Monday, January 31, 2011

things change

It's wierd how so many little things change throughout our lives. For example, as I was brushing my teeth tonight with hot water (how I like it) I realized that I used to simply LOVE brushing my teeth with cold water.

I'm sure if you think back hard enough, you'll realize that some little thing about you has changed too. Just saying...

Here's a sweet little picture to go with that random thought:

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Saturday, January 29, 2011


If we continue to send our children to Caesar for their education, 
we need to stop being surprised when they come home as Romans
 Dr. Voddie Baucham

This quote sums up exactly why I am 80% sure I want to homeschool my kids when they are in elementary school.  What do you think?

Today was a busy one.  Steve woke up at 5:40 to go snowmachining, and I tried to go back to sleep.  I slept fitfully until 7:40, when I decided to get out of bed and start my day.  I have had homework and housework piling up for the last couple of days but I have been so sick and unmotivated that I have been putting it off.  Today I knew I had to be productive.  I made a list on my phone before I even got out of bed, so I would not forget anything.  I started the first load of laundry before sitting down in my recliner to read my Bible.  I could not really concentrate on reading, so I prayed about my day and got started.  I set the dishes to soak and then got out what I needed to make bread.

Making bread is always such a relaxing activity, even thought I definitely worked up a little sheen of perspiration while kneading the dough today!  I made basic wheat bread for sandwiches and toast, but I used a recipe from my new cookbook.  It turned out delicious!  I am finally getting to be natural at making bread.  I don't have to watch the yeast to be sure it is active or get out my thermometer to measure the temperature of everything (I killed a lot of yeast in my early bread making days).  It is a mindless chore that gives me time to reflect, and I like starting out the day of work with it.  After I set it away to rise, I washed the dishes.  There were enough for two rounds, and when that is the case, I let the first round air dry on the rack while the second round soaks in the sink.

While the second round was soaking, I decided to go through my utensil drawer, something I have been meaning to do for a LONG time.  I got rid of a few things we never use, and lined the drawer with freezer paper.  Our cabinets and drawers are old and sort of ramshackle; Steve's dad installed them when Steve was just a baby and they've been well used ever since.  The particle board that serves as the bottom of the drawer is now flaking off bits of wood, which gets on the clean dishes.  So while I had them all out of the drawer, I decided to see how well freezer paper works as a lining.

I think it works pretty well for being last minute and free.  After finishing that project, I switched the loads of laundry then headed back to the kitchen to finish up the dishes.  When I next turned around, the dough had doubled, so I punched it down, turned it out and divided it into two loaf pans to rise one last time.  My house is always chilly, so I turn my oven on to warm and set the rising dough on the stove top to help the process along.  

Tidying up the living room and vacuuming came next, which is always fun now that Steve got me a new DeWalt shop vac that I can carry around with me.  
I love it because it runs on the DeWalt battery backs so I don't have to be plugged in all the time.  We don't have any carpet (except in our bedroom) so it works a lot better than a conventional vacuum would have worked for us.  I LOVE it.  Have I mentioned that I love it? :)

Once all the housework was done, I sat down to do homework.  That was around 11am, and I am just now finished with what I planned to get done today.  Whew!  I'm tired, and I think our houseguest, Leroy, is too!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dragons or Dinosaurs?

Steve and I watched a really good movie that other day that I wanted to share.  We were just browsing through Netflix instant watch on our PS3 and came across this movie in the documentary category.  I love learning about both dragons and dinosaurs, so I eagerly clicked on this one and sat in anticipation as it started to play.  I had no idea that it was a Christian documentary, that was mentioned no where in the description.

Dragons or Dinosaurs
(I guess if I would have looked at the picture close enough I would have seen the "Creation or Evolution", but I was not paying that close of attention)
If you want to do some serious thinking and be shocked by some crazy information, be sure to watch this or check out their website.  I think this movie has many good points, and the variety of art by cultures around the world really amazed me.  How could dinosaurs not have been alive when humans were, they were sculpting and drawing animals that look exactly like dinos!  Also, for those of you with kids, there is a free study guide and coloring book on their website.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Skiing and Vegetables

After having sort of a rough morning, Steve and I went skiing this afternoon and had a blast.  When we got to Kincaid Park, we saw the entire Dimond High School ski team playing games on their skate skis with no poles.  It brought back a flood of memories.  It feels like I should have skied over and joined them.  Luckily for them I didn't :)  But man, just like I mentioned in my last post, time just flies by!  It has been six years since I was on the ski team, and I can remember most of it vividly.  I loved being on both the cross-country running team and the cross-country ski team, my best memories from high school come from time spent on those teams, hands down.

We skied the mize loop, for any of you familiar with Kincaid, just as the sun was beginning to set.  It was so nice to get out and get some much needed fresh air.  I've been sick for the last couple of days, and today was the worst, so I wasn't sure if spending 30 minutes skiing at a fast pace was the best idea.  But now I know; it was a GREAT idea.
I love winter, because I get to spend so much time with Steve.  In the summer, he works like crazy and when he is home, he is usually too tired to want to do much.  During the winter months, work slows down drastically for him and we get to do everything together.
Here is a plane coming in over the trail.  Sad, someone's vacation is ending.

In other exciting news, our first ever Full Circle Farm Order came in.  As I type, Steve is preparing a salad from all the goodies and I cannot wait to eat it.  It all looks so beautiful and yummy, I took a picture to show everyone what real fruit and veggies look like.
Looks tasty doesn't it?!  If you want to sign up, don't forget to mention I referred you! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

thoughts on a snowy day...

As I went outside to get the mail, the heart-warming sound of snow crunching beneath my feet accompanied me all the way to the mail box and then back into the house.  The silently falling snow was beautiful and was already melting on my arms, shoulders and hair.  A smile was on my face as I came back in the house, but quickly vanished as I sat in my computer chair to finish two of my assignments.  I'm doomed to stay inside during the rest of daylight hours, to finish my homework and then attend my web chat class at 6:00pm.  I dearly wish that I could throw on my snowclothes and play outside, but I have too much to do, and besides, there is no one to play with.  I miss my childhood!  With my two sisters around, I always managed to coerce someone into playing with me.  This is one of the reasons I cannot wait to have my own children, so I can watch them play and enjoy their childhoods together (and secretly, I am excited to be able to join in their play).  Also, I am reminded of how important it is to cherish each day as it passes, for as time passes, we will look back on those days and smile fondly, wishing we could go back. 

I always get a little teary eyed and sad when I think of the passage of time, and how quickly it truly goes.  There are a few Simon &Garfunkel songs that describe this feeling perfectly, and make my hair stand on end when I hear them.  The first is Leaves that are Green.      
            I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song
            I'm twenty-three now, but I won't be for long
            Time hurries on,
            and the leaves that are green turn to brown
            And they wither with the wind
            and they crumble with the wind
            I threw a pebble in a brook
            and watched the ripples run away
            and they never made a sound
            and the leaves that are green turn to brown

Every time I hear that last stanza, I think of how, just like the ripples, time doesn't make a sound as it passes by and if we are not careful, we will not notice.

The second,

especially poignant when sung on their "Old Friends" tour a few years ago when both men were close to being seventy, is the song Old Friends
            Old friends, old friends
            sat on their park bench like bookends
            newspaper blowing through the grass
            falls on the round toes of the high shoes
            of the old friends

            old friends, winter companions the old men
            lost in their overcoats waiting for the sunset
            the sounds of the city sifting through trees
            settle like dust on the shoulders of the old friends
            Can you imagine us years from today
            sharing a park bench quietly
            how terrible strange to be seventy
            old friends
            memory brushes the same years
            silently sharing the same fears

 The last is a line from the little Bookends Theme
            Long ago it must be, I have a photograph,
            Preserve your memories, they are all that's left of you

This one makes me especially sad, until I remember that we have an even better life with our Father in heaven waiting for us when our life on earth comes to an end.   I pray that I remember each day to thank my God for the beautiful life he has given me on earth, as well as the perfect life that awaits me in heaven.  

Good Reading and Good Eating...

I am getting sick.  I knew it was inevetable, since everything else about the beginning of this semester is going so well, so I am not too surprised.  My eyes are achy and itchy, my nose is plugged one moment, running uncontrollably the next, and my throat is raw, though I continue to cough and make it worse.  Yay!  Today is the only day each week that I work the floor at REI (interact with customers rather than unloading the new shippment and stocking it) and of course I barely have a voice at all.  We will have to see how that goes.

In other news, I have been reading children's literature since the beginning of the semester for one of my classes, and have about 45 more titles to read.  It is so fun!  I forgot how good so much of it is, and it gives me some fiction to read/reread while still technically doing homework!  Love it!  Currently I am reading Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.

Little Women is the first actual novel written for children in the United States that became a classic piece of literature.  I am embarrassed to say that although I have seen the movie, I do not believe I have ever read the book.  This has been the case with a few books so far, including Charlotte's Web.  Who did not read Charlotte's Web as a child?!  In the case of both books it hampers my excitement to start the books, because I think I know the story, but then once I start reading I am drawn into the story and able to imagine it my own way without the movie characters getting in the way.

For any of you wanting for something to read, I highly recommend going back and reading some children's literature.  I am compiling a list of Newberry winning, Honor mentioned, and otherwise just good old children's books from all the way back to 1922.  When it is done, I will post it on this blog.  For now, I'll include a list of what I have read so far, hopefully peaking your interest to read one or two of them, or to read  them out loud to your kids.  With the exception of Little Women, all the books I have listed today would be great for read aloud to kids 4 and up.

Children's Literature Completed Thus Far:

1.  Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White

This one surprised me with how meaningful the story is and how inspiring the characters are.  If you have not read this as an adult, you must!  But bring tissues, it is a tear jerker!

2.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, by Robert C. O'Brien

Again, this is a story that I first experienced through the movie based on the book, The Secret of NIHM.  But the book is so much fun to read, in fact there were points when I literally could not put it down!

3.  Holes, by Louis Sachar

This book I actually read before I saw the movie, but I reread it anyway - it is always a good read.

4.  The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks

This one I haven't reread yet (need to find a copy - Titlewave doesn't have it), but I remember loving it when I was in elementary school.

And those are what I have read (or need to get read up on soon).  Charlotte's Web, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, and Holes, are all excellent read aloud books, so for those of you with kids, try it out!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Girdwood Getaway

This weekend has been a blast! Steve and I headed to Girdwood to stay at the Hotel Alyeska for the weekend, and it has been so relaxing. Steve has been at Avalanche School both days, while I have been lounging around doing homework and daydreaming. I arrived at the Hotel yesterday with Kelsey and the boys; we swam the afternoon away and then waited for Steve to get back from Turnagain Pass for dinner. After dinner, K and the boys headed back to Anchorage while Steve and I headed down to the health spa to enjoy the sauna and the hot tub. The sauna was AMAZING. Funny thing is, we were both so tired that we were asleep by 10! But we slept so soundly that we were actually happy to get up at 7 so Steve could hit the road by 8 headed for Turnagain. I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the Pond Cafe, and will spend the rest of the afternoon doing homework! It is starting to snow and is so peaceful here. Hope everyone else's weekend was good and included at least a few moments of peace :)
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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anchorage Relay for Life

For those of you who don't know, I work at the Anchorage REI store on Northernlights. 

I LOVE working there for so many reasons and this post is dedicated to one of those reasons.  REI is having an employee team at the American Cancer Society Relay for Life this year and I am going to be the Team Capitan.  A group of friends and I made our own team and did the Relay last year, and it was a blast.  I am so excited this year to be doing it with the REI team. 

I don't think I know a single person who has NOT been affected by cancer in some way or another.  PLEASE donate either your money or time to this cause!  You can donate at my personal page at this website

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

10 things...

10 Simple things you can do to change our food system:

1.  Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages
2.  Protect family farms;  visit your local farmer's market.  BUY LOCAL.
3.  Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides
4.  Tell school to stop selling sodas, junk food, and sports drinks
5.  Meatless Mondays - Go without meat one day a week
6.  Bring food labeling into the 21st century
7.  Eat at home instead of eating out
8.  Make a point to know where your food comes from-READ LABELS
9.  Tell Congress that food safety is important to you
10.  Demand job protection for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and other protections

I almost forgot...

I also watched a movie today that I have been meaning to watch for a long time.  I already knew about most of what the film covered, but it was a good reminder to myself about our food industry and making the choice to know what I'm eating.

For those of you who have not watched this movie or read the book, I highly recommend it.  Please watch it!  We all need to be more aware of where our food comes from and why.  This movie and the situation that led to the filming of the movie, is just another motivation for me to eat locally as much as possible and also to only choose the fruit and veggies at the store when they are in season.  This is especially hard in Alaska, where no fruits or vegetables are in season for our long winter, but there are ways to get around it!  I know that until recently, I had no idea what food was in season in the various areas of the United States whatsoever!  As I am working towards getting my certification for teaching elementary and middle school age children, I feel especially strongly about teaching children to think critically about where things (including food and material items) come from. Share ideas among friends for choosing to eat more locally and from small farmers.  I know that Full Circle Farm is one option for us Alaskans, and I need to look into getting it myself.  For those of you who have tried it, what are the pros and cons?

lazy Sunday...

Since I had to stay home from church today with dog problems, I decided to do some cooking and kitchen tool maintenance.  We use mostly cast iron for stove top (and some baking) and I know that many people I've talked to are put off by the unknown in regards to cast iron.  How do you clean it?  How do you maintain the seasoning?  I've found that it is really simple as long as you know the do's and don't of cast iron.  If you own any Pampered Chef stoneware, you can easily make the step to cast iron, as the care is very similar.

The do's:

DO use oil to help maintain the non-stick-iness of the surface.  This is a big help at clean up time.  Flour can also be used to help with food sticking to the surface.  Cast iron will become easier to cook with as far as sticking is concerned the more you use it (the more seasoning the better!).

DO rinse you cast iron with hot water, but as mentioned before do not soak it! Wipe it dry with a cloth or paper towel after you have rinsed it.

DO season your cast iron.  Especially if you have picked up a new pan or one from a flea market or thrift store.  Bare metal is much more prone to rust, and seasoning coats and protects the metal.  To season your pan, simple wipe cooking oil all over the inside and outside of the item with a lint free cloth or paper towel and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  (*do NOT use this method of seasoning for items with wood handles)

DO use your cast iron on the stove top and in the oven.

DON'T use metal utensils to cook with your cast iron.  They will strip away the seasoning and the resulting bare metal will be vulnerable to rust.  Wood is the best choice when cooking with cast iron.

DON'T use soap on your cast iron.

DON'T ever put your cast iron in the dishwasher.  You should always wash it by hand.

DON'T ever soak cast iron in water.  It will rust.  But if you do, there are ways to salvage it, so...

DON'T throw it away!  A natural and less damaging way to do so is to use cooking oil (vegetable, olive, ect.) and salt.  This is also a good method for regular maintenance of the pan.  These should be items you have around the house already, so it also saves you the hassle of getting special cleaning supplies.

My salt and oil are always right next to the stove/oven.

Drizzle some oil in the pan, then shake out some salt to cover the bottom of the pan, about a teaspoon.

scrub with a cloth or paper towel and...

Voila!  You have a gleaming seasoned pot to cook with!

I am wishing I was able to go to church rather than stay home with doggie dilemmas, so to all who got to go lucky you!  Hope everyone had a blessed Sunday.  Anything stand out for you at church today?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January blues...

When I got my Irish Eyes seed catalog in the mail, I realized why exactly I had been feeling cranky and wishing the sun shining outside was actually warm. It's January, a month that can be somewhat depressing in Alaska. That's because spring is not for another five months (lets not even talk about summer). And although there have been plenty of years where January has not bothered me one bit, this year I think it has been. Maybe it is because this is my last semester, I'm not sure. But I know that browsing through my magazine while snuggling under my hand knit afghan, spring is a whispered promise that brings a little smile to my lips.
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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I love him

I had a long day today.  I came home in a rush to get ready for my online class.  I barely paid any attention to Steve, except a quick hug and kiss when I came in the door.  I sat at the computer typing away and taking notes and setting up my microphone for my online webmeet/elluminate class, and suddenly this beautiful plate of goodness was put in front of me.  I love my husband!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Proud of my boo...

Steve and I both had very productive days.  I was so proud of Steve's that I decided to document it and post it here.  He loves to work on carpentry projects, but doing so where we currently live can be extremely frustrating for him because there really is not anywhere to work on them!  He has been meaning to build himself some shelves to help organize his desk area for quite some time.

you can see why in this "before" picture:

His desk has been pretty dang messy for a while now.  I try not to nag, but it affects my blood pressure at an alarming rate.  I cannot stand clutter, especially clutter I cannot clean up and organize!  So I'm so thankful that Steve took the time to make his shelf today!

Installing it got pretty frustrating for a while...

But once it was up and getting filled up, it was all smiles again :)

The finished product.  Great job boo!  I love it (although it could be a little more aesthetically pleasing, but it sort of has that rustic look, I guess you could say)

Movie Review

If any of you know me personally, you will know that I am obsessed with period films.  In fact, they are probably my favorites of all time ever period.  The recent version of Pride and Prejudice has probably been viewed in my household at least 20 times.  Because of this interest (obsession might be a better word...) I was extremely excited to see The Young Victoria, and am thrilled to announce that it did not disappoint.

I cannot exactly pinpoint what I most loved about it, there was so much!  It is only rated PG, which eliminated much of the usual sexual drama that can accompany period dramas, yet it was still a passionate love story.  And it was made even more endearing because of the simple fact that Victoria and Albert truly did love and value each other that much.

(spoiler alert if you do not already know your English history very well)

They were both born in 1819, and Victoria ruled from 1837 to her death in 1901 at eighty one years old.  She was only eighteen when she ascended the throne, and the early years of her rule were somewhat tumultuous.  Her correspondence with Prince Albert provided a great deal of comfort to her during these years, and they were married in 1839, despite the fact that the marriage had been pushed from the beginning by her uncle Leopold (this bothered Victoria, who did not want to be influenced or controlled by anyone).  They had nine children and were deeply in love until his untimely death at the age of 42.  The queen mourned his death the rest of her life.

For the most part, the film is surprisingly accurate.  The biggest discrepancy I noticed was near the end of the movie during the assassination plot scene.  In reality, neither of them were injured.*  Nevertheless, I loved the film, and cannot wait to watch it again!  The music was beautiful, as were the costumes and characters.  Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend were an especially striking couple on camera, one of the best yet in my opinion.

*if you want to learn more about Victoria, try:

The Official Website of the British Monarchy:

Family Picture Mania!

When we were little girls, my moms sister and her son lived with us.  It was a great way to grow up, with an extra mom and a brother/cousin.  That is until they moved out when I was 7. Sad.  Now my cousin is a grown up like me who owns and runs his own photography business here in Anchorage.  His Christmas present to the family was to take some family portraits at no cost to us.  I have been dying to see them and tonight was my lucky night, John just dropped them off.  What a special gift!

What do you think?

us girls:  Me, Kelsey, Rebekah

hammin' it up

The Skinner family (except Kelsey and I aren't really Skinners anymore...shh...don't tell)

Steven and I

Simple Women's Daybook

January 11

Outside my window.... everything has been blanketed in a thick layer of ice crystals and it is beautiful!  Steve is outside getting some projects done as well, and every so often I see him crunchy by the window in his insulated coveralls, black knit hat, and leather gloves.  

here is an example of the ice covering everything, from my walk with Beau earlier today

I am thinking...that there is still some ice cream in the fridge!  Also wishing to read the perfect fiction book, but cannot find it :(

I am thankful for... the beautiful earth God created for us to enjoy.  

From the learning rooms...and the reading begins again!  My classes are as follows:  ED230 - Introduction to Educational Technology, ED304 - Literature for Children and Young Adults, ED320A - Art in K-8 Curriculum, ED320B - Physical Education in the K-8 Curriculum, ED320C - Music in the K-8 Curriculum, ED333 The Learner and the Learning Process, INTL315 - Canada:  Nation and Identity, PSY111 - General Psychology.  Lots of reading for this semester, but I'm thrilled to be finally learning how to be a teacher :)

I am wearing...wool leggings, a Sporthill hoodie, and wool REI socks.  

I am good all the books I read as a kid were!

I am work on homework as soon as I'm done writing this blog post

I am creating...not much of anything today

I am reading... Holes, by Louis Sachar, which is required for my Children's Literature class, as well as all my other required reading.

I am hoping... for a smooth and enjoyable semester.  Also to someday learn French (silly, I know)

I am hearing... Loreena McKennitt

On my mind...I am very concerned about staying organized this semester.  Nearly all my classes are online, so I have a lot of different due dates, check in days/times, ect. and I would really like to stay on top of it.  Also getting my application in for the Masters of Teaching program at UAS, and making sure everything checks out for graduating on May 1.  

From the Kitchen... homemade Shepard's Pie

One of my favorite things... good music, a good book, and feeling the warmth of the sun when it is only 18 degrees out.

A few plans for the week... making it through my first week of class.  Ladies Bible study on Thursday.  Getting outside, whether it be through taking photos, skiing, anything to get some fresh air and exercise.

Photos of the day, from my afternoon walk on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail:

Mt. Susistna, or Sleeping Lady

Beau enjoying the bench at the Lagoon

getting my Vitamin D

Flight patterns...

Some tripod experimentation

Fog rolling in at the Lagoon

crescent moon

Monday, January 10, 2011

My story...

It seems as though everytime I read a good book, or hear a song that makes my heart ache, or look into a beautiful painting, I think longingly, "If only my life was like one of those stories..." and then sigh wistfully. Why can my life not be so full of beauty and love that withstands even the greatest hardships?
Today God reminded me gently that my life is one of those stories! I life on a beautiful earth and everywhere I look God's power and majesty is displayed in nature as well as the people around me. My family loves me despite the mistakes I have made and the hurt I have sometimes caused them. My husband is my best friend and greatly surpasses all childhood dreams; he cherishes and provides for me selflessly and our love deepens and matures with time.
As the story of my life goes on, I know that the author is the best there ever was or will be and I have faith in him to mold me according to his perfect will. I am so blessed.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath began a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
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Silent Sunday (one day late)

can you detect a theme?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It is that time again...

Well the spring semester starts in just a few days, on Monday the 11th. It will be my last semester of classes required for my bachelors degree, and then I will be graduating on May 1 with a history degree. I cannot wait! I am registered for education classes, which fulfill requirements for both my bachelors degree and the prerequisites for my masters of teaching, which I will begin coursework for this fall. I won't get much of a break between the two degrees, just a quick summer break, but still, to be done with both as of 2012 will be inspiring! I plan on getting my certificate for substitute teaching as soon as I graduate in May, which will help me gain experience in the classroom. Here's to a great last semester!
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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

please excuse the disarray...

Please excuse the state of my blog as I edit the layout. It should be better soon, promise!
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Extreme Couponing"

Have any of you seen the TLC show "Extreme Couponing"? It is crazy! I had never even heard about it until today, but I guess it has been on for at least a few months. I just saw an episode in which a women went to Kroger and purchased $1175 worth of stuff, but only paid $50 something!!!! I'm still watching and now there is a lady who digs through trash to find more coupons. Her garage is FULL of food and laundry detergent and anything you could think of. I don't understand. Usually the stuff there is coupons for I don't even like, so they never really work for me. But these people plan their LIVES around coupons. Wierd! Do any of you notice a large savings on coupons? Maybe I should be paying more attention to the coupons available...hmmm...
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Monday, January 3, 2011

oh my!

Just a quick note to tell ya'll that I found a white hair today. And that was on my head! Oh my! My mother does not even have a single white hair (or gray for that matter) and I, at 24, have already found one! Don't worry, I took pictures to share :) (And in case you can't see it, I have witnesses at work).

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