Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


6 Comments

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!


Leave a comment

Haiku Moment: treats

7E6332B4-B15E-4C79-8546-14B40838BB85

salt, ice, elbow grease

mix, roll, squish-science freezes

creamy treats go fast

041527F9-D0F8-4B8F-9A0C-5036DF756629

treats by angie quantrell

photos by angie quantrell

DC355ED0-BB9B-403E-9C54-B96239598C29


2 Comments

Haiku Moment: colors

0278A033-A35C-485E-8D46-3676B9FEB5DB

hues, tones, leap and glow;

party, dazzle, eye candy

thanks to God-colors!

 

colors by Angie Quantrell

D8DB3B16-2921-4C87-AC4A-98095C6C170D

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!

9B567392-8508-49A0-8B9E-C000FCC002DB

FB8DFCE4-B3A6-496B-ADF4-5FA33F839D8F

112E6750-17DD-4545-8C4E-4904C2D4EA2D

6DC17C70-7498-43CD-BD5C-3565E3075A4A

F72005BA-E223-4121-8644-61E9AA784F5B

969C7248-36C5-4304-B8EB-54C8DE3AE817


Leave a comment

Haiku Moment: pizza party

267E26FC-9973-41EF-9C29-A4520542D499

Homemade whole wheat pizza dough!

ten hands, knead and pound;

recipe for tasty treat,

Grand pizza party

 

pizza party by Angie Quantrell

09C9C2E2-3E6D-4CBF-ACA5-2454C2309666

The mandatory “silly face” photo

2FD3ED4E-5BF4-4C9D-8CBC-F0F5EF9E122A

Autumn, who loves pepperoni but not bread

860DB95A-2840-40BA-8F64-5829E667A9A1

Gage has just taken a big bite

B00217F6-90F0-4FAF-8A94-81DE3CBB6491

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

04259FDE-94E3-4EB3-8889-6C041D3579E0

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)

EAF5E91F-D4D3-41A6-B080-573FA2136E7C

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

9396A6F0-53C4-4380-99FA-E20361581AB5

1541893F-41F6-448F-98F7-859EF82470FF

 


3 Comments

Tea with Me, And Then Monday Happened

6F214958-27BC-44A9-8751-11EA1340DB75

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?


Leave a comment

Merry Christmas!

Joyeux Noël!

DSC_1366 (2)

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

DSC_0860 (2)

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

From our family to yours,

Peace and joy!

Kevin and Angie

IMG_0216

“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

89ABB5D2-89D7-4A08-9DDC-B00A08346B98


Leave a comment

The Rock

65B80561-7BFA-43D0-949F-1F1BF79B6870

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

61F6B4E6-C354-4EB2-8E97-CDF0D74CCCAC

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.

81CB2049-00EE-4A2A-8D45-F7B71606FC47

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.

9B10EC3E-7844-4096-9B91-3C213BFC2491

 


2 Comments

Summer Camp

21DBB6F6-06E2-4183-AA2E-EAF3CC013D3A

Alas, with the 4th of July and other extra activities, my guest bloggers were unable to contribute to the blog last week. Nana to the rescue!

3316E18B-AF0A-4A36-99E2-70D6219B4363

Summer Camp Theme of the Week: Gardening

Gardening is near and dear to my heart. Add outdoor and nature connections, and the setting and theme is just perfect.

Some activities we did during Gardening Week:

C893C6EF-BD0E-4901-9DD1-89ED07BAE38E

~ We made dandelion play dough! Look on Pinterest for several different recipes. Tips from Nana: Use a LARGE blender or food processor for the boiling water and dandelions. Both of my prospects were too small and leaked. All over. Use MORE dandelions than you think you will need. We didn’t get as much yellow as we wanted, so added a bit of yellow gel food coloring. I doubled the recipe, since 5 gardeners wanted to explore.

ECE0F315-A277-44A9-B05D-95EF1467E945

~ We watered. Of course. They are all quite adept at handling a variety of gardening watering implements. We also refilled the fountain numerous times. Like the grands, I’ve been enjoying the quick dip of a smaller watering can into the fountain to tend to tiny water needs. As a result, fountain water disappears much quicker than one would expect.

~ We dissected a sunflower from the Sunflower Forest. We have plenty! It was pretty neat to see baby seeds, petals, the pithy center, and other plant parts in their glory.

BB7E78C6-06EC-4283-82C6-89BB2A1333D9

~ After coloring cardboard egg carton sections, we went on a nature collecting hunt, looking for bits of nature that matched the colored sections. Rocks, flowers, petals, leaves, pine cones, bark, pottery shards, glass marbles . . . The grands did enjoy this activity even if all colors did not exactly match.

~ I’ve been wanting to have a nature loom for a long time. With freshly cut wood chunks from a recent trip to wood hunt, the oldest grand Hayden hammered in nails around the edges of one log. I looped jute around and back and forth to create a loom. I think Nana enjoyed this most, but I hope over time they will wander back and add to the nature weaving. I think next week I will have to allow them to hammer all the  nails they want into a sacrificial log. That seemed to be the biggest draw.

E5AE80F1-D98E-4491-8158-36B1B93D99A9.jpeg

~ The two girl grands, Khloe and Autumn, loved helping Papa transplant root-bound mint out in the pasture. Just for fun. Since it will be mowed with the pasture grass.

~ The youngest, Gage and Autumn, enjoyed giving hair cuts (mowing the hair) to paper plate faces.

~ Swimming! This involved puppy power and hogging of the big pool, but still, cooling fun was had by all.

~ Gardening books were read. Always books.

I had more plans, but the mid-week holiday took out a huge chunk of our Summer Camp time. Until the next week of Summer Camp (camping!), enjoy your July and the rest of this quickly evaporating summer vacation!


2 Comments

Welcome, Summer Guest Bloggers!

24C837E6-5955-4584-882A-C67ED1592E3D

Note: Nana Angie here. For a bit of fun, I’m challenging (urging, coercing, guiding) my grands to be guest bloggers. This first time, I typed as we discussed and they told me what to write. Perhaps the older 2 will be able to type their own posts later this summer, which I know will zoom past. I’ll probably alternate blogging families so that I can keep up with what is happening behind the scenes as two of us at a time focus on blogging…(5 kids + 1 puppy = 8).

Hope you enjoy our escapades. Happy first day of summer!

DA632F07-DE09-4F75-A1BD-6483510BB31A

Hi, I’m Hayden. I’m 10 years old and just finished 4th grade. Next year I’ll be in middle school. I’m so glad it’s summer.

This summer I’m spending lots of time with my Nana. Last week we were learning about birds. And we made a bird nest out of play dough and pine needles. I found a fallen bird nest at our apartment and it was just sitting on the ground. I picked it up and took it to my Nana’s house and we observed it. It was cool and stinky!

8A1722BC-721C-4249-A256-571518CC8DA4

We also went on a walk around the field and looked at birds. We found a hawk. It was cool. It was looking for food. Other bird activities we did were painting bird houses, stamping bird pictures on paper, and reading bird books.

Next we are going to learn about gardens. See you next time!

83434C74-AEA0-446D-9A82-BCDBF8D0C571

Hi, I’m Khloe. I’m almost 8 years old and just finished 2nd grade. Next year I’ll be in 3rd grade. I always swim at the pool at my apartment in the summer. That is going to be fun!

My Nana is teaching me and my brothers French words. I know “Bonjour, Grand-mere, merci, s’il vous plait, and counting to sept (1-7). It was fun learning about French.

E4C6593C-AAB6-4624-80CC-CB314B6FFEFE

We also learned about birds. My brother picked up a bird nest for us to look at and study. My favorite bird activity was making a bird nest out of play dough. I used sticks, pine needles, play dough, and leaves and rocks for my nest.

I will see you next time!

3BDDB869-3CF1-4359-9C9D-E98385DC09A6

My name is William Gage Aucutt. I’m 4. I’m going swimming. I’m going to the apartment. And I go to the RV. Then I go to the park. I liked painting my bird house. I like to paint. And I like to go everywhere. Everywhere.

18B6971E-3E30-41C1-AE13-18FD82714B8F

EDD11D20-6C11-4144-8C02-E4E684CC025E

94079B04-50BF-4F45-8FCC-F68ADA121C9E

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Mud: The Perfect Nature Sensory Activity

E6358CF8-6DD1-4DCC-9A1E-D973686C88BF

First we had February. Snowmageddon and all of that. The season of snow.

Next we had the melt. Flooding, slush, and slippery ice. The season of melt.

Now we have rainy April days and plentiful water. The season of mud.

Does mud bother my grands? Not in the slightest. Nearly all the kids I know love getting dirty, playing in the mud. From what I’ve observed, most of the problem with mud comes from the adults. The ones who have to do laundry, wipe mud trails off of floors, wash boots, and repair muddy landscapes.

Forget all of that worry. It’s time for the season of play!

Enter mud play. A fine mist was falling, water stood in the wagon and various items strewn about from building fairy houses, and mud was plentiful.

They dug, scooped, buried, and transported mud, rocks, and sticks. They gathered water, poured it around, and put a dead worm in the mud in case he wanted to wake up.

They painted small pieces of logs by using a stick as a paintbrush, using the stick to smear mud across the flat surfaces. And then they decorated the wagon and fairy gardens with mud-encrusted artwork.

I love it when I see preschoolers and children (and even adults) use their creativity and imagination. I love it even more when nature and messes are involved!

I’m not sure if the parents agree, but playing in mud is excellent for sensory engagement and exploration of nature.

So…put on some old clothes, just in case, plop on the wellies, and head out for some messy fun.