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A Place of My Own

When I first started blogging, I did so with the idea of just having a little journal for myself where I shared bits and pieces of things with friends and family who might want to follow along from afar.  Lately, though, I’ve realized that I really want to make this place into a little something more.  I don’t have grand dreams of becoming one of the “biggies” (though, I won’t deny that would be pretty awesome), but I do hope to grow my readership and turn my blog into more than just a little “when I feel like it” project. 

After a lot of discussion between Hubster and I, it was finally decided.  If I really want to try to pursue growing this blog, it’s time for me to move out and get a place of my own.  So, I bought a domain and am excited to invite you all to join me at my new pad. 

Hope to see you there! 


Said So…

There are few things about parenting that I absolutely and completely dread.  The “Why?” stage is one of them.  A few of our friends, who have kiddos around the same age as Runt, have been in that stage for a while now.  Blissfully, we have not.  I allowed myself to foolishly hopefully think that maybe, just maybe, we would just skip that whole, irritating stage.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Last week, we dove head first into that stage.  It took me all of 9 hours to pull up that trusty response that all parents swear they’ll never use and every parent eventually busts out.

Because I said so.

I cringed the first time that I heard myself say it.  I tried to believe that I would never do it again.  But then I realized something.  There’s a reason why generations of parents have been breaking out that response.  It works!  Toss that simple four-word phrase at them, and there’s really nothing left to say.  (Veteran mommas, if you have experiences different than this, please, please for now, keep them to yourself.  Someday, I promise I’ll come back and ‘fess up that it isn’t working anymore.  But for now, please, just let me live in blissful ignorance.  Isn’t enough that I’ve been robbed of the believe that we were going to skip this stage all together?)

Besides, I have proof that it works.

Most mornings, after breakfast, Runt and I ease our way into our day by spending some quiet time snuggling and reading together.  Typically, there is one book that is the day’s favorite that we have to read over and over.  And over.  Again.  On most mornings, that really isn’t much of an issue for me.  But after three mornings in a row of the same book being selected as the favorite, I was about to lose my mind.  So, after the fourth rendition of One Pup’s Up this morning, I pleaded with my little man to pick another book, pointing out the large stack of books sitting on his bookshelf, just waiting to have their pages turned by his chubby little fingers.  Still, though, he insisted.  “No…DOG!” he told me.  And then I stepped into the momma version of the “Why?” stage.  “WHY do we have to keep reading this one, baby?!” I whined.  And that’s when it happened.  He shrugged his shoulders, looked me straight in the eye, and told me, matter-of-factly…

Said so, Momma.
Then he threw me a huge, silly grin which seemed to say, “Duh.”

DSC_8877Not the actual moment.  Lucky for you, Runt was more than happy to do a re-enactment so that I could capture it for all to see.

And I realized.  There really wasn’t anything left to say.  Well, except for “One pup’s up…”


{Awesome Yumminess} Italian Dressing

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Sour cream.  Mayo.  Ranch.  Blue Cheese dressing (mmm…blue cheese dressing…damn it, now I want to hit up our favorite steakhouse).  Hubster has declared that the “white goopy condiments” make up a food group in my world.  As much as it pains me to publicly admit this, he’s right.  Yes.  You read that right.  I did, in fact, just admit right here on the internet, where it will be captured for eternity, that my husband is RIGHT about something.

I make these admissions to you so that you will understand what a big deal it is for me to rave about this dressing.  And rave about it, I do.  It is delicious.  Admittedly, I don’t use it on lettuce salads (sorry, folks, that always requires one of my trusty white goopy food group condiments), but it is amazing with pasta salad.  And it makes for a very tasty marinade for chicken and pork.  And for those weirdos people who don’t like the white goopy condiments, I’m sure it would be delicious on a nice dinner salad, too.  Blog DSC_8672

INGREDIENTS:
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
3/8 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Sugar
2 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Dried Parsley
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

*Makes approximately 2 cups of dressing*

Blog DSC_8678Mix all ingredients, except for the olive oil.

Blog DSC_8680

Blog DSC_8683Stir in olive oil.

Blog DSC_8691That’s it! 

Simple.  Easy.  Done.  Delicious!

*The dressing will separate as it sits.  Just give it a good stir/shake when you’re going to use it, and it will be good as new.


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{NIAW ~ Don’t Ignore…The Need to Heal} Whiskers

I have a whisker on my chin.  Two, actually.  (Remember?  I celebrated my birthday by telling you all about them.)

I noticed the first one some time right around my 25th birthday.  Which was awesome, since I was already in the midst of this whole ridiculous quarter-life crisis, and a whisker was exactly what I needed to feel better about the end of my early twenties.

I obsessed over that stupid whisker.

 

I’m not really sure when the second one showed up.  All of a sudden, it was just there.  A faithful companion for the first, determined to prove its solidarity by standing tall next to its pal.

I pluck them.  Because I’ve decided that the whole “bearded lady” thing doesn’t really work for me.  So, really, it’s not all that big of a deal.  Except when you get to that stage where the whiskers start to grow back.  And they’re right there.  Driving you batty.  And you’re sure that the entire world can see them.  But they’re not quite long enough to get a grip on them with the tweezers.  So, you have to just let them be there.  We’re in that stage right now.

I hate that stage. 

Then, out of nowhere, the things grow, like, three inches in an hour’s time.  While you’re out splurging half of your husband’s paycheck at some stupidly fancy restaurant.  Because it’s your anniversary and you told yourself you deserve it since you never do those once-a-month date nights everyone says you’re supposed to have.  And right there in the middle of the main course, the whiskers just…sprout.

Because whiskers are assholes like that.


Infertility is a lot like those damn whiskers.


I was 28 years old when I first heard the term Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  I sat in my doctor’s office, focusing on the words he spoke, desperately trying to understand what it meant for me.  For us.  For our Someday Baby.  A few months later, in another doctor’s office, new terms were thrown our way.  More diagnoses.  One mind boggling word: infertility.  It held a power over me like no word ever had.

I obsessed.  Over the word.  The diagnoses.  The treatment.  The procedures.
The dream of finding our way to the child who already lived in my heart. 

Two IUIs and one blissfully ordinary pregnancy later, I rocked my dream come true as he snuggled into my chest.  I happily moved into the role of Momma.  And waited for the word to lose it’s hold on me.  Because that’s what should happen when you’ve finally managed to resolve your infertility.  Right?  Nearly two and a half years later, I’m still waiting.

The heart wrenching pain of those days has started to fade.  But every once in a while, I fall into this stage where the smallest of things makes that all-too-familiar pang return.  And my emotional scars start to feel a lot more like gaping wounds.  And I’m left waiting for the moment that something is going to send me spiraling.  Terrified that it’s going to be the  moment when I embrace a dear friend to congratulate her on her pregnancy.  Feeling the guilt build up deeper and deeper inside of myself because I already got my dream, for crying out loud!  All the while, certain that the entire world can see that I’m the edge.

I hate that stage.

And, like those whiskers, I just want it to be gone already.  I’m starting to understand, though, that it isn’t going to work that way.   Like those whiskers, it’s always going to be a part of me.  Lurking underneath the surface.  Emerging just when I’ve managed to almost forget for a bit.

Because infertility is an asshole like that.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t work towards healing.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t pull out my tweezers, plucking it away, so that, really, it’s not as big of a deal.  Infertility will always be part of me.  Part of my story.  Of the story of my family.  But it doesn’t have to control my life.  I can choose to heal.  But that can’t happen if I try to just swat the pain away.

Infertility might be as stubborn as those stupid whiskers tend to be.
But I can be pretty damn stubborn, too.

So, today, I choose to stop ignoring…
…the effect that infertility has had not only on my family building journey but also on the person that I am, at the very core of ME.  Infertility does not define me, but it has played a very large part in shaping bits and pieces of wife, mother, and woman that I am today.

…the sorrow and anger that I still feel over being forced to surrender control of our family building to this nasty, powerful word.

…the fact that infertility doesn’t begin or end with having a child.  I spent so long believing that all that I needed was to have our child, and all of the hurt would go away.  That belief funneled into feeling tremendous guilt when I wasn’t immediately healed upon cradling my child in my arms.  By fighting against the pain, rather than seeing it and accepting it for what it is, I’ve allowed infertility to continue to control my life.

*Hubster was not thrilled at the suggestion of spending half his paycheck on dinner.  Apparently, he thinks we need to pay bills or some such garbage.  Guess we’ll be sticking to McDonald’s for our anniversary next month.


This post is part of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s Bloggers Unite project for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW).

Visit RESOLVE’s web site for more information:

Basic understanding of the disease of infertility
About National Infertility Awareness Week
Find out how you can participate in Bloggers Unite

 

 

 

{Project Wheelerize} May I Have This Wall Arrangement?

Remember a few weeks back when I showed you all my twist on the first-dance-song-lyrics-turned-wall-art that is all the rage on Pinterest?

Remember when I showed you a couple weeks after that what happened when I finally completed a project I’d been procrastinating planning for more than 5 years and cut up my wedding dress?

Well, it finally dawned on me that I never showed you what I actually did with those projects once I had them done.  Which means I haven’t shown you why I love my favorite chair even more these days.

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I mean, how could I NOT be totally in love with a perch that lets me take proud little glances of this throughout my day?

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I blame it on owe it all to Pinterest.  Before I found my newest obsession joined the site, I had this random idea in my head about wanting to frame that back piece of my dress.  But that was where it began and ended.  When I first started seeing the various twists on song lyrics wall art pop up, I was intrigued.  And suddenly, it hit me.

DSC_8328

Some of my favorite photos from our wedding are of our first dance; there is just something so magical about that moment when time stops and the only thing that matters is the man whose arms you’re in, twirling around the floor to a song that seems to have been written with the two of you in mind.     DSC_8331

And, with that, that five year old some day project was all I could think of.  Now that I had a plan for exactly what I wanted to do, I couldn’t get started soon enough.  I was flat out giddy over how the boards with the song lyrics and quote turned out.  I gushed incessantly over how much I adored  my framed dress.  And when I added some photos from our first dance and hung it all on the wall, I literally jumped up and down with glee over just how much I loved the finished project.

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It’s been a few weeks now since my afternoon with the hammer, and I can’t stop obsessing over it.  I adore that this tiny little vision that I had lurking in the back of my mind for all of these years has come together to this wonderful display.

 

Total Cost:
$15.00 – Framed Wedding Dress
$11.55 – Song Lyric & Quote Boards
$19.95 – 11×14 Canvas Photo (purchased a deal through Plum District)
$2.00 – 2 4×6 Frames
$0.00 – 2 4×6 Prints (Printed at home)

$48.50 GRAND TOTAL


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{Awesome Yumminess} Country Gravy

Post DSC_8616I love breakfast.  Hands down, my absolute favorite breakfast is biscuits and gravy.  I grew up in an area where you can get an amazing breakfast of biscuits and gravy at most any restaurant.  Couple that with the fact that my dad makes some of the BEST country gravy EVER, and I was definitely a country gravy spoiled girl.

My days of spoiling ended when I moved to Reno.  To my dismay, restaurant after restaurant left me feeling a little sad and a lot disappointed when my meal was placed in front of me.  Can you say BLAND?  Eventually, I was hit with a realization.  I was going to have to learn to make it myself. 

It took a while, but I finally managed to pull of a fairly decent gravy.  And then after a visit back home during which I scrutinized every detail of how my dad made his gravy, I was gleefully able to say that I made a really delicious country gravy.  And Hubster and I both happily moved on with our country gravy happily ever after.

Then it happened.  Some friends introduced us to this wonderful  little diner-esque restaurant in town.  This place gets rave reviews across the internet, has been voted Best Breakfast in Reno many times, and was even named by one site as the Best Breakfast in America.  I took Run there one morning for a special breakfast with just Momma.  I perused the menu, contemplating the expansive list of breakfast offerings.  As the waiter approached our table, I decided to give this place the true test and ordered that old-time favorite.  The first few bites left me puzzled.  It was the strangest country gravy I’d ever tasted.  It was bad, but it wasn’t at all what my taste buds knew to expect.  I inspected the gravy a bit, tasted it again and again, really focusing on the flavor I was experiencing.  When the waiter came to check on us, I inquired, “Is there bacon in here?”  I felt my heart pitter-patter a bit when he said that, in fact, there WAS bacon in the gravy.  Bacon AND sausage!  Oh, my!  As I ate my breakfast that morning, I was a happy, happy girl.

Sadly, my country gravy bliss didn’t last.  A couple weeks ago, I treated the family to a nice homemade breakfast of my awesome country gravy with biscuits.  Except that it wasn’t quite so awesome seeming any more.  That delicious concoction that I’d had all those months ago lingered in my mind, making my sausage only version seem just…boring!  Hubster said something about how maybe I should try making it their way sometime.  I shrugged and turned my attention back to eating.  A few bites in, I was still feeling a little let down by my usual favorite breakfast.  And then I was struck with a moment of brilliance.  I should try adding bacon to my gravy sometime, I thought.

And add bacon, I did!  As we sat down to breakfast on Easter morning, Hubster peered into the pan and asked with a glimmer of excitement in his voice, “Is that…BACON?”  Oh, yes, my dear husband.  It most definitely is!

All you need is a handful of ingredients, and you’ll be on your way to filling your belly with this same yumminess.
Post DSC_8594INGREDIENTS:
2 Tbsp Butter
1/4lb Ground Country Sausage
1/4lb Ground Italian Sausage
3 slices Bacon, cut into small strips
1/4 Cup Flour (More or less for desired thickness)
2 Cups Milk

Post DSC_8600Melt butter.
Add sausage and bacon and brown.
Remove meat from the pan using a slotted spoon.

Post AllAdd flour to grease and stir to make a roux.
Cook for a couple minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor.
Add milk.  Stir well until all lumps are gone.  Add sausage and bacon back to the pan.
Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Adjust gravy to desired thickness by adding more flour or milk, as needed.

Post DSC_8612

Slather it on your choice of gravy-delivery-receptacle.  We’re a biscuit family.  But you can definitely use this on country fried steak, pork chops, mashed potatoes, or whatever else sounds delicious to you.

ENJOY!

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{Ultimate Blog Party} Welcome to My World!

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

My friend, Sarah, at Tired Mommy Tales just shared with me the link to this blog party and asked if I’d be interested in participating with her.  I pretty much can’t resist anything that describes itself as “Ultimate,” so I told her I was in.

I’ve been playing around with “kind of” blogging for quite a few years, sharing tidbits of life with my long-distance family and friends.  I’ve just recently decided to commit myself to trying to make something more of my blog and hope to grow my readership.  A blog party sounds like a great way to work towards that goal, as well as to expand the blogs that I am currently reading. 

Allow me to introduce myself.  Aramelle.  32.  Reno, NV.  Happily married to Hubster.  Momma to 2yr old Runt.  A couple of annoying but loveable cats. 

 

My blog is a little smorgasbord of all things everyday life.  It’s a place where I share the little things that make me happy.  Like some of my favorite recipes and fun stuff I’m doing in my attempt to finally start turning our house into a home.  It’s a place where I share some of my hobbies.  Like throwing parties to celebrate happy occasions in my friends’ lives and working on my “some day it WILL be finished” wedding scrapbook.  It’s also the place where I turn for some cheap therapy.  Where I share deep, dark secrets from decades ago and work through more recent pains as the wound of infertility slowly heals.

Welcome!  I hope you’ll make yourself comfy and have a look around.  And that maybe you’ll decide to stay awhile.


{Awesome Yumminess} Easter EGGventures

Easter

I had a traumatic experience with an egg when I was a little girl.  It involved a rogue Easter egg, found in its hiding place several months after the holiday had come and gone.  And it resulted in a very sick little girl.  That one little boiled egg turned an egg lover into an egg hater.  I haven’t touched an egg yolk since that day more than a quarter century    two and a half decades   twenty-five years ago (damn, no matter how I put it, it makes me sound OLD).  Except for my aunt’s deviled eggs.  I have an extra special love affair with those, and nothing could tear me away from them.  Well, nothing other than a couple thousand miles.  So, you can probably imagine my heartbreak when my aunt decided yesterday that it would be “funny” to text me a picture of her deviled eggs, all pretty and delicious looking, ready for my family’s Easter get-together.  I won’t tell you about the picture I sent back to her.  Except to say that it left her saying something about being “number one, twice.”

I tried to get them off my mind.  Really, I did.  I deleted the picture off of my phone, in hopes that I would stop yearning for them if I didn’t have that readily available to torture myself with.  But I simply couldn’t stop thinking about them.  And about the vibrantly colored boiled eggs just hanging out in my fridge, wanting so desperately to be used for something.

So, I called up my aunt and insisted that she finally, for the love of all that is good and right with the world, just GUESS how much damn Miracle Whip she uses (see, this is the problem…she has always held onto this leverage of making the best deviled eggs EVER because, allegedly, she “doesn’t know” how much of everything she uses).  I finally won her over, though.  She caved.  And told me all of her secrets.

Hubster generously agreed to sacrifice his yearly ratio of boiled eggs so that I could give these babies a try.  I’m pretty sure he was almost as excited as I was when they turned out fantastically.  I could tell because he very calmly nodded and said “It’s good,” when I asked him to try the filling.

Together, we made this video for me to show my aunt just how my deviled egg adventure had turned out.  I should probably be humiliated to share this anywhere.  Instead, we rushed to our office and threw the video clips together as quickly as possible so that I could post this, immediately, to Facebook.  Tonight, it will go on our family blog when we do our Easter post.  I figured I might as well share it with you, too.  Humiliated?  Heh.  There’s no such thing when you’ve just tied with the master at making the best deviled eggs ever.

(I should probably apologize for my messy kitchen.  And for my messy hair.  And for the fact that was I still in my pajamas.
And definitely for the use of the word “eggies.”  And maybe even for the fact that this video was made at all.)

It’s been quite a while since my first attempt at a Vlog.  And while that wasn’t really the intention behind recording this, I will unashamedly (well, mostly unashamedly) confess that this is a pretty good glimpse at day-to-day me.  At least I didn’t snort on the video.  Now that would have been embarrassing.  And a little more of day-to-day me than anyone needs to see.  Ever.

Happy Easter!  Whether you celebrated the holiday or not, I hope that your day was filled with as much laughter as ours has been!


Let Me Dream Inside

Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Aramelle who lived in a tiny little apartment in a small town in Southern Minnesota. She was newly single and working hard to find herself and to claim her independence after more than 7 years in nasty relationship. The young woman didn’t go out much. Couldn’t, really, because of that nasty relationship.


So, she turned to her computer as a source of entertainment. One particularly lonely Friday night, through the magic of the internet, the she met a man who lived all the way over in Reno, NV. They became fast friends and soon both were trying desperately to fight away stronger feelings for the other. Eventually, they gave into what was certain to become their destiny, and in May 2004, she flew to Reno to spend a wonderful week with the man of her dreams.

He shared his city with her.
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And showed her one of the most beautiful places she had ever seen.
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When it was time for her to return to MN, they both cried, knowing that life wouldn’t be right unless it was being spent together. And so, a few months later, he flew to MN to help her pack up her car, say her goodbyes, and make the life-changing move to Reno.
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A year after that first fateful trip to Reno, he popped the question. She happily said “Yes!”
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Another year went by, and on May 27, 2006, they were married.
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Then, on June 23, 2007, they hosted a vow renewal to celebrate their marriage with some of the people they held nearest and dearest to them.
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After a hard-fought battle with infertility, they received the news in April 2009 that a baby was on the way.
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Before long, they were knee-deep in family life.
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Through the years, they’ve shared their hobbies and passions with another.
She *almost* likes sports now.
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And he no longer thinks it’s all that crazy to get up in the middle of the night to watch the sky fill with hot air balloons. Or to take hundreds of pictures to document such happenings.
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And they both have found a love for traveling.
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There’s been much cause for celebration.

Lookin’ through my old pictures
Faded photographs
Some of them bring me close to tears
Others make me laugh
Old memories seem to come alive
And open up the past again
And let me dream inside


And, together, they are a happy little family. Except for when they’re not. Because, sometimes, they aren’t. Sometimes, she gets in her own way and casts a shadow across that happiness.  And those are the moments days weeks when she most needs these old photos. They are the reminder of the magic that happened that Friday night more than 8 years ago.  A reminder of all that they’ve been through. The love that they share. The proof that they were meant for one another.  The blessings that have come there way as they travel the journey of life together.


Old pictures. A reason to smile on dark days.  And a reason to continue smiling as the sun begins to shine again.

 


 

 

 

 

{Project: Wheelerize} Cut. Glue. Frame. LOVE!

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You know how I said that I was going to start focusing on the positives in hopes of yanking myself out of this funk?  Well, I decided to start that off by sharing with you a little project that’s been on my agenda for nearly five years now.  Once I finally got the motivation to start doing something with our house, I knew that I had to finally get this project marked off of my someday to-do list.  My mother-in-law and I finally actually did it a few weeks ago when she was visiting.

It all started with what would likely be a nightmare for many women.  Me.  Scissors.  Wedding Dress.

Oh, yes, my friends, I really did it.  After years of talking about it, I cut up my wedding dress.  I’m downright gleeful over the end result and am so excited to show it off!

DSC_7787First, one last look at my dress before taking the scissors to it.  This is about the time when my mother-in-law asked me if I was SURE I wanted to do this.  I think she was terrified that I was going to cut into it and immediately wish I hadn’t.

DSC_7791 and DSC_7793A few snips in, I realized two things: 1) No wonder wedding dresses are so HOT…look at all those layers of fabric!  and B) I really should have pinned the dress before I started cutting.

DSC_7795So, I threw some pins into the fabric and resumed my cutting.

DSC_7798 and DSC_7803Then, I ran it through my sewing machine so that the fabric wouldn’t all fray.

DSC_7814 and DSC_7818My mother-in-law came up with the idea of using a piece of acid free board to form the dress around, and she suggested that we cut it on the sides to give it a bit of an hourglass shape.  So smart!  Once the board was ready, we used Tacky Glue to glue the top half of the dress to the board (we only did the top of the dress, as we wanted the bottom portion to hang like it naturally would, rather than being formed around the board).  Then, we threw some clothes pins all around the edges to hold it in place while the glue dried (more geniusness courtesy of mother-in-law!).

DSC_7832 and DSC_7809Once the glue was dried, mother-in-law hand stitched the bottom and prettyfied the bow for me.  And just a few hours after we started the project, it was ready for me to tuck inside its shadow box.

DSC_7833 Seriously.  Gleeful!

And do you want to know what makes this project even more glee worthy?  The only expense that I had was the shadow box.  The one I got is regularly $50, but I picked it up when Michaels had a sale going on.  The sale price, combined with a coupon for an additional 25% off my frame purchase found me bringing it home for just $15!

 


 

 

I Heart Nap Time

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