Monday, July 27, 2015
It's full harvest time in the Yakima Valley. Farmers are reaping the rewards of hard work and blessings from the Lord. Families enjoy the abundant fruit and vegetables that fill farmers markets and produce sections of grocery stores. It is a good time to live in an agricultural area.
Just as the time comes for fruit to be harvested, when farmers and even untrained eyes can pretty accurately tell the best time to do so, there is a certain time for taking a break.
Vacation time is now for these two middle-aged bodies. We are going to spend some time relaxing and refreshing. This gift of time away from daily responsibilities is a gift from God, and one we do not take lightly, but with great thanksgiving.
I will be back to blogging after vacation, hopefully with tales and photos of some of our adventures.
Until then, enjoy your summer! I appreciate you being a part of my blogging family.
See you soon.
Friday, July 24, 2015
It's THAT time of the garden season.
Zucchini and yellow squash are growing rampant amongst my other poor crowded plants in the garden beds. Beyond rampant. I was gone for one week. ONE. I came back to 16 overlarge zucchini and yellow squash. I've barely made a dent in the amount (though most have been grated and frozen in 3 cup amounts for future zucchini bread).
Today I found 7 more fat specimens. When is that "National Give Your Neighbors Zucchini Day?"
Here is a simple recipe I love to use to help absorb the plethora of squash.
Egged Fried Zucchini
~ washed and sliced (about 1/4" thick) zucchini or yellow squash
~ eggs, whisked until broken apart; 1-2 depending on how many zucchini you are preparing
~ cayenne pepper, just a good sprinkle
~ olive oil
1. Heat a skillet on medium heat. Add olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
2. Whisk eggs and cayenne in a flat bottomed pan. I love to use my cake layer pan. It's perfect.
3. Coat zucchini slices in egg mixture and put in hot pan. Let cook without turning at least 2 minutes so the egg batter stays on. Carefully flip to the other side and cook until browned.
4. Place cooked zucchini slices on paper towels to absorb extra oil and moisture.
5. Eat while hot. This is the easiest step, as they are so tasty you won't be able to stop yourself. But beware of burned fingers and tongues!
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Thankful Thursday is brought to you by the letter Tt, a most important letter (as are all of the other 25 in the English alphabet).
Things for which I am thankful that begin with the letter Tt:
~ TJ (my sister, who may be slightly crazy, but we are related after all)
~ trails (I do love to hike)
~ tales (I am a writer, how could I not be thankful for tales?)
~ tails on dogs, for they wag when they are glad to see you, and on cats, for those tails tell you what to expect - claws or loves
~ tacos, the spicier the better
~ thankful people - Is it not wonderful to hear others express thanks instead of complaints?
~ trees, oh, I love trees
~ tongues for tasting
~ teeth for chomping and talking
~ Taylor - my baby!
~ Testament, both the Old and the New
~ Trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit
~ tape to hold things together
~ toes to wiggle in the sand and water
Many terribly terrific things begin with Tt. What Tt things are you thankful for?
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Nothing beats the summer heat like a wading pool and sensory table filled with cold water. Ok, maybe a deeper pool would help those standing over 3 feet tall.
Water. It's the deal.
I once exclaimed to a child, "Hey, what's the deal?" when said child was doing something questionable.
"What's a deal?"
Water is the real deal for the summer. Get some.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Last week I spent four days at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association annual conference. It was truly a time of learning and making connections. Not only did writers attend a variety of sessions, we were also able to pitch (picture speed dating, except the conversation is about writing projects and the two parties are author and agent or editor) potential projects to many agents and editors that were present. Let's not forget the special evening events with guest panels (how about J.A. Jance? Robert Dugoni? and more), dinners, desserts, and an award ceremony.
To put it bluntly, we ran from sun up to sun down. Exhaustion was my traveling companion on the way home. But it was worth every single second.
What does one do after such a fantastic outing?
~ Zucchini and yellow squash. Yes, you read that correctly. Dear old hubby did not eat a single one. Or so appearances would seem. He had harvested 3 super huge squash and I found an additional 13. Thirteen could be a good number, but not when considering what to do with that many squash. New house rule: If you visit, you take at least one squash when you leave.
~ Raspberries. Again, an attempt was made to pick the laden canes. The full bowl rested untouched in the fridge. After my attack on the killer canes, I added another colander full - all to be washed, picked over, and put in the freezer.
~ Laundry. Even one person can make a huge mess in a week. I did. I am still unable to find certain undergarments. I hope they did not stay for a longer visit at the hotel.
~ Green beans. Can you tell the garden needed me while I was gone? Tomorrow I will tackle the wax and green beans.
~ Unpacking. Again, how much mess can a single traveler make? Plenty.
~ Paperwork. This is a very important step following a conference of any type. I made so many great connections with other writers. I need to sort out all of the business cards and make contact on social media with my colleagues. I also need to check out information that I collected about businesses that provide assistance to writers.
~ Synopsis and query. At the conference, I pitched one of my picture books. The agent I spoke with was interested in reading my manuscript, so now I need to write a synopsis. And a query letter. And then I need to submit my work to her. Praying this has a great ending!
~ See my grandbabies. What? You didn't think I had forgotten them, did you? Only a week, and all of them have shot up taller.
Yawn. I am slowly catching up with jobs, even sleep. I missed you!
I'm off to write a synopsis and query letter.
Monday, July 20, 2015
I'm back from my weeklong hiatus.
Besides the dirty laundry, groceries from Trader Joe's (which we do not have in the Yakima Valley, so I stop in Issaquah whenever I can and race home with the cold stuff under the AC), business cards from new connections, piles of notes and information, and bags of stamping supplies, I also returned with a very special bag.
That bag contained 113 handmade rubber stamped cards. Two days worth of creativity, brainstorming, and tireless work (I might add that my tireless work now begins to run down about 10:00 PM, as opposed to midnight or later when I was younger) was carefully packed into a small bag.
What do we do? Eat, visit, listen to music, walk, eat, sleep a little, and stamp cards. Stamp, fold, cut, trim, glue, tape, glitter, color . . .
It makes me happy. Now I have plenty of new cards to mail to friends and family. And Kevin, compliments of Alyson, has his own box of specially made greeting cards that he can use for his own personal correspondence.
It wasn't long, but we made every minute count.
113 is a good number.
P.S. I will be posting the cards on my Pinterest page, so if you would like to see my creations and perhaps glean an idea or two, go check it out. My Pinterest handle is Angie Quantrell. Look for the Rubber Stamping board.
Monday, July 13, 2015
Monet and Mabel are sisters as well as friends. And in the kitty world, they are also co-conspirators, hunters, fighters, sneakers, racers, destroyers, and makers of great messes.
But when their work is all said and done, as twin girls often do, they recline in similar positions. Most of the time, this is true. I've never seen two cats pose so identically.
This week I will be off running around with friends - eating and rubber stamping and chatting. I will also travel to the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference to see old friends and make new ones while learning more about the trade and career of writing. Due to all that gallivanting around, I will not be blogging.
Mostly I will be learning and listening and creating. A vacation and an academy for my mind, all at the same time.
May many blessings and wonderful times grace your home and family this week. Enjoy summer!
See you next week.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Last Saturday, while the temps were soaring over 100 degrees F., my honey and I enjoyed the coolness of the Snoqualmie Pass Tunnel. This hike, really a walk, is perfect for those hot days when you just need to cool off. That is a true statement as evidenced by the hordes of bicyclists and hikers joining us in the dark cold.
Beautiful flowers grow on both ends of the 2.3 mile long tunnel. Inside? Nothing but damp, drips, mold, and gravel. That, and blissful cold.
My honey approaching the tunnel entrance from the east, headed west. As suggested, we wore our walking safety vests, to alert wheeled travelers and give them the chance to see us in the dim - ok, nonexistent - light. Coming around the slight bend in the trail from the parking lot off the Hyak exit on Snoqualmie Pass, we could feel the cool AC blowing through the tunnel. Ah, heat relief was in sight! Due to the low temps in the tunnel, take a jacket.
Not much to take pictures of in the tunnel. Flashlights are a necessity, though one can see a tiny dot of light at the end. Emphasis on tiny. After this sort of scary mug shot, we gave up trying until we neared the western end of the tunnel.
The light from the tunnel entrance/exit slowly, ever so gradually, appeared closer and larger.
The hat is a dead giveaway as to whom I am following out into the light.
Beautiful views, some shade, a few picnic tables, and a potty await tunnel traffic.
Wildflowers covered the sides of the path.
The western tunnel entrance is located beneath power lines. Every time I travel back to eastern Washington along I-90, I look and try to find the tunnel entrance. It has not happened. I think the side of the mountain blocks the view.
See? He is not so scary in the daylight.
Me? I have some hair going on. The damp tunnel helped curls turn into wild frizz.
As long as the tunnel is not closed for blasting for the construction project on I-90, the tunnel hike is a wonderful break from sunlight and the normal daylight hikes.
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Look what delicious-ness came about when I decided to experiment with cooking in parchment paper folded packets! The salmon was super moist and tasty. I think this will stay on our repeat menu list. Enjoy.
Salmon in Parchment Paper Packets
~ 2 salmon fillets (or however many you need for your household)
~ thinly sliced yellow squash
~ thinly sliced red and yellow peppers
~ diced green peppers
~ thinly sliced onions
~ Mrs. Dash
~ olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut squares of parchment paper, making them large enough so there is extra paper for folding and forming a packet.
3. Place each salmon fillet on a piece of parchment paper.
4. Layer squash, peppers, and onions on each salmon fillet.
5. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over veggies and sprinkle with black pepper and Mrs. Dash. Fold parchment paper closed over the top of the fish and vegetables, making sure no holes are left for steam and juices to escape. (See photo.) Place on a cooking sheet or large casserole dish.
6. Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes.
7. Serve with your choice of sides. Be careful when you open the steaming hot packets!
We just ate the salmon out of the packets, which worked fine. I think I will experiment with other vegetables like cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced potatoes, broccoli, fresh peas - almost anything!
Actually, this is sounding pretty good for dinner. Maybe the chicken will have to wait.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The boy loves his 'eeee.'
That would be his blankie. This much loved, nearly fleece-less blanket is blue and covered in yellow ducks and bubbles. Most prominent are the duckies.
Enter a certain developmental stage, and this boy hauls that poor ducky blankie everywhere. Pool? Yep. Outside? Definitely. Dirt, asphalt, bark, truck, car, mealtime, or bedtime - duckies are present and accounted for. Especially bedtime.
How does mommy manage to wash the poor ducky blankie?
Sneakery. Thievery. Mass distraction.
Today Nana bought the boy 2 whole yards of NEW ducky fleece. It actually still has fleece attached. We are talking one happy boy who 'eeee'd' his way through the store, holding the pile of fleece, hugging it, rubbing his face on it, and talking to it.
Nana also pulled the sneakery trick. "Oh, Donavyn, go watch the garage door close!"
Quickly, new blankie fleece was in the washer. Mean Nana.
Now to cut it into two pieces and blanket stitch the edges. Mommy and Nana will have insurance against original-duckie-blankie disaster.
Guess who else loved fleece blankets? Daddy.
Like father, like son.
Monday, July 6, 2015
It's been Mad Monday here all day long.
Originally, I was going to spend the day off on a retreat by me-lonesome, taking photos, dabbling with watercolor paints, and chilling. Well. That didn't happen.
I had to harvest the garden. Green beans, wax beans, yellow squash, and raspberries were waiting for me.
The gardens had to be soaked. This 100-plus spell is taking it's toll. Raspberry and blueberry leaves are positively baked on top.
Laundry. Oh, boy. For two of us, it is amazing. Loads of laundry and changing of the sheets. Not as important or exciting as the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, but necessary.
Grocery. Shopping. My usual store (first word starts with an F, second word begins with M) is in major remodel mode. Can't find anything and most things are non-existent. Still, I was there early and the crowds were light.
Spreading bark on my triangle kitchen garden was mandatory. The heat has been brutal. Poor plants. The cats loved helping me and the soil should stay moist and weed free(er).
Due to above cats, I had to recover a bird. Dead this time. My first hint was Monet trying to get something beneath the couch. As she walked off, I thought, ok, it's a toy.
Hours later, a I discovered feathers in two spots. Ok. It was not a toy. Up went the couch, and there amidst many kitty toys was a poor dead sparrow. After fighting off Mabel, who loves stealing Monet's prizes, and shooing off Monet, who wanted her birdie back, I was able to capture and dispose of said bird. The good news is that it was dead and therefore easier to catch.
Plenty of green beans filled my basket, so a second batch of spicy garlic green beans made their way through the pickling process.
Muesli was on the list of to-do's, but guess who forgot oatmeal? Kind of an important ingredient in oatmeal muesli.
So far, laundry remains on the list. As do tacos for dinner, numerous paperwork tasks, packing for a writer's conference, piling craft supplies for a rubber stamp fest,
and writing tasks.
I could sure use a tea break. How about it? See you in five. And then we can chat about your weekend.
Like Mabel, I'm exhausted. However, I will not recline on the table like a naughty kitty.
I suppose it will be Mad Monday until tomorrow, when it is Tuesday.
Saturday, July 4, 2015
Nana began the 4th of July celebration early by sewing red, white, and blue clothing items for her grands (and a grand-niece). It never hurts to dress for the occasion, right?
And no one can have too much red, white, and blue on July 4th.
Happy Independence Day, America!
Friday, July 3, 2015
Welcome to birthday month at the Quantrell household.
July 1st - nephew Sebastian had his birthday
July 2nd - grandson Donavyn turned 2
July 3rd ~ Papa turned 52 (yikes)
July 4th ~ America will celebrate Independence Day
July 17th ~ nephew Cody has a birthday
This list does not even count 4 of my friends who celebrate a birthday in July! But as they don't live in my house...
Happy Birthday to my honey, family members, friends, and my country! May you have many, many more happy days.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Thankful Thursday is once again upon us.
A list of things beginning with Ss for which I am thankful:
~ the Son
~ my sons
~ spicy spaghetti
~ strolling along the beach
~ sunsets with my honey
~ spiders that eat bugs
~ silly kitties that try and climb telephone poles to catch fledgling birds
~ Swiss chocolate
~ Salvation paid for by my Savior
~ suitcases (that means I get to go on a trip)
~ see-ing (sight)
~ scoops of ice cream
~ His Sacrifice
~ sandy beaches
~ Scotland (bucket list)
~ sleigh (as in one-horse-open)
~ stamps (rubber)
~ skeleton to hold my skin up
~ Stars and Stripes - Happy Birthday, America!
Do you know how many words there are that begin with Ss? Amazing.
How about you? What are you thankful for that begins with Ss?