Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Book Review: Reach for the Stars by Emily Calandrelli and Honee Jang

Reach for the Stars

Written by Emily Calandrelli

Illustrated by Honee Jang

Godwin Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2022

Thank you, Kathy Temean at Writing and Illustrating, author Emily Calandrelli, and illustrator Honee Jang for sharing this beautiful book, Reach for the Stars! Thank you for sending me a copy to read and share. Congratulations!

A heartwarming picture book, Reach for the Stars shares the wonder and amazement of the natural world and all that is in it. Calandrelli leads readers through the growing up and exploring years in the life of a young girl, all the while encouraging readers to be amazed and to dream the big dreams about life. Jang perfectly captured the beauty and imagination of the story. Reach for the Stars is a lovely book to read to inspire, inform, and enjoy.

Why I Love This Book:

~ beautiful illustrations, dreamy and imaginative

~ the wonder and awe about the natural world the author and illustrator share throughout the story

~ the fun of reading the story in rhyme

~ the natural world is amazing, and that appreciation and respect for learning about and exploring more is front and center in this book

~ science! STEM. Girls in science!

~ the encouragement to readers to dream big, explore, and follow your dreams

Amazon Blurb:

From Emmy-nominated science TV star and host of Netflix’s hit series Emily’s Wonder Lab Emily Calandrelli comes an inspirational message of love and positivity.

From the moment we are born, we reach out. We reach out for our loved ones, for new knowledge and experiences, and for our dreams!

Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of the world around us, this uplifting book will inspire readers of every age. A celebration of love and shared discovery, this book will encourage readers to reach for the stars!


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Haiku Moment: crowned

wearing a wind cap

Tahoma stands tall, regal

glaciers, cold and crowned

crowned by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Mt. Rainier, WA state


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Haiku Moment: uncurl

summer arrives! what

lies beneath forest litter?

time to stretch, uncurl

nod heads, reach for sun;

fling out your arms and grow tall

shade shelter below

by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Lodge Lake trail, Snoqualmie Pass, Cascades


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Cascades Hike: Lodge Lake, Snoqualmie Pass

At nearly 4 miles round trip, Lodge Lake is a perfect hike if you have a small window of time. We went on a rainy Tuesday, which was perfect, since I love hiking in the rain!

At the top of Snoqualmie Pass (I-90), go to the far far west parking area and you will find the parking lot for the Pacific Crest Trail and the trail for Lodge Lake, both of which share the path until you reach the lake. A Northwest Forest Pass is required for this parking area.

The hike first travels across the ski slopes. The view across I-90 is gorgeous, and it’s fun to walk where normally 10+ feet of a snow base covers the slopes. Traffic from I-90 and the buildings from the top of the pass are easily visible (and audible). But once you crest the hill and start down the other side, the noise disappears (other than occasional air traffic) and it feels like you are out in the middle of nowhere. The sun and heat from open slopes cools right away once you reach tree cover. Ahhh.

This is not a busy trail. We saw a total of 9 people (including us), 1 dog, and 1 cell tower service worker. There is some rock scrambling, sections of roots to watch, and even a pretty stream to ford, but it’s not difficult. The trail is well-maintained. The peace and quiet, forest scents, bird song, views, and exercise were just what I needed.

There are two places to watch. I read one report on the Washington Trails Association website, which warned us about both. Once you reach the top of the slopes, do not follow the steep path up towards the cell tower. Instead, find the path to the far right and take that. When you see the I-90 sign on a tall tree, look to the right for the trail. It has an edging of rocks.

The other section is knowing how far to go on the trail. You WILL see the Lodge Lake sign on a tree. Just take that path. You will glimpse the lake through the trees. If you miss this sign and find one for Stampede Pass, you’ve gone too far. Turn around.

The lake was so beautiful! Just as we arrived, it started to rain-my favorite! Plan to keep moving or bring along the bug spray. The mosquitos were starving and aggressive. We only stayed a short while and had to leave to get away from them.

Pretty views streamed out in every direction, from wildflowers to tiny waterfalls. Other than the skeeters, the Lodge Lake hike is a gem! Plan this hike in spring, summer, or fall. Come snow (and skiing season), you will need skills and equipment beyond what I have!


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Sunday Inspiration

Umptanum Creek Falls Trail, Central Washington

Photo by Angie Quantrell


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Central Washington Hike: Umptanum Creek Falls

What a beautiful hike!

Whether spelled “Umptanum” or “Umtanum,” it was gorgeous! Here is the view from the bottom of Umptanum Creek Falls. The clamber down was pretty slicky-slidey in dirt, but worth the effort. The crawl back up was even more tenuous! I noticed someone had tied a rope between two points on the south climb back up around. We didn’t use it, but look for it if you choose that way to get back to the top of the falls (the way back to the car park).

Proof of the “Umptanum” spelling. No potties here, friends, so plan ahead.

Evidence of a previous fire lines both sides of the trail. I found the stark black a beautiful counterpoint to the spring greens and gray bark.

Umptanum Creek is such a pretty, quiet little stream!

From the bottom of the falls. We had a wet, drizzly day (perfect to my way of thinking), so it was pretty chilly sitting at the bottom while we enjoyed the view.

This is the view from the top of the falls. The wildflowers were out in abundance! Gorgeous!

Pretty scenery along the way. We didn’t encounter very many people on the way to the falls, but the crowd was picking up on our way back.

Just starting to bloom!

Also…DUH dum…this looks like stinging nettles. There were huge sections of this plant lining parts of the trail. Just a heads up. I double-checked my photo with online sources and they look the same to me. We hiked with poles, so it was easy to push back plants as we walked through.

Honey? I want this in my back yard!

The hardest parts of this trails were: 1. getting there (pretty, but long drive from Yakima on a dirt road); 2. getting back up the steep hillsides from the bottom of the falls; and 3. no potties.

You can read more about this hike at Washington Trails Association.


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Sunday Inspiration

Photo by Angie Quantrell

The Butchart Gardens, Brentwood Bay (near Victoria), BC


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Hiking: Tieton River Nature Trail

After church on Sunday, we dug out our hiking boots, backpack, and hats and drove up to the Tieton River Nature Trail. From Yakima, it’s a pretty quick drive, just a few miles up Highway 12 after the road splits into Hwy 410 and Hwy 12. We parked across from the Oak Creek Feeding Station (Discover Pass required).

For a first time out hiking this year, it was excellent. Not too much elevation gain, and the trail was mostly smooth but quite dusty. There are rocks and roots to watch for in a few sections, but overall the trail is in great shape. The canyon scenery was gorgeous, with the Tieton River rocking and rolling, and blue skies interspersed with puffy white clouds.

Now is the time to go! Spring wildflowers are peeking out! And, my personal favorite, the grass is barely greening and shooting up, so there is less tall grass to rub up against my legs and give me ticks! Cheatgrass is not an issue if you stay on the trail. Yuck.

Sunblock was a necessity, as usual. I’m not a huge fan of hiking into the wind, but it kept us cool. When the wind died down on certain sections due to canyon topography and stands of trees, it was quite warm.

We did not do the entire hike since we started out later in the day. We hiked over the first bridge near the feeding station and walked the trail past the quonset hut (it’s visible across the river) to the foot bridge. Whee! That was fun. I’m definitely a two-hands-holding-on type of person. And a one-person-at-a-time hiker. Lots of swinging and swaying. The metal bridge is pretty slippery on the southern end just as you get on, so beware that section.

We found a beaver-gnawed tree, saw and heard squabbling blue jays, watched an eagle soar up above the canyon walls, marveled at a group of rock climbers, enjoyed a tiny nut hutch scrambling up a tree (best guess), and wondered who left the plentiful berry-filled scat (and watched carefully in case we found the culprit). One bumblebee and a few flying insects rounded out our wildlife sightings.

Hikers can also park at the quonset hut a few miles west of the feeding station (Discover Pass required here as well).

We can’t wait to return and continue west of the quonset hut.

Read more about the Tieton River Nature Trail here.

Happy trails to you!