Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I Support Trees, But One Can't Plant Them in December in the Northwest

I adore trees. I love trees. I want to have my own personal Hundred Acre Wood.

Our first summer in our new home, we planted 6 new trees. We've since added 2 more very large trees.

Our tree selection and planting usually occurs in early spring or late fall.

It has NEVER taken place in December. When there is several feet of snow on the ground. And said ground is frozen. Shoveled drifts stand all along the perimeter of our yard.

There. Is. No. Access. To. Dirt.

So tell me Tree Experts, aka Arbor Day Foundation, why would you ship my new baby trees to me (in Washington state, in winter, in December, in a very snowy year) right now?

Sure, I would love to plant them. I would have fun heeling them in to grow for a few years before transplanting them to their new location in the yard.

But that is not going to happen right now. In fact, it won't happen for several months. I'm pretty sure the snow will not melt within the 2-3 days of approved wait time to plant. I'm actually confident that even if the snow melts in January, the ground will still stay cold enough to be undiggable. That is also true about February as well.

So here we go. What to do with my lovely little sad baby trees. And such nice varieties, too.

I am fortunate that I never got around to putting away a large clay pot. Dirt is a different matter. Come on honey, bring me those dead poinsettias so I can steal the dirt.

We are all going to be cozy baby trees and snuggle up in the same pot until the ground is actually ready for planting. What, maybe 3-4-5 months?

I hope they like each other.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Wrapped in Love Success

Wrapped in Love was a cozy success.

Project stats:

~ 9 adults (including 1 teen) traveled to Landmark Care Facility

~ over 150 items were made or purchased and given to Wrapped in Love

~ 2 utility carts + 1 red wagon hauled goodies up and down the hallways, in and out of rooms

~ between 80-85 residents accepted a warm cozy item; a few were convinced to take matching items, ornaments, or bookmarks

~ 1.5 hours spent visiting residents and distributing gifts

~ at least 1 case of joyful tears from a resident who had no one to visit her, accompanied by the tears of volunteers

~ one 67th anniversary celebrated with family members of a husband and wife sharing a room

~ too-many-to-count hugs and Christmas greetings

~ 3 = number of volunteers who missed the photo op

~ buckets of smiles

~ 1 grouchy guy who didn't want more stuff (at least he was honest)

~ several residents who already had gifts and visits from family urged us to give the goods to others who had nothing

~ 30 minutes to set-up conference table with donations before loading carts

~ 3 = # of times teen willingly gave up own hat (and replacement) to residents

~ many treat sacks and bags of carmel corn were given to staff members

~ remaining gifts were left for staff members to choose from and to be put in a storage closet for new residents who arrive with nothing

~ numerous volunteers donating supplies and completed projects

~ hours, days, and weeks spent knitting, crocheting, and creating items

~ joy > hours sacrificed on Christmas Day

Thank you, volunteers! All of you who helped in any way were a part of our Christmas Day visit to senior residents at Landmark.

Thank you!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Eggs Benedict Delight

break the fast mouthful
lemon yellow saucy bite
egg and ham divine

~ Angie Quantrell

My first EVER attempt to make Eggs Benedict. This was a treat for my honey, who loves this dish. Too lemony was the hollandaise sauce, so back to adjusting the recipe I go. But there were no curdled eggs and a nice rich sauce covered the poached eggs and ham. I consider my maiden voyage on the ship named Hollandaise & Poached Eggs a success.

For me, this was Boxing Day - cooking outside our usual breakfast rut.

Happy Boxing Day to those who celebrate in more traditional ways!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Meowy Christmas!

Meowy Christmas!

May your fur be thick enough, the fire warm enough, and the food dish always filled!
Purrs, snuggles, and furballs!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Writing Distractions

Blurry white buckets
Silently build pristine hills
Mystery mountains

~ Haiku, by Angie Quantrell 2015

This is what I am writing about now.

But I am distracted by this happening out my window.

Snow, lovely, snow!

Somehow snow and Phoenix do not mix.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Gingerbread Delight

wafts of spice tickle
quivering noses and tongues
gingerbread delight

~ Angie Quantrell

There is most decidedly a reason that gingerbread has become synonomous with Christmas.

The scent.

The fragrance of warm spices, the steam of a hot oven, the soft melting of toasted cookies melting in your mouth...

Welcome, gingerbread. Welcome, Christmas.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Christmas Tree Skirt

I can't imagine why the Christmas tree skirt looks like this. Or why the ornaments are falling down.

- House with 2 Cats

Meow-y Christmas!

How about you? Who are your special helpers this year?

On with the Dance! | Susan Branch Blog

On with the Dance! | Susan Branch Blog

Christmas fun with Susan Branch! Aunt Rae gave me one of her books, Christmas From the Heart of the Home, back in 1900! It's such a wonderful book with its recipes, crafts, illustrations, and hand written pages!

Susan Branch is still creating. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Stack (of Paper)

The completed manuscript with sources, sketches, and documents
This is what I've been up to. Instead of blogging.

There is not much time left in my days (weeks, months) after planning, writing, editing, printing, sourcing, compiling, emailing, packaging, and mailing this baby.

Oh, yes. This is my baby. The first half of a 12-month activity book for preschoolers and missions has been delivered (emailed and mailed) to my faithful preschool resource team at Woman's Missionary Union.
The completed manuscript package and its twin - the emergency copy that can be mailed if the PO loses the original
Now they get to do their huge part.

And I will continue on with the above steps for the second half of the book.

The writing life is grand.   
A glimpse of the chaos that is my office, including desk, side table, and floor

Monday, November 30, 2015

Living in the Candle Drawer

If I could live anywhere in my house, it would be in the candle drawer.

Of course I would have to be much smaller. And install a bathroom, kitchen, and electricity. One living in the candle drawer would need tiny lights to read all of those mini books. A cozy chair and bed would be nice.

Oh, and while we are at it, how about a miniature fireplace and snuggly kitty?

You may be wondering why, of all things, would I want to live in the candle drawer? And what in the world is a candle drawer anyway?

In this house, the candle drawer is in the hall cupboard. It holds a horrible mess of mismatched candle holders, Christmas tree wires (why? - too tangled to clear them out), rocks, tealights, scented candle wax for burners, and interesting containers and knickknacks.

But why?

The smell. Every time I open that drawer to get a tealight or extra scented wax, I am greeted by the best fragrance in the world. A combination of pine, lavender, pumpkin spice, mulberry, and other scents rush out, wrapping smokey fingers of delight around my head and nose.

I want to live in that drawer.

I'll clean out a corner and set up my studio apartment. I'll decorate it with handcrafted quilts, watercolor paintings, fluffy pillows, and shimmering candles. That's me, good to go.

Just remember to check on me once in a while. I may need food, coffee, cat food, or more books.

I'll be as happy as a lark on a spring day in May.

Do come visit.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Being Thankful

Another Thanksgiving has passed us by.

I'm always a bit sad when it is gone. It's such a long year until the next Thanksgiving and I love having a reason to reflect on those things for which I am thankful.

We had a quiet day of celebration with a grand total of 11 people (plus 1 in utero, so I could count that as 12) at our table. It was a wonderful day.

Here are some 'things' for which I am thankful.

Grandbaby number 5 and her/his mommy, Jamie Lee, the talented seamstress and teacher

Shoes by the door

My Donavyn, who can figure out how to open anything (I mean anything)

Donavyn and my baby playing cars

My Hayden (6 and in 1st grade)

My Miss Khloe (4 and in preschool)

The meal

My baby girl, Mommy and future college student

My baby's baby, My Gage

My baby boy, Mr. Mechanic, daddy of 1 and another that's getting ready to surprise us

Mr. Collin, daddy of 3, 4-wheelin' dude (trying not to be in the picture)

My honey (who recently, uhm, went dumpster diving when he accidently dropped in his glasses) - don't worry, he washed his hands a million times

Mommy naps

Bonding boys

Popsicle prince

Popsicle princess

Papa and his 'silly' hat

Grandma Carole
As you can see, I am thankful for quite a few things, er, people. I just have to remember to be thankful throughout the year, not just on the fourth Thursday of November.
Did you notice all of the 'my's? I claim relationship with these blessings in my life.
(Not pictured: So many people. Missed you! I claim you as 'my,' too.)
Happy Thanksgiving! I'd love to hear your thankful list. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Western Washington University - Resident Advisors Then, Resident Advisors Now

Back in the day, that would be the 80's for you youngsters, I was an RA.

Resident Advisor. My chosen job site? Western Washington University in Bellingham. Loved the campus. Being 4 hours from home was an added bonus. Plus the rain. Lots of rain.

The RA's I knew dealt with plenty of funny, tense, scary, and weird scenarios. We were part program director, confidant, counselor, friend, goof-off, and building manager.

We delivered mail, let lock-outs back into their rooms, sat weekly duty nights and regular duty weekends, planned educational/and/or/fun programs for residents, and offered listenting ears.

Counseling occured on occasion and I even once took a resident to the ER. Pre and post-arrival inventories of the building were on our list of duties as well as being the happy WWU greeters upon the arrival of students in the fall. Conflict resolution and roommate disagreements kept us busy. The worst we faced were drunk residents playing naked poker, being interrupted on campus and having to return to the dorm to let frantic students into their rooms, and carting food back to the sick. Our building was against a hillside, so we added the joy of marauding raccoons when they entered rooms that had open windows.

That was about it. Nothing too bad, some things pretty funny, other events sad.

But today! I hadn't even thought about what RA's face in current times.

The daily newspaper had an article where WWU classes were cancelled yesterday and students were sent home early for Thanksgiving due to a serious bomb threat! Campus threats, racism, staged protests, and I'm sure much more face university staff on a regular basis. But the bomb scare really caused me to stop and consider.

What do students and staff face now that was not an issue 30 years ago? Bombs, illegal drugs, legal drugs, physical attacks, cyber attacks, human trafficking, and a changing-so-rapidly-society that difficulties in keeping up are plentiful.

Just like in the world, scary, unsettling, and dangerous happenings seem to be occurring more often and with more frequency.

One could even become depressed and adopt reclusiveness as a lifestyle choice.

But. Hope.

There is always hope. Prayer is needed, on a big scale. I was happy to see a photo of students in Red Square praying and singing for university students.

I can help. From home. I'm sure that WWU is not the only educational institution under attack. More than sure.

I choose hope and prayer. In these troubling times, hope and prayer will work.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wrapped in Love Christmas Project is Almost Here

Today I counted all of the scarves I have on hand for our Christmas Day visit to Landmark Care Center.

I have a total of 45 crocheted, knitted, and fleece scarves. I also have several lap robes, blankets, and even an afghan.

Close, but not there yet.

94 (or 93, I always forget) is the number of residents living at Landmark.

Quick reminder:

What: Wrapped in Love visit and giving of warm gifts

Where: Landmark Care Center, Yakima

When: Christmas Day

Why: Because we love them!

How: Only with the help of my friends!

The meeting time will be confirmed and announced closer to the actual date.

I am so excited to share a part of my Christmas Day with seniors living in my community.

Better get busy crocheting!
My birthday trip provided additional scarves for the stash.

32 days left to crochet
(if you count Christmas Day)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
~ Proverbs 17:6 (NIV)

I am aged. Like cheese, wine, or moldy haunches of meat.

The gift of grandchildren transforms me into the category of 'aged.'

Does that make you feel old? It does me. Just yesterday I was considering how 52, soon to be 53, is not that old. 53 is a good respectable number. Now 60, that is approaching old and sounds much more mature.

LOL. Do you remember when people in their 30's were old in our young teenager eyes? No? Me, neither.

Truly, only old people accidently hit publish instead of save and throw out an incomplete post without any photos or edits. Sigh. Said the grandmother sitting at her computer blogging.

Aside from the fact that I, a grandparent, am aged, I am also crowned. My children's children are the crown of blessing deposited on my head.

And, oh, is my crown large and beautiful!

I choose to feel special and prized, just like that old cheese and wine. Prized and valued and claimed.

After all, I have a crown, gloriously brilliant with bright shiny faces, bubbling lips, gleeful hearts, and heartfelt hugs.

I am a grandparent.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Testing Pinterest

Maybe I should have been a scientist.

I do love to experiment and see if things really work, or see how they work.

Take Pinterest. So many wonderful, fabulous, awesome ideas. But I've learned that not all of them work and some need a bit of tweaking.

Tweaking is my middle name. Angie Tweaking Quantrell.

Last Saturday, I tested Churro Cheesecake Bars. This recipe worked just fine, though I decreased the sugar by half. As I am on a diet, I couldn't eat any other than a sliver to test flavor. The rest were inhaled by kids at church and all adults that happened to walk by. This is a keeper recipe if you love cinnamon and cream cheese.

Yesterday Big D and I tested the salt dough recipe. We tested ONE of the recipes. There are hundreds. The one we found worked fine, but did not make very many handprints.

Today we tested ice cube painting. While simple in concept, I had to make quite a few tweaks. Last night I filled the ice cube tray with water and added food coloring to make colored blocks. I placed clothespins upside down in some to test how that worked.


~ A few of the clothespins fell over and froze at an angle. That was not big deal. Donavyn loved this activity.

~ Directions suggested painting on paper. This did not work other than smearing a tiny bit of color on it. Failed.

~ On the shiny metal 'big chair' tray, the ice painting worked fabulous! It melted fast and swirled all around. This was a big hit with our 2 year-old artist.

~ We also tried foil, since that is shiny. Nope. Definitely not. Fail.

~ Tried a cookie sheet. Yes. Not quite as good as the high chair tray, but close. Plus the edges kept melted water from rolling off.

~ Benefits included no concern for Mr. D who constantly sampled the different colors and total amusement for a good chunk of time. Rainbow fingers and tongue let mommy know what he was up to at Nana's.

Inspiration from Pinterest? Fantastic. Reliability? Not always there. One needs to be ready to tweak.

Better to view Pinterest pins as an experiment and an adventure.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Ginger Root Experiment

 We live in central Washington. Winters can be brutal to all sorts of crops, from fruit trees to flowers to bulbs and tropical sorts of plants.

But I have discovered success growing ginger! Yes. The root plant from which wonderful flavor and fragrance are imparted to delectable dishes.

Over the last several years, I have been inclined to experiment and see what happens. Usually my idea begins with something that starts to root in the kitchen or a find that needs some sort of immediate attention.

Growing celery from the leftover butt of the plant? Failure.
New garlic from sprouted cloves? Still waiting for results.
Potatoes in a bag? Too hot outside for bags.

Mid-summer or so, I had an overly dehydrated piece of ginger root hanging around with the garlic in the kitchen basket.

Ok. Let's bury it in the garden to see what happens.

Lovely green leaves and shoots grew to about a foot and a half tall. The dried up piece of ginger root seemed to be thriving in the heat of summer. I was desperate to dig up a bit and see how things were going underground, but resolved to wait until we had a good freeze to kill off the top.

Today, after several good freezes and pretty dry conditions, I dug out a portion of that old husk of a hunk of ginger.

Et voila! The citrusy scent greeted my nose as the shovel and my hands scraped away soil. New, fresh ginger root.

People in colder climates, there is hope. Take that old lump and bury it. What can it hurt? A raised bed is a wonderful option.

I left most of the plant in the ground. This is also a continuation of my experiment. I dug out plenty for us to use right now, but left the rest for future consumption. Maybe. If the ground does not freeze solid and destroy the roots.

And then, perhaps, we shall see what comes up next spring.

The experiment that keeps continues on . . .

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank You, Veterans

Once our son enlisted in the Army and spent a tour overseas in Iraq, we realized the depth of thankfulness and pride we had for our son and his fellow servicemen and women.

Thank you. To each and every branch, to every single troop, to all locations of service, and to every type of work, again, I say, "Thank you!"

Thank you for your selfless service and sacrifice for our country. We appreciate you and what you have done.

Thank you for being willing to leave behind your own family - wives, husbands, parents, children, grandchildren, relatives, friends - and travel to far flung destinations. You missed much. Thank you for being willing to miss the day-to-day life events - for us.

Thank you for staring danger and discomfort straight in the face.

Thank you. From the bottom (and top and middle) of my heart, I say thank you.

And families of servicemen and women. Thank you for your sacrifice. The waiting and the missing is never easy.

For those who did not return the way we prayed, my heart is with you. For those who came home draped with a flag, my heart breaks for you and your family.

Thank you.

May we never forget.