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5 Things I Wish I’d Known About Plumbing

Hey, y’all!  Sorry for the long absence; we’ve been battling bathroom plumbing issues the past week and tried to get a handle on them over the weekend.  Honestly, it’s been a long-time coming.  Our house is about 40-45 years old, and the previous owners did a rough job of “doctoring” the problems rather than properly fix them.  Nothing serious, but definitely a pain in the gluteus maximus.  One big problem we’ve been dealing with, especially recently, has been the bathroom plumbing.  None of it was installed correctly and totally half-assed.  The existing piping, according to our plumber, is likely as old as the house.  We decided to go ahead and get an estimate on what it would cost to re-pipe the entire house and, surprisingly, it isn’t awful.  Granted, we live in a small 1,350 sqft home.  Hopefully soon that will all be changed out, however, and we’re anticipating that the new works will at least slightly increase our home value.

Anyway, prior to calling a plumber my husband, dad, and I attempted to flush out the situation to attempt to save some cash.  I’m not currently working, so we’re on a pretty tight budget.  But, as luck almost always has it, we wound up spending twice as much on plumbing “band-aids” than we did on an actual plumber coming to fix our toilet disaster.  Lesson learned, ladies.  Occasionally, you may get lucky and be able to plunge or Drano the problem away.  But always, always, always stop after $30.  If thirty bucks ain’t solving shit, then an additional $20, $40, or $60 won’t, either.  HEED MY WARNING.  You are speaking to the queen of frugality, y’all.  When it comes to plumbing, tread lightly.  Which brings me to what I’m driving at today:

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1) Never, under any circumstances, pour grease down a drain.  This includes any type of grease and all drain types.  The damage won’t be instantaneous, but over time the fat and grease deposits collect and clog your system.  This can leave you with an overflow of sewage in your house.  Believe me, you don’t want that.  It may take 5, 10, or 15 years, but it’ll happen and it can be an expensive fix depending on whether you’re on septic tank or city sewage.  Don’t chance it.

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  • What to do instead: use a container (I use old detergent bottles) to catch the grease and a funnel (if necessary) to help direct it.  Wipe out any residue with a paper towel.  If any grease does get down the drain, pour some detergent that breaks down grease and hot water down the pipes to help further knock out the deposits.  Which brings me to….

2) Use a tough detergent.  Realistically, you can’t keep all the grease from escaping a pan or plate and going down the sink.  It’s gonna happen.  But, you can use a high-quality, non-store brand to help the eliminate any problems.  Again, I’m the Frugality Queen and I use a ton of store brand items, but dish detergent ain’t one of them.  I’ve even stopped using store brand and/or cheap laundry detergent due to the weird build-up they leave on my washer.  If it’s going down your plumbin’, make sure it’s properly suddin’.  You want your pipes as close to grime-free as possible.
3) On the opposite end of the toughness spectrum, you want to use something that easily degrades in the TP department.  Now listen, y’all.  I don’t mean use TP that don’t hold to blowing your nose, but it is SO important that you flush stuff that won’t clog or slowly disintegrate.  Our plumber recommends Scott or Angel Soft.  I’m not affiliated with either of those brands in a marketing sense, but I can tell you from experience that Angel Soft is where it’s at as far as being durable enough for a wipe but easily breaks down for pipes.  If you don’t use either of those brands, then be sure to follow-up monthly with toilet or plumbing enzymes such as Roto-Rooter.  In fact, Roto-Rooter has a toilet safe formula that is okay for those particular pipes.

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4) Invest in a good plumbing upkeep schedule.  Honest to God, this has really helped us keep BIG problems at bay.  There are all kinds of products that you can use to help things flowing well.  INVEST, INVEST, INVEST.  That bottle of Roto Rooter or Drano may cost $15, but fifteen bucks is a far cry from $1,500.  Again, been there — done that.  Looking for more of a green clean?  Check out Grove Collaborative for those options!
5) When in doubt, don’t flush it.  I’m not always 100% sold on “flushable” wet wipes and, as it turns out, neither are most plumbers.  Obviously you don’t want to stick other hygiene products, toys, etc., in the toilet, but sometimes crap happens.  You want to be prepared for the inevitable — especially if you have children or if you keep little incidentals around the facilities.  Lemme fill you in on a secret, guys: while it’s always good to have a normal vacuum, it’s also awesome to have a wet/dry ShopVac.  “What does this have to do with plumbing, Sarah?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  Having a ShopVac is freaking great for spills and floods.  Guess what it’s also good for?  Getting close-proximity clogs out of toilets.  Toys, stuck wet wipes, you name it — if it’s stuck within reach of an attached nozzle, you’re golden.  It’ll suck the lost item right out of there, no plumber needed.  BE CAREFUL not to push down on the object — you want the nozzle just close enough to pull whatever is stuck, out.  Bonus points: most ShopVacs have a reverse option.  Go outside or to a bathtub and let the vacuum do the rest (if using a tub make sure to have a drain catch installed so the object doesn’t relodge into another pipe).

Plumbing work is no fun and cleaning up water back-up is a nightmare.  Hopefully these five tips help you to have a better experience, whether you rent or own!

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Do you have any helpful plumbing tips?  Jot ’em down in the comments below!  I’m always game to add to my home-owner hack arsenal!

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10 Things I’ve Said to My Children in Walmart

As we grow older, we develop life stories.  Some parts of these stories are light-hearted and fun.  Other chapters are dark and gloomy.  Some are just “meh”; you know what I mean — we all wander out of the “wonder years” and straight into the “not-even-using-dry-shampoo-give-a-damn’s-busted”- ‘meh’ phase.  It happens to the best of us — don’t knock ya’self.  If you’re a parent, at least one and a half of those chapters take place at the grocery store.  If you’re an unlucky parent, that grocery store just so happens to be WalMart.

Now, look — if any of you are employees of WalMart, I’m not hating on your workplace (much).  WalMart is a necessary evil.  A necessary evil that I should be a stockholder of, but I digress.

Point being, we all hold our own dialogue, with our own children, from our own personal experiences in the aisles and check-out lanes of various markets.  My kids are generally well behaved in public.  Sure, they get rowdy on occasion and sometimes I threaten to leave them in the frozen food aisle (“WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS, RANDOM HEATHEN?!”), but usually, the most damage that is ever done is me having to say really. weird. SHIT.  No, Classy Cathy; I don’t mean stuff.  I mean SHIT.  I have said some seriously off-the-wall, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from crap.  And if you have ever had to run into the grocery with your children for, “Just eggs!” and you come out with everything but eggs, then you know my grief.

With that said, I’ve compiled a Top Ten list of my personal favorite “WTF?!” WalMart moments with my kids.

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10. You don’t have to have a new toy every time we come to the store.  Yes, that includes the poo emoji beanbag chair.
09. STOP POKING THE CHICKEN.
08. I don’t care if this is only WalMart and not Target, quit farting on your brother.
07. Quit staring at the bras.  You’re right — I don’t have a tiger striped bra.  Oh, I’m sure dad would laugh, alright.

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06. You know, they throw kids in WalMart jail for eating grapes that haven’t been purchased.  Don’t think I won’t let them keep you, either.
05. Yes, I see that she is wearing her pajamas.  No, you may not wear your pajamas next time.
04. Are you lic– WHY ARE YOU LICKING THE BUGGY?!

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03. No, you may not scan the baby’s butt.  Why?!  Because we’ve already paid for him, that’s why.
02. GET OUT OF THE FREEZER.
01. Go get in the car. Go GET in the CARGET IN THE CARRRRRRR.

All of the above was said in one shopping trip.  Last week.  The final week of summer.  Y’all, Connor started kindergarten today.  Do you know what that means?!  That means I get to go grocery shopping, nay, to WALMART, alone.  Unincumbered.  In (relative) silence.  There will be wine and dancing in the aisles and I don’t care who stares!

I hope I’m not alone in most of these (and seriously doubt that I am) and also hope you’ll comment below with your own grocery shopping proclamations and weirdness.  Like what you’ve read?  Hit the links below to follow me and subscribe for email notifications!

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Snack Thirty

Lemme just preface by saying this post isn’t about my snacking habits.

This time.

Before this summer, my kids weren’t super snack-y.  I mean, sure — from time to time they’d request gummies or an apple.  Nothing out of the ordinary and not super often.  Little did I know that dark days were upon our household.  Enter Summer 2018: the two and a half month period where my kids asked for snacks literally every ten minutes (no kidding — my oldest just came in and asked for a donut.  UH, NO).  I didn’t mind for about the first week.  I’d simply throw them a banana or give them a bowl of grapes and some water and send them on their way.  Then week two reared its ugly head; it was then that I realized my kitchen, nay, our LIVES would never be the same.

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Now, in case the obvious has escaped you, my parenting style is “sasshole”.   I haven’t always been this way, though.  No, there was a time when you could see me frolicking through the tulips, singing songs from The Sound of Music.  I’m done making apologies for that.  My kids are great, but they’re challenging.  It’s either be a sasshole or rock back and forth in a padded cell, and my insurance doesn’t cover that.  My kids, on the flip side, are newbie SNACKholes.  I mean, they could own Snickers commercials guys.  “Hungry?  Grab a case of Snickers.”  Except don’t, because: diabeetus.

My boys could have feasibly rivaled any hongry, hormonal woman during her monthly visit from Aunt Flo this summer.  Things got ugly, FAST.  You’d think that after almost 5 and 9 years of me being their mom that they’d know better.  Well, my children are smart, but no one has ever accused them of being Mensa smart.  And so the Battle of the (Mom’s Trying to Keep You From Developing a Stomach) Bulge began.  There were survivors — but only because I don’t do orange jumpsuits.  Also, I’m not mentally prepared to be anyone’s cell wife.

Listen, I’m no skinny-Minnie.  I’ve struggled with weight since I was a kid, partially because of a (legit) thyroid issue.  And I say “legit” thyroid issue because it’s just that — legit.  Not a, “I ate ten pies and a cake, and I don’t understand why my pants don’t fit” issue.  But because thyroid issues run through my family (as well as diabetes), I try really hard to make sure my kids understand that it’s okay to enjoy themselves but to believe in portion control and self-restraint.  My goal isn’t to be a party pooper, but for them to live their best lives — and part of that means self-control where eating is concerned.  My boys are healthy and active, but that doesn’t mean they can’t change those qualities one day down the road.

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It occurred to me that they could actually be hungry — they will be five and nine in the next week, after all.  Of course, they could also be bored (unlikely) or dehydrated (more likely).  So we agreed that they could have snacks if they A) had been largely active prior to eating a snack and B) had consumed x-amount of water prior to snacks.  This wasn’t a huge deal for either of them because they are pretty much constantly active and they both drink water without complaint.  I also told them that large amounts of junk food were out of the question and that our snack choices would be healthy.  At first, they were worried that snacks would be gross.  I distinctly remember Gabe saying, “Are we just going to eat lettuce all day?  Because we don’t like lettuce.”  And I get it — snacks are a part of childhood memories.  I assured him he wouldn’t eat lettuce 24/7 and that I would find fun, healthy alternatives.  He didn’t believe me.

Enter KidFresh Triple Cheese Pizza Bites.  They’re packed with hidden veggies which include pureed carrots and spinach (joke’s on you, bud!) and made with whole wheat flour.  There’s no high fructose corn syrup and nothing chemically engineered, so I feel totally cool with letting my kids nom on these!  Bonus: my kids love them and never believe me when I tell them about the “hidden” veggies.  And while KidFresh Pizza bites are considered a snack, I’ve even given them to my kids as lunch with a not-so-hidden vegetable and cup of applesauce.  Winning!

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My oldest starts school tomorrow and Connor begins a week after.  I’ve already promised them that these will be in our freezer ready for a school-afternoon-snack the minute they walk in the door — give or take fifteen minutes.

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photo courtesy: me. illustrations courtesy: kidfresh website.

Disclosure: The above opinions are those of my own; I am receiving no compensation from KidFresh brand, nor have I been approached by them to advertise.  This is simply a product that we, as a family, have tried and have enjoyed.  Any opinions given are given purely as personal recommendations to other parents and/or anyone interested in healthier snack options for little ones.  The above image is linked to the KidFresh website; illustrations are not my own.

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Poop & Circumstance

“In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.” – Mary Poppins

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There’s a reason her name wasn’t Mary Poopins, y’all, and clearly, she never had to deal with one of Jane or Michael’s poop diapers. Sometimes there simply isn’t a big enough spoonful of sugar to make those BM explosions go away.

You’ll find a common theme in my posts among the rest of my Disney references that involve Miss Poppins. Girl had it going on, y’all, and I’d kill for that bag (in an updated fabric, of course). But, as is characteristic of opinions, I have to disagree with one of my favorite fictional characters on her “element of fun” mantra. I just can’t see myself gettin’ jiggy with a poop disaster. Sorry, lady — “A” for effort!

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I’m not necessarily complaining about diaper changes, guys. It comes with the territory, after all, and truth be told I’d rather deal with having to hose my kid down than having a little one with constipation issues. On that note, however, a spoonful of sugar ain’t gonna help that issue, either.

Being a mom of three, I feel like I can confidently say I’ve seen my fair share of different tummy and booty-cover nightmares. All three of my guys have had varied tummy issues, all of which have been a chore to sort out. Gabe was lactose intolerant until pre-k and, thankfully, we figured that out relatively quickly. He took to almond milk products really well and still likes them even now. Connor was my easiest to figure out as far as gastrointestinal fun goes, but even now his tummy can’t hold much of anything which leaves him as a “grazer”; no lie, it takes him an hour to eat dinner — or anything, for that matter — and even then he becomes full quickly. Mason has occasional bouts of constipation, which can be normal for his age, but Lord when he is experiencing constipation it’s a doozy. He has been harder to figure out as far as formula goes because he also deals with moderate acid reflux from time-to-time.

When he hit six months he was able to begin eating small amounts of whole milk yogurt. I bought a brand that I’d been eyeing since he was a newborn and was so excited to give it a go. I was a little nervous giving it to him as sometimes yogurt can be a little sour, but I was determined to try it anyway and hopeful that it would grow on him eventually. As luck would have it, he loved it and, bonus!, his tummy loves it, as well. The probiotics in HappyFamilyOrganics have done wonders with helping regulate his digestive system and the taste is absolutely on point. They aren’t limited to just yogurt for babies though, guys! Their products begin with mommas (breastfeeding bars!), and move on to babies, toddlers, and kiddos!

Listen, I’m in no way getting paid or otherwise reimbursed for my opinions. This may be a no-no in the blogosphere, but I just really felt like other moms and dads out there might need a recharge for baby tummies. I sure did! You all should also note that this product is being used in addition to small amounts of gripe water (when needed!). I try really hard not to give in to gas drops and gripe water unless absolutely necessary, although neither hurt him (gripe water is 100% natural! — here is the brand we use for drops and GW).

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I’ll be so glad once we are all finally past the baby tummy ache stage — I hate it when they hurt! But I am relieved to know that there are products out there that help keep everything moving as they should. What are some remedies or products you use or have used? Hit me up! Like this post? Sharing is caring!

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My Favorite Gifts for Kiddos

I’m a mom of three boys — invites to kids’ birthday parties come with the territory. Ditto on my own boys’ parties. There’s not a month that we don’t have at least one shindig to attend, and I’m totally fine with that. I need the socializing as much as my kids do, and what better place to connect with other mom friends than at a place where there’s guiltless cake and probably wine of some sort? (I’m in the south — don’t judge.)

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Because I’ve got three kids with ages ranging from 6 months to 8 years, I’ve definitely got my favorite “go-to” gifts for other kids. I try to stray from trendy items because:

A) Often times, they already have those toys, or

B) I’m not 100% sure what he or she is into.

Look, we all want our kids to enjoy themselves. And it is totally fine for our littles to be drawn to the latest, greatest, & loudest. But coming from a mom whose children are surrounded by loud toy guns, trucks, video games, and Legos (if you think Legos can’t be loud, then clearly you’ve never been around a boy with Legos), sometimes I prefer to give other kids fun activities (with minimal mess) and their moms a much-deserved break from all things battery operated.

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The things I’ve got in store for you today still allow kids to be kids, but it also provides an opportunity for fun family experiences. I hope you find something cool for your little guy or gal’s next birthday party adventure!

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  2. Fun subscription boxes

    *The above boxes are from Kiwi & Co. I am not affiliated with nor am I receiving any sort of compensation from Kiwi & Co.

  3. Movie passes with enough for drink/snack
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    Image found here: https://www.etsy.com/market/movie_ticket
  4. Age appropriate arts & crafts sets.

    *Brit+Co Metal Stamp Necklace Kit

    *Discovery Kids Crane Tower Set

  5. Board games

    *The Oregon Trail

    *Where in the World is Carmen San Diego

    Speak Out: Kids vs. Parents

I also love incorporating books of some sort into my gift, especially for little ones. What are some of your go-to gifts for kids? I’m always game to add to my list of ideas.

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30.

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Today, I am thirty.

….sooo…. why do I feel no different today than I did yesterday, at 29?

Probably because my kids went to bed squabbling and woke up squabbling.  Thanks for keeping it real, kids.  You da real MVP.

But I digress.  Today isn’t just that huge of a deal for me.  It is what it is.  My best friend made a valid point this morning — 40 will probably be my epic meltdown birthday.  So, there’s that.  Ten additional years to prepare for being a complete basket case.  She also told me to party like a rockstar — little did she know that I woke up laying in puke that wasn’t my own (thanks, Mason!) and to an unwelcome foot down my pants (thanks, Connor!).  So while I’ll likely not party like a rockstar, I certainly woke up like one.  Same difference, right?

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I’m pretty sure my body is just in shock that I’ve made it thirty years through three c-sections, a slew of super-stupid life choices, and a nearly completely pickled liver.  The “dirty thirty” birthday bonanza will probably hit me like a semi-truck later when I’m kicking children out of the bathroom so I can just take a damn shower.  So for now, I’m going to leave you with thirty things about myself that, like ’em or not, have made me who I am today.

  1. I was born May 30th, 1988 at 8:15 AM.  I only know the time because my sweet mother has hammered that into my memory for, oh, thirty years.
  2. I have three siblings (two brothers and a sister), all of whom I am extremely proud of.  No, their accomplishments are not my own.  But they make me proud to be their sister.
  3. I have always rooted for the underdog.  That hasn’t always worked out in my favor.
  4. I am a momma to three beautiful and slightly deranged little boys.  They are my reasons to get up every morning — largely because they wake me up at the buttcrack of dawn every. damn. day.
  5. I love Diet Coke and would drink it by the case if I didn’t think it would kill me on the spot.
  6. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a writer.  …that clearly didn’t pan out.
  7. I also wanted to be a pilot and an interior designer.  I don’t mean to brag, but I chauffeur my kids around like nobody’s business and I can feng shui the hell out of some Legos.
  8. My most favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird.
  9. love murder-mysteries in any form — except for in real life.  Don’t nobody got time for that.
    • Murder, She Wrote is my JAM.
  10. I love to explore and would pack my family up to become adventurers if given the chance.
  11. Ireland is on the top of my “Places to Go” bucketlist.
  12. I talk with my hands.
  13. I’m a hugger (comes with that Southern territory — sorry, not sorry).
  14. Daisies are my favorite flower with tulips following at a close second.
  15. I love all things history, emphasis on Early American and European history.
  16. I am fascinated by the lives of people from the past.  I think I romanticise it all and get it in my head that they lived these super intriguing lives when, in reality, they were probably pretty ordinary for the times.
  17. I romanticise a lot of things, come to think of it.
  18. I was a single mom for two years.  Not a very long time at all by most standards, but it taught me a lot and helped me really appreciate life and, more importantly, my son’s life.  On a more serious note, he truly did save me from myself.
  19. I met my husband through my ex-brother-in-law via Facebook.  Truth be told, I only met Evan to shut Jake up.  Little did I know…
  20. My abhorrent punctuation skills aside, my favorite subject in school was English.
  21. I plan on taking the leap one day and writing a book.  God bless the editor that is assigned to that hot mess!
  22. I am terrified of deep water.
  23. I wish I were a bit bolder.
  24. Sometimes I feel altogether useless as an adult and parent.  But don’t we all?
  25. I really love deep conversations.  I know that’s not a super popular thing these days, so I have to censor myself lest I become a real buzz kill.
  26. My mouth is absolutely horrid.  Seriously, I don’t even realize I swear half the time.  I’m working on it.
  27. One day I hope to explore an old house and find a secret passageway.  That would be the equivalent of finding gold for me.
  28. I have no idea what I’m doing most days.
  29. Writing this list made me realize how little I really know about myself, which is oddly scary.
  30. And finally, I hope to lose minimally thirty pounds by the end of the year.  Not just for myself, but for my kids as well.

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So there you have it.  If you made it through that somewhat redundant list, then bless your heart.  I’m off to celebrate the morning at IHOP with my kiddos, because prying sticky pancake off of my four-year-old is the best thing EVAH.

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A SAHM’s take on her three-ring-circus and the three Converse
 wearing monkeys who live there.

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 4

Hey, y’all!  So sorry for the long absence; the past few days have been absolutely crazy.  However, I’m back with our fourth edition of the Mother’s Day Gift Guide.  Today, I’m going to share with you two of my favorite brands from two of my favorite leading ladies: Joanna Gaines & Ree Drummond.  I love these two mommas’ charming personalities and am constantly impressed by their moral compasses — even in the face of their individual fame.

Joanna’s line “Hearth & Hand” (a Target exclusive) is simple yet stunning; her attention to detail is absolutely exquisite.  Ree’s “Pioneer Woman” takes a different approach, but is equally charming and detail oriented.  I have provided two separate boards each complete with links to the products.

What momma wouldn’t love getting some new decor inspiration?!  I know I sure would.  Here’s to finding some beautiful ideas for mom that I just know she’ll enjoy for years to come.

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Joanna Gaines’ “Hearth & Hand”
  1. Stoneware Trays: Set of 2
  2. Stoneware Pedestal Bowl
  3. Covered Cake Stand
  4. Magnolia Table Cookbook
  5. 2-Tier Cake Stand

 

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Ree Drummond’s “Pioneer Woman”
  1. Cookbook Stand
  2. Batter Bowl
  3. Pioneer Woman 2-Quart Pitcher
  4. Pioneer Woman “Food From My Frontier Cookbook”
  5. Jade Cake Stand

 


Previous Posts
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 1
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 2
Mother’s Day Gift Guide pt. 3