Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,339

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Creating fairy gardens

People.

This experimental RV living situation is really hanging on. At (approximately) day 1,339 of tiny living, far longer than we expected, life revolves around creativity, tiny-ness, storage woes, lost or in storage items, and a general lack of wardrobe.

For instance, last weekend we rearranged the furniture.

Don’t get excited. That only means we moved a rug, the cat tree, our box (end table), the couch, and chair. Those are basically the ONLY things that can be moved. Though Donavyn came in to see and suggested we move the stove over there and the table over there…(they are all built-ins). He was trying!

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The cat is discombobulated by the move. She is not comfortable. Her cat tree is not by daddy’s chair. She can’t figure out where to sleep. The scratching options have moved. But she does love being the in the slide and having 3 open windows at her beck and call.

The grands appreciate the long line of seating. Enough that the both boys fell asleep, tangled on the couch.

I love the evenings sitting on the one end of the couch in the slide, windows open, listening to the fountain right outside dripping and splashing. TV is off, book in hand. It’s quite like camping in the forest, but for the sounds of distant civilization.

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Hmmm. One of my computer keys is making a squeaking noise. That is not normal. Nor is it good.

We have baby goats next door! 4 adorable smaller-than-my-cat stiff-legged bundles of energy and cuteness.

Our neighbors pass on cool items. We take advantage!

Our medicine cabinet is a gallon ziplock bag.

The parking shelter is perfect for outdoor homeschool activities, especially those involving water and/or messes.

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The pasture. Swimming, biking, ball games, gardening, wildlife, throwing innumerable balls for the dog. That’s all summer (but winter? Sledding rules.).

We have nesting fly catchers! I’m excited about this. FLY catchers. Just imagine how many the mommy and daddy will catch for their hungry babies. Two adult males in my immediate vicinity can only imagine the bird droppings all over. Where is their sense of nature and adventure?
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The cat has been warned off of fly catchers, finches, and quail. She does not listen, but one can hope.

The hawks are nesting. I can hear them peeping and calling to each other. Soon it will be time for them to teach the young ones to fly. And then hunt.

The rabbits who nibbled off most of my spring flowers have moved on. We HOPE. (As opposed to ‘became someone’s lunch’). One wonders how 7 fluffy bunnies suddenly went missing.

Despite it being day (approximately) 1,339 of bumps and bruises from forgetting to look where one moves (we should learn, one would think), life is good in our RV tiny home.

As you can tell, we spent most of our time outdoors. The patio has become our evening resting place, sitting in camp chairs, watching the wildlife antics, calling the cat down from not-our-property, laughing at quail fighting over each other.

Here’s to day (approximately) 1,340.

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Haiku Moment: colors

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hues, tones, leap and glow;

party, dazzle, eye candy

thanks to God-colors!

 

colors by Angie Quantrell

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To make these jewel tones, I used gel paste food colors, apple cider vinegar, and warm water.

1. Add several T. of apple cider vinegar to clear cups.

2. Use the handle end of a spoon to dip gel paste and put it in the vinegar. I didn’t mix my spoons or dyes, but used a separate spoon for each color. I was also very generous with the amount of dye I used. I think this led to some beautiful fingers.

3. Add enough warm water to fill cups 2/3 full. Stir each color until the paste is dissolved.

4. Dye eggs!

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Haiku Moment: gnarled

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grizzled and gnarled,

you lichened, weathered, old man;

desert strong sagebrush

 

gnarled by Angie Quantrell

Cowiche Canyon, Yakima Valley, Washington State


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Cowiche Canyon Hike

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It’s official. This writer/editor/crafter/Nana is a bit out of shape. At least for what my phone termed as 55 flights of stairs.

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Our afternoon hike yesterday on the Cowiche Canyon hike was gorgeous. Pretty nice on the way across the uplands and down the steep hill to the canyon floor. Pretty sweaty and filled with loud gasps and burning muscles on the way back up and over.

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But a good time was had by all two of us.

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We started on Summitview Extension, parking in the last available spot. It is a small lot, really a parking pad. Then up, over, and through the sagebrush and blooming spring flowers we went.

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Yes! There were so many desert flowers blooming-purple, yellow, white, chartreuse. Because we had lovely, sunny weather, the lighting was quite overpowering for taking photos, but try I did.

We followed the Summitview Trail. Since the trail loops and swirls all over, it’s possible to wander for hours. We decided to hook left on the Radio Flyer Trail. This really does wind through the sagebrush but leads all the way down to the Cowiche Canyon floor by way of the Lone Pine Trail. Do note, the trailhead at the bottom headed up the hill looks deceptively simple. That’s where we managed to rack up flights of stairs. I wore regular tennis shoes, but hiking boots would have given me more traction in the slippery dirt and ankle-twisting rocks. (I avoided the rocks, but did slip a few times.)

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Our hike was over 3 miles and took us about an hour and 20 minutes to complete. I’ll say it’s because I stopped often to take pictures. But I also stopped often on the way up the hill to breathe.

We even had an “attempted” Sasquatch sighting! Oh, the silly things one does to have fun.

The Cowiche Canyon is a great location for exploring close to home (Yakima Valley). Once we were up over the hill of Summitview Extension, traffic noise disappeared and we could hear only ourselves and the occasional fellow hiker. NOW is a great time to visit. Mud was not an issue at all, wildflowers are blooming, rattlesnakes are sleeping, and heat and ticks are not yet an issue.

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Go. Now. Just please. If you are a dog owner, clean up the poop.


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The 5th Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest!!!

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CURIOSITY THRILLED THE CAT (214 words)

 

The most mysterious gift Pink received for Valentine’s Day was a shiny, heart-covered box.

But saving the best for last, Pink first snooped through the house, using her feline nose, super whiskers, and strong kitty body to locate other special day treats.

What’s in the bag? thought Pink.

Lick,

sniff,

snort.

“Meooowww, I smell kitty snacks.”

 

What’s under the bed? thought Pink.

Creep,

grab,

drag.

“Yow-wlll! I want that catnip mouse.”

 

What’s on the table? thought Pink.

Leap,

twist,

bump.

“Grrrrrr, I don’t like dog bones.”

 

What’s hanging over the chair? thought Pink.

Stretch,

jump,

hook!

“Roooaaarrr! Give me that yarn!”

 

What’s through the cat door? thought Pink.

Race,

run,

skid.

“Pffttt. Go ahead, fly away flutter-by.”

 

Pink sat in the lovely sunshine, pausing to groom her soft fur. Stretching, she dug her claws into the door frame, a forbidden treat. But only if she got caught.

“Pink!” growled Mama Mauve. “Stop sharpening your claws.”

Putting on her best innocent face, Pink strolled back through the cat door.

 

There sat the most mysterious, shiny, heart-covered box Pink had ever seen.

And it was all hers.

 

What’s in my beautiful box? thought Pink.

Dig,

claw,

rip.

“Mmmmm. A furry, fluffy, fantastic pink blanket for me!”

 

Time for a catnap thought Pink.

Scrunch,

scrabble,

curl.

Purrr-fect!


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Pasture Pets

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The pets we have. Let’s call them pasture pets.

Foo-Foo. Not technically our rabbit. Though I have recently informed my honey that this is my rabbit. Not rabbit soup. (No guarantees for others in the bunny market, as it were…coyotes, hawks, eagles, and other larger predators who roam freely. Like the playground cougar sighting at the school where 3 of my grands attend.)

Poor bunny Foo-Foo. Someone released him. Or he escaped. He is quite the digger, as evidenced by the ditch beneath our Mabel Gate. Or she. I feel like it is a he though.

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Charcoal. Again, not our pet. I can’t even claim him, because he really belongs to the neighbors on the east side of the pasture. They would know if we adopted this funny guy. Also thought he was a she and hoped for a random egg now and then. But she began crowing all hours of the day. This daily visitor will either help our garden grow (by eating pests and fertilizing) or keep it from growing (by nibbling greens and digging up tender shoots). Either way, not our chicken.

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Speaking of…just as I was finishing this post, who trots in from the pasture with a fresh snack?

Monet. This one is really our pet. She adores pasture life and voraciously hunts other pasture pets of the rodent and avian varieties. By our pet, I mean she sleeps in at night (to avoid cat/dog/coyote fights in the wee hours), we feed her on a regular basis, and pay her worming and vet bills. We used to have her twin sister, Mabel, until a pack of dogs decided she was snack worthy. Those dogs were definitely NOT our pets. And they are the reason we now have a Mabel Gate.

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Ginger. Not our pet. Though we are doggy grandparents. She loves visiting us in the pasture. More for chasing the ball and occasional cat (Monet) or jumping in the ditch filled with mud and water. But still. If we would let her, she would visit inside the RV. What fun that would be! So. Though she is not our pet, technically, we have adopted her as a family member. Neighbor. Just over the fence.

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Other “not our pets” include (but not restricted to) hawks, eagles, coyotes, skunks, goats, ducks, quail, geese, voles, mice, rats, woodpeckers, blue jays, magpies, doves, cats, dogs, frogs, snakes, water rats (I really don’t know what they are…but they are big and swim in the irrigation ditch), crows, worms, slugs, song birds, and lots and lots of insects.

Need a trip to the pasture zoo? Come spring, we will be open for business. I mean, the hibernators will be out and about, the frozen will thaw, eggs and litters will hatch, and who knows what else will spring to life. Bring a lawn chair and a camera. We’ll treat you to the habitats and adventures of Pasture Pets.

Our human pasture guests. (not pets)

 

 

 


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Butterfly & Five Little Children at the Zoo by Elvy P. Rolle: Multicultural Children’s Book Day #MCBD #ReadYourWorld

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Butterfly and Five Little Children at the Zoo are two books I was gifted to review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day (#MCBD). Thank you, Elvy P. Rolle, for sharing your books with me!

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Butterfly

Written by Elvy P. Rolle

Illustrated by Maksym Stasiuk

Nature’s Pages, 2nd Edition, 2016

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Butterfly is a beautifully illustrated picture book about butterflies. Geared towards young readers, the simple text shares the movement and exploration of butterflies and the enjoyment of boys and girls as they interact with these flowers of nature.

What I Like About This Book:

~ the simple text and poetic form

~ the wonder of butterflies enjoyed by children of many cultures

~ the nature focus

~ the “Find the Butterflies” page

~ the butterfly glossary

~ the hidden butterfly found on each page

~ the peaceful, quiet, beautiful book

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Five Little Children at the Zoo

Written by Elvy P. Rolle

Illustrated by Max Stasuyk

Aspect Books, 2016

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Five Little Children at the Zoo is the tale of an adult taking five young children for a walk through the zoo. One by one, counting down from five, each child stays with a specific animal. And then, one by one, counting back up to five, each child is gathered into the group. A happy day at the zoo is enjoyed by all.

What I Like About This Book:

~ any trip to the zoo is an adventure

~ fun rhyming words

~ counting down and counting up

~ animal sounds

~ colorful illustrations

~ lots of parent/guardian support and suggestions in the backmatter

 

Amazon Blurb:

It’s always a great day to visit the zoo! In this delightful counting book, your child will meet playful kangaroos, colorful peacocks, gentle doves, and inquisitive cows while learning number concepts. The book was inspired by author Elvy Rolle’s field trips to the zoo while she worked with preschool children as a speech-language pathologist. “As I observed the children, it occurred to me that an interactive book on this theme would be a fun way for them to revisit the zoo,” she says. “I hope that Five Little Children at the Zoo will inspire the imagination and creativity of young children, as well as enhance their oral language and early literacy connections, as they listen to and interact with the story.”

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2020 (1/31/20) is in its 7th year! This non-profit children’s literacy initiative was founded by Valarie Budayr and Mia Wenjen; two diverse book-loving moms who saw a need to shine the spotlight on all of the multicultural books and authors on the market while also working to get those book into the hands of young readers and educators.

Seven years in, MCBD’s mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves continues.

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MCBD 2020  is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board

 Super Platinum

Make A Way Media/ Deirdre “DeeDee” Cummings,

Platinum

Language Lizard, Pack-N-Go Girls,

Gold

Audrey Press, Lerner Publishing Group, KidLit TV, ABDO BOOKS : A Family of Educational Publishers, PragmaticMom & Sumo Jo, Candlewick Press,

Silver

Author Charlotte Riggle, Capstone Publishing, Guba Publishing, Melissa Munro Boyd & B is for Breathe,

Bronze

Author Carole P. Roman, Snowflake Stories/Jill Barletti, Vivian Kirkfield & Making Their Voices Heard. Barnes Brothers Books,  TimTimTom, Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books,  Charlesbridge Publishing, Barefoot Books Talegari Tales

Author Sponsor Link Cloud

Jerry Craft, A.R. Bey and Adventures in Boogieland, Eugina Chu & Brandon goes to Beijing, Kenneth Braswell & Fathers Incorporated, Maritza M. Mejia & Luz del mes_Mejia, Kathleen Burkinshaw & The Last Cherry Blossom, SISSY GOES TINY by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard, Josh Funk and HOW TO CODE A ROLLERCOASTER, Maya/Neel Adventures with Culture GrooveLauren Ranalli, The Little Green Monster: Cancer Magic! By Dr. Sharon Chappell, Phe Lang and Me On The Page, Afsaneh Moradian and Jamie is Jamie, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, TUMBLE CREEK PRESS, Nancy Tupper Ling, Author Gwen Jackson, Angeliki Pedersen & The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 by Mia Wenjen, Susan Schaefer Bernardo & Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher (Founders of Inner Flower Child Books), Ann Morris & Do It Again!/¡Otra Vez!, Janet Balletta and Mermaids on a Mission to Save the Ocean, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo & Bruna Bailando por el Mundo\ Dancing Around the World, Shoumi Sen & From The Toddler Diaries, Sarah Jamila Stevenson, Tonya Duncan and the Sophie Washington Book Series, Teresa Robeson  & The Queen of Physics, Nadishka Aloysius and Roo The Little Red TukTuk, Girlfriends Book Club Baltimore & Stories by the Girlfriends Book Club, Finding My Way Books, Diana Huang & Intrepids, Five Enchanted Mermaids, Elizabeth Godley and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle, Anna Olswanger and Greenhorn, Danielle Wallace & My Big Brother Troy, Jocelyn Francisco and Little Yellow Jeepney, Mariana Llanos & Kutu, the Tiny Inca Princess/La Ñusta Diminuta, Sara Arnold & The Big Buna Bash, Roddie Simmons & Race 2 Rio, DuEwa Frazier & Alice’s Musical Debut, Veronica Appleton & the Journey to Appleville book series  Green Kids Club, Inc.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Afsaneh Moradian, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Bethany Edward & Biracial Bookworms, Michelle Goetzl & Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Educators Spin on it, Shauna Hibbitts-creator of eNannylink, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joel Leonidas & Descendant of Poseidon Reads {Philippines}, Imagination Soup, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Serge Smagarinsky {Australia}, Shoumi Sen, Jennifer Brunk & Spanish Playground, Katie Meadows and Youth Lit Reviews

FREE RESOURCES from Multicultural Children’s Book Day

TWITTER PARTY! Register here!

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Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.


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Book Birthday: Saving the Countryside, The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Elovitz Marshall

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Saving the Countryside, The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit

Written by Linda Elovitz Marshall

Pictures by Ilaria Urbinati

Little Bee Books; January 28, 2020

 

Happy Book Birthday to Saving the Countryside, The Story of Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit by Linda Elovitz Marshall!

Thanks to Little Bee Books for sending me a review copy.

Friends, this book is gorgeous! Being a bit of a Beatrix Potter fan, England fan, and general nature and caring for the planet fan, this book hits the trifecta for matching all three interests.

Well written, beautifully illustrated, and chock full of Beatrix Potter, I recommend grabbing yourself a copy.

Why I Love This Book:

~ Well written and interesting

~ Gorgeous and colorful illustrations

~ I learned so much about Beatrix and England and Peter Rabbit-perfect!

~ The backmatter fills in additional information

~ The setting, the history, and the tone of the times were spot on

~ Great read! This is a book I will reread over and over. It’s like a little trip to England without leaving my RV.

~ Gardens. I adore gardens. English gardens. Just ask my husband and son, who were in trouble more often than not when they tried to “tidy up” the edges of my flower beds.

Congratulations to Linda Elovitz Marshall, Ilaria Urbinati, and Little Bee Books for a job well done!

Amazon Blurb:

“Fans of Beatrix Potter will delight in this tribute to her dedication and talent, encapsulating a legacy that reaches far beyond the pages of her beloved books.”-Foreword Reviews in a STARRED REVIEW

“Empowering and fresh.”-School Library Journal

“The life of the British picture-book author and illustrator makes a serendipitous subject for an engaging and attractive picture book…A well-told tale that makes the life story of the renowned author accessible to children.”-Kirkus Reviews 

“Perhaps Peter Rabbit needs no introduction, but even children who know Beatrix Potter’s name probably know little about her. This appealing picture book fills that gap…. Recommended for young Beatrix Potter fans.”-Booklist

“In forthright language, this picture book biography recounts her boundary-breaking life as she grows from a nature-loving child with a menagerie of pets…into a successful artist and canny entrepreneur. An attractive introduction to an iconic creator.”-Publisher’s Weekly

“An exceptionally accurate portrait of Beatrix Potter told with humor and surprise. Beautifully done.” Linda Lear, author of Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature

Through she’s universally known as the creator of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter did so much more. This is the true story about how she helped save the English countryside!

Growing up in London, Beatrix Potter felt the restraints of Victorian times. Girls didn’t go to school and weren’t expected to work. But she longed to do something important, something that truly mattered. As Beatrix spent her summers in the country and found inspiration in nature, it was through this passion that her creativity flourished.

There, she crafted The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She would eventually move to the countryside full-time, but developers sought to change the land. To save it, Beatrix used the money from the success of her books and bought acres and acres of land and farms to prevent the development of the countryside that both she and Peter Rabbit so cherished. Because of her efforts, it’s been preserved just as she left it.

This beautiful picture book shines a light on Beatrix Potter’s lesser-known history and her desire to do something for the greater good.