Sunday is the beginning of Advent. The churches I attended most of my life didn't put a lot of emphasis on the Advent season, but I'm now in a church that always celebrates Advent with the lighting of candles, etc. Since I won't be online for a week, I'm posting about Advent today. I hope you enjoy reading about the Advent Season. How do you celebrate Advent?

Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the Western tradition. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, and ends on Christmas Eve. If Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve proper beginning at sundown.

The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history. It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God. That is a process in which we now participate, and the consummation of which we anticipate. Scripture reading for Advent will reflect this emphasis on the Second Advent, including themes of accountability for faithfulness at His coming, judgment on sin, and the hope of eternal life.

The beginning of Advent is a time for the hanging of the green, decoration of the church with evergreen wreaths, boughs, or trees that help to symbolize the new and everlasting life brought through Jesus the Christ. The first Sunday morning of Advent, in which the church is decorated and the Advent wreath put in place. This service is most often primarily of music, especially choir and hand bells, and Scripture reading, along with an explanation of the various symbols as they are placed in the sanctuary.

Red and Green are more secular colors of Christmas. Although they derive from older European practices of using evergreens and holly to symbolize ongoing life and hope that Christ’s birth brings into a cold world, they are not used as liturgical colors during Advent.

Advent Wreath
The Advent wreath is an increasingly popular symbol of the beginning of the Church year in many churches as well as homes. It is a circular evergreen wreath (real or artificial) with four or five candles, four around the wreath and one in the center. Since the wreath is symbolic and a vehicle to tell the Christmas story, there are various ways to understand the symbolism. The exact meaning given to the various aspects of the wreath is not as important as the story to which it invites us to listen, and participate.

The circle of the wreath reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end. The green of the wreath speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life. Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of His son. The four outer candles represent the period of waiting during the four Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the four centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.

The Colors of Advent

Historically, the primary sanctuary color of Advent is Purple. This is the color of penitence and fasting as well as the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King. Purple is still used in Catholic churches. The purple of Advent is also the color of suffering used during Lent and Holy Week. This points to an important connection between Jesus’ birth and death. The nativity, the Incarnation, cannot be separated from the crucifixion. The purpose of Jesus’ coming into the world, of the "Word made flesh" and dwelling among us, is to reveal God and His grace to the world through Jesus’ life and teaching, but also through his suffering, death, and resurrection. To reflect this emphasis, originally Advent was a time of penitence and fasting, much as the Season of Lent and so shared the color of Lent.

The colors of the candles vary with different traditions, but there are usually three purple, corresponding to the sanctuary colors of Advent, and one pink or rose candle. One of the purple candles is lighted the first Sunday of Advent, a Scripture is read, a short devotional or reading is given, and a prayer offered. On subsequent Sundays, previous candles are re-lighted with an additional one lighted. The pink candle is usually lighted on the third Sunday of Advent. In Churches that use a Service of the Nativity, it is often lighted on the fourth Sunday of Advent, the final Sunday before Christmas.

The light of the candles itself becomes an important symbol of the season. The light reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world that comes into the darkness of our lives to bring newness, life, and hope. It also reminds us that we are called to be a light to the world as we reflect the light of God's grace to others (Isa 42:6). The progression in the lighting of the candles symbolizes the various aspects of our waiting experience. As the candles are lighted over the four week period, it also symbolizes the darkness of fear and hopelessness receding and the shadows of sin falling away as more and more light is shed into the world. The flame of each new candle reminds the worshipers that something is happening, and that more is yet to come. Finally, the light that has come into the world is plainly visible as the Christ candle is lighted at Christmas, and worshipers rejoice over the fact that the promise of long ago has been realized.

The first candle is traditionally the candle of Expectation or Hope (or in some traditions, Prophecy). This draws attention to the anticipation of the coming of a Messiah that weaves its way like a golden thread through Old Testament history. As God’s people were abused by power-hungry kings, led astray by self-centered prophets, and lulled into apathy by half-hearted religious leaders, there arose a longing among some for God to raise up a new king who could show them how to be God’s people. They yearned for a return of God’s dynamic presence in their midst.

The remaining three candles of Advent may be associated with different aspects of the Advent story in different churches, or even in different years. Usually they are organized around characters or themes as a way to unfold the story and direct attention to the celebrations and worship in the season. So, the sequence for the remaining three Sundays might be Bethlehem, Shepherds, Angels. Or Peace, Love, Joy. Or John the Baptist, the Magi, Mary. Or the Annunciation, Proclamation, Fulfillment. Whatever sequence is used, the Scripture readings, prayers, lighting of the candles, the participation of worshipers in the service, all are geared to telling the story of redemption through God’s grace in the Incarnation.

The third candle, usually for the Third Sunday of Advent, is traditionally Pink or Rose, and symbolizes Joy at the soon Advent of the Christ. Sometimes the colors of the sanctuary and vestments are also changed to Rose for this Sunday. However, as noted above, increasingly in many churches, the pink Advent candle is used on the fourth Sunday to mark the joy at the impending Nativity of Jesus.

Advent is one of the few Christian festivals that can be observed in the home as well as at church. With its association with Christmas, Advent is a natural time to involve children in activities at home that directly connect with worship at church. In the home an Advent wreath is often placed on the dining table and lighted at meals, with Scripture readings preceding the lighting of the candles, especially on Sunday. A new candle is lighted each Sunday during the four weeks, and then the same candles are lighted each meal during the week. In this context, it provides the opportunity for family devotion and prayer together, and helps teach the Faith to children, especially if they are involved in reading the daily Scriptures.

The season of Advent has come to be celebrated more in terms of expectation or anticipation. Yet, the anticipation of the Coming of the Messiah throughout the Old Testament and Judaism was not in connection with remembrance of sins. Rather, it was in the context of oppression and injustice, the longing for redemption, not from personal guilt and sin but from the systemic evil of the world expressed in evil empires and tyrants. It is in that sense that all creation groans for its redemption as we witness the evil that so dominates our world (Rom 8:18-25).

The spirit of Advent is expressed well in the parable of the bridesmaids who are anxiously awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom (Matt 25:1-13). There is profound joy at the Bridegroom’s expected coming. And yet a warning of the need for preparation echoes through the parable. But even then, the prayer of Advent is still:

Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel!
Evergreens and The Advent Wreath

Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing. There is a yearning for deliverance from the evils of the world, first expressed by Israelite slaves in Egypt as they cried out from their bitter oppression. It is the cry of those who have experienced the tyranny of injustice in a world under the curse of sin, and yet who have hope of deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!

Excerpts taken from internet-written by Dennis Bratcher Copyright © 2007

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Show and Tell - Christmas Cactus

Time for Kelli's Show and Tell, for more go to Kelli's No Place Like Home and join in!

Today I'm showing my new Christmas Cactus. It was already blooming last week, so I may do like my grandmother did and call it a Thanksgiving Cactus! My grandmother, "Mama Mitchell" always had a really big cactus blooming each year at Thanksgiving, as well as Christmas. This one has a lot of little buds and I hope I can get it to grow and bloom as pretty as Mama's, and keep it alive from year to year like she did. I always think of her when I see them. Her birthday was Christmas Day.

My second Show and Tell is my new Yellow Rose Arbor banner at the top of the page. I have a collection of Nativity Sets. The Nativity above is one of my newest, I bought it at Hobby Lobby last month. I love to create different vignettes with each Nativity to display during the Christmas season. This one is on a small metal mirror, surrounded with shiny gold roses.

I also want to give praise and thanksgiving to the Lord first for coming to be our savior, and for answered prayers. Today we went back to Mayo Clinic for a follow-up on Joe's cancer treatments. They think all is well, but he won't have an MRI until January. The radiation continues to work for eight to ten weeks after the last therapy.

I won't be here next week to participate in S&T. We will be out-of-town from Saturday to Saturday, so I won't be online after late Friday night. I won't finish my Christmas decorating until I return next week. So far I only have two Nativity vignette's done. I'll start posting the others next week. Please return to see them!

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12 Questions of Christmas Meme

For the holiday season, Hootin--anni started a meme. "The Twelve Questions of Christmas" If you'd like to participate, go to Hootin Anni's blog and copy the questions. If you'd like, you are welcomed to use Hootin' Annie's meme header graphic (above)

1. Christmas is Jesus' birthday. [fill in the blank with ONE WORD]

2. In memories, what was the best part of your Christmases past?
Every year I would go to the big department store in our town and select the doll I hoped Santa would bring me - and he did bring it! They were Effanbee dolls. We didn't have a lot of money, but somehow I always received the doll I wanted! Onc year I received a new shiny bicycle!

I also enjoyed going to my grandparents for the big dinner. My grandmother and my mother were very good cooks!

3. Was Santa ever good to you? [describe how and what]
See answer above!

4. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both?
We now open them on Christmas Day, but when I was a child we opened them on Christmas Eve, so we could dash off to my grandparents to spend the day!

5. Is there something you make each and every year? [craft or recipe]
I always make our delicious chocolate-peanut butter fudge, and Russian Tea Cake cookies. The crafts I do would be the vignettes I like to create with my Nativity collection.

6. What is your favorite five[5] Christmas songs/hymns?
Away in the Manger, What Child is This? The First Noel, The Holly and the Ivy, The Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah

7. Is there a new tradition for Christmas since your childhood days?
Yes, my children wanted to open one Christmas present on Christmas Eve, and the others on Christmas Day. We also ALWAYS have sausage pinwheels and orange danish rolls for breakfast Christmas morning. My oldest daughter has started another tradition, she makes my grandmother's jam cake every Christmas. My grandmother always made this and even mailed one to us each year. We didn't have it for years after her death, but have had it the past three years now since dd started the tradition again! My youngest daughter and I always spent all day making cookies the Sunday before each Christmas. We did that for many years, but haven't been able to since she moved to another state. Someday maybe we can continue!

8. Describe one of your Christmas trips. [whether it's across town or across country]
One of my daughters lives four hours away, and the other lives seven hours away. When we go there for Christmas, it takes a while to get there, but it is worth it!

9. Do you have a special Christmas outfit to wear for the day? No, we are usually casual.

10. Have YOU or any of your family members sat on Santa's lap? My daughter when she was one year.

11. What is/or will be on your Christmas tree this year?
I have several Christmas trees - one has small Nativity ornaments, one has angels, the big one has Victorian ornaments. Another small one has Santas, and snowmen. I also have a tea cup tea pot tree. I don't know if I will get them all up this year or not.

12. Do you/or have you decorated your yard for Christmas? Just the front door, and bench in the courtyard. At our last house I decorated the railing around the porch with garland and bows.

Thanks, Annie for doing this, it was fun!

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P.S. - Yay!! I learned how to do a link!! My grandson taught me a few things while he was here! Mary is also helping teach me things, I'll work on that tomorrow! Thanks, Taylor, and Mary!


Scotty doggies!

These little Scotty dog dresses and purse are for our granddaughter, Elisabeth. Her parents have a seven-year-old Scotty dog, so when I see anything with Scotty dogs I can't resist buying it!
Little black Scotty dog in a purse! The colors are brighter than shown, I had to lighten it so the black dog would show up. To see more Scotty dog items, check out Lallee's blog.
Here's a little plaid Christmas dress I couldn't resist either! It looks bigger here, it's only a 12-month size. All these things were on sale and/or bought at outlet prices. I hope we will get pictures of Elisabeth wearing these!

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Back in Business

For the last few days I have felt like Wylie E. Coyote! The switch to Road Runner created a problem with our computer and I've been off line for a while. Today the technician came and after two hours, we were back in business! I'll try to catch up tomorrow with replies, etc.

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Overflow with Thankfulness

Overflow with Thankfulness
Today's Scripture
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7 NIV).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
Are you overflowing with thankfulness? Is your thankfulness spilling out on to the people around you? Don’t just think your thanks, show it! Don’t let the kindness of others go unnoticed. Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted the people who are closest to us, but those are the people we should thank the most. Your family, your friends, the ones who love and support you are the ones who should feel your thankfulness the most. And notice this verse says to live in Christ and be built up in Him. When you build yourself up by studying the Word and praying in the Spirit, then the second part of the verse will just come naturally—you will be strengthened in your faith, and your heart will be filled with thankfulness. Take a step of faith today and begin to show your thankfulness to those around you. Let it overflow on to the people around you. Sow seeds of gratitude and blessing. As you do, you will reap an abundant harvest in return and live the life God has planned for you today!

A Prayer for Today
Heavenly Father, thank You for strengthening me with Your faith and love today. Help me to be a blessing to those around me and give me creative ways to let my life overflow with thankfulness. I bless You today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. We certainly did! We had all our family here - twelve people around the table including two 15-month-old babies! We enjoyed having everyone here so much. Today they left to go back to their homes. It is always a little sad for me when they leave. I don't like living away from my family, someday I hope we all live in the same area! That's my dream, that's my prayer!

Since I'm still resting and recuperating from all the excitement, I'm going to share the above Joel Osteen devotional with you. I want my life to be a blessing to others, to overflow with thankfulness, and be grateful at all times.
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I hope you are having a blessed and thankful Thanksgiving! Thanks for viewing my blog! Small turkey made from a mushroom.
Small turkey made from feathers.

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In Reality.....

I had to laugh at some of your comments about our Thanksgiving dinner! Yes, I guess I do have a little "Martha" in me, but I'm also a very practical person. I enjoy seeing the gorgeous tablescapes on the covers of Victoria magazines, but in reality we are very down to earth and casual people!

The above picture is the setting for our Thanksgiving meal! The weather is predicted to be almost 80 degrees, so we are taking advantage of that and eating on the screened in lanai (porch) overlooking the lake behind us! We did this about two years ago and it was so enjoyable to be outside in the fresh air. We set up more tables, this year we'll have two high chairs - our two 15-month old grandbabies will be here. They live in different states and don't get to see each other very often. We are so excited about them being here. We'll have twelve people in all, and a 20-pound turkey! I showed our menu a few days ago on the Giving Thanks feature. We dress very casually, usually wearing shorts in the warmer weather!

We have a tradition of going around the table with each person telling what they are thankful for this year. I always enjoy hearing what everybody says.

Something New!
(Above) No, that's not our turkey running for his life! Today we have something new at our house!! We FINALLY have high speed internet! Yipeeeee!!! I'm loving the speed, but having a little difficulty finding some of my old stuff, such as my "Favorites." I have lost so many blogs that were placed in the Favorites. Please make a comment so I can find your addy again and place you in my Favorites! Thanks!


I'm almost finished!!

Yes, that's some of the Christmas presents I've been wrapping! I know some of you will hate me, but I'm just about finished with Christmas!!! This is the first time in my whole life I've finished before Thanksgiving!! I usually don't even start until after Thanksgiving. The reason for this is because our whole family will be here for Thanksgiving with us! We wanted to give them all the wrapped gifts so we could save postage of mailing them! Above is a few of the wrapped gifts, I'm using the same green with tiny gold stars wrapping paper, and two kinds of green and gold ribbon. The babies gifts are wrapped differently though because they are larger items.

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November Victoria's

Today I'm sharing all the NOVEMBER Victoria magazines I have kept over the years. I think the photography on the covers of the Victoria magazines are just fabulous. These covers show Thanksgiving tablescapes. Which one is your favorite? I'm having a hard time deciding which is my favorite!

(Above:) November 1992
November 1994November 1995
November 1997
November 1998

November 1999
November 2000

November 2001
November 2002
I hope you enjoyed seeing these beautiful Thanksgiving tablescapes on the covers of all these Victoria magazines from the past, perhaps you will copy an idea for your Thanksgiving table!
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Saturday's Giving Thanks

On the last day of Kelli’s Giving Thanks feature I want to share a few things we are thankful for this year.

2007 has been a very, very difficult year for us with finding out in January my husband had lymphoma, and going through a series of chemo and radiation treatments through September. The Lord has been with us every step of the way and has made it a little easier for us by providing the following:

His presence with us constantly
Helping Joe keep his sense of humor
Support from our children and grandchildren
A wonderful supportive church family
Prayer warriors, both family and friends
Answered prayers
Intelligent, compassionate doctors
New research, new meds
Joe being able to recover very quickly from the side effects of the chemo and radiation.
We give Jesus all the honor and glory, thanking Him first of all for dying on the cross for each of us. Praise and gratitude to Him, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!
The above photos are of a small niche located between the dining room and great room of our house. I change the decor with each holiday. I just added silk fall floweres and foliage to the present arrangement.
Thanks, also to Kelli for hosting Giving Thanks!

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Show and Tell - Turkeys!

Time for Kelli's Show and Tell! Go to for more!
I have also been participating in Kelli's "Giving Thanks" fun all week. Check out the posts below to see more Thanksgiving decorating.

Today I'm showing the turkeys I use in decorating for Thanksgiving.

This is a new ceramic turkey, I bought it this year at Hobby Lobby. I like the cut-outs on the side of the "pumpkin body!" I'm displaying it on a small metal mirror on top of the curio cabinet.
The turkey and two little pilgrims on top of the curio cabinet.
This is a large wicker turkey filled with fall flowers to match our decor.
This wicker turkey floral arrangement is displayed in our family room.

This wicker turkey is displayed on the coffee table in our family room.
(Below) Close-up of the wicker turkey. Small pilgrims are in the floral arrangement.
Below is a turkey tea pot! It is a mini size tea pot. It is on the counter in the breakfast nook.

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Giving Thanks - Friday

Go to Kelli's for more Thanksgiving ideas.
Today I am sharing more of my cornucopias. This is another ceramic cornucopia I bought the same day I bought the white one at a thrift store. This one is brown filled with fall flowers to match our decor.

(Below) I display this one on top of the large doll curio cabinet. HORN OF PLENTY

The horn of plenty, or the "cornucopia," is a familiar Thanksgiving symbol. It is a symbol of earth's bounty, and reminds us how much of our food comes from the earth. It is said that the Indians would hollow out large gords to carry their fruits and vegetables.
I bought the Indian Maiden (below) last year at Hobby Lobby.I'm showing this white cornucopia again because this year it is displayed in the foyer on the hall tree. To see it as a centerpiece on the dining room table, go to Tuesday's Giving Thanks.

This white ceramic cornucopia was purchased from a thrift store. It is filled with silk magnolias.


Giving Thanks - Thursday

I've been having difficulty finding time to participate in Kelli's Thanksgiving feature this week, and I do want to share a few things. Today I'm sharing our family's Traditional Thanksgiving and/or Christmas menu and recipes that are always on our table each year, no matter which house we are having the family gathering. The little salt and pepper shakers above are on our Thanksgiving table yearly.

After the recipes I'm sharing something special my grandson Tanner read at our Thanksgiving dinner a few years ago, "The Legend of the Kernels of Corn."
Stuffed Celery:
3 oz. softened cream cheese
2 tsp. catsup
2 drops Worchestershire sauce
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Mix all together, let set a few hours (I leave it overnight)
Stuff into 3-inch celery pieces.

Cranberry Relish
1 bag fresh cranberries, frozen
1 orange
1 red jello (strawberry, cherry, cranberry, etc.)
1 small can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Zest peeling from orange (reserve),
then peel the orange, remove seeds, chop
Grind the frozen cranberries in a food processor
Add the chopped orange and grind.
Dissolve Jello in 1 cup boiling water.
Add 1/2 cup sugar
Add crushed pineapple with juice.
Add the cranberries and orange
Add chopped pecans

Mix well, store in refrigerator. You can make this
several days in advance. I serve it in a relish dish, but

it can be made into a molded salad, just use two
packages of Jello.

Cornbread Dressing ( this is like Stuffing,
but we don’t stuff the bird with it)
8 cups crumbled biscuits
8 cups crumbled cornbread
8 to 10 cups chicken/turkey broth
1 stick butter melted
2 cups finely chopped celery
2 cups finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon (or more) salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
(a little sage, if desired, I can’t use it as it upsets my stomach!)

The night before I bake biscuits (I use Bisquick, double the biscuit recipe.)
Also bake the cornbread (I use 2 Martha White Cotton Pickin’ Cornbread mix,
these are small packages. Make sure the cornbread doesn’t have sugar in it.
(Do not use the Jiffy Corn Muffin mix!)

Next day (Thanksgiving/Christmas) Mix the above ingredients all together
with the broth, etc. Add more broth as needed to make a very moist mixture.
Pour into a 9x13 greased pan. Bake at 350 degrees
about 30 - 35 minutes until brown on top.

Our Holiday Menu
Turkey and Dressing
Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Peas Or Baby Limas (sometimes both!)
Sweet Potato Casserole with marshmallows
Cranberry Relish
Stuffed Celery
Green and Black Olives
Crescent Rolls and Butter
Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Pie!
Sometimes we have Green Bean Casserole

Below is a little reading I found in Dear Abby a few year's ago. I had my grandson, Tanner, read it before our Thanksgiving meal. You place five kernels of corn at each person's place at the table. (I couldn't find it this morning, so I googled and found the site at the bottom, it has more ideas you might like as well.)

"It was very cold for the Pilgrims that first winter. Food was in short supply. Some days, they had only five kernels of corn. When spring came, the Pilgrims planted the remaining corn. The sun and rain helped the seeds to grow and much food was harvested in the fall. Every Thanksgiving thereafter, the Pilgrims placed five kernels of corn beside each plate to remind them of their blessings:

The first kernel reminded them of the autumn beauty.

The second kernel reminded them of their love for each other.

The third kernel reminds of their family's love.

The fourth kernel reminded them of their friends ... especially their Indian brothers.

The fifth kernel reminded them of their freedom.

Go here for more ideas for children:

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Giving Thanks

I have been wanting to join in the fun with Kelli's Thanksgiving feature this week. Go to to see lots more.

Today I'm sharing a Thanksgiving centerpiece. This is a white ceramic cornucopia I bought at a thrift shop about 15 years ago. I filled it with white magnolia's. The large mirror the cornucopia is sitting on is too heavy to hang, so I use it to display most of my dining room centerpieces on! Two little Pilgrim children figurines are on either side.

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How about them apples?!

Over the weekend I succumbed to my desires and bought candy apples! Ohhh, they were so good. I bought two and hubby and I shared both. My favorite was caramel drizzled in thick chocolate! I forgot to take a picture of it before we ate it! This one is caramel with pecans. Both were yummy!
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