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!!  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 even  little  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. 🙂

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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. 🙂

***** 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.  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! 🙂

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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! 🙂

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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 🙂 ) 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! 🙂

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

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Homemaking LInkup

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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!! 🙂

Lord’s Day Scriptures: Give Thanks

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We’ve all spent the past few days, or maybe the past month or two focusing on the things we’re THANKFUL for. Sometimes it’s difficult to feel thankful, and sometimes it’s easy ti find many things. But one thing we can ALWAYS find thankfulness in is HOPE! In our Lord’s LOVE and FORGIVENESS! We will always find sin attractive, but we’ll also always find God ready to receive our repentant hearts and forgive us. That gives me HOPE!! And the HOPE of knowing that as Christ Followers we get to live with God forever in PARADISE, real paradise, not what we as humans imagine as paradise. True paradise is being with the Lord of Lords forever!! YIPEE!!

No matter what’s happening in our lives, no matter the circumstances, these are the things we can always be thankful for! :>

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ”  1 Thessalonians 5:18

**Photo found on Facebook**

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Lord’s Day Scriptures: Lavished Love

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I think I may start a new little series here called Sunday Scriptures. I’ll find an encouraging Bible verse and a pretty photo and share a little Godly Truth and encouragement each week here. It’ll be short and sweet and not take up a lot of precious weekend time saved for family and friends and God’s Word.   :>

 

I LOVE the word LAVISHED! It truly conveys God’s deep love for us!

 

Have a great week!!

 

(I found the graphic on Facebook and that’s all I know).

 

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My Modest Wedding Dress

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Inspired by the Modest Mom’s modest wedding dress inspiration this week and the fact that it’s wedding season for most people, I thought I would share photos from my wedding and how I made it more modest. Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad to begin with.

And you’ll notice that my Sweetie’s “skirt” is shorter than mine. :>

 

I found my dress at a Vietnamese bridal shop just up the street from my apartment. Why is that so important you ask? Because I’m only 4’11”  tall (or short :>) and this dress was the PERFECT length!! One alteration I expected to face, but didn’t have to. Yay! It didn’t have a train and the v-neck wasn’t modest enough, so my mother-in-law offered to make a train and a modesty panel if we could find the right fabrics, which we did!! And she did!! ( We also found all of the other fabrics for dresses and ring bearer outfit). You would never know those two things were added to my dress. And with the extra fabric she also made me a little purse for tissues, lipstick touch ups, etc. She also made the made-of-honor dress for my now cousin-in-law and the adorable, old fashioned shorts outfit for our ring bearer. She was such a blessing!

Here’s my sister helping me get ready. You can see the modesty panel here.

 

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Walking down the isle was such a joy! No more planning and seeing our family and friends there to love and support us.

 

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Our first communion as husband and wife. See my beautiful train? I LOVE it!! It had hooks that attached to my dress, then could be removed for the reception and Irish ceili dancing. :>

 

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The first person to call me Mrs. Ferrel was my husband’s aunt. Sweet words to my ears!!

 

Sometimes the groom needs his “skirt/train” fluffed too! Haha! :>

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The sweetest little flower girl in the world! She is now 18 years old. How is that possible?! We had/have a special relationship, so our wonderful photographer and friend captured our love for each other here. Definitely a favorite of mine!!

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Her dress went so well with mine, a great find! I completely forgot to wear my veil over my face so my groom could lift it to kiss me. I was sad.

I made my own veil and made it adaptable like the train.I took a plain, silk headband, glued flowers onto it and made the tulle veil part detachable so I could wear the headband alone. I still have it!!

 

My dear friends and sister! And the cutest little flower girl again!

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Three out of four sisters plus two husbands.

 

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A wedding in march, in Oregon means rain. But we have a chauffeur with an umbrella for the bride.

 

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HAPPY new bride and groom!!

 

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Time for some Irish ceili dancing!

 

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This Irish kilt was a last minute addition to the wedding, once my Sweetie found out that for years I had wanted my groom to wear a kilt! I guess he loves if this introvert was willing to dress like this for me with all of these eyes on him!

 

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The kids couldn’t wait for CAKE!!And my flower girl wanted to be right there with me the whole time. So sweet!

 

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Our cake was a last minute disaster. The week before our wedding , the beloved Kienows Bakery called to say they were closing their business a few months earlier than planned. What? So I needed a new bakery, and fast. It’s only a cake. So I decided not to try to transport it the two hours out the location, but go with a local grocery store and save myself more headaches. I called, and she had JUST put the order in for the next week. Ack! Thankfully, she said she could call them right back, but couldn’t do anything fancy at this last minute. She DID say she’d try to add some shamrocks for us. :>

It’s just a cake, and everything worked out. It’s also just a wedding, the marriage is more important. You know what people have said to us the most, (besides comments about the kilt :>) that our wedding was very God-honoring. What a lovely compliment.

 

 

The adorable ring bearer outfit. His brothers told him he would have to marry the flower girl if he walked with her down the isle. Brothers are such torturers!

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Off to the honeymoon amidst a birdseed shower!!

 

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Such a happy, blessed day for us 15 years ago! So many struggles and so many joys. And our Lord has been with us every step of the way, guiding us in His ways.

 

 

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 The Homemaking Party

 

 

Modest Monday: Lace Valentine Dress

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It feels so good to get back to a Modest Monday post! I feel like the past few months have literally just flown by! I was in Oregon for two weeks, then arrived home the day before Valentine’s Day. My Sweetie had a very busy two weeks at home. We were both exhausted, so, needless to say, we  had NOTHING planned to celebrate and chose to plan something ON Valentine’s Day, as we relaxed and rested up.

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Before I left town, I had nothing prepared, no gifts, nothing! Thankfully I was able to pick up a few surprises in my travels, including a couple of special treats we don’t often get to enjoy, as they aren’t exactly local. :>

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Special occasion Krispy Kreme I picked on my 4 hour drive home after landing, celebrating my sister-in-law’s birthday early and spending the night.

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Heart meringues from my favorite Solvang bakery, Olsen’s. But they were out of my favorite Swedish Delight. Good thing I had a Krispy Kreme, another favorite of mine. Meringues are a favorite of my Sweetie. :>

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So on Friday night we enjoyed a home cooked meal, our Krispy Kreme and Miss Potter. We’ve been wanting to re-watch this ever since visiting the Lake District in England last June. It’s such a GORGEOUS area!! I’m ready to go back and spend a whole lot more time there!!

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Isn’t my Sweetie handsome? :>

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We decided to go to an early dinner on Saturday to a local restaurant overlooking the water. It was foggy when we arrived, but cleared up quite a bit in time for Modest Monday photos!

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There’s a bit of pressure to hurry up with your photos when it’s cold and others are waiting to take their own photos!

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GORGEOUS views!!

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My FAVORITE photo of the day!! I LOVE his expression!!

I think it’s my favorite expression of his!!  :>

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My BEAUTIFUL newish jewelry from Etsy, cameo necklace with matching rose earrings!

Coincidentally, my new dress has a bodice detail similar to many figure skating dresses and it’s winter Olympic time right now! I LOVE it! To make it more modest though, I a little perfect match tank underneath.

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A special little pink stoned ring from a craft faire I worked a few years ago.

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Lovely coat I don’t get to wear often enough here. A black Friday deal a few years ago.

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Frankly, having no plans until the last minute took a lot of the pressure and expectations off of our date. The most fun for me was finding this new dress on my drive home and spending special time with my sweetie after a long separation. And his face when I came out in my new outfit! ;>

So, here’s what I’m wearing:

Beautiful pink lace dress and black leggings from Maxx Plus

Pink/peachy modesty tank from  garage sale

Black shrug from Ross or Marshall’s

High heeled black boots from PayLess

Frizzy, big hair is why I try not to shower the day of an event. Sigh…

A great time was had by all, celebrating our love for each other knowing that next month will mean 15 years of marriage!

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Book Review: The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis

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I’m going to postpone my outfit post until tomorrow because I really NEED to get this review posted! Thanks for your patience! I was actually ready to write this post a while back, but needed to write this one first, according to the timing from when I received it. So…then I felt I needed to reread this one in order to refresh my memory. Let me tell you…it was NOT a chore!

I knew the minute I put the book down following the first reading, that I wanted to reread it…and soon! So I was glad to do it, but it has postponed this review. I assure you you though, it will be worth it!

I have been a HUGE Beverly Lewis fan since I first read her first adult Amish fiction novel/series,  “The Shunning” 14 years ago, especially because I related to Katie Lapp, an adopted redhead, just like me! And Beverly Lewis’ still really appeals to me. Thus my love for Plain people began.

I was SUPER excited when this one popped  up in Bethany House Publisher’s list for the  month, and I quickly picked it just in case waiting 10 seconds would mean I would miss out! What if our library didn’t get it? How long would I have to wait to read it? And this way, I own it already, YAY!!

**  {I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for writing a review}

Okay, on to the review:

Beverly Lewis is my all time favorite author, so I expected to like this book. But there’s never a guarantee, and I actually didn’t love one of her books (out of the many others I did/do love), not sure why. But, let me tell you, this story was like magic for me! We get to revisit Hickory Hollow and Katie Lapp and her family, which we haven’t done since October Song a while ago. And it was so wonderful and heartwarming, especially the healing that this community (as well as outside it) needs and receives.

I love the relationship between Rebecca and Jenny, Mary and Jenny and of course Andrew and Jenny. Andrew has become one of my favorite male leading men in Lewis’ books! I just adore him and his sweet patience with Jenny! He is such a strong, loving and patient guy any girl would be blessed to have in her life. And Ella Mae is always the best! There’s a reason they call her “The Wise Woman!” Her sweet relationship with Jenny is just as heartwarming as her relationship with Katie was.

The best part of this book? Coming full circle with Katie, Dan, Mary  and Bishop John’s characters. I think I’ve waited 14 years for this book and resolutions that come for them. And the ABSOLUTE best part? The gospel is crystal clear! It’s one of the reasons Beverly is my favorite author, she makes the gospel message clear in each one of her books, that it isn’t about how good we can be, our works, but what Christ did for us to save us from our sin.

Ella Mae – “Because sometimes when you tell the truth, you can start a fire.”

“Jenny remained in a contrite position, asking for forgiveness, knowing she must trust in divine wisdom and not ‘unto her own understanding’.”

I also loved hearing about Wycliff Bible Translators Deitch Bible. I didn’t even know they were working on it, and the entire Bible is now finished! I appreciate the need to get every people a Bible in their own language, that they may better be able to see their need for God and to receive His wisdom!

I could go on and on, but I may have already given away too much, so I’ll leave it here. I HIGHLY recommend this book to you as a great read, but more importantly, a God honoring read! Jenny Burns is a loveable, relatable, genuine character we can all see a bit of ourselves in. And this story of reconciliation and reconnection is a message for us all!

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Welcome Home Wednesdays

Love From My Sweetie

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My Sweetie wants me to know he loves me!

I LOVE it when my sweetie surprises me and shows me love just because! It makes me feel special and cherished when he thinks of me, and even makes a special stop so he can let me know that in a tangible way!

It reminds me of the way God works. He often surprises us and shows us how much He loves us when we aren’t expecting it, and need the reminder the most!

1John 3:1 “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!”

John 15:9-10 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her…”

Thank you Lord, for constantly loving me, no matter what!

Thank you Sweetie, for finding ways to surprise me with your love, and continuing to date me!

http://www.raisingarrows.net/2013/07/in-honor-of-creed-turning-6-months-welcome-home-wednesday/

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My Birdie Necklace Win

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Take a look at this BEAUTIFUL necklace I won from The Shopping Lounge! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!! She has so many LOVELY items to choose from, and they are wonderfully made and, did I say that they are BEAUTIFUL?  Take a peek for yourself!

 

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I won this necklace through a Facebook giveaway they had, and got to pick my favorite. This was it!

Here are some of her others:

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** The Shopping Lounge isn’t paying me to talk about them, and that isn’t why I won. I just think the pendants are so LOVELY!

Maybe you need one too! :>

Tissue Paper Hat Making Date

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Have you heard of or made Tissue Paper Hats? They are such an easy, adorable craft for a tea party, dress up or just because! This idea came to me thanks to an object lesson given by a speaker at the Family Conference from our old church. I wasn’t a part of the kid’s class this was used in though.   He gave the finished hat to one of the kids and when I saw it, I fell in love. I knew I would be making this with some sweet girls in the future!

The original idea looked like these:

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A simple piece of tissue paper formed around a head-sized bowl, carefully taped around the base with masking tape as you slightly gather, and rounded off to form the brim. I first made these at a Tea Party for my Awana girl’s in 5th and 6th grade.(Notice the drop in picture quality from just 6 or 7 years ago!)

And these:

The Fancy Nancy 5th birthday party of my favorite 6 year old.

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Then, Monday this sweet girl’s mom phoned me saying her little girl had a special request of me. She’s been reading “Ferdinand the Bull” for school and needed to make a hat as a project. Of course she wanted to incorporate the flowers from the story into the hat, right up my alley!!!

She spruced up the whole idea by picking out PATTERNED paper, 3 of them!!! LOVE!! And I brought fun, birthday tape and felt flowers I cut from clearance placemats I KNEW I would be able to use for SOMETHING!! In fact, that’s how I justified buying them in FOUR different colors, and less than a month later, I used some!!! These additions made the hat so much more FABULOUS!! Thank you 6 year old!!

SO ADORABLE!!

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The gathers really made the layers “pop” making it more fun and whimsical!

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We also took the scraps of tissue paper, tied knots in the middle and poked them through the centers of the flowers to create the pollen knob and a stem for easier taping with double sided tape. (Double sided is better for 2 reasons: it’s much stickier, and well, it’s double sided, sticking to both the stem or flower/butterfly AND the “tape band”). Taping it to the tape band allows for mistakes and replacing, as the tissue tears VERY easily.

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LOVE the layers! They add weight and durability also, making them sturdier and less likely to fall off with movement and teeny breezes caused by walking and turning the head.

Kids ALWAYS come up with something creative and unique, even for photos!!

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LOVE those FRECKLES!!

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My in-laws gave me a couple of Raggedies to find new mommies for, and one is now right at home here!

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Do you have fun projects/crafts you love to make with your kids or little friends?
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Hello Monday with Lisa Leonard

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