My Adorable Nephew and His Fox!

I learned the basics of crochet from my mom when I was about 12 years old.  I crocheted a few scarves and then moved on to other crafts like card making, scrapbooking, painting.  (But not before establishing a bit of a yarn collection and it has only gotten worse!)  When my sister was pregnant I decided to return to the my old buddy crochet and try my hand at a baby hat.  That was 5 years ago now and she’s on her 3rd boy!  For the newest little dude I wanted to do something different so I turned to Amigurumi.

I never tried Amigurumi before because it looked super advance.  You guys, it’s really not. Or at least it doesn’t have to be. If you know your basic stitches and can count to 48, you’re set.  If you have been intimidated by it, just give it a try.  Fair warning though…it can be addictive! But then again, if you’re a crocheter, you probably already know a little something about addiction. 😉

This pattern is from the adorable site Amigurumi Today and you can find it here .  They’ve got tons of awesome patterns and inspiration so if you haven’t checked them out, definitely do so!

I mean seriously?  Does it get any cuter?  I think not.

 

Happy Crocheting!

 

April is National Donate Life Month

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I’ve been an organ donor since the age of 16.  I rocked that little heart proudly the second I was able to get my drivers license.  I figured, why not?  I’m not gonna need any of this stuff on the other side of this life.  Plus, there’s just something beautiful about giving life through your own death.  Morbid…but beautiful.  I never thought for a second that I would ever be someone who may end up in need of that gift.  Until recently that is.

In December 2016, after a half dozen tests and procedures, I was slapped with the news that I had a really terrifying disease.  I was diagnosed with a chronic illness with a really long and unpleasant to pronounce name.  My Dr. told me that I had Primary Sclerosing  Cholangitis.  Or as you will hear me refer to in the future, PSC.  PSC is a biliary disease in which your self hating body decides it’s in a particular mood and will attack itself.  Specifically the biliary system.  We all know what happens to your body when it is harmed…it heals itself.  And if I learned anything from my past dating life, wounds heal but can leave scars.  So, that’s what is happening to the tiny little ducts in my liver.  The biliary ducts are being scarred  to the point that they become dilated.  In turn, your poor over worked liver is takes a good beating.  It leads to fibrosis of the liver (which is what I have now) and then eventually to full blown cirrhosis.  Can I just say how offensive it is to be looking at the crap hand that is cirrhosis but with none of the fun drinking nights leading up to it?  Besides the fact that my drinking days are officially over, there is no cure and there is no real treatment.  The only thing really to be done is to wait and see just how bad your liver gets and in too many cases, in time, you begin to enter into liver failure.  Finally! The point of this story! No, this blog didn’t originally start out as an education on PSC.  Liver transplant.  So here I am, almost 20 years after first deciding to be an organ donor, facing a life that may in fact result in my own need of an organ donor.

So, if you aren’t a donor, consider it.  At this point, I am beginning to imagine what it would mean for a family to receive such an amazing gift.  For a Mom, Dad, husband, wife, best friend or child’s life to be spared because someone made a simple yet profound decision that in their death, they would give life.  To those who have chosen to donate, Thank you.

 

Happy Donating!

 

Zeke’s Great Outdoors Bedroom

My favorite thing about my room as a child was this very sweet bunny sporting a pink tutu painted on my wall.  I wasn’t overly fond of rabbits or even ballerinas but I sure was fond of that ballerina bunny.  Even as a child, I knew it was special because my mother had painted it on the wall for me.  I just remember how cool it was of my mom to paint that for me and my sister on our wall.  I wish I could say that lovely critter kept the peace in that room but anyone who has ever had to share a room with their sister knows that not much holds THAT kind of power!

When we designed Zeke’s room we wanted it to be something he could grow with.  Besides the woodland theme being completely on trend, one of the things that drew us to our property was the forest setting in our own back yard.  So, we decided to bring that on in to Zeke’s room and his bathroom.

The very first thing I decorated in our new home was his wall.  I had a very specific idea in mind for what I wanted to paint.  Now, I am not exceptionally skilled at painting.  Our front door still needs to be painted and I’m terrified to pull the trigger.  This Spring though, I WILL tackle it….okay maybe this summer.  Anyhow, I chose a design that took zero skill.  Like none.  It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of painters tape and some paint.  Now, I will recommend not painting when its 90 degrees out unless you want the paint and tape to just slip right off.  Not that I know from experience or anything….I’ve just heard that.

I started out by outlining the main 3 mountains peeks with tape and then the horizon.  I then filled in the main mountains with the first color allowing that to dry.  Once that dried, I removed the tape from the main mountains and brought it to inside line.  I went on to paint the horizon and let that dry completely.  I then finished it up by taping off the snow peaks and painting those as I had painted the mountains.

 

 

Talk a big impact for no required talent!  Zeke loves his mountains and shows everyone who comes to visit!   

We finished off the room with some room décor from of course, Hobby Lobby.  We scored most of this for at least 40% and I just happened to have the little trees from my Christmas décor.  How perfect, right?

I stumbled upon an adorable Bear comforter at Target and they had one left in the right size.   It’s like it was meant to be! (excuse the poor picture quality but you get the idea.)

 

Now if we can get the 2 year old to keep his adorable room clean, we’d be golden.

 

Happy decorating!

Spinach Protein Pancakes

For a while I thought I had it figured out.  (I’d appreciate if you could stifle your laughter)  My toddler wouldn’t eat his veggies, however he would suck them right out of the veggie pouches.  Then, as it frequently does with toddlers, that changed.  Pretty much over night he lost interest in those pouches.  He could’ve lost interest in cookies, candy, chips but I guess that’s not how kids work.  I tried cooking veggies different, giving a variety of raw vegetables and even encouraging a big ol’ dip into ranch.  Nada.  Tuesday I decided to stop trying to force him and instead trick him.  If tricking your child is not a weapon in your arsenal, you should really add it.  I’m pretty sure I would not survive motherhood if it weren’t for quick thinking and slight of hand. Trust issues?  Eh…Phooey.   Enter, spinach protein pancakes.

 

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Before we get started, let me tell warn you a little bit about how I bake/cook.  Lots of times I look at a recipe as nothing more than a suggestion.  I add more, or less, substitute etc.  Well, that is exactly how these pancakes came to be.  The exact recipe is secret, meaning I didn’t measure much so your guess is as good as mine.  So, here we go.

 

Pulse together in a blender until well chopped

  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups baby spinach

Add and blend

  • 1/2 cup flour (this I did measure)
  • 1 (or so) scoop of vanilla protein powder (I think I ended up doing about 1 1/4 scoop but protein scoop sizes vary) 1/2 (give or take) banana
  • 2 tsp cinnamon…and then a little more and maybe a little more still (this is where the phrase”to taste” comes from right? I think I ended up with closer to a tbsp)
  • I splash of vanilla

Now that you have your batter, if it’s too runny you can add a bit more protein powder to thicken it up.

Pour on to griddle and cook.

They do cook up on the thinner side which I found is often the cause with protein pancakes.  Not quite crepe or “weawry fin pancakes” (Talladega Nights? Anyone? No?) but not your buttermilk style pancakes.  Z did not mind one bit.  He gobbled up more and asked for more “Fwankenstein” pancakes.  This kid gets me and my love for all things Halloween.

 

Like I said…The exact recipe is a secret.  But you should end up with something resembling a pancake but bright green and awesomely healthy.

Do you have a favorite protein pancake recipe?  I’d love to try it!

Happy errr…Baking

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A long over due house update

Okay, obviously this update is way, way, WAY overdue.  Holy cow where did the time go?  Oh, well, I can actually tell you where it went.  It went to painting, laying flooring, installing cabinets and sinks and countertops and carpet and lights and trim…and don’t get me started on the landscaping.  SO.MUCH.LANDSCAPING.  The time also went to a crazy construction loan deadline, moving, a bad run of family health problems, trying to enjoy a tiny bit of the summer we had left and…drum roll….Potty Training!  So, if you’ve wondered why I dropped off the face of the earth.  Well, that’s why.

But lets get to it.  Before I show you some of our completed rooms, I have to show you my boys hard at work

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There’s a certain kind of pride that comes with doing it yourself.  Or is that frustration…yeah, that feels a lot like frustration.

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Zeke being an awesome assistant as we start laying our floors.

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All three of my boys (Dad, hubs and kiddo).  A labor of love.

So, now for the finished product.

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I love our kitchen.  We had to make concessions once we ran into the huge cost to fix the driveway.  Unfortunately one of those was our granite (or if I had it my way Quartz) counter tops.  Though I have to say, laminate has really come a long way.  Formica brand had a beautiful faux marble that I loved but I had quite the resistance to it so we settled on this.  I think it breaks up the white quite nicely.

*Counter tops Formica Noir Envision

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I love, love, love the white subway tile.  There’s just something so clean about it. We went with a light gray grout.

*Cabinets Aristokraft Benton Birch painted white

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Don’t mind our mess.  This picture was taken while we were still working.

*Floors  Mohawk Rare Vintage Earthen 

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We have two bathrooms and to make things simple (and to cut down on decisions because we are the worst at making decisions) we kept them them same.  If you remember from my previous posts, our bathrooms where just an utter cluster fahhh…well…they got messed up.  We initially ordered a lighter floor and lighter counter top.  Our flooring company installed the correct counter tops but wrong floors.  We ended up loving the the floors they did install so instead of them correcting their mistake we asked if they’d be willing to change the counter top.  So we did that and they installed the WRONG replacement counter tops.  However, we had 2 days until our construction loan closed and thankfully it went well with the floors.

*Paint Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

*Countertop Wilsonart Skyline Walnut

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My Dad was really our savior on this project.  Besides just being a bad ass in the building community, he busted his bad ass to make sure we fulfilled all building requirements in time to close!

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And this is just a picture of one of the members of our friendly deer family.

We have been “moved in” for a couple of months now and I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t have one thing hung on the walls.  We still have some boxes that have not been unpacked and we are just getting to the point were we don’t have to vacuum and mop everyday thanks to all the settling saw dust. With the rush to get our Letter of Occupancy before our construction loan expired it left a lot of work to be done.  Just take a look at that back yard where our deer friend is.  And I use the word yard very, very loosely.  Now we are rushing to get a yard seeded before the weather turns it into a mud pit. One of these days we’ll feel settled…one of these days.

More updates to come!

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House Update

I realized that I have not done a house update in a while.  Mostly because we’re so busy building it that I haven’t had many moments to stop and document it.  The last house update I did, I believe we were “blessing” it.  Well, my friends, I’m happy to say we’ve come a long way since then.  (Not long enough but I’m gonna try to go with the glass is half full today)  We have our HiLine walk through tomorrow and as soon as that is complete (barring anything that needs to be addressed) the house is ours to get started on!  To catch you up, we did a Super Shell package with HiLine, meaning they do everything up to the dry wall.  Then we do the rest ourselves.  Thank goodness for super handy and knowledgeable men like my Dad.

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Here’s the exterior minus the paint and gutters.  I’ll update on those later.

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HiLine sheet rock.

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And finally drywalled and textured.

If you want my indepth opinion on HiLine as a company, let me know and I will give it to you.  If you are seriously considering using them, talk to me first.  Bottom line, is they were/are a pain in the “bumm bumm” (as the toddler says) to work with.  We had special circumstances outside our and their control that amplified the breakdown in customer service and communication.  However, the product so far as been solid.

Anyhow…we are now getting to the good stuff.  The paint, cabinets, floors!  Oh My!  I’m getting excited.  We (or I) agonized over which gray paint to go with.  Seriously…I’m embarrassed to admit that it stressed me so much because we’re talking about paint. PAINT people!  I feel like I need to be slapped.  First world problems, am I right?  Well, we changed our minds last minute…literally 5 minutes before calling in our order.  So until we had it on the walls I was second guessing it.  We almost went with Sherwin Williams Essential Gray but we deterred when the rep told us it tends to go purple and I’m glad we listened.  We ended up going with the super popular SW Repose Gray.  And by George, we love it!  At least thus far.  I would take breaks from working to just sit back and admire the color in different lights.

 

 

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Doesn’t it look pretty?

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Especially in natural light. Sigh…

My boys worked on prepping the floors for the laminate flooring while I put on all the face plates to the outlets. Talk about a tedious job!  Below is our mudroom which is also painted Repose Gray.  You can see that here it looks more brown with our work lamps on.  The light is definitely warmer than what we plan to have in the house but this just shows how versatile the color can be!  You can use browns, blacks or whites in your home and it will all look amazing!  Currently we have brown couches though we’d like to change them up to a dark gray but in the mean time at least they won’t clash.

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Serioulsy….how cute are my boys?  How’d I get so lucky?

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And here’s the Repose again in the great room area with a lot of natural light.

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We decided to keep it simple and do the entire house in Repose except the bathrooms. For the bathrooms we went with a lighter blue called Tradewind from Sherwin Williams.  We were toying with SW Sea Salt which is a beautiful gray/green but we were looking for something on the blue side.  A gal at SW recommended Tradewind and I love it!  Now we have not finished painting the bathrooms but here’s a peek at the color.

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Honestly I don’t think we could have gone wrong with either of these but I’ve always loved the cloudy blue sky color palettes so we went with Tradewind and love it!

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Excuse the little dude.  He’s being a champ and helping us work while he’s got a nasty cold (and apparently chocolate is great medicine for that! 😉 )

We will be working on the cabinets, flooring and trim over the holiday weekend!!  I can’t wait to share our progress next week!

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Zeke’s 2nd Birthday!!!

I can’t believe my little man is 2 already!!  And let me tell you, the switch has flipped.  It has been defiance and challenge all day every day for the last week.  I was super excited to celebrate him a little this morning before work but he was having none of it.  Time out before 6am.  It was one of those days.  But, of course, we still can’t get enough of our Littles even when they are being complete and total jerks.  I took one look at the photo we had done in anticipation of his birthday and I was immediately consumed with overwhelming, soul consuming love for that kid.  Seriously…having kids can drive you crazy in the best of ways!

By now I’m sure you know Z was a preemie.  He made his hasty appearance at the unripe age of 31 weeks 5 days gestation. At his first post NICU graduation doctors appointment we were told to give him 2 years to be totally caught up and in the clear of possible delays, or complications from being a preemie.  It was naivete on our part to not think about life after the NICU.  We were target fixated and the target was Z’s NICU release!  Anyhow, the idea of just waiting for the other shoe to drop for the next 2 years was a little defeating.  Thankfully for the most part, the first 2 years of Z’s life have been uneventful.  Well, as uneventful as raising a child is…so I guess not at all uneventful…Anyhow. We had one scare with a possible seizure and lots of test later ruled out any delays or damage.  So to celebrate hitting this milestone we decided to capture what the last 2 years have meant for us.  My wonderful friend and talented photographer was able to catch this for us despite the photo taking place after a day at a new daycare, separation anxiety and a 45 min meltdown.  See, preemies DO grow into a normal toddler!!

 

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Come back soon to see Z’s Construction Birthday Party!  Also, if you’re in the Puget Sound area and looking for a great photographer check out my girl at http://www.sharrisamariephotography.com/

 

Happy Partying!

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Building Our House on a Rock

Our little house is moving right along!  We have a roof and windows and doors.  Even siding!  It’s just sitting there looking all housey.  We still have another 2 months worth of long nights and hard work but it sure is looking like our home a little bit more each day.  We even went out and put our stamp on it last weekend.

God is the foundation of our family and he will always be the foundation of our home.  So we decided to put it in writing.  I grabbed a few sharpies and some scripture and we got to work.

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Front Door

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Kitchen window

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Bathroom

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Back door

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Z’s Room


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Front Door

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Great Room

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Even Z got to pitch in.  However, we made it very clear this is a one time only opportunity to draw on the walls!

 

Here are some of he verses we used…

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. – Matthew 7:24

But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  – Joshua 24:15

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. – Psalm 51:7

Create in me a clean heart O’ God. –  Psalm 51:10

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. – Hebrews 13:2

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. – Colossians 3:12

For this child I have prayed. – 1 Samuel 1:27

My son give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways. – Proverbs 23:26

I will lie down and sleep in peace for you, alone, O Lord make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:8

Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. – Romans 12:10

Above all things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. – Colossians 3:14

Jesus answered, “It is written:  Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. – Matthew 4:4

 

Even though we have had a rocky start (to put it lightly) to building our home, we are reminded that we can stand solid on the foundation of God!

And check out our sided house!!

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4 Year Annivesary and Wedding Throw Back

Today is a very special day for me!  Well, for the Hubs too.  4 years ago today, I married my very favorite person in the universe.  It’s crazy to me that it has only been 4 years.  It’s hard to imagine life before him at this point.  It’s like we always were.  I kind of feel like that’s God’s way of telling me, “Yep, I had you in mind when I made him.”  I recently came across a post in which a woman told the story of how she and her husband came to be.  It’s one of those magical stories where boy meets girl. 1 day later boy and girl profess their love and very quickly after boy and girl get married and then boy and girl become husband and wife and live happily ever after.  I always marvel at these kinds of stories.  That’s just not my personality.  In fact, everything in my very being is the exact OPPOSITE of that.   I’ve never been one to get too caught up in my emotions.  I remember wondering, as a young teen, what that would be like.  That Romeo and Juliet kind of love.   I’m methodical.  I’m cautious.  Even with my husband, who I knew after 3 months I wanted to spend my life with.  We spent 2 romantic, adventurous years dating before we got engaged.  He spent a year working over time to stuff money away for the ring he wanted me to have.  Do you want to know the message that sent me?  I was worth waiting for.  And I love that sentiment.   One of “I can’t afford to mess this up.” People get swept up in the romanticized stories of love at first sight and those statements of “I can’t live another moment without you as my wife!”  And I get it. They’re totally dreamy. Perhaps our language of romance looks a bit different than others.   Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying one way is better than the other.  I understand both. Ours is not a grandiose love, rather a quiet love weaved into every word and every action.  I know, it doesn’t sound as romantic but take a moment to think about what that means.  Your partner is choosing you. Every minute of every day.  They are choosing you.  That sounds pretty romantic to me.

Well, now that you know my philosophy of marriage let me show you what our wedding was like!  We had it in an old theater so we ran with them theme.  We had program’s made up to look like playbill, however I don’t seem to have a picture of it and it’s boxed up in storage so you’ll have to use you’re imagination.

 

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Okay…I know it’s a weird picture to jump off with but I sent the boys a bouquet shortly before the ceremony.  I had to remind my hubby exactly what had caught his eye in the first place.  His is Jack Daniels girl.  We met at a birthday party and the moment he heard I was drinking a Jack & Ginger…it was all over.

 

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My hubby picked the colors and went with green, black and white.  A little more formal than I would have chosen however, I didn’t much care.  Plus the venue was a bit more on the formal side so it worked.

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My mom made my bouquet and wrapped it with black and white striped ribbon. I loved it!

 

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And here’s a picture of the hubs.   Just because he’s cute.  (But don’t get me started on his lapel flower!)

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I wore my green heels for the ceremony but changed into my converse immediately following!

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We both had our specialized Chuck T.s because live in ours.

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I love adding fun surprises to events so I loved the idea of a colored slip that popped out every now and then.  My sweet mom sewed me a very basic slip and it was exactly what I wanted.

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We had a friend make some movie posters for us and they lined the hall leading to our greeting line.  We had a play on “Meet the Parents” and  “Father of the Bride”.  Honestly…I think the “Father of the Bride” was my favorite.  I will have to find a picture to share but right now can’t seem to find them.  They were all a hit!

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One of my very best friends and bridesmaid gifted us our party favors.  Personalized Jones Soda!  They were totally adorable!  favors

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We also made these candy favors and used these adorable gift tags!  Get them here.  They became they’re very own photo op.


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Our cake!  I loooooved our cake!  We still get cupcakes from the bakery every year on our anniversary which means….YAY CAKE tonight!!


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We used these adorable Wedding mad libs to get some advise from our guests.  You can get them here.  These were super fun to read after the wedding!  We had a few guests that had a lot of fun with these…

 

Until next time….Cupcakes!!

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