Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


Leave a comment

The Station Wagon #ThrowbackThursday

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.

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.

*Photos by pixabay.com

Advertisements


2 Comments

Hiking: Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserves

962C3223-FD1F-4779-882B-73DA7F5068F9

We ‘hiked’ the trail at Selah Cliffs Natural Area Preserves on Saturday.

75821E10-345A-4ED7-9A48-3A671A684BA4

Where: Seven miles north of Selah, just south of mile post 3 on SR 821, or as locals know it, the Yakima Canyon Road (slightly northeast of Selah)

Distance: RT about 2.5 miles, if you go all the way to the cattle guard and fence that signals the Military Firing Center boundaries

Discovery Pass Required: Yes, though many parked beyond the nature preserve lot on the old canyon road

Tips: No toilet facilities and not much shade; Bring binoculars, bug spray, water, and hat

58676B8B-008C-42B2-B11B-01907EC23FBF

This is a local, easy hike with the hardest parts being concern for ticks, rattlesnakes, and heat. The views of the Selah Cliffs are gorgeous. As per signed instructions, we didn’t traipse off the path, which means we also didn’t see the basalt daisies for which the area is known. Judging by the trails leading up to the basalt cliffs, I’m sure some disregard rules. OR they could be game trails. Yes, I’ll go with that.

4BE52323-E87E-4B96-98F0-702A584D7721

The hike/walk leads along a gravelled path for most of the distance. Towards the far end (headed east), hikers must go through a barbed-wire gate. After that, the gravel disappears and more clambering is required. During the entire hike east, we watched the Fred G. Redmon bridge loom ever larger and closer. Soon enough, we stood beneath the massive structure and listened to vehicles boom overhead. It was fascinating to look, listen, and call aloud. If you stand in just the right spot, your voice will echo back. I tried recording the echo, but there was too much interference.

ACBFE457-3A77-4445-B846-F794AA3EE5D9

We saw and heard a waterfall, but couldn’t get through the underbrush to get close. Plentiful birds, spiders, insects, lizards, and evidence of other wildlife kept us searching and entertained. The scenery was gorgeous, the basalt columns beautiful, and amazingly, the traffic overhead was negligible.

Two thumbs up!

A9B57193-E5D9-449D-8630-CC35FC39E98F


4 Comments

Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge

D4FADB8E-1EC8-4706-A318-7D95C22BE6BF

a blizzard in May,

cottonwoods are cottoning;

warm flakes unmelting

~ by Angie Quantrell

 

Welcome to May cottonwood season! No deep breaths, wide open mouths, or keeping fluffs away from your face. Still digging out!

Wednesday is the Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge! I’d love to read your Haiku, especially if it revolves around nature, kids, or family.

Happy Hump Day!


4 Comments

H is For Haiku ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

DSC_0645

H is For Haiku, A Treasury of Haiku From A to Z

By Sydell Rosenberg

Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

(Penny Candy Books, 2018)

 

H is For Haiku is the lovely result of the imaginative, creative, and lyrical work of Sydell Rosenberg, mother of Amy Losak.

In honor of her mother, Amy Losak pursued the publication of her mother’s Haiku. Syd, one of the first members of the Haiku Society of America, dreamed of publishing a book for children focused on Haiku.

Haiku, a form of poetry, originated in Japan. Most readers recognize Haiku for the strict syllable count used for each of the three lines (most often 5-7-5) in a Haiku poem. Haiku is way to recognize the small things of nature and life-wonderful, amazing, poetic, and awe-inspiring.

“What’s most important about writing haiku is to focus on those many small moments we may overlook and make them special.” -Amy Losak

Beautifully illustrated, H is For Haiku brought a smile to my face with every new alphabet letter and corresponding Haiku. I enjoyed clever phrases, rich language, and observations of the natural life around us.

Well done, Sydell Rosenberg! Great job, Sawsan Chalabi! Amy Losak, I’m so glad you stuck with it and had H is For Haiku published. This book is a gift for us, if we but take the time to read and ponder.

KID KANDY:

Write Your Own Haiku Poem

1. Read H is for Haiku. Notice the clever words and illustrations. Both help tell the story of the Haiku.

2. Take a notepad and pencil outside. Spend time observing the nature around you. Focus on the small things you see. As you look, write down words that come to your mind. A parent or older sibling can help with this part.

3. Do you know what a syllable is? Clap your name. For me, I clap twice: An gie. 2 syllables. Practice with some other words.

4. Haiku is a poem with 3 lines. Each line has a certain syllable count: 5-7-5

5. Some people are not very strict with keeping the exact syllable counts, but it’s good practice as you learn the format for a Haiku poem.

6. Choose something you observed to be the subject of your Haiku. What do you want to say? Write down the words you want to use. Play with the words. Count out syllables. You can write ANYTHING you want in your Haiku poem.

7. Print your Haiku poem on clean paper. Add an illustration! Share it with a friend or family member! OR ME!!!

Here’s a silly Haiku I just wrote:

Upside down spider

Climbing, webbing, catching food

Don’t drop on my head!

DSC_0646

 


Leave a comment

Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night by Dee Leone – Picture Book & KID KANDY

8230BFE2-0571-408B-BD8E-FE96D9DB2E9A

Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night

By Dee Leone

Illustrated by Bali Engel

(Sterling Children’s Books, 2018)

 

I won a copy of Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night from KIDLIT411. Thanks, Sylvia and Elaine!

Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night is the perfect bedtime – or anytime – read aloud! Peaceful rhyme tells the story of nature getting ready to go to sleep. Animals, plants, and other beauties prepare and nestle in for a good nights’ sleep. The illustrations, set in gorgeous deep blues and purples highlighted by nighttime light, perfectly match the winding down of the day.

I’ve totally enjoyed reading Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night. Now, on to share it with the littles in my life. Thanks for the beautiful book, Dee and Bali!

KID KANDY:

Nighttime Painting

Materials: watercolor paints, brushes, water, crayons, heavy paper

1. Read Nature’s Lullaby Fills the Night. Notice the colors used in the illustrations. What’s your favorite page (animal, plant, setting)?

2. Use crayons to draw a nature picture. Include the moon and stars.

3. Paint over the drawing with darker colors like purple, blue, and black.

Ta-da! You have your own nighttime illustration!


Leave a comment

Clay Tiles + Wood Benches = Fun for Kids

C6840B14-4394-4AF8-BDFA-CBB3E4B67DC6

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!

FB2F8E42-0F35-4843-97D7-8617A753A93E

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.

C8C09814-19F3-4F29-B7DF-69A11CE314B0


Leave a comment

Terrific Tongues! Picture Book Review

Vivian Kirkfield recently shared a great post about this wonderful book, Terrific Tongues! Written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Jia Liu, Terrific Tongues! is sure to engage, amuse, and educate young readers.

I mean, really, what child do you know who doesn’t love playing with or sticking out his or her tongue? I can’t wait get my hands on this one. Thanks, Vivian, Maria, and Jia! Congratulations!

Click here to visit Vivian Kirkfield’s blog and read more about Terrific Tongues!


Leave a comment

Grandmother Thorn – Picture Book & KID KANDY

44266842-4DE2-43A1-BB9C-CAC1907A677B

GRANDMOTHER THORN

By Katey Howes

Art by Rebecca Hahn

(Ripple Grove Press, 2017)

 

Grandmother Thorn gives new meaning to the words OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). She maintains her gardens with an iron will, daring anything to be out of place, grow where it’s not supposed to, or become mussed by irresponsible footprints.

Only one friend, Ojiisan, the man with a dragging foot and droopy shoulder, was allowed to make tracks in her perfectly groomed gravel paths. For they were best friends and enjoyed hot tea, conversation, and tasty sweets.

All was well until one day Ojiisan tasted gorgeous red berries and urged the salesperson to take some to Grandmother Thorn (but DO NOT walk on the path).

As you can imagine, he did not listen and disaster befell the merchant, the garden, and the welfare of Grandmother Thorn.

Or did it?

This beautiful picture book shares the story of letting go and allowing some things to be. And not all weeds are what they appear.

I love this book, both for the story and the tapestry-like illustrations.

KID KANDY:

Berry Hunt

1. Read GRANDMOTHER THORN. Memorize all the details you can of the weed and its fruit.

2. Does anyone in your family go grocery shopping or visit a farmer’s market? It’s time to go with that person. Go shopping.

3. Search the produce section. Can you find the fruit found in GRANDMOTHER THORN? Maybe your adult shopper will buy some!

4. Perhaps you live in an area where this type of fruit grows. Look around your neighborhood and see if you find the vines. If you time it right, you might even be able to pick some of those tasty fruits!


Leave a comment

The MABEL Gate: In Memory of a Furbaby

img_3091

Just before Christmas, our family was devastated to discover neighborhood dogs had destroyed our precious love-love (my nickname for her) Mabel. It was pretty awful. We still miss our little gray girl every day.

6EDD2505-73D1-441D-BD2D-49299C851617

No more “Which one is this?” from the grands (and everyone else). No more help working on my writing projects. No more kitty tracks on my printed papers. No more head butts and lap cuddles.

6FD32CE5-DEC9-4508-8E99-0C77D1459D09

Monet, her twin sister, was lost for quite a few weeks and is now just finally starting to come into her own as an ONLY cat. There are times she quite enjoys the attention. The rest of the time she’d rather be out mousing or birding. She was always the more independent wild thing.

9A63ACE2-9F42-405F-B696-3C6864ACD009

To combat future attacks, we put up a gate on our driveway to discourage any other dogs from wandering in to check out what trouble they could get into. As Papa and Hayden finished up the gate, they decided it should be named after Mabel, a tribute to her short, cuddly, furry life.

BED3AAB3-1642-425D-90A3-6074B973C540

Perfect! In honor of our Mabes, Mabel, love-love, gray girl, kitty baby. The MABEL gate. Ta-da!