Good ending to good stuff

Weekends….I love them.  I look forward to the anticipation that starts on Wednesday.   Planning what we will eat and where we will go are some of my favorite parts of every week.  This weekend was free from extra curricular’s and so the anticipation was even higher.

I packed as much grocery shopping, organizing and working into the 3 days proceeding so we were free to go and do what ever came to mind.  Michigan is always number one on our list and the neighborhood there was filled with the neighbors and friends ready to send off another eventful season of beach and late nights around the fire.  I had to meet our nephew and his family for an early morning photography session on the local beach and that was like the cherry on top of everything.  Being there with their kids, as the sun rose on a beautiful beach that was empty for miles, well…..my adrenaline started pumping.

The day ended at our neighbors house for one pretty crazy and awesome lobster boil.  It was mentioned the night before that they were holding the second annual boil in honor of the local “Lobster Fest” at the grocery store Barneys.  So at 8:00am I texted them and basically it went something like “Hey I am getting 6 lobsters now can we boil them with all of you?” I didn’t even wait for the answer.  I stopped in, found the man dressed in the lobster costume and asked which direction I go to get myself a live lobster.  He pointed to a small table with 2 huge coolers.  The ladies wearing lobster hats grabbed 6 threw them in the bag and off I went.  Worst case scenario I knew the kids (and my husband) would have a fantastic time playing with them.

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Sister was not into getting friendly with our new friends.

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Success!

I arrived home and instantly my husband lined them up on the table.  At that moment I knew a new tradition was born.  Lobster would be had by all on Labor Day weekends from now into the future.

Memories and traditions just like lobster fest are what keep me engaged.  These opportunities to make memories with the kids are what I hope they remember most when they grow up and have their own children.  I seriously sit around and think about what they will say on Labor Day weekend 20 years from now.  Will they tell their kids that every Labor Day their Mom got up early and picked up fresh lobster to cook with the neighbors?  Will they till them their crazy Dad lined them up and took picture after picture with them all in crazy positions? “Lobster Selfies”?  I hope so.

Here is just a snip-it of the goodness that packed our weekend.

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Date night painting session. 

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Lunch with new and old friends.

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Lots of these beautiful moments.

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Breakfasts on the deck.

Happy Tuesday friends! K

End of one chapter and the beginning of another

Well it is over. Summer of 2014.  Over and done with.  I miss it already.  The 3 boys were up and out yesterday and my 3 homeschoolers were left here with me.  It is crazy to have a family of children split down the middle 3 go and 3 stay but it works for now.  So the past couple of days have been a whirl wind of getting adjusted to just about every corner of our life but we are surviving.  Life keeps ticking on and I am just happy to be here to participate.

So with all the changes and challenges I just don’t have a whole lot to say right now.  More will come but for now, the ending of our last chapter of summer goes something like this.

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I wanted to share the sweetest session I did for Sweet Petunia.  I have known the designer for a couple years now and she 110% believes all children should be represented in advertising.  She treats her customers like family!  It is always a pleasure working with her.

Sweet Petunia Fall 2014 from katie driscoll on Vimeo.

 

Last week I had the pleasure of being featured on the People Magazine website! Thank you People for believing in change!

Happy end of the week folks!  We are headed to Michigan to put an exclamation point at the end of a fantastic summer!  More to come soon! OX Katie

Ice, Water, Buckets….bring it

SO I know I am not the only one who has a social media feed filled with videos of the ALS ice bucket challenge.  One after another. Some creative and some just, ” I take your challenge”.  It started with friends and family of a very creative man, Pete Frates and it cruised across social media like a wild fire to some of the biggest names in Hollywood.  This creative challenge has raised more then 24 million dollars for ALS research.  Never, ever has ALS had such a successful fundraiser.  I would bargain to say that most of the people dumping ice water on their head didn’t even know what ALS was until this challenge.

I sit in conversations all the time where people talk about social media and what a time waister it is.  They grieve the days when you actually had to pick the phone up and call your friend to find out how their first day at the new job was.  I can agree with some of those feelings.  I do believe our society has grown a little less physically connected because of the status updates. But WOW, never in our life time has it been easier for one man to set out and challenge his friends to dump water on their head turning the challenge into a viral frenzy of fundraising. Millions of other people, my family included have now connected to his passion of finding a cure for this horrible disease.

So I say go for it!  Grab a bucket of ice and dump in on your head and if you are able make a donation to the ALS foundation.  Honestly my heart bursts every time I see a new video of someone I know.  Especially when they say not only are they dumping but they are donating too.  Imagine the changes that could happen if we could all rally around each other more often.  Lets help the ALS community find answers to a disease that right now has no answers at all.  Lets continue to celebrate with all the people who are living with ALS by letting them know that we see them, we see their struggle and we are pulling for them.  A little creativity goes along way.  It changes perceptions and the world.  Here is the perfect message from someone who is living with ALS explaining just how much Pete Frates challenge has meant to her.

Click here to see Lorri Carey.  You will not be sorry.

The Driscoll family not only donated and completed the ALS Ice bucket challenge (here and here) we have also grabbed a couple more summer memories before our vacation comes to an end.  This is the last full week home and we are already half way though.  More fun to come but here is our week so far in images.

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Someone in our family took a chunk out of the cake before we even sang “Happy Birthday” so much for any kind of perfection.  I did make this amazing cake from scratch which felt really good and tasted even better!  Happy Birthday Tom! OX

 

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I took my kids to lunch in China town today.  Something I have wanted to do for the last 2 summers.  We made it and it was great but I am not going to lie.  It was hot, Grace was under the weather and the boys complained up until they ate their first bite.  So here we are in this amazing place and i have no pictures!  Just memories.

Happy hump day! OX Katie

 

Fair time…..

These last couple weeks have been and continue to be jam packed with work, school preparations, organizing and cooking.  YES!  We are eating more meals that have actually have been prepared with a little more then add water and stir.  Anyway my parents live in Springfield which happens to be the home of the State Fair!  Yes!  I grew up going to the State Fair every year.  Last summer my 2 oldest boys experienced it with my parents for and ever since have been asking if they could go again.

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Back to we are busy……  I literally have days smashed full of schedules to get everything in before the end of Aug when everyone returns to school.  But during the preparations, the planning, the shopping and working my kids are doing a whole lot of nothing.  To them the only thing that matters right now is getting to that State Fair.  Wednesday night I decided to make it happen.  Thursday afternoon we were in the car and on our way to Grandma and Grandpas.  We had 1.5 days to make it happen and that we did.

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I walked all six kids + a nephew in that fair with the help of my parents.  It is funny to return to something that was so grand when you were a kid.  Everything looked so much smaller then it did back then.  The rides the and the animal buildings.  They are all still there.  It reminded us that farming is very much alive in our state.  Something we do not think about when we live in the city.  Something we should think about.

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My kids got to milk a cow along with the 6782 others.  Cool right?  They filed right up there and grabbed an utter like they had been doing it all their life.  Afterward you get a free carton of milk. Bonus for all milkers.

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The highlight for them is Happy Hallow.  The area of carnival rides that make me nauseous watching but they love them!   By the time we left my feet were killing me and my nerves were on over drive but the kids were happy and although the thought of taking them was completely overwhelming we did it and I am so glad we did. They love going to places my husband and I went as kids.  They ask questions like is that your school?  Did you come here every year? Is this your favorite place to eat?  Do you miss it here, Mom?

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While we were in the thick of growing our family, trips like these didn’t happen often.  In fact if we made it home for Christmas that was good.  As the kids are growing that is changing and we are venturing out.  Trips are more enjoyable and it feels good to be going home more often.  That is where I am from.  They are the reason I am who I am today.  I am grateful to have places to call home.

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OX  Katie

Times a changin’

What a whirl wind this past week has been and continues to be.  Between work, and back to school preparations there has been very little time to enjoy the last days of this amazing summer.  My kids are ready for school to start.  They need the new chapter of learning to begin whether they think so or not.  It is the eb and flow of life that actually makes our years interesting.  They don’t know that right now but they will.

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Over the past week my “”Back to School” imagery has flown all over the country and spilled into others.  I am beyond thankful for all the people who continually believe that this message and these images are worthy of being talked about.  There are so many amazing people out there fighting for equality in the media and the fact that I can be a part of their movement makes me a happy lady.  There ia strength in numbers and I am lucky to be standing with all of them.

My husband asked me last night what it feels like.  He wanted to know if I ever in my wildest dreams thought that magazines like People, Redbook and news programs like The Today show would catch on to my imagery and the answer was no.  I am a Mom first and foremost.  I worry about my kids, all of them, and the thought of any of them being excluded breaks my heart so what ever I have to do to stimulate the change needed for my daughter to feel equal to the rest of the world I will do and for me that challenge is with  the media.

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All kid of all abilities are heading back to school this week and over the next month.  They deserve to feel represented.  They deserve to open a magazine and feel included.  I want that for all of them.

Off I go with my kids on a road trip to the Illinois State fair!  It is time to grab a couple more memories for the bank before the next chapter begins!

You can check out my images on a lot of great sites included here!
Whattoexpect.com

Good Morning America

Huffington Post

Baby Center

Autism Speaks

Buzzfeed

Austrailian Womens Weekly

Babble

More to come!

OX Katie

Celebrating our boy……

My husband and I have such a hard time deciding what to do for birthdays.  I am more of a practical parent.  My question is always what does HE (our son) want to do?    I ask the obvious.  What type of cake do you want and what do you want to do on your special day.  Colin specifically wanted to hit the ticket blaster at Chuck e Cheese and eat chocolate cake.  Thats it!  Well that never sits right with my husband.  He has grandiose ideas flying around for every single one of our kids.  Something to do with re-living his own childhood.  I let him because whats the harm right?Untitled-1 copy

So instead of ol Chuckie we found ourselves at one of our favorite lunch spots and a water park.  We finished the celebration at the cottage late in the evening with neighbors singing happy birthday while he blew his candles out.  When asked what he thought of the day he said it was the best day of his life.  So our job is done.

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Colins birthday is always thought provoking for me.  Not that all the births of all our children aren’t, but Colins was unique.  It was the first baby of 5 that the epidural did not work correctly (ouch!) and he was the first of 5 children to be born with a full head of fluffy hair.  At the time I thought he just might be the last one.  I was in the best shape of my life while carrying him and he was just easy.

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When we decided to have just one more child to round our 6 pack out I knew that Colin would be an excellent big brother.  A couple months after I found out we were expecting I found out that our 6th and final child would be coming with an extra chromosome.  We were devastated but hopeful.  We knew there was a bigger picture and we began searching for it but I remember holding Colin who still took a bottle at the time and rocking him in the chair in his room.  I rocked him to sleep every night and as that baby was growing in my belly I remember saying to myself.  Enjoy this.  This is it for the typical American family.  I would cry and rock him a little longer questioning what I done.  I had 5 healthy boys, why did I push my luck?

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Well here we are 5 years away from those thoughts and I know why.  Our family needed that 6th and final baby.  We needed the exclamation point to symbolize the end of one chapter as we entered into a the new chapter of raising children.  Colin needed his sister to look after, to grow with and to push him.  He needed a partner just like everyone else.  They shared a room for quite a few years and now he has moved in with his brothers but he checks on her and she can never get more then a step away without him guiding her back.

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My fluffy haired baby has grown into a child who understands responsibility a whole lot more then I ever did at that age.  So proud of my youngest boy and it felt good to celebrate him this weekend.

PS I am loving all the response I am getting on the Back to School post.  I am really proud of the images as well as the models that came together and proved that when given the opportunity all kids look fantastic together.  If you have not seen the post check it out here.

Please do share it with your friends and family.  The more we talk about the need for a more integrated media and faster things change.

OX Katie

We are all going back to school, right?

A month ago as I was driving across state boarders with my children, I felt butterflies in my stomach as thoughts of lunch boxes, school clothing and shoes were flashing through my mind.  All the anxiety of a new school year, school supplies and to do lists were creeping in.  I then thought about the children who learn differently or have a different ability then the rest of the school children and the worry those children and their parents must be feeling as they begin to prepare for yet another year.

We all know how it feels to be standing in our local shopping mall or surfing our favorite boutique online while asking ourselves what product, sweater, coat or pair of shoes will help our child fit in just a little better this year.  This is a concern for all of us.  We all want our children to stand out in a positive way.  We want them to be recognized for their strengths.  We definitely do not want our child to be “that child”.  You are following me right?

My stomach is turning just typing this out.  It is tough to talk about even the possibility of our child or any child being “that child”.  The one who is not noticed in the hallway, the one that has no one to sit by at lunch.  The one that children are scared of. “that child”

Although there are many great stories of children with different abilities  having successful school careers there are that many more of children who fall into the category of “that child”.  As I thought about this of course my mind went directly to our advertising world.  What are we communicating to our new students and parents each year?  What are we looking at as we scroll through websites searching for the perfect first day of school outfit?

Well I ran a search in my email.  Just a “Back to School” search and because I am a professional online shopper, I knew I would pull up at least 20 “Back to School” ads that were directly emailed to me.  So I scrolled through the beautiful imagery and you know what?  I didn’t see anyone that resembled my daughter.  Not one model in close to 50 ads included one child with a disability.  Not one.

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Am I mad?  No.  Were conscious decisions made while casting the models to represent these back to school brands? YES!  We need a blonde, brown and red haired child.  We need a boy and girl.  We need a minority.  But you know what?  They need a child with a disability too.  It doesn’t matter what disability but they need to represent the largest minority in the world.  We need to see a child with Down syndrome, or a child who needs help walking or uses a wheelchair.  We need children that represent differences.  I firmly believe that the thought of using a child with a disability never even made it to the table.  Never even entered the planning conversation.  They were forgotten.

Our media and advertising defines what is important in our world.  They dictate who looks good, hair styles and the most fashionable shoes.  They are the ones who give us the heads up when skinny jeans are the way to go.  They tell our youth who matters.

So where am I going with this piece?   I did just that!  I casted my own models and I too made conscious decisions when deciding who would be a good fit for my own back to school images.   When given the opportunity children blend together perfectly.   The exciting part was reaching out to children’s clothing lines.  I am extremely thankful to RUUM, SEAM Collection, CHOOZE, The Good Ones and Tea Collection for believing in my idea.  They partnered with me and clothed these gorgeous kids to show the world how amazing all kids of all abilities look when captured together!

Go ahead and judge for yourself!

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Here is a little behind the scenes action.  This video shows you that there really isn’t anything extra needed to include children of all abilities.  They just need the opportunity.

Back to school shoot 2014 from katie driscoll on Vimeo.

So as we enter the 2014-15 school year think about all the children returning to school.  Choose brands as you are shopping that believe in the same things you do.  You have a choice and the only way advertising changes is if you show them what is important to you.  Talk about differences and encourage your child to go the extra mile.  Ask them to be the one who encourages a child who is feeling defeated, to lend a hand when a classmate is struggling and to make a friend with a peer who doesn’t have any.  Lets make this year about working together, building each other up and sharing in the celebration of learning!  Isn’t this what advertising should be about?

Encourage our children to #beuramazingself and to #choosekind

OX Katie

And the boys came back! (and a free Giveaway!)

The boys are back and the house is full just like it is supposed to be!  They traveled all over the midwest and are planning their trip away with Grandma and Grandpa already for next year.  We missed them, a whole lot.4Q3B1689 copy

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There is something about watching your kids grow and spread their wings.  It is hard for me to even explain.  They are growing so quickly and have turned into young men over night.  I love that they mind their manners and look after each other but it hurts a little knowing they don’t need me as much as they did even 6 months ago.

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I work and work on teaching them to be independent, dress themselves, make their lunch and help around the house but when they do they no longer need me.  It is a whole weird viscious circle of life that is getting harder and harder to understand.

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As they pulled away from the house a week ago all I could do was picture the day we will drop them off at college or at their new apartment in another state.  How will I handle that?  How will I be able to be strong enough to say take care of yourself without turning into a blubbering mess.  I guess just how my parents did the day the dropped me.  You just do it.  They have to fly and I have to let them go.

Thank goodness I have time, but to be honest it doesn’t seem like quite enough.  5 years from now I will be helping my oldest son prepare for his next chapter.  The chapter without Mom.  So through these next couple years I guess I will learn how to take the next step and let them go just a little bit more each year.  I will continue to encourage them to be independent.  Stand on their own two feet and find a passion they can call their own.

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On that note we are loving our new shades from Paxley!  Oh wow they are fantastic and no more squinting.  These glasses and their flexible no pinch style are awesome.  The kids won’t take them off!  I have never had a pair of children’s sunglasses the kids love like these!

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The best part is the enhanced rubber nose pads.  They stick to the nose and for Grace this makes a huge different for her.  We absolutely love them!

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The good news is that they are offering a discount for the readers here!  When you visit their site make sure to type in 5boys and you will recieve 25% off for the next month!  Go check them out!

AH3A2618 copy AH3A2624 copyThe even better news……. I have 1 pair to give away! YEP! You can be the winner of 1 free pair of Paxley sunglasses of any size!  All you have to do is leave a comment here telling me the one thing you want to do with your family before the school year starts!  It is August and I want to pack in a couple more fun outings so share with me what is on your summer bucket list that has not been crossed off yet!  Winner will be chosen on Wednesday of this week!

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Is holding up a long stick in Lake Michigan one of them?  I can’t even say these are my kids but I love this image and the laughter that came from that group as the hoisted it above their heads. Priceless

Happy Sunday Funday Friends! OX Katie

 

Back to school, baby…..

Ahhh, I have been working like crazy this week to get my studio back into gear after a little hiatus over the summer!  Cleaning, rearranging, building, painting….I am still not done but in a much better place then I was at the beginning of this week.  I have some great projects both for Changing the Face of Beauty and commercial clients coming up in the next couple weeks that I am super excited about!  So that requires a whole lot of creative thinking, shopping and creating!  All stuff I love!  So took advantage of the time so that I  can feel like I am ahead of the game instead of trailing behind!

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I currently have an over abundance of product that needs to be stored carefully.  I had boxes stacked all over my desk and I wanted to feel just a little more professional then that.  Earlier this week I was driving to Target to pick up a rack.  One of those plastic things that if you touch it the wrong way it falls over.  You know what I am talking about right?  those.

Anyway I remembered my love for galvanized pipe and did a u-turn, like right in my tracks and hit the home improvement store!  2 trips later, a little paint and wheels, I have the perfect vintage rack for all the designs that come my way.  I absolutely love it and I am already thinking of other “pipe projects” I am going to have to dive into.  Have you seen the pinterest page?  You can do anything with galvanized pipe!

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We are traveling this weekend but look out for us Tuesday as we will be in Chicago at the Open Books Bookstor again for the sweetest back to school shoot eva!  I have a fantastic group of models.  Everyone will see exactly how awesome children of all abilities are together! Because all kids are excited about returning to school right?

A huge shout out to SEAM Collection, RUUM, TEA Collection and Chooze Shoes for partnering with myself and sharing the message to #beuramazingself this 2014 school year.  It doesn’t matter if you are a Mom, Dad, Teacher, Grandparent or child of ANY ability.  We are all anxious about the first day of school.  We are out there in stores buying new tennis shoes, book bags and the first day back outfit.  Why shouldn’t every child be able to relate to ads in the sunday paper.  Every child has a wish list, things circled that they would like on their back to school list.  Shouldn’t everyone be represented?  I sure think so and that is why I plan to rock out this shoot and show the world the way our back to school ads should look!  Send me some good vibes!

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You can follow the shoot on Instagram live at 5boysand1girlmake6.  Hope to hear from you all!  I plan to be back this weekend with a great give away! Stay tuned!

Happy Thursday everyone, it just so happens to be my favorite day of the week! OX

Lets “change the face of beauty” together!

 

I am so pleased to announce that we have set a date for a little project that has been in the works for the past 4 months.  Calls and emails have taken place across the nation to discuss exactly how we can make this project amazing and I think we are on the verge of amazingness!!  We just need 15 beautiful girls to join us!

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On September 15 and 16th of this year the 15 girls that will be chosen in the next 10 days will come together with The Mighty Acorn Foundation along side Changing the Face of Beauty and represent the way advertising should look.  Times are changing folks.  The world wants to see themselves represented in print and digital media.  We are no longer ignoring people who might be considered different.

I am so excited to be photographing this project.  Every time I am part of a project like this I feel just a little closer to change.  A little closer to a world where all my kids are seen all the time.  That has always been the goal and when images are created with children loving on a moment together, well….. it is magical.

The Mighty Acorn Foundation is the perfect organization to communicate change because their mission is to restore hearts, ignite dreams and empower the futures of children across the world.  They are already on the road to doing just that with their work in supporting an orphanage in Kitale, Kenya and their most recent gift to a local girl from Chicago by giving her family a handicap accessible van so that she can travel comfortably.  This project is just one more step in empowering futures for my child and yours.

So here are the details!  The shoot will be in Palos Park, IL on September 15th and 16th and the participating child must be local or have a way to get here.  This project will specifically be working with girls ages 3-9.  To be considered you must include a picture as well as size information and age along with a detailed 2 paragraph summary of your childs story.  We hope to represent as many ethnicities, abilities as well as backgrounds as possible so please tell us why your child would be the perfect little girl to represent this message of inclusion in advertising.  You can send all that information to katie@changingthefaceofbeauty.org

So lets do it!  Lets change the perceptions of what beauty is along side designers like Matilda Jane Clothing, Persnickety Clothing Company, Livie & Luca and many others!

I can’t wait to see all the beautiful smiles coming our way!

Meanwhile my mind is spinning, twirling, flip flopping with a cartwheel or two about this project.  So much to think about and plan.   In the midst of a whole lot of brainstorming these are the things that are giving me inspiration.

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Shopping trips at craft stores.

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Crafting with my kids, something I haven’t done for a really long time.

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More to come soon!  Happy Summer Memories. OX

 

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