Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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The Gingerbread Tradition

“Run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Or I could say, “Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Nan (a)!” They try, but Nana captures them all for hugs.

This was the first year everyone tried icing bags. Some successes, lots of messes, plenty of fun.

It’s easier to eat icing straight from the bag.

The grands are growing up fast, and they tried to run, but Nana and plenty of sugar captured their taste buds and creative imaginations.

Welcome to our annual Gingerbread House decorating tradition. The designs are getting a little bit more sophisticated, but I noticed decorations disappear just as quickly as in previous years . . .

Mullet Man. Yep.

Nana is getting shorter . . .

Must remember to put toothbrushes and toothpaste in with Christmas gifts.

See? There are some decorations left!

Curly-locks twins!

Jamie claimed the extra house! Whew.

Getting shorter . . .

I’m still taller than a few of them!

Here’s to gingerbread, sugar, and sweet grands!


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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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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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Haiku Moment: treats

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salt, ice, elbow grease

mix, roll, squish-science freezes

creamy treats go fast

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treats by angie quantrell

photos by angie quantrell

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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: pizza party

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Homemade whole wheat pizza dough!

ten hands, knead and pound;

recipe for tasty treat,

Grand pizza party

 

pizza party by Angie Quantrell

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The mandatory “silly face” photo

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Autumn, who loves pepperoni but not bread

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Gage has just taken a big bite

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Donavyn knows how to smile, take a bite, AND pose at the same time

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Khloe also loves to ham it up for the camera (she is also super patient, as she had to wait for the second baking of pizza with Nana)

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Hayden who loves projects like this and wanted to make it again for dinner (and that boy can eat!)

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Tea with Me, And Then Monday Happened

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It feels like ages since I’ve just chatted and shared life over a cup of tea (Irish breakfast with a dab of honey) with you, my friends. How is life treating you?

Christmas came and went so quickly! I can’t believe we are back to counting how many days there are until next Christmas. One of the favorite gifts this year among the grands was a whoopie cushion. Can you tell what age group we are?

And Happy New Year! A new year, a new decade, and new numbers to train ourselves to write.

I’m off and running, er, writing my way through Julie Hedlund’s 12 x 12 Writing Challenge.  I was overjoyed to learn that I had won a scholarship to join this challenge. SO many resources available for writers. I just cannot believe the wonderful support and encouragement to be found in the kidlit writing community. Thank you, writer friends, and thank you, Julie Hedlund!

I’m enjoying the challenge of a new editing opportunity. I alternate between extreme joy and mental work and moments of terror and concern over what I feel I need to change. And will somebody please read this after me to see if I did it correctly? What a great adventure that stretches me in new ways. I hope you have something like this in your new year to grow you and make your heart sing.

Alas. My Seahawks finished the year yesterday after they lost to Green Bay. Probably not many of you are football fans, but I have really enjoyed watching my team. It’s fascinating to learn their little tricks and figure out what the announcers are talking about. I still don’t know what a nickel back is or a slot play, but I hear those words over and over. Next year, Go Hawks! Be healthy and come back strong!

And this is the part when Monday happened.

All the grands were at school, though two had minor health complaints.

During preschooler pickup time, I received a phone call informing me about the oldest, Hayden, being in the office in tears with significant eye pain. He had something in his eye, or as the nurse was guessing, pink eye. And he needed to see a doctor.

Before leaving the parking lot, I called and secured an appointment. Pick-up Hayden.

Waiting time until appointment. Rearrange who picks up where and when.

We left for appointment and just as I merged on the highway, received a phone call from Aucutt Mama that second child, Khloe, was in office in severe ear pain and tears. Papa was MIA for phone contact, so Mama left work to drive to the opposite side of town to get Khloe.

While I was at the doctor’s appointment (with Hayden and two preschoolers, which was another fun story all together, because both of them were feeling NO pain and great JOY, which they shared loudly with all), Aucutt Mama and I arranged a second appointment for Khloe to have her ear checked. And I called Quantrell Mama to meet me at doctor and divide the preschooler frivolities by dividing the number in half. She took Autumn, leaving me with Gage and Hayden.

Shortly after they left (we were still in exam room), Aucutt Mama arrived, just in time to find we needed to extend our adventure by heading immediately to the eye doctor. We met in the waiting room, I handed off an extremely talkative Gage, and Hayden and I drove post haste to the eye doctor (yet another valley and opposite end of town). Aucutt Mama stayed for the Khloe appointment.

To wrap up our afternoon of operation organization (OH, I forgot to add Papa and I played phone tag to secure a ride home from school for Donavyn, the only child not involved in the traveling circus of medical events):

~ Hayden ended up having a seed pod stuck beneath his eyelid. This caused extreme pain AND corneal abrasions. Such a tiny thing making such a mess! Eye drops and healing in order.

~Khloe had temp and severe ear infection. Antibiotics, pain meds, and rest in order. Plus, return visit to doctor if ear drum bursts. Which it did, overnight.

~Donavyn made it home just fine.

~Autumn missed us at the doctor visit and left her bunny in my car. Not a happy camper upon that realization.

~Gage continued to talk nonstop to his mama, quite gleeful to have her ear.

~Aucutt Mama met me at eye doctor to fill in forms, then went back across town to grab prescriptions. Not much sleep in that household last night.

~Nana and Papa collapsed after using their super-speed powers to make and consume dinner.

Short story. It’s only Tuesday, but we survived!

How about you? Thanks for sticking through the story to the end. How was your Monday?


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Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël!

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Donavyn, Taylor, Jamie, Autumn, and Ginger (the 4-legged one)

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Hayden, Gage (shortest), Chelsie (tallest), and Khloe

From our family to yours,

Peace and joy!

Kevin and Angie

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“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

~ Luke 2:11-12

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The Rock

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Not THE ROCK, Jesus. Or the Rock, Dwayne superstar Johnson. Not even the diamond rock.

Just the rock. As in, “the rock that bounced into my car.”

That rock.

It was HUGE. Grapefruit-sized. Did I mention it was bouncing?

The time: Tuesday morning, between 8:05-8:10 am. I know this because the Nana bus had just dropped off Khloe at her before school study group.

The location: west Wide Hollow Road, near Gromore Market

The perp: FedEx truck (AND the rock)

The victims: white Mazda Nana bus, shocked Nana and 4-year-old Gage riding in backseat; also the fog light grill, bumper, and inner shroud

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How it all played out: The Nana bus was headed east for home. After making the sharp corner around the market, we were barely going 30 mph. Nana spied a FedEx truck who was stopped road side up ahead with a driver who had just completed a delivery.

Said driver headed back onto road and took off headed west for more deliveries.

We were headed east, he was going west, when a huge clod of mud came bouncing out of his rear tires. It was odd, how round and bouncy that mud was. The first big bounce was easily over a yard high. It came bouncing directly into our lane and front bumper, but there were no shoulders on the road for avoidance and the distance was too close to slam on brakes. Crash! We hit the mud clod. Smash, crunch, crumble.

Whew. We were over it. Both Gage and I felt the driver side tires grind over the bits and pieces. But also, whew! The tires were not flat and the car was still driving.

The results: At home, Gage and I searched the car for damage. I noticed the smashed in grill. Gage found peeling paint on the rear license plate cover. 🙂 It was not a part of the rock incident, but good eyes, Gage!

The fog light grill, a very small opening in the front bumper, was smashed clean through and torn loose. Later examination led me to discover that the shroud right behind the grill plate had a huge hole smashed through it as well. Even later, when Papa came home, more pulling apart of the bumper and grill area led to the discovery of the rock still resting inside the shroud amidst shattered portions of thick plastic.

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Evidence! That was why the “mud clod” was bouncing so high. It was a ROCK. A very large rock, which if it had bounced one more time, would have come through the windshield into my head.

I am very thankful. God gave me my own little (BIG) miracle as I traveled my daily route in caring for my grands. Just one more blessing for which I can give Him credit.

Perfect timing, don’t you think? Thanksgiving is right around the corner. In just a few more sleeps, we will wake to excited taste buds ready for the feast that will be prepared. But this year I want to remember to give thanks for all the blessings, protections, and miracles the LORD has provided.

I pray you have a happy and blessed Thanks-for-giving. Look for the miracles.

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