Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for you!

Sending warm thoughts of delicious food, blessed fellowship, and grateful thoughts.

Peace and grace.


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Rubber Stamping Fun in Seattle

Total card count: 83

23 recycled cards. Yes, I do recycle cards people give back to me! It’s like greeting and hanging out with old friends.

1 towel tag card (see cat wearing a chef’s hat). ANYTHING can be an inspiration and become a greeting card.

15 cards for my celebrant/funeral home working honey.

I was loving the bears! Happy birthday cards and bear hug cards. Two thumbs up.

Also. Loved my trucks. And the trees. And the time I spent with my stamping buddy (waves, Hi, Alyson!) and her helpful kitties. Scroll to the bottom to meet our feline assistants.

Played with some new stamps.

Revisited the bears. And mushrooms. And trees.

Tried a monochromatic card for my honey. Alyson had the perfect stamps for this idea. Shared resources doubles (or triples) the fun, creativity, and card count.

Thanks for our stamping sleepover, Alyson, Daisy, Honey, and Jubilee! I keep finding kitty fur, though that could also be from my kitty, Monet.

What is one hobby you enjoy? How long have you been doing it? Maybe it’s a hobby I might enjoy!

Top left: Daisy giving me the buff-off after snuggling all night!

Top middle and right: Jubilee giving me the eye AND demanding attention and cessation of stamping for cuddles.

Bottom: Honey minding her own business and having a cat nap. Until I took her picture.


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Thwarting the Invaders (Garden Tails)

Just look at all of that corn, beans, and radishes!

Oh. Wait. You can’t see anything but a few stems and missing row of radishes. That’s because we have invaders. Of the rabbit-y sort. The ones who LOVE almost everything in my garden: corn, radishes, green beans, parsley, kale (they really adore kale), and another leafy green similar to chard. All gone.

Plus. Holes. They love excavating as well. I think they can smell the new corn kernel seeds I planted, because several holes line up exactly where I replanted (and replanted).

Ignore the weeds. I gave up in frustration.

We have bunnies (formerly known as pets). People have dumped them. So now between the neighbors and us, we have a colony. A fluffle. We are happy that most of them live beneath the neighbor’s outbuildings (while 4 live at Taylor and Jamie’s as actual pets). But the green pasture is alluring. And the used-to-be growing garden a delight.

Two black bunnies edge nearer to the the pot of gold at the end of the garden rainbow. Grrrrr.

So today. Take that. And that. And THAT!

We installed a bunny barrier. It’s not tall, but we only need to deter Peter Rabbit, Cottontail, Flopsy, Mopsy, Benjamin, and their buds from free ranging the garden beds. We hope.

The question is, besides onions, garlic, basil, several chocolate cherry sunflowers, a few green beans, and a marigold or two, what is there time to replant (time number 4 for some items) that will mature before the frost?

Sigh. It was looking so good! Grumble grumble. Back to the drawing board.


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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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Author Interview: The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup by Hunter Liguore (Plus #giveaway)

“A rumination on our interconnection with others” (Hunter Liguore)

The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup

Written by Hunter Liguore

Illustrated by Vikki Zhang

Yeehoo Press, 2021

It’s World Read Aloud Day! Here’s one picture book that will make your read aloud time scrumptious.

We all know how a grandmother can make the world go round. I’m a Nana, and I join with Nan as she cares for her loved ones by feeding them. Not only is this a delicious story, but The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup is filled cover to cover with delectable illustrations and tasty tidbits of all of the work involved in providing the ingredients and growing the soup. Lovely! Thanks so much to Kathy Temean, Hunter Liguore, Vikki Zhang, and Yeehoo Press for introducing me to The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup.

I’m glad you stopped by. Keep reading to meet Hunter Liguore and learn about her picture book, The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup. See the directions at the bottom of this post to find out how to get your name in the hat to win a copy.

***Coming soon: Swing back by to meet meet illustrator Vikki Zhang!

Now, let’s get to our interview with Hunter!

Welcome, Hunter! Congratulations on your new book! Tell us a little about The Whole World in Nan’s Soup.

The Whole World in Nan’s Soup is a rumination on our ability to recognize our interconnectedness with ‘all’ people. It is wisdom passed down many generations through my own gran, who understood that in order to eat a single meal, it takes the whole world to make it.

Our dinner table doesn’t end at the four corners, but is reciprocal; it extends to all those faceless helpers involved with making sure we’re nourished—and that’s a very beautiful thing! When we take the time—through slow-cooking—to see and talk about ‘all’ people in a bowl of soup, then we can begin to notice it in other areas of our life with the same care and unity.

The more we see our oneness, the more each meal—each bowl of soup—becomes a celebration, and our struggle with each other falls away, and the harmony we experience within will be reflected back.

I love how the interconnectedness plays out in this picture book. I have so many fond memories of eating meals prepared by my grandmothers and mother. Living in an agricultural valley, I see how much work it takes to feed families.

What was your inspiration for The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup?

The inspiration for The Whole World in Nan’s Soup comes from a careful rumination on reciprocity, or the understanding that the food we eat each day is made possible through the dignity of gentle workers. Reciprocity is more than an intellectual understanding of treating others with the same respect we wish for ourselves. It goes deeper and implies, ‘Who I am on the inside is the same as what is on the inside of others,’—and if that’s true, we can experience and discover for ourselves the delicate thread that connects all people.

When we meet others, we can do so with an awareness that their suffering is our suffering, felt and experienced the same way, and through empathy—through not wanting suffering for ourselves—we will not want it for another; thus, we will seek harmony and peace in all our words, actions, and relationships.

This was the foundation of the story, which can be practiced while making soup! As our understanding of reciprocity grows, so does our empathy. The circle of life expands, as we recognize we’re not able to live without those beautiful helpers, which we can now honor with our thankfulness, our kindness, our understanding, our patience, and most of all, our self-responsibility that discerns: we are the root of others’ suffering when we set aside our interconnection. We can always take time to recognize our interconnection with others. Even in a bowl of soup!

Beautiful!

What was your journey for this book?

A very gentle one.

I love hearing that!

How did you celebrate the book birthday of THE WHOLE WORLD INSIDE NAN’S SOUP when it came out August 2021?

Making soup and sharing it with family and friends.

Perfect!

I love the heart in THE WHOLE WORLD INSIDE NAN’S SOUP. The family relationships and the connections between ingredients and their sources is fascinating. It takes making soup to a deeper level. How do imagination and your childhood experiences impact your creativity as you work on picture books?

For me, writing evolves from our wholeness with our self/others/world, a harmonized unity or intuition. It is a way of life, a practice that is occurring in each delicate moment, a sacred unfolding, one where I’m given an opportunity to bring gentle love, unity, cooperation, and perfection into my craft and art, creating for the sake of creating, while being in tune with the greater whole.

Creativity is such a gift.

What are you working on now?

A vision of our future that includes a human traffic free food chain through a farm-certification program similar to Fair Trade or organic.

That sounds fascinating!

What tip would you give to a new picture book author or illustrator?

To all writers/creatives, trust yourself. Writing will only ever be about how much someone is willing to trust their vision. We are inventor of worlds, with words, it’s an art entrusted to the one who perseveres even in doubt, even when nothing makes sense, in order to realize the creative vision as a reality—and that takes trust! It takes belief that uncertainty isn’t difficulty, but an opportunity to shape the creative fire.

Thank you for the encouragement!

Surprise us! What else would you like to share?

The Whole World in Nan’s Soup is a celebration of our interconnection to our world, so I encourage readers to find ways to celebrate life, food, family/friends, our ancestors and relationships, our Earth and the wild ones dwelling in partnership with us; our meals, our dinner table, gentle cooking without harm; celebrate our farms and the food stores you patron, and the people you meet there, who are caring for you. Plant flowers and watch the cycle of this infinite celebration of love and life. Be attentive and you’ll see how connected we truly are. Even in difficulty, we can find small ways to celebrate and contribute to the joy in the world.

Thank you, Hunter, for sharing from your heart. Thank you for visiting today and for creating this beautiful picture book!

Ready to find out how to get your name in the hat to win a copy of The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup (US only)? A winner will be randomly chosen in one week on Wednesday, February 9.

1. Like and comment on this blog post. Please make sure I have your email address so I can notify you if you win. Example: bookwinner (at) yahoo (dot) com

2. Follow this blog and tell me how you follow. Please make sure I have your email address so I can notify you if you win.

Links:

To book on Yeehoo Press: https://www.yeehoopress.com/books/the-whole-world-inside-nans-soup/

Twitter: @skytale_writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WarriorsWanted/

Website: www.hunterliguore.org

About me: Hunter Liguore is a gentle advocate for living in harmony with the natural world and with one another. An award-winning author, professor, and historian, her writing has appeared internationally in magazines like Spirituality & HealthIrish PagesOrion, and more. When not making soup, she is often roaming old ruins, hillsides, and cemeteries. To learn more, visit: hunterliguore.org or @skytale_writer.


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Required Number of Fleece Blankets for RV in Winter? (Also Haiku Moment: fleeced)

People.

RV life in the winter, particularly in a four-season location (like the Pacific Northwest, east of the Cascades), is not a piece of cake. Nor is it for the faint of heart.

I should have opened with a question mark and let you guess first. How many fleece blankets do you think a person would need to adequately block window drafts against winter chills? In January. While living in an RV? And all-season RV. At least that’s what it says on the side.

Nine. We require an assortment of 9 lap throw-sized fleece blankets to tuck along the cracks of all window openings to block drafts. Is this a pain? Yes. Do I despair? Yes. Murmur? Unfortunately. Yes.

But we are warm! The draft-blockers do their job. So well, in fact, that on super chilly mornings, they block the heat to portions of the curtains and the curtains freeze to the windows. Don’t worry! It eventually melts and we wipe away the beaded rivers streaming down into the window tracks.

Extra tasks are required for RV life in the winter. There is a longer daily chore list. But we keep warm. Our tricks of the trade keep us nice and toasty, despite ice, fog, snow, sleet, wind, rain, and sub-freezing temps. How about you? Any winter RV tricks you’d like to share with a couple of RV popsicles?

A Haiku Moment for you:

fleeced

winter’s chills gobble

heat, invite mr. frost in

9-fleece kicks him out

fleeced by Angie Quantrell

Yakima Valley


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you, family and friends. Sending extra special wishes and prayers for love, joy, and peace. And if you are missing a loved one and having a tough holiday season, may the comfort of the Lord surround you and your family.

Joy and peace.


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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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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!