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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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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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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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: The Suitcase

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I know we had this exact set of luggage.

Fingerhut, the mail order catalog, lured us into purchasing the complete set. Travel was at the top of my list, and we needed luggage. My family enjoyed many happy vacations and travel adventures using these beauties.

But this set was not my first foray into luggage acquisition. Years earlier, for graduation, I had requested luggage. You can tell something about a person by the choices she makes. Travel and adventure is high on my list, as evidenced by repeated attempts to procure baggage (of the traveling sort). Though I’ve got suitcases full of the other baggage, for free.

The original set of luggage, oh my. Ugly as dog poo. Make that baby poo, because it was the same awful orange-yellow-mustardy color. Naugahyde and built to last. Only it didn’t last as long as our many years of trips and is now lost in dump land. Or perhaps it is making the rounds through different thrift stores, living in the garages of other bright-eyed wanderlust humans.

What gifts or purchases have you made in the past that reflect who you are?

 


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Talk to Me Tuesday: Socks with Sandals?

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See above official Nana bus work uniform when riding the rail between late summer and early fall. Near freezing temps in the morning, lovely 70’s in the afternoon. This is my AM solution, a perfect solution in my mind.

I know, I know. Wearing socks with sandals? A fashion faux pas on so many levels. We used to tease my daddy about wearing socks (white KNEE socks) with his sandals, a haute couture nod to blindingly pale flesh-colored knees and leg skin.

But sometimes, the toes just get too cold. The tennis shoes reside in the trunk, ever ready for a walk when out running errands, the air felt too cold to stop outside in the pre-dawn and put on sneakers, and I must quickly be on my way to perform Nana bus duties.

Socks with sandals won.

So. What’s your vote? YES for socks, NO for no socks. Bonus points if you admit to wearing socks with your sandals.


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Monday Mouthfuls: Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Casserole

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Compliments of my cousin, Melissa, we enjoyed her cast iron skillet breakfast casserole. So mouth-watering, fragrant, and tasty! I can’t wait to play with the recipe when I get home.

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Cast Iron Breakfast Casserole

Ingredients:

1 package tater tots

1 dozen eggs

1 cup diced turkey ham (or your ham choice)

1 cup grated cheese

salt and pepper

butter

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Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Generously butter inside of seasoned cast iron skillet.

3. Line bottom and edges with tater tots.

4. Sprinkle ham over tater tot crust.

5. In separate bowl, whisk eggs until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix. Pour over ham and crust. (Cayenne would be great, too!).

6. Sprinkle cheese on top.

7. Bake in oven. Start checking at 45 minutes by jiggling pan for movement or sticking fork in center for doneness. We like a crispy crust, so ours cooked for about 1 hour.

8. Remove from oven. It will continue to cook for a bit more. Slice and serve while warm. Delish!

Optional toppings: salsa or ketchup (for the youngers, not me), chopped green onions, sour cream, Tabasco. I’d like to experiment with green peppers, green chilis, spinach, broccoli, kale, and cherry tomatoes, though not all at once. Mmm.

Thanks, Melissa! I am inspired to re-season my cast iron skillet and whip up some breakfast casserole!

 


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The Stage of WHY: Preschoolers Rock

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As a preschool educator, I would like to suggest two new developmental stages.

  1. The Stage of Why.
  2. The Stage of “Actually”

1. The Stage of Why. My 3-year-old grandson is solidly in this stage, as evidenced by lengthy ‘why’ infested conversations during our daily commutes. Today, after being unable to even count HOW MANY whys were tossed willy-nilly towards me from the back seat, I turned the tables and rephrased his questions into ‘whys’ for him. To which he replied with the actual answers to some of my lobs.

Why? Why? Why? I love answering questions and explaining things we see and do (teacher!), but sometimes, I may be close to my limit of whys. Gage is on the verge of being out of this stage, but since we are taking a pit stop in the WHY questioning period, my game of counting whys and popping the questions back to him might just keep me sane.

2. The Stage of Actually. This word, used correctly in context by the younger preschool crowd, cracks me up. It usually shows up when preschoolers are able to grasp the abstractness of this word and how they’ve heard others use it. AND they can get out that many syllables, be understood, and make sense. Actually has been visiting this 3-year-old and his conversations. Waiting for the 2-year-old to pick up on it.

Preschoolers. They ROCK. Life is enriched with their preschool-ness.

What other new developmental stages would you like to add?

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40 Years of Labor Days

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A 40 year friendship! You can see Crystal Lake but not Mt. Rainier, which is glowing in the background. Selfies are not my strong suit…

We first met 40 years ago today, Labor Day, at the Wapato Harvest Festival parade.

Newly arrived from Arizona, I didn’t know many people. He had lived in Wapato for nearly all his life. We came face to face in front of the pastor’s house on the “Ave” where church members and assorted tag-a-longs gathered to watch the parade before heading to the city park for rides, games, and food.

Tall, thin, curly-haired; my impression was of a ‘cool’ guy who couldn’t be bothered to chat with a short, sun-kissed non-native. By his report, he was cool but thought I was the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen.

We made slow progress at first. His mom suggested he take me to the homecoming dance. “Nope.” So I went with my cousin from Seattle who was immediately the hottie everybody wanted.

Come spring, our relationship was growing in earnest and we became a couple. At least for a few months. Then I took a year off during our junior year. But like bees to honey, we were back together for senior year.

Off I went to Western Washington University, with the claim that, “If we can survive 4 years apart for college, we can survive anything.” My guy burned the road up between Wapato and Bellingham (4 1/2 hour drive one way), coming to see me every other weekend. Sometimes I traveled back home but then he had to share me with everyone. Back before cell phones and computers (I KNOW! Gasp!) we had a code phone call ring. To avoid the charges of our dorm phone, he would call, let it ring twice, then hang up. That was our good-night check-in. We did talk on the phone, but not much. We spent much of our time writing letters back and forth. Boxes of notes, cards, and creative tomes of love…if I had spent that much time studying…

In June of 1985, we became Mr. and Mrs. This was just a new beginning to our life of adventure, starting right off by driving to So Cal and Disneyland (giving our parents a heart-attack). Our honeymoon was the first of many on-the-road journeys Mr. and Mrs. enjoyed and plan to enjoy.

Two babies, five grandchildren, furry pets, revolving jobs, and numerous trips, houses, and escapades, we are still best friends and more in love each day. Sure there have been struggles and explosive moments, but we’ve stayed committed to each other. It’s wonderful to have a best friend and partner standing beside you on the journey, one who knows all your faults and fears and how you look in the morning (or after childbirth or surgery or the stomach flu) and who still loves you and takes you on dates and hiking in the mountains and on motorcycle rides and finishes your sentences or phrases cloned from favorite movies.

40 years of labor (of a different sort) and here we are today. Best friends, lovers, partners in crime. God knew what He was doing when He hooked us up. And we’ve kept Him busy taking care of us ever since.

To my best friend.

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Throwback Thursday: Mobile Home in the Desert

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Circa 1970, November

Meet my Arizona, mobile-home dwelling, sun-squinting family. No one wants to look at the photographer (my grandparents on my dad’s side who had come for a visit).

My daddy is the tallest in the back (of course), mommy is holding baby James, Tracy Jo is holding something over her eyes, Mark David is totally looking away AND covering his face, and I’m standing in the middle with my gorgeous poncho, making an avoiding-the-glare grimace. Family photos at their finest!

I’m 7 or just turned 8 (my birthday is in November), second grade. The beast of our mobile home towers over us, the desert landscape (dirt and weeds) lends atmosphere, and the white station wagon waits as our trusty steed. This 3 bedroom, 2 bath deluxe model was truly mobile. In this picture, we are living on Hamel Road. But we moved to Presidential Estates further from town and on that property we moved one more time. Then we loaded up again and moved north to the White Mountains. Four total moves and she still held together! Alas, when we finally moved back to Washington state in 1978, the beast stayed south.

I loved living on Hamel Road! Two of my best friends lived on my street. I use the term ‘street’ loosely. Dusty dirt road. We rode our horses all over that area, creating dramas, rescuing invisible persons-in-distress, escaping from the bad guys, setting up picnic lunches, and camping out in the horse pasture.

This Throwback Thursday is sponsored by “Way Back When.”

What “Way Back When” memories do you have? Anyone else wear plaid or ponchos? Or both? (Yes, I once had a warm winter cape that was both plaid and poncho!)