what’s been going on in my world 

how is it mid march of 2017 already?  It’s just crazy.  
I haven’t been around much. The start of the year was quite tough for me.  Saving you all of the details, we had to put my beloved 13-year old, love of my life, Fenway down. 

It was truly one of the most heart breaking things that I’ve ever had to do. This girl was my world.  When everyone else left, she was there.  Day in, day out.. she loved her frisbee like crazy and loved to go for a ride in Zola with me. 
The void in my heart is real and raw.  I’m happy that she is in a better place and after months of watching her slowly decline, I’m finally at peace knowing that she is at peace.
That doesn’t mean that I’m not a hot mess, because that I most definatly am… but I’m slowly getting better 

During all of this, I’m mamanged to stay creative.  Sewing is very therapeutic for me.  Last year I finished a quilt called ‘City Sampler’ designed by Tula Pink.   I sandwiched it at the retreat last summer, then stared at it.  I was petrified to quilt it..  I made the descision to send it out to be professionally quilted.  Kathy Did the most beautiful job !

I am in love with how this quilt came out. It took me almost 2 years, and was worth every second that I put into it. 
I also worked on a wall hanging for my sewing room 


It took me a solid week to pick out my fabrics.  What was  great was that it was all scraps!    I decided to quilt this one myself. I practiced for days, then took a deep breath, and free formed it 


I honestly don’t think that I took a breath the entire time that I quilted this. 

I made a paper-pieced pillow 

 This was especially fun because it was all made from my stash! 

I’ve been working on some other things too, but I can’t share them because they are going to be gifts.
And lastly, I joined a weekly quilting challenge and have had fun using this fabric that I’ve been holding onto for awhile 

So that’s about it.. it’s been a rough start to the year, but there have been really good things that have happened as well.  That’s what they say, right?  It all about balance?

Be prepared to see a Lot of this baby in the upcoming months.  Once I put my mind to something….

Happy Sunday, friends..  coming out of the fog is very nice. 
Up next.. how to grow your own sprouts! 

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caramel-apple sangria

as I mentioned in my last post, my oldest son and  Daughter-in-law Amanda were in town for 3 weeks. ( click Here for more info on why such a long visit )
Last fall she was telling me about a sangria recipe that she stumbled upon somewhere that required caramel apple vodka.  My son drove all around Jacksonville looking for it.  When she finally made it, she said she couldn’t wait to visit so that we could make it 
( she also makes a mean citrus sangria that’s usually waiting for me when I visit them ) 

For the first part of their visit, alcohol was off-limits, but near the end we were able to enjoy this 

She couldn’t find the actual recipe (I think?) so we improvised 

When we first made it, it was a bit strong… So we tweaked it just a bit
1 part white wine

1 part caramel apple vodka ( Denver friends, I found it at Target in Glendale on the corner of Colorado boulevard and Virginia) 

2 parts apple cider 

Sliced apples

Cinnamon stick (which we didn’t have, but I’d add one next time)
Add the liquids together in a pitcher.  Slice the apples and add the cinnamon stick. 
Refrigerate overnight. 
I rimmed a glass magarita-style with apple pie spice and filled with ice. 

This was sooo tasty! Another friend of mine was just telling me about a fall sangria that used fireball candies!  Doesn’t that sound fun?

I’ve been taking pictures and writing recipes down..  I’m trying to get better about sharing them with y’all.   I also have a few ideas for fun giveaways! 
fall is my favorite  time of year!  I come to life in autumn 😎

 Here’s some of my past apple recipes

Cream of butternut and apple soup

Apple pie
Easy apple butter 
And came across This which has me nostalgic for days gone by… 

So.. What’s your favorite thing about fall? 

family time~corn maze style

howdy friends! 
My oldest son Jason and daughter in law, Amanda Sue been visiting us from Florida for the last 3 weeks.  (you can read more about why they are here for so long in her blog as I know it

Yesterday we decided to go to a local corn maze..  We’ve done this in the Past, but it’s been awhile. 


The maze itself had 6 pictures of ‘lost’ farm animals.  We divided into teams of husband and wife. Our challenge was to find all 6 animals, take a selfie with each of them and be the first couple to do so And find our way out!

Let’s go!

I’ll spare you all 12 photos of us with the animals, but here are a few of them.  Y’all are super smart, I’m sure you can imagine the rest☺️

There was a SCARE pumpkin crow ~ looking thing and although it wasn’t part of our challenge, we both took a photo with it 

Great minds think alike!


My crazy kid…

Guess who won! 


But just by a few minutes 😎

If you have a corn maze in your area, I highly recommend! 

Next up…. Amanda made us a fall sangria.  

vacation recap

 

hello, friends!

 

If you are friends with me on Facebook   Or Instagram  then you know that I’ve travelled more than normal this summer.  We recently went on a cruise that was planned rather last minute.

Scott and Ali planned it and I honestly knew none of the details. Which was kind of cool!

 

Since we planned the trip so late, Scott told us that he couldn’t get 4 seats next to each other on the plane, so he had to buy 1 first class ticket and 3 coach.  We played board games every week and kept score to see which one of us would ‘win’ the first class seat. Ali won!

Side note.. This is our favorite game

as we were boarding the plane, Scott handed each of us our ticket. He used miles from work travel to book all of us in first class!  Wow.  It was amazing!

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I could totally get used to this!

 

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The view from the plane as we approached San Juan

 

 

The next morning, Scott and Ryan toured an old fort while Ali and I hung out at the hotel.  We boarded the ship around noon.

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Our home for the next week.

As we headed to our stateroom, this was the chosen featured artwork in our halI was convinced that this guy was going to come alive at night.  I checked each and every time we walked by him. Trust me, he didn’t move.  By the end of the trip we were buds. He was my homeboy. We were tight. Rock on, buddy.. Rock on.

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our first port of call was st. Maarten.

we participated in an America’s cup race.

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Everyone on our tour was divided up into 2 groups with 3 crew members on each boat.  We were each given a specific job to do and the crew members directly us.  Ali was our captain!  I was primary winch.  I’ve never been on a sailboat before. It was hard work!

 

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imageYes.. That’s a hockey stick ☺️

 

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We ended with rum punch!

 

The next day we wen to st. Kitts. I chose our excursion here. Stand up paddleboarding!  I’ve been  dying to try this!  Ali and stood on one last summer at the river fest downtown, but this was my first time doing it for real.  I’m hooked!  It was so much fun!  I fell a few times, but that’s ok.  It was really windy in the cove and therefore it was wavy and challenging.

 

I don’t have photos of us actually doing it, but this is where we were{

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could this be more beautiful?

Our guide was from Denver! Small world.

 

After paddleboarding the rest of the fam went snorkeling.

 

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For or whatever reason, I felt claustrophobic when I put my snorkel gear on so I opted for this

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When they were done snorkeling there was more rum punch!

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in Antigua we did a cameraman ride and Ali and Scott did some more snorkeling

 

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We we had some Boston folks on our boat, so it was cool to tall Boston stuff.

And ended with rum punch!

 

 

 

 

In in st Lucia we boarded a pirate-themed spanish galleon and sailed out to volcanos ans volcanic mud baths

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We didn’t take  pic of the boat, but I found one of the boat we were  on that World Wide Web thing.

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After ali and I coated ourselves in mud and soaked in super hot natural spring water, we had a buffet lunch , then boarded boat and began to sail back.  We stopped about halfway back for a swim

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With noodles! (I’m not a strong swimmer, so I was thrilled with the noodles)

 

we headed back to the ship listening to reggae and yet again, more rum punch!

 

(Notice a theme here? 😎)

 

in barbados we just walked off the ship and did a tiny bit of shopping.

 

it is SO much fun hanging out with your adult children!

 

I’ll leave you with random photos in no particular order

 

 

 

 

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Peace out, my friends!

 

 

Next up.. Homemade ramen!

spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho

whelp, here we are smack dab in the middle of summer.

 

I I hope y’all had a fun  and safe holiday weekend.  Mine was a welcomed quiet time.  After a little bit of long overdue retail therapy, I found myself craving gazpacho .

I dug out my Original gazpacho recipe

as well as my Roasted veggie gazpacho

and kinda played around and came up with

spicy grilled vegetable gazpacho 

it’s similar to my roasted veggie one, but I played around with the flavors just a bit

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Spicy gazpacho ingredients

3 tablespoons coconut oil

4 Roma tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 sweet white onion, peeled and quartered

1 habanero pepper

1 red bell pepper, halved

1 garlic cloves, not peeled

1 lime, halved

small bunch each of flat leaf parsley and dill

1 can of whole tomatoes ( I used some I canned last summer.  Buy the best tomatoes that you can find. Where this isn’t cooked  you want the best tomato flavor that you can get.  San Marzano is a great choice)

1/4 cup good Olive oil ( same reason as the tomatoes)

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

sea salt, white pepper, freshly cracked black pepper

 

place  cukes, salt, pepper and white pepper in a high speed blender and let sit.  The salt will start to draw the moisture out of the cucumber, making for a smooth base since the cukes will have started to break down.  Alternatively, you can use a food processor if you don’t have a high speed blender, you’ll just have to make the soup in batches.

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Preheat grill to medium  heat.  Place an oven safe stoneware dish on the grill with the coconut oil . Season with salt and pepper and coconut oil will melt. Remove from heat and place veggies on the grill using  a basting brush, brush the coconut oil mixture atop veggies

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Flip the veggies after a few min and brush other side with oil mixture

Note~ each vegetable will cook at its own pace. Here, my tomatoes and habanero cooked first.  Once you see the carmalization ( those black lines are the sugars condensing and imparting a deeper flavor than raw vegatables). Transfer veggies to a plate .

 

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Now, let’s build this!

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Place the grilled veggies on top of the cucumbers. Add dill and parsley.

 

Purty, eh?

 

Next add the canned tomatoes with their juice

 

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Sprinkle with salt and pepper and add a handful of ice cubes.

Blend. ( or process in batches if using a food processor )

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I had to use my food pusher to get it started.  If you don’t have one, take a break every few seconds and use a spatula to free up the veggies until they move freely

 

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Add olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Squirt lime juice in as well.

Taste for salt and pepper.

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Let sit covered in fridge for at least an hour ( if you can 😜)

 

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You guys.  This soup is incredible! I started by only added 1/2 of the habanero, but found that I still wanted it spicier, so I ended up using the whole thing.  Start will small amount of pepper and add what tastes right for your level of heat.

 

I served it with a bit of Mexican crema, ( you can sub sour cream ) a bot of balsamic vinegar and lime juice

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Enjoy !

 

 

a week of gratitude 2015

I’ve spent the morning going over old posts and realized that this day, the Tuesday before thanksgiving, is historically a day that I write a heartfelt post. 

Reading this old posts made me realize how much I miss my grandparents and the simplicity of belong a child. 

So, allow me to tell you about what amazing people they were. 

They are part of every happy memory that I have as a child. They were both always there for me and sacrificed a lot for me. 

When I was 9, and home life was tough, my grandparents took me in to live with them. They lived in an apartment and the seriously gave up their bedroom and slept on a sleeper sofa for a year so that I could have my own bedroom. 

They surprised me with a puppy by taking me to pick one out, telling me it was for a cousin. It wasn’t until the ride home that they told me that I could name her because she was mine! 

They lived paycheck to paycheck.  They sacrificed a lot financially and some how found the money to send me to a catholic school because the school system in their town was less that desirable. 

They always made the 4th of July special.  Each year, they would pack coolers, stop at the store so that my baby sister and I could buy a bag of mixed candy ( remember the kind that had a mixture of candy dots, ring pops, lollipops, sucky candies). Then we headed to a local park and set up for the day and played and ate and just had fun until fireworks started ( which I hated, btw) 

It was the same park that my sister fell from the monkey bars and almost but her tongue off. 

They would drive my cousin home at 3 am 45 min away because she was homesick. 

My grandmother is the reason I love to cook.   She always gave me carte Blanche to do what I wanted in the kitchen.  I would mix all kinds of things together. Sometimes it was edible, sometimes it kinda wasn’t.  They both always tried my concoctions. 

My grandfather built me an outdoor kitchen out of old wood and my grandmother gave me all kinds of old pots to play with.  I spent hours out there. 

My grandfather built me a tree swing. I loved that thing! 

They were avid gardeners, while there was t a lot of space, they grew some amaz ing tomatoes, ( probably why I’m so obsessed with growing tomatoes now) 

One day I picked all of the tomatoes. I sat in the corner of the garage and mixed them in my beach pail ( complete with sand.. Oops!). Whaaaat? I was making sauce!

Needless to say, they were not happy with me

They had a rose garden behind their garage. I wasn’t supposed to go there, but one day I did and got myself caught up in all of the prickers.  I remember screaming for them and my grandmother having to cut me out of them while my grandfather lifted me up. 

I have always been a Barbie fanatic.  I dreamed of having a Barbie dream house.  One day they asked me to go in. The attic and low and behold, they had bought one for me and one for my sister ( she wasn’t a Barbie girl, so she wasn’t as excited as me) 

I’ve grown up with stories of them taking in my uncle’s friends. 

My cousins tell me how much they helped them growing up. 

They passed away far too soon. I’ve never really dealt with their deaths.  My grandmother passed first. She had met jason, but not Ryan or Ali. 

Alison is named after my grandmother and I see so much of her spirit in Ali

  

My grandfather’s heart was broken.  He was never really the same after she passed. 

Other than their funerals, I’ve never been able to go to their gravesite. I’d burst into tears just thinking about it.

On a recent trip to the east coast, I knew it was time for me to come to terms with this and go visit them .

I told no one.  I needed to do this by myself. ( although last minute I had to ask my aunt and my mom where in the cemetery I could find them) 

I stopped and bought a small bottle of the brandy my grandfather used to drink. And flowers in my grandmother’s favorite color. 

I walked around the cemetery for over and hour in the cold rain looking for them. It started to get dark andi was afraid I’d lost my chance.  I wasn’t liked could go next week, I now life 2,000 miles away. 

I finally found them.  Appropriately, they are buried together. 

I took the tiniest sip of brandy ( I’m sure there are laws about drinking in a graveyard at dusk. Oops). I poured the rest into the ground, cleared the leaves ( except for the one that represents me)  and placed the flowers.  And I cried and talked to them until it was dark 

  

This was such a hard thing for me to do. I’ve spent over 2 decades avoiding it. I cannot tell you how happy I am that I’ve made peace with this and completed the task that still to this day has me feeling like a child 

  

While I was reading this morning I realized that so much of what I write is for my children’s children and their children. Sort of like my online diary. My iPad ( which I write on) is cracked and it’s not easy to post.

My computer is super slow and frustrating. 

I’ve asked for an in expensive lap top for Christmas so that I can write more.  ( I think I’m the only one I know who has never owned a lap top ) 

I’m ready to write my book and cannot do it on this iPad. 

Happy thanksgiving week, my friends. Take a minute during this crazy time and remember those along your path who have made you who you are today.  And thank you all, by reading my words you help me to remember the minor details that add up together and helped build me into the person I am today. 

I’m off to Brine my turkey. Much love, friends! Oxox

frozen puppy treats and birthday cupcakes ( for the pups) 

my sweet pup, Fenway had a birthday a few weeks ago.  She’s 11!  ( or 77 in people years 😁)

  

This is a pic of her first day home.  Gosh that seems like it was so long ago! 

It set put to get her birthday treats and decided to make my own version of ‘frosty paws’

It was quick, easy, inexpensive .. And she loves  them! 

  

Homemade frosty treats 

2 cups non fat plain yogurt

1 cup smooth peanut butter  ( you could also sub pumpkin if your dog can’t eat peanut butter ) 

1 banana

2 tablespoons honey 

Dog treats that will fit in the containers you choose. 

Small glad ware type of containers with tops 

Start by mixing yogurt, peanut butter, banana and honey 

  

Place a dog treat in the bottom of each container ( I chose scoobie treats in honor of my successful kombucha brewing and my homemade scobie that is so awesome already that I can share it with friends ) 

  

Pour peanut butter mixture over dog treats and top with another, pop the lid on and freeze

  

See! Easy peasy!   And other than the initial investment of the plastic cups ( which I will reuse to make future batches). This whole batch cost under 5 buckaroos to make !

  

The birthday girl was very happy 🎉🐾🎉🐾

I also made her carrot cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. 

And a small bone from the butcher.. After all, you only turn 11 once! 

blistered tomato salad with feta and arugula 

last night I busted out my favorite skewers.  

 

 

They are flexible! 

I also have a set of straight skewers, so dug those out 

I am lucky enough to be able to grill all year ..  But there is something extra special about grilling on a warm summers’ night. ( well, summer-like) 

 This recipe is uber simple..  But sometimes simple is simply fantastic. 

 

 

blistered tomatoes with feta and arugula 

bunch of cherry tomatoes

Handful of basil

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar 

A few handfuls of arugula 

Slivered almonds for garnish 

Sea salt * I’m currently obsessed with smoked sea salt *

 

Skewer tomatoes and place over medium coals ( alternatively you could us a grill pan or place under broiler watching carefully so that they don’t burn

Grill for 2 minutes, then rotate.  Repeat this until the skins blister 

 

 Sprinkle feta on a bed of arugula.  While tomatoes are still hot, scatter over feta. ( the heat starts to melt the feta and makes the texture ah-maz-ing! 

Drizzle balsamic and olive oil atop salad, sprinkle with slivered almonds and sea salt.

Toss and serve! I literally devoured this salad! I might make it again tonight! 

  

And a repeat of this 💞

What’s on your grill this weekend? 

ibotta…  money-saving app…  put cash back in your pocket!

howdy, friends!   Since it’s Friday I thought it might be nice to share a great way to save money. ( so you can spurge a little over the weekend ) 

****Scratch that.   It’s taken me ALL weekend to write this!!  *****

It’s called ibotta. And it’s free. And I’ve saved almost $100 in a year! 

You need to have a smartphone with a camera.  

You start by creating a free account. You can build a ‘team’, or join one ( bigger bonuses for everyone on your team ) .. But we will come back to that .

Think of it as an instant electronic mail in rebate 

  

Start by opening the app.  It senses where you are and will let you know what is near you.  For purposes of this post, going to use grocery. 

  

We are shopping at target. Click on ‘target’. It will take you to the current offers 

  

Once you click on the store, it will show you which offers are available. 

See that cheese? We are going to buy it 

  

Once you click on it, you’ll be asked to either watch a very short video (15 seconds or so ) or to take a quick quiz 

( like, have you tried this product before?) 

  

Using your camera, you line up the barcode in the box.  It automatically scans the code

  For items with out a barcode, you skip the scanning step ( but not the ‘unlock the code’ step) 

  

When you have all of the items on you list, click ‘verify purchases’   

 

Scan the barcode and then click verify purchases ( this ensures you are buying the right product) 

  

Once you get the green check mark, you need toclick capture receipt 

  

Line it up and take the photo. Then click submit receipt 

 

That’s it! As long as they can read your recipe ( I’ve only had one issue..  So I save receipts until I know for sure..  I re submitted it and it went through no problem ) 

The money gets deposited into your account! Presto! 

For online purchases it’s a little bit different . 

Start by clicking on the store 

 

  

 

Click the unlock the code buttons

  

Once codes are unlocked, click redeem .  It will give you the option to go immediately to their website to shop or to email a code for later 

* very important… You MUST shop through the link via ibotta, otherwise the rebate won’t work*

  

Simply shop! The rebate will be automatically added to your account once you shop !  In my experience, the online rebates take a few extra days to show up, but they always do.  You just have to make SURE you shop through the link provided. 

Questions?   How about how do I get my buckaroos? 

  

 

There are many ways to cash in. They have partners and have more being added all the time.   Simply click ‘ cash out’ and click what you would like.  I’ve earned over $80 at Amazon alone! 

When I cashed in my bucks for Amazon, they immediately emailed me a e certificate and I was ordering my goodies on Amazon with in seconds!

Soooo….. What have I missed?   Ibotta is in SO many stores! 

Home Depot

Target

Petsmart

Sephora

Whole foods

Walmart

Vitamin world 

Express

Aeropostale

Walgreens

Kohls

Kmart

Macy’s

Toys r us 

Costco

Best buy

Joann fabrics

Hobby lobby 

Michaels 

Chicos

Charlotte Russe

Soma

Jc Penney 

Nordstrom

Lands end

Toms

Zumba.com

Under armour

Restaurants

Chills

  

 

Hooters

‘ any restaurant’ 

TGIFridays

Quiznos

Applebee’s 

Olive Garden 

Outback Steakhouse 

Red lobster 

Buffalo Wild Wings 

Travel

Orbitz

BEER! 

WINE! 

FTD.com

1-800 flowers

Magazines.com 

How can you resist this? 

Any other questions? Ask!

If you want to join my team enter the code

 ‘ qzjbiy’ 

when you sign up via the app.   Of course, you don’t need to join my particular team, but the bigger the team the more bonuses everyone on the team receives! 

I get a rebate everytime I buy 

Milk

Eggs

Bread

Fresh produce.

Makeup

The list goes on and on. ..

Let me know if I can explain anything else! 

* although the ibotta app was designed here in Denver, I have zero affiliation with the company.  I am just really impressed with how well this works and I do love to save me some bucks! *

ryan’s quilt

good morning, friends 🙂 

Today I’m sharing my latest finished quilt.  My entire family is very intense hockey fans.  Seriously…  We live and breathe it. 

My middle child, Ryan, asked me for a Colorado Avalanche themed quilt. I had purchased the fabric last summer. And like many of my projects, it sat in my sewing room.  Until last month. 

I thought it would be fun and extra-special if I actually  made it and surprised him by having it finished and waiting on his bed when he came home from college! 

I could have just used pre printed fabric to make it, but he’s 22 and I was not wanting a ‘kiddie’ looking quilt. 

Here’s what I came up with 

  

 

Avalanche colors! 

  Sneak panel of ‘official’ fabric on the back 

  

Not quite sure why these pics are so watercolor-y….  I’ll have to see if I can fix it.  

I’m always in such a better place when I’m creating 🙂 

Oh.. And in the Jerk seasoning giveaway

Congratulations Amy!  Your seasoning will be on its way! 

Oxox

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