Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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It’s Not Just Rubber Stamping

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We LOVE getting together to play with our toys. Some call it making messes, but we call it fun. And you can’t create and make rubber stamped cards without the creative process, and that means messes are made. Also mistakes, but we use mistakes as opportunities to be even more creative with our oops.

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It’s not just rubber stamping.

It’s crafting

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chatting

applying (or ignoring) theories of art composition

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using our imaginations

sipping tea (or coffee or a special dessert drink)

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solving world problems

singing the oldies, sometimes badly and off-tune (me, always with the wrong lyrics)

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sharing life

telling stories

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listening to music

keeping cats off the table

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playing games

getting older

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sharing resources

enjoying fine literature (or just literature on a CD)

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making goals

going for walks

9A774B91-B6DC-4B24-8213-EAC0DD08F0DEbuilding from each other’s ideas

paving the way to send snail mail messages to friends and family

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making gifts to share

eating too much

0DA4FC29-EC44-49F3-A78E-BBE8624C9BC8recycling (saving rubber stamps from the landfills and reusing paper and craft items down to the tiniest scraps)

storing memories (and collectively attempting to recall long ago events)

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visiting friends

and building love.

 

Completed card totals for this trip: 76

Friends involved in this weekend: 7


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Welcome, November!

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I love November.

The scary stuff is gone. Pumpkins still hang out. Leaves whirl down and crunch underfoot. Nights and early mornings crisp any remaining plant life to bed. Birds flock and insects tuck in for the winter. November is perfect.

Also, let’s not forget Thanksgiving. When we lived in a house (bigger than the RV), I loved hosting Thanksgiving dinners. The good smells, tastes, and fun made the work all worthwhile. And after dinner, our traditional putting up and decorating a tree and watching a Christmas movie.

Notice I said “a” tree. Since I am a lover of Christmas trees, we usually had at least one in each room. Thanksgiving evening was just the harbinger of festivities in decor and traditional pastimes to follow.

AND November is my birthday. I’ve always had a fondness for my birthday month. So much fun anticipating not just my birthday, but also Thanksgiving with Christmas gaily tromping on its heels.

Apple crisp, pumpkin pie, juicy turkey, stuffed squash, toasty hot drinks. I guess I think and remember with my stomach. The nip in the air gives way to red noses and tingling fingertips. And if it’s to be perfect, the first snow falls. Just enough to whet my whistle.

November is also a time for me to focus on gratitude. Not only Thanksgiving Day, but each day of the month, I like to consider and remember the things for which I am thankful. God has been so good to me and my family. Giving thanks and naming the many blessings is the least I can do to honor Him.

Today, I am thankful for:

God and His provisions, my honey, my family, my veteran (our son), my RV (no matter how tiny), fall in all its glory, pumpkins, food, my health, friends, chocolate, our hunter kitty who keeps the fields free of tasty kitty morsels (mice and voles), warm clothes, music, and trees.

Which is your favorite month? How will you celebrate in November?

Blessings to you and your family.

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Smashing Pumpkins (2nd Annual)

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The pumpkins were frozen solid, as was our turkey, on Thanksgiving Day. This made for an invigorating hunt for fresh turkey to cook for the main event. It also made for challenging smashing of the pumpkins.

Overall, smashing pumpkins this year was a bust. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Only 2 large carving pumpkins were hollow enough to smash when tossed. One rotten butternut succumbed to smashing by foot. All other squash, regardless of variety, bounced upon re-entry to gravity-meets-earth. Add to this recipe of disappointment, drenching buckets of rain descended on this, the 2nd Annual Smashing Pumpkins event. Rain and icy cold temperatures. Bah-humbug.

Still, there is hope. The next warm day (will there be one before spring?), more attempts will be made to roll, toss, and smash the pumpkin stash. In hopes that next summer, the pumpkin fairy will deliver bounties of new beauties.

Until next Thanksgiving Day, have a wonderful winter, dreaming of sugar pie pumpkins and dancing jack-รด-lanterns.

Toasty warm wishes to you!

 


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Disneyland: 10 Tips for Surviving Your Vacation While Experiencing Menopause

Reblogged from my old blog at AngieQuantrell.blogspot.com on October 8, 2014.

Yes. It’s true. Menopause does change your outlook on life, at least temporarily. I didn’t know how much until we took a recent trip to Disneyland. It was my only trip to the Big D while enjoying the side effects of the Big M – menopause.

Mostly, the heat made it miserable for me (and thereby, my hubby). Shade and AC were my favorite attractions this go-round. Here are some tips that helped me stay sane while experiencing the magic of Disney while hormonally unbalanced.

1. SHADE. I’ve already mentioned this. Shade is your friend. Your very best friend, next to AC. Find it and stand there. Seek seats in shady areas to recoup or wait for parades. Take an umbrella if necessary to make your own shade. Shade is found in all sorts of lovely shops, restaurants, attractions, and natural settings. Seek and find.

2. AC. Air conditioning should be first, as I LOVE AC. Some of the best places to find AC? Again – shops, restaurants (indoor), and attractions. Pirates quickly became a favorite ride due to the blasts of cool air propelling from the doors, as well as the approximately 15 minutes worth of sit-down-in-AC-time while on the actual ride. Find those indoor rides and patronize them. We were also rejuvenated by lolling about in our hotel room, complete with beautiful AC.

3. Go NAKED. NOT really! But do wear thin, cotton clothing. I wanted to wear sleeveless tops, but my little backpack then chaffed my upper arms. Plus, short sleeves protect your shoulders from sunburn. Thin clothes do the trick. Cotton absorbs sweat and dries from sweat relatively fast. I lived in shorts and thin shirts.

4. Eat SMALL. Huge meals made me have more hot flashes, in addition to the multiple (and I mean MULTIPLE) hot flashes I had due to change in temperatures from the northwest and the heat spell found in Orange County. Small meals and snacks made it easier to deal with the constant dripping sweat resulting from hot flashes (hereafter to be called HF). Relief, if there is such a thing, comes in lack of heavy clothing.

5. NUTS. This is perhaps one of my favorite discoveries. Buy nut pack cases from Costco. Carry around a few packages. Eat them as a snack or a meal. The protein and extra salt helped replace what I was licking off of my upper lip and wiping off of my sweaty brow.

6. Alternate. Enjoy an indoor attraction or event. Then head out for a sunny ride. Go back inside to shop. Stand in line for an outdoor show. Etc. Etc. Give your body a chance to reset.

7. Embrace the COFFEE BREAK. This is another favorite that we just discovered this trip. Take a coffee break. Every day. You don’t have to drink coffee. Now that Starbucks is on both Main Street (inside the park) and Downtown Disney (outside the park), the opportunities are plentiful. We hit the Main Street store each morning, staked out an in-the-shade table, and drank iced green or passion tea. Plus we added a snack – a nut pack or pastry. I needed the shade break and cool drink. My honey needed the food. Perfect win-win situation.

(HINT: You cannot reload your Starbucks card while inside Disneyland. If you are planning on collecting stars, load at home, load at Downtown Disney, or set your card to automatic reload).


8. FLOAT a BOAT. Drink enough water to literally float a boat. I drenched my clothing continually all day with sweat. Really, it was disgusting. So I had to drink, drink, and drink some more. Not just plain water. What was really refreshing was sparkling water. We stocked up at home, brought a few cases with us, and kept it cool in the hotel fridge. Ahhhh. The pause that refreshes.

9. Get a FAN. I could not have survived at all without my hand fan. It’s just a cheap little paper fan with wood slats. But it folds up so I could put it in my backpack or pocket and take it out as needed. It was in use most of the time, providing a breeze where none was to be found. Disneyland does have those cool battery driven fans that spritz water out as they spin. They cost $18. I was too cheap to buy one. Instead, stand beside some kids who are holding one. They don’t pay attention and will accidentally spray you. I spent some time next to a few youngsters while waiting for a show. They kept my legs cool (not that they knew it, but I felt it). Or buy a water fan in advance of your trip. Take it along.

10. Be REALISTIC. I thought I was still 25 and not experiencing hormonal surges and an excess of HF’s. We quickly learned. Slow down. Have fun. Get a 5 Day Pass. You will have plenty of time to see everything. EVERYTHING.

I can’t wait to make a return trip. Go Disney!


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Toddler Tuesday: Pumpkin Spice Play Dough

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Fall and pumpkin season are my absolute favorites! So the other day when I had the urge to provide a fun activity for my two youngest grands (2 and 3 years-old), it was time to knead up a batch of orange, pumpkin spice play dough. This recipe is my old standby, perfect for adapting to any season.

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Pumpkin Spice Play Dough

In a large heat-proof bowl, mix:

3 cups flour

1 cup salt

2 T. oil (baby oil is nice, but vegetable oil is fine, too)

1 T. powdered alum

1 T. pumpkin spice powder

Boil 3 cups of water. Before measuring boiling water, add orange food coloring to measuring cup. Add water. Quickly pour 3 cups boiling water over ingredients in bowl. Use a wooden spoon to stir until dough cools slightly.

Immediately dump dough onto table. It’s hot, but for best results, knead while hot. It will cool off fast enough. It may be sticky while hot, but will knead together nice and smooth. I sprinkled a little bit more of the pumpkin spice on the dough as I kneaded. It smelled so good!

As soon as the dough is well-mixed and cool enough to be safe for young hands, it’s time to play. I have a tub of different play dough tools and toys. I’m not exaggerating when I say my two toddlers were occupied for over 30 minutes. It would have been longer, but we had to leave to get big brother.

Store cooled play dough in a covered play dough container. I love the Costco cottage cheese containers best.

You’re welcome. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Fun Friday Cereal Necklace

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What craft can you make and eat at the same time?

Circle cereal necklaces!

Materials: yarn, tape, circle cereal, scissors

1. Cut a generous length of yarn that will fit easily over heads.

2. About 4 inches from end, thread and tie a piece of cereal in place to keep cereal loops from falling off the end. On the opposite end, form a needle by tightly wrapping tape around the yarn and cutting off the tip at an angle.

Tip: For really young crafters, I love to tape the end of the yarn to the table. This keeps the necklace from falling off the table and helps them know which end to use.

3. Fill a bowl with circle cereal loops. Show how to thread cereal on the necklace, pushing it down to the knotted cereal. Let crafters add as many cereal loops as they want. I always tell them they get to eat the broken ones!

4. Tie the ends together and trim off the ends. Ready to wear! Snack on the go.

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For older crafters, use colored cereal circles and challenge them to create a pattern as they make necklaces.

SAFETY: ALWAYS remove necklaces before sleeping or playing on playground equipment.

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Talk to Me Tuesday: Is RV Living Genetic?

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The Wheetley sisters had a weekend get-together a few weeks ago, hosted by my cousin and me. Ranging from 73 to 90, the four siblings are getting to the age where each trip just might be the last.

But persist, we did. Now I’m not going to mention age-related issues, but let’s just toss out a few things to consider if you are planning a cabin-in-the-woods adventure for the mature crowd.

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Steps. There will be steps. Unfortunately our cabin had NO handrails for the stairs climbing to the deck and front door. Gorgeous building, plenty of room, majestic pine trees, amusing chipmunks (squirrels? we could never decide) living in the roof of the cabin next door. But NO handrails.

The rule of thumb became: No one goes UP or DOWN the stairs unless Melissa or Angie is offering arm support (and perhaps humming the bridal march). I won’t mention names, but one of us did not follow the rules. And fell down the stairs. So there is that to consider.

Stubborn independence. We Wheetley’s are an independent lot. I think this character trait strengthens with age. Maybe even quadruples. Just be forewarned.

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Food. The two of us planned excellent meals, if I don’t say so myself. But we planned way TOO much. I went to the cabin with an ice chest full of food. I came home with an ice chest full of food. Not the same food, but most of the leftovers. I think smaller meals and lots of tasty snacks (zucchini bread, blueberries, fudge, fresh fruit, and cheese seemed to be the favorites). Keep that in mind. And always ALWAYS check the lid on new fresh pepper grinders before adding pepper to a pan of quiche that’s ready to go in the oven. Ah-hem.

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Hot tub. We enjoyed the in-deck hot tub surrounded by towering trees and blue skies. And neighbors going to and fro on the nearby road, but who’s worried about an audience? The STEPS rule came into play at the hot tub, with the added element of danger due to the slippery water. I’m convinced we could have videotaped us trying to maneuver all of us into and out of the water and won big money on American’s Funniest Home Videos. But the only one who fell in was Melissa, I mean, a younger person who was in charge of keeping everybody else safe.

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Games. Puzzles. Crafts. Oh, my! Surprisingly, these were not the hit. Socializing, grazing, and sipping before meal drinks were the favored activities. Three of us enjoyed working two puzzles. I colored in an adult coloring book (and later turned that paper into stamped cards, thank you very much). So I wouldn’t worry too much about planning extra activities. Family stories and funny incidents made up most of our adventure. And toting along a few chick flicks is a good idea. We enjoyed movies after dinner.

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Giggling. This will happen. At any time of day or night. And certain somebody’s might sneak into the sisters’ bed to warm up and giggle some more. Can we say adorable?

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We did make 2 short outings. One day we hit the thrift store and fudge shop, bringing back probably 2 million calories in a variety of fudgy flavors. A different day we took a drive to see the lake. No getting out, just a scenic tour.

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Where does the RV genetic link come in? My husband and I have been living in an RV two years this month. This is temporary (I hope) as we figure out the building a small home process, but still, we are living in an RV. During our many trips down memory lane, I realized that three of the four sisters spent at least two years living in RVs! Let me say that in no way have I ever wanted to live long-term in an RV, yet here I am. Genetically predisposed? Or environmentally influenced?

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Either way, I love my Wheetleys, whether it’s their fault I’m in the RV or not. Wink, wink. And we had a great time and made new memories.

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SURVEY TIME: Are there any other Wheetleys who live (or lived) in an RV? How about the Hill side of the family?

 


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A Tub Can Be . . . Creative Uses for Everyday Items

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Taylor and Chelsie enjoy a sticky treat while lounging in a plastic baby bathtub.

A tub can be . . .

Actually, a child’s plastic bathtub can be:

  • a snacking spot
  • a boat
  • a water table
  • a push car
  • a chair
  • a sink for washing
  • an actual bathtub
  • a container for small animals
  • a storage unit
  • a reading nook
  • a garden box
  • an art project
  • a doll bed
  • a watering tub (for animals or kids)
  • a pond
  • a fairy garden
  • a mud pie factory
  • sand box
  • a cat box (if one is not careful)

Taylor and Chelsie (circa @1992) are enjoying some good old sticky lollipops as they sit in the baby bathtub. It was no longer a bathtub at this point, but instead became the object of many imaginative games.

How about you? What other uses have you found for a plastic baby bathtub?


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H is For Haiku ~ Picture Book & KID KANDY

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H is For Haiku, A Treasury of Haiku From A to Z

By Sydell Rosenberg

Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi

(Penny Candy Books, 2018)

 

H is For Haiku is the lovely result of the imaginative, creative, and lyrical work of Sydell Rosenberg, mother of Amy Losak.

In honor of her mother, Amy Losak pursued the publication of her mother’s Haiku. Syd, one of the first members of the Haiku Society of America, dreamed of publishing a book for children focused on Haiku.

Haiku, a form of poetry, originated in Japan. Most readers recognize Haiku for the strict syllable count used for each of the three lines (most often 5-7-5) in a Haiku poem. Haiku is way to recognize the small things of nature and life-wonderful, amazing, poetic, and awe-inspiring.

“What’s most important about writing haiku is to focus on those many small moments we may overlook and make them special.” -Amy Losak

Beautifully illustrated, H is For Haiku brought a smile to my face with every new alphabet letter and corresponding Haiku. I enjoyed clever phrases, rich language, and observations of the natural life around us.

Well done, Sydell Rosenberg! Great job, Sawsan Chalabi! Amy Losak, I’m so glad you stuck with it and had H is For Haiku published. This book is a gift for us, if we but take the time to read and ponder.

KID KANDY:

Write Your Own Haiku Poem

1. Read H is for Haiku. Notice the clever words and illustrations. Both help tell the story of the Haiku.

2. Take a notepad and pencil outside. Spend time observing the nature around you. Focus on the small things you see. As you look, write down words that come to your mind. A parent or older sibling can help with this part.

3. Do you know what a syllable is? Clap your name. For me, I clap twice: An gie. 2 syllables. Practice with some other words.

4. Haiku is a poem with 3 lines. Each line has a certain syllable count: 5-7-5

5. Some people are not very strict with keeping the exact syllable counts, but it’s good practice as you learn the format for a Haiku poem.

6. Choose something you observed to be the subject of your Haiku. What do you want to say? Write down the words you want to use. Play with the words. Count out syllables. You can write ANYTHING you want in your Haiku poem.

7. Print your Haiku poem on clean paper. Add an illustration! Share it with a friend or family member! OR ME!!!

Here’s a silly Haiku I just wrote:

Upside down spider

Climbing, webbing, catching food

Don’t drop on my head!

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Hump Day Haiku

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Scone

maple icing treat

warm from oven, coffee too

yearning for a taste

 

Welcome to Hump Day Haiku!

Everybody loves Hump Day – Wednesday! Otherwise known as half the week is gone, we’re over the hump, and we’re so close to the weekend we can taste it.

If you enjoy Haiku, join in by sharing a Happy Hump Day Haiku.