May 31, 2011

UPDATE: BwoB help for Joplin

First, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the out pouring of concern for my family in Joplin MO. I cannot express my gratitude for your generosity. Bloggers with out Borders raised over $2000!!!

After launching the fundraising project for Joplin, it came to BwoB's attention that another bloggers family had also been affected by the destruction of the tornadoes that had hit Arkansas. Maggy of Three Many Cooks emailed me and asked if I minded sharing the funds raised. How could I say no. Good golly Miss Molly so many in need, "Of course I will share!!!". You know I always say, "It's nice to share.". Half of the monies raised will go to Confessions of a Cookbook Queens family in Denning, Arkansas.

I was really hoping that I would be able to make the trip to Missouri, sadly that is not going to happen. BUT my mom is heading up there (she lives in Florida, so for her it's "up there") tomorrow morning. She will help out our family as they prepare for the funeral of my great aunt, and she will help her cousin who is recovering from complications from severe bruising and cuts from being buried in the rubble from the tornado. Once my mom gets to Joplin I will send her the money and she will present it to the family that we have chosen to help.

I will give you a full update on this families situation, with pictures, as soon as my mom gets all the details to me.

So many of you have been praying and I want to thank you for your prayers. We have seen so many prayers answered in the last 10 days. If you could continue to pray this time for my mom as she heads to Joplin, I would really appreciate it. My cousin told me on the phone that the pictures online and the news do not even begin to show the devastation in Joplin. Pray for strength, health, safety, and a super natural ability to serve those in need, for my mom. Love you mom thanks for being willing to serve and to help us get the donations to the designated family.
Luv U all!! and Thanks Again!

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May 26, 2011

BwoB: Help for Joplin MO

Bloggers with out Borders (BwoB) is a blogger-based charity whose mission is to help people- bloggers and readers alike- by harnessing the good will of the blogging community. Its founders are Maggy Keet of ThreeManyCooks, Erica Pineda-Ghanny of The Ivory Hut, and Aimee Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites. BwoB officially launches in July 2011.

Sunday a half-mile wide tornado ripped through the town of Joplin MO. and flattened much of the town and smacked directly into the city hospital, it left many homeless, and mourning the loss of loved ones. My family being one of them. My Great Aunt was killed when the nursing home she was living in was flattened. My Uncle was visiting her but somehow survived, he was released from the hospital today. My cousin, their daughter, was buried under rubble after being thrown from her car during the tornado, and is very banged up and bruised. Luckily their homes were spared, but many homes were not. Some have lost all they have including loved ones. Today the death toll rose to 116.

Photo Credit: Photo Gallery - World - IBNLive

While checking my Facebook Monday morning I saw the status that Kristen of Dine and Dish has posted to her page. I was SHOCKED. I had family there! I couldn't believe the horrific pictures. I called my mom, and this started the chain of phone calls that led to us finally finding out the full extent of the devastation of Joplin MO., where my extended family lives.

I was numb. What could I do? How could I help. I realized the most important thing I could do was to pray. I prayed, alot. I also put a request prayers from my Twitter and Facebook friends. The response was overwhelming, my prayers where answered, in the form of an email, I received on Tuesday, from Maggy from Three Many Cooks. She offered the assistance of Bloggers without Borders (explained above) to raise money for my family and those in need in the city of Joplin Wow really?! How could I say no? I said, yes of course, I would get the money there and let everyone know who it went to and how it helped.

Wham BAM kaZAM! Before I knew it all three of these lovely, talented, very busy ladies had a blog post up on their websites and were collecting funds for me to distribute to the people, organizations and/or local efforts that need help in Joplin. I was so overcome with gratitude that I started to blubber like a baby. Snot everywhere. It was not pretty. But it was a happy cry...a thankful bawl....a joyful sob, very thankful for the way my itty bitty blog has brought so many incredible people into my life.

So now I am asking readers, friends, and family to make donations to Bloggers without Borders. No amount is too small! And it's super easy to donate.

You just need to:
1. click on one of the three links below
2. click on the donate button

Voila! That's all there is to it.

I want to thank you in advance for trusting me and the three bloggers above with your hard earned money. I promise that it will be put to good use for those in need, as a result of the devastation from the tornado, in Joplin, MO., on Sunday, May 22nd.

Again, your prayers and generosity have blown me and my family away!

Thank you for your support!

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May 24, 2011

the comfort of COOKIES!

***UPDATE*** Prayers are being answered! I received news this evening that the homes of my relatives were spared!!! Hallelujah! My great uncle is still hospitalized, but is off the critical list. My cousin, who at first we had heard had multiple leg fractures....but after finally receiving an X-ray was told she has no broken bones, just really banged up. Praise God. I am so thankful they have homes to return to. But so many do not. The wheels are in motion to HELP in a big way. I will keep you posted! I would not want you to miss out on how YOU could help Joplin. I cannot give thanks enough your outpouring of kindness and concern.

First of all I just need to say..... THANK YOU! Bless you all for the out pouring of concern and prayer for my family, in Joplin, Missouri. I am not a news watcher so when I saw Kristens status on facebook I GASPED, because this is what I saw. I called my mom, who lives in Florida, she had also not heard the news...this set us on a trail of phone calls to find out the scoop.

Here's whole scoop, or what I know of the scoop anyway. Brief maternal Grandfather grew up in Carthage, Missouri which is a neighboring town to Joplin. The man bled Missouri. He loved his childhood home, but he loved my Grandmother more and after meeting in the Marines during WWII they moved back to her home town of Grand Rapids, Mi. My Grandfathers whole family besides one brother remained in Missouri. (7 siblings) The family has spread out over the years. Many are in the Jefferson City area and then of course Carthage and Joplin areas too. We used to visit often as kids, and they would come to Michigan every summer. But as the years trudge forward the ties that bound us all together, my Grandfather and his siblings, have died or gotten older. The cousins have not been very good at keeping in touch, or visiting each other.

Until now............

My Grandfather was the oldest son. He's the dapper one in the sweater.

At this point, I am getting all information via my mom. My Great Aunt Dorothy, was 96, and in the nursing home that was hit. She did not survive. My Uncle Dub was found buried under rubble and is hospitalized. My mom's cousin their daughter was also buried in rubble, but had her cell phone and had enough whits about her to call for help, and talk them to her. She is in hospitalized with multiple leg injuries. As far as I know they lost their homes, and all their possessions....that is not confirmed, that is how the news has trickled down to us. I contacted a cousin, but have not heard back. Cousin if you are reading....I'd like to hear from you Luv. What can we do? I know some of you, readers, facebook friends, twitter followers, have wanted to help monetarily. I am inquiring about that. So I will let you know, as soon as I know and then I will set up an account.

Yesterday I felt so helpless. So frustrated that we haven't kept in better touch. How does this happen? So what does one do, or should I say, what do I do when I don't know what else to do? I bake, and pray......I also pulled some weeds. It was therapeutic.

Cookie anyone?

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

My son says these are the best cookies ever. All I know is they helped this gal get through the day yesterday.

Hugs, I can't thank you enough....I will keep ya'll updated as to how we can help.

Love you all!

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May 18, 2011

BACON Vodka and a cocktail

Maple Bacontini. Uh-huh....that's what I said Bacon. This is not the typical pastel, fresh, citrusy, Spring cocktail post. Nope. It's not. If you know me at all you'll know I don't do typical very well. But I would bet my bottom dollar that if you love bacon, like I love bacon, you would savor yourself this lovely cocktail anytime of year.

Tomorrow many of my foodie friends and bloggers are high tailing it to Atlanta for BlogHer Food a conference for....well food bloggers, of course. I was going to go, but the timing was not the best, for many reasons, so I sold my ticket and I am going to be watching my son play soccer all weekend, in Traverse City, instead. Traverse City is a very foodie friendly town, I think I will be just fine UP North.

I went to BlogHer Food last October and that is where I laid my lips on this luscious cocktail.

Behold.... the Maple Bacontini!

This was Gwendolyn our Maple Bacontini whipper-upper. She was fast and efficient, and I was tired and hungover the next day as a result. (I actually don't remember her name, but I think Gwendolyn is a sassy cute voila her name is Gwendolyn!)

So because I was reminiscing about BlogHer Food in San Francisco.....

And because it's a dreary day that calls for a little OoommPH!

And because I really love you and wouldn't want to hold back anything magnificently bacony and delicious from you. I'm going to share how you can make your very own Maple Bacontini.

Back in January, I decided that I needed to serve this as the signature drink for my Cowgirl Dinner Party. One problem the key ingredient Bacon Vodka is not available for purchase in Michigan. Wah?! What does the great state of Michigan have against bacon infused vodka? I was not going to let this stop me. I decided to figure it out on my own, I did, and the result was luverly.

This is what you will need for a Maple Bacontini:
1 1/2 pounds Maple Cured Bacon or any old bacon will do if you can't find the maple
1 750 mL bottle of Vodka
1 pint heavy whipping cream
Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 cup cold Maple Syrup

Become friends with these two. Hello Bacon. Hello Vodka.

Fry up all the bacon. Reserve 5-6 pieces for the bacon rimmed martini glasses.

If you have a large measuring cup, 4 cups or larger, pour the rest of the bacon in along with all the grease. Every last drop of bacon grease.

I did not buy expensive Vodka, I think pretty much any vodka will do the trick.

Pour the whole gol' darn bottle of vodka in with the bacon. Save the bottle you will need to pour the infused vodka back in it.

Help them mingle with a stir of the spoon.

Now transfer this concoction to your freezer. And leave it there for at least 3 hours. I left mine in the freezer over night.

This is what I found.

All the fat had come to the top and solidified. Which made it very easy to remove.

OOOhh that is not very appetizing. Remember we are making Bacontini's not Braintini's. Give that a toss in the trash or give it to your children and tell them to go play bacon grease frisbee in the backyard and watch as every dog in the neighborhood shows up for the game.

Now you will need a bowl that is easy to pour from and a strainer. Pour the Bacon infused Vodka through the strainer into the bowl.

Let it drip for a 15 minutes or so, let all the goodness settle in. Throw away the bacon, then pour the strained vodka very carefully, or if you have a funnel that always works too, back into the Vodka bottle. And there you have it. Bacon infused vodka for your Maple Bacontini or for a Bloody Mary, with extra Tabasco and lots of pickle juice, if you are into that sort of thing....

Chocolate Liqueur is yummy, and necessary, and vital to the making of this cocktail.

As is one of these Cocktail Shaker doo-hickys. Of which I did not have, and had to call my more cocktail proficient friend to ask her to bring one over. That is what friends are for right? Lending you their cocktail shaker doo-hickeys.

Well I walked you through the Bacon infusing process step by step, but I must have dropped my camera or something because I don't have one picture of me actually making the Maple Bacontini. I can however tell you how, sans photos.


It's really quite easy. You really don't need to have pictures...I promise.

First thanks to my friends at that twittered me the recipe.

Maple Bacontini
1 part Bacon Vodka, 1 part Chocolate Liqueur, heavy handed splash of whipping cream, combine in shaker with ice and pour through strainer into a maple syrup and bacon crumb, rimmed martini glass.

Just a few tips:
1. Make sure the reserved bacon is chopped very fine, put bacon crumbs on flat dish for dipping.

2. Maple syrup needs to be really cold so that it's thick and sticky, pour onto a rimmed plate.

3. Dip martini glass in syrup then into bacon crumbs, mix cocktail, pour into prepared glass, and repeat!

Almost everyone gave me that scrunchy nose, questioning look when I served them their first cocktail of the evening.....I didn't give them a choice, they had to try it. Everyone loved it and many asked for another. They were pleasantly surprised by the subtle salty smoke flavor the bacon vodka gave this cocktail.

It was definitely worth the effort of making my own Bacon Vodka. I hope you give it a whirl, your friends will love you for it!

Hope your Wednesday is sunshiny and full of bacon!

I will miss all you BlogHer Food peeps. I can't wait to read all about the great time you have in Atlanta. Have a cocktail for me while your at it!


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May 12, 2011

Root Canal and ramblings......

Thello! E hadda geth a woot thanal thaday. Em a lithel numBah, and I'm dribblen' my coffee down my front, and spewing crumbs all over my key board....because heaven forbid I wait for the numbness to go away before I start to fill my pie hole again.

Yeah, so I finally got up the guts to go through with this root canal. I think I canceled it twice, and made excuses for a year or so, then I had to get braces put back on my teeth because I was naughty and didn't wear my retainer at night......well really I lost it while on vacation and then just totally forgot about it. Out of sight out of mind. So the braces held the root canal off for another 9 months. When I was in for my last cleaning, they hog tied me and sucked my spit and blew air in my mouth until I cried UNCLE and made an appointment.....fer this gal-darn woot thanal.

PAUSE: If you have had a root canal, you know they are really not that bad. It's just me. It's me being scared of possible torture, and then the fact that I just can't stand to sit still, in a dentist chair, for 90 minutes, it cramps my style in more ways than you know. Resume rambling......

I subconsciously forgot to write this appointment in on my calendar....if I had an iPhone then I could do it all immediately from that device and sync it to my computer, but for now I'm stuck with the paper calendar hanging on a nail from the cupboard, which I frequently forget to write things in...and sometimes when I do it's a pain because the ink doesn't want to write cause my pen is virtually upside down while writing........SO back to my forgetting to write it on the calendar. I knew I had scheduled it in May sometime after the departure of our house guests. I called my dentist office on Monday hoping it was a couple weeks out so I would have time to make an excuse and reschedule with out being a total annoyance to the scheduler.

MY PHONE CALL: me "Good Morning! How are you this morning? This is Sheila Johnson...Hey I was wondering....cause I kinda forgot to write it on my is that root canal I scheduled?" them....a little too quickly "We are looking forward to seeing you 9 am THIS Thursday morning!" the looking forward to seeing you made me feel guilty about potentially wanting to break our date and then the speed of the answer made me wonder if they had been waiting for my call. Hmmmmm....they probably have had big lime green post-it notes all over the break room and on every computer screen SHEILA JOHNSON MAY 12, 9AM DON'T LET HER CANCEL!!! me "Oh great! I will see you then". Hang up, GASP, pant.....grumble "criminy" under my breath....UGH! I was just gonna have to suck it up and get it over with.

This was the morning. The root canal morning. All week long my kids kept asking me about Thursday..."can we do this that or the other thing?", and my dramatic reply was "that's the day of my ROOT CANAL!". Like I was having heart surgery or something. I know I'm a kook. Now it's only two hours later, the worst part is over, and I am wondering what the HECK I was being such a drama queen about. I am still numb, however. Maybe by the time I get done with my rambling...if you are still with me I will tell you different.

So this is how it all went down....I arrive. They don't even let me get comfy in the waiting room...they take me right back, and seat me in a comfy chair, legs up, head of those posturepedic types. First they take a mold of my tooth area to make the temporary and eventually my new permanent toof. Then the dental girl (sorry I know there is a more technical term, but that's what I call her), Kristin, she's super sweet, shoves a whole lottah cotton soaked in numbing medicine back in the lower, right corner of my mouf. That gets to stay there for a few minutes while she gets me all hooked up with my bib and suctions tools, and a chest full of other things of which I have no vocabulary for. The new thing this time was that I could have my very own iPod with Pandora and headphones to jam out during my procedure, then of course the cool sunglasses. I was lookin' smokin' HOT! Why I didn't have Kristin take a picture is beyond me...I know you would have loved to see me like I would you.

Then entered my Dentist. Very nice man, with blindingly white toofs. Good thing I had my sun glasses on. After a little bit of small talk, he got right down to the business of "numbing me up". The worst part by far. Thank goodness for the distractions of Pandora, and that my hair was caught between the chair and my dentists belly and was pulling rather hard, OUCH! After the shots they left me alone to let it all sink in.

Re-enter dentist, now I am numb, but wishing that I could also have the red Bozo Nose laughing gas too, just like when I was a kid, but I figure its too late to ask. He tips my chair way back. That's when it happens....the post nasal drip.

PAUSE: In the Spring I always go through a period of nasal congestion and this irritating feeling of globs of glue running down the back of my throat. It usually does not bother me too badly, that is until I lay down.....

I feel it start to build, the snot glob, I try to calmly swallow, but then my tongue starts to whack out and convulse. Then I feel the hot rush of sweat from my armpits. None too soon comes the smell of burning flesh. UGHa! You know that smell of hair burning? (Don't tell me you never yanked your hair out as a kid and burned it over your mothers favorite center piece candle.) So I open my eyes maybe I could make eye contact, but I have dark sunglasses on....all I see is my tooth particles flying in the air before my eyes like gnats in the night. I attempt to take a deep cleansing breath through my nose, which only further assits the snot glob farther down my throat....I wonder can they see snot globs sliding down peoples throats as they work. And If they can why don't they take that sucker thing and just suck it right outta there? I would have really appreciated that. I guess I could have put my hand up like they said I should if I was in need, but my fingers were clinging so tightly to the armrests that I forgot I even had arms. SNORK! Oh my! Did I really just gag-snore? I was trying to avoid that loud SNORK sound, but my body was out of control. I opened my eyes again, it was like it never happened, no one even cracked a smile. Are you joking...if I were a dentist and someone SNORKED that loud while I was drilling the ba-geebies out of their mouth, I would have at least given them a little crooked whoops, those things happen. Instead I SNORK and I'm left laying there wondering....did I really just SNORK loudly, and then gag myself or was it all apart of my very vivid imagination.

ZZZzzzzzzziiinggg...zzzzzzzzzzzwwwwheeeee zzzzzweeeee-weeeee-wweee=weee a few more zings and loud whizzes and my dentist was proclaiming he was all done. No mention of the gagging snort noise I made, no side ways glances at the dentist girl. Maybe I didn't snork....I was too chicken to ask, and I was afraid to talk all numbed up. What's more pathetic snorking loudly or snorking loudly and then asking about it when your mouth is numb and your tongue is hanging to the side like a dead deer. I decided it was best not to bring it up. I wonder if my dentist put in his notes: patient has heavy post nasal drip and snorks.

How was your last dental experience?

OK my tongue is starting to tingle, but my wips are still numbah.

In the words of Edith Ann....."Thaths the troof, Pthhhhhhh!"

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May 11, 2011

Wet Burrito

I have to apologize for being slow to deliver on my promise, of showing you how we do Wet Burritos, after I posted my Grandma's Red Sauce recipe. Hopefully you haven't been hanging out in Red Sauce limbo until now.

Wet Burritos, my way, may seem like a tad-bit of a process, but you'll just have to get over it, and treat your family and friends to a Wet Burrito that is better than any you will ever have in a restaurant.

The Red Sauce is the KEY. You can make this a day ahead of time. It freezes really well also, just let it cool and then pour into a Zip-loc freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw, pour back into sauce pan, and reheat. You may need to add a 1/2 cup of water or stock to thin sauce if it seems too thick.

So all that being said make "the sauce", and set aside while you prepare the ground beef filling for your burritos.

Wet Burritos
yields 10-12 burritos
1 recipe Red Sauce
2 pounds of lean Ground Beef
1 large Onion diced
1 packet Taco Seasoning
2 ladles Red Sauce
1 can Refried Beans
10-12 Burrito Tortillas
5-8 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
Accompaniments: sour cream, extra shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pico de gallo, guacamole

***I have never posted how I make Pico or simple Guacamole, but here are the recipes that come closest to how I do it. Maybe I will get around to posting my versions someday until then HERE they are.

Brown 2 pounds of lean ground beef, and 1 large onion, diced, in large frying pan.

Add in two ladles of Red Sauce.

I realize this does not look pretty or appetizing just hang with me.....add 1 can of Refried Beans, and 1 packet of your favorite Taco Seasoning. I LOVE Trader Joes brand, it's all natural. I can actually read the ingredients on the packet, without needing a degree in nutritional chemistry to understand it.

Stir until it's all nice and purdy. Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. Turn off and let cool, while you prep the add ons for your burritos.

CHEESE lots and lots of CHEESE. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Jalapeno Jack, Colby, Cheddar Jack.....oh I LUV cheeese! You will need minimum of 5 cups of cheese, depending on whether you put cheese on the inside and the outside. I personally am an inny and an outy.

Other accompaniments would be, pico de gallo, guacamole, shredded lettuce, olives, more refried beans (plus some Beano for good measure), sour cream, diced onions, diced tomatoes. If there is something you love and I missed it let me know!

Start by warming the Burrito sized tortilla shells to make them easier to work with. I wrap mine in tin foil, five to a pack, and pop them in a 300 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

Lay the warm tortilla on the plate you are planning on serving the burrito on, place 1/2 cup of meat filling in the middle of the tortilla(more or less depending on the appetite of the burrito eater, I make them smaller for my littler ones).

At this point you can sprinkle cheese over the filling, add in lettuce or tomatoes or both. That is the beauty of this recipe, you can make each Burrito to order. It's fun and interactive. If you have big kiddos let them make their own gol' darnit! Then tell them, "because you are big enough to make your own Burr-ee-tahs now you can clean up the after dinner dishes!" They will be thrilled, I'm sure.

Fold the bottom up over the filling....Yikers! How did my Moms hand get in this picture?

Fold the sides in like so...kinda like a diaper, but lets not go there because I wouldn't want you to loose your appetite.

Voilla! If you blinked, you might have missed that after I folded in the sides, I brought the top down, and gave it a quick flip to hide all the edges. Now your Burrito is ready for garnishing.

Give him a ladle of sauce, or more if you're a saucy one.

Prepare yourself for the inside of my microwave...those black spots on the walls are where the ghost that lives in our home put a tin foil covered pan in the microwave and about blew the whole house up....well not quite, but maybe. Do you have a ghost in your home, that breaks things and spills things and nearly blows the place to smithereens? We do, it's name is Notmeee.

Here you have it the inside of my microwave...I don't know why I feel like I am showing you my underwear drawer or something. Very strange.....

So after you smother your Burrito with Sauce and Cheese cover it with plastic wrap and microwave it on High for 1 1/2 minutes or until the cheese melts.

There you have it. I'm not going to lie this is not a meal I make but once or twice a year. It's alot of pans and plates and prepping. But my family loves it, and it's fun to do with friends. It's a slow eat as you go sort of meal.

One word Delici-o-SO!

Now I need to go finish up my mountains of laundry and pull some weeds.

What are you up to this wonderful Spring day?

Luv ya,

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May 08, 2011

My Momma.....

I hadn't planned on blogging today, but I woke up with this song in my head.

I haven't heard this song in years. It was one I heard often as a child, and it always made me sad.

As an adult it makes me cry like a baby....ugly cry, snot, sob, boo-hoo....until five minutes ago I had never read the lyrics. In the song her mama makes her a coat from a box of multi colored rags and tells her the story of Joseph then she says "Perhaps the coat will bring you good luck and happiness" and she blesses it with a kiss. OK tears start flowing here......then the other kids make fun of her coat made of rags....snot flying.....the little girl tells them of the love her momma sewed in every stitch and told them the story of Joseph from the Bible. It's the last line that really gets me howlin'........

"Now I know we had no money but I was rich as I cold be in my coat of many colors my momma made for me.....just for me."

This is my Momma winter of 1968, pregnant with me. Poor dear she looks so happy...she had no idea what she was in for after the fruit of her womb was brought into the world.

Growing up in a "tiny town" in the Mid-West...we had a lot of NOTHIN'. More than alot of nothing......I was always wanting something, and couldn't figure out why I couldn't get it. Oh I was a brat. I am sure I gave my Mom fits. She has never said that....but I know I did. My Momma sewed too. She sewed me many outfits...polyester outfits. In High School she sewed my formals for me, they were one ever made fun of me like in the song. I just never fully appreciated all my Momma did for me, until I was a momma.

I wish I would have realized earlier in life the truth of this line in Dolly's song....

"But they didn't understand it and I tried to make them see that one is only poor if they choose to be."

I wish I would have been more appreciative of my momma, how hard she worked to make things good for my sister and I. My Mom now lives hundreds of miles away and it's been a long time since we spent Mothers Day together. I'll call her, and see what she's up to far away...then tell her to read my blog. I don't like to get all weepy and sappy over the phone.

I love you're the best!

Happy Mothers Day!

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May 05, 2011

Blessed ~ WINNER!

The GIVEAWAY winner is:

Anonymous said...

I love all Robin's designs but i'm particularly drawn to the blessed pendants! My husband and I had difficulty conceiving our daughter and now she's almost a year old and for that I am blessed!

Stacy Karish

Praying you all have a wonderful weekend!

I am truly blessed to have you all in my life,

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