Toadstool Planter and Lilu’s Big Announcement

Toadstools are adorable. Last summer I made these ceramic toadstool houses and a toadstool bird feeder. 

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To bring the toadstools outside, I made toadstool flower pots. They are really easy and cheap to make. I used inexpensive plastic planters and painted them red.

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Then I used white caulk to make the spots on the planter.

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The caulk dried overnight and the planter was ready to go. I planted red Gerbera Daisies surrounded by little white flowers.

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Easy and sweet looking!

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In other news, Lilu made a big announcement this week. She’s going to be a guard dog/big sister!

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We’re expecting the little one on December 5th. We’ll find out if it’s a he or a she then. In the meantime, Lilu’s very excited about the position

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Easy Flag Crafts

It’s been a little over a year since I started my blog, and I feel accomplished  having a second post about the 4th of July.

Flag Crafts

Between Flag Day and Independence Day, I keep the patriotic decor up in my house from the middle of June to a little into July. Last year I made a flag wreath out of a flag rag streamer that Michael’s sold It was really easy, and took less than 5 minutes. As embarrassing as this is, I can’t get into the attic because I’m too short to reach the pull down cord on the ceiling, and Matt has been so busy building a rock wall in our backyard that I feel bad bothering him to get the decorations down. So the house hasn’t really been festive for these holidays this year. Eventually I’ll post that the other flag wreath, but for now I made an even prettier one plus a USA letter display.

Supplies

The wreath is made with a grape vine wreath, red whit and blur “berry” sprigs, and an “aged” American flag. I bought the flag and berry sprigs at The Christmas Tree Shoppe for $2 each piece, and the Wreath at JoAnne’s for $5, so this is a super cheap wreath! It’s super easy too.  First I separated the  berry sprigs.

Separate the twigs

Then I glued them around the wreath.

Berries glued on

 

I detached the flag from the pole and put it in the dryer so it wasn’t so stiff. Then I attached the flag, gluing down the top left and bottom right corners first to make the flag look longer, then folding and gluing some of the edges for a ruffled look.

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Very easy! And so are the letters. I just painted the U and S, and Modge Podged the A with a blue and white star paper. I wanted the letters to match the aged look of the flag on the wreath, so I used a deeper red and an eggshell white.  I also made sure to paint the edges of the letters, even the A!

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I was originally going to add the USA to the wreath, but I then I thought they were each was pretty enough on their own. I think I may attach the letters to some wood for a different type of display.

USA!

Super easy, super cute, and super cheap flag decor.

Aside

Pot Tower

So you’ve probably seen these adorable pot stacks on Pinterest. I made them last year for the front of the house. This year, I put them on the side, against our fence.Image

 

I think like them better there because the honeysuckles on the fence make them look even more whimsical. I didn’t use a tutorial, just figured it out by eye.

The towers are made with a 4ft concrete rod and 6 terracotta pots.

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1 – 11″ pot

1 – 10″ pot

2 – 8.5″ pots

2 – 6″ pots

I spray painted mine last year in fun colors (they’re also the color scheme I used for my pot wreath).

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You also need something to help stabilize the pots so they look like they are going to tip over. Use whatever you have, like rocks, broken brick or you could even use those small water bottles filled with sand. I have lots, and lots of river rocks that were all around my yard, so I used them.

Start by staking in the concrete rods.

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Thread the pot 11″ through the drain hole.

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Use rocks and dirt to fill the bottom of the pot (The rocks will help stabilize the top pot and help you use less dirt)

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Thread the 10″ pot through the drain hole and tilt the pot. Adjust the rocks from the bottom pot for the top pot to rest on.

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Use a rock inside the top pot to weigh it down on one side.

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Continue with the rest of the pots, alternating which side you tilt the pot. You may have to shift the rocks and dirt to support the different pots.

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At the top, you can hammer in the concrete rod deeper into the ground when your closer to the top.

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Now plant away! Because I disassemble these for the winter, I only use annuals in the pots. Now I guess you could plant as you go so you don’t have to remove the dirt you just put in, but I like to be safe and not risk crushing the plants.

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I like to plant a different flower on each tier, and I try to mix in some whimsical looking flowers (like those tall red ones and the fuzzy cone shaped ones). I planted the extra flowers between the two towers and in tiny, 4.5″ pots.

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I love my pot towers. I love the colors, the flowers, the way they look against the honey suckle fence. I just plain love them. They didn’t take too long to assemble, but I started late in the day. By the time I was finished it was dusk. A lightning bug cruised on past my tower. I think she liked my flower pots. In my book, the lightning bug means it’s officially summer. Happy Summer everyone!

Pot Wreath

Ok,  it’s been over a month since I made it, but I thought I should put my May wreath up. If you haven’t seen the wreath on Pinterest yet, prepare yourself for something pretty.  

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My friends Caroline and Sarah came over for a Pinterest party, and we decided to make these wreaths.  We found them on Pinterst, and used the tutorial here:

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The tutorial has all the materials listed and is very easy to follow.

I decided to paint my pots to match the pot towers I put outside (another Pinterest inspired project I’ll be posting). Sarah and Caroline didn’t paint their pots.  I think their wreaths look very sophisticated, while mine looks a bit more on the whimsical side.  

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If you want to paint your pots, do that first. Tie down the larger pots first. 

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Then fill in the spaces with the smaller pots. Switch up the direction of the pots, they shouldn’t all face the inside of the wreath.

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We cut cubes of floral foam and filled the pots with it after they were all tied down.

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Then just hot glue the faux flowers. I used a lot of succulents mixed in with purple flowers and some faux moss. I added the moss last as a filler.

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They’re not very difficult, but they are pretty heavy. Make sure your wreath holder is a sturdy one. Also, this may be too big if you have a screen door. Mine barely closes with the screen door. I think I may move this to my side door to be closer to my topsy turvey pots.

Felt Button Pin to Jazz up my Coat

Oh how I love springtime! My first flowers started to bloom outside my house, and the smell is amazing!

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Spring also means lighter colors and clothes. I can finally put away my thick winter jacket and pull out my pink pea coat. I love the bright color of my jacket, but I decided I needed something to jazz it up.

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 Just last month, a JoAnne’s Fabric opened up right down the street from my house. Now there’s a Lowe’s, Target, Petco, and JoAnne’s in the same plaza which is directly across from a plaza with a Micheal’s and a DSW. Now I’ll always be broke.

I found these felt flower buttons at JoAnne’s. At first, I thought about sewing them onto the collar, but then I decided to make a pin instead so I could keep changing the style. I got the felt flowers in bright and earthy colors to make a spring pin and a fall pin.

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This was super easy. I just layered the buttons how I liked and used hot glue to glue them all together. One I glued them and made them one unit, I glued the whole thing to a pin.

Now I have a spring pin

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and I can use this coat again in the fall.

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I can’t wait to think of some other uses for these cute felt buttons. Maybe some pillow, candle holder, or picture frame embellishments.  

Easter Wreath & Vacation

Ahhhhhh spring! It has sprung! I love it! We just came back from some time in California (vacation for me, half work half vacation for Matt). It was a nice transition to spring, because I think (hope) while we were out there we missed the last of winter’s fury.

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We spent the first half in Disneyland and LA. I loved it. Sleeping Beauty is my favorite classic princess, so I was very excited to see her castle.

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I went waaaay geeky and wore a pink polka-dot dress one day, and Matt got me matching ears. It’s like we’re twins!

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And I met my boyfriend Donald in his traditional blue Donald outfit for the first time ever.

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We ate at the Blue Bayou. The food was delicious, and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride actually goes through the restaurant. So cool!

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I don’t care what anyone says; you’re never too old for Disney!

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We also went to Universal studios, and it was really cool to take the studio tour and see the actual sets. We planned on seeing more of LA, but we ran out of time because Matt had to be down in San Diego for the Drosophila conference. For the most part, he was at talks and presentations while I did some lounging, reading, and knitting (I just started learning).

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We were able to slip away for a few hours each day and see San Diego’s Old Town, Sea Port Village, the USS Midway Naval Aircraft Museum, and the Gas Lamp District. Last time we were here for the conference, we went to the San Diego Zoo. It was amazing! We didn’t have time for that this year, but hopefully next time we’re out, we’ll have some time for their Safari Park or the San Juan Capistrano Mission Gardens.

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I was sad to get back to reality, but I was glad to start Easter decorating! I pulled down all my Easter decorations and started to decorate. I love Easter.  It’s my favorite Holiday. I actually have several Easter wreaths, but keeping with my wreath resolution I decided to make one. I saw a few on Pinterest that inspired this one.

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This was really easy. I used the green garland around the twig wreath.

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Then I added the small white flowers to the top and bottom of the wreath.

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I wanted the wreath to have lilies because those are the flowers I associate with Easter. I used one bunch of the lilies for the wreath. I just trimmed them and glued them down.

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I painted the cross white and used a small purple quilting square for the pall. Everything was glued down with hot glue.

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I love it!

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April Fool’s Day/Chicken Day for Mom!

In case you didn’t know, one of my many jobs is an English Professor, so I love the fact that April Fool’s Day could be traced back to one of Chaucer’s most popular Canterbury Tales, The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, about a fox who plays a trick on a rooster.  You can check out the real version here or the Spark Notes here. The best part about the fact that the original April Fool’s prank was on a rooster is it perfectly aligns with my April Fool’s joke on my mom. This year, I completely bombed her house with chickens.

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Giving my mom a chicken has been an ongoing joke between me and my sisters for the past 15 years or so, and not just on April Fool’s Day. Whenever my sister’s an I would go out shopping (a considerably often occasion) we would always ask my mom if she wanted to come. If she didn’t come along with us, she’d yell from her room “No, but bring me back a surprise.” My sisters are very sweet to my mom. They’d always bring her back a cute kitchen decoration, a picture frame, or some candy. I’m a little different from my sisters. I love my mom to bits, and I like to show it by busting her chops.

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So during one of our shopping trips, I noticed at this particular store, we had already “surprised” my mom with most of the nicer trinkets.  Then I saw it. It was the ugliest supposed-to-be-a-chicken-decoration I have ever seen in my life. This was no French country style chicken statue or Easter chick. It looked like a 4 year old made it at day care: basically a Styrofoam ball with black and red feathers glued all over it with googley eyes. It was perfect.

“She’s not going to want that! It’s ugly,” they told me.

“That’s the point,” I said, “she knows we have better taste. It’s a real surprise.”

It took a little convincing (and some snacks to make up for the trick), but they agreed to let me get the ugly chicken and present it to my mom.

At first she didn’t say anything because she thought we were serious, but once she saw that we couldn’t hold back our giggles she let us know how ugly she thought it was. Ever since then, she’d tell us to “bring back a surprise. And not a chicken!” But we always did bring back a chicken. Eventually, my mom had enough chickens to redecorate her whole kitchen and half her house. She didn’t like them, but she rarely threw them away. She would always joke that when she’d finally “buy a cabin in the woods, the house will already be decorated with all the chickens.”

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Last year on April Fool’s Day, I was in Home Goods and saw a glass chicken statue and thought “I should get that for mom today!” Then the whole idea struck. Instead of giving her the chicken that day, I decided to stock up on chickens and roosters and bomb her house with them  this April Fool’s. So for the past year, I have been buying, crafting, and stocking up on all the chickens I could find. The chickens took over our spare bedroom.

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I printed lots of chicken pictures and taped them over all the pictures in the house, and I took video of our family doing the chicken dance and played it on loop in the living room.

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I put some chickens outside.

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I made this planter at ceramics.

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And these statues

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I even made some chicken quilts and pillows for both living rooms.

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And as much as I’m teasing, it’s all in fun. To us, food is love, so along with my chicken house bomb, I made everyone lots of chicken themed dishes. Egg salad, chicken salad, deviled eggs, rotisserie chicken, chicken bites, chicken shaped cookies, and chicken cakes.

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When I was getting some things ready for the Chicken Bombing, some people asked me if my mom would get mad. I’m glad I have a mom who can take the joke, because it seems like it’s a rarity. The amount of people who were sure my mom would be furious about the prank made me appreciate her sense of humor. I knew she would pretend for a half a second that she was mad, but I knew wouldn’t actually be upset.  I was right. She thought it was hilarious. She didn’t even want me to take everything down just yet.

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 One of the most important things my mom has taught me is not to take myself too seriously. She was always playing jokes on as when we were kids, and it taught me to laugh at myself (and to question everything). My mom loves mysteries anyway. She’ll spend money on “mystery bag” items, even if she knows it’s junk, just so she can have the suspense before she checks the bag. So in my mind, that equates to her loving surprises, and thus not minding about my prank. So thanks for being a good sport, Mom! I think from now on, you can expect a chicken every April Fool’s! xoxo

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Irish Potato Candies: Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Today my mom is making some corned beef and cabbage and I made some Irish potato candies for dessert. They aren’t actual potatoes, but cream cheese and coconut candies rolled in cinnamon to look like tiny potatoes just dug up from the ground.

Irish Potatoes

Irish potato candies are super-fast and easy festive candies to make for the holiday. Just cream together a stick of butter, half a package of cream cheese, and 1-2tsp of vanilla. (you can also use whiskey instead of vanilla).Blend together 4 cups of powdered sugar. It’s easier if you blend it 2 cups at a time.

Almost finished

Use whiskey instead of vanilla to make more sophisticated candies

Mix in 2.5 cups of shredded coconut.

Ready to shape

Some people like larger potato candies, but I like to make mine bite sized. Spray your hands with some Pam and use your hands to mold the potatoes into an oblong, potato shape.

Rolling assembly line

Roll the potatoes in cinnamon to coat. If you like, you can add a bit of cocoa powder to the cinnamon for a more “dirt” look and for the cocoa flavor.

Roll in cinnamon

Line the “potatoes” on a baking sheet and chill until their firm. I put the candies in mini muffin cups before serving. Yum!

Just chill and eat!

I also did some last second decorating today. Last year, in early March, I barged into work very aggravated telling Meghan, “Apparently you can’t buy a cauldron after Halloween.”  To which she replied, “You know I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I have been trying to find a plastic cauldron to fill with chocolate coins for St. Patrick’s Day for a long time. Even this past Halloween I looked for some, but they all had pumpkins or Halloween writing on them. I finally found some online and ordered a few, and they just came in today. I guess one day of display is better than none. Of course, I didn’t have any chocolate coins, so I used my clovers instead and plastic coins for the small pots. I’m thinking next year I can put the pots on some cotton and have a rainbow display too.

I finally found my cauldrons!

We’re using St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate 2 birthdays. Yesterday we celebrated my Mama’s 83rd birthday. Some of her grand-kids will be away on her actual birthday, so we decided to celebrate early.

Mama's girls

She’s our Queen Bee, but the kids wanted her to be a princess for the day. We made her wear a princess crown and all!

Happy Birthday Mama!

Tonight we’re celebrating Matt’s birthday. His birthday is really tomorrow, but he’ll be celebrating by doing what he loves best, and what made me fall in love with him to begin with, playing hockey. He didn’t want to have a cake or celebrate, but that’s just silly. He’s almost finished with his docorate and has been working such long hours finishing things up. He deserves a little celebrating from us all. 🙂

St Patrick’s Day Crafty Fun

I started decorating for St. Patrick’s Day last week. I am a bit Irish somewhere down the bloodline; My father’s grandmother, I think. Matt’s birthday is the day after St.Patrick’s Day, and his favorite color is green, so I do like to decorate for the holiday.

So much green

Sara had the idea to use horseshoes for St.Paddy’s Day decor to show “the luck of the Irish.” She picked up a bunch of used horseshoes for about $1 each!

Lucky Horseshoes

For our word display, we spelled out “Lucky,” using a horseshoe as the U.

Lucky

We Modge Podged the letters with scrapbook paper, and embellished them with some decorating moss, berries, and other green foliage.

Anything green goes

We also used some plastic gold coins, and I made several felt four leaf clovers I saw on Pinterest.

We painted the horseshoe gold, and I found these tiny wooden signs at Michael’s. I painted “Leprechaun Crossing” onto the sign and glued it to the horseshoe.

Tiny Sign!

Lucky Leprechaun Crossing

We were also sure to paint the edges of the wooden letters gold for a more finished look.

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I really love the “Lucky” display, but I might decide to fasten the letters onto a wooden board. I’m not sure yet, so for right now they are just resting against the wall on our entry table.

Welcome!

We also used the horseshoes to make the St. Patrick’s Wreath. The first thing we did was add some decorative moss to a twig wreath so that the base was green.

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We the attached the horseshoes with floral wire to the wreaths, and then added the flowers.

 

Attaching HorseshoesAttaching Horseshoes

Daisies, hydrangeas, berries, and leaves were glued on in spots to highlight the horseshoes.  I also added more of the felt clovers and plastic gold coins.

Almost done

Just hot glue the flowers down

Initially, I wasn’t going to paint these horseshoes gold, but when I looked at the wreath while sitting in my car, I noticed that I really couldn’t see the horseshoes.

 

Wreath 1

Unpainted Horseshoes

I think if this were meant for an indoor wreath, or had different color flowers embellishing it, I could have left the horseshoes. But I think painting the horseshoes gold not only makes them more visible, it also makes the wreath even more fitting for St Patrick’s Day.   

Wreath 2

Painted Horseshoes

I think both projects are nice, and I think they’re my favorite wreath and word display yet!

Love Letters

I love decorating for each holiday, especially because it gives me a reason to be crafty. The love letters are the easiest Valentine’s Day decorations you could possibly make. They are very similar to the Noel letters I made for Christmas.

Love

Here, I used a sequence heart for the O in LOVE, and Mod Podged scrap book paper to the other letters. I also added some embellishments to the letter: felt hearts on the L, “pearl” beads on the music notes of the V, and purple and pink rhinestones on the E. I also used different sized letters for a whimsical look.

Most of my Valentine decor is pink and purple, but my friend Sara made her letters in more neutral colors with red accents. Same idea with a totally different look!

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I put my “L-O-V-E”  at my entryway table with pictures of my adorable Valentines, my nieces and nephew.

 

 

I’m also on a penguin kick. I just painted some ceramic penguins and decided they are my new, unofficial mascots of Valentine’s day. How could you look at adorable penguins and not feel love? 

 

 I’m not an overly mushy, romantic person, but I do love Valentine’s Day.I think the idea of celebrating love is a wonderful thing. Many people don’t like Valentine’s Day because it can be superficial, materialistic, cliche, just a reason to spend money, all of the above. But I think we should look at Valentine’s day a bit differently. I know Valentine’s Day is a couples holiday, and I’ll certainly be spending it with my Cheese, but even before then when I didn’t have a boyfriend I’d find ways to celebrate. My Dad would always give me a card and me and my friends would buy each other chocolates. Last year my friend Meg and I hosted a root beer float social at work with pretty heart straws and paper goods.  I’ll bring in some cupcakes this year. I’ll probably pick up some special treats for my pets and some flowers for my Mama.

There are all different kinds of love, and maybe if we focused less on “romance” (and the commercialism attached to it) and more on real, actual LOVE, people would appreciate Valentine’s Day more. Be sure to show the people in your life how much you love them, that goes for your significant other and your friends, family pets, and anyone else lucky enough to have your love. 

 To quote the amazing Jane Austen: 
“There are as many forms of love as there are moments in time.” 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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