Sunday, March 28, 2010

Learning to heel

'Heel Bailey!'

'Good girl!'

'Mommy!  I think she's catching on! I love having a dog!'

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Introducing ... Bailey!

Update on Mum:  Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts for my Mum.  She just got home this afternoon and is so grateful to be back in her own bed.  She is desperate for a shower, but she is in good spirits otherwise.  I can't believe they don't even wash your hair in the hospital anymore! Cutbacks! Do they not understand that a sponge bath and hair wash would go along way in boosting moral for the patients? They weren't able to put on a showerproof dressing for her wound either, so she is not to shower for two weeks, but I have a hunch that my Dad, who is after all Canadian - eh!,  will come up with something!  It might even involve duct tape - because, well, Canadians make it a habit of keeping some handy you know! Or at least Americans who used to watch the Red Green show seem to think so!

And now, without further ado!
  Introducing ... Bailey!

I'll just bet you never saw that coming!
Well ... we didn't either to be honest!  In January, one of the home school families was looking for a home for Bailey and posted the need for a good home on our Yahoo Group. Before we told the children and while we were praying and considering the matter, she was adopted.  We were really disappointed, but figured it wasn't the right time for us to have a dog, and left the matter at that.
Today, we adopted Bailey. 

She is an almost two year old Basset Hound mix.  Her second family did not want to give her up - she is so sweet and affectionate!  Circumstances forced them to find homes for both of their family dogs, and we were blessed with Bailey.

It's been a long time since we opened our home to a dog.  They are work.  They are a tie down.  They do unspeakable things with their tongues, but ... they also bring much joy.
The children have been asking for a dog for ... years. Many many years.

Bailey is a little camera shy - in fact she's just plain shy! Dreamer is giggling while trying to get her to sit for her picture!  Already she has brought much laughter to our home!

So we have a dog.  Peppermint is not impressed, but hopefully, since he is an outdoor cat, he will give her a wide berth and learn to get along.  We have a lot to learn about training a dog.  She has never been taught to heal, sit, lay down, or stay.  She is bright, but stubborn.  Hopefully, she is trainable. I know what extra reading the kids will be doing ...'How to Train Your Dog' in 10 easy lessons ... I wish!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Company Girl Coffee - March 26

Welcome Company Girls!   I have some Berry Treat Tea and Cranberry Orange Scones all ready for your visit!  It's been a difficult week here - lots of prayer and worry going on for my dear Mum. Many answers to prayer as well though - she is doing very well and is actually going to be released from hospital later today.  Considering that she broke her hip Sunday, had repair surgery Monday night and this is only Friday - I think that's amazing! The physiotherapist had her doing stairs yesterday - with a cane.  Unbelievable.
My Mum is sweet as can be, but she is quite determined.  I know that she will have hard days of healing ahead, but I have no doubt she will be just fine.

We awakened to a horrible abberation this morning - snow!  My poor flowers are quite frozen!

Our lettuce plants are shivering under their canopy of cheesecloth.  The cheesecloth was my attempt to keep out the bunnies this year - just using what I had on hand.  It's likely that batch of lettuce is doomed - they like cool weather, but not snow! All is not lost - I have more coming up under the grow lights and maybe this will give me chance to think of a better cover for them.

I transplanted the cucumbers this week into larger peat pots - they are doing great! Just a tip here - I buy peat pots when they are clearing them out in June - they usually have them in the clearance isle just before the school supplies come out.

The zinnias are doing really well too - I can't wait to see their saucy green color!

I just started these tomato plants - Beefsteak and Yellow Pear. Everyone is looking forward to fresh garden tomatoes. The Historian is missing 'real' tomatoes!

These giant white Moonflowers destined for my lamppost garden have me scratching my head - I planted them at the same time, but they are not coming up at the same time. Go figure!

Of course, all of this rain and snow means the ground is very very soggy - our Storyteller is so very sad!  Baseball practice was canceled Monday and will likely be canceled today as well. 

Are you ready for a scone?  We were recently at Panara Breads for a treat - their food is so good, but pricey, if you ask me. I saw some scones and they looked wonderful - until I saw the price!  I decided that I would try to make my own this week and they turned out quite well.  Would you like the recipe so that you can make them too?

Cranberry Orange Scones
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
the zest of one orange
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 egg - beaten
the juice of one orange plus enough milk to make 1/2 cup liquid

Combine  flour, baking powder, salt, sugars and orange zest.  Add butter and using a pastry blender, combine until the butter flour mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add cranberries. Make a well in the center and pour in beaten egg and milk/orange juice mixture.  Stir just to moisten all flour.  Dump out onto a floured counter or board and knead gently for about 1 minute or until a smooth dough forms. Using your lightly floured hands, gently form a 9" flat disk.  Use a floured knife to cut as for a pie into 8 or 10 nice wedges.  Transfer to baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 14 minutes or until golden.  If you like slightly  'crunchy' edges, separate the wedges before baking, but if you like a softer scone, bake as a round - it may take longer - 20 minutes or so. Make a glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of orange juice.  Glaze baked scones while still warm.  Enjoy!

Well, thanks for stopping by for a visit!  I've been missing in action this week, but there has been a lot going on! Today is a full school day, and later we need to start some cleaning and get the bathrooms and floors taken care of.  I did 1/3 of my ironing last night and feel great about getting so much done - mostly shirts for the Historian.  Today I hope to do more - but first, to schoolwork!  Dreamer is learning some new songs on the piano and I am just loving that she is at the point in piano where she is enjoying it and trying new things on her own!  At last - all those lessons and tears are paying off!
Have a great day and a lovely weekend!

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Monday, March 22, 2010

My sweet Mum

*** UPDATE***
Mum is out of surgery and doing well pretty well with a pain pump to manage her discomfort!
And now to heal and mend - and adjust.

My sweet Mum fell and broke her hip yesterday.  She thought she was just bruised and so she didn't get to the hospital right away - not until after supper time.  She was scheduled for surgery this morning, but it is late afternoon and she is still waiting.  She is in so much pain and has not had anything to eat or drink since her breakfast yesterday. Please pray for her, and for my dad.  We are so far away from being able to help her, and though my blood clot is improved, I am still not travel worthy. I feel helpless to do anything but pray, but I truly know it is the best thing I can do. I also know that the family of God in North Bay will undoubtedly bless Mum and Dad with meals and help as needed, so that's a comfort. My poor sweet Mum!

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Borrowed Beauty

They used to say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - well, I hope that's still true! Since I am fresh out of my own creativity, I'm borrowing great ideas from others! 
Last night, I was inspired by Jamie Manangan of The Organizer Shopper to make a new coupon organizer!
Her's are wonderful - and very reasonable considering the time and materials involved in the construction.

So, it was about 10pm and I should have been heading for bed, but I thought ... maybe just doing something creative will get the lethargy knocked out and get me started.  I really needed a new coupon organizer - I have tried many different systems and been frustrated with them all. I thought it would take about an hour ... but I was wrong - it took 2 hours!  I made so many mistakes and was limited to materials at hand, but despite that, I am happy with the end result!  The fabrics were cottons I picked up here and there on clearance for purse liners and fat quarters from my 'stash'.

 I would have ordered one of Jamie Manangan's cute organizers from her Etsy Shop , but I have an unnatural aversion to legal or steno-type pads.  I wanted one that would hold a 9"x6" spiral bound or composition book, so those were the dimensions I worked with.  I cut the coupon pockets too shallow and had to add to the height using bias tape - and I am not really a eyelet kind of gal, but my first choice, twill tape, was in short supply.  Again - late night sewing means you have to be flexible and creative!

 Not long ago a friend from co-op gave me a bunch of her mom's sewing supplies, including a few rolls of stabilizers.  That made the machine embroidery so much easier - I used a stick on type that tore away and it made sewing the flimsy eyelet go so smoothly! I would have preferred twill tape, but I used what I had!

I used plastic canvas stabilize the whole thing, and I made it removable so that I can wash it since it is a light color.  I also used about a yard of fusible interfacing! It was kind of like making a Bible cover with just a whole lot more pockets! I tend to loose coupon organizers, so this probably won't be the last one I make ... hopefully I have learned from my mistakes and will do better next time! Dreamer loves the flower on front, so I'm thinking I'll be making another shabby flower to go with her Easter ensemble!


I guess my 'out of shape' creativity muscles are not as rusty as I thought - at least I remembered how to sew! In my teens and early 20's I worked for at a fabric store, and I was always sewing in my spare time. I always shook my head in disbelief when middle aged women came into the store claiming they loved to sew but hadn't sewn for years!  I didn't understand it at all - it would be like going without breathing or chocolate!  Now I am understanding the ebbs and flows of creativity and the need to prioritize time and energy when you are in different seasons of life!  I guess I've become that middle aged  women - but it's only been a couple of months since I sewed anything fun. Mending doesn't count!

Now, what shall I tackle next? 

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Friday, March 19, 2010


I'm looking for 'springdicators' everywhere! 
In the back patio garden, new life amidst the debrise from last summer's blooms!

Popping up everywhere in glorious abundance! Of course, thanks to Mr. Grey Squirrel (also known as the tree rats), most of my bulbs are NOT coming up anywhere close to where I planted them ... *sigh* 
Gardeners are by nature, eternal optimists ... we have to be!

The chair cushions I made last summer for the Grammy Flat Porch are all washed and waiting to be put back out on the wicker furniture. You can read about that fiasco with a HAPPY ENDING  HERE and see the finished job HERE, if you like! It's worth it just to remember how awful these looked once upon a time! 
No more Mr. Peppermint paw prints and clumps of white fur.  
Of course, I'm dreaming!

Shocking chartreuse 'Envy' Zinnias making their way under the grow lights on the workbench. Such a departure for me, but 'Green Envy' Coneflower lead the way last summer! It was smashing!

 Spring cleaning of the candle cupboard has begun - I always make such a mess tidying up.  I have been taking the cleaning in small bites, and it is amazing how much I've done here and there. So much more to do, of course, but bit by bit I'll get there!

Muddy boots by the door - just a quick trip out to the shed is taking your life in your hands! The perennial joys of clay soil assure us that our mudroom will always live up to it's name in the spring!

Goodbye heavy winter coats, and hello to spring jackets.  All washed and hung outside on the line to dry, they are back on hangers and in the wardrobe now! Really, they are the least used garments we own since it often seems like we just peal off winter and put on shorts and t-shirts!  They will get used in the fall as we habitually procrastinate the 'winter switch'.  Dreamer has all the mittens, toques, and scarves put away and all of the gloves, bats, balls and caps in their places!  Spring, we are ready for you!

It was a bit windy today but I got some of my thrift store finds primed and ready to paint! O.k. - it was very windy and I inadvertently spray painted my fingernails with white primer.  
I'll be doing the dishes by hand for a while ...

My 'crafty' has been MIA for sooooooooo long!  I am ready to put out an APB on it!  I think with all the nasty virus and blood clot issues I've faced in the last 4 weeks, my 'crafty' is just in hibernation!  Everyone goes through times when they lack inspiration, I guess.  Hopefully I'll get the energy to work on some fun projects and rev up my creativity - soon!

Last but not least, the beginning of the baseball season tonight with Storyteller's first practice.

I'm not too sure about this last 'springdicator' - this is our Storyteller's first year on the city's junior team.  Last summer he enjoyed a casual fun homeschool sandlot ball team and it has awakened a longing to be on a 'real' team with a 'real' diamond and regular balls.  My fears abound, but I am amazed at his focus, aptitude and passion for the game, so I keep on praying and trusting - I guess I have unwittingly joined the ranks of the ball moms.

What 'springdicators' are popping up at your house?
Do tell!

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday Musings

I am back in a kinda sorta maybe kind of way. Aren't you glad I'm so sure about that? I am glad to report that a week off my feet has reduced my blood clot to something the size of a blueberry - a really good thing. It's not hot or nearly as painful, so that's really a blessing.  The aspirin is upsetting my stomach and I'll be glad when I can get off it. I made it to church - not Sunday School, but just worship, but had to sit almost at the very front with a pillow propping my leg on the pew.  I felt far too conspicuous. I sat with two older ladies who also have physical struggles, and they were a blessing as they hugged me and offered understanding.

Over the weekend some vacuuming, bathroom scrubbing and floor washing was accomplished, but the rest of the house just went to pot.  It was encouraging to check in with Home Sanctuary this morning and be gently prodded by Rachel Anne to get back on track with Minimum Maintenance. So good to know that I don't. have. to. tackle it all at once! Whew! I am still coughing and very tired, so I guess this virus hasn't had it's last say yet!

I also popped over to read Brenda's thoughts at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me this morning - and was inspired again by her reflections! I encourage you to click over and read her post HERE. You'll be blessed!

'Never underestimate the importance of a domestic missionary, with an apron around her waist, love in her heart, and wisdom in her words.'
 I think I need to stitch this into a sampler for days when I am so deep in the trenches of motherhood I forget entirely that I am on the home field, and though my mission may be small, it is mine to be faithful to. 

This morning  I was praying for a former roommate from Bible College and her family.  Her father in law passed away over the weekend after a long battle with Parkinson's, and she has been on my mind for prayer all week, though I did not know her father in law was in the last days of his struggle. I am always amazed when God lays someone on my heart just at the time they need prayer - it is very humbling to 'hold the ropes' for those in need.  

As I was praying, another friend called and encouraged my heart.  She was blessed by some ministry at her church over the weekend, and has begun to pray about her relationship with her husband.  During her prayer time she asked God to give her a model of a godly wife, and surprisingly, I came to her mind.  I was so glad when she called me, especially after talking - now I know that she realizes how far from 'perfect' I truly am and how much higher she needs to set her sights! I directed her back to Scripture for her truest model, and reminded her that mutual submission is a lifelong process of putting God first in our marriage relationships, and that it takes prayer, planning and preparation.

Now I am needed to get some math done since history and independent work is complete.  We are off to piano, ballet and the library later since our holds are in! Speaking of library's - I thought this story was pretty interesting.  I'm certainly not ready to give up my freedom for overdue library books, but I guess some folks are.  Read the ABC article HERE if you like! Connie at Smockity Frocks sounds a wee bit worried - perhaps she has an overdue book on her mind! 

Next time I post I'll include some pictures of our seedlings and their progress - they have thrived despite my neglect, so we are all set for zinnia's, lettuce and cukes  - now we just need some warmer weather! 

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Off the couch ...

And on to the ottoman!  All my lazing around getting over my nasty cold/virus thingy has left me with a not so nice blood clot in my left leg. It's not deep, and therefore not as painful as it could be, but I'm feeling it.  I'm taking my doctor's advice seriously and enjoying warm compresses, elevation and aspirin therapy as we do the 'wait and see' - hopefully it will resolve itself soon.  In reality, it's a 'pray and wait' - another opportunity to see the faithfulness of God.  The good news is that we can still do our schoolwork and reading - but I foresee a sizable increase in Mount Ironmore ...  that's if I can figure out a way to do laundry with my feet elevated!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Company Girl Coffee

Welcome Company Girls!   The sun is shining in on me this afternoon - I hope it is shining on you too!  I stepped out on the back patio and just soaked some rays into my pale face - getting my vitamin D for the day!  It felt so good to close my eyes and hear the bird singing and the drip drip drip of melting snow!  I've just made a fresh batch of sweet tea. Would you like yours with our without lemon?  I love lemon and it's good for me too, so I take extra!  There are a few Scandinavian brown sugar cookies left from our little baking time yesterday, but not many! 

Today we ventured out to the library lest the 'lost book police' come and take away our library cards!  We got them in before the fines piled up too much, but I don' think it looks very well to have the family of a library employee racking up the fines for overdue books! I can't sleep at night when it gets over the 50 cent mark! It was a blessing to sit in a quiet corner and look through books while the children made their selections.  Even a year ago I could not have done that with our Storyteller - he is learning self control and it is a blessing! We are knee deep in preparation for the Home School Culture Fair at the end of the month and we are studying Sweden.  With so many family roots coming from good Swedish stock, we thought it was the perfect choice for this year!

It was so nice to get out.  We checked the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store again for a wee wall cabinet for Dreamer's bathroom.  She only has a tiny spot of a bathroom - just 3'x5', so it's got to be in scale with her tiny space.  Nothing this time, but we'll keep checking.  There was a hug tall lighted thing - quite hideous, but with the right TLC, a gem for someone, I'm sure!

We came home and tackled school work - after messing around with a bunch of ice chunks on the driveway.  I remember how much fun I had as a girl in spring throwing ice on the blacktop and watching it begin to melt even as my hands were frozen.  So much heat absorbed and radiated by the asphalt! I guess I could say we were doing science ... maybe!

After lunch and more schoolwork, I took Rachel Anne's advice and did a little something that made my heart sing - and no, it wasn't another nap!  I actually transplanted my chives and potted some soil for more plantings. It was so much fun - I love dirt!  I love planting and growing things !  I was 'garden dreaming' just before drifiting off  last night and I could just feel the itch to dig and plant!

I caught up on my 'to call' list this afternoon.  I have not been able to call much this week because of a lack of voice - I didn't want anyone to think I was pranking them!  There are 2 consignment shops that carry furniture and I keep checking to see if they have any bookcases in.  They both do, but tall and narrow, while we need low and wide! 

I also finally began the process of putting away our winter decor in preparation  for a good cleaning and the putting out of all things spring and green! I am appalled at the amount of dust under all those pretties, but I am turning a blind eye and leaving it until tomorrow!

Not surprisingly, I am tired.  I have such a long shopping list and a long 'to-do' list as well, but I think I have learned my lesson for a while this time and I have decided not to push myself.  I am still coughing, blowing and washing my poor ancient hands!  Whose hands are these anyway?  They look like my grandmother's! 


Late last March these pretties were making my heart sing ... while I have a feeling that it will be a bit later this year, I am excited to see  even the promise of spring in my garden! I guess that is all for now - I hope all of the germs have finally left our house, and we'll have a better visit next week!  Thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Signs of life ...


After a sudden, rather discouraging re-lapse into the land of sickness, I all but gave up ever eating anything tastier than jello and tea.  However, today, I thought about milk chocolate pudding.  Soft, yet tasty - and not jello.  It sounded so good to me - so I made some!

Then, while I was in the kitchen anyway .... I thought about those forlorn looking empty cookie jars, my poor deprived children, and the Homeschool Culture Fair that is coming up. Soon!  Our time to test drive a few Scandinavian cookie recipes is running short!  Dreamer and I  decided the try these 4 ingredient treats - quick, easy, but only good for very sore throats when dunked in hot tea. Please don't tell my Mum that I've become a dunker!


I needed to use up a few of the 3 dozen eggs languishing in the fridge and decided pound cake would be nice.  While I was flipping through the recipe pile (the 'not to be properly filed until tested' pile)  for 'Million Dollar Pound Cake' I came across 'Poppyseed Chicken Casserole' which I had bookmarked for my January 'new recipe testing'.  I do know it's March, but I feel like I've lost a month somehow, so I don't mind being a bit behind.  It matches well with the rest of my life - just a little bit behind! I threw a nice soft, easy-as-can be casserole together and I even remembered to call my Historian and let him know that I actually made supper and we are running short on milk.  

His comment, 'Great, I take it you are feeling better?'

See, signs of life are everywhere - even in our quiet little corner of the world!

I'm still pondering II Corinthians 12:9
'And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'

I am quite certain that my family has not seen God's grace in my life during these past 10 days of sickness, and I know I found little gladness in my infirmity.  Very little indeed.  Yet again, I see an area of much needed growth in my Christian walk, and for that I am grateful for this season of sickness - or, more honestly, almost grateful!  I'll be even more grateful when I can swallow again without wincing!

Like many moms with chronic illness, I am my own worst enemy - it's either full steam ahead or full stop.  I'm quite sure that cleaning through the house on the first day of feeling better was the cause of my relapse.  Yet, it's hard not to push to get things done when I have any energy at all.  I have much to learn about finding balance and treating my body kindly and with the special care it requires. I sometimes suffer needlessly, all in a quest to be the woman I used to be - able to accomplish so much.  I am glad that God is still at work in the woman I am now - my heart's desire is still that 'the power of Christ may rest upon me'.

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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook - March 1

A big 'thank-you' to Peggy for hosting 'The Simple Woman's Daybook' each week! It's such a great way to start the week with a focus and reflect upon the goodness of God!

Be sure to click on the picture below to visit Peggy and see the other journal keepers!

Monday, March 1, 2010
Outside my window...
Grey and dull, but the good news is, spring is on the way!  The snow is melting and there are patches of grass popping up here and there - it is actually green over the septic tank!

I am hearing ...
Our children enjoying a conversation over breakfast.

I am thinking ... 
That it feels good to be doing something 'normal' today since the last week has been such a challenge.
It's also great to have my own lips back!  Yesterday I awakened with huge red swollen lips - so sore and dry! I looked like I'd been stung on the lips - today really I'm glad to have my own back!

I am thankful for...
I am feeling somewhat better and certainly on the mend!

I am praying for ...
A far away friend who is starting a new job challenge this morning, and close by friend who spent last week in the hospital, my Mum who will be seeing a back surgeon this week and needs wisdom and peace to proceed, our friends who are doing their home study for adoption this week, and for strengthening for myself.

I am remembering ...
All of the hours I slept last week and how blessed I felt knowing that while I was 'down' the family kept calm and carried on!

I am wearing ...
Jeans, soft sage green top and a warm sweater in rust.  Not the best combination, but so much better than the p.j.'s I have been wearing!

I am going ...
To need a nap later - just getting showered and dressed is tiring!  Hopefully, I will have the strength to get Dreamer to piano and ballet.  Storyteller and I need to go to the library too.
I am reading ...   
I've not been able to keep my eyes open for much reading.
I am hoping ...
That this week will be more productive!

On my mind ...
I'm excited to hear our Dreamer playing the piano these days - she sits down and just plays through her pieces with such gusto and enjoyment.  I love that she has gotten to the place where it is an outlet for her and a joy - and though she has a lot to learn, she is making progress! 

From the learning rooms ...
Dreamer kept up with her schoolwork, but Storyteller has some catching up to do!

Noticing that...
Our supplies are low - we need to go shopping for all the things that get used up quickly when colds hit hard - is tissue on sale anywhere this week?  I hope so - we need a case!

Pondering these words...

II Corinthians 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

From the kitchen... 
I have two families in mind who could use some meals brought in so I am hoping and praying for strength to do that, as well as make some things for our family - something baked perhaps - I think everyone is quite sick of jello!

I am creating ... 
A springtime plan for yard work and changes in the garden, as well as some larger outside projects that need consideration.  I walked around the yard a bit yesterday just for some fresh air and began my mental list!

Around the house ...
Umm ...  We did the bathrooms thoroughly on Saturday and started some vacuuming and mopping, but since the Historian wasn't feeling well either, it didn't get finished.  Our home needs some TLC but isn't as bad as it could be!

One of my favorite things ...
Ice chips on a sore throat!
A few plans for the rest of the week..... 
***All plans are 'Lord Willing' and 'Weather Permitting'*** 
Monday - Piano & Ballet
Tuesday - Art class for Dreamer
Wednesday - AWANA
Thursday - HomeSchool Co-op

From my picture journal ...

Have a great week!

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