Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Report: Badger’s Perfect Garden

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Badger’s Perfect Garden

Written by Marsha Diane Arnold

Illustrated by Ramona Kaulitzki

Sleeping Bear Press, 2019

 

Welcome Badger’s Perfect Garden!

I read a blog post about this new picture book and checked my library for a copy. They didn’t have one yet, so I requested the addition. Here it is! I love being the first one to check out a new book.

Hint: If you see a book you want to borrow from your library but they don’t have it, most libraries have a way to suggest new titles. Spread the word. This really helps authors.

I love the imaginative setting of Badger’s Perfect Garden. I know I’m not the only one who remembers being a small child and creating tiny worlds of my own, places where animals talked and anything I dreamed up happened?

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Badger’s Perfect Garden seems to be an extension of my early childhood tiny worlds. I love Badger and his plans to plant the perfect garden. He’s been carefully saving seeds and has made plans to prep the soil and plant the seeds just so. Badger has great friends who help him with his gardening adventure. And then they wait. But a summer storm wreaks chaos on Badger’s dream garden. I love the rest of the story, but you’ll have to read it to find out. 🙂

I am Badger, with my perfect garden plans every spring. I’m not beyond experimenting to see what happens. I hoard seeds and plot where they would best grow. But every year, by the end of summer, my brilliant plans have exploded with choatic growth of every which sort. But still, I plot, plan, and dream. Just like Badger.

What I love about Badger’s Perfect Garden:

*Badger and his type A personality feel just like me. 🙂

*The friends and friendships in Badger’s Perfect Garden are wonderful. Badger’s friends live with him through his plans, disappointment, and story resolution. Who wouldn’t want friends who would be right beside us all the way? And help with the hard work of gardening?

*The setting is one of my favorites, imaginative and nature-based.

*The plans and what really happens encourages readers to go with the flow. Some things we just can’t control. Let go and enjoy.

*The writing is simple, easy to understand, and tell the story in the best way.

*The illustrations are colorful and just perfect for this picture book.

 

You can find Marsha Diane Arnold on Twitter @MarshaDArnold

I hope you’ll buy a copy of Badger’s Perfect Garden or check it out at the library. Great read!

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Summer Camp

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Alas, with the 4th of July and other extra activities, my guest bloggers were unable to contribute to the blog last week. Nana to the rescue!

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Summer Camp Theme of the Week: Gardening

Gardening is near and dear to my heart. Add outdoor and nature connections, and the setting and theme is just perfect.

Some activities we did during Gardening Week:

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~ We made dandelion play dough! Look on Pinterest for several different recipes. Tips from Nana: Use a LARGE blender or food processor for the boiling water and dandelions. Both of my prospects were too small and leaked. All over. Use MORE dandelions than you think you will need. We didn’t get as much yellow as we wanted, so added a bit of yellow gel food coloring. I doubled the recipe, since 5 gardeners wanted to explore.

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~ We watered. Of course. They are all quite adept at handling a variety of gardening watering implements. We also refilled the fountain numerous times. Like the grands, I’ve been enjoying the quick dip of a smaller watering can into the fountain to tend to tiny water needs. As a result, fountain water disappears much quicker than one would expect.

~ We dissected a sunflower from the Sunflower Forest. We have plenty! It was pretty neat to see baby seeds, petals, the pithy center, and other plant parts in their glory.

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~ After coloring cardboard egg carton sections, we went on a nature collecting hunt, looking for bits of nature that matched the colored sections. Rocks, flowers, petals, leaves, pine cones, bark, pottery shards, glass marbles . . . The grands did enjoy this activity even if all colors did not exactly match.

~ I’ve been wanting to have a nature loom for a long time. With freshly cut wood chunks from a recent trip to wood hunt, the oldest grand Hayden hammered in nails around the edges of one log. I looped jute around and back and forth to create a loom. I think Nana enjoyed this most, but I hope over time they will wander back and add to the nature weaving. I think next week I will have to allow them to hammer all the  nails they want into a sacrificial log. That seemed to be the biggest draw.

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~ The two girl grands, Khloe and Autumn, loved helping Papa transplant root-bound mint out in the pasture. Just for fun. Since it will be mowed with the pasture grass.

~ The youngest, Gage and Autumn, enjoyed giving hair cuts (mowing the hair) to paper plate faces.

~ Swimming! This involved puppy power and hogging of the big pool, but still, cooling fun was had by all.

~ Gardening books were read. Always books.

I had more plans, but the mid-week holiday took out a huge chunk of our Summer Camp time. Until the next week of Summer Camp (camping!), enjoy your July and the rest of this quickly evaporating summer vacation!


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Book Report: The Broken Bees’ Nest by Lydia Lukidis

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The Broken Bees’ Nest

Beekeeping, Makers Make It Work

By Lydia Lukidis

Illustrated by Andre Ceolin

Kane Press, Inc., 2019

 

I won a copy of Lydia’s book, The Broken Bees’ Nest, through Kathy Temean and her blog, Writing and Illustrating. Thanks to Lydia for the delightful copy and to Kathy for introducing me to The Broken Bees’ Nest.

What I like about this book:

I love bees, so this picture book is perfect for me. My current dream is to capture a swarm and put a hive out in our pasture. Guess what The Broken Bees’ Nest is about? Capturing a swarm from a broken hive!

This book is about a beekeeper and how she helps two children rescue bees from a broken hive. It’s also about family and being outdoors and engaging in fun play while enjoying nature. I loved learning more about bees-from the story, the sidebars, and the back matter pages.

This book is easy to read, includes vibrant illustrations, and provides lots of bee information in a fun, engaging way. As my granddaughter said the first time we read it, “Again!”

We’ll keep reading The Broken Bees’ Nest! I think this will help her overcome her fear of bees.

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Amazon Blurb:

Arun and Keya find the perfect tree for a tree house. Too bad it comes with a battered bees’ nest! These bees need a new home―right away! Tying into the popular Makers Movement, Makers Make It Work is a series of fun easy-to-read stories that focus on problem-solving and hands-on action. This charming story explores the Makers theme of Beekeeping and includes explanatory sidebars and an insect-related activity for young makers to try themselves!

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Spring Cleaning

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This past (YAY) winter has left this bod in serious cabin fever shape.

It’s true. Being cooped up inside with record snowfalls does nothing for a hiking physique. I did spend quite a bit of time shoveling, but that exercise was offset by hiding inside away from frigid temps.

Take my walk today, for instance. Huffing and puffing, sweating and trudging at a snail’s pace, the summer hiking season seemed far from my grasp. After all, actual hiking is done up and down, over hill and dale.

That’s when I realized my self needed spring cleaning. Some sprucing up, working out, and trimming off the fat.

Spring cleaning is coming to this future outdoors woman.

Walking around the yard, I noticed several casualties of the heavy snow and resulting compact ice. Funny smiling face? Busted. Sage in clay pot? Needs repotting to an undamaged pot. Siberian irises in a similarly disintegrating pot? Same treatment. Gravel strewn every which way due to shoveling of snow.

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Spring cleaning extends to the garden and surrounding yard.

It also includes the cat, Monet, who is sporting more of a tummy due to forced lack of exercise, and her favorite pastime-hunting. It’s hard to hunt or pursue any fun activities when snow accumulations are higher than your head! The one time she tried, well, it was hysterical and a very fast trip. Monet is in much need of a tune up.

Spring cleaning has arrived for the cat.

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Monet on her way up the pasture to the irrigation ditch (and future snacks)

The good news is she caught her ‘second’ first mouse of the season today. We thought spring was on the way in late January and early February. That was when she ate her first mouse of the year. And then Snowmageddon. There was much lying around, racing through the RV, climbing the walls, and sleeping on fuzzy blankets.

Inside the RV, blankets and rugs have been washed. Carpets love their new vacuumed look and floors appear a shade lighter after being mopped. Excess items are disappearing from cluttered sight. Spring cleaning is happening all over the place.

Let’s chat just a bit about the honey. In his jammies. And plastic shoes. Right now. Out smashing down mole hills all over the pasture. This mole has been a busy beaver, leaving a winding lane of black dirt mountains across the field. Soooo, honey does his spring cleaning by paying attention to signs of the season.

Spring cleaning comes to the Yakima Valley.

How about you? Have you enjoyed spring cleaning? What’s your favorite spring cleaning task?


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Eat Your Colors: Curry Zoodle Soup Recipe

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This collage of colorful fruits and vegetables just screamed, “TAKE my picture!”

So I did. And then I cooked them all. That’s what they get for drawing attention to their beauty. A healthy diet is a colorful diet. So to this food art, I added a few more things to make curry noodle soup. Yummy!

 

Curry Zoodle Soup

2 T. vegetable oil

2 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. ground turmeric

Saute’ over high heat, about 1 minute, stirring the whole time.

 

Gently add:

4 cups chicken broth

1-15 oz. can coconut milk

5-6 cups cubed butternut squash

1 sliced red pepper

1 sliced onion

Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and cook until squash is soft (about 15 minutes).

 

Add:

1 med. zucchini, zoodled

1 bag or half a plastic container of fresh spinach, stems removed

Juice of 1 lime

Heat 5 minutes. Stir well. Serve over cooked and shredded chicken breast.

 

This soup is so fragrant and tasty. You can also add any other favorite veggies (pea pods, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower). Good thing there’s plenty more for tomorrow!


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Weeds Are Winning (Gardening Gone Bad)

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A hectic summer schedule has provided ample time for weeds to take over the garden.

Despite some attempts at control, a busy travel itinerary leaves much to be desired in the ‘finding edible items in the garden’ category. Is everything growing? Yes! All experiments and plant combinations are thriving with unbridled passion.

But alas, the weeds have accepted the challenge and are rising to the top, willy-nilly.

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Enter gardening goal: Fill to overflowing one wheelbarrow full of weeds each day I am home. At this rate, the garden will look spectacular by October 1.

Gardening gone bad, you lose!

Until then, we play garden hide-and-seek for prized veg and fruit.

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My Martha/HGTV Moment

Happy tulips hanging out in an old beat up red wagon.

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Normally, this floral objet d’art would not occur in my yard. Once the bulbs are nestled in, that’s where they stay.

But due to the removal of giant, old, space and light-hogging arborvitae, the tulips had to be moved to save their pretty little lives.

Zoomin’ in on brilliant color.

Aha! (Insert light bulb hanging over my head.) I will put them in a wagon, just until after they bloom. And then we shall find a new bed for them.

Success! Even with my careful removal, accidents happened. But those sturdy beauties just hung in there and are now blooming like crazy!

I love spring. Tulip season is my favorite season in the yard.

I think I will plant kale next in the wagon. Do you think the aphids will find it there? At least the slugs/snails will have to work harder.

 

No bumping up and down in my little red wagon for these pretty spring tulips.

What kind of container gardens do you have in your yard?