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Adventures of Mrs Pen

Musings from a Very Lucky Penny

The Day Easton Cash Joined Our Family

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Exactly one year ago, I was 1 day past my due date and had taken every tincture, tea and old-wives-tale to induce labor, to no avail. We figured the best way to get this baby to come would be to make other plans, so we made plans to celebrate Wyatt Day. From the moment we got up, we did all Wyatt’s favorite things. We went to the puppy store, the arcade, the petting zoo, and the playground. We had a whole list of things to do.

I had been having mild contractions since I woke up, but I had had Braxton hicks for months, so I figured that was all it was. I had done this before, I knew what to expect when I was really in labor. It was at that playground though, that I started getting contractions fairly regular and constant, so we called my midwife and asked for her advice. I told her I wasn’t sure if it was time and I strongly did not want to go to the hospital and wait around all day. She suggested I visit her office and get checked and then make a plan of what to do. I figured we’d do that and then maybe go have dinner at Peter Piper Pizza and wrap up Wyatt Day and then go to the hospital.

Those plans went out the window when our midwife informed us that I was 8cm dilated and unless we wanted to have the baby in her office, we would need to run-not walk- to the hospital. Thankfully, our good friends Ashleigh and Teri live across the street from the hospital. Thankfully again, Ashleigh and Teri happen to have a daughter Wyatt’s age and Ashleigh happened to be home. And thankfully again, when we called and asked if we could drop our 16-month-old who had almost never been away from us, tended to freak out any time he was left with anyone else, and was on the brink of a complete life change off and leave him for an unknown length of time, Ash was totally chill with the idea. Thankfully again, because we had had such a great day and Wyatt was content and exhausted, rather than the screaming session we feared, Wyatt marched right into Ashleigh’s house and made himself comfortable with her puppy. I had so many reasons to be thankful that day.

When we got to the hospital, the midwife had already phoned us in, so the L&D room was already prepped for us. When we got settled in, I sent Carlos to go get me pineapple (my greatest craving at the moment) and I got comfortable and chatted with the midwife. It was in this conversation that we decided since the baby could come any moment, I would not attempt to get an epidural. Thankfully again, my midwife used this time to give me some pressure points and relaxation techniques that were gigantically relieving. When Carlos got back, I started having freaking terrible contractions and I told him to do the pressure points and he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. That annoyed me.

About that time, my labor suddenly slowed down and the nurse wanted to break my water to get it going again. I told her that I would allow that over my massive, whale-sized body. With my first pregnancy, my biggest complaint was that my water broke 12 hours before Wyatt was born, and it felt very uncomfortable (I agree, that is a wimpy complaint). As we waited for labor to progress, Carlos entertained me by singing me the song he dedicated to our evening, “Push it! push it real good!”. And then he argued with me because I refused to change out of my cutoff shorts and into a hospital gown. There’s no dignity in a hospital gown. I was so glad to have that man by my side through this, along with every other situation life has thrown at us before or since.

Finally, after sitting around surfing Facebook for about 4 hours, my body finally ready to push!! When I started pushing, I remembered why I promised myself in my previous birth that I would treat myself to an epidural in this one. I was cursing myself for not doing more yoga and exercise during pregnancy. I was so out of shape and my body wanted to give up. I remember my nurse saying my baby’s heart stopped in each contraction and I needed to get him out in the next contraction. I remember telling Carlos, “I CANT DO THIS! I CAN’T DO THIS!” As if he’d somehow be able to fix it for me. He told me I could do it, and I felt bad for him because he was wrong. I guess I figured they’d give up and let me stay pregnant.

When the next contraction came, I gave that baby every ounce of energy my body could muster (Carlos said I was purple at this point) and got that baby out!! I remember the nurse and midwife exclaiming the umbilical chord was around his neck. Then they said it was wrapped a second time. And then a third time! No wonder his heart stopped with the contractions. I remember when the nurse put the baby on my chest, he was listless and purple. The nurse and midwife quickly rubbed his body and tapped on his feet and hands to get the blood flow flowing again. Finally we heard him cry out. It was such a relief to hear his little voice.

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I’m so thankful for so many things that day, but high on the list is that my friend Christian, who was an L&D nurse, started her shift right about now. At this moment, my body was beyond spent and my heart had felt so many extreme emotions in such a short period of time. I can’t describe how overwhelmed I felt. Having Christian there to take care of every little detail for me and my baby is something I know God orchestrated.

Later that night, Carlos went and picked up Wyatt and brought him to meet his new little best friend. Wyatt couldn’t talk yet, but he grinned from ear to ear and hugged his little baby.

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Two days later, we got to take our boy home. The following year, he has grown into a jolly, intelligent, lovable, giggly little boy. He fills our home and hearts with joy every day. So thankful God chose our family for Easton Cash to complete!

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Super Healthy and Yummy Energy Bitez

I’m super excited to share this recipe. These puppies taste almost like peanut butter cookies and are good for you and make you feel perty great. Even my hubby likes them and he doesn’t like nothing but cheeseburgers.

Here’s the Scientifical Reasons These are Great
The peanut butter is a great source protein. The powdered milk gives ya iron, vitamin A & D. The oats have fiber and protein. The honey is a natural sweetener, plus some antioxidants (I’m no antioxidantologist though, so don’t quote me on it!). And coconut is so good for you man! It’s antioxidantifide, packed with nutrients and stuff. Ok, I only know that from the side of my coconut oil bottle. If you add flaxseed meal, you’re getting omega 3’s that are good for your heart and brains! (PS- if you’re a nursing mom, oatmeal and flaxseed meal, and coconut are GREAT for you. Just FYI)

And Here’s the Recipe

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1 Cup – Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup – Honey
1/4 Cup – Powdered Milk
1 Cup – Whole Oats (you can substitute this for Cheerios if you want!)
1/4 Cup – Raisins
2 Tbl – Ground Flaxseed Meal
1/2 Cup – Shredded Coconut

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1. Mix peanut butter, honey, powdered milk, oats, flaxseed and raisins together real good like with a fork or such.

Side note- My mama makes these with Cheerios instead of oats, and they’re super good. I just used oats because I didn’t have Cheerios, and since I liked em that way and oats are really nutritious, that’s my new way of making em. Also flaxseed is a random ingredient most people don’t have laying around, these bad boys taste just fine without flaxseed.

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2. Roll your peanut butter dough into 1 inch balls, and roll em around in the coconut until properly coated. As you can see, I ran out of coconut (I adjusted the recipe so you won’t!), so a few of my energy bitez are coated in more oats.

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3. Refrigerate for an hour or so. Then eat em up! Yumz!

Did I really just say “Yumz”?!
Love,
MrsPen

Diary of a Sweet Potato Garden

I’m going out on a limb in writing this post. My hope is to keep a running log of how the half of a sweet potato in my window sill right now turns into beautiful sweet potato vines that eventually produces sweet potatoes that can be eaten. However this story may abruptly end because I have a notorious black thumb. These are strawberries I was growing just a few weeks ago:
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I wish I could show you a picture of them now, but they’re dead as a door nail now. Just like the tomato plant I faithfully watered and sweet-talked for months… Dead as a dead nail now.

To make matters worse, prior to executing this experiment, we went to a plant nursery and asked the botanist how to grow sweet potaters. She told us the best thing to do is just buy sweet potatoes from a grocery store like a normal American. She said sweet potatoes are labor intensive and finicky. I took her comments under advisement, yet I’m still taking a whack at growing them myself. Here we go..

December 15

A few weeks ago, I cut a sweet potato in half, and used lollipop sticks to suspend it in a jar of water.
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January 15

After a month of soaking up water and sunlight, my little tater had two roots shooting out of the bottom.

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January 24

Now, exactly 23 days after being “planted” in the jar of water, my little tater has a tons of roots coming out of the bottom.

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All around the top of the potato, little baby potato plants are beginning to sprout. If this experiment goes as planned, each of these like sprouts will turn into its own potato plant.

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Ok that’s all for now. I will continue this report when I have more to add.

Love,
MrsPen

PS- I accidentally called my potato plant a tomato plant for half of this post.

March 18

Dang, where has the time gone?! I blinked and I’m like way way past due for an update on my taters. Ok here’s a quick catch-up sesh:
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By the end of Jan, my little guy had developed a healthy root system and was starting to get some nice little stems a’goin!

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Somewhere near Valentines day, the stems were ready to go live a life of their own. So I clipped em and put each stem in an individual jar of water to develop roots.

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About a month later, each stem had grown a pretty set of roots and big ol’ happy leaves. Now its ready to be planted! This is where I go rogue. I don’t know much about gardenology… So I’m making this part up y’all. If you have a suggestion, please pass it along!!

That Brings Us To Today

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As the sun was setting on our little ranch, and my baby played in his playpen wearing only a t-shirt and undies ‘cuz we’re classy like that, I started pouring soil in a big ol’ barrel.

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I was planning to have a big raised garden bed, but as my adorable hub started making plans to build it for me, I decided I didn’t want him to put so much effort into it if I’m really not cut out for the world of growin crap. So we decided this season, I’d grow stuff in pots. If it goes well, we’ll start a real garden next season!

Following the instructions on the miracle grow bag, I filled the barrel about 3/4 full of dirt, and then buried my little plants almost entirely, leaving about one leaf exposed to photosynthesize.

Ok y’all, there ya have it. You’re all caught up. Cross your fingers from here, we’re in uncharted territory!

Signing off,
MrsPen

May 14

Bad news y’all! Ok I had been watering them suckers and fertilizin them and my sweet potatoes were looking beeeeyoooteeeful! They’d turned into lovely vines that were taking over. Even a super windy day that took my tomato plants out did not harm my sweet potatoes. I was biding my time until approximately July when I was planning to dig them up and see what I got. I wish I’d taken a picture at this point.

A few days ago I was thinking how happy it makes me to see my lovely sweet potatoes every day and I went outside to water them, and they were GONE! dum dee dum dum dummmm. Apparently our local jack rabbit (which is the size of a coyote, mind you) took it upon himself to eat my whole garden. My sweet potatoes, the rest of my tomatoes, zucchinis, and cucumbers. Gone gone gone. I wish I could be mad, but he just did what jack rabbits are meant to do.

So that’s the end of my sweet potato story. We’ll try again next year! Thanks for sticking it out with me.

Love,
Mrs Pen

This is Dang Good Horchata

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

I’m not proud of the story I’m about to tell you. One time, when I was enormously pregnant, my hubby and I visited three different fast food establishments in a single trip to get dinner. Dunkin Donuts, Sonic, and a random Sonoran hotdog truck on the side of the road on our way home from Dunkin and Sonic. What can I say, the hubs had cravings that weren’t easy to satisfy.

These cravings also required a visit to a hole-in-the-wall taco stand every single day for a gigantic cup of cold horchata. If you don’t happen to live right down the street from Mexico like us, horchata is a magical cold, sweet, refreshing rice milk drink that quenches your thirst better than anything you ever had. I’m telling ya. I never had it before I was a thousand months pregnant in the middle of the summer heat, but it was the only thing I wanted. When we moved a trillion miles from that dang magical taco shop, I had to figure horchata out for myself. I’ll add that the recipe I’m about to share with you is a bit different than the ones you’ll find elsewhere, including the recipe my mother-in-law gave me, and if anyone has a true and authentic version of horchata, it’s her. However, it tastes just like the horchata at our magical taco shop, and that what we want from our horchata. Here it is:

Ingredients
1 1/2 Cup- Rice, uncooked
1 1/2 Cup- Milk
1 1/2 Cup- Sugar
5 Cups- Water
2 Tsp- Vanilla
Dash- Cinnamon

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

1. Put Milk and uncooked rice in a blender and blend for several minutes, until rice is gritty.

2. Let your rice and milk refrigerate for at least 8 hours (overnight works well)

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

3. Meanwhile, in a separate container, add sugar to 2 cups of boiling water and stir until sugar dissolves. Now put your sugar water in the fridge to chill.

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

4. After both your rice milk and sugar water have had time to refrigerate, pour the rice milk into the container of sugar water using a mesh strainer to filter out all the rice.

5. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and 3 more cups of water. Stir well.

Horchata from Adventures of Mrs Pen

6. Pour over ice into your finest mason jar and enjoy your dang good horchata!

And that’s all there is to it! Hope you love it as much as we do!

Love,
MrsPen

Helllllllo 2013!

Well hello people of the year 2013! So glad the Mayan’s were wrong and we get to keep on livin!

If you’ve noticed an unusual lack of posts from MrsPen, it is because we have been so so busy so far this year. This is what we’ve accomplished so far:

January 1, 2013

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We kicked off the new year snuggled up on the couch watching a movie together. BEST.NEW.YEARS.EVE.evvverrr

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Also, our old neighbors from when we lived downtown, Clint and Sheila, came and hung out with us. Miss Sheila taught my baby to color. Mostly he chewed on the crayons.

January 2, 2013

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Some days are meant for being productive, some days are meant for making goofy faces in the camera.

January 3, 2013

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Just when I kick my Starbucks addiction, they start selling Cranberry Bliss Bars again. They know how to reel me back in. They know. Anyhow, this is the last one of the season, thank The Lord.

January 4, 2013

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Early morning cuddle sesh with papa. The only word my baby knows so far is Dada.

January 5, 2013

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My baby gets to eat real food now. When he was going to baby school, I think he missed the class where they told him food goes in your mouth, not all over the floor. Anyways, this was his first taste of pears, and it was also the first thing he’s tried that he actually likes! He tasted every piece before he threw it on the floor.

January 6, 2013

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My hubs’ best buddy from college came and visited. The two of them sat around the fire talking all night long. After they burnt all the wood, they threw in the box that the fire pit came in and burnt that too. Boys and their fire.

January 7, 2013


Lazy Monday and a family nap! God bless 2013, I hope every week is like this one!

Addicting Whoopie Pies with 3 Ingredients

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This whole thing was an accident. This morning after we finished our breakfast tamales, my hubs was thinking something sweet would be good, then he realized he was out of Twinkies. Then I decided to make chocolate cupcakes, and poured the cake mix in the mixing bowl then realized I had no eggs. Then I threw together the ingredients we did have and hoped for the best. And it was accidentally so good that is now officially one of my “recipes”. These puppies literally melt in your mouth. I ate too many. Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients-
-1 Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake Mix
-1 Cup of Butter
-A jar of marshmallow fluff

1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees

2. Cream the cake mix and butter together until well blended and fluffy.

3. Roll the batter into a one inch ball, and roll it through sugar, and place on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.

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4. Pop the tray in the oven for about 6 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies crack.

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5. Let the cookies cool, and then plop a spoonful of marshmallow fluff on em.

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6. Mash another cookie on top to make an amazing cookie sandwich.

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I took a few bites of one and then told my hubs he could have the second half. But then I ate it.

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This is How I Learned to Cook.

I’m writing this for my little brother, David. This is actually part of his Christmas gift. Merry Christmas little brother!

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And this has nothing to do with this post, but David is about to begin a prestigious nursing program and I’m so proud of him I could burst. To make a short story long, another hopeful future nurse recently asked him how many times he applied to this nursing program before he got accepted and what his backup plan was if he couldn’t get in. He was like, “Oh is it difficult to get in?” My little brother is so freakin smart. He’s also really low-key, and he’s going to kill me when he sees this.

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Anyways, David just moved out on his own and has mentioned that his steady diet of pb&js and canned soup is getting old. Then my brain said, “Light Bulb!”

So for Christmas I’m giving him a few of my favorite spices and cooking tools, and this list of easy tips to get comfortable in the the kitchen. Don’t worry Dave, if you stick to eating a bowl of cereal for dinner every night, my feelings won’t be hurt! But for the nights that you want real food, hopefully this will get you started-

1. You don’t have to get all fancy! If you have some kind of meat, a few spices, and a side (veggie, rice, pasta or potatoes are easy), you have a good, filling meal in 30 minutes or less.

2. Check out the Manager’s Specials on meat whenever you stop by the store. As long as you freeze it or cook it right away, its just as good as expensive meat, but for a fraction of the cost.

3. You can thaw meat out easily by putting it in a ziplock bag in a bowl of water.

4. I like to buy a variety of meat (usually Manager’s Specials) and then put them in individual ziplocks before freezing them, then I am just pull them out of the freezer and defrost one or two servings at a time easily.

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5. Easy Steak- put a little olive oil in a pan and warm it up on medium heat. Add some butter (the oil can get hot without smoking, and the butter will seal the moisture and flavor in the steak). Once it’s hot, place the steak in the pan with a garlic, pepper and rosemary. The pan should be hot enough that it sizzles when the steak touches it. Spoon the butter over the steak. Let it cook for about one minute on each side, until nice and brown. I usually put it on the George Foreman for another few minutes to get the inside a bit brown too, but that’s optional. And that’s how you make a dang good steak in just a few minutes.

6. Garlic and Paprika make everything tastier.

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7. Sometimes turkey makes a good dinner. Sometimes it makes a good fashion statement.

8. Quick and Easy Chicken- Season your chicken however you fancy (any kind of spice works for chicken). Pour enough olive oil to cover the bottom of you pan, and warm it on medium heat. Put your chicken in the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Cut the chicken open to make sure it’s cooked in the middle. Voila.

9. Poke some holes in a potato, rub a little oil on it, and microwave for about 5 minutes. If it still feels firm, turn it over and pop it back in the mic for 3 minutes or so. And now you have baked potato to complete any meal.

10. Figure out how to make something and then invite your loving sister, brother-in-law, and nephew over for dinner!

My Country Life, Week 11

What a weeks it’s been!

1. We had a really big storm this week and our roads turned into the Great Lakes.

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2. The first night of the storm my baby and I got stranded in town and couldn’t go home until morning and we didn’t even have our pajammies. Fortunately my baby had his spare Pooh Bear costume.

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3. Thankfully we have a bunch of big ol trucks (sorry environment) so we can get through knee-deep muddles (thats supposed to say mud puddles, it was a typo but it just worked.) Our truck is now the fashionable ombré color. The next truck we get will be mud colored to begin with.

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4. Also this week I’m so grateful I’m married to a mechanic.

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6. And my baby likes to work on his little car.

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7. Totally unrelated to the storm and our trucks… Two of my four tomato buds have gone to be with The Lord this week. It’s ok, I only wanted two tomatoes anyways.

8. I also added strawberries to my garden, and I have half a sweet potato in a jar of water on my window sill. So you can call me farmer Jane now.

9. One of our neighborhood cows had a calf this week! Also we saw a few goats but I’ve featured one too many goats on this blog, so here’s a picture of my baby meeting his first tortoise.

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10. This morning we watched our church’s Christmas play and every character wore hunting camouflage. Afterwards our pastor gave a brief lesson on different kinds of camo. Nothing reminds me of the magic of Christmastime like camouflage!

I hope your Christmas has been as magical as ours!

Love,
MrsPen

How to Make a Fancy Magnetic Dry Erase Organization Board

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I have been meaning to put this together for a whole long time, but my little gentleman likes to demand my undivided attention at any moment that I’m not already giving him my undivided attention. Anyways its 2:00AM and at this moment he’s sleeping and I’m making Twinkies for my sweet suga dumpin and I’m waiting for them to cool before I fill them with magic so I have a moment to write. This magnetic dry erase board thing was fun to make and is slowly turning into my brain. It helps me keep track of documents I need to retain, checks to deposit, to-do lists, shopping lists, upcoming events, and most importantly, lots of pictures of my baby. It was pretty easy and I wanted to share:

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It all started with this cool frame I found at a thrift store for $3 a few years ago. It was used as a prop for photos in two of my girlfriend’s weddings and then it sat in my mom’s garage for a while.

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Then I stumbled upon this .28 gauge steel at Home Depot and remembered from my goin-ta-skool days that steel is magnetic. And then, as the guy from Despicable Me would say, the little voice in my head said, “LIGHT BULB!” And I went and dug the frame out of my mom’s garage.

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My bright idea included using my handy staple gun from my reupholstery days to staple the steel to the back, however that did not work out so well. The worst part of this is my hubs told me before I ever started that the staple gun wasn’t going to work and I was sure I was going to prove him wrong. So then I had to giggle and look cute and adorable so he wouldn’t bust out with the Told Ya Sos. No one like a gloater, honey.

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So this was when I left the whole project in the hands of my handsome handyman. I cannot tell you what he used to attach them because I was too busy thinking about how adorable he is to pay any attention. But I do know he got the screws for it at our local Ace Hardware/post office.

So in summary, here is the math equation-

Thrift Store Frame+Steel Sheets+Screws+one heck of a handsome husband= this awesome magnetic board

And in conclusion, here are the Twinkies I made tonight. I’ll let you know how they turned out once the resident Twinkie expert gives em a try.

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Also, I almost published this post with every reference to “steel” spelt “steal”. Oh how embarrassing!

Love,
MrsP

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