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November 2006

Book Love

I usually do not see new books I want but lately I have been seeing a lot of new books I want. I am actually a bit embarrassed at the length of the list but here is books I have been coveting.

Sublimecovernew2Sublime Stichingby Jenny Hart

I have some of Sublime Stich patterns and love them. So I can only magine I would love the book.

9781741247176   The Enchanted Doll's Houseby Robyn Johnson

I will probably have to fight Chloe over this one (but I am bigger ;-P)

Fc9780060788063   Creole Thriftby Angele Parlange

I looked at this and the (new huge and next store to cost-plus) Barnes&Noble. It looked lik soo much fun. Like a party in a book.

Sallyjean   Pretty Little Thingsby Sally Jean Alexander

Well what can I say it is Sally Jean !!

Falling_cloudberries   Falling Cloudberriesby Tessa Kiros

Thank youCherryfor posting about this.

9780723258056h    Beatrix Potter. A JournalBy Beatrix Potter

Thank You dear sweet Joanne for letting me know about this one !!!

Words_in_a_french_life_5   Words In A French Lifeby Kristin Espinasse

Newfromold001   New From Oldby Jayne Emerson

Also thank youDebbiefor the heads up about this book.


Christmas Banner

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This is my Chritmas banner. I am soo thrlled with it. I used the paper below for the back piece and I cut out letters from Allsorts alphabet. I used red crepe paper for the  gathered piece. I just pinched the paper in a circle and glued that onto the back piece and then glued the letter on. I ened up adding each letter onto the ribbon with a paper clip, which worked great. Now I and adjust the length of the garland. These picture do not show how wonderful this banner turned out. It gives a ruffled top to the cabnit. Soon I will show the whole cabnit.

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I wanted to share if anyone is on Bainbridge Island this Saturday and Sunday, my friend Angie is having a craft show. She will be selling Waldorf dolls she made, wooden toys her husband made, frankincense, ect. I will be selling my figgy pudding ornaments and the children have made some items also. She lives on Manual Road. There will be a sign on the highway.

Jshandwriting


Christmas House Goodies

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Well the Christmas house was last week.  It just is not the holidays without the Christmas house. I am so in-love with these little paper houses. The church is missing a steeple, so I will have to make one. I am still not sure what to do yet with them, but I have several ideas.

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This is a Christmas gift for David (He never looks at my blog !!) Actually I would get it for me, so he and I can share it. Isn't he lucky !!

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Aren’t these just beautiful. I am always on the lookout for books about birds (for Chloe) that is more then just the facts. We have not read these yet but if they are good I will let you know.

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Lastly these are not from the Christmas house but I just had to share. I am sooo excited. I have been looking forever for jars for all my spices that I loved. Well we have a new Cost-plus (which I am madly in-love with) they have these wonderful spice jars. They look so Victorian and old but only $1.99. I need almost 50 so every pay check I am picking up a few till I get enough.


A Lovely Thanksgiving

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I have survived another Thanksgiving. I spent Sunday in a coma and now I am off and decorating. It takes me a week to decorate the house, so I am off and running.

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It was a yummy Thanksgiving. The dark rye bread was a hit in the stuffing. Aubern'es pecan pie was perfect. My sister made whipped sweet potatoes, potatoes and bananas with candied nuts on top, yumm. Sadly out printer ran out of ink and I could not print off Mrs. Staggs cornucopias, next year !!!!

Here is a picture of Aubern'e and Chloe. They look so beautiful !!

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On Sunday we were thrilled to wake up to snow. Now I know it is not much but for us this about what we get and we had fun standing in the snow trying to eat snow flakes. It was a blessed thanksgiving and I hope it was for each of you ladies.

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Cranberry Muffins

Cranberry 

For Thanksgiving breakfast we are having cranberry muffins. I wanted to share that (as you know) I am big for having food in the freezer, to save me time and money. Well I keep unbaked muffins in the freezer. This is how I do it. I set paper cups in muffin tins, fill each cup with batter. Set pans in freezer. When batter is frozen, I transfer the muffins to freezer baggies. Then I pull out what I want to bake. I DO NOT defrost muffins. I just set the cup frozen in the muffin tin and bake. It will take the muffins maybe 5 minutes longer. Not much. It is soo easy and then you have fresh baked muffins any time you want. This recipe is a page from a cookbook I am making for each of the girls. It make 4-5 dozen muffins.

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Kristin asked about roasting pumpkin, if it tasted better. I do think it does taste better, but it is not a big difference. The big reason I roast the pumpkins is because it is so darn easy. I cut pumpkins in half, scoop out seeds. I use a jelly roll pan (but any pan with sides). Put a 1/2 inch water and set pumpkins in pan. Bake uncovered 350 till pumpkin tender and can easily be pierced with knife. Do not worry about water cooking away, do not add more water. Let pumpkin cool and scoop flesh into processor an throw away skin. Process pumpkin till smooth. I freeze cup-fulls in baggies. This is so much easier then cubing, peeling and steaming (The way I use to do it). Thank you Angie for teaching me this easy way, you are the best !!


Menu Of The Week

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I was asked by a friend (actually a couple) to post my Thanksgiving menu. I said well I never make the same thing twice and she said that was the point. Life is to crazy right now for me to write down all the recipes. So I found recipes similar and I will tell you how I would change them. I always pick menus were I can make part of it ahead of time. I do not like to be a crazy cooking woman on the day. So am making this weekend (we are have Thanksgiving next weekend) the cheese cake and pie crust for the freezer. At the beginning of the week I will make the cranberries sauce and roast the pumpkin for the pie. A day or two before will chop all the veggies I can and roast and peel the chesnuts. I would love to hear what others are making, if you care to share. The girls will be making these sweet Martha’s squirrels with a treat in them for each place setting. And also Mrs. Staggs wonderful cornucopias that we will tuck our napkins in. Thank you Mrs. Staggs. Enjoy all !!

First course

Pumpkin Bisque

Main course

deep fried turkey

sour cream mashed potatoes

gravy

well I hate making gray, so I am buy the pre-made stuff from the gourmet grocery store !!

rye bread stuffing with dried apricots, pecans, and maple sausage

red wine cranberry sauce

green beans with chestnuts

balsamic roasted veggies

I will make this but with more than carrots. Probably peppers, onions, parsnips, pumpkins.

Dessert

pecan pie with whole wheat crust

pumpkin cheesecake

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Christmas Book Tradition

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One of our favorite holiday traditions is to read a Christmas book every night. We start the day after Thanksgiving and read one picture book. We wrap the books in gift wrap, so we never quite know what book that night we will be reading. We now have sooooo many book, (more then the nights), so I take the extra books and put them in a basket. We will usually pick one of those to read to. We always read the same book of Christmas eve "A Christmas Story". So we know what book this is, I have the girls turn around the paper and wrap that book with the back side of the paper. Even though the girls are getting older, they love this and can not wait to pull out the book and wrap them. Here is a list of (not all) but some our favorites. One of our favorites and not well known book is The Christmas Carp by Rita Torqvist

"The days before Christmas, Grandpa buys a Christmas tree, and Thomas buys a carp (a traditional Czechoslovakian Christmas dinner main course) which he name Peppo. Peppo swims in the bathtub while Thomas feeds him cookies and pretends he is a whale. But as Christmas dinner draws near, Thomas grows very sad. He wants to Keep Peppo for a pet. "

0849958830 A Child’s Christmas At Saint Nicolas Circle by Thomas Kinkade

074121623x_1 The Secret Santa Of Old Stanington by Mark Kimball Moulton

0741208660_1 The Visit by Mark Kimball Moulton

Polarjkt_1 The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

 

Hw799_1 The Year Of The Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

0863153720_2 Peter and Lottas Christmas by Elsa Beskow

Hw766 Alabaster Song by Max Lucado

Hw74 The Christmas Cat

Beckys1 Becky’s Christmas

Cover_corgivilleb Corgiville Christmas

Hw75 Dolls Christmas all by Tasha Tudor

111_1The Last Straw by Fredrick H Thury

Hw72_2 The Christmas Carp by Rita Torqvist

Hw79 Santa Comes To The Little House

Snow Angel by Debbie Boone

Christmas On An Island by Gale Gibson

Hw7Lucy’s Christmas by Donald Hall

Babar Babar Fathers Christmas by Jean De Brunhoff

Cnd The Candy Makers Gift by David & Helen Haidle

Gifchristorywildsmith A Christmas Story by Brian Wildsmith

A Christmas Card For Mr. McFizz by Obren Bakich

Hw77 The Sugar Child by Monique De Varennes

Kit The Christmas Day Kitten by James Herriot

Appl_1 Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble

Boy The Boy Of The Bells by Carly Simon


Figgy pudding

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Well I have picked my theme for this years Christmas. A Victorian English theme. This was actually my theme last year, but it will be even better this year. Black, red, silver, gold. Lots of Victorian Santa’s, silver pieces and figgy puddings. I have some wonderful crafts planned for the up coming weeks (if I can get it all done !!)

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Here I have made a figgy pudding ornaments. I have used wool felt. If you have never used wool felt before, please do. Even if you have to buy the wool blend at Joanne’s. It is soooo much nicer and easier to cut and work with then poly felt. I cut two circles of brown felt. I sewed them together and left a opening to stuff with wool or poly fleece.

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I stuff the circles, but not too much. I found if I stuffed them to full the edges wrinkled. The I sewed the opening closed.

To make the icing I cut a half circle. Then cut the icing edge. It worked better for me if I cut them free hand, instead of using a pattern. Just remember to make some long, some short, some fat, some thin. Just like icing.

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Then glitter the icing. I use fabri-tac  and sprinkled glitter. I used mica flakes but really just clear glitter would look fantastic. Cut-out two dark green felt leaves. I had Chloe needle feltedme berries. But buttons, bead, silk holly, ect would work.

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Then glue (using the fabri-tac, everyone should own a bottle of this stuff) the icing on the cake, then the leaves, then the berries. I did not want loop hanging of the top (but you could add a loop when you are sewing the cake up) So I ran a hook through the back of the cake. I wanted to say that you do not have to sew the cakes together. You could glue the circles together with the fabri-tac. It is perfect for this type of craft.


Menu Of The Week

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Well this meal was another big hit. Especially the zucchini fritters. The only thing that I would change is to run your green onions first through the processor. If you are grating the zucchini, you might as well do the green onions at the same time. It is silly and labor-intensive to hand slices them (well in my opinion). You could use any dried fruit for the chops but I have bing cherries I dry every summer to use. After a rich and somewhat sweet dinner, I picked Alpineberries lemon bars. It seems like a nice, bright end to the yummy rich meal. Enjoy !!!!!

Honey Cherry Chops

veal or pork chops

1 cup dry white wine

1 bay leaf

6 sage leaves

3 whole cloves

1 cup broth

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

2 TBL. honey

Salt and pepper both sides of chops. In a large fry pan (you do not want too crowd your chops) heat a couple of TBLS olive oil on high heat. Brown each side and remove chops. Deglazes pan with wine. Add bay leaf, sage and cloves. Boil a couple of minutes till wine cooked down to 2 tbls. Then turn down heat add broth and add chops and cherries. Cover and cook about 8 minutes, till meat is cooked through. Then stir in honey. Serve sauce over chops.

Zucchini Fritters Recipe

Alpineberries Lemon bars


Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake

   Choccherry cake

    Well it is fruitcake season! There is only a few things I make year after year and my cherry chocolate fruitcake is one on them. It is a favorite and if you do not like fruitcake you will love this. This fruitcake has both sour and sweet cherries, dried figs (thye have a bit of a cherry flavor themselves), a hint of orange to perk things up and hunks of bittersweet chocolate to gild the lily. The reason most people do not like fruitcake is because of the candied citron. This recipe does not have citron but does have candied orange peel, you can leave that out and use the zest of two oranges instead. Feel free to play with the combo of fruits, just end up with the same total amount, 2 cups. The same goes with the nuts.

Chocolate fruitcake

    This year I am leaving out the orange and using dried raspberries. We will see what I think (a note, did not like it). I like to use bittersweet chocolate and sour cherries to make up for all those sweet candied cherries. Even though they are so sweet, I love them. Of course the better chocolate you use, the better your fruitcake will be. I use port wine for this because it mirrors the taste of dried cherries, figs, raisins, etc. and helps add a depth of flavor. You can use good old rum or brandy too xox

Chocolate fruitcake 2

 

Chocolate Cherry Fruitcake

makes 2 loaves or 6 mini

 

1/4 cup golden raisin

1/2 cup sour dried cherries, cut in half

1/2 cup candied cherries, cut in half

1/4 cup dried figs, cut in small cubes

1/2 cup candied orange peel

a generous cup chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skinned and chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/2 cup softened butter

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 TBL. vanilla extract

1/4 cup port (or milk)

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups cake flour

1/4 cup coco powder

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

bottle of port

 

 

Pre-heat oven 350˚F

In a large bowl mix all fruit, nuts and chopped chocolate. In a mixer bowl cream butter and sugar together. Then mix in eggs and vanilla. Remember to scrap the sides! Sift in separate bowl flour, coco, baking powder, and salt. And in a fourth bowl mix milk and port together. Add half the flour mixture in the creamed butter. Then add milk/port, then the rest of four. Now mix batter into the fruit and nut mixture. Spoon into greased 2 -8 inch round pans or 2 loaf pans or 6 mini loaf pans (that is what I use). Bake till center when poked comes clean, 60 minutes or so. Let cool 10 minutes then un mold. When cool wrap each fruitcake in piece of cheese cloth and set in container to keep. Sprinkle top with port. Next day turn over and sprinkle bottom with port. Next day turn over and keep repeating for a week. Then once a week sprinkle with port. Unless you feel the cake it feeling too wet then stop. Keep cover till Christmas.

 


Things I Love

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Chloe has decorated her doll-house for the season. It is hard to see she made little fimo lanterns and pumpkins for each window. She also glue gunned little leaf garlands. This was all her idea and it warms my heart. She is already planning for Christmas !!!

Poth

I love Debbie, well because she is Debbie. But also because she did a hot-pad tutorial and I could see all the things I was doing wrong : - )

Spiced_p

At Target Method spiced pear cleaning supplies. Ohh my kitchen smells yummy !!!

Mantal of the Month Sighhhh total love !!!

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Harvest Breakfast Cookies

Mccalls191510

Dear Joanne shared these yummy harvest crunch cookie recipe. I finally got around to making them. Of course I had to fool with the recipe. Actually I could see they were going to be to sweet for me and were cooked to high, to long. So I played with the recipe and tweaked it a bit. I hope you do not mind Joanne. I posted both recipes, so you can decide what you would like to do. I am calling them breakfast cookies because they would be prefect for something like breakfast. They are so healthy and have lots of protein and fiber.

What I really love about these cookies, is how you could play with them and use what ever you like (or have on-hand) . Any nuts, seeds, dried fruits would work. You could use any liquid sweetener (rice syrup, maple, honey, ect) any dry sweetener (white, brown, evaporated cane, ect.) I used a muti-rolled grain mix, instead of oats. I used some spelt flour and oat flour with the whole wheat pastry.

I know this is a longggggg list of ingredients but think of it this way,  it is healthy to have lots of different grains and seeds, it is a great way to sneak in something for your family. If you do not like cookies with lots of nuts, you will not like these. Basically the batter binds all these fruit, seeds and nuts. Plus I think using serveral sweeterns, gains, spices adds more layers of flavors.

Boy I have a lot to say about a simple recipe but lastly I have been wanted to talk more about freezing batter. I am really into making double, triple batches and freezing them. It is so win-win. You can control how much your family eats, you can always have good healthy food on-hand, if a friend is in neeed you always have something for them. All I do is spoon dough on cookie sheets (close together) and set the sheet in the freezer. Then when frozen, transfer the balls of dough into freezer baggie. Then you can bake off how many cookies at a time you want. Important DO NOT defrost your cookies. Just set them frozen on the sheet and bake them. I promise they will only take a minute or two longer. I promise. So now I have 5 dozen breakfast cookies in my freezer. Thank you (((Joanne )))

Harvest Crunch Cookies

1 C. butter, softened
1 C. brown sugar packed
1/2 C. honey
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C. wheat germ
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. oats
1 1/2 C. dried cranberries
1 C. chopped almonds
1/3 C. sunflowers seeds
1/3 C. flax seeds
1/3 C. sesame seeds
1/3 C. pumpkin seeds

Heat oven to 375. Cream butter, brown sugar, honey,eggs and vanilla together.

Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture gradually, beating until blended. Stir in oats, cranberries, nuts seeds. Mix well. Drop dough by heaping tsps. about 2 in. apart onto greaseed cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-15 min. or until golden. Cool for 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to rack and cool completely.

Can replace cranberries with choc. chips
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Harvest Breakfast Cookies

1 C. butter, softened
1/2 C. brown sugar packed (I used rapadura)
1/2 C. honey (I used 1/4 honey and 1/4 rice syrup)
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 C. wheat germ
1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. grounded ginger
1 1/2 C. oats
1 chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup finely chopped dried figs

2 TBL. finely chopped candied ginger

1/2 cup chopped toasted cashews

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/3 C. sunflowers seeds
1/3 C. flax seeds
1/3 C. sesame seeds
1/3 C. pumpkin seeds
Heat oven to 350. Cream butter, sugars,eggs and vanilla together.

Combine flour, wheat germ, baking soda, spices and salt. Add to creamed mixture gradually, beating until blended. Stir in oats, fruits, nuts seeds. Mix well. Drop dough by heaping tsps. about 2 in. apart onto greaseed cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes ot so, till edges start to brown. Cool for 5 minutes on sheet, then transfer to rack and cool completely.
Autumnleaves

Craft Tutorials

Well it is that time of year I am going through old mags, searching the net for Christmas present inspiration. If you are, here are some fun craft tutorials. Thank you ladies for putting in the work to write these tutorials !!

      Thim 

Greetingarts fabric thimbles 

Copperflwrbb 

Creative Kismit hiw to make buttons for a button bracelet

272707959_42bb1eb90e_m 

Girl On the Rocks Angora Handwarmers

222334523_5b6719ae65 

Anything at One Hour Craft

Cpiefinal773542 

Betze White Cutiepies

Sm_pencil_case_binder_front_1 

Split Yarn pencil case for binder

Punching6_1 

Moonstiches how to cut felt with paper puncher

Bra 

Kardemumma Crocheted flower bracelet


Menu Of The Week

36x48fallblanket 

    This week I am going to give a hodge-podge of ideas.

A warm drink the girls and I have been enjoying is a cup of hot milk with a tsp. of almond extract and a bit of maple syrup (for sweetness). Top with a dish of cinnamon. I also make a drink I called Butterscotch Milk which is a hot milk with a spoonful of coconut  sugar but you can use brown sugar too.

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     Lastly I made this soup for my girlfriends and it turned out so good. I mean really good! You need roasted sweet potatoes, so I suggest a few days before you make sweet potatoes fries (that is what I call them for my girls)  with your dinner and make extra to set aside.

 

Sweet Potatoes fries.

Cut sweet potatoes in wedges peeled or unpeeled according to your taste. Toss sweet potatoes in enough olive oil to coat fries, some salt, smoky paprika and granulated garlic. Set sweet potatoes in a wide pan so they are not crowded. Roast sweet potatoes at 350 until they are soft and edges are crispy. About a good hour or so.

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    You can use other sausages, but linquica is my favorite. It is already cooked so you are sauteing it only to render a bit of fat and to crisp it up. Feel free to add, change, etc. the spices to your suiting. It could be made much spicier for those who like more heat, such as hot curry, red pepper, etc.

Curried Sweet Potatoes Linquica soup

1 link of Linguiça

2 cans of garbanzos (I Like Trader Joes the best, cheap but perfectly cooked and not slimy)

1 can fire roasted tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

3 garlic, cloves finely chopped

a generous cup of roasted sweet potatoes, cut in small cubes

2 cups broth

2 tsp. smoky paprika

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. sweet curry powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

salt and pepper

1/ cup yogurt

Cut Linguiça  into small cubes and sauté in stock pot until it is crisp and releases some oil. Pull out sausage but leave fat and set sausage aside for later. Add a TBL olive oil to the fat from the sausage and sauté onions until soft, add broth, beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spices and then cover with water and simmer about 15 minutes. Then with one of those puree sticks (or you can mash with a potato masher) puree about a 1/3 so you have it creamy but still lots of whole beans and veggies. taste. When you are ready to serve you add the Linguiça and yogurt. Important do not boil soup after you have added yogurt. Heat slowly or the yogurt will break and become grainy.

Painting by John H. Burrow


Hot-pad

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I feel in love with the hot-pad Debbie did and had to make some. I too knitted a square in the seed stich. But the big thing is I did a quilt square. I HATE quilting (Kathy, mary see I did a quilt square). I can not cut or sew a strait line. But this was small and not too bad. But I do not know how you quilters do it. I am hoping dear Debbie (Please, please) will post more about how she made these. Like how she sew the two together?  I did it on a sewing machine. I forgot to take in account to make the quilted square big enough to fold over the edges. So next time I will not have raw edges. I used Insul-bright in the middle but an old blanket would work fine. I am going to make some bigger ones octagon shape for pads for the table. Maybe with these small quilt projects I will learn to embrace quilting more (but I doubt it !!)

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Blessings

Lable

I was so blessed today by Mrs. Staggs. She kindly sent me a most wonderful box of goodies. When I got the box and saw that amazing label (even my mail-lady was impressed !!) I did not even want to open the package and cut into the beautiful label. After carefully cutting around the label and I found such amazing goodies inside. The beautiful embroidery cow, Cathy Kidson napkins and such pretty post-its. Thank you Mr. Stags for the blessing, may you be blessed too.

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Speaking of all this on-line blessings, I was wondering if anyone wanted to exchange Christmas cards you can e-mail me at  storybookschool@hotmail.com . We would love to send any (from any country) of you wonderufl ladies and your family a Christmas card !!

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