Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Children's Craft Showcase - Dying fabric with Permanent markers


Permenant markers
Surgical Spirit (from the chemist)
Jam Jars
Plain Fabric
Elastic Band


Put your fabric over the jam jar and secure with the elastic band.  Using your pen draw a pattern on the fabric.

Circles work best, but any pattern will do.  Leave a gap between the lines for the colour to bleed.

Take a syringe and fill with surgical spirit and then drop in to the centre of the fabric.

Move the fabric to a blank area and repeat as required.

I washed the fabric after we dyed it and some of the colour did come out, but not much and then I heat set it with a hot iron.


Monday, 30 August 2010

School Shoes from Clarks

A while ago I was asked if I would post a video from Clarks about the six steps to shoe fitting, to which I responded honestly that we hadn't actually been to a Clarks shop  in more than two years due to a very bad experience with Mini and that we used the local independent shoe shop.

I was really surprised when the PR responded with the fact the Clarks would like the boys to go for a fitting and would sent a voucher towards the cost of the boys shoes.

So on Saturday we set off to have the boys feet measured and get some shoes from our local Clarks shop.  Now shoe fitting with the boys is not a great experience any day of the week, but a shoe shop on a Saturday the week before school starts is usually some fresh hell in my book.
We walked into the store at 1.30 in the afternoon and my it was busy, but I was really surprised to find out that there was more than enough staff and we were next to be served.  The boys were measured and fitted by Beka, who was wonderful.  She made sure she asked the boys what their names were and used it throughout the fittings with them.

Before she went to get the shoes from the store area, she checked if there were any that we preferred and I mentioned that I liked the ones with the rubber bumper at the front.  She also brought out trainers and plimsolls for the boys to try too.  Beka returned with two pairs of shoes to try and before popping them on asked which one I preferred.  I have to say that Beka was really thorough with ensuring the fit was correct and showed me the growing room in each pair of shoes.  When she was unsure about the fit she asked for the Manager to come across and check the fit and alternative plimsoll's were tried instead.

We actually came away from the shop with 2 pairs of shoes, 2 pairs of trainers and a pair of plimsolls for the boys which cost a total of £121.00, although we had a £50 voucher towards the cost.
So do I feel confident in posting the video now, well yes I do.  I was also glad that I watched it before I took the boys for their fitting too.


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sunday from the Sick House

Back in the olden days there would be a black X painted upon our door this week because this week TheMadHouse has become The Sick House.

It started on Monday Night when Mini vomited in his sleep allover himself and his bedding, so we cleaned him up changed his bed and popped him back  and he went straight to sleep.  Now I have to say at this point although I vomited my way through two successful pregnancies and many unsuccessful ones, I hate sick.  I really do.

 So when he was sick again we popped him into our bed and gave up on finding any more clean bedding till the morning.  Bad mistake because he the proceeded to do it all over again in our bed - poor little man.  We eventually gave up and all huddled under a blanket downstairs for the rest of the night until MadDad gave up and went to work!
Tuesday day time he was fine, but to be on the safe side I made sure he ate only bland food, whilst I tackled the washing hockey koky  (you know the one, you pop it on the line, it rains you bring it in, the sun comes out, you put the washing out, in, out, in , out all day).

Tuesday and Wednesday nights were a repeat of Monday night except I covered all the beds with every towel we had in the house!

By Thursday evening my mum had decided to take pity on me and offered to take Mini over night and face the vomit monster.  So off round I dropped him, putting my headache down to tiredness.  Mini actually sleep through Thursday night with my Mum, no vomit at all, but alas I didn't.  Oh no I had caught the dreaded lurgy.  I spent Friday night much the same and then last night MadDad came down with it.

Maxi (touching wood) still seems fine and I am going to bleach the house to an inch of its life today in the hope of keeping him that way.

I am so pleased that school doesn't start until the 6th September.


Friday, 27 August 2010

The Library

There is something about the smell, about walking in to a Library and, bang you are hit by that musty, booky smell.  The one that has stayed with you since childhood.

I often take the minimads to the small library in the village.  They love playing with the books, the stacking plastic chairs and also the jigsaws, which are never complete.  They adore the thrill of having their own plastic library cards and being responsible for taking out their own books and putting them in mummy's book bag.

But the other day I took Mini to the library of my childhood.  The main library on the street where I grew up, the street on which my mum still lives.

So much is the same, but so much has changed in the last 30 off years.  The smell is just the same, it hit me straight between the solar plexus triggering all sorts of happy memories of Meg and Mog, of dancing on graves and of worrying about fines for late returned books.
The children's section is still in the same part of the library, but you have to walk through a theft detection device now and go through a swing gate before you can enter it to the left.  It still has the wooden crates on the floor full of picture and board books.  The red train seats and the blue faux leather adult chairs.  There are still images on the red brick 1960 walls drawn by children who attend the regular reading sessions like I did.

The brick fishpond has gone and in its place a tank with small exotic fish.  No longer can you throw a penny in amongst the water and vegetation and listen to it plop against the bottom.  Gone are the vinyl seat cushions which used to rest on benches made of bricks.

However, all the rest remains the same, apart from the row of 12 PC's which run across the centre of the library where I remember their being microfiche.

The counter is still in the same place made with the same 1960's brick.  The whole library is a glass and steel structure with brick internal fittings and supports.  It must have looked for modern in the 1960's when it was build.

I remember meeting friends at the cafe in the entrance with my mum and baby brother in his buggy.  I loved the Eames metal chairs with their orange seats.  I would be allowed an orange squash and have a biscuit from the packet mum got with her tea.

How sad that these wonderful seats and squash have been replaced by a frothy coffee and bland brown leather sofa's.

A strange place for me it holds so many memories and lies juxtaposed between history, fiction and imagination.


Thursday, 26 August 2010

A New Beginning

The sixth of September marks a new beginning for Mini and I.  Yes you guessed it he will be going in to Reception full time and Maxi will be going in to year one.

I have trying to make the most of this summer together as it seems like the end of an era, but I have decided that I am not going to look upon it as such, oh no this is just the beginning, the start of something wonderful.

To help the boys on their way to school Clothing at Tesco sent us a school uniform bundle of each of the boys and also a voucher for me to spend online at Tesco clothes (which I am going to put towards an outfit for The Mads).

They have also said that I can nominate another Mum for a pack too, so I am nominating Cathy at Nurturestore, who has a little girl who is starting school in September too.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sometimes Mothering is harder than hard

I have a neighbour, yes we all have them, but I have one who manages to make me feel terrible with just a single glance and a turn of phrase.  She is always beautifully turned out, drives a brand new sports car, runs her own successful business,  has a hot tub in the garden and one perfectly dressed nine year old boy who in her eyes can do no wrong.

So this morning when I am screaming at the boys like a fishwife to get in the car or we will be late, hollering my lungs out to leave the drink at home and just get in the car, who would it be that walks past.  Yes you guest it the PP neighbour (practical perfect) and she says "I see you are having issues with the boys again".

I didn't know how to respond to that so I just mumbled something about having to be somewhere and get the boys strapped in the car, but it stings, it really does.
The thing is she is right and the truth hurts, I have gone back to the screaming banshee I was before we underwent the trying to give shouting up for lent and I am ashamed.   We all seem to be shouting to be heard, I shout, therefore, the boys shout and I feel the need to shout loudest, it is a contest and it shouldn't be.

I have a temper, a really bad temper and it bubbles up inside until it explodes with a vengeance and I am tired.  Mini wasn't well yesterday and it meant that we had to cancel plans and spend the day in the house and the boys don't do well without their exercise.  But in truth this is an excuse, there is nothing I can say, I shouldn't be dragging myself down the boys level.

This morning things went from bad to worse, Mini had taken a drink in the car with him, which went everywhere as I drove round a corner far too fast (blackcurrant oh joy) and I started shouting again.  

I am really struggling to hold it together, to be the mother I want to be and should be.  I miss Mr Smudge desperately, I see him everywhere around the house, a carrier, a cushion on the sofa.  I am trying to do the best I can on very little money, even less sleep and be there for my mum too and life is hard.  

I am still waiting for the results to my test on the 7 July and have received nothing but excuses from the hospital as to why I haven't had them - The consultant is on holiday, the radiographer is on holiday, we haven't received the report from the radiographer, the file is on the consultants desk, his secretary is on holiday.  They are sick of me, I rang up this morning and have cried at the cover secretary.  I am tired, tired of all the waiting, the not knowing, the health issues I have to live with on a day to day basis.
Please don't think this post is a cry for attention, as I don't do that.  I am not looking for sympathy, I just wanted to get it all out and to try and writing does that for me. 


The Gallery - A photo I am Proud Off

Oh my I can not get that "What have you done today to make you feel proud" out of my head.  This week I am supposed to show you an image I have taken that makes me feel proud. 

I am not a professional photographer or even an amateur really.  I am a snapper.  I capture moments of our everyday lives to trigger wonderful memories.

This image was snapped with my now defunct original Olympus digital camera, the first digital I owned, which was the size of a house brick and I love it.

It captures a wonderful day, the first time we went out of the house as a family of four in July 2006.  Granted it was only 200 yards up the hill from our then rented house to the in laws garden, but we did it.

So this is me one week post c-section, first day out of bed, with two babies, one aged 15 months and one 2 weeks and really signifies the start of the parenting adventure for me and my two boys.  Proud - you betcha, I couldn't think straight, but I managed to capture a wonderful time.


Friday, 20 August 2010

Living with a child with a health condition

When Maxi was 4 months old he became unwell.  He got a cold and was very unhappy, not his normal self at all.  He also fell off my knee and we were so concerned we took him to A&E at 6pm.  The doctor took a look at him and said he was fine and just to keep an eye on him and bring him back in if he was being sick.

Maxi on the afternoon before he fell off the sofa

We put our little baby to bed at 8pm that night and tried to give him a feed at 11pm, as usual, but he wouldn't take the milk, in fact he didn't cry, he was just struggling for breath.  We decided to ring the out of hours GP service and the doctor was with us within 30 minutes.  Within 2 minutes of entering the house, he told us to out our baby in the car and to drive straight to A&E.

He took our house keys and said he would lock up and meet us there, that there wasn't time to call an ambulance and we could get him there quicker.

A doctor and two nurses met us at the door to A&E and rushed our baby in to a cubical and then all hell broke out.  Maxi was ventilated and a cannula put in.  He has wires coming from his foot and finger and was put on a heart monitor too.  I have never been so scared since the crash section 4 months previous when we thought we were losing him.  
Maxi on CPAP in the HDU at Royal Berks

Our baby was moved to the high dependency unit as the Royal Berkshire doesn't have an ITU and we started what was our long long Vidual.  Maxi was suffering with breathing difficulties and they couldn't figure out why, he didn't have an infection, it was the middles of the summer not the bronchiolitis season, they were flummoxed.  Instead of getting better, our little baby got worse and was transferred to ITU at Great Ormond Street, it was suggested that we get him christened.

We didn't, he started to improve, we returned back to The Royal Berkshire High Dependency unit and began the long recovery, he was tube fed, changed on to nasal cpap and gradually got better.

A month later we did it all again, bar the Great Ormand Street part, as we managed to deal with it at the Royal Berkshire.  1 day after he was released we dashed down the M1 and had a joint christening for Maxi and my Niece (we basically hijacked their prearranged day), thanks to my wonderful sister in law, who arranged and planned everything.

Maxi's Christening

This became our life for until Maxi turned 3, we couldn't go a couple of month over winter without an admission.  We had over 10 sweat tests for cystic fibrosis, each time the results were in the grey area or there wasn't enough sweat to test.  Finally we for a negative test, we were overjoyed.  We were very lucky that we had a super Consultant, who agree that we needed to take some steps to prevent this happening.

So Maxi underwent numerous blood tests  and other tests and it was discovered that his specific antibodies were virtually non existent.  So Maxi underwent six months of re immunization and also had additional immunizations and guess what.  It made a huge difference.  He no longer picked up every virus going.

We have actually gone an entire winter without any hospitalisations.  It is wonderful.  We are able to manage his condition at home, which is wonderful.  He has done a whole year in Reception Class without one absence. 


Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Benefits of Play

I was invited by Pampers to come and look round their never ending world of play exhibit at the Metro Centre and to meet Pampers play expert Professor Dieter Wolke.

To be honest the interactive exhibit was pitched at children much younger than Maxi and Mini, so I bought them a slush each and we sat down to chat to the professor about why play is important and also the difference in play of boys and girls.

Firstly as a mum of two boys, I asked about the fact that the boys will always turn something in to a gun or a sword, they will build one from Lego, use a stick or even just use their hand and make the noises, should I be worried about this?

The professor reassured me that this was perfectly normal for boys and even children of pacifists will engage in this type of play and it is nothing to worry about or intervene with.

I also asked about developmental and educational play, as I am concerned that these terms are banded around so often at the moment.

All play is educational and you should be led by your children with the type of play that they enjoy, so if they seem to love dressing up, then dress up with them.  If they like to copy mummy cleaning, then get them a small cleaning kit and let them join you.

Play doesn't need to be end specific, children should be able to just enjoy being to see where it takes them.

A lot of this is just common sense, but as a mum I do know that sometimes you do worry.  I worried that the boys didn't get tummy time and other types of developmental stuff when they were small, but when you have 2 children in fifteen months then you learn to let go a little.

What is your child's favorite type of play?


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Mummy bloggers head to Bangladesh

At the end of August 3 influential UK mummy bloggers will be heading to Bangladesh with Save the Children to see first hand the work they do first hand.

Sian, Mummy-Tips and on twitter @mummytips
Josie, Sleep is for the Weak and on twitter @porridgebrain
Eva, Nixdminx and on twitter @nixdminx

Every year almost 9 million children under the age of five die, most of them from preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.

Why are they going to Bangladesh?  

At the end of September Nick Clegg will be at the UN Summit in New York. Ten years ago world leaders set targets, called Millennium Development Goals , to reduce poverty, hunger and disease.

By going to Bangladesh and highlighting the work done, then hopefully the team can reaffirm the need for these health targets to be met.  

What can you do to help?
Sign the petition to get Nick Clegg to push for commitment to the targets at the UN Summit
Donate direct to save the children
Help publicise the trip by writing, tweeting (using the #blogladesh hashtag) and putting the badge on your blog

You do not have to give if you can not afford it, but we have the chance to make a difference, to raise awareness and to try and afford change.

I am proud to know these 3 amazing woman who are going on this trip (I can not even watch comic relief without tears) and will be watching out for all their updates in the coming weeks and months.

So come on together we can all make a difference.


Hearing but not Listening

My boys, especially MiniMad seem to have issues with listening. I and the preschool were so concerned with Mini's hearing that he was referred to an Audiologist.

Thankfully it turned out that Mini's hearing was perfect, although it took four different attempts to get him to co-operate with the tests.  You could see that he was hearing the sounds, he just refused to acknowledge them!

The Audiologist was a lovely lady who went on to explain that she sees now boys than girls and that they can hear, they just don't listen.   They tune out or focus on other things.

So what can I do about making the boys not only hear what I say to them, but also listen and take notice of it.

1)  I have been getting down to their level.  When I have something important to say I get on my knees.

2)  I gently turn mini's head to my face and ask him to listen and watch what I am saying.  I try to keep eye contact.

3)  I have been keeping it simple.  I am trying to say what I need in the least words possible.

4)  By keeping a good tone and not shouting, over lent I tried to give up shouting and it was pretty effective, but I am guilty of slipping.

5)  By rewarding listening with praise.

6)  By responding with the unexpected.

I am also going to try writing notes, especially for things that I keep having to repeat myself on. ie hanging up coats.  The boys have a low peg in the entrance for their coats but at the moment they just keep running in and dropping them, so I am going to leave a note on the door to the living room asking them to hang up their coats.

So what are your children like, do they listen to you, or do you sound like a stuck record?  How do you get round this? I would really appreciate all your hints and tips.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Frugal Food - Utilise your Garden

One of the many comments I got on my feeding a family of 4 for £50 post was that we must be green fingered or have a lot of room for growing vegetables.

The truth is we don't and I am not, we have a small back garden, but in 2009 MadDad built me 3 raised beds, they are not large, they are 6 foot by approx 3 foot and we also have a couple of barrels that we fill with potatoes.

But those raised beds and what pots we have round the garden supply me with a steady supply of vegetables right through till the Autumn.

At the moment we have the following

Bed One - Draft Beans, Runner Beans and Pea's
Barrel - New Potatoes
Bed Two - Spinach, Rainbow Chard, Kale
Barrel - New Potatoes
Bed Three - Leeks and Onions
6 Hanging baskets + Home made fence baskets - Strawberries
2 troughs - Cucumber
2 troughs - Tomatoes
1 Container - Courgettes
4 Containers - Herbs
2 Containers - Salad leaves

Come Autumn, we will be planing garlic and Spring cabbage, we have already eaten the spring onions and all the radish that we grew.

We have grown everything from seed and have shared the initial cost of the seeds with our neighbours who also grow and friends that have an allotment.  We don't have a green house, but I germinated and grew all the seedlings on the window ledges!

We planted our apple tree 3 years ago and this year is the first year we will see many apples from it (we only got about 7 last year), but you need to bear in mind that our back garden was that of a new build - full of clay and bricks with very little soil at all.  

We also planted a pear tree and will get our first fruit from that this year, which is very exciting indeed.

Upkeep and Daily Maintenance

We bought a reduce water butt in the sales last year and we water the beds and containers every night which takes us about 15 mins , or longer if the boys help!  I also go out a couple of times a week and weed, but we don't get many weeds as we plant very close together.

Slugs and snails are our main enemy, but the boys are well trained.  If they see a slug or snail, they squash them.

I think this post shows that you don't have to have a lot of space or a huge initial outlay to start growing your own vegetables.


Saturday, 14 August 2010

RIP Mr Smudge

Yesterday we made the decision that we have been dreading making, but both knew was coming, we had to have our beloved cat Mr Smudge (our rather large and old white cat) put to sleep.

He was 15.  He was my first baby, one of two brothers that we got after I miscarried twins at 20 weeks 15 years ago.

He had been with us through thick and thin and we couldn't bear to see him deteriorate in this way and decided that the time had come to stop looking for what was wrong and let him die with dignity.  To save him from further pain, to learn to live with the pain that it meant for us.

So whilst me and the boys were out yesterday, MadDad took him to the farm vets and today we will be having a little funeral service for him, as requested by Mini.
MadDad will be digging a rather large hole in the garden and we will be laying both the cats to rest (as we lost Snowey 3 days before returning to the north east and had him cremated) in their blanket and placing a bird bath over the area.

I have to say both the boys were very brave, pragmatic and realistic about Mr Smudge dieing and being unwell.  Mini even want to see him before we bury him (we are undecided as what to do about that yet).

The thing is my heart is breaking.  I keep imaging I am seeing him round the house and I guess that feeling wont go away any day soon.

RIP Mr Smudge
June 1995 to 13 August 2010


Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Wordless Wednesday - A big Thankyou

Just look at this wonderful drawing I received from the very clever Suzie over at Itch 2 Stitch.  We adore it and have framed it and popped it for all to see.


Monday, 9 August 2010

Mini(isms) Part Two

Mini has the ability to make friends wherever we go, which I assume is is partly down to his generous and happy nature, but also down to the fact that he is just so............................ unique!

We went to an adventure playground the other day and there were loads of older children there, Maxi went go off and played solitary on the monkey bars etc, but Mini threw himself in to the centre of the most dangerous games with the big boys.

Often I am not partial to the conversations that take place, but this time one of the older boys came over to tell his mum about this "super little boy they were playing with".
Big Boy "He is so funny mummy, he told us he has a pet mole and his mummy is dead"

Big Boys Mummy "Oh poor thing, which child is it?"

Big Boy "That one with the curly hair and glasses"

Me "Oh that would be Mini, he is mine and I am his mother!"

Big Boy "Oh, he also said he has a brother and wants a sister and is friends with the half inside out people who live on the high street"

Me "Oh yes, that is Mini, he has a very active imagination, think nothing of it"

So this is Mini, the half inside out people are his imaginary friends call Dave and Vic.  They have been around for about a year now, although the pet mole is new to me!  He has always wanted a sister, in fact both the boys talk about how they will get a sister all the time!

But I do feel the need to shout out HE HAS A MOTHER, I AM HERE.  I AM ALWAYS HERE!

But who could resist him, he is just adorable!


Sunday, 8 August 2010

Fresh from the Garden


Friday, 6 August 2010

Feeding a family of four on £50

Zooarchaeologist (being a mummy) did a great post recently about shaving £200 off her monthly budget and I commented that I had got our weekly food shopping bill down to £50 for the four of us and she asked to see our Menu Plan, so I thought I would post one for you all to see, with prices too.  I do a weekly shop at Aldi and if anything else is needed it tends to be the co-op in the village.

Now I do have a good store cupboard and freezer with staples like gravy, frozen stock), herbs, spices, flour etc in.


Lunch - mince (£1.99) and onions with veg from the garden and new potatoes from the garden too
Dinner - Poached eggs (99p or six for the butcher or friend) on muffins (60p)


Lunch - Scrambled egg on toast (99p for the eggs and 99p for a loaf of bread)
Dinner - Bolognese made with left over mince pasta (99p a bag) and pasata (59p) with added herbs and any veg left over from Sunday dinner (pureed).  Garlic bread (home made)


Lunch - Beans and Sausage on Toast (59p)
Dinner - Curry with home made naan bread

Sausage rolls form the bakers (4 for 99p)
Sausage casserole with Potatoes from the FIL


Lunch - Scrambled Eggs with cheese and ham 
Jacket Potatoes with Cheese and Beans or leftover curry

Sandwiches (cheese and ham or egg)
Fish and Chips with peas from the garden


Hot Dogs and rolls with potato wedges (from the garden)
Home Made pizza (ham, salami, pasattatta, mozzarella and onion), garlic bread

Shopping list

Mince (1.99)
Breaded Ham (99p)
Mozzarella (2 x 49p)
Salami (99p)
Sausages (99p)
Bread (99p)
Hot dog rolls (55p)
Bratwursts (99p)
potato (69p)
Apples (1.25)
Banana (1.01)
Natural yogurt (49p)
Flour (33p)
Oven chips (99p)
Frozen battered Cod (1.99)
Passata  (49p)
Gouda (1.15)
Onions (69p)
High Juice (99p)
Jelly mix (20p)
Coffee (2.59  a month)
Paracetamol (2 x 19p)
Spreadable butter (1.79)
Marg for baking (50p)
Pull ups (3.59 once a month)
12 eggs (1.98)
Milk Iceland £1 for 4 pints we use at least 16 pints = £4)
Porridge (99p)
Choco Hoops (1.15)
Teabags (2.10 very 4 weeks)
Salad Stuff (currently 39p for tomatoes, lettuce and onions from ;Mar £1.20)
lemonade (40p)
Yogurt (2 x 80p)
Chicken pieces (1.99)
Hot Chocolate (99p)

I DONT buy cakes or biscuits, but I do buy the ingredients to make them and have baking powder, raisins etc in the cupboard board all the time.  I buy one loaf a week and then make all the rest (lidl do a really good inexpensive bread flour and I buy in bulk when passing).
I also make sure I have Ice cream and cone in  and when we hear the ice cream van  we make our own.  Sprinkles on top to make special or if they are really lucky then we might have a flake.

The garden is a huge source of produce for me, the peas are just coming to pod and the beans will be ready in the next few weeks. The spinach and chard is all cut and come again. We have tomatoes and onions, which we turned in to pasta sauce last year.

I always check the Internet to find out who has what offers on and shop around to ensure I get the best deal.  I will buy cheese and freeze it.

So how much do you spend on your weekly shop and how do you keep the bills down in the current climate?


Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Three for the price of One - The Gallery, Play Academy and Children's Craft Showcase


The Gallery this week is extra speical as it is linked with Cathy my friend over at Nuturestore and her Play Accadamy, so I thought that I would use a new Childrens Craft Showcase for this week, as it really seemed to fit the bill.

I think that this craft is pretty self explanatory, we all have bubble wrap and using it to pain on and create texture is so much fun for children.

We used our bubble wrap to make a sea on cards and on some paper.  We painted the wrap blue and green.

Then pressed it down on the card and paper.

To make a funky pattern.

We used foam shapes on the cards.

I cut out images of fish on paper and the boys painted them.

To make fish on the cards, we used the circle stickers and cut out a triangle to make the mouth and stuck it on as a tail, inspired by The Frugal Family Fun Blog.

We used tissue paper as sea weed.

This is our final art work which is gracing the wall in the dinning room.  It even has a treasure chest!

So if you have any crafty posts of things you have been doing with your children over the last few weeks then please link up below.  I would love to see what you have  been busy making and doing.

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