What’s in Your Purse?

When I was a very young girl, apparently I was very fond for purses.  I really don’t recall, but my mother tells stories of how I would beg my daddy for a new purse, and not being able to tell his baby girl no, he would buy it for me.  Mom would get a bit miffed because I would often have toy purses which cost more than hers.  As an adult, I am no longer a collector of cute handbags.  I don’t care if my handbag matches my shoes.  My preference is function over form and I use a purse until it falls apart.

What spurred this trip down memory lane? The other night, my own little girl came into my room with a purse she got for her birthday and eagerly wanted to show me everything that was in it.  I’m not sure if this impromptu show-and-tell was initiated by a true, deep desire for her to bond with me as mother and daughter, or woman to woman, or if it was merely a 7-year old’s tactic of stalling at bedtime, but I let her empty her purse on my bed.

Katherine's purse

As I sat and listened to her pull out her treasures one-by-one, I couldn’t help but reminisce that these were the same types of objects that I found of value at her age.

Katherine's stuff

If you look closely, you will find:

  • little keys
  • a crown charm
  • a heart-shaped pencil sharpener
  • a toy seal
  • lip gloss
  • a smiley-face eraser
  • hand lotion
  • a shoe string
  • a bouncy ball
  • a marble
  • notecards with envelopes
  • a yellow eraser
  • a hair tie
  • a hair clip
  • an owl pin
  • two plastic flower leis
  • a die

Oh, how times have changed!  Instead of being happy about Abe Lincoln’s image on a coin, I prefer it on a bill.  I don’t have a marble in my purse.  I lost all my marbles long ago.  The precious little do-dads of childhood have now been replaced by the needs of a (somewhat) mature, responsible 45-year old woman.

Mom's stuff

I thought it would be interesting to compare the contents of the Princess’s purse and my purse.  My purse contains:

  • hand lotion from a hotel
  • feminine hygiene products
  • a wallet
  • hair ties and bobby pins
  • lipstick
  • a nail file
  • a tag ripped from some article of clothing
  • a souvenir magnet from our summer vacation
  • breath mints
  • back-to-school lists (school started about 6 weeks ago)
  • miscellaneous crumpled receipts
  • an empty prescription bottle
  • spare change
  • a container of cuticle cream (I’ve been looking for that!)
  • a rosary
  • ink pens
  • bandages
  • keys
  • appointment cards
  • a used, waded up tissue (I’m not even sure who used it)

Her stuff is fun.  Mine is practical (mostly).  I suppose that’s the way its supposed to be.  If a kid comes to me with a boo-boo, it’s better to be able to offer a bandage than an eraser.  I can’t pay for groceries with plastic leis (although I have never tried).  The keys in her purse won’t work in my van.

Thank you, Princess, for the trip down memory lane.  Enjoy this season of your life while your purse contents are whimsical and carefree.  Boring wallets and appointment cards will be here before you know it.

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A Computer Warning

Recently, some important-sounding organization, governmental agency, and/or university study released this statement:


I apologize for not being able to recite the exact quotation, nor attribute it to the correct author (OK, it was me), but I seriously believe this.  With all the fiber of my being, I believe that the majority of my computer issues, frustrations, and cursing would cease if we didn’t have computers in the house.  Just like parenting would be much easier if it weren’t for these darn kids.

The latest hair-pulling situation comes courtesy of our dilapidated laptop-turned-desktop.  This poor laptop computer had been abused so much (carried around open) that the hinge went bad and now is in a permanently open position on a desk, NEVER to be moved (or you may result physically harmed) thus rendering it now a desktop computer.  This poor, lowly, beat-up computer wants nothing more than to please its people, but, alas, it is having recharging issues.  Despite being plugged in and having plenty of time with Thomas Edison Juice, it just went kaput.  RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A GILMORE GIRLS MARATHON!  Given the precious nature of its use, I suspect sabotage.  Someone doesn’t want me lounging about watching Netflix when I should could be doing dishes, laundry, mowing, etc., etc., etc.

Another problem with laptops is that they are mobile.  I went in search of another laptop so I could finish watching my Gilmore Girls episode but I couldn’t find it.  I tried looking in the usual locations — the boys’ room, the girls’ room — to no avail.  Maybe one of them hid it, which has happened before.  By hiding the computer, they think they can then have priority when they get home.  Silly, silly children.  Have you forgotten our no-screens after school rule?  Now, dear children, you are just frustrating your mother, which is NOT good.  Unless…maybe they are the saboteurs, thinking that if Mom doesn’t have access to computers they will have a homemade meal!

Well, well, little devious offspring, I have two words for you:  Kindle & cellphone.  Ha ha!  You can’t keep me from my technology addiction!  I still have ways to Facebook and stuff!  In fact, I am going to go crush some candy right now!  And as for dinner tonight….PB&J!  Again!!!!!

Computers may cause woe, but there are ways to deal with it.


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All Stacked Up! ***GIVEAWAY***

See below for the information on the giveaway contest!

pop pop pop pop pop…whoosh, whoosh…slam!

I’m sorry, but I just can’t find a way to accurately describe the thrilling sound of sport stacking.  The excitement and electricity that flows through the stackers as they up-stack cups then down-stack in specified configurations, all while racing the clock, just can’t be conveyed in mere words.

2014 Great Lakes & Hoosier State Stacking Championships

This Saturday, February 28, is the WSSA Great Lakes & Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championships held in Connersville, Indiana.  Imagine rows and rows of tables covered in stack mats and cups with over 200 competitors waiting to give their best at the various stacking events. Stackers range in agestacking Watergirls from preschoolers to adult, including a Special Stacker division, all vying for the top positions in their age categories.  Eagerness, excitement, nervousness…it’s all there!  I should know.  Not only have my kids been participants, but so have I.

When I first got a flyer home from school with a kid eagerly asking me to buy a set of stacking cups, I said, “No way!  Why do you need special cups to make cup-pyramids?”  Sounded like a waste of money and a waste of time.  But then something happened.  I actually learned about the sport of sport stacking.  A representative from Speed Stacks (the official cups of the World Sport Stacking Association) came to our school and presented an assembly which I attended.  I learned about the rules and the various individual and team events in the sport.  I watched hypnotically as kids raced through the stacks and marveled at their speed.  I cheered as the students did relays against the teachers.  Most importantly, I learned about the benefits of sport stacking.  Sure there is the obvious motor skills used, teamwork, and confidence-building, but because it uses both hands equally, it makes both sides of your brain work.  Hand-eye coordination is developed.  Many athletes, especially, basketball players, have seen the benefits of stacking as a form of training.  I also learned of the special design of Speed Stacks:  weighted and with holes to allow air-flow and prevent cups from sticking together.  

After that, the kids got their own stacking cups.  The house was Elizabethsoon filled with the clacking of plastic cups as the kids practiced everyday after school.  It wasn’t long before I took my chances and gave it a try.  The trick is to work on fundamentals.  Get the flow down, know the different stacks, learn the tricks of the trade before you work on the speed.  I was hooked, too, practicing at the kitchen table after the kids had gone to bed.  By the time the next Spring came around, sports stacking fever had swept through our school and we found ourselves hosting the first statewide Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championship in 2009.


Each year since, the tournament has grown by leaps and bounds, drawing stackers from several states as well as Canada.  Under the outstanding direction of our coach and tournament director, Lisa Hauger, and an endless cast of volunteers, the success of this tournament caught the eyes of the powers-that-be at the World Sports Stacking Association (WSSA) and changed to the WSSA Great Lakes Regional & Sports Stacking Championships in 2013.  Many state records, as well as some national and world records, have been set at this tournament.  (I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I have a state record or two, and so does my oldest daughter.  My middle daughter is a past state record holder.)   It is a fun day with great talent to watch, too, as there are usually several members of Sports Stacking Team USA.

This year’s tournament is set to be equally exciting.  Spectators are welcome to attend.  It would be a great family outing!  Here’s what you need to know:

2015 Championship

BUT…If you want to win TWO FREE TICKETS to Saturday’s competition, simply leave a reply below to this post.  One lucky commenter will be randomly chosen and receive two tickets to the WSSA Great Lakes & Hoosier Sports Stacking Championship on Saturday, February 28.  Deadline is Friday, February 27 at 5:00 P.M. EST.  Winner will be notified by email.  One entry per day.  Give it a try!!!

If you are still confused about what sports stacking is, here is a small sample.  This video was taken at the Hoosier State Sports Stacking Championship in 2012.  Seeing as how this was taken a few years ago, I am sure the kids would want to emphasize that they are now faster than the videos represent.

This video shows the Princess doing the 3-3-3 stack.  Although she was only 4 at the time, she had fun!


Here the Dancer is doing the 3-6-3, a stack of three cups on one side, then six, then three on the other side).  Yes, she is faster now and will probably be embarrassed that I shared this one.  (That’s OK.  I am Mom and I have the right to embarrass my children.)


Again, she is faster now, but this is the Curly Girlie doing the cycle several years ago.

Check out Speed Stacks, the WSSA, and Youtube for more (and better) stacking videos!

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to comment to enter the contest!

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My Name is Arf

I was born and raised in an English-speaking household.  In high school, I studied German for four years.  Thanks to Sesame Street as a child, I learned to count to ten in Spanish.  Dora the Explorer helped expand my Spanish vocabulary with a few more words when I watched when my children were younger.  I have even learned a few French words related to dance thanks to my daughters’ ballet classes.  However, there is one language that is truly puzzling to me and I would love to understand better:  canine.

Oh, how I wish I could speak the language of the dogs!  To be able to differentiate the difference between the barks and whines, growls and grunts would be wonderful.  To really know if Timmy, or anyone else, is trapped in a well…But, alas, the verbal language of the dog alludes me.  When I ask, “What are you barking at?” I just get a look from the dog as if I am an idiot.  “I JUST told you what I was barking at!  There is a BIRD on the front porch!!!”

There is, however, one word, one vocalization, which I have managed to translate:  “Arf”.  Yes, I am fairly certain that “Arf” means “Mom”.  Just as my kids holler for me, so does Mr. K.  Of course, he doesn’t say anything after “Arf”, I am supposed to figure that out by non-verbal cues.

“Arf” while standing in the kitchen means, “Mom, I’m hungry!”

“Arf” while looking at the front door means, “Mom, I need to potty!”

“Arf” when the kids are getting too rowdy means, “Mom, make them stop!  They are annoying me!”

“Arf” when standing in the hallway looking back at me means, “Mom, come on!  Let’s go to your room and take a nap.”

And just as my kids get excited and repeat, “Mom!  Mom!  Mom!!!”  So does Mr. K.  “Arf!  Arf!  Arf!!!”

Although it would be nice to know more of the Canine language, for now, I am satisfied with the little I have learned.  Who knows, maybe someday my knowledge will grow and I will understand more, maybe even speak it myself.  Until then, I will be content being lovingly known as “Arf” by my sweet little fur-baby.

My name is Arf

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Organizing Halloween Candy Revisited

Halloween candy

If you are a longtime reader of I’m Working On It, you might remember my post from last year about Organizing Halloween Candy.

Last year was a trial run so I didn’t know what to expect.  The system actually worked quite well.  I gave each kid baggies labeled with a day of the week.  He or she could fill each baggie with whatever Halloween candy he or she had.  The kids sorted their candy, carefully chose which pieces went into each bag, and didn’t complain one bit about not being able to gorge themselves at their own will.  The even had some leftover, even the good kind!

Now, here is the real surprise.  THEY FORGOT ABOUT IT.  After maybe a day or two, they simply forgot about their candy.  After it sat on the shelf for a few weeks, I simply threw it away (minus the chocolate, of course, which was consumed by yours truly).  My theory is that because it was put away and not out in plain sight, it was out of mind.

In conclusion, I feel like this method of candy control worked well for our family and I think we will do it again this year.  The kids felt some control over what they could have, yet the quantity was limited.  Give it a try at your house and let me know what you think.

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Nighttime Workout

Dear Princess,

I love our snuggle and cuddle time.  Holding you close, hugging, loving, tickling, giggling, talking…these are special times I will always cherish.  You are a beautiful, loving, intelligent girl, growing smarter every day.

sleeping princess

Your brilliance astounds me.  Who thought that you could combine sleeping with exercise?  Sleeping with you provides me with a workout.  As I struggle to push you back to your side of the bed, I can feel my muscles work.  When you were younger, it didn’t take much to reclaim my space.  However, now that you are six years old, your bigger body requires me to use more force.  And if that weren’t enough, now you provide resistance to really challenge me as you struggle to maintain your monopoly over the bed.  Whether I am dislodging your foot from my throat or removing your knee from my ribs, I am building my muscles.  With the way you make me keep my body tensed up, I should have a flat tummy and buns of steel in just a few nights.

Although this Sleepercise regimen of yours is a wonderful concept, there is room for improvement.  First, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for punching you in the face.  It wasn’t out of frustration and anger toward you, my trainer.  I was simply turning over and stretching out my arm, not expecting your face to be RIGHT THERE.  Hopefully the bruising will subside before you return to school.  Second, while combining sleep and exercise sounds like a great idea, there is one, tiny problem.  I do the exercise and you do the sleeping.  My body requires sleep, too.  Unfortunately, after a night of sharing a bed with you, I find myself grumpy and tired in the morning, and throughout the day.  Popping mini-Snickers bars in my mouth all day for the sugar rush seems counter-productive to the previous night’s workout.  However, once we can tweak the program to get past these issues, I’m sure I will be fit in no time!

In the meanwhile, in order for me to get a good night’s sleep so I can be a good, well-rested mommy the next day, I think maybe we should limit the time we share a bed.  I love you very much.  I know sleeping arrangements are a bit confusing while we are visiting Grandpa and Grandma.  I admire your ingenuity and creativity in developing this new sleep/exercise program and I thank you for trying it out on me.  But tomorrow night, I think you should sleep with your sister.

Love always,


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A New Military Strategy

Legos and Joseph

My youngest son, Mr. Dude, loves Legos, as did his older brother, and most boys at some point in their lives. My girls also enjoyed them, but not quite to the extent as the boys. In this house, it seems to be a guy thing. The boys could spend hours with a bunch of Legos. Not necessarily making a huge construction, but just doing simple machines/vehicles/buildings/robots and using their imaginations to play, then take it apart and start all over again. I love it when Mr. Dude brings me one of his creations and goes into an in-depth description of what it is and what it does. His stories are far more interesting and entertaining than his Lego architectural abilities. Legos are a wonderful, creative tool, and for that, I am thankful.


Legos have an evil side. What, you may ask? How can an innocent, little piece of plastic be evil? OK, so maybe ‘evil’ is the wrong word. Dangerous. Dangerous is a more accurate description. I’m not talking about the obscure chance that a Lego can put your eye out, but something much more serious.

Legos have the ability to transform from innocent little blocks into small, tiny, thorny objects capable of inducing piercing, sharp, shooting pain of paralyzing capabilities when stepped on with bare feet. No one knows exactly how this happens, but many have experienced this phenomenon. I, too, have fallen victim to this agony on more than one occasion. Physical descriptions of these pain-producing protrusions vary greatly as they are seldom seen.  Most occurrences happen late at night in the dark. There are some witnesses (of unreliable credence) who claim the Legos have fangs or talons, and are capable of spewing out a litany of obscenities when stepped on. I have also heard of video evidence, but it is of extremely poor quality and experts say it is most likely not a Lego but merely a puffer fish out of water. And the obscenities, of course, are from the mouths of the steppers, not that which is stepped upon.

I honestly believe that if our military can harness the awesome, crippling defense mechanism of the Lego, we could all feel safer.  Who knows?  Maybe the government is already working on it.

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Happy Fall!

fall picture
Happy first day of Autumn!

Happy apple time!

Happy pumpkin time!

Happy harvest time!

Happy sweatshirt time!

Happy pretty leaves time!

Happy football time!

Happy bonfires!

Happy I-don’t-have-to-shave-my-legs-as-often time!

Happy Fall!

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This is Gross

NOTE:   The contents of today’s blog post is kind of gross and disgusting.  If you think you may be grossed out or offended by talk of vomit, don’t continue reading.  If your curiosity is piqued, and you want to read an anecdote that many people, especially parents, can related to, please continue.  And I won’t be offended if you laugh at my expense.


At 1 A.M.  My body woke me up with an urge.  “That’s what happens when 5 babies have used me as a trampoline!” taunted my bladder.  As I roused myself out of bed, I noticed a light coming in under the door from the hallway.  Someone else was up.

As I made my way into the hallway, I noticed the kitchen light was on, although I didn’t hear any noise.  I planned to investigate, but my first stop was the bathroom because I really had to go.  To my surprise, I found Mr. Dude, my seven-year old, asleep on the bathroom floor.  After hurriedly doing my business, I woke him up to see what was wrong.

“I threw up,” he said.  Poor kid!  I asked him how he was feeling, did he think he was going to throw up again, did anything hurt, etc.  No, and no sign of fever, either.  That was good.

“Did you make it to the toilet in time?”  I asked while I scanned the floor looking for vomit.

“No.  I puked in the kitchen.  I was going to get a drink.”

Oh.  That explained the kitchen light.

I tucked Mr. Dude back in bed and found a small trash can to use as a Barf Bucket next to his bed…just in case.  Then I made my way to the kitchen, bracing myself for what I would find.

First, let me explain something.  I don’t do well with vomit.  Not at all.  I get near it and I start gagging and heaving.  I know that isn’t an uncommon reaction.  Who wants to be around barf?  But I very, very seldom vomit.  In the twenty plus years my husband has known me, I have only thrown up once, and that was when I had the flu.  Before that, I threw up once in college from a suspected case of mild food poisoning.  You would need to go back to the mid-1970’s to find the rest of my puke-history.  Despite my personal non-regurgitation tendency, I do have a very strong gag reflex, and I swear, one of these days I’m gonna blow.

My husband usually takes pity on my and cleans up and takes care of the kids in these situations, but he was asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up.  Besides, I’m a big girl.  I’m a mom.  I can do this.  That became my mantra:  I’m a mom, I can do this.

Like the Little Engine That Could, I shuffled toward the kitchen, chanting to myself, “I’m a mom…I can do this…”  I was bound and determine to successfully complete this task alone, without waking my husband, and without gagging and heaving.  “I am mature.  I can handle this.”  I continued to coach myself as I made my way to the kitchen, mentally preparing for what I would find.

And I found it.  Mr. Dude must have only taken two steps into the kitchen before it all came out.  It was all right there.  After about five minutes of just staring at the mess, coaching myself to deal with it, I knew I couldn’t delay it any longer.  It was time to take action.

Paper towels.  I needed paper towels.  My eyes searched the kitchen for the ever-wandering roll of paper towels.  Found it…on the OTHER SIDE of the mess.  After muttering a few choice words to myself, I found a piece of construction paper on the table and put it on the floor to act as and island in the middle of Lake Vomit.  I carefully crossed to the other side, reaching the paper towel and letting out a little cheer for this small victory.  This mess was going to require a LOT of paper towels, and soon the roll was empty.  Crap.  I needed to cross back over to get to the basement to get another roll.  I utilized my construction paper-stepping stone once again, and soon had a new roll of paper towel in hand.  I proceeded to put a layer of paper towels over the mess, hoping to minimize my gut reaction.  However, it didn’t work.

As soon as I bent down to start wiping up the vomit, I started to heave.  I ran to the bathroom, gasping and gagging, trying to keep it together.  Again, I thought about waking my husband, but quickly dismissed that.  I WAS GOING TO DO THIS!  I was going to conquer my Puke Reaction and clean up after my son.  This was a form of motherly love and I was going to follow through, even if it meant adding to the puke pile myself.  After another self pep talk in the bathroom mirror.  I stood upright, straightened my nighty and marched back to the task that awaited me, determined to follow through.

And I did it!  I wiped up that vomit (with a nice thick layer of paper towels, lest some actually leak through and come in contact with me) without any more drama.  I then got out the bleach cleaner and sprayed the area, killing any nasty germs that might have the audacity to think they could infect anyone else in this house.  “HA HA!”  I thought in my best inner-superhero voice.  “Take that!  And that!  DIE YOU SCUM!!!!”

After thoroughly washing my hands and putting away the paper towel and cleaner, it was time to head back to bed.  I checked on Mr. Dude, who was sleeping soundly, and gave him a kiss.  I started toward my room, but I felt like I was forgetting something.  Aha!  I headed to the bathroom put my feet in the tub and gave them a wash.  Ahhh…much better!  After what seemed like two hours (although it was only 30 minutes) I returned to my bed, proud of my accomplishment and happy to have at least one clean spot in my kitchen.

Before I end, I thought I would share a few thoughts that went through my head during this whole episode:

  • I’m glad this wasn’t very colorful.
  • Thankfully the dog didn’t follow my or he would have “helped” with the clean-up.  (Apparently vomit is a delicacy for dogs.)
  • Whew!  There’s not a lot of liquid.  That would be bad for the laminate floor.
  • Well, evidently he had carrots today!  (A big plus for my picky eater.)
  • At least it’s not on the carpet.
  • It’s a good thing tomorrow isn’t gym day because sissy’s shoes were in the “drop zone”.
  • I am very thankful Mr. Dude is feeling better.  This appears to be a once-and-done thing.
  • Boy, this would make a good, but gross blog post.


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Farewell to the Candy Season


As Easter Sunday passes, so, too does the Candy Season.  What’s that? you say.  You may be unfamiliar of the term (which I created) but I am sure you are at least vaguely aware its existence.

At some point in late August or early September, retail establishments remove the back-to-school supplies and start putting out Halloween merchandise.  Down come the pencil boxes, crayons, and folders, up go the costumes, plastic pumpkins, and or course, the candy.  The Candy Season has begun.

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As soon as you walk through the doors of the store, there it is  candy.  Strategically placed throughout the building: candy.  Down the most-walked aisles: candy.  And if you manage to maintain some self-control and bypass all of the seasonal candy, you can always find some at the cash registers.  To reward yourself for managing to refrain from buying a bag of your favorite miniature goodies, treat yourself with a chocolate bar.

Americans have a love/hate of Candy Season.  In our brains, we know that candy has lots of sugar and stuff that isn’t good for us, but it is still hard to resist.  Whether it is the sweet taste, the memories it evokes of our childhood, or just the feeling that we are getting away with something, most of us break down and succumb to the temptations of the Candy Season.  Admit it.  You know you have.  You may say that bag of peanut butter cups is for the trick-or-treaters, but it is long gone before October 31. Maybe even before you get home.   This just causes you to return to the store another day, and repeat the entire scenario.

And, thus, the cycle begins.

Once Halloween is gone, Christmas takes over.  Candy corn gives way to candy canes.  Christmas candy novelties appear, waiting to fill stockings.  Gift boxes of chocolates for the hard-to-by-for person on your shopping list.  Teacher gifts of assorted hard candies in seasonal coffee mugs.  You know what I’m talking about.  It’s all there.  Candy makes the perfect gift.  (And it can also make a not-so-perfect meal when you are busy shopping and don’t want to take the time to eat right.)

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In January, as the Christmas merchandise shrinks and gets shifted to the clearance aisles, the Valentine candy appears, starring the ever-popular heart-shaped box of chocolates.  Don’t forget the specially individually packaged goodies for the kids to pass out at school.  I must also mention my husband’s favorite:  Brach’s Sour Cherry Gels.  I love my husband.  I buy large quantities of these because they are hard to find and only come out once a year.  (Then to make things even, I buy a bag of chocolate something for me.)

Easter hops in next.  Chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and lots of treats to fill baskets and plastic eggs for Easter-egg hunts.  One of my favorite Easter traditions is filling the eggs.  I dump out all of the bags of candy on my bed and fill ’em up.  Lent is over, let the good times roll!  One piece of candy for the plastic egg, one for me.  One for the egg, one for me…

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Which brings us to now, the end of the Candy Season.  As the final Easter candy is leaving the shelves, there is no new candy in its place.  Instead, you find sunscreen, flip-flops, and pool supplies.  It’s a bittersweet end to a milk chocolate season.  Farewell, Candy Season.  We will miss you.  Yes, we may on occasion frequent the regular candy aisle, but it’s just not the same.  We will miss the colorful packaging and novel shapes.  You may be gone, but not forgotten.  You, Candy Season, will live forever in my heart (and on my thighs).

What’s your favorite candy?  Leave a comment below. 

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