Modest Monday: Pretty Summer Florals

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A couple of weeks ago, I was digging through my closet for something yellow in celebration of my Sweetie’s birthday, as it’s his favorite, especially on redheads. And I had just worn my one yellow dress to church a couple of weeks before. As we were celebrating on Sunday, this presented a dilemma. I ended up finding a few forgotten dresses. I love that! I decided to wear this pretty floral one in a completely different way to help modernize it, but then found out about a couple of the kids I used to take care of as a nanny were getting baptized (YAY!) at their church, so I wore a different dress that would blend in more. I’m an extrovert, but don’t really like to stand out so much in a new situation. πŸ™‚

 

And it’s been TOOOOOOO long since my last Modest Monday post!!!

 

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Soooo, a week later, yesterday, I wore the pretty floral! I belted it so it was shorter and easier to walk and move in, Paired it with my lacy cardi and tan sandals and wore the mock up of the earring my girls wore in our wedding, green heart stone danglers. Of course it was another hot day, so a side braid finished it off.

 

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So my red hair shows up better. πŸ™‚ And, a certain someone doesn’t always notice things like flipped over collars. πŸ˜‰

 

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Lots of fun compliments! πŸ™‚

 

Also, because I love his new shirt so much:

 

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And he’s so handsome! πŸ™‚

 

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Have a great week! Filled with smiles!!

 

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Love Is In The Air

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A few weeks ago, Stephanie, the Community Coordinator from Bloom Nation contacted me about writing a post about the different ways we celebrate love, especially on the ordinary days, as opposed to holidays, birthdays, etc. Have you heard of Bloom Nation? I hadn’t. They support local communities by partnering with independent florists and showcase their handcrafted arrangements in their marketplace. What a cool idea!!Β  This is actually a concept I know very well! It’s something I’ve adopted in my own life for quite a few years. You’d be amazed how evenΒ  littleΒ  30 second effort can brighten an otherwise mundane or stressful day.

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When we were dating, and working conflicting hours, the romance seemed lacking and I gently suggested to my Sweetie that he didn’t have to make grand gestures all the time, but a little note here and there would really help us feel more connected while we were both working. Even a short note on a piece of scratch paper would work. It helped that we worked at a Christian Conference Center and could drop off notes easily. And I worked at the Registration Desk which ALWAYS had scratch paper available. AND, Pass It On cards were hugely popular at the time. Ever since then, we leave little notes for each other regularly. Of course there are dry times, but we always pick it up again. I pick up cute Post Its when I see them and they work great for a simple “I Love You” on the bathroom mirror or kitchen counter/cabinet as a surprise in the morning. Or his lunch box. The same with these pretty, already written notes from a notepad I bought a while back. Last weekend our church had a couples dinner and gave us 3×5 cards to write notes on for our sweeties. Several years ago I bought a little valentine mailbox and we started using it to leave little notes or pustichalks (just a little something), a term we learned from our Russian family members. This year we received this adorable mailbox from my husband’s wonderful cousin as the gift box! Perfect for this gingerbread lover. So this is our new giftie mailbox. And bonus, it’s bigger, so we won’t have to leave bigger things next to it instead of inside. πŸ™‚

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Of course, we still love to celebrate the regular stuff, like our anniversary this Sunday! And who doesn’t like getting flowers for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and just to show you care?! Sometimes we give flowers, and sometimes we do other things for each other. Sometimes we watch a special movie, go to a favorite location, have a special meal, anything that means something to us. For example, for our Irish related anniversary, we might eat Shepherd’s Pie and Soda Bread, watch something Irish related or honeymoon related like Ever After because we watched it on our honeymoon, listen to Irish music, watch or perform Irish dancing, you get the idea. Or watch our wedding video or peruse our wedding album. And enjoy the shamrock plant from our reception that was a table centerpiece. The main thing is, we like celebrating each other and people in general. Relationships are precious and special, so we like to celebrate that in little ways as well as big ways.

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And I love Irish Belles, usually found at Trader Joe’s these days.

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Because flowers ARE pretty and cheerful!

We apply this same idea when remember those that aren’t with us anymore. By doing an activity that reminds us of them. I drink black cherry Pop Shoppe Pop when I’m thinking about my dad. And I think of him when I have non-chocolate cake, because we were the only two family members, including all relatives, who didn’t choose chocolate for our birthdays. And sports always make me think of him and all of the different games we went to with my brothers, because I didn’t have a sister until I was 9, and she was a baby! My dad and I had a lot in common, including personalities. πŸ™‚

***** All of these months later I’m finally finishing this post after many health struggles, family emergencies, travels and stress! ****

I have a couple of little girls in my life and we like to connect by crafting and drinking tea together. Quality time spent chatting while doing things we love! Quality time is actually one of my Love Languages.Β  I often deliver flowers to one of the girl’s friends/neighbors on May Day that I’ve bought or we’ve made together. She loves it! πŸ™‚

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When we remember and celebrate our Chelsie we like to look at her photos, say her favorite phrases, listen to her favorite song (Diving In by Steven Curtis Chapman), set up the train, watch Mary Poppins or The Gnome Mobile because she looked like Karen Dotrice, etc.

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All of these probably reveal my love of themes! πŸ™‚

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A few other things we’ve done are kissing and saying I love you when we part, having a date most weeks, texting as a way to check in and stay connected during the day (including fun emojis the other might like πŸ™‚ ) and just trying to be conscious of being considerate to each other. Helping each other out when needed, or anticipating needs are some of the best ways of showing someone you care, in the most important ways.

The BEST way to let someone you love them? Show them you care about their needs, thoughts and lives. Throwing in a card, flowers or a gift are just the icing on the cake. The Lord really wants us most of all, to show we care though our actions! πŸ™‚

How do you show people in your life that you care?

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Lucy and Nora’s Dollhouse

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A few weeks ago we saw JJ Heller for the first time!!!! Whee!!!! Have you heard of her? She’s fabulous!Β  We both LOVE Dave and JJ Heller, so we were pretty excited!

 

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They DID NOT disappoint! πŸ™‚

 

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And during the meet and greet? They made each and every one of us feel like we were their friend! You can discover JJ Heller HERE ,HERE and HERE.

 

About a week before, I decided to make a dollhouse for their ADORABLE little girls, Lucy and Nora, as a way to bless their family in return for all of the blessings they’ve given us. Hurry, hurry! So it was a bit of a rush job, but I did it! Then, two days before, my Sweetie pointed out that they may not be able to get it home. And I realized he might be right now that they live in Nashville and probably flew. 😦 I plugged away at it anyway, wrote her a message and took it along…just in case.

 

Lucy:

 

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Nora:

 

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Aren’t their names adorable too?

 

So I made them a house. And when we met Dave and JJ after the event, I told them about it, presented the issue I hadn’t thought of, and…she said, “We’ll figure it out!” Yipee! Two things going through my head here: They’re as excited as I am about it, and good, because I forgot to bring Finger Puppet Stages as a backup. So I sent my Sweetie to the car to retrieve the house and the look in their eyes when they saw it made all of the rushing around to finish worth it!! πŸ™‚

 

So…here’s the house. I forgot to take a photo of the entire house, but here are the individual rooms.

The Bedroom:

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A dresser made out of mini nerds boxes and flower thumbtacks, The dresses the dolls came in on hangers from a Dollar Tree pack that included the doll, bed, desk, stool and nightstand. The guitar, perfect for this family, and bear are party favors from DT. The drum is an ornament and I crocheted the blanket for the bed.

 

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I straightened out a a paperclip and stuck it into the cardboard as a rod for the hangers. The Micky and Minnie artwork came from a Valentine box. πŸ™‚

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The Bathroom:

 

 

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Here’s one of the dolls. I took off the cheap, plastic dresses (but I’ve learned that the girls want them anyway) and made new dresses out of ribbon trim and lace. The dressing table, hair dryer and perfume bottles came in the pack from DT. The sink is a pizza riser, juice cap and a bit of pipe cleaner as the faucet. The bathtub is the container from fake Dippin’ Dots.

 

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A scrapbooking sticker becomes another piece of art.

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Aren’t these dolls adorable?

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The Living Room:

 

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An H for Heller! A mini paper umbrella becomes an overhead light. I made a davenport from jewelry boxes and contact paper. A floor lamp from a spool, wasshi tape, paper, a Que tip, mini cupcake liner and flower thumbtack. The other doll, a coaster as a rug and an entertainment center,grandfather clock, baby carriage, baby, baby bottles and rattle fromΒ  DT packs. I made a tiny dress out of ribbon with elastic along the side, which is now the top of the dress.

 

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The Kitchen:

 

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More of that contact paper, an apron made from fabric backed with Heat ‘n Bond and hung on a thumbtack. The table is made from a spool covered in washi tape with a thrift store coaster glued on top. Plates and butter churn(used to me part of party favors) and chairs from DT packs.The cake is two lids glued together with a fabric flower glued on top. The stove is made from a small gift box, stickers I cut down and Velcro circle stickers. The fridge is another small box with food stickers inside. And this time I made a MAILBOX!! I’m super happy with the way it turned out! It’s scrapbook paper and glue posted on a small box covered in contact paper. Then I made letters out of textured scrapbook paper.

 

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The Mailbox:

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The Patio “Stuff”:

 

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An umbrella table from a Kuerig cup (with the top cut off, coffee emptied, cleaned and top put back on), a pool made out of plastic bracelets and scrapbook covered cardboard and a fire pit with sparkly pipe cleaner and twig bits.

 

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A tire swing from popsicle sticks and a tire themed yoyo, a cupcake topper turned giraffe toy and a yogurt spoon turned shovel.

 

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And a condiment cup becomes a toy box with more DT favors.

And here’s the outside:

 

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The patio folds up and latches at the top for storage and transport. Here’s the front door and the scalloped roof.

 

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I cut trees from scrapbook paper and glued them to the walls. Then added this cute owl. πŸ™‚

 

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So, there you have it. An adorable dollhouse for two adorable girls!! πŸ™‚

You can also see Evie’s and Abby’s Dollhouses!

 

 

 

My Easy Two Ingredient Chai Frappaccino

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I’m a loyal, straight black Irish or English tea drinker. I didn’t even like flavored black tea until a few years ago when our local Tea Room proprietor talked into trying the amazing French Caramel Creme Brule. So yummy!! So I’ll drink that, or vanilla or peach/apricot, but mostly straight black with a bit of milk.

But the moment I tried my first hot Oregon Chai, I was hooked!! All of those yummy spices and the creaminess of the added milk. Yum!! So sometimes I’ll have that for my morning tea time, especially if I’m wanting to up me protein intake.

So I also fell in love the first time I had a Chai Frappaccino! It’s especially refreshing on these very HOT days, with it’s frozen coldness. My one complaint has always been that it needs more ice, and sometimes they did it for me, sometimes not. The unique thing about the chai version is that it doesn’t have yucky coffee, and it isn’t as overly sweet as the others, just spicy. πŸ™‚

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I rarely spend the money on one, usually using gift cards I receive, and don’t really love supporting companies that endorse things I don’t. Soooo…I’m always on the lookout for copycat recipes. Have you heard of The Pioneer Woman? Well, she re-shared her copycat recipe again yesterday and I re-tried it, but it was too watered down. Her coffee concentrate might be stronger than my chai, so you should still try hers if you love coffee. But while I was drinking it, I thought, “What if I freeze the concentrate into cubes and it also becomes the ice?”

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So today I used some of the frozen chai and added milk, and it tastes just like the real thing!!! No fancy, mysterious creme base. Happy girl here!! πŸ™‚

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So here’s my super difficult recipe, prepare yourself:

Pour chai concentrate into ice trays and freeze completely.

Put 8 cubes into a blender

Add 1 cup of milk and blend thoroughly.

Pour into a glass and ENJOY!!!

Soooo, sooooo good!!!

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And only slightly more complicated than the ice cube making recipe I saw earlier today, haha!! πŸ˜‰

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Abby’s Shoebox Dollhouse

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I finished another Shoebox Dollhouse for another young friend! And I’m already halfway finished with my third. It’s getting faster and easier as the routine is built and the supplies are gathered! πŸ™‚

Above is the Bedroom for the kids. The parents don’t get one. Haha! Of course, there are only kid dolls anyway. πŸ™‚

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Here’s the happy girl with the entire house in my fuzzy Instagram photo. I think this is the only photo that shows the American flag flying. See it on her cheek?

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The Bedroom:

I had a few pieces of furniture I had gathered from somewhere, including a toy box, so they moved in. Little baby doll, a “stuffed” bear and carriage(with a little mattress I made) are party favors from Dollar Tree. A gumball machine my Sweetie found for free at a garage sale. A sticker for a mirror, a crocheted blanket and sewn pillow and a matchbook dresser with flower thumbtacks from Daiso backed with little beads to cover the point. A sweet doll completes the look, with her fabric dress I made from pretty trim and lace to replace the ugly, plastic one she came with.

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I used scrapbook paper and wrapping paper for the wallpapers and floors. I love the little hat that was on some clearance cupcakes at our grocery store. a couple of years ago. I bought them for the hats!! πŸ™‚

Mickey and Minnie from a valentine heart box, and a clothesline holding dresses I cut from fabric after adhering them to heat and bond so they won’t fray. They’re hanging from little hangers I made from paperclips. And a paper umbrella is the light fixture.

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The guitar is another Dollar Tree item and the lamp is from a furniture pack (which also included the doll) I found there, after the plans were already in motion for her house.

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Here’s the Bathroom: A toilet made from an aloe vera bottle top, glued to a juice top, I think. I save all tops these days, so who knows? The rug is a coaster, the sink is a top glued to a pizza riser, and a faucet fashioned from a pipe cleaner. Another sticker mirror and a cram cheese container covered in washi tape for a bathtub. Also another paper umbrella as a light fixture. Stickers for artwork and I needed to build a shelf out of a jewelry box for a hair dryer, mirror and spray bottle from that furniture pack again.

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Here’s the Living Room:

My little lamp made from a mini cupcake paper and Q-tip and flower thumbtack, sitting on a Dixie cup and cardboard circle. Another coaster rug, a chair made from a box cut in half and glued together and a nut cup is a stool. A grandfather clock and another bookshelf holding pretty perfume bottles and a mini frame holding a “Frozen” picture becomes a TV. πŸ™‚

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A mini frame from the craft store with a bumblebee sticker as the artwork.

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And the Kitchen:

I forgot to take a photo of the entire room, ack! A sample cup from Hot Dog on a Stick becomes the base for the table, with a cardboard circle covered in washi tape for the top. Mini frisbee party favors become plates. This also highlights the Animal Cookie Circus cages on her patio. πŸ™‚

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An apron, broom and butter churn (really a ball catcher turned upside down). A hutch and one of the clothespin dolls I made before I found the other dolls.

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A stove with Velcro circle burners and a fun fridge and cake made from more tops.

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The stove and fridge are boxes covered with paper. I made the oven door with stickers and cut a door for the fridge, using pins I cut and bent away the sharp edges for the handles.

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A few years ago, our VBS theme was camping and I created a “firepit” for my classroom. I recreated that in mini form here, with twigs, sparkly sequins and pipe cleaners hiding underneath.

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What do you think of my tire swing and swing set sitting on the walkway here? A Yo-yo is the swing and Popsicle sticks with notches make the set. I thought I would need to hang the swing in front of the kitchen, until the last second when I finally came up with this idea!! YAY!!! πŸ™‚

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Plastic bracelets make a pool and a spool, a Q-tip and umbrella provide some shade.

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Annnnnd…the outer walls:

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The patio folds up and closes the house for transport. This box didn’t have an attached lid, so I masking taped a large piece of cardboard to the main box. It works as a great hinge. I cut the window, trees and flowers from scrapbook paper. Originally I thought I found the perfect box, that even had the mom’s name on it, but it was too beat up, so I did this instead. πŸ™‚

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The front door.

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The clasps.

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When I saw this paper at our craft store at 10 for $1, I immediately thought…ROOF!!!

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She’s a happy girl, with hours of play time ahead!! πŸ™‚

And here’s the First House I made!

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Our Irish Party

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Ack! I’m finally sharing about our Irish party with our friends! I started it days ago, but kept getting interrupted by more urgent things. Anyway, here it is!

We have some friends that love to celebrate the Irish culture like we do, so we sometimes have get-togethers in March and mix the American with the Irish cultures.

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So here’s our serving table with drinks, dessert and the food I forgot to photograph as I was hostessing. My mother-in-law brought some green carnations for the table. We had Bewley’s tea (my favorite tea!) in our Carrigaline shamrock tea cups, punch made from rainbow sherbet and 7up for an American touch, Shepherd’s Pie, Steamed Cabbage and White and Brown Soda Bread, served with Dubliner cheese.

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For dessert we had a field of shamrock cookies and some rainbow cupcakes. All yummy!!!! πŸ™‚

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And here’s our table, festive and fun!

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Some of the decorations:

Gnomes, mushrooms and egg cups as tea lights.

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Shamrock and flower plants and this adorable painted rock my Sweetie found for my anniversary gift!

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I made this table cloth several years ago, and collected the napkins from somewhere?

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We had loads of fun eating, visiting and listening to Van Morrison and The Chieftains. The girls were even surprised to hear they ate Brussels sprouts sneaked into the gravy of the shepherd’s pie…and didn’t hate it!!! πŸ™‚

The girls spent hours in the Bear House and Secret Garden, on the swing and saying hello to the horses next door. The adults spent that time catching up, visiting, eating and cleaning up.

And HERE are the recipes if you’re interested!! πŸ™‚

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Modest Monday: Shamrock Edition

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Haha! Two weeks later, here we go! Celebrating and having WordPress issues has made my Irish Day posts take longer, sadly. I like to share photos and the photos weren’t loading any way that I tried! But here we go finally! So, For Modest Monday, here’s what I wore the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day. It’s a good thing we enjoy the Irish culture year round! πŸ™‚

I made this little jacket several years agoΒ  and I still love it. πŸ™‚

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I absolutely LOVE these new shoes! They are a Mary Jane style with wee heels and would be great for swing dancing or a more comfortable version of character shoes…says the dancer. πŸ™‚

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See what I mean?

And this pretty, elegant jewelry was a gift from my in-laws.

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I’ve had this barrette since college…so just a little while…ahem. Haha!

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It was yet another hot day, so my hair was up in a messy bun with the barrette around the hair bands.

Now, how about these brand new rings? The shamrock one is from Avon and the flower is from Kohl’s. I LOVE them!!!

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I’ve been needing a temporary wedding ring as I’ve gained weight and live with hot, swollen fingers a lot in our summery climate. So, I wore this one while I waited for another one to arrive.

I find it fun to dress in festive clothing, do you?

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Ways to Celebrate Ireland Day

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I’ve written a bunch of posts about the ways we celebrate Ireland. Our anniversary is just a few days earlier, and we both have Irish roots. I also lived there for two years as a missionary, so we like to celebrate the friendliness, beauty, food, music and dance of Ireland’s emerald shores. We sometimes do something more Americanized like lime and 7up punch, but we mostly do things the Irish way. So I’m including the links to all of my previous posts right here, nice and handy!

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Shepherd’s Pie

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Irish Soda Bread

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Mince and Potatoes

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Our Irish Anniversary

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Lily’s Brown Bread

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St. Patrick’s Day outfits, accessories, Irish Stew and Barry’s Tea

So, take a peek and see if there’s something here to help you celebrate Irish culture and all things shamrock!

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Love Day

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This time of year we are all focused on LOVE. And tomorrow we’re celebrating the love between two friends as they pledged their lives to each other. Such a fun way to celebrate LOVE and marriage! We’ll be remembering our own wedding, others we love…and the most important love…our Lord’s love for us. Unconditional, all consuming, gracious and forgiving. There’s so much more even to His GREAT LOVE for us! What a blessing!

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So, as I celebrate the beginning of our friends’ brand new marriage, my own 16 year marriage to my Sweetie, most of all I’ll celebrate the love of my God and Saviour, without whose love I would be lost and alone, but instead am cherished and cared for. I’m so thankful there is LOVE!! πŸ™‚

Brownie Shortcake

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Last weekend I made an early Valentine celebration dessert since we’ll be at a wedding on Valentine’s Day. Let me say, a wedding is going to be a fun way to celebrate!! πŸ™‚

I didn’t make anything heart shaped or dyed red or pink. I just made some brownies, topped them with sliced strawberries and finished it all off with whipped cream. This is now a new favorite dessert!! There’s something so refreshing about this lighter dessert. The yummy chocolaty-ness paired with the fresh strawberries and sweet whipped cream.Β  It’s the perfect combination! I was dreaming of another bite! πŸ™‚

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Brownie Shortcake

Ingredients:

*Brownies baked to your liking

*Strawberries, sliced and mixed with a bit of sugar to create a syrup (you could skip this step if your berries are super ripe)

Whipping cream, whipped with a bit of sugar (or not). I like to over whip my cream a bit as it holds up better and is more luxurious).

*Layer and enjoy! My Sweetie LOVED it!!

Always perfect with a cup of tea!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Spend some time with your Sweetie, and your little sweeties too! πŸ™‚