Adalia and Percy Visit!

Last week my sister Adalia and her son Percy came up to visit. Although we both live in NZ we actually don’t see each other very often (which we both want to change!) so it was really great to have her here! We last saw Ben, Adalia, and Percy at Christmastime when we all went to the States, and had so much fun. It was great especially for Jared and Ben to spend some more time together since they didn’t know each other very well before that. So when Adalia asked if she and Percy could come visit of course I said YES please do!

I’m not quite finished with work – this week is my last – but I had most of last week off, while Adalia was here. It was great to be able to spend time together, and man I enjoyed being at home as well! I have to admit I am very much looking forward to staying home with Kiwi. I cleaned my house and got to actually enjoy it before it got messy again. Crazy right? When you’re working, you clean the house, go to work, come home and make it a mess again. In my experience anyways. 😉

One day last week the weather was nice so we decided to walk to a park that is near our house. We brought Sonic as well and THIS is a milestone!!! Listen up! Sonic did. not. poo. once. on the walk. I was so thankful. Normally if I take Sonic on a walk – regardless if he’s had three hours outside in which he could do his business – he decides he has to go in the middle of our walk. Then I have to walk around with a bag of dog poo. Not cool. Once I got literally ten metres from our driveway and Sonic did his business. Honestly?! It’s so frustrating. But this time, there were no stops to pick up dog excrement. Praise the Lord.

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Sonic had a great time and he was grinning all evening afterwards! He loved it, even though I did tie him to a park bench as soon as we got there. And then it started raining after about two minutes, so we walked back home. Thankfully the rain wasn’t too bad so we didn’t get soaked, but the weather here can be unpredictable in autumn! The whole week was crazy – we spent a lot of time outside, since we have a table and chair set in our back yard. It would be sunny, a few clouds but mostly blue skies, and suddenly in two minutes there are gray clouds and it’s raining. Then five minutes later, sunny and blue again.

It can also go from sunny, to light rain, to downpour, pretty quick. I might have to suck it up and buy an umbrella eventually, especially once Kiwi is here and I’m pretty sure we won’t both fit under my rain jacket…

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Percy loved playing with Sonic! The two of them were so cute together and they did a pretty good job of tiring each other out. Sonic loves playing tug of war with his rope toy, and it was hilarious watching Percy laugh and hold onto that toy with such a firm grip! Even when the force of Sonic’s playing sent Percy to the floor, he’d be lying there still holding onto the rope toy. It was so cute and fun to watch!

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Percy is an absolute darling, right? He has the cutest smile! He was also very good while he was here. I mean we would love him anyways of course. But he did great!

I had to take a couple photos of Adalia and Percy of course!

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Bye Percy! See you next time!

TradeMe Finds

Let’s be honest, I love shopping. In person, online, anything works! I’m pretty picky though so I’ll typically spend agessss shopping and then only buy one thing… or nothing… it’s been pretty fun with Kiwi having an excuse to actually buy things (I still do way more browsing than buying though!).

I loved buying things used because you can find things in great condition for way better prices, if you have time to look!

A couple months ago I shared these three items I bought from SaveMart (an op shop/thrift store). The tops are definitely boyish so if Kiwi is a girl I need to buy some headbands/bows immediately so she can wear these without being called a boy, and the suit is pink so Kiwi might not get to wear it if he’s a boy. I just had to get them though because they’re just. so. cute!

Since Jared and I have one vehicle, if he needs it for work or he’s driven it and I don’t want to walk and go get it from him, there are times I don’t have transportation so I can’t just go shopping. If you’re willing to pay a couple dollars for shipping, TradeMe is the best!

(If you’re in the States; TradeMe is basically like Craigslist. Just an online place where you can buy and sell things.)

Several weeks ago I was browsing TradeMe and found one seller that had tons of adorable, and I do mean adorable, baby clothes for sale. I bought seven items, and was able to combine shipping since they were from the same seller, and spent a grand total of $25.

I think we all know that if I bought just one or two of these new, it would easily have been that price.

I was thrilled when they arrived to find that each item was in great condition and did I mention that they’re all adorable?!

Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself.

How cute are those overalls/dungarees/whatever you call them?!

When I told Jared I got these, he said ‘don’t we have enough clothes for the baby?’

I explained that yes, but, babies grow. 😉 I’ll probably hold off on getting much more baby clothes until Kiwi is born because once we have a boy or girl, we can buy gender-specific clothing (honestly this baby is going to live in dresses if she’s a girl! Baby dresses are the cutest thing. Ever.)

Last week I had some time to kill in town so I walked to the SPCA op shop and I found these shoes for THREE dollars. Remember when I shared my favorite small shops, a few posts back? And one was for leather baby shoes that I’m dying to get but haven’t been able to justify it yet? Well, problem solved, for now anyways! These are so stinkin’ cute, and they were so cheap. I also grabbed two books which were in very used condition but one was by Usborne, my favorite publisher for kids’ books, which I lovedddddd so much as a child! I couldn’t resist. Even though there was a bite out of the corner. It was 50 cents.

On another note, not about used items, but, I shared a few months ago where I would probably buy cloth diapers from, and I want you to know, I did! Last week I bought four Alva Baby cloth nappies from Chirpy Cheeks Nappy Store. Honestly this website is amazing because they have several different brands, and dozens of colors/patterns from each one – so whatever  your style, you will likely find something you love here!

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I’m not too sure if this blog post is written very cohesively but my brain is a little fried lately so I’ll just hit publish and hope for the best! 😉

Hearty Breakfast Cookies

We had these breakfast cookies lots growing up, and loved them! They’re soft and delicious, and let’s be honest, what kid doesn’t enjoy eating cookies for breakfast? Too good, friends.

Oatmeal peanut Butter Breakfast Cookies

My mom (or my siblings and I) usually made these with sunflower seeds and/or chopped peanuts, but you can add anything you want. When I made these last week, I used chopped dried apricot, chia seeds, and coconut.

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I halved the recipe on my mom’s blog and still had enough cookies to eat plenty and freeze a dozen, so what I’ll share here is the halved version. Of course if you have a million kids feel free to double, triple, or even quadruple – what you’ve never done that before? That was the norm for us growing up 😉

Hearty Breakfast Cookies

A soft but hearty breakfast cookie that can be customised with additions of your choice.


Credit: littleearthlingblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar (white or brown)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup additions (sunflower seeds, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc.)

Directions

  • Cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and milk.
  • In a seperate bowl, mix the remaining ingredients.
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients, mix well. Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350F or 175C for 12 minutes.
  • Enjoy with a glass of milk!
  • To freeze, just cool and pop in a ziploc bag. Take out the night before to thaw.
  • There’s a lot of freedom with this recipe. I used brown sugar. For the additions, I used 1/2 cup dessicated coconut, 1/4 cup chopped dried apricot (I would definitely add more next time though), and 1/4 cup chia seeds.

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Let me know if you make these bad boys! I wanted to make something that would be filling, somewhat healthy, and easy to grab for breakfast or a snack, and after searching recipes for homemade granola bars on Pinterest for what felt like ages, I finally thought of these cookies. There’s nothing like a good reliable recipe that you know you’ll love, and this is great because you can change it up with the additions depending on what you have or what you feel like.

Small Shop Roundup: Baby

I love browsing Instagram and finding new accounts to follow and drool over. I follow a lot of small shops that make bows and headbands (which, if Kiwi is a girl, I will order adorable bows from immediately) teething toys, and even socks – kind of random but they’re really cute.

I love supporting small businesses and wish I could buy from them more, but I also try to be thrifty and sort of minimalist (that’s a tough one for me, it’s like my Pinterest style – probably not going to happen but I’m always dreaming of it). So I can’t speak from experience on all these shops, but I’ll let you know which ones I have tried. I also love sales – you know this – so without fail I always check the sale section first. And note, a lot of stores will give you 10% off your first order if you subscribe!

I follow shops in the US, Canada, and NZ so I’ll split them up for you. Since my mom is coming over for Kiwi’s birth, I can have things from the US or Canada sent to her. And since she’s coming over again in August when my sister has her baby, if Kiwi is a girl I can buy a million adorable bows and get her to bring them over then. It’s really perfect. Thank you Adalia for your great timing! 😉

New Zealand Small Shops

Elemay Baby Boutique – I love the bows, booties, and bibs! The prices are some of the best I’ve seen, too.

Mel’s Baby Boutique – This is one of the more affordable ones I’ve seen as well – and this wooden tool set teether? I don’t care if our baby is a boy or girl; they need this!

For the Burrow – I’m pretty sure I need all these muslin wraps! I already have around eight muslins so I haven’t bought more yet but it’s so tempting when there are so many adorable designs around!

Peas in a Pod – I’ve ordered from here twice and love the products! Teethers, dummy clips, swaddles, toys – they’ve got it all. I have two swaddles, one dummy clip, and two teethers.

Canadian Small Shops

Kai and Ben – These teethers and pacifier clips are so adorable. I have to post two photos.

That’s right – vintage gameboy teethers. My dad had one of these style gameboys! They also have a coffee cup, milk bottle, cactus, and camera. Ooh boy they’re too cute. The wood teethers, like the one above, come in several designs and colors as well!

American Small Shops

Little Bumble Bows – Some of their bows are too cute!

Sunshine and Pine – Who wouldn’t want wooden lollies, chocolates, donuts, rainbows, and blocks in gorgeous pastels?!

Maelynn’s Market – these colors, the style of the bows, ummm gorgeous!!! They have several sizes as well, so whether you love large bows or you prefer small dainty ones like I do, these are perfect. I love the fabrics too, how adorable are the colors and patterns?

Little Stocking Co – socks and tights. They’re just really really cute.

Billy Bibs – bows, bibs, pacifier clips. Vintage. Adorable.

Little Light Feet – more socks and tights, yes. These ones come in baby sizes too! The colors. Patterns. Too much!!!

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all the sweet little details 🥰

A post shared by Little Light Feet (@littlelightfeet) on

Loved by Sophia Claire – More bows. Yup. Look at these colors!

Starry Knight Design – I’ve been drooling over these shoes for literally months and months. At $28+ they’re not cheap and I want to buy basically all of them. I’m still not sure if I actually will get any but I love looking at them, anyways! They have tons of designs and colors.

As I mentioned above, I actually haven’t bought from most of these shops, but I love their style, and several of them I’m just waiting for Kiwi to be born and if we have a girl, I will definitely be ordering at least a couple of bows for her! And I can definitely recommend Peas in a Pod, since I have bought from them and got great service and loved the products. Let me know your favorite small shops!

I’ve also been browsing TradeMe (Americans; it’s basically like Craigslist) and Facebook Marketplace. I recently bought several things so I’ll share those here too since they’re too cute, were really cheap, and it was basically thrift shopping without actually having to go anywhere.

I also got a change table, which should be dropped off today, and I can’t wait to continue setting up Kiwi’s things once that arrives! Which also reminds me to get some cloth diapers… we’re going to do like half and half, I think.

I read something the other day saying babies have 3-4 poopy diapers a day. That’s not even counting the ones that are just wet. That’s a lot. Wow.

On that happy note, until next time!

Capsule Wardrobe: Maternity

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘capsule wardrobe’, it means that instead of having dozens and dozens of items of clothing, you have a select few that all go together. I never planned to have a capsule wardrobe – I love clothes. But as my bump has grown, my clothes have shrunk, and I hate buying something I won’t wear for long, so my wardrobe is significantly smaller than it was six months ago. I still have all my clothes (although I need to sort through and get rid of some) but most of them don’t fit at the moment.

I currently have a pair of shorts, a skirt, and five tops that fit. I have two dresses and one maxi skirt that fit. And one pair of shoes that I wear 90% of the time.

I have a few other items I can sometimes wear but they’re either uncomfortable or not suitable to wear in public.

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These are the items that I currently wear on a regular basis. I’ve included the sizes, and whether that’s my usual (pre-pregnancy) size or not.

Maternity Capsule Wardrobe

1x Maternity jean shorts (The Warehouse) – usual size (10)

1x Regular bodycon skirt (Postie) – several sizes up (16)

3x Regular stretchy t-shirts (The Warehouse) – size up (M)

1x Regular stretchy t-shirt (Postie) – size up (M)

1x Maternity 3/4 sleeve t-shirt (The Warehouse) – usual size (S)

1x Maternity flowy long sleeve top (given to me) – usual size (8)

The jeans in the graphic above fit great for the first 6 months or so but now they don’t fit comfortably.

I have a few dresses and skirts that I can wear for church, but this is what I stick to on a daily basis. I also have several cardigans (as pictured) that I wear often!

As you can see a couple of the tops are starting to get small now so I may need to go up another size, or get another one or two maternity tops.

One more item, and this one has been a lifesaver, is my shoes! You can see a few different pairs of shoes in the photos above; the pink Nike ones I’ve had for two and a half years. They were so comfortable but since I wore them on a daily basis they were getting holes in them. A couple months ago Jared sent me to get new shoes, and it was perfect timing since Rebel Sport had a sale that weekend! I got these amazing Puma shoes. They are absolutely perfect for pregnancy, and here’s why.

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You’re always supposed to eat healthy and exercise, so of course while you’re pregnant you should too. It goes without saying that having comfortable shoes that fit well helps a lot!

Your feet might grow. I’m usually a size 8, could possibly squeeze into a 7 1/2 but uncomfortably. Now I’m an 8 1/2, could possibly squeeze into an 8 but uncomfortably. I hope that my feet go back to my normal size once Kiwi is born because all of my shoes (except this new pair) are too tight, and I would hate to have to get rid of them all! With the extra weight from your growing baby, you really want to take care of your feet so make sure you have at least one pair of shoes that is really comfortable.

Swelling. I was hoping to avoid this but unfortunately I now have some experience with it! Normally my feet get swollen if I’m walking or standing for most of the day, so if I’m busy in the kitchen or I go for a walk. The shoes that I have are perfect for this because the material covering the top and side of your foot is very stretchy and flexible so it doesn’t constrain my feet and make them worse when they’re swollen.

I always get nervous buying something expensive like shoes, but I love these so much! They’re so comfortable (it took a week or two to break them in, during which I was afraid I didn’t like them, but now they fit perfectly!). They’re sparkly and teal. If you need new shoes, these are truly the bomb.

What do you think of capsule wardrobes? I’ve always been too nervous to try it but now that I’m practically doing it out of necessity, I actually enjoy it! It’s definitely easier to get dressed… I probably have less laundry since I wear the same thing all the time. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m really bad at getting rid of stuff. It feels like a waste. However, now that I’ve experienced having a capsule wardrobe, I have to admit it is amazing. If I do end up switching to a capsule wardrobe with my regular clothes, I’ll have to do another blog post and let you know!

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We can’t wait to meet this little cutie!!! 

Apple Recipes for Autumn

I love warm apple flavors, but especially in autumn! Here are three I found this week that I love.

At the grocery stores near us they have this thing called ‘The Odd Bunch’. You can buy a bag of ‘the odd bunch’ produce at a discounted price because it’s unusual or funky shaped.

Well, last week I got groceries at Countdown, and since Jared needed our vehicle that day, I had my groceries delivered. How cool is that? I wanted to make some homemade apple cider (especially since I’m pregnant I feel like I should add this disclaimer: in NZ if you say cider you automatically mean hard cider. In the US it’s a name for a kind of apple juice, basically. I’m referring to the American kind). Honestly it didn’t turn out as great as I’d hoped… the powdered kind from Costco is still ten times better. I kind of regret not bringing any back when we were in the States because it’s the perfect autumn drink.

Anyways – so Countdown had ‘the odd bunch’ apples – a 2kg bag for $2. That’s a great deal! Normally I buy apples at around $3.50/kg. So since the price was great and I needed lots of apples, naturally, I bought two bags.

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Sonic knows that I hate when he’s in our room if Jared or I aren’t there too! That’s his ‘Am I in trouble?’ face.

Well I didn’t quite realise how much 2kg is. So when my groceries arrived I had two very large bags of apples. I got my apple cider started in the crockpot (apples, water, spices) and then found an applesauce recipe since Jared and I definitely can’t eat 30 apples in a week.

The applesauce was so amazing! It’s so easy to make. I honestly didn’t know that applesauce was so simple. It didn’t take long for us to finish off the batch I made, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what a good deal the apples were.

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$1/kg. They were all in great shape too, I think two apples had bruises and a couple had spots but nothing major. So on Thursday after work I told Jared that I really, really, really wanted to get more apples.

So I went to Countdown and bought some more apples – 4 more bags. Why not?! When will I find a deal like this again?! We have a chest freezer, the applesauce is delicious, and so easy to make.

For those wondering how much 8 kg is in pounds, it’s about 17. And if you count the two bags I got earlier in the week, that’s a total of 12 kg, or around 25 pounds.

Homemade Applesauce

I got the recipe from The Forked Spoon, but it’s really simple so once you’ve made it a couple times it’s easy to just throw together. Click here for the original recipe.

I made several batches as per the recipe, and then made a batch with brown sugar, extra spices and a sliced lemon instead of lemon juice, and that’s the one I got photos of. And it turned out amazing! I didn’t measure, I just added a cinnamon stick, lots of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and some cloves. At the end, before blending, I removed the lemon peels and cinnamon stick.

Essentially, take a ton of apples (I used mainly royal gala, with a bit of granny smith) and chop them up. You don’t need to peel them unless you really hate apple peels and you don’t use a blender at the end.

Add 1/2-1 cup water (I used 1 cup for a full pot of apples), a few Tablespoons lemon juice, salt, and spices. Add sugar, if you’re using it – it’s up to you! The recipe calls for white sugar, but I made some with brown sugar instead.

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Bring to a boil, then turn down and cover with a lid, and let simmer for about half an hour. I put my burner on 10, then turned it down to 4. After the half hour was up, I took the lid off and let it simmer until I was happy with the amount of liquid left in the pot. Once you’re satisfied, take off the heat and use an immersion blender to get it nice and smooth!

On Friday I started making more applesauce, and had several batches going throughout the day. But since I had soooo many apples I also looked for other recipes with apples and found two great ones!

Apple Waffles

Click here for the recipe for apple waffles. I made a batch and they were delicious, so I made another batch – doubled this time – and put a bunch of waffles in the freezer. The flavor of these waffles is just warm and tasty and cosy. I’m looking forward to being able to pop one in the toaster and have a delicious waffle anytime I want! This blog has tons of recipes including lots for the freezer, and I’m planning to try out several of them.

What I thought of next was a warm, spicy, apple cake. And… I couldn’t find one. All the recipes I found didn’t look like what I pictured in my head. I searched breads, muffins, cakes.

Apple Cake

Finally I found this recipe, which isn’t quite what I was thinking of at first but it is delicious! The original recipe is very sugary. So if  you love sugary cakes, this one’s for you! I made a batch, and while it tastes amazing, it was a bit sweet for me, and the spices a bit subtle, so I decided to be brave and try and adjust the recipe. I am not a baker. I love baking but I know nothing about the chemistry side of it. So I did some googling and found this great article from King Arthur Flour about how to reduce sugar in cake. I made this recipe again, but this time I cut the sugar in this recipe by 25%, and added some extra spices.

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I was so nervous. But it turned out great! Still not quite the warm spicy cake I first dreamed of, but it’s a good, tasty, apple cake.

Here are the adjustments that I made:

Original Recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar.
I used 1 1/4 cups white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Original Recipe calls for 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg.
I used 4 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon allspice.

For the applesauce in the recipe, I used my freshly homemade applesauce – you can’t really beat that!

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Stay tuned, because sometime before Kiwi makes his or her arrival, I’ll be doing a blog post about freezer meals! I’m currently cooking and baking to stock our new freezer so that when we’re figuring out life with a newborn baby, I won’t have to worry about cooking. All of today’s recipes are going in the freezer! So far I’ve also made banana bread, pumpkin bread, chicken curry, cinnamon swirl bread, and garlic herb bread (the last two are variations of white bread, so I’m hoping they’ll thaw and reheat well!)

And check out this naughty guy. He’s in his kennel in this photo because I let him outside and he ran off and wouldn’t come when I called. He always comes back but he’ll be gone for a good hour or two. So he gets to stay in his kennel for a bit since he knows better.

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Pregnancy Update: 30 Weeks

I just hit 30 weeks pregnant, so there’s only about ten weeks until Kiwi’s due date!

My favorite things about pregnancy: 

  • Carrying our child, of course!
  • The anticipation and preparation and thinking about who our child is and what it will be like to have our baby in our arms.
  • Feeling kicks and punches and somersaults and stretching and all the gymnastics Kiwi has been doing!

There are definitely some annoying things about pregnancy too, like morning sickness, fatigue, and the last few weeks, sore hips every morning and a sore back most days. And recently swollen feet and hands if I’m standing up all day. I wouldn’t trade it for anything though because I love being pregnant, and I am so excited about our child!

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So far in this pregnancy, Kiwi and I are both healthy and doing great, which is such a blessing. I am so excited to give birth and to meet our child when the time comes!

Last week Jared and I got a freezer, so this week I’m going to start some cooking and baking in advance to prep for Kiwi’s arrival.

One of my hobbies is online shopping – but I tend to browse and put things in my cart and then just leave it or change my mind. Now that we’re just over two months out from Kiwi’s due date, I’m starting to actually buy more of what I put in my online carts, and a few weeks ago I got some swaddles and soft flannel blankets from Kmart. I also got a ring sling from Wildbird because I really wanted one and they were having a great sale! (it might still be on now actually)

I went to Crackerjack last week and got some board books for our little one. I love Crackerjack’s selection of books – many of them have awesome illustrations and fun stories. Also I really want to buy all their crossword puzzle books and sudoku puzzle books and all that just because they have the cutest designs.

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Today I’m planning to cook chicken curry, bake pumpkin bread, and make apple cider (calm down Kiwis, American apple cider is not alcoholic). It’s autumn here so it’s all rainy and cosy! I’ll also be cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry and all that fun stuff, but I love listening to podcasts or watching videos while I do housework. It makes it more enjoyable! My favorite podcasts are Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast, and North Valley Baptist Church’s preaching podcasts. On YouTube I like watching The Labrant Fam. What do you watch or listen to while you’re doing mindless tasks like dishes?

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Jared and I went to a friend’s wedding on Saturday and it was amazing! It was a gorgeous, heartfelt wedding and so enjoyable.