Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Haiku Moment: tasty treats

sunflower forest

winter’s fat, avian feast

loud feathered hot spot

beware, tasty treats

understory stalker waits,

cat infestation

tasty treats by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell


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Make It Monday: Rustic (very) Apricot Galette

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This lovely treat was an experiment from the get-go, but worth every creative independent choice I made in the process.

First, the recipe said 6-8 apricots. I stopped at Barrett Orchards (Washington Fruit Place)  to purchase apricots. A HUGE bag, with possibly 20 apricots. And cherries. 2 pounds, Rainier and a different red cherry. I can’t remember the name. The recipe does not call for cherries, but I’ve been craving them.

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Then. The recipe says refrigerator pie crust. Nope. First. It’s not whole wheat. So I searched for a simple whole wheat pie crust recipe. Quite simple, but did not make very much. Or roll too thin.

Mixed the cream cheese mixture to put on the crust and realized this is more like an apricot cheesecake, but with less filling. I also reduced the sugar. Added it to the too small crust. So beautiful!

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And then apricots. It only took 3 to cover the top. I still have way too many for 2 people to eat before they are overripe.

Brush the crust with egg white. What crust??? There was barely enough to fold over. Ok. There wasn’t even enough to fold over. But I did my best to brush the crust edges. Sprinkled a little raw sugar on it like the recipe said. Barely any.

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So now I have a lovely rustic apricot galette! We can’t wait to have it after lunch. Or for lunch.

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I’m sorry, but I don’t know which magazine I tore this recipe out of…usually the pages have the name at the bottom. Thanks to Trinity Fruit Company for sharing this recipe!

Next time, I will search for a different crust recipe. And try to make a larger, more rectangular galette, due to the size of our cookie sheet and RV oven. One doesn’t bake big items in an RV. And use more apricots.

Bon appétit!
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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,339

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Creating fairy gardens

People.

This experimental RV living situation is really hanging on. At (approximately) day 1,339 of tiny living, far longer than we expected, life revolves around creativity, tiny-ness, storage woes, lost or in storage items, and a general lack of wardrobe.

For instance, last weekend we rearranged the furniture.

Don’t get excited. That only means we moved a rug, the cat tree, our box (end table), the couch, and chair. Those are basically the ONLY things that can be moved. Though Donavyn came in to see and suggested we move the stove over there and the table over there…(they are all built-ins). He was trying!

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The cat is discombobulated by the move. She is not comfortable. Her cat tree is not by daddy’s chair. She can’t figure out where to sleep. The scratching options have moved. But she does love being the in the slide and having 3 open windows at her beck and call.

The grands appreciate the long line of seating. Enough that the both boys fell asleep, tangled on the couch.

I love the evenings sitting on the one end of the couch in the slide, windows open, listening to the fountain right outside dripping and splashing. TV is off, book in hand. It’s quite like camping in the forest, but for the sounds of distant civilization.

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Hmmm. One of my computer keys is making a squeaking noise. That is not normal. Nor is it good.

We have baby goats next door! 4 adorable smaller-than-my-cat stiff-legged bundles of energy and cuteness.

Our neighbors pass on cool items. We take advantage!

Our medicine cabinet is a gallon ziplock bag.

The parking shelter is perfect for outdoor homeschool activities, especially those involving water and/or messes.

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The pasture. Swimming, biking, ball games, gardening, wildlife, throwing innumerable balls for the dog. That’s all summer (but winter? Sledding rules.).

We have nesting fly catchers! I’m excited about this. FLY catchers. Just imagine how many the mommy and daddy will catch for their hungry babies. Two adult males in my immediate vicinity can only imagine the bird droppings all over. Where is their sense of nature and adventure?
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The cat has been warned off of fly catchers, finches, and quail. She does not listen, but one can hope.

The hawks are nesting. I can hear them peeping and calling to each other. Soon it will be time for them to teach the young ones to fly. And then hunt.

The rabbits who nibbled off most of my spring flowers have moved on. We HOPE. (As opposed to ‘became someone’s lunch’). One wonders how 7 fluffy bunnies suddenly went missing.

Despite it being day (approximately) 1,339 of bumps and bruises from forgetting to look where one moves (we should learn, one would think), life is good in our RV tiny home.

As you can tell, we spent most of our time outdoors. The patio has become our evening resting place, sitting in camp chairs, watching the wildlife antics, calling the cat down from not-our-property, laughing at quail fighting over each other.

Here’s to day (approximately) 1,340.

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Pasture Pets

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The pets we have. Let’s call them pasture pets.

Foo-Foo. Not technically our rabbit. Though I have recently informed my honey that this is my rabbit. Not rabbit soup. (No guarantees for others in the bunny market, as it were…coyotes, hawks, eagles, and other larger predators who roam freely. Like the playground cougar sighting at the school where 3 of my grands attend.)

Poor bunny Foo-Foo. Someone released him. Or he escaped. He is quite the digger, as evidenced by the ditch beneath our Mabel Gate. Or she. I feel like it is a he though.

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Charcoal. Again, not our pet. I can’t even claim him, because he really belongs to the neighbors on the east side of the pasture. They would know if we adopted this funny guy. Also thought he was a she and hoped for a random egg now and then. But she began crowing all hours of the day. This daily visitor will either help our garden grow (by eating pests and fertilizing) or keep it from growing (by nibbling greens and digging up tender shoots). Either way, not our chicken.

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Speaking of…just as I was finishing this post, who trots in from the pasture with a fresh snack?

Monet. This one is really our pet. She adores pasture life and voraciously hunts other pasture pets of the rodent and avian varieties. By our pet, I mean she sleeps in at night (to avoid cat/dog/coyote fights in the wee hours), we feed her on a regular basis, and pay her worming and vet bills. We used to have her twin sister, Mabel, until a pack of dogs decided she was snack worthy. Those dogs were definitely NOT our pets. And they are the reason we now have a Mabel Gate.

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Ginger. Not our pet. Though we are doggy grandparents. She loves visiting us in the pasture. More for chasing the ball and occasional cat (Monet) or jumping in the ditch filled with mud and water. But still. If we would let her, she would visit inside the RV. What fun that would be! So. Though she is not our pet, technically, we have adopted her as a family member. Neighbor. Just over the fence.

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Other “not our pets” include (but not restricted to) hawks, eagles, coyotes, skunks, goats, ducks, quail, geese, voles, mice, rats, woodpeckers, blue jays, magpies, doves, cats, dogs, frogs, snakes, water rats (I really don’t know what they are…but they are big and swim in the irrigation ditch), crows, worms, slugs, song birds, and lots and lots of insects.

Need a trip to the pasture zoo? Come spring, we will be open for business. I mean, the hibernators will be out and about, the frozen will thaw, eggs and litters will hatch, and who knows what else will spring to life. Bring a lawn chair and a camera. We’ll treat you to the habitats and adventures of Pasture Pets.

Our human pasture guests. (not pets)

 

 

 


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Throwback Thursday: Wedding Gift Still at Work Nearly 35 Years Later

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2020 is the year of Kevin and Angie. At least that’s what my honey says. He wants to celebrate our 35th anniversary all year long. I can live with that.

Our actual wedding anniversary date is June 22, 1985. Happy anniversary to us!

I realize that many of you may not even have been born yet. Wow.

I’ve also lately realized that many of the gifts we received on that sunny Saturday so many years ago we still have, use, and enjoy. If it ain’t broke, keep it and use it. Sentimental value makes these gifts even more special.

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Like my casserole dish. I have really come into my own in using this versatile beauty over the last couple of years. For one, the size is perfect for the tiny RV stove. And the lid is an added bonus which allows me to cook covered dishes or uncovered foods. Perfect! An added bonus is how easy this is to clean. Nonstick without the Teflon.

This casserole and lid were originally part of a set. There was a smaller casserole dish and matching lid. I’m pretty sure the smaller dish did not make it to the 35th anniversary year. Unless (let’s all hope so) it has been in storage so long I can’t remember what happened to it.

I’ve cooked everything from quiche to apple crisp to salmon to tater tot casserole in the larger casserole. One of my favorite recipes is a no/low carb bacon cheeseburger casserole. You serve it with relish and diced red onions! The next time I make that I’ll try and remember to take some photos. But photos will not do it justice. One must taste it, relish, dill, and all.

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Featured in this casserole dish (again, the pictures are not great) is a no crust apple crisp. Sliced apples (unpeeled), oatmeal, cinnamon, and grated cheese. I sometimes add a tiny bit of water for moisture. Bake until apples are softened and cheese is melted. My stamping and eating buddy somehow came up with the recipe. Super easy and tasty. Thanks, Alyson.

Back to my casserole dish. I love the French words and images on the side. Many memories have been made when sharing foods baked in this wedding gift. Thank you, to the thoughtful giver. Who knew I would still have it so many years later?

If I could find my “wedding stuff” box, I bet I could even figure out who gave us this set. Now that would be fun. New goal before the actual anniversary date: FIND the wedding box.

How about you? Do you have any wedding gifts or sentimental items that you’ve kept over the years? I’d love to hear about them.
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Haiku Moment: ice knife

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frosty shimmers glow

tips of ice knife through frigid,

growing icicles

 

ice knife by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

 

 


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RV Living: Day (approximately) 1,125

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Speaking of “Adventures with a Book Lover” (part of the title of this blog), we moved into our RV on August 20, 2016. That was approximately 1,125 days ago. Do I sense a celebration coming on?

Let me tell you. We are still married. We still love each other. We are better at dancing around each other in tight spaces. We wear the same clothes over and over again. We ignore the wardrobes in the shop for the ease of grabbing the same somethings from the tiny cupboards. We cook, shop, store, and recreate differently than when we lived in a stick house. We entertain in unique (and sometimes HOT or COLD settings, due to outside venues) ways. We rotate seats when groups > than the number of available seats visit. And I still haven’t gone through EVERY cupboard and drawer to remove things we have never used. That goal was from summer #1 in the RV.

Due to several circumstances, we are no closer to building a small house than when we settled in this tiny RV space. That’s an entirely different and very long post.

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Was it worth it? You bet. How you ask? I love lists. Here is the short version:

1. Finances. The RV is paid off. DEBT-FREE living.

2. Coziness. We have this in droves. Come on over if you need a cupful.

3. Less stuff to worry about. Though I do have to shop more often, I need to purchase less because of storage. That was an interesting revelation.

4. Moveable. We don’t have to stay in one spot. We do, for the most part. But that will change in a few years. Travel options are unlimited.

5. Tiny living. This is it baby. We have about 228 (or some ridiculously low number like that) square feet, about 60 of them dedicated to the cat. LOL. We have learned that we really do not want a tiny house. We want a small house. About 800-900 square feet. With some breathing room. And a bigger shower. But for an RV, our bathroom is deluxe.

6. Cute RV. Really! Our RV is pretty cute. I’ve learned how much I can decorate without the cat knocking things over or the circuits getting blown.

7. Weather. We know what the weather is. Hot is hot. Cold is cold. The RV, four season though it is, is still a tin box. With excellent insulation, but still. We are so thankful for our super furnace and AC. The addition of the skirting really makes us successful during our northwest winters. We always know what the weather is. It’s a habit of RV life. Check the weather. Feel the weather.

8. Rain. On the roof. I love listening to it fall! The same goes for snow and wind. Weather is an interactive experience.

9. Creativity. Let’s say our creativity is enhanced due to multiple opportunities to solve tiny house living issues. We are building our brain cells!

10. Adventure. We are living the dream. RV living is definitely an adventure. One day (we tell ourselves) we will look back fondly on the funny and not so funny episodes of RV life and miss the adventures.

But until then . . .

It’s time for a celebration! Happy 1,125th day of RV life, Quantrells. Enjoy the ride!

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Monday Moments: It’s Not a Mistake that the Word “Attitude” is a Part of “Gratitude”

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“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

– William Arthur Ward

 

I am guilty of wrapping presents and not giving them.

My mind is a busy place. I often have thoughts of love, gratitude, appreciation, and joy towards others, but my mouth forgets to open to let those words out! My mind might feel it, but others need to hear it.

November’s theme seems to be thankfulness. Gratitude. Appreciation. So let’s do it, speak words (text, email) of thankfulness, gratitude, and appreciation.

To you, I am so very thankful for you! I appreciate you as readers and followers of this blog, your comments on posts, our shared life adventures. Thank you!

I am grateful for a kind rejection letter I just received. The answer was still no, but a kind no is better than no answer or an ugly no.

I am grateful for my honey, best friend, co-conspirator in life. So thankful.

I am grateful for our practice in living in a tiny home. RV living is tiny living. We have just the perfect layout and features needed to keep us cozy, sheltered, and productive.

I am grateful for my health. Both of us are blessed. Thanks to God Almighty!

I am grateful for my family and friends. Life is richer, deeper, more better. 🙂 Life without you would be washed out and flat. I like the colorful 3D life with you.

It’s not a mistake that the word “attitude” is a part of “gratitude.” Adopt an attitude of gratitude and speak words of gratitude today.

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Monday Mouthfuls – Breakfast Sandwiches

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We love breakfast sandwiches! Or at least I used to, before cleaning up my diet. But my honey still enjoys taking a break from muesli and yogurt to eat a yummy protein-rich breakfast sandwich. I make these at home, usually 3 at a time. They freeze very well and he can pop one in the microwave any day he feels like a little something different. The filling possibilities are endless.

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Whole Wheat Egg, Ham, and Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:

3 whole wheat English muffins

3 slices ham (we prefer thinner slices)

3 slices cheddar cheese (Swiss or pepper jack are also great)

3 eggs

black pepper

olive oil

Dijon mustard

plastic wrap

ziplock bags

 

Directions:

1. Toast the English muffins. Spread a thin layer of Dijon mustard on each sandwich. Place open-faced on a cutting board.

2. Layer ham and cheese on one half of each muffin, cheese is on top.

3. Fry the eggs in olive oil, liberally doused with black pepper. For freezing, cook the eggs all the way through. For immediate consumption, a runnier yolk is fine.

4. Place one egg on top of each cheesy muffin. The egg will melt the cheese. Leave open-faced to cool. Unless you are eating right now, then close it up and enjoy!

***If you want, quickly place eggs on a folded paper towel to remove excess oil, then add to sandwich.

5. For freezing, let sandwiches cool completely. Add muffin tops and wrap snuggly in plastic wrap. I also like to put mine in sandwich ziplock bag. Pop in the freezer until time to eat. Rewarm in the microwave.

Delish!

Other things to add: baby kale or spinach, turkey, onions, sausage patties, bacon, different mustards. For fresh sandwiches (not frozen) you can add tomato slices, thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms, or any other fresh veggie from the garden.

The sky is the limit! Or should I say the amount of space between muffin top and bottom and what you can hold together in your hands is the only limit. 🙂

Bon appétit!

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Don’t Need to Go Camping

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Funny how life choices change your thinking.

While on a motorcycle ride over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I saw numerous (read: hundreds) of campers heading to the mountains and other recreational locations around the northwest. Roads were more crowded than usual, grocery stores were packed with shoppers filling up ice chests and RV refrigerators, and every campground we passed had RVs and tents slotted side by side.

I’m not sure how much fun all of those cozy camp sites were, but I was not interested in the slightest.

BECAUSE. We are camping. All. The. Time.

We live in our RV. Not permanently (please, God, not permanently), but while we research, plan, and build our small home.

Our family used to love camping at the beach. We’d use the old Prowler, load it with supplies, and drive five hours to our favorite beach locations in Ocean Shores. Those were the good old days. Dog, kids, junk food, sand, toys, rain, shells, campfires, …

Now?

No. Since we are camping 365 days a year, give or take an overnight visit with family or friends, hooking up the RV in which we stay all the time and heading to a different place to stay in the same RV does not sound appealing.

Plus. We LIVE in the RV. Full-time. There are many extra things in our RV that do not relate to travel and camping. And as we are not retired, we can’t hit the road for months at a time.

For now, we shall enjoy motorcycle trips and staying at hotels (which include HUGE showers and sometimes even bathtubs). After we move into our future home, we’ll strip the RV clean and load it up with camping supplies.

Then we will need to go camping.

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