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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Toddler Tuesday: Pumpkin Spice Play Dough

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Fall and pumpkin season are my absolute favorites! So the other day when I had the urge to provide a fun activity for my two youngest grands (2 and 3 years-old), it was time to knead up a batch of orange, pumpkin spice play dough. This recipe is my old standby, perfect for adapting to any season.

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Pumpkin Spice Play Dough

In a large heat-proof bowl, mix:

3 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 T. oil (baby oil is nice, but vegetable oil is fine, too)

1 T. powdered alum

1 T. pumpkin spice powder

Boil 3 cups of water. Before measuring boiling water, add orange food coloring to measuring cup. Add water. Quickly pour 3 cups boiling water over ingredients in bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir until dough cools slightly.

Immediately dump dough onto table. It’s hot, but for best results, knead while hot. It will cool off fast enough. It may be sticky while hot, but will knead together nice and smooth. I sprinkled a little bit more of the pumpkin spice on the dough as I kneaded. It smelled so good!

As soon as the dough is well-mixed and cool enough to be safe for young hands, it’s time to play. I have a tub of different play dough tools and toys. I’m not exaggerating when I say my two toddlers were occupied for over 30 minutes. It would have been longer, but we had to leave to get big brother.

Store cooled play dough in a covered play dough container. I love the Costco cottage cheese containers best.

You’re welcome. 😉

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Monday Moments: It’s Not a Mistake that the Word “Attitude” is a Part of “Gratitude”

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

– William Arthur Ward

 

I am guilty of wrapping presents and not giving them.

My mind is a busy place. I often have thoughts of love, gratitude, appreciation, and joy towards others, but my mouth forgets to open to let those words out! My mind might feel it, but others need to hear it.

November’s theme seems to be thankfulness. Gratitude. Appreciation. So let’s do it, speak words (text, email) of thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation.

To you, I am so very thankful for you! I appreciate you as readers and followers of this blog, your comments on posts, our shared life adventures. Thank you!

I am grateful for a kind rejection letter I just received. The answer was still no, but a kind no is better than no answer or an ugly no.

I am grateful for my honey, best friend, co-conspirator in life. So thankful.

I am grateful for our practice in living in a tiny home. RV living is tiny living. We have just the perfect layout and features needed to keep us cozy, sheltered, and productive.

I am grateful for my health. Both of us are blessed. Thanks to God Almighty!

I am grateful for my family and friends. Life is richer, deeper, more better. 🙂 Life without you would be washed out and flat. I like the colorful 3D life with you.

It’s not a mistake that the word “attitude” is a part of “gratitude.” Adopt an attitude of gratitude and speak words of gratitude today.

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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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Throwback Thursday: Ready for Church in the 70’s

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What a masterpiece for mom-all 4 kids nicely dressed and AT the car doors, ready for church!

So many things run through my mind when I look at this photo.

The station wagon, the magical vehicle of weekend adventures with the family and the collie, Jody. Wish she was in this picture! A very cool fact about this wagon was the inclusion of fold down facing-each-other seats in the way back. We used to fight over who got to ride there, whether we were headed to church or not.

The outfits. Mom loved to dress my sister and me in the same outfits. Which worked most of the time. But according to mom, I loved the ruffles and frillies, despite the fact that I was chunky and the extra layers did not make me look slimmer. My sister loved the fitted and slim styles but with her slender build she could pull off all of my ruffles and more. The boys, well, suit and tie for the oldest boy, while poor baby boy sported a bib and belly button baring top. Mini Mr. Green jeans.

Notice my straight hair. I don’t know how that happened, but I have very fine curly hair. Does hair change texture as we age? Frizz is my usual style, so long flat locks were an anomaly. Some pictures, which will remain hidden, at least until they are rediscovered in storage, portray my head full of rollers. Lovely for curls, horrid for sleeping.

Desert. Barren. Dry. Unpopulated. As an adult, I’d love to travel back in time and see how undeveloped and sparse the locations we lived actually were. I don’t remember being far from neighbors when we lived here on Hamel Road. With friends just down the dirt road, this was a homey place to live. I know we rode the school bus every day, but I don’t have many memories of even standing in line for the bus. Later years, yes, there are all sorts of images from hours spent on buses, not all of them nice.

The jeep. Dad’s love. This vehicle was another magical transport, complete with a winch. Up hill, down hill, over gullies, 4-wheeling. Maybe that’s where my daughter gets it from, her love of wheeling. It certainly passed me, as I’d rather be on a horse. But during those early days, we went all over the state to find roads (or not roads) to use the winch to pull us up or help someone else up. Ah, the good old days.

How about you? What picture takes you back in time? Were the days simpler then? I’d love to hear!

 


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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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via One Writer’s Journey: Organization Optimization

This post by Beth Anderson gives excellent organizational tips for researching and writing for children. I’ve found myself stuck and constantly searching for that ONE piece of paper hosting important story information, so I definitely could use organization tips. Spiral notebooks just might be the trick.

Thanks, Beth!

*Beth’s book is pictured above. Can’t wait to read it!