Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Review: In the Garden with Flori by Sonja Danowski

In the Garden with Flori

Written and illustrated by Sonja Danowski

Translated from German by Marshall Yarbrough

NorthSouth Books Inc., 2022

Friends, we are talking gorgeous. I was initially drawn to this oversized picture book just by seeing some of the illustrations. The illustrations, plus the garden theme, put this book right on my want-to-read list. I love gardens.

After receiving In the Garden with Flori from NorthSouth Books, I was indeed enchanted with both the richly detailed illustrations and the gardening, trouble-filled story. Thank you, NorthSouth Books!

Why I like this book:

~ Gorgeous, detailed, full-page illustrations

~ Flori, the adorable sidekick, who as dogs do, causes a certain amount of trouble

~ Child-centered story

~ Friendship

~ Love the garden! Both the wild outdoor garden and the protected inside garden

~ The endpapers – check out the detail!

~ The nature theme

Congratulations, Sonja, for creating this beautiful picture book!

Amazon Blurb:

Batchelder Honor recipient Sonja Danowski has created a new story reminding us that love, patience, and a sense of humor help any garden to flower.

What a fuss! Linn’s grandfather broke his leg. Fortunately, his granddaughter Linn offers to take care of his spectacular garden. After all, Linn has helped out in the garden many times and knows a lot about plants. With Linn’s dog, Flori, and her good friend, Emi, by her side what could go wrong? But when mischievous Flori causes a mess, Linn has to learn to deal with a difficult situation. Taking responsibility for the first time is a big step. Together with Linn, we experience pride in the trust placed in us as well as self-doubts along the way. Sonja Danowski’s lovingly detailed illustrations appear almost lifelike and unfold with incomparable magic.


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Haiku Moment: in pink

had my colors done

i’m a spring, bring on flowers;

lookin’ good in pink

in pink by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley


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Stamping with Friends: Friends and Hobbies Rock!

Oh, yes. Loads of stamping fun!

Finally, the weather cooperated enough (barely) to allow me to get over Snoqualmie Pass and hit up my college roomie and longtime friend for some stamping fun! The Pass (Cascade Mountains) played it a bit dodgy at first, as workers decided to close it for avalanche control at the very time I needed to be crossing over. And then the road between my city and the next one up north (which crosses three humps and is often awful) closed for semi-truck slide outs due to icy slick roads. EEK!

One of the new kitties, Honey, LOVED sitting on top of my 3-drawer organizer…also in the open drawer…which then tipped precariously and nearly went over.

But we have “The Canyon” road. It’s lovely, slow going, windy, and beautiful. So off I went through The Canyon and hit a white out! Sheesh. I nearly cancelled the whole trip, but my honey said just keep going to see how it was in Ellensburg.

Jubilee, another new kitty, LOVED mama snuggles and serving her stamping internship by tromping across our projects and hauling my shoes down the stairs. Waves at Alyson and her kitty baby.

And whew. Roads were fine. I made it. We stamped. We had extra new kitty help (oh, my). I lost things (socks) and found my shoes downstairs when they used to be upstairs. Lots of loves, fur, and excitement. “Incoming!!!” (which means a cat has jumped in the middle of our resources-strewn work surface).

I was even able to connect with 3 other college-met longtime friends on two different nights for dinner and quick catch-ups. Waves at Ann, Roxan, and Renee!

59 cards later, success at using up certain stamping supplies, frustration at the clock moving so fast, and it was time for me to pack up my little white “truck” (actually a Mazda front-wheel drive car) with all my stuff and head back over The Pass to our little home in the pasture.

Yummy meals, lots of chatting, creative messes, staying in jammies until late, walks to the Village . . .

Per the additional cat scents and floating bits of fur, Monet (our cat) was MOST interested in every single thing that came home with me, cards included. Apparently the cards are a great place to sit, stand, and walk.

can’t wait for the next trip!


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Will You Be My Girlfriend?

circa 1981

I said yes.

On this date, April 23, 1979, at my dad’s birthday party, this guy popped the girlfriend question. And the rest, they say, is his (and her) story. Our story. What an adventure it’s been! 43 years ago.

The attempted photo recreation…

circa now

The journey continues, my honey and me, best friends.


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Happy Book Birthday to FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE! Written by Candace Spizzirri, Art by Beverly Love Warren #bookbirthday

Fishing with Grandpa and Skye

Written by Candace Spizzirri

Illustrated by Beverly Love Warren

Spork, April 19, 2022

Congratulations, Candace and Beverly! Welcome to the world, Fishing with Grandpa and Skye!

I’m so happy for my critique partner, Beverly Love Warren! She did the art for Candace’s new picture book, and through Beverly, I connected with Candace. Have a wonderful day celebrating the arrival of Fishing with Grandpa and Skye!

About the Book:

Days on the lake are a Skye and Grandpa thing. They load up their tackle box, hop aboard their skiff, and chug out to their favorite fishing spot. Today, the sun is shining, the fish are jumping, but will Skye hook a big one? 

FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE explores the rewards of patience and celebrates the love between generations.

Candace Spizzirri

Children’s Author

FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE, April 19, 2022
FINLEY: A MOOSE ON THE CABOOSE, Spring 2023

Beverly Love Warren

Children’s Book Author and Illustrator

FISHING WITH GRANDPA AND SKYE, April 19, 2022

Have You Seen Mouse? (Spork, 2022)


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Haiku Moment: snow hats

spring began, stuttered

winter rushed back, hanging on

dumped a cold white gift

my hat! it’s heavy

my neck bends low, ground view

where did the sun go?

we wait, hope for warmth

wrap our coat-leaves tight, shiver

dreaming of sunbeams

snow hats by Angie Quantrell

photos by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

Tieton River Nature Trail, Pacific Northwest


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Tic-Tac-Toe in the Garden

Tic-tac-toe in the garden! The wood chunk topped by an unfinished wood circle is complete and ready for play. The battle is on!

I came home one day to see that my honey had added a table top to the gorgeous log I’ve been hoarding. Yes, cool wood logs are hoard-worthy. 🙂 Thanks to some good friends who shared their haul, I’ve been hanging on to several for just the right project (besides being used as extra seats).

I showed my honey the size and placement of the tic-tac-toe board I was imagining, and off he went to wood burn the game board. Once the top was burned in, play immediately commenced, though the rocks wear not yet ready. My creative grands figured out a plan though, smooth stones versus pointy stones (river rocks and gravel). Perfect!

But Nana just had to have painted river rocks for playing pieces…

A pleasant side benefit is that the tic-tac-toe table also works as a garden table, just right for reading books and eating snacks.

I used mineral oil on top of the unfinished wood, to add just a bit of weather protection. I’m still not sure if I will add more, perhaps wood wax. But I love the mix of bark and unstained wood.

And surprise, as I was oiling the wood, I discovered a praying mantis egg mass on the bark! This table is all around good for the garden!

Ready for the next garden project. Any ideas? What’s in your garden?


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Haiku Moment: leaking love

upon reflection

holes dripping lost connection

my heart leaking love

leaking love by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell, Tieton River Nature Trail, Washington state