Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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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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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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Monday Moments: Family Photo Chaos Company

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20 eyes

20 hands and feet

100 fingers and toes

10 mouths (equals 10 voices!)

10 different ideas

20 legs and arms

4 cameras

4 purses

2 pair improper shoes

4 pair glinting glasses

3 mommies, 2 daddies, 5 cousins

Plus: mud, crowds, drippy leaves, slick straw bales, tilting maze, sparse pumpkins, traffic, no hay rides (rain)

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Today’s Monday Moments are brought to you by the Family Photo Chaos Company.

The above stats equal 5 adults and 5 children from 2-55 years old. A list of emotions, attitudes, and energy levels: shy, humorous, pre-teen, grumpy, hungry, tired, excited, crazy, silly, bossy, happy, ready to be done with it all.

This was THE fastest photo shoot. Ever.

Still, I’m smiling. Memories made, images captured, perfection avoided. The Christmas photo shall be selected and enjoyed.

How do you manage your family photo shoots?

 


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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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Throwback Thursday: Girls Can Do Anything

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This Throwback Thursday post is brought to you by Mission Friends, preschool education, and great activities for kids.

Hammer, safety glasses, wood, apron, nails. Real tools. Check.

Plus supervision.

Add Chelsie, age 5. Ready to go and do some world building. Figuratively (pretend play and exploration) and literally (girls can do anything they dream, including learning to hammer nails and build). I offered this activity to my group of preschoolers in Mission Friends. I never shied away from plans some considered slightly dangerous: hammering nails, melting crayons on a food warming tray, chopping softer fruits and veggies with butter knives. And the kids never let me down. They LOVED doing grown up jobs and took their activities seriously.

How do preschoolers and young children learn? By doing, exploring, experimenting, evaluating, planning, making mistakes, trying again.

My way of doing preschool.

“Play is the highest form of research.” Albert Einstein


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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.

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Dog vs Cat

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purple tongue panting

sun-heated fur, sunshine paws

I hike! I like! ruff

 

on a scale of 1 to 8, I’m a ca-nine by Ally Andersen

 

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aloof feline boss.

I rule, command, what I see.

know this, slave, or die.

 

cat-ness by Angie Quantrell

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Teacher (the older one) and student (from way back when in 3rd grade) who is now a senior in high school!

Fun! What a lovely, well-spoken young lady! It was a joy to spend time with her.

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: The 3 Chocolates

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dark, milk, white; horses

of chocolate, graze and grump

nearby. equine friends.

 

The 3 Chocolates by Angie Quantrell

This haiku is inspired by my next-door-pasture mates. Three geldings, only 2 of whom I know names. So I lump them as dark, milk, and white chocolates. My 3 chocolates. Dark is in charge. Dark and milk are highest on the horse pecking order. White comes in last, as youngest and newest to the herd of boys and is always thrust away from attention by flattened ears and threatening postures. He of the white chocolate is the most friendly and curious. He’s always up for hanging out over the fence for a chat and a scratch.

I love them all, my chocolates.

P.S. Not really MY chocolates. A girl can dream…

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Who lives in your next door pasture? I’d love to read a haiku about your neighbors. Or you can just tell who lives next door. No haiku required! Do they make you think of chocolate?