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Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas at FriedOkra Manor

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Wel-
come to Fried Okra Manor, Y'all.



















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Come on in this house, it's cold out there!


Y'all come into the family room, okay? I'd say "And warm up by the fire," but we don't actually ever burn anything in the fireplace here 'cause in our old house we ended up having to paint the mantle every time we did because it turned the whole thing black as soot. Literally. Also, when we got ready to move and we took all the pictures and stuff off the walls, we discovered that the mantle wasn't the only thing that our fires had turned black. Don't think that particular fireplace was properly ventilated. You know the old saying though, Once bitten, twice shy. So, no fire.



You know, an empty fireplace looks kinda bleak, now that I stare at this picture for awhile.

How come things that you never notice in day to day life become so glaringly apparent when you take a picture of 'em?



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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSee our tree? It's the tallest one we've had so far. Eight and a half feet of splendid frazier and balsam glory. We got ourselves a new tree stand this year too, which Al says is the best purchase we've made since we got married. He didn't say, "SONUVVABUCK!" one single time this year while he was gettin' 'er up in that stand. Now that, people, is a Christmas miracle.

New skirt, too. I do love me some puffball trim.

Almost as much as I love me some ric-rac, but not quite.

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I don't really have a Christmas collection, per se. I DO, however, have a bit of a Christmas obsession ... er ... theme. I really love cranberries. Actually, red berries of any sort. And graveviney, twiggy things. I kinda build my decorations loosely around the idea of bringing the outdoors indoors.



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Let's just hope there aren't still any woodland critters in what I brought in, shall we? Al has a tremendous sense of humor, but Clark Griswald he is not.



And that is another Christmas miracle, now that I give it some reflection.

Decorating was really extra-special for me this year. This year I feel at home in our new house. It's our second Christmas here, which means we already have some great holiday memories in the bank, and some really sweet budding family traditions. I loved the feelings of familiarity and stability of going to the same little prairie nursery to get our big tree - the one with the little woodburning stove in the store we could warm our tootsies by after we finished making our selection. I loved pulling out my sweet, sparkle-lit grapevine snowman for the kitchen counter. He and his pretty red scarf will be lighting up a jolly corner of the kitchen through February of next year, just as he did last year, because snowmen are for wintertime, not just Christmas.



And last year Bean, Daddy and I all went shopping one Saturday afternoon right before Christmas. At the mall. We're a little crazy like that, yes. In a kiosk there I found the cutest little personalizable ornaments I'd ever lain eyes on. Among the bears and ballerinas and puppies and kitties I spied a little train. And the little train demanded that I take it home.


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You can't make it out that well in this tiny shot, but the engine of the train says, "The Surnames," and then each consective car says, Sissy or Buddy or Bean. Thing is, while I was standing in line with my engine and my three cars, I just felt this overwhelming sense that I needed to get a fourth car. I reasoned with myself for a few minutes that I did NOT need a fourth car, because we have THREE children, but darn it the feeling I had to HAVE that fourth car wouldn't be denied, so I picked up another and paid for it after the other cars had all been personalized.

The caboose has no name on it this year, as you can see.


But next year.

Next year it will bear the name of our beautiful, sweet, cherished NEW BABY!

Yep. You read that last line right. But let's go on back up and read it again, just for fun, shall we?

NEW. LITTLE. BABY!

Mmmmhmm! The FriedOkra family has an ittybitty pod in the oven. Which has been as much a surprise to us as it probably is to you, unless you subscribe to my blog in Bloglines, in which case, you're not a bit surprised, are you?

Oh, we can talk more about that little bit of happy news later. For now, just sit back, relax and let me serve you a long-time Christmas goodie favorite of my family. My sister calls these the lowliest of the Christmas cookies. But not because they aren't very very delicious!

Pomanders (A Rolled, No-Bake Christmas Cookie)

1 6 oz. pkg semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange extract or 2 tsp fresh grated orange zest
2 1/2 cups fine vanilla wafer crumbs
1 cup nuts, finely chopped (optional)

Melt chocolate morsels over hot water in double boiler. Blend in sugar, corn syrup and orange juice. Mix nuts and crumbs together, then combine with chocolate until well blended. Form into 1" balls and roll in red and/or green sugar or more finely chopped nuts.

Pomanders need several days of cool storage (I store them in an airtight container out in my garage) in order for their flavors to combine properly. They taste very different on day four vs. just after you've made them. Exercise patience. It will pay a huge dividend in flavor.
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Now let's get y'all bundled back up in your coats and mittens so you can go visit another lovely, festive home. Thanks sincerely for stopping by, y'all, and thanks so much to the lovely BooMama for hosting this special holiday event for all of us.

Go back to rejoin the tour here.



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79 comments:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS!! I am so excited for you!

    And lucky me for being up so early and being the first to read it here!

    And your house is beautiful by the way.

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  2. You're up quite early! I love all the beautiful decorations and would love to be sitting in that pretty kitchen of yours with a cup of hot (decaf) coffee talking to you right NOW!

    xoxo Julie

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  3. I THOUGHT I READ MENTION OF THAT SOMEWHERE!!! I wasn't sure if you had made the official announcement or not. I thought I'd missed it.

    CONGRATULATIONS!

    And your home is gorgeous.

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  4. a wreath in every window!! Way cool.

    Mine's posted. I have two versions.

    A thumbnail short version
    and
    a
    slide show long version.

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  5. Congratulations!!! I KNEW you must be expecting when I saw your name on Boomama's list, tee hee! I look forward to reading all about these precious nine months as you chronical the coming of Bean II.

    Your home is decorated beautifully, by the way!

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  6. Congratulations! What a great story and I'm so glad you bought that 4th car!

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  7. Laura/DaPFG (http://pinkfontgirl.livejournal.com)December 17, 2007 at 8:04 AM

    i totally knew what was coming when you mentioned that 4th car.... ;)

    CONGRATS!! :D

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  8. Okay so. I'm not surprised but you know why. And what is Bloglines? Do you have another blog that I don't know about?

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  9. Congratulations! Ooh, I'm rubbing my cold little hands together at the gleeful prospect of 9 months of hilarious pregnancy posts! Your home is gorgeous! If my fireplace were that pristine I wouldn't use it either!

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  10. Congrats to you! I enjoyed the tour - just lovely.

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  11. Looks very inviting, & all os lovely.

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  12. Congratulations! Love the little train with the names on it, very sweet. So is your gum drop tree, how cool is that!

    Laura

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  13. As you know, I send my HEARTiest congratulations to you and the family on this blessed and amazing announcement. Just tickled pink for you guys! (or would you rather I be tickled blue?!)

    Your home is just as lovely and warm and inviting as I imagined it would be. Wish we could come over for a cup of hot chocolate! But D would probably eat every last one of your pomanders. :D

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  14. Oh! I can't believe that you tried to sneak that little piece of news in with all that Christmas goodness.

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Oh, and loverly decorations! I'd love to visit and soak in all that Christmas goodness at the FriedOkra Manor.

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  15. Your home is beautiful! Congrats on your pregnancy.

    http://canearl.wordpress.com

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  16. OH MY GOSH, I'M SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oh! and your home is beautiful!
    So happy :)

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  17. Congratulations!!! I am thrilled for you! And your home is amazing! Thank you for the lovely tour! Merry Christmas!

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  18. Your home looks absolutely lovely! And congratulations on your wonderful news...this is a very special time in your life! Enjoy it for all that it is!

    Merry Christmas,

    Andrea

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  19. congrats -- your tree is beautiful!

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  20. How exciting! Congratulations!! That is truly the best sort of news.

    Your home is lovely, and it is so nice when a new house starts to feel like home, isn't it? I say give that fireplace a try, though...it looks awfully trustworthy!

    Thank you for sharing your home and your excitement with us!

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  21. CONGRATULATIONS! I am so excited for you - and that baby will be so well loved in your beautiful home. What a Christmas gift!

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  22. Oh my gosh - Oh my gosh - Oh my gosh!! I'm jumping up and down for you right now! I am so HAPPY for you and AL! I always thought you needed another one seeing as you're such a great mom!!!

    And let me just say --- love the Christmas decorations! Very tasteful and classy!

    Hugs to you all, my best bloggy friend!

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  23. Congratulations! What a blessing

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  24. OH-MY-GOODNESS! Here I am just reading away and admiring your lovely home, when you sneak the most exciting news in. Do you really think I could concentrate on decorations at that point? I am so excited for you and am looking forward to months of pregnancy posts followed by a baby as beautiful as Bean!

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  25. Congratulations! And your home is beautiful! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

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  26. The house looks great and so inviting! Can I come over? I'll do without the Decaf, but I'll bring some nice Hot chocolate. We could sit and watch "A Christmas Story" and let the kids play, play, play.

    Marie

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  27. Well, MEGAN! How did I miss this GOOD NEWS? I'm so excited for you! You knew you had to buy that caboose! Wahoooo!

    Loved touring your home, too! You are a wonderful decorator - everything is so pretty. And the puff ball tree skirt is really fun!

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  28. Congratulations! And I do subscribe to you in bloglines, so I did know. But then it wasn't on your blog, so I was confused. :-)Glad you posted it today!

    Your decorations are great and the train is adorable. Merry Christmas.

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  29. Congratulations on your little blessing!!! You have a lovely home.

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  30. congrats on the fourth train car. :-)

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  31. Congratulations, I am delurking just to say that and to let say I love your decorations.

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  32. Happy Baby! Everything else pales after that little announcement.
    Holley

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  33. What a fun little Christmas present for your family! Congrats!

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  34. How EXCITING!!!!!!

    Congratulations sweet lady!

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  35. Congratulations! How exciting!

    And you have a beautifully decorated home, thanks for letting me visit. Merry Christmas!

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  36. I love the outside of your home...it's beautiful with and without decorations. Thanks for the tour and Merry Christmas!

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  37. SCREEAAMMM!!! Congratulations, that's wonderful.

    (I love red berries too.)

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  38. You do such a great job of bringing the outdoors indoors! I love being in your home--it's always warm and cozy! Way to spill the beans:)

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  39. Love all the wonderful decorations...those stockings are so cute!

    Merry Christmas blessings,

    kari and kijsa

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  40. I love the PEACE stocking holders! Beautiful home.

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  41. Congratulations! That's exciting Christmas news.

    I love your little train decoration.

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  42. Congratulations to you. Next Christmas will be interesting. Lovely home. Nice job of photography.

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  43. Congratulations!
    Your home is beautiful. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I think we might be practically neighbors!
    I'm going to come back and read more when I'm done looking at all these homes!

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  44. CONGRATULATIONS!

    I can't wait for all of the details!! How are you feeling??? That is the ultimate question!

    Your home is BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the berry obsession! They are so elegant and Christmas-ie!

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  45. I think Al is gonna need to give D. the 411 on that tree stand!

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  46. Congratulations! How exciting to have a new little one on the way.

    I love your decorations, especially the mantle with PEACE spelled out. Very pretty!

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  47. I love your tree! and the wreath as well!

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  48. Loved the decorations! It's all so beautiful!!! And congrats, by the way!

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  49. Beautiful decorations - and congratulations to you! :)

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  50. First off! HUGE congrats to you! I am sooooooooooooo happy for you and your family!

    Secondly....your house is wonderfully Christmased up! Thanks for sharing.

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  51. Beautiful house-- and congrats on the baby! I am one of the bloglines people who heard the news the other day before you deleted the post!

    Mary

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  52. congratulations! what a nice surprise. i did the same thing when i bought stockings last year. i so wanted to get the fourth one and didn't. no surprises here yet.

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  53. Merry Christmas and congrats too! What a nice gift this year. Your home and tree look very festive.

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  54. Allison (aklemen@telus.net)December 18, 2007 at 1:39 AM

    Congratulations!!

    What word will you spell with the stockings next year?

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  55. Congratulations! Enjoyed my visit. Merry Christmas!

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  56. Oh, your decorations ARE beautiful, BUT your news is fantastic! I can't wait to read more about the little tiny baby!

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  57. Your house is gorgeous. And CONGRATULATIONS on the baby pod. I am so excited for you. Bean will be such a little helper. Oh the stories you will have, I cant wait

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  58. Congrats on your wonderful news.

    Thanks for the tour - I love all your berries.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours from Northern Ireland.

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  59. Congratulations! How very exciting!
    Smiles!

    Oh my I almost forgot to tell you that your house looks beautiful. All the excitement.

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  60. That is GAAAAARRRRREAT!!!! Congratulations! I love your decor, it is right up my alley, or as my five year old son says "that is right in my aisle, mommy!"!!! God bless you and your growing family!
    Sarah T

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  61. Your house is beautiful (and congratulations!).

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  62. Congrats on your wonderful Christmas present--nothing like a new baby for a great present!

    PS... Love the house!

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  63. A Baby? A Baby?

    Oh me oh my ... I'm soooo excited. :) I can't wait for more details! I see from your categories that we'll be calling the baby "The Peanut". I LOVE IT!

    Congratulations Megan!

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  64. Is this a first for Boo-Mama's Christmas House tours....a baby announcement???? Congratulations!
    Your new baby will be coming to a beautiful home filled with love by a wonderful mother! Thanks for sharing your home AND your GOOD news! Blessings to you and yourfamily!

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  65. Again, I am soooo sooo sooo excited and happy for you!

    Cheers and blessings,
    K
    ps - your house is so lovely!

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  66. Thanks for invitin' me in! I love your home!

    I will be tryin' your no-bake cookies!

    Thanks for the recipe!

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  67. Hey Megan,

    I read you often in Bloglines...I do so love your blog title. Glad Boo gave me a reason to pop over and COMMENT again :).

    1) CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR PEA POD! (S)He will be the nicest surprise EVAH :).

    2) Your cranberry obsession is understandable :). What's happier than little dark red balls of pretty? That topiary is beautiful.

    3) I have a similar garland on our stair case banister (but I forgot to post the picture...maybe I'll go back and add it, not that anyone cares, lol.

    4) And Fraziers ARE the best; ours is about a foot shorter than yours, and yours is spectacular :).

    Thanks for a lovely tour, chicadee :).

    Robin @ PENSIEVE

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  68. Congrats on the new baby! It is awesome to be a mom! Your house is fantastic too!

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  69. Merry Christmas, indeed! It was positively providential that I got to pop over today! I would have kicked myself in the patootie if I had not gotten to hear that little announcement firsthand. Awesome.

    By the way, the house looks gorgeous. I, too, love me some ric-rac, pom-pom tassles, cranberries, berries of any kind, and well, everything you said. Only yours is cuter.
    And I know just what you mean about pictures exposing the barenness. Like the walls. Normally walls look like, well, walls... but you take a picture, and you suddenly get this overwhelming urge to BUY SOME ARTWORK! Or a quilt, or SOMETHING, NOW!!! "How could I not have known that I live in this big, empty BOX?"

    You really must try the fireplace. It will be fine, and it's too cozy to miss. My grandmother never lit a fire in her fireplace because she didn't like the smell. I still poke fun at her for that. You crazy girls. ;)

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  70. I haven't seen a gumdrop tree in a long time! Congratulations on the new baby! Merry Christmas.

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  71. Congrats on the new baby! What a wonderful Christmas gift for your family.

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  72. http://freedomfiles.homeschooljournal.netDecember 19, 2007 at 10:29 PM

    Congratulations!!! What a beautiful home you have. Thanks for sharing. Christmas Blessings!

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  73. Thank you for inviting us in to see your lovely home. What beautiful decorations! Love your photo work!

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  74. Thanks for sharing your beautifl home with us. You have lovely decorations. Oh, and a big congratulations on the expected arrival of the newest addition to your family - what a blessing! Merry Christmas to you & yours!

    Jennifer

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  75. Oh, oh, oh! A baby okrapod! :-) How sweet!

    And can I just say, I love how you worked that little tidbit of news into your lovely home tour? You're a smart one, missy!

    Fizz
    Fizzledink

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  76. I love ric-rac and now I have fallen in love with pom-pom trim! What a cute tree skirt. (I still haven't found mine...)
    Congrats on that upcoming pod.
    Feel free to stop on over for a bit of herbal gingerbread tea.

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  77. Ok! Megan, I was so going to go on about the cranberries, how much I love them, how festive they are, blah, blah,blah...
    and then you throw in the news and all!!!
    WOW!! congratulations!...maybe you'll consider the nickname, Berry, for the internet? Afterall, it does go with lil' Bean and the yuletide cranberries!!
    Also, I wasn't buying that fourth-caboose-for-nothing-story! :)
    lots of love online being sent to your health and exciting news!

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  78. Thank you for sharing your beautiful decorations and congratulations on your new baby. :)

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Thoughts?