Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Haiku Moment: second breakfast bath

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second breakfast bath;

after canned dish, free range mouse,

and dry food chaser

 

second breakfast bath by Angie Quantrell

 

That’s our girl, Monet. First breakfast is half a can of Fancy Feast. After, she heads out to roam the pasture for a second breakfast on the hoof, er, paw. Next she takes a quick bath and chomps a few crunchy bits of dry food (to wash it all down?) and she is good for the morning.

Pardon the irreverent pose. She IS taking a bath . . .


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Haiku Moment: lump

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odd-shaped pregnancy

mystery bump; What? Hello!

furry lump, “Mee-yow”

 

lump by Angie Quantrell

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Haiku Moment: sixteen degrees

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october? sixteen?

leaves, pumpkins, frosty fall-yes

but not freezing temps

 

dig out the hats, scarves,

mittens and gloves, heavy coats

cheers for toasty drinks

 

sixteen degrees by Angie Quantrell

 

Brr, baby, it’s cold outside! Low teens in October? Frozen pumpkins, water sources, fingers, and noses. My grand thinks now it should snow and there will be icicles and sledding. It’s definitely cold enough, but clear blue skies portend otherwise.

To a week complete with an earlier tiny window of snow flurries (we saw nary a speck), come on winter, we’re bundled up tight.

How’s your weather? What’s your favorite cold weather toasty drink?

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Cooking Day: Fall Flavors Give RV Oven a Workout

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Yesterday, while I was watching the Seahawks shoot themselves in the feet, I mean LOSE but with style, I gave in to my urge to bake. The day went like this.

Home from church. Make tuna salad for lunch. Clean up.

Tuna Salad: two cans tuna, drained; 1 celery stick, chopped; 1/2 red onion, diced; about 1/4 c. dill relish; 1/4 c. chopped walnuts; fresh ground black pepper; cayenne; cumin; and enough mayo to make it mix well. I ate mine over cherry tomatoes. My honey ate his on his favorite whole grain bread. No pictures of this, but it was tasty!

Bake Gingerbread Muffins. Clean up.

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I found this recipe at the What’s for Dinner Moms? blog.   I’ve found quite a few tasty treats on this blog. As usual, I adjusted the recipe to our tastes, using whole wheat and almond flour, and added allspice and cloves, and swapped out white sugar and added brown. I also doubled the icing. These are so yummy!

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Bake Oatmeal Cups. Clean up.

Okay. So the recipe calls them Granola Cups with Yogurt and Berries. I was taste testing them for a Jello Molders weekend. They came out pretty good. I found this recipe in an old 2017 issue of Cooking Light.

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Bake Mexican Chocolate Cookies. Clean up.

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These spicy little treats are awesome. The cayenne livens things up a bit. And chocolate? Of course they are delicious. This recipe is from a May issue of Martha Stewart, but I’ve accidentally torn off the year…

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Put a pot of chicken soup on to simmer. Clean up.

There are no pictures of this first soup of the season. But know I used up the rest of our Costco rotisserie chicken, celery, onions, a potato, kale from the garden, a bag of mixed frozen veggies, stewed tomatoes, chicken broth, Mrs. Dash, crushed red pepper, black pepper, and poultry seasoning. It was excellent served with a dollop of sour cream. My honey added corn chips to the top.

Eat dinner. Clean up.

I’d say for a Sunday, I spent a lot of time cleaning up! A friend and I consider washing dishes a workout. Including breakfast dishes, I worked out 6 times! You should see my buff arm and shoulder muscles. 🙂 In the RV, one must clean up EVERY time a new dish is prepared. Space and tiny sink and all.

The successes were ALL of the above. It was a tasty day. Other than the Seahawks losing.

How about you? What do you like to bake or simmer in the fall? Happy first day of autumn!

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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,125

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Speaking of “Adventures with a Book Lover” (part of the title of this blog), we moved into our RV on August 20, 2016. That was approximately 1,125 days ago. Do I sense a celebration coming on?

Let me tell you. We are still married. We still love each other. We are better at dancing around each other in tight spaces. We wear the same clothes over and over again. We ignore the wardrobes in the shop for the ease of grabbing the same somethings from the tiny cupboards. We cook, shop, store, and recreate differently than when we lived in a stick house. We entertain in unique (and sometimes HOT or COLD settings, due to outside venues) ways. We rotate seats when groups > than the number of available seats visit. And I still haven’t gone through EVERY cupboard and drawer to remove things we have never used. That goal was from summer #1 in the RV.

Due to several circumstances, we are no closer to building a small house than when we settled in this tiny RV space. That’s an entirely different and very long post.

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Was it worth it? You bet. How you ask? I love lists. Here is the short version:

1. Finances. The RV is paid off. DEBT-FREE living.

2. Coziness. We have this in droves. Come on over if you need a cupful.

3. Less stuff to worry about. Though I do have to shop more often, I need to purchase less because of storage. That was an interesting revelation.

4. Moveable. We don’t have to stay in one spot. We do, for the most part. But that will change in a few years. Travel options are unlimited.

5. Tiny living. This is it baby. We have about 228 (or some ridiculously low number like that) square feet, about 60 of them dedicated to the cat. LOL. We have learned that we really do not want a tiny house. We want a small house. About 800-900 square feet. With some breathing room. And a bigger shower. But for an RV, our bathroom is deluxe.

6. Cute RV. Really! Our RV is pretty cute. I’ve learned how much I can decorate without the cat knocking things over or the circuits getting blown.

7. Weather. We know what the weather is. Hot is hot. Cold is cold. The RV, four season though it is, is still a tin box. With excellent insulation, but still. We are so thankful for our super furnace and AC. The addition of the skirting really makes us successful during our northwest winters. We always know what the weather is. It’s a habit of RV life. Check the weather. Feel the weather.

8. Rain. On the roof. I love listening to it fall! The same goes for snow and wind. Weather is an interactive experience.

9. Creativity. Let’s say our creativity is enhanced due to multiple opportunities to solve tiny house living issues. We are building our brain cells!

10. Adventure. We are living the dream. RV living is definitely an adventure. One day (we tell ourselves) we will look back fondly on the funny and not so funny episodes of RV life and miss the adventures.

But until then . . .

It’s time for a celebration! Happy 1,125th day of RV life, Quantrells. Enjoy the ride!

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Haiku Moment: shred

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give it to me, grrrr

i’m gonna rip you to shreds

old shirt, you die. die!

 

shred by Angie Quantrell

 

Ginger LOVES her new 9-ply T-shirt rope. Too bad

1. It’s white. That was the only color I had.

2. It’s really gonna die soon.

3. Chocolate labs are ferocious players. We need toys. Lots of toys. Please send toys.


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Haiku Moment: frog hotel

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mystery black holes

bright eyes peek out . . . who goes there?

old wood frog hotel

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frog hotel by Angie Quantrell

#scenesfromthepasture


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Mud: The Perfect Nature Sensory Activity

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First we had February. Snowmageddon and all of that. The season of snow.

Next we had the melt. Flooding, slush, and slippery ice. The season of melt.

Now we have rainy April days and plentiful water. The season of mud.

Does mud bother my grands? Not in the slightest. Nearly all the kids I know love getting dirty, playing in the mud. From what I’ve observed, most of the problem with mud comes from the adults. The ones who have to do laundry, wipe mud trails off of floors, wash boots, and repair muddy landscapes.

Forget all of that worry. It’s time for the season of play!

Enter mud play. A fine mist was falling, water stood in the wagon and various items strewn about from building fairy houses, and mud was plentiful.

They dug, scooped, buried, and transported mud, rocks, and sticks. They gathered water, poured it around, and put a dead worm in the mud in case he wanted to wake up.

They painted small pieces of logs by using a stick as a paintbrush, using the stick to smear mud across the flat surfaces. And then they decorated the wagon and fairy gardens with mud-encrusted artwork.

I love it when I see preschoolers and children (and even adults) use their creativity and imagination. I love it even more when nature and messes are involved!

I’m not sure if the parents agree, but playing in mud is excellent for sensory engagement and exploration of nature.

So…put on some old clothes, just in case, plop on the wellies, and head out for some messy fun.

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: ode to pesto (plus recipe)

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rip, shred, pulverize-

greens, cheese, garlic, oil becomes

feast! dine, friend, pesto.

 

ode to pesto by Angie Quantrell

 

Spring is here and with it comes potted basil plants from Trader Joe’s. Basil is the scent and flavor of all things yummy. I cheat, buying multiples of potted plants each trip to Seattle, instead of planting. Though this year I am tempted to throw some seeds in a planter box and see what happens. Last year I picked up a basil plug from the grocery section at a store, and it performed beyond expectations! Of course, I repot the potted plants and plugs in good potting soil and harvest leaves as I need them.

Every summer, we gorge on pesto-on pizza, salmon, chicken; in sauce and soup. So pungent, cheezy, and filled with garlic, we can taste the beauty and intense flavors the next morning. (Yes, we brush our teeth…but my pesto is the gift that keeps giving…lol).

I use my little RV-sized food processor, so one batch is perfect for one meal.

WALNUT BASIL PESTO

Ingredients:

basil (lots of leaves, fill the food processor)

walnuts (coarsely chopped)

shredded Parmesan cheese

3-5 chopped garlic cloves

olive oil

sea salt

Optional: I’ve added spinach to up the nutritional value and use up left over amounts

 

Directions:

Add basil, walnuts, Parmesan, and garlic. Pour on olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Blend, adding additional olive oil to get the consistency your prefer. I always have to stop the machine and stir down the pesto to get it all to mix.

I don’t measure anything with this recipe, other than how much garlic I add. It’s never been too thin, but rather I need more oil. Serve right away with chicken, pizza, salmon, steak, or on toasted bread. Store leftovers (if there are any) in tightly sealed container or freeze immediately.

Now, where’s my tiny food processor?

 


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Swift Arrival of Spring Startles, Shocks, and Confuses

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Her highness was quite pleased with her hunting prowess. Full of herself too.

And just like that, click. The flip is switched and spring is here.

The snow is mostly gone, where last week we were path-bound to specific routes by mountains of snow and ice. Mud reigns supreme and small streams become floods. Smashed grass gasps in surprise to be free and under the sun. Spring came roaring in with the flip of the switch.

And we sit at night, bundled in our flannels, suddenly realizing we are sweating and why in the world is it so hot? Oh. It’s warm outside. The 40-50’s do not allow flannels and heaters and electric blankets. Those winter settings set our skin to blazing and must be forced down to a dull roar. Winter jammies are tossed aside for cooler, thinner fabrics. Spring thundered in, showering us with unexpected warmth. Our minds are too slow to acclimatize.

The winds blows. Wind? Why is it windy? It was just snowing last week, and gray skies permeated our days. OH. March is here. The true March, with roaring winds and warm days, leaping lambs and shamrocks. The blustery breeze helps clear the snow-winter fog from our bodies.

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The cat. She was long confined to one narrow, winter ice-packed lane of travel. That went, well, nowhere except to other narrow, ice-packed lanes. It was better to sleep away the cold, day and night. When explosively, spring is here! The pasture appeared as if by magic. Birds called, frogs croaked, bugs hatched. The cat’s life is renewed. The hunter is re-energized with wide open spaces and plenty of sun-deprived prey.

Record setting opening day of feline hunting season set by one Monet. 2 voles, 1 field mouse, 2 birds. We sat, strolled, walked outside. Oh, there is another one. OH, watch your step, there’s something else. In the plant pot, hiding on the gravel, on the flat grass. Be careful where you step.

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Getting ready to tackle another hunt.

RV windows need screens to let in fresh air, keep bugs out. Condensation woes drop to an irritation instead of mildew concern. Overnight heating sources are neglected, one by one.

In the blink of an eye, winter clothes must be swapped for spring, leggings, short sleeves, light jackets, sun-blocking hats. Sun block! Roadways are clear enough for walking, and though the body protests movement, efforts are made. And the realization comes that, well, spring is really here. Sweating, thirsty, hot. Add hat and water to next trip. Remove sweater and coat.

The sun! Seemingly overnight, with the gray clouds of winter gone, the sun seems to be coming up much earlier and going to bed later than our expectations. Let’s not even talk about daylight savings time and the big jump forward.

Change is hard. Even seasonal changes. Gentle is normal, but this year the leap from winter to spring happened overnight. This body reacts in slow motion. Oh, get out my spring/summer clothes, put away my snow/mud boots. Where are my slip-ons? The heavy coat remains hanging on the hook. Even socks change from thick warm to short athletic.

Each day, less snow, more spring-thinking. Spring exploded right in our laps, and I, for one, am racing to catch up.

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How about you? Have you made the leap into spring?