I can’t believe it is almost fall.  This summer has absolutely flown by.  HJ and I were able to have so much fun this summer.  He is old enough that he was able to do so many new things by himself.  He attempted biking sans training wheels, jumped off a diving board and climbed around jungle gyms like it was no big deal.  We went on a few trips, visited a couple zoos and ran around the neighborhood.  He experienced an ice cream truck, performed puppet shows and attended concerts.  HJ got to go boating and swimming.  He can play baseball without a tee and hit a tennis ball over the net.  Sometimes,  I swear he thinks he is 8 and not 3.  Luckily, my sweet little boy has a special place for his best friend, mommy.  Instead of continuing to ramble on about our super fun summer, here are some of my favorite pictures:

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You know that wonderful relief your body feels as you come into your home on a Friday afternoon?  Work is done for a few days and the excitement of the weekend is ready to begin?  That’s how I felt on Friday as I stepped in my back door and kicked off my shoes.  I stepped onto the rug in the mudroom and my foot squished into a puddle.

What the?

I feel HJ’s shorts thinking he had an accident.  He hasn’t had one in months, and when he did, he went into panic mode, so I figured there was no way it could be him.  I glare at the dog and take another step.  And I splash.

I splash.  In my mudroom.

Go back 2 weeks…my washing machine had been making a grinding noise, so I called the store I bought it from.  They sent someone out who tightened some thingy.  He said it should be fine, but since the machine was under warranty, he was going to replace a part.   Nothing was wrong other than the noise part.  Fast forward to last Tuesday, he replaced the “thingy”.  I did a load of laundry on Wednesday.  And Thursday.  Friday morning before leaving for work, I threw the rug back into the mudroom (it had been on the deck all week).  I started a load of laundry during my lunch hour, and planned on throwing it in the dryer when I got home.

Splash.

I immediately called the appliance store and told them my washing machine was leaking everywhere.  He said, “Oh man, I wish you would have called 2 minutes ago, now it’s past 5.  I can send someone out next week.”

What.The.Frick.

Their customer service has always been amazing.

I head downstairs and realize the floor is covered in water, it had leaked down there.  I went back upstairs and opened the coat closet.  That’s when I figured out it had been leaking since Tuesday and it took me 3 loads of laundry to discover it.  The smell of musty, standing water poured into the mudroom.

I whined and bitched a bit and decided this wasn’t going to change my night.  I loaded HJ into the car and we headed to an outdoor concert with some friends.  We had a blast running around and playing and dancing and I got to talk to adults outside of work.  Even if most of them were my co-workers.

When we got home, I started tackling the mudroom.  I pulled everything out of the closet, cleaned and dried it.  I scrubbed the floors and dried them so I could try to figure out what exactly was causing the washer to leak.  I pulled the washer out and I figured it out.  Me, who can barely figure out how to hammer something, could see what was wrong, but somehow the appliance repair man missed it.

Here is what was wrong in technical terms:  There is this little tube thingy that comes out from the washing machine.  This is what takes the water out of your washer and gets rid of it.  That is not supposed to be sticking straight up in the air.  That would cause water to splash all over the place.  Duh.  So I stuck it in the hole thing in the wall and started the washer.  Guess what?  It didn’t leak.

It seems to me that should have been checked out by Mr. Repair Man.  But don’t worry, I got it covered.  Meanwhile, I am still trying to completely dry out the floors and the ceiling.

That’s how my weekend started.

The next morning, HJ and I went to Farmer’s Market.  He was happy as can be, holding my hand and talking about the corn on the cob we were going to get.  He looked at all the booths set up and flipped out.  Apparently he was expecting something other than the usual farmer’s market we go to.  And he was ticked.  I went and got some corn, and he cried and screamed.  Insisted on me carrying him.

Now, I am carrying a 35 lb child, a 25 lb purse, and half a dozen ears of corn.  So I decide to get a bag of apples.  And some broccoli, a cucumber and a few peppers.  And he is crying and mad.  And wanting to pet the dogs.  His eyes are swollen and puffy.  He says he can’t walk because his legs are broke.  I finally call it quits.

He has never had a melt down that lasted this long.  I was beside myself.  I brought him home and got him lunch and some milk.  I ran to the cabinet to grab his chocolate to put in the milk.  This is when he looked at me and yelled “where’s my chocolate?!?!” and dumped his milk on the floor.  He dumped it on the floor.  I may have yelled, “what the hell are you doing?”  And I left it there for a good 20 minutes until he finally mopped it up to get out of time-out.

I call my mom to sit with him so I can get a few errands done and hopefully refresh my attitude.

I grab my list and my coupons and ran to Kohl’s.  I picked up the one item I was looking for and went to the cash register.  And I can’t find my 20% off coupon.  The lady tells me I need it and I ask if there are any online I can use.  She says “if you can find it”.  Thanks.  I can’t find it and a line is forming so I tell her to “fuck off”.  Wait, no, that’s what I was thinking.  I told her, “Sorry, I can’t find it,” and I paid the full price.

I was debating where to get groceries and remember I wanted to pick up a toy to tuck away for HJ’s birthday before the stores stop selling them, so I chose Target.  I can get the toy, grab the groceries and be done!

Of course, the toy is gone, grr.  So I head to the groceries.  For some reason, there were quite a few empty shelves (I am guessing because it was move in weekend at the college), and I head out of the store with no toy and missing 3 of the 8 items on my list.  Fail.

Also, throughout my errands, I had been trying to find a friend to get a drink with me that night. I couldn’t find anyone and it made me feel like I have no friends.  I was stressed, ticked and really in need of a break.

Then my bag broke while walking to the car.

I hurried to my car.  And cried.

It was just one thing after another.  I couldn’t take it.  I needed a friend and couldn’t find one.  I was feeling broke, and only able to get the few items I bought because I sold some of my old handbags.  After all these things, I just wanted something to go smooth.

I pull into the house and carry my bags inside, hoping the break has helped HJ’s attitude.  The house had been torn apart.  My mom told me that the boys left the door open and the dog got out and tried to eat the neighbor’s dog.  I lost my cool.

I feel like there have been many times when I held it together.  I try to be as patient as possible, and I know I stay calmer than most in many situations.  But not on Saturday.  I feel like my weekend needs a do-over.

 

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

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HJ has been a big fan Disney Pixar Films.  We have watched Disney Pixar Cars, the movie,  on repeat more times than I care to admit, and his toy box is filled with Toy Story characters.  That’s why I knew HJ would be ecstatic when I told him about our rainy day activity.

Want to see a little boy who is so very excited?

Excuse the part where I call the movie airplanes instead of Disney Planes.  The movie Airplane! is totally different.  And excuse the end where I am tackled at Subway in a bear hug.

HJ and I decided to make the best of a rainy weekend night by transforming our kitchen into a runway by picking out a few goodies at our local Walmart.  I knew HJ had recently gone to the theater to check out Disney Pixar Film, Planes with Nana and really liked Dusty, the lead character and was asking for his very own Disney Planes “Dusty”.

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HJ was in heaven picking out his new toys and was eager to get them home.

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When we arrived home, I started setting up our kitchen to be a path of roads and runways.  HJ gathered up his new Disney Planes and Disney Pixar Cars and eagerly sat by.

I laid strips of duct tape around the kitchen floor that all led to HJ’s new Aircraft Carrier.

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Once the tape was down, HJ and I both took a  black marker to mark the roads to help guide the Disney Planes down the runway.  After about 10 minutes of set-up, the kitchen was ready to keep HJ entertained the whole weekend!

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Pick-up was simple, just pull the tape up!  I am thinking the roadways might be on the kitchen floor all winter long to help with being “trapped indoors”.

Want to check out more Disney Pixar Cars and Disney Planes?  Head to Walmart!  Also, check out my google+ album for more pictures!

The other day, I realized I had quite a few berries in the fridge that either needed to be eaten quickly or would end up being tossed out.  While debating what I could make with all the fruit, I had a flashback to my childhood.  Every now and then, my mom would make us homemade popsicles.  I can’t remember what she put in them or how she made them, but I remember them being delicious.

I decided HJ and I would use the berries to make our own popsicles.  When I told him the plan, he was EXTREMELY excited.  We washed the blueberries and chopped up some strawberries and added them to the blender.  I was trying to decide between using lemonade or OJ, when HJ told me lemonade would be best.

We mixed everything up really well and gave it a taste test.  HJ thought it was wonderful tasting and was not thrilled when learning the popsicles wouldn’t actually be ready until the next day.

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I poured the mixture into the popsicle molds, while HJ put the sticks in.

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And we popped them in the freezer.  The next night, we enjoyed our homemade treats for dessert.

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Have you made homemade popsicles?  Let me know what other ingredients we can use to make some yummy popsicles!

 

Have you met my sponsor, Adproval?

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Hello lovely readers!  HJ is currently under the weather, and threw an epic tantrum at Target last night.  The reason?  There was a girl on the box of medicine I picked up.  He didn’t want GIRL medicine.  Unfortunately, there were no “boy” choices.

Also, I applied to win a contest with Stitch Fix, and would love if you could GO HERE and vote for me!  I only need around 70 votes to take the lead :).

I have struggled to find the best work-out routine since having a child.  Today, Merrie is sharing a few tips she has!

 

Hi there A Slice of Mudpie readers! This is Merrie from The Skinny Student! I am a junior in college studying Speech-Language Pathology. I started my blog a little over a month ago as a way to track my fitness progress as a loose the Freshman 15. At The Skinny Student you can find workouts, healthy living tips and view my progress!

Today I will be sharing my 5 tips on how to work out with a little one. Now, I may not be a mother myself but I have certainly had plenty of practice in the field. With eight nieces and nephews and an 8-year-old brother (my family is a little crazy), I have my hands full with kids a lot of the time. I also know how hard it can be to get a good workout in while you have a crazy kid running around. So, instead of trying to workout by your lonesome with a crazy tyke running around, workout WITH them instead.
1) Get those legs moving– Go out on a walk or run with your kiddo! For an added bonus, make it a race! “Whoever finishes this lap last is a rotten egg!”(works every time!) If your kid is anything like my brother, they are always wanting to be grown up. An added novelty that will get them really excited about walking and feel more grown up is to get them on a treadmill! Since this is a grown up machine, I put him on a walking speed (around 3.0) and if he wants a challenge I may bump up the incline to .5 or 1.0.
2) Play some sports– Getting outdoors and playing some baseball, soccer, or volleyball can be a fantastic workout for the whole family!
3) Weights– Now you may be thinking I’m crazy with this workout here. But, once again my brother was wanting so badly to be a grown up and workout with weights that I finally broke down and let him. I gave him the two-pound weights and we went through a few reps of basic arm movements (like bicep curl and lateral raise). Although this was a harder workout for him, he loved it!
4) Release your inner child– Do not underestimate how good kiddie toys and games can be good for a workout! Grab a few jump ropes and hula hoops and you and your kid will have a great workout! Again, you can make this challenge. Whoever can hula hoop the longest or can jump rope the longest wins! You’ll be surprised of how hard of a workout this can be!
5) Stretching– After a great workout with your little one, don’t forget to teach them the importance of stretching their muscles afterwards!

 

I posted an emotional letter to HJ’s teacher last week.  Sorry if I made you cry.  Since I was a little emotional, I wanted to share how the first day of school went.

HJ woke up in my bed and I told him he was going to be going to school.  He got a huge smile and said, “Already?  Today?”.  “It’s finally here!” I told him.

He was even thrilled to be posing in front of his chalkboard, knowing it was all about “him”.

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Here is the convo we had about what he wants to be when he grows up…

Me: Hey, HJ, what do you want to be when you grow up?

HJ: Animal trainer, of giraffes and dinosaurs, big ones.

Me: Oh, and what do you train them to do?

HJ: Um..sit and clap.

Me: Can dinosaurs and giraffes sit and clap?

HJ: No, that’s why me need to train them.

Duh, mom.

When I brought HJ to school he walked in and said hi to the teacher.  He also told her everybody should be nice to everybody.  She agreed that it was a good rule.  And off he went.

I did get a hug and a kiss, but he was not nearly as concerned as myself.

I took the day off to help him celebrate after his 11am dismissal.  On the way to our pool day, I asked HJ if he met new friends.  He told me he did, Brody.  I asked if that was by chance our neighbor.  It was.  I asked who he played with outside, he said “my friends”.  That person was also named Brody.  Not sure if they met any other kids or not?

We went to the pool to celebrate the day, but it was a little chilly and we didn’t last long.

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We then decided to head to the local Arboretum after hearing great things about it.  We had SO MUCH FUN.

When we arrived, we were given a map.  The map led us around the gardens in search of gnomes.  Each gnome had a name that we wrote down, and once we found them all, HJ would get a prize.  He took this seriously.

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He also got to feed some fish in a pond.

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And check out the amazing Children’s Garden.  There were enough things in here to keep us busy all day.

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He played a bit in the cottage (which holds a weekly story hour), and got to dig in the sand pit.

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He also took a break in this cute hut of vines.

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We were successful in finding all but one gnome.  And we searched and searched for that thing.  When I went to turn in the map and admit defeat, we were told, “Oh yeah, someone stole that one”.  Would have been nice to know that before running around in search of it.  HJ was given a little candy bar for his prize, and fell asleep on the way home.

He told me his favorite part of the day was preschool, and couldn’t wait to go back.

 

If you have been clicking around my site recently, you may have noticed a few changes.  For one, look at my navigation bar up top.  See it?  You can now find things a bit easier.  Want to find a recipe I wrote about?  Just click on the recipe tab!  Another change?  Check out the side bar.  It has a few more sponsors over there.

One of the sponsors is Adproval.  I recently switched my sponsor page to Adproval for a number of reasons (some which I have already shared).  When I was first interested in switching, I emailed Matthew to get a little more information.  I learned that Adproval is relatively easy to use.  They don’t charge for swaps, and only charge 10% of every ad you sell.  No monthly fees, just 10% every time.  Catch that?  NO MONTHLY FEES :).

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Matthew even offered to set up my store for me, using the sponsorships that I had set up through “that other site”.  I was worried I would have to switch at the end of all my current sponsors, or risk losing them.  However, Matthew was able to switch over all my current sponsors when I provided him with the end date.

Easy, huh?

Once Matthew created my store, he sent over the codes for me to plug into my blog.  This was all done via email in less than half a day.

After the store was set up on my sponsorship page, we set up a time to talk via google hangout.  I had no idea how informative our little chat was going to be.  In our chat, Matthew went over a “Guide To Selling Your Ad Space with Adproval”.  This went over ways to improve my site and better ways to market my blog.  I was vigorously taking notes and was excited to start implementing everything he suggested (I almost have my list complete!).

On top of that, he offered to be my first sale.  How cool is that?  He is helping me track how much traffic my little blog is driving to his site, so that I can share that with potential “future sponsors”.

Since our chat, I have emailed Matthew with a few questions, and have received quick feedback.  I love how my sidebar is starting to be filled up a little more, and hope to continue to see it grow.  I have been blown away with Adproval’s customer service, even with me being a small blog.

Are you thinking about switching but aren’t 100% sold?  Let me help you decide!  Ask questions or send me an email at sliceofmudpie@gmail.com.   I have been completely happy with my switch and would love to help others who are looking for a new way to sell sponsorship or ads on their blog.

Also, Matthew is offering a consultation to one of my lovely readers.  I mentioned how informative I found the “Guide To Selling Your Ad Space with Adproval”, and would love for you to benefit as well.  This could also help you decide if you would like to start working with Adproval as well.  If you are interested in the consultation, just leave a comment!

 

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Dear Teacher,

I know that preschool is about to start and you are extremely busy, but I need to share a few things with you.  My son, HJ is extremely special.  I know, I know, you hear that about every kid.  But my kid is different.  You see, this kid, my sweet HJ, is my everything.  I can’t describe how much joy he has brought to my life.  Every day, I thank God that I was chosen to be his mother.

I am incredibly nervous to send him to school.  I am an over-paranoid and anxious mom.  I fear he won’t get any attention, I fear he will get lost in the chaos.  I worry he will be a push-over and won’t stand up for himself.  I am hoping he will stand up for himself and his friends.  I am scared he will be bullied and at the same time, terrified he will make fun of someone else.

I hope I have taught him right from wrong.  I pray that he remembers his manners.  I want everyone to like him.  I want him to be accepting of everyone.  I want him to try new things, but be wary of danger.  I am worried he will be behind the class.   I am worried he will be shy, but I also am worried he will be wild.

I want you to know that I can never get him to eat breakfast.  This makes me worried he will be hungry, please don’t think I am a bad mom.  I want you to know no matter how many times he says, “me not tired” that always means he is exhausted.  If he wants to lay down, he will tilt his head to the side and start twisting his hair with his finger.  He will never admit he needs to rest.  Ever.

He has an incredible imagination.  One that I hope never fades.  We can be playing dragons one minute, and be a super hero the next.  By the way, his super-hero alter-ego is “Super HJ”.

I am anxious for things involving family.  Our family is small, it’s just HJ and me.  I am worried he will get picked on or questioned as to why he doesn’t have a father.  I have explained that all families are different.  I hope you will too.  This is also why I said he is my everything.  He is literally the only person I have.  Please, take good care of him.

HJ has always mixed up the usage of “me/I” and “am/are/is”.  I haven’t corrected it because I think it’s cute.  I know you will fix it and I am okay with that, just know I didn’t do it yet so I could hold onto a piece of my baby who is growing up to quickly.

Unfortunately, our society is one where parents fear someone coming into their child’s school.  I know you have no control over this and I hate I can’t get this fear out of my head.  I pray my child is always safe.

I want my child to love learning, so I don’t want to push to hard.  At the same time, I want to make sure he is learning all he needs to.  I fear not being able to find an even balance.

HJ loves playing with friends.  He likes to go along with the crowd.  I hope he realizes not to follow the crowd with everything they do.  And, every now and then, to forge his own path.

He loves helping, and will gladly do things he is asked of.  I hope this is not taken advantage of.

I am so worried about being a “helicopter parent”.  I will do my best to stay out-of-the-way.  I hope this doesn’t make me appear distant.  I want to hear every day what he did, what he worked on, what he ate, if he napped, etc., but I will refrain (most of the time).  I worry that I won’t be involved enough.  I will want to volunteer for everything, but I know that is not possible with my work schedule.  I hope this doesn’t make me a bad mom.

When I first moved to town, a mother asked me what my husband did for a living.  When I told her I wasn’t married, she looked me up and down and walked away with a disgusted look on her face.  I am absolutely terrified that the parents will think poorly of me.  I am more worried that if an adult acts that way, how will a child react to my son when being told he doesn’t have a dad?  I don’t want my child to be rejected.  He has had enough of that in his short, little life already.

While I am looking forward to this new chapter in our lives, I am also nervous.  I just want him to love his school, and I want everyone there to love him.  Show him love, teach him kindness and be a good role model for him.  Help him learn to love school.  Please, please take good care of my baby.

-A worried, over-anxious mom

 

Remember when I told you all about Stitch Fix HERE and HERE?  I won’t go through that stuff all again.  However, the posts were pretty popular according to my stats, so I thought I would offer a little advice on Stitch Fix.

Request a Stylist  Had a fix you loved?  Make note of who it was, and request that person for your next fix.  Feel like you are getting lots of similar looking items?  Request someone new, they can bring in a new flavor to your fix.

Update Your Style Profile  Remember creating your account and you had to say if you liked or disliked certain styles?  Go back…check it again.  When I first filled it out, I thought everything looked great.  But the thing is, they would look great on someone else, not me.  Be true to your style, the more picky you are, the better!

I also mentioned here that I didn’t want jewelery.  I have a few staple items I wear everyday, that’s it.

Let Them Know What You’re Looking For  Have enough tanks for the summer?  Make a note of that.  Want to get started on your fall wardrobe?  Tell your stylist.  With summer coming to a close, I asked to start receiving fall/winter items.  No need to get a super cute tank I can’t wear until spring!

Use Pinterest I don’t know which of my accounts the stylist looks at, but I know she has seen my pinterest board and my blog, because of some comments she has written.  Make sure to pin things you like!  This will give the stylist great ideas when they are creating your fix!

My last fix was very “me”.  Here is what I was sent:

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Leave detailed comments Make sure to let them know why you disliked an item.  For example, I really liked the blazer, I thought it was adorable.  However, the darts landed wrong on me and overall it felt a tad snug.  The comments will help them with future fixes.

As for my fix, I ended up keeping the cute pink sweater.  My closet is full of black and greys, so I thought this would be a good, fresh color!

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Have you been loving your fixes?  Want to try Stitch Fix out for yourself?  Go HERE!

Hello all!  Today, I am working out-of-town and then traveling to a suburb of Chicago to visit my friend and her sweet little baby, Oliver.  I feel like this week has been a little wild, busy and unexpected.

I even had a date.  I met a guy at the pool while our kids were playing.  Ya know, while I am my most self-conscious and uncomfortable, I get picked up, go figure.

I don’t know if many of you saw this, but this week I received my most favorite comment.  It was in response to my Mickey Mouse is Vain post.  Jill said:

Love this post!! After seeing every episode several times (my son is a huge fan) I have spent way too much time analyzing Curious George. Why do strangers act like its normal for a monkey to be wandering the city alone? And why do these strangers trust him with jobs (working at a concession stand, a candy counter etc.). And why does a chef let him help in the kitchen? That’s gotta be breaking some health codes.

Why do George’s human friends’ patents/guardians let their kids go to a middleaged single man’s apartment to play with his monkey, and go on vacations with them? Why doesn’t anyone tell Bill (George’s friend in the country) that George is a monkey, not a “city kid”? In every episode and book George makes a huge mess of everything, but no one seems to care. Also,. Is there something going on between professor wiseman and the man with the yellow hat?

And finally, if George is a monkey, why doesn’t he have a tail?! Phew…I clearly over think this show, but after watching it for 2 years with my son, I have many burning questions, lol!

I lol’ed for sure.  Glad I am not the only one that analyzes kid shows.

A few weeks ago, I joined Southen Beauty Guide’s Bigs & Littles program.  It reminds me of getting my “big” in the sorority!  I was lucky enough to get paired up with Rebekah of All That Glitters.  She has been throwing fantastic advice my way and I get wait to get to know her better!

I patted myself on the back the other day for a fabulous organization idea.  HJ received a container that held 3 different puzzles.  I didn’t want the pieces to get all mixed up and lead to a frustrated little guy.  I separated the pieces into 3 Ziploc bags, labeled 1,2 and 3.  Then I marked each piece with which bag they should go in.  That way if the pieces get mixed up, we will be able to tell where it goes!

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Our veggie garden is looking pretty good!  So far, we have been able to taste the lettuce, tomatoes and carrots.  HJ loves helping me pick the tomatoes, and will offer them to anyone who happens to be over.

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Can’t wait until our sweet potatoes and celery are ready!

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

Have you checked out my sponsor, adproval?

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