Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover

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Strictly NO Elephants ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

From exclusivity to welcoming – great read!

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Strictly NO Elephants

By Lisa Mantchev

Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015)

And the sign means NO elephants!

A young boy has a pet elephant. The trouble with having a pet elephant is that no one else has one and it’s hard to fit in.

Come Pet Club Day, he decides to take his pet elephant. Instead of welcome, he is met with a sign that reads “Strictly NO Elephants.”

The friends leave, unwelcome and unwanted. As they wander the sidewalks, they notice a girl with a pet skunk. Her pet is unwelcome, too!

Relieved to have found common ground, the two new friends decide to start their own pet club, one where EVERYONE is welcome!

Strictly NO Elephants is a great read!

I love this book about welcoming everyone instead of being exclusive. What a nice lesson to share with young children! (This book does not sound like a lesson, never fear. Fun story.)


Draw Your Dream Pet

Materials: paper, crayons, markers, pencils

1. Brainstorm. What kind of pet do you wish you had? Pretend that your pet could be ANYTHING at all. Even a made up pet. What would you like to have?

2. Draw your pet. Don’t forget the head, body, legs (does it have legs?), tail (does it have a tail?), eyes, hair or fur, and all of the other body parts.

3. What is your pet? What is its name? I’d love to see a picture.

Wouldn’t it be fun to make up your own pet with a friend?

Thanks for stopping by. If you know someone else who would love to read a great book and enjoy a KID KANDY project, please share this blog with them. Thank you!

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The Cow Who Climbed a Tree ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

The cow who climbed a tree!

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree

Story and Illustrations by Gemma Merino

(Albert Whitman & Company, 2015)


Aha! Who wouldn’t love a cow who climbed a tree?

And why would this cow climb a tree anyway? Really? Just picture it.

The Cow Who Climbed a Tree is a wonderfully illustrated book about a cow who was insatiably curious. About everything.

Her sisters? They were only interested in grass.

But this cow had more exciting things on her mind. What about this? Or that? Why not this?

One could say that this cow, Tina, had a great and wondering imagination, to which her sisters always replied with scorn: Impossible, ridiculous, nonsense.

But The Cow Who Climbed a Tree did not give up.

I love this story about a cow who kept dreaming and exploring and doing in spite of the lack of belief from those around her. I think young readers will be encouraged to hold onto and follow their dreams regardless of what others think.

Go, Cow!


Climb a Tree

(If you don’t have a tree, paint one with watercolors! I fell in love with the illustrations in this picture book. Paint me a tree like Gemma did!)

Head outside and find a strong, tall tree. Make sure you have good pants and a shirt on to protect your knees and skin.

Climb that tree! Pretend you are Tina, a cow, and you are going to climb that tree. Of course you don’t have a tail or cloven hooves, but you can pretend!

Look for finger and toe holds. Rest against the trunk and sitting on top of branches. Watch out for pitch – it’s very sticky. See how high you can get before you are too far.

Was it fun?

I used to be a champion tree climber. I’ve put holes in many a pair of pants from stray branches and broken off bits. And it was never as easy getting down as it was getting up. So do be careful.

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Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread Recipe

Yummy Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Last week our cupboards resembled Old Mother Hubbard’s.

Yet I adamantly resisted going grocery shopping. Because it is not my favorite thing to do. You can read the post here.

Bread was in zero supply, so I looked in the cupboard and we had yeast packets! I decided to make bread. I know, lots of work. But anything to avoid hitting the supermarket aisles.


Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread


2 pkgs. active dry yeast

3/4 cup warm water

2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded and cooled)

1/4 cup honey

3 T. shortening

1 tsp. salt

4-5 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups white flour

3/4 cup chopped sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and almond flour (mixed together)

1/2 cup oatmeal (lightly ground in coffee grinder)

softened butter


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, honey, shortening, salt, white flour, and 2 cups whole wheat flour. Mix together.

Add oatmeal and grains plus enough whole wheat flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough out onto floured counter. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll into a ball. Put in a shortening greased bowl, turning once to cover all sides with shortening. Cover. Set bowl in warm spot and let rise until double (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half out into a rectangle. Tightly (but gently) roll the dough into a loaf and place seam-side down in a greased loaf pan. Repeat with second loaf. Lightly brush tops with butter. Cover and let rise for another hour, or until doubled.

Heat oven to 425 and put oven racks on a lower setting so the bread tops rest in the center of the oven. Bake until loaves are toasty brown and sound hollow when thumped, about 30 minutes.

Remove loaves from pans, place on cooling racks, and spread butter on top. Cool and enjoy!

My well-loved and much used pre-marriage cookbook

The original recipe came from my Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (Golden, New and Revised Edition) that I’ve had since before I was married (pre-1985). The name inscribed on the inside front cover is Angie Hill.

In fact, there is no title page, as it has fallen out during some previous cooking escapade. We now start things off on page 7 and discuss how to care for and prepare meat.

***My recipe for Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread has been adjusted and adapted to our tastes – less salt, more grains, and a mix of whole wheat and white flour.

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Smorgasbord Health – Brain health – A nutrient packed shopping list.

This is my shopping list and each week I try to find as much variety as I can amongst the seasonal foods.  There are two lists.. .one with the nutrients you need to be healthy and the foods that pr…

Source: Smorgasbord Health – Brain health – A nutrient packed shopping list.

One way I remember great posts is to repost them on my blog. That way I can go back and refer to them when I need to. Love this shopping list! Thanks, Sally!

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Stars ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY


By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell


By Mary Lyn Ray

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

(Beach Lane Books, 2011)

I love shapes! Stars are one of the first shapes that children learn to identify. Stars and hearts.

This beautiful picture book is about stars.

Stars tells about stars – the shape, the stars in the sky, the stars in your hand, and the way stars can be used to have fun. A star can make you a sheriff, a princess, or a magical fairy with a wand.

But what about other stars? Flower stars that become favorite fruits, frozen stars that give us snow, and paper stars that mark special days are all different kinds of stars that mean something wonderful is going to happen!

Readers will love the creative imagination and ideas about stars they find in Stars.


Make Stars

Stars are sort of difficult to make, but once you learn how, they are fun and easy.

Materials: paper, scissors, markers, glitter glue, scrap paper, sticks, tape, ribbon

Here is how you draw a star.

How to draw a 5-pointed star

Or you can cut out 2 triangles, put one upside down on the other, and make a different star!

How to make a 6-pointed star with 2 triangles

Cut out and decorate your star. I always love to add glitter glue to make things sparkle and shine!

What can you do with a star?

– Tape your star to a stick for a wand or decoration.

– Display your star on the fridge.

– Give your star to a friend.

– Make a hat or crown with your star.

– Put your star on the calendar to mark a special day (your birthday?).

– Hang several stars on ribbon to make a wall decoration.

Have a starry day!

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Decorated Metal Tins ~ How to Use Those Empty Altoid and Ice Chip Tins

The top cover of my decorated tin

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

I joined a group of ladies to make these pretty prayer boxes last weekend.

I recently attended the Columbia Basin Baptist Association’s Annual Women and Teenage Girls’ Retreat at Camp Touchet, just outside of Dayton, Washington. What a beautiful, if somewhat remote and out of cell coverage zone, location!

Much fun was had Friday night when our craft lady and photographer shared her idea and supplies with us. We made these fun prayer boxes!

Of course, the boxes could be used for anything, but we were at a retreat that featured prayer, so our boxes were prayer themed.

So make use of those empty Altoid or Ice Chip metal tins and create to your hearts’ content.

The top and bottom of my tin

Decorated Metal Tins


empty metal tins

spray paint

decorated scrap paper



thin-tipped permanent markers

craft glue

washi tape

buttons, ribbon, stickers, gems, glitter glue, and assorted embellishments

1. In advance, spray paint the outside of the tin, including top, bottom, and sides. Let dry.

2. Trace the tin bottom on decorated scrap paper. Cut it out and trim to fit. You can use this as a template for the bottom, top, and inside top of the tin. Glue in place with craft glue.

3. I loved the look of the washi tape, so I edged the top and bottom with washi. It doesn’t stick very well around the corners by itself, so I need to glue down the corners.

4. Add buttons, butterflies, stickers, or any embellishments you want. Make a decorated label for the lid to tell what the tin is for. Glue to top.

5. I also decorated the inside of the lid. You can see the little poem that we included in our lids.

6. I left the bottom empty, but added small pieces of paper for notes and a short pencil (our craft person found them on Amazon – just search for mini mechanical pencils).

The inside poem, note paper, and pencil

Et voila! You are ready to take notes, write down thoughts, pen tiny masterpieces, or scribe prayers.

How are you going to use this craft idea? I think it would be great for a camp project!


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Old Mother Hubbard Says It’s Time to Go Grocery Shopping

A sweet potato and a few onions…

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

You do know the nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard, right?

Old Mother Hubbard

Went to the cupboard

To get her poor doggy a bone.

When she got there,

The cupboard was bare,

So the poor little doggy had none.


Presenting, on life’s stage, Old Mother Hubbard.

Played by Angie.


Old Mother Hubbard needs to go shopping for groceries. Now.

I resist grocery shopping. I don’t know why. I will scrounge, create, and do everything I can to make it last just one more day. All to avoid grocery shopping.

Maybe it’s the lines, the crowds, the cost, the forgetting something on the opposite end of the store and making repeat trips, the foraging through produce to find the freshest, the struggle to open produce bags, touching raw meat packages…

Probably it’s the having to take it all home and put it away.

But I so love having food to use when I prepare meals!

We are down to wilted celery, one sweet potato, a few onions, and garlic. Oh, I think there may be a dried up bit of ginger hanging around as well and some frozen peas and corn. Almost out of milk, yogurt, and bread.

Two pieces of frozen salmon and one package of frozen ground turkey make up the protein portion of our diet (per what is in the fridge/pantry/cupboard). I suppose I could count the canned chicken and tuna.

Well, that sounds like I have plenty for another day of Grocery Store Avoidance.


Frozen Food Tip:

Guess what?! The package directions actually work for frozen brussel sprouts! I’ve never even glanced at the directions, but did so last night on a whim. You can MICROWAVE the entire package – and they come out perfectly moist and not soggy and gross!

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The Day the Mountain Blew

Standing on the top edge of Mt. St. Helens, looking at Mt. Adams

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

What were you doing on May 18, 1980?

Maybe you were not even born yet! That does make me feel old, so let’s keep that to ourselves.

On that beautiful Sunday morning, so many years ago, I was at church with my family and friends. It was during Sunday school, so the time was early in the day.

Rocks, rocks, rocks!

Murmurs of something going on and the escalation of tension crept throughout the groups of people. We all went outside and saw huge, billowing, black clouds racing our way from the west.

Upon the advice of emergency officials and church leaders, everyone was sent home.

Soon, the entire sky was overtaken by the black gray heavy clouds. Not rain clouds as they appeared, but ash and smoke. Grit started to pour down. It wasn’t a gentle ash, but steady and thick.

Mostly we were excited to find out what was happening. I don’t remember being afraid at all, just curious. We got to skip out on church, and though we were all advised to stay inside out of the ash, we ventured out several times to check out the weather.

Volcano weather.

At that time, we didn’t have immediate access to world events. No one really had computers, just radios and the basic television channels. Phones were all old fashioned and connected to a wall phone jack. Information traveled much slower.

A view of what’s left at the top of Mt. St. Helens

One of my weekend jobs was to care for an elderly lady one street over. Mrs. Nelson lived by herself in a big house. She was alone that volcano-y day. I received a call asking that I go over and check on her. I did so, and explained to her what was going on and made sure she had her lunch and the things she needed.

My then future-husband was on his own for the weekend, as his parents were out of town. So he ended up at our house for much of that week. He was normally there, so that was nothing new.

As this was our first volcano eruption, we had no idea what we were in for. School was open as usual Monday morning. We headed to school. I remember trying to use the windshield wipers. Scrape, grit, scrape, grit. Not a good idea.

It was all excitement for the students. A volcano! Ash and grit. LOTS of ash and grit. A volcano ashfall.

The problems became evident soon enough. Students waiting for buses to stop were overwhelmed with clouds of billowing, drifting ash. We couldn’t breathe! People started wearing face masks just to be able to be outside. Vehicles were being damaged by the large amounts of ash and grit being inhaled and forced through the internal engines. Others tried to begin the clean up process, only to find there was nowhere to put their mountains of ash.

The girl with the cow shorts heading up Mt. St. Helens

So much ash. Inches fell on every little thing. Daytime looked like nighttime. Headlights had to be used to improve visibility.

After Monday, school was cancelled for the rest of the week in order to give everyone time for cleaning away ash. I’m sure officials were scrambling to figure out what to do with the ash, checking to see how dangerous it was for breathing, and searching to find out what damage was being done to the machines that were out working through the depths of the volcano fallout.

Things slowly returned to as much normal as could be expected. Mt. St. Helens was forever changed. Much of the mountain was spread throughout Washington state and the northwest. The Yakima Valley was in the ash fallout zone, while others on the opposite side of the mountain were hit by pyroclastic flows of steam, ash, mud, melted snow, and raging rivers. Lighter ash was transferred around the world by wind. Farmers washed off or plowed under the layers of ash all over our farmlands. People collected jars and containers of ash as momentos. Creative folks figured out ways to transform the ash into artwork and jewelry. Books were written, studies conducted, interviews given, and research began.

Not everyone survived that day. But for those of us who did, we remember the day the mountain blew.

So much information has been collected, stored, and shared. You can read more about Mt. St. Helens here.

Me (left) and Kevin at the summit of Mt. St. Helens

We have no personal photos of Mt. St. Helens the day it blew. If we did, we probably would not be alive to share them. We did, however, hike to the top of the mountain in 1993. After reading the warnings on paperwork from the ranger station, we seriously considered our health and personal welfare! Watch out for steam vents, thin crust, the edge of the top (where the edge often broke off), the dome in the center of the volcano (we couldn’t go there), and tremors. It was and is a live volcano, after all!

I’d love to hear what you were doing on the day the mountain blew.