Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Happy 10th Birthday, Khloe! #birthdaytrip

I started a tradition. When a grand turns 10, we get a special trip, just the 2 of us. Khloe turned 10 on the 23rd, and we left the next day to go to Ocean Shores – the beach! We barely squeezed in our trip with school starting the 31st. But squeeze it in, we did!

Someone (name beginning with “K”) got a phone for her birthday. At the beach? Check. Testing the new phone? Check. We had the most gorgeous weather.

Watch out!!! The shark got her! Thank goodness the shark throat led us on a fun shopping adventure.

We both enjoyed eating out. Bennett’s Fish Shack. Mmmm

Khloe is pretty happy to have her own hotel bed. (Me, too. She hogs the covers.)

Ready for the favorite birthday trip activity: riding horses on the beach!

Khloe. Waving at me (aqua sweater). Me. At the back. Rocket likes the back. Rocket is not very rocket-y. General (aka Mr. Waddles, Khloe’s horse) likes to be up closer to the front in the middle of the herd. Not Rocket. He could care less. He likes to go back “home,” the horse staging area.

The view from the back. Rocket. And everyone else’s backsides. And the beach.

Damon Point is one of my favorite beaches in the Ocean Shores area, so Khloe just had to visit it with me. Look at this sturdy driftwood throne. Perfect for the birthday princess.

The obligatory fairy house, complete with table, chairs, bed, sink, fire pit, and shade.

The puzzle challenge. I did not win. Someone cleverly hid my last 2 pieces . . .

We tried flying a kite (not windy enough that day), had pizza on the beach (it was too windy and cold, so we sat in the car to eat), took a last drive on the beach (it was fogged in on our last morning, and the tide was so far out, we couldn’t even see the water), had fun swimming and enjoying the hotel hot tub, learned how to play solitaire, watched the Food Network, and even hit a huge thrift shop in Packwood on the way home. What a FUN trip with my grand!

Happy 10th birthday, Khloe! Love you!

What special birthday traditions do you have? I need more ideas. 🙂


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Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Bistro

Once in a long while, we get hooked on watching Guy Fieri as he travels around the U.S. showcasing fabulous meals on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Sometimes I’m hoping to be inspired for dinner, other times I want recipes. I LOVE watching the chefs prepare the meals and I’m always astounded at how MUCH they make! The quantity is mind-boggling. And when the featured location is nearby . . . I want a road trip!

We recently caught an episode filmed in Richland, Washington, a mere 90 minutes or so away. Road trip, here we come! I have no idea about the original air date of the episode, but Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Bistro is still in business, so it’s all good.

Sweet potato lasagna. Oh, boy. That’s what I wanted. And the Duck Banh Mi sandwich. Those were the two items featured on the show, and wow, they looked wonderful! Unfortunately, the Duck Banh Mi was sold out. So Kevin went with the Prime Time, a Prime Rib panini.

The only bad thing about our trip was the heat. We arrived early, about 11, since we eat lunch early. But it was still heading up over 90. Despite that, we chose to sit outside in their adorable covered seating area. There was a line waiting to get in even at that early hour! And nearly the entire time, people were waiting to be seated for the bistro side of the business. Note: The bakery is right next door. Both are connected and you can enter either door or walk between both in the waiting area.

Sweet Potato Lasagna

This dish was so yummy! I loved the sweet potato “noodles”. A few edges were a tiny bit underdone, but not enough to stop me. And I think it could have been hotter (temperature). Well, I ALWAYS want heat in my food, so I would add crushed peppers to my sauce. Mmmm. This dish was so tasty and hugely filling! I think it was a bit much with the heat, but come fall and cooler temps . . . give me ALL the sweet potato lasagna! Served with grilled pesto toast. I LOVED the sauce and meat and the way all the gooeyness came together. Mmm. I would definitely order this again.

Prime Time

Kevin’s Prime Time panini featured thinly sliced prime rib, carmelized onions, horseradish aioli, Swiss cheese, and au jus. The panini was made with their own garlic focaccia bread, and was served with a salad. I had a taste, and it was pretty delish! The au jus was very salty, so dip wisely. And (we both love spice) I think Kev would have loved MORE horseradish to heat things up. The sandwich was very filling and yummy.

The bakery had tempting treats, but we were stuffed, and with the temps, we didn’t want to haul around something that would melt.

Two thumbs up for Frost Me Sweet Bakery and Bistro. The menu is chock full of other dishes we want to try. So once fall hits, I’m counting on another road trip to sample the menu.

Have you hit the road to find a featured location from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives? Let us know how it went. And if you have any suggestions for fun dining, do share! We’d all love a taste.


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Garden Harvest: A Win for the Onions (and Garlic)

Today’s post is a far cry from yesterday. Lavender to onions and garlic. Oh my. Cry if you will over chopped onions . . .

Let’s take a little diversion from fragrant to pungent.

Due to earwigs and extreme heat, most of the garden is struggling. But for alliums. The onions, garlic, and leeks are doing great! Not only producing, but surviving all of the above. Let’s hear it for alliums. And don’t forget the chives, a favorite snack food of a certain young onion/chive lover. The chives are marching along in perfect order.

This is the first year I’ve tried spring onions. Wow, did they love the garden bed! Since I’ve never grown them before, I tested a few before they were ready. Now they are all harvested and drying. I’m not sure if that’s the correct procedure, but it’s what I’ve done and it seems to be working.

The garlic was a surprise from last year. I think. I’m forever popping sprouted garlic cloves in a garden bed or patch of ground. Usually, they are eaten before I get anything useful. This spring, for the longest time, the middle bed had only this big bouquet of garlic greens. Finally, after the complimentary squash plants over grew it and scapes started growing, I could tell they were done. I pulled them out and we actually have garlic! Also drying with the onions.

I pretty much leave the leeks alone, letting the bees enjoy the flowers (and earwigs-isn’t that odd?). Sometimes I will harvest a leek, but most are left alone to reseed. And they do that very well.

How about you? Any tips for growing alliums? Or better yet, a favorite recipe?

Looking forward to next year and a fresh crop.


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Haiku Moment: earth treasure

is it time? harvest?

soil erupts with sharp fragrance,

come, my garlic treat

earth treasure by Angie Quantrell

Photos by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley

This is our third successful (meaning: no earwig damage) allium crop! Maybe next year should be a season of rest for the garden beds when I grow just alliums and let the exploding earwig population die off a bit. The idea does bear tasty consideration…


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Haiku Moment: leek princess

Photo by Angie Quantrell

seeking light, water

face to the sun, wearing your

tiny fairy hat

buds tight with promise

urgency to bloom and seed

hello leek princess

by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley

Tales from My Garden


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The Egg Mystery

It started out innocently enough.

The day after Taylor, my son, mowed the pasture, I was playing my one-millioneth game of chuck-it with Ginger and she stopped to nose around up by the ditch. Usually NOTHING will keep her from her ball, but something smelled goooood. I went up to see, since she was ignoring me.

And rats. It was a broken egg, most likely crushed by the lawn tractor. This had happened once before, with a killdeer nest. The babies were so silent with fear, they flattened out and survived the blade. This egg was unhatched and didn’t survive. But when I looked closer, the shell appeared white, and the yolk huge. Not a killdeer egg. But what type of egg was it?

This past weekend, my honey was changing the sprinklers and found an egg. Right in the middle of the grass, tucked down low. I went hunting, and sure enough. A big-enough to be chicken, but not quite pointy on either end, with a tinge of green.

Same day, later, Taylor was weed eating the pasture edges and ditch bank. With his fans in tow (Donavyn and Autumn), they discovered 2 more broken eggs and 2 whole eggs, but none in a nest beside each other. Some on this side of the ditch, at least one on the far side. One of the broken ones could have been the broken one I found. Or not. Same type of egg.

Later, after dinner, I went walking the pasture. I found yet another egg, randomly laid in the middle of the pasture. That makes 6 or 7 eggs, not in a nest or placed close to each other. Chicken-egg sized but oblong rather than pointy, all with the slight greenish hue.

What a mystery! As often as the next door chickens come and eat our bugs (thank you, chickens!), one would think we should have an egg or two found in odd places. But though I often urged them to nest up and share, they all know where they live, and at the slightest hint of one of us, they go running home.

Which is good. Because. You know. Bird dog.

Pasture. Roaming neighbor chickens. Turkeys. Wildlife by the buckets. Hawks, magpies, the occasional heron, crows, ducks. I’ve been trying to think of the larger birds that could be possible wandering egg layers. There’s just no sense of why here, and there, and way over there??? The egg on the opposite side of the ditch sort of rules out chickens, as they would have to cross the water and they are not too motivated unless food is involved.

Here is one of the eggs, with my thumb to give an idea of size. Does anyone have any ideas? All day yesterday I was on high alert, watching for birds in that area. Zip.

The mystery continues.


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Book Review: Nibbles, A Green Tale (RE: A Green Way to Get Rid of Dandelions)

Nibbles, A Green Tale

Written and illustrated by Charlotte Middleton

Marshall Cavendish Children, 2009

I have so many wonderful memories of the guinea pigs we loved during my years of teaching preschool. Our mama gave us hours of delight as we watched her lead her trail of babies around the room. Rustling plastic bags brought squeals demanding whichever “greens” we had brought. Both preschoolers and my family members loved snuggling and playing with these cuties.

Imagine my delight when I saw Nibbles, A Green Tale at the library! Nibbles is obviously a guinea pig, one who loves dandelions. With our current pasture-wide crop of dandelions, I couldn’t wait to read this picture book. If only I could borrow a city of dandelion-loving guinea pigs and let them camp out in the pasture for a week or two. That would take care of the clouds of white seeds.

Why I LOVE this book:

~ guinea pigs! Wheet, wheet!

~ guinea pigs who eat dandelions

~ guinea pigs wearing clothes!

~ a fun story of how one guinea pig rescued dandelions from becoming extinct

~ a green strategy to solve dandelion problems (though the sheer number of them needed to clear a pasture…)

~ adorable illustrations

~ wonderful story and characters

There is a sequel to this book, Nibbles: Another Green Tale. I can’t wait to track down a copy.


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Haiku Moment: bunnies for sale

bunnies for sale, free

hopping, leaping, eating all;

please, take some bunnies

bunnies for sale by Angie Quantrell

Rabbits for Food (the book cover I want to make into a large poster and display in the pasture for the bunnies to read so they will decide to nibble elsewhere)


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RV Cooking Hack Plus Recipe: Garlic Rosemary Potatoes and Meatballs

What some of you might not know is that RV ovens have one rack.

At least our RV oven has one rack. And it’s not a large one either. A half-pan cookie sheet fits inside, with just barely enough room around it for air flow. A Dutch oven does not fit (it’s too heavy, and I fear it would bend/break the rack). A low casserole dish fits, but some lids might bump the top. And once you turn off the oven, you have to let it cool completely before restarting it. The gas pilot light is under the bottom tray at the back of the oven, right where you will burn your arm if you try lighting it while it’s hot. Personal experience speaking here.

And something to watch out for, a lesson I learned just this week with the future scars to match my experience, is the spring loaded oven door is very spring loaded. Very. Using a similar trick as shown in the above photo, a foil wrapped pan, I attempted to put the pan in the oven, the foil stuck, I somehow lost control of the door, and it swung shut on my arm. Did I mention the oven was preheated? I threw the pan in as I jerked my arm out, bouncing the hot stove door edge along my arm. Yikes! I am thankful for fast reflexes. Yes, yes I am.

Oh, but our RV DOES have an oven. We love using it in the winter to heat the RV. We avoid it in the summer, preferring to cook on the BBQ and keep the heat outside.

I’ve often been frustrated by meal plans that need two dishes to be in the tiny oven. And then I started experimenting. See the above photo.

As with all experiments, you figure out new things to try or ways to improve an idea. Now, with the above meatballs and garlic rosemary potatoes, I wouldn’t bother with the foil dam in the middle. Just let the juices mix. Yum! But some things I might not want to touch while baking, like juicy salmon and sweet potato fries. Or something like that.

Either way, combining a main dish and side or two is the perfect way to utilize a small RV oven. I always try to cook too much, because leftovers make perfect lunches for the next day or two.

Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

5-6 small red potatoes, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces

5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 6-8″ sprig of rosemary, washed, dried, and chopped (leaves only, not stem)

olive oil

sea salt

fresh ground pepper

Optional: fresh grated Parmesan cheese, Tabasco sauce

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl, mix potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and enough olive oil to coat it all. Spread on one half of a foil-covered cookie sheet (I like to spray my foil with vegetable spray to keep food from sticking). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the other half with meatballs. No recipe here for these. I love the Costco frozen meatballs.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. We like crispy sides, so we cook them longer. If you want to cook yours until just done, aim for 25-30 minutes. Stir halfway through cooking and test potatoes along the way.

Serve potatoes and meatballs with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few splashes of Tabasco. We always add broccoli, salad, or green beans. Gotta have those veg!


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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,594

What it looks like when I dig out my craft supplies.

We are just getting ready to tuck into bed at the close of our approximate 1,594th day of RV living. $1,594 dollars does not seem like much. 1,594 days seems like much much more.

This was not the plan. But. 2020. Plus housing market. Plus bidding wars. Plus zoning laws. Plus all sorts of things.

We are happy to have a tiny home on wheels, though an RV is not exactly the same thing. We have tiny and we have wheels. We feel blessed to have shelter near our loved ones.

We are still talking to each other, the cat keeps us free from pasture mice and voles, and the electronics and utilities work.

Just in case you are considering long-term RV life, think about this.

Storage is minimal. Even utilizing the boot (under bed/outside access storage at the front of the RV), we stack items on empty window casings, counters, and floors. And still I go the store more often and buy less.

The shower is tiny. I have no idea how my 6′ 1″ husband does it. I bang elbows and knees when I shower and I’m only 5′ 1″.

The fridge is tiny. The freezer even more so. Without an extra fridge/freezer out in the shop you can kiss Costco good-bye.

The stove is tiny. No more large turkeys. As long as I purchase a small turkey breast, cooking in the RV oven is doable. If I want a full turkey, I have to use my turkey roaster.

The bed is small. Queen? Methinks not a true queen. It gets a bit crowded with both of us and the cat, who loves sleeping crosswise between our pillows.

There. Is. No. Closet. Wrinkles are our wardrobe accessories.

Humidity is an issue in the winter. Perhaps we should purchase stock in the companies that produce dehumidifiers.

This meal could have been mixed together, but I was practicing. Works great!

On the other hand . . .

We enjoy our cozy space. COZY.

It doesn’t take much to heat such a small space. Or cool it. Though you will catch me whining when the temps are in the 90-100s.

Low utility costs, at least during spring and fall.

I have become quite tricksy at RV cooking. We regularly utilize the RV oven, stove top, and outdoor BBQ grill, depending on the season, temperature, and meal plan.

We are used to short showers.

I’ve figured out the way to work around only one stove rack. I make a foil dam and cook multiple foods at the same time! Casseroles are another way to work around the one rack.

I don’t have to clean much. We live in a pasture, so there is always dust.

We have and use what we truly need. There is no space for extras. We are working on this for my creative and work space.

We spend plenty of time outside, since that’s where the fresh air and clean living space is found in abundance. Nature is pretty wonderful. Not mice and vole heads, thank you Monet, but alive sorts of nature like hawks and bunnies and finches.

My honey is fabulous at upkeep for our tenement on wheels. At this rate, it should be good for another decade. Please.

Here’s to day 1,595 . . .

Monet, the office assistant.