Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Cauliflower Parsnip Soup a Success #magnolia

It’s actually called Cream of Cauliflower & Parsnip Soup and I found it in Magnolia Journal, issue 21, a gorgeous magazine with several test-worthy recipes.

I’m notorious for finding and ripping out recipes I “want” to try. Which often (mostly, okay, maybe never) happens. But this time I remembered to buy a head of cauliflower and parsnips at the store. Everything else was on hand. Even my bottle of herbes de Provence I’ve been trying to find a use for.

My only change was to add a bit of grated cheddar cheese. Success! This is so delicious. The recipe makes a huge pot of soup, so plan ahead to serve it to a crowd. We will be eating this for the next 3-4 days. And I am quite happy about that!

Two thumbs up.


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA state


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Book Review: Pie for Breakfast, A Baking Book for Children by Cynthia Cliff

Pie for Breakfast, A Baking Book for Children

by Cynthia Cliff

Prestel Publishing, 2021

Thank you, Cynthia Cliff, for sending me a copy of this gorgeous cookbook for children! I read about Pie for Breakfast on Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating, a blog about books and the publishing world. Thank you, Kathy, for featuring Cynthia and allowing me to win a copy. What a delicious feast for my eyes and my tummy!

Complete with colorful, detailed, delightful illustrations (all done by Cynthia-check out her website), Pie for Breakfast is filled with recipes from around world. Each recipe has directions appropriate for ages 5-9 and suggestions on when to ask for help from an adult. Safety tips are included.

I love how Cynthia wrote this cookbook as a picture book story. Hazel is the main character who loves to bake and likes to raise money for special projects. As Hazel discusses the school’s fair, she has the idea of organizing a bake sale at the fair to raise money for the school library. Since Hazel loves books as much as she loves baking, the project is a perfect fit. Hazel invites her friends to bake something special for the bake sale. Pie for Breakfast is filled with the recipes and bakers who contribute to the bake sale.

What I loved about this book:

~the recipes, yummy!

~the colorful illustrations filled with enchanting details

~the bake sale that ties together all of the recipes and friends

~a bake sale for books! Sounds perfect to me.

~metric measurements are included

~the overall adorableness of the book

Amazon Blurb:

A beautifully illustrated baking book for children featuring recipes for delicious treats along with a powerful message about family, diversity, and helping others.

When Hazel and her father bake together, her mother says they make the whole house smell like a fancy bakery. And when they bake in the morning, they get to eat their goods as a special treat–even if it’s for breakfast. One day Hazel decides to organize a morning bake sale for her school and encourages her friends to contribute to the effort. The results take readers all over the world, from strawberry mochi and pumpkin empanadas to Indian-spiced shortbread and Egyptian basbousa cake. Best of all, each of these treats including with muffins, carrot cake, scones, and vegan and gluten-free items–comes with its own easy-to-follow recipe. Cynthia Cliff’s charming illustrations combine the simplicity of folk art with a sophisticated flair. Her down-to-earth baking accommodate all sorts of substitutions and skill levels. The perfect book for satisfying baking, Pie for Breakfast introduces children to new flavors and treats, opening their palates and their eyes to the delicious ways that baking can bring us together.

Thank you, Cynthia. Congratulations and happy baking!


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Christmas Card Ideas: Stamping with Friends Doubles Ideas AND Resources!

Here are some Christmas card ideas to help you get started. I suggest creating together with at least 1 other friend, possibly 2 or 12. Share resources (stamps, inks, papers, ribbons, etc.) as you chit-chat, and those ideas will just fly off your stamp pads!

Plus, it’s great fun to visit as you labor away on your cutting, coloring, and works of art.

Stumped? Just glance at what’s on the table or in the hands of your co-conspirators. Or scroll Pinterest or stamping-related websites. Stamping magazines are also full of completed cards for inspiration.

Stamp, cut, color, glue, and glitter. Add embellishments. Ta-dah!

Christmas greetings are ready to go.

The hardest part is trying to figure who gets which card. Or, in our case, how can we give up our FAVORITES? That is always a challenge.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas season!

P.S. Thanks for the inspiration, Alyson and Renee!


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Thanksgiving Words

T – Thankful thoughts and prayers for overflowing blessings

H – Home filled with love and family

A – Answered prayers and wishes

N – Needs fulfilled

K – Kindness extended (and accepted)

S – Security of faith

G – God who provides

I – I AM

V – Victorious life

I – Inconceivable joy

N – Necessities in abundance

G – God who saves

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100:4 NLT

Wishing you a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving Day filled with love, laughter, and gratitude.

Thanksgiving Words by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Ahtanum Mission, Yakima Valley


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Haiku Moment: two seasons clash

snow, ice, sunshine, warmth

orange green red harvest decor

fall and winter friends

two seasons clash in

popularity battle!

yet time marches on

die, rest, rebirth, grow-

to repeat again, cycles

chase each other home

two seasons clash by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley, WA


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The Gingerbread Tradition

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Or I could say, “Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Nan (a)!” They try, but Nana captures them all for hugs.

This was the first year everyone tried icing bags. Some successes, lots of messes, plenty of fun.

It’s easier to eat icing straight from the bag.

The grands are growing up fast, and they tried to run, but Nana and plenty of sugar captured their taste buds and creative imaginations.

Welcome to our annual Gingerbread House decorating tradition. The designs are getting a little bit more sophisticated, but I noticed decorations disappear just as quickly as in previous years . . .

Mullet Man. Yep.

Nana is getting shorter . . .

Must remember to put toothbrushes and toothpaste in with Christmas gifts.

See? There are some decorations left!

Curly-locks twins!

Jamie claimed the extra house! Whew.

Getting shorter . . .

I’m still taller than a few of them!

Here’s to gingerbread, sugar, and sweet grands!


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Tree Hunting: Part 1

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the pasture.

Due to needing my Christmas photo background early, we went tree hunting this month-November. With indoor trees, this is a big no-no, but since we will keep this tree outside of the RV, it will be perfectly fine and not pose a fire risk as it dries out.

My honey drove us up along Oak Creek Road in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Ready with our tree tag and saw in hand and mud boots on feet, we settled in to search for the perfect tree.

Before we hit the area where we could cut a tree, I noticed two big red blobs out in a meadow. Judging by the size, deer. Skinless and headless, left to rot. Ugh. Poachers. While I don’t personally hunt for meat, I understand some people enjoy the outdoor activity. In our state, hunters draw tags and their hunting helps control the numbers of herds roaming the forests. But to leave two carcasses and not use the meat was totally irresponsible. Grrrr.

On the way up the mostly deserted road, we saw a trail of smoke. From an untended campfire. Hoping that hunters or hikers were just out of view, we continued on our way, though I was fuming, because despite drenching rain, the fire was still smoldering. And we are just out of a horrific forest fire disaster of a summer. Even with the rain, fire is still a problem!

After 8.5 miles of rutted dirt roads and several “That one’s pretty good,” we finally found our tree. Though I tried to get Kevin to cut me a HUGE tree (heh-heh, wouldn’t that be funny, trying to drive down the road with a tree hanging off both ends of the truck?), we had to settle for a much shorter one. Cue the Christmas Vacation music.

We secured the sweet-smelling tree and headed back down the road. The fire was still going! Mr. Firefighter to the rescue. He literally got his hands dirty (the shovel was buried beneath the tree) to make sure it was dead. Good job, honey!

And much further down the road, we drove around a bend and startled a huge gathering of carrion birds! At least three bald eagles, numerous turkey buzzards, and magpies. All of them were enjoying the feast of deer meat. Whew. Nothing goes to waste in the wild, right? They were quite happy to take care of the deer carcasses. I imagine at night other predators would be drawn in-coyotes or wild cats.

A forest full of adventures. Here she is, our beautiful tree!


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Haiku Moment: forest popcorn

wet drippy wander

way off road and tummy growls

pop forest popcorn

forest popcorn by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Oak Creek Road, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Pacific Northwest

NOTE: This is not really popcorn, though it looks as if popcorn grows on trees, er, shrubs. I’m not sure if it’s edible. Do not eat this popcorn!


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Oak Creek, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest