for a bigger creative area.

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– All of outdoors. Right here.

– We have everything we need. Running water, electricity, internet, laundry facilities, bathroom, bed, fridge, grands in and out.

– Our home moves. We can hitch it up anytime we want and hit the road.

I’d say our inaugural year was pretty successful. So you’ve seen me wear the same clothes over and over again. I am dressed, right?

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Happy RV anniversary to us! Come on by, we’ll cozy up and share a seat. Maybe even throw in a meal or tour of the facilities. Feeling up to the challenge? Either the visit or the RV living? Love to hear about it.

 

 


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We Survived the Eclipse: Story Through Photos and Haiku

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A painting of the eclipse (red because it’s darker) – Art by Khloe

 

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Our tiny view of the eclipse through a pin-hole camera

 

Boxes, foil and tape,

wondering children marvel

as sky lights shake hands.

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Pin-hole cameras

 

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Hayden and Khloe peeking at the solar eclipse

 

The daytime and night

heavenly bodies dance past,

a peek-a-boo tryst.

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Gage trying to see the eclipse…he’s only 2, so was not impressed

 

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Stacking rocks was more enticing than solar and lunar escapades

 

The waiting is long

Look, play, work, gaze, pinhole view;

Light sliver eclipse.

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The PacMan stage (coined by Hayden) of the solar eclipse

 

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Taking a solar break – by hauling bricks

 

But how? Why? We gasp.

Fleeting, amazing, we stop.

Cooler, darker day.

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Mabel was definitely more exciting to Gage than the sun and moon

 

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Putting down bricks, mid-eclipse

 

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Solar Eclipse, by Khloe


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Caturday funnies — cat shaming edition

Or a live and squirming rat...

Who me? I would NEVER bring in a headless rat…

Source: Caturday funnies — cat shaming edition

Oh, this is too funny! I can’t decide if my two girls should be shamed more for the headless rat in our bedroom or the live and romping rat in the guest room (in the middle of my birthday party)!

How about you? What naughty things has your kitty been up to?


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Glacier Lake Trail: Hiking Tips Discoveries

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Glacier Lake

Mosquitoes. There will be MOSQUITOES. And dirt. Sometimes horse and deer flies. Plan accordingly. Wear bug repellent (we are still out on this – both of us want something more organic and less toxic). We were hit hard when we got out of the car. After a quick rethink, we jumped back in the car, put on boots, covered up, and got back out to spray. Still managed to get 3 bites.

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Lovely shaded hiking trail

Long hair. If you have this, wear it down – hot or not! Mosquitoes loved the back of my neck, despite my hat and shirt. So I let my hair down and spread it through the sweat which glued it in place. Immediate relief!

Hats. Wear them. I wore my tightly woven sun protection hat with a wide brim. Shade and bug protection.

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Beautiful old guy

Long pants. Wish we had them. Still have a few scrapes from branches growing over the path. I’m sure this isn’t the only trail with opportunities for clambering over rocks and tree roots.

Water. Our hike wasn’t too long but was strenuous and the sweat flowed freely. We had 2 bottles each, which was enough for the short hike. Had we stayed longer at the lake, we would’ve needed more.

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The trail heading into the forest towards Glacier Lake

Snacks. Of course. Good stuff to chomp on is part of the fun of hiking! Nuts, whole grain crackers, jerky, trail mix, protein bars…I always underestimate how much my honey needs to eat. Me? I could outlast several weeks of restricted calories, but his high metabolism requires regular and high calorie fuel.

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Our first gaze of the lake – standing on the huge boulders

Maps. We had general directions from a flyer found at the Ranger station and we still managed to park in the wrong spot. It seems it was the correct location though, when I researched AFTER our hike, due to previous road washouts. Hint: The flyer suggested elevation gains, time estimations, distances, and trail popularity. Some of this was NOT true. For instance, family friendly. We did not find this trail to be safe for younger hikers. This was agreed upon by another family (with elementary children and an elderly chap). Maybe they should define family friendly. Take information like this with a grain of salt.

Snow. While we did not encounter snow, the lake was very full and there were no places to get close to the water unless one was IN the water or on floating logs. Take into account the previous winter. We had record snowfall. That means lakes will be full to overflowing. Snow may still be on the trails. Mud will be present.

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Wildflowers serenaded us with beauty

Do not give up! We passed few other hikers, so the Glacier Lake hike was perfect for solitude (I missed wearing a bear bell, though, and we constantly scanned for evidence and escape routes – many shredded snags convinced us that big claws had enjoyed plentiful grubs and bugs). Once we arrived at Glacier Lake, huge (bigger-than-my-car sized) boulders blocked the path. We made two different attempts to get over them to the water, but my legs were too short. In defeat, we headed back. Only a short while later we met a young family (baby in backpack, so backpacking with child in tow counts as family friendly). They discovered a trail to the lake edge and two rough camping spots. They filled us in and we headed back to the lake. Don’t be afraid to ask and share info with other hikers.

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Lovely stream we heard for a long time before the trail led us beside it; I wanted to take it home with me.

Glacier Lake Hint: When you get to the boulders, you will instinctively want to go straight through them to the water. Don’t. There are many false trails over the rocks. Instead, look LEFT and you will see the trail continuing around the edge of the boulders. LOL. It’s obvious once you know.

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Fairy lanterns

Hiking is our respite from crowds, technology, and stress. We learn something new on every hike. We can’t wait to get back out on the trails!

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Check out this granny hat!

Would you like your adventure now or should we have our tea first?

~ J.M. Barrie