Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Gingerbread and Pillowcases

Not much was the same in 2020.

We became creative, inventive, technologically gifted, resourceful-all in the effort to live life and connect with fellow humans. Plans were ditched or tossed aside, trips canceled, 35th anniversary trips to magical locations did not occur. Birthday parties became drive-by’s. Travel screeched to a standstill as nature locations filled to overflowing with folks desperate to get outside. To get OUT. Childcare and transfer between shared-custody parents became fraught with contact points and who was sick and who was with whom when they got sick. Schooling reached new heights of teamwork between parents, teachers, and Nana’s. Vocabulary increased to include 2020-specific words like virtual learning, hybrid learning, Google Classroom, Zoom, Loom, Chrome Book, internet capabilities, mute yourself. DIY projects blossomed and not once was Lowe’s closed. I suspect they, and other home improvement stores, had a banner year of profits due to the frenzy of home projects. That, along with shortages of flour, yeast, sugar, and toilet paper gave insight to what most of us were doing. Staying home, fixing up, and baking.

The traditions were the hardest to “fix.” Outdoor gatherings, socially distant of course, and much fuss over wearing masks (cute, cotton, and washable) has become so normal, I fear for our social skills and facial expressions once the pandemic settles down.

And then Christmas. How to do gingerbread houses? Carefully. In a huge area. With only healthy grands.

And Christmas gifts? Christmas pillowcases became my idea of the year. Totally reusable gift bags, tied with jump ropes. Open your gifts, put your gift bag, er, pillowcase, on your pillow for a good, snowy night’s sleep. Why didn’t I think of this before? Sure, sewing them on Christmas Eve Day is not advisable, but it did allow me to work my way through several Hallmark Christmas Movies as I cut, pinned, sewed, and ironed. And I’ve already purchased my fabric for next year to avoid the same rush. (We might check back on that one, because having purchased fabric is not the same as having sewn the pillowcases. . ..)

Gingerbread cookies were baked yesterday. December 30. They taste just as good, no matter the date, especially plain, with coffee.

Are things looking up for 2021? I certainly hope so. But even if the recovery is slow, I know we can do it. We’ve had all of 2020 to figure out how to make things work. Like in the days of the Depression, our ancestors made do, made it work, or made do without it. We are ready.

May the Lord go before us, bless us, and keep us as we journey into the new year! See you next year!


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Pumpkin Patch 2020

In the year 2020, everything changed. Yes, we all know this.

Each year, I’ve planned a pumpkin patch outing with my grands. This year, we were lucky to find one (a pumpkin patch, not a grand). And this year, I had separate trips with the two families, mostly due to scheduling, but also . . . 2020.

The Quantrells went with me on a very rainy day to Washington Fruit and Gift Shop at Barrett Orchards. We’ve used Barrett’s displays as backdrops and adventures before, but never on such a wet outing. We were the ONLY people outside and inside other than employees. Though adults and children alike were damp and dripping, pumpkins were chosen and lovingly carried home for fall fun. Papa broke my rule (see below) and carried out Donavyn’s huge pumpkin.

The Aucutts went with me to Dagdagan’s Fruit and Vegetable Stand, where the owners conveniently displayed a mini straw bale maze filled with piles of pumpkins. We were the only ones in it for most of the time and need only don our masks to go inside to pay for the chosen orbs. I might say, the older they get (the grands) the larger the pumpkins they choose. My rule: you have to be able to carry it. That sort of helps me out.

Both Hayden and Donavyn (oldest child in their respective families) chose close to 30-pound pumpkins. An oldest thing? A boy thing? Who knows. Autumn, the youngest, chose three mini pumpkins, caring for them as a mother would her young children (or stuffed animals). Gage chose traditionally and Khloe went with a white pumpkin, though she also leaned towards a larger choice.

Happy Fall to all!


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Gratitude for this Fantastic Way to Kick Off the New Year: 12 x 12 Challenge Scholarship Winner!

12x12 Challenge

Happy New Year to me and my fellow winners of the diversity and financial need scholarships for the 2020 12 x 12 Writing Challenge. Yay! Follow the link below to read more about the scholarship and the thankful recipients.

12 x 12 2020 Scholarship Winners

I’ve been steadily working on picture book manuscripts, but sometimes feel like I’m spinning wheels. The 12 x 12 Writing Challenge is the perfect way to jump start my new year of writing and help me focus on writing, editing, and polishing picture book manuscripts.

The main goal of 12 x 12 is that participants complete the year with at 12 picture book manuscripts/drafts. This is accomplished through videos, expert advice, writing exercises, inspiration, and online critiques by 12 x 12 members-a comprehensive endeavor by kidlit writers. At least, that’s what I believe to be true about 12 x 12, since this will be my first year to join. In reality, I know my experience will be much, much more.

Much thanks and gratitude for this awesome opportunity goes to Julie Hedlund and the entire 12 x 12 community who generously donated to give scholarships to other writers. THAT is what the kidlit community is all about-supporting and helping other writers. I love it!

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Cheesy happy grin from a writer who is very grateful and excited!


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Happy 2020!

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Happy New Year, friends!
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We’ve decided to make hiking the Cowiche Canyon an annual event. We hiked it last January 1st and made a return trip today. It’s becoming very popular!
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May the Lord bless you and your family in this new year of a new decade.
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I might be slow, but I finally figured out why all the New Year’s Eve parties were 20s themed. May your 2020 be filled with roaring good fun and great health!
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