The One About The Broken Bowls & The Price You Have To Pay

I broke 3 dessert bowls last week. It’s a personal best.

One bowl I placed in the dishwasher wrong and it got chipped.

Mea culpa.

The second bowl I dropped while taking it down from the cabinet shelf.  The bowl slipped out of my hand, falling to the floor where, with a sense of drama that reminded me of a 3 y.o. having a meltdown over the way his PB&J sammie was cut, the bowl circled around the floor eventually crashing into the bottom of a cabinet where it broke.

The third bowl, like the other ones, was bone china, a notoriously sturdy substance when not around me.  It was part of the now discontinued Lenox Poppies on Blue that was our china when we got hitched.  I liked fussier things back then.

This third bowl cracked, then melted/broke, while in the microwave.  I don’t know if there was a slight crack in it before I put it in there, but while it was twirling around in the microwave I heard a loud pop.

When I went to take the damaged bowl out of the microwave, unaware that the bowl was damaged, I grabbed it with my right hand and the ceramic was so hot that it burned the fingerprint off my index finger.

Only sort of kidding.

*ouch*

So here’s where I find myself today: I’m a wise, slightly klutzy, woman who realizes, and accepts, that I will probably live the rest of my life a few dessert bowls short of 8 formal dinner place settings, as one does when one is too cheap to replace the broken bowls.

$19.99 a piece? I don’t think so.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

123 thoughts on “The One About The Broken Bowls & The Price You Have To Pay”

  1. Well, given that we never have more than a few people over at any given time, I think our dish situation is good to go for some time. Was amazed that one can still get that stuff, but as you say not for twenty bucks a bowl. Hey, maybe they’ll buy ours for eighteen a bowl . . . just saying . . . .

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    1. Zen-Den, even if we have more than five people over for dinner when we use our Poppies on Blue dishes, I don’t care that some of the dessert bowls won’t match. I LIKE ECLECTIC, so this plays right into my hand.

      [Hadn’t thought about selling what we have. Interesting idea.]

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  2. All those things have happened to me. I broke my great grandmother’s teapot because I put it in the dishwasher and have had many other mishaps. I do like using the good stuff every day because it makes me feel good to have something nice out. And I moved on to a different teapot that I already had!

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    1. Book Club Mom, I’m sorry that you broke your great grandmother’s teapot, but you enjoyed it while it was here so life goes on, eh? I agree about using the good stuff every day. I figure we got it and it was meant to be used, so why not do that!

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            1. LA, bone plates are these 5″ long crescent-shaped plates that used to be part of formal dining. They sat on the right [I think] above your silverware and were there for you to politely dispose of your bones when you’d finished eating your fish or poultry.

              I have a set of bone plates that I inherited and every so often Z-D starts in about how we need to have a formal dinner in which we use bone plates. It has yet to happen.

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  3. I’m a glass breaker from way back. Always from my absolutely favorite set…. I only have 1 left. And it has a giant crack in it. Sigh.
    That being said I’d be glad to break our wedding china. It’s way too formal for our laid back lifestyle now.

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    1. rivergirl1211, I’ve broken quite a few glasses over the years, too. It’s inevitable I suppose. I know what you mean about some china patterns being too formal now. I like what we have, but would never go for flower-y stuff again. My style has changed– more simple, more casual now.

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  4. I never registered for anything fancier than Corelle, which we had a ton of (the Strawberries ‘n Cream pattern, I think it was called). Eventually, it all got broken, and I moved on to something more basic that I could easily supplement from almost anyplace. Living with two boys (three, if you count the husband) introduces one to Practicality awfully quickly.
    And, like you, I’m not real Fussy.

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    1. nance, I’m sure you’re right about boys and the need for practical plates and bowls. I like Poppies on Blue, but it’s a bit too twee for who we are now. However, at the time when we got it, I lurved it– oh yes I did. And I still like the colors in it, but not enough to spend $20 a bowl to replace what is gone.

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    1. marian, thank you for your concern. It hurt like HECK when I picked up that melted bowl. I still don’t entirely have all of my fingerprint back, it’s smooth where there should be a ridge. Honestly, if it’s not one weird thing for me, it’s another…

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  5. My (then teenaged) daughter broke almost my entire set of every day dishes while unloading the dishwasher. They were heavy ceramic and she piled them all on top of each other to transport to the cupboard and dropped the whole she-bang onto the floor. Hello, emergency run to Corelle outlet!

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      1. For real! When I went to work for a mortgage company, they tried to get prints and couldn’t. Then when I started work with the police department, they couldn’t even get a print using the digital machine. My germophobe hand scrubbing is to blame…along with cleaning with straight bleach and not wearing gloves. 🙂

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          1. LOL! The technician told me that it can be common in doctors and nurses. I blame my grandmother. Growing up, she was constantly asking me, “Did you wash your hands?” 🙂 If I were a different kind of person, I suppose there could be benefits to not having prints, right Nancy? 🙂

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            1. Jill, you made me laugh out loud with that one. As I was reading your comment I was thinking about how having no fingerprints would be a benefit IF your were a thief or a hacker. How funny!

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                1. Fascinating conversation here. My fingerprints are ver faint because of,,, aging. Makes sense, thin skin. Amusing at the immigration desk when travelling. I’d like to join a Robin Hiod sort of gang, or be Batcrone.

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  6. Take a picture of it so if you sell it (or break the rest) you can keep the memory. I’m surprised you could type this tale what with your fingerprint burned off, or perhaps that finger got a rest while another picked up the typing slack.

    For the love of all things good, SIT DOWN AND STAY AWAY FROM BREAKABLES! 🙂

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    1. Tara, I’m typing with my right index finger pointing up whilst the other fingers do the work– although I can reach for the “Y” without any trouble. I wonder if these breakages mean I should stop loading and unloading the dishwasher, allowing someone else in this house to do the honors? 😉

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  7. Around here, it’s BFF’s job to break the good china, destroy any sentimental and fragile Christmas ornaments, rip my grandmother’s antique scarves, etc.

    My job is to grin and bear it. 😀

    Our Noritake China came with dessert plates, not bowls.
    Our every day Mikasa China came with soup bowls, not dessert bowls.

    As a result our dessert bowls are mostly plastic. It’s safer. 🙄

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    1. nancy, you are a strong woman to be able to suffer through BFF’s [shall we say?] mistakes. My grandmother’s china had dessert plates, but this Lenox pattern has bowls. Perhaps Noritake wants you to eat cake/pie, Lenox wants you to eat ice cream/pudding– and Mikasa wants you to shun sweets entirely!

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  8. I lost custody of my really good china during a divorce (they were a gift from his parents). My intent was to replace as I really liked the pattern. I couldn’t afford it immediately so I bought inexpensive glass plates. I never did replace the fine china. I no longer feel the need for that stuff. You can make a beautiful table with less expensive things and not worry about someone (like me) breaking anything.

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    1. Kate, I agree about how you can set a pretty table with just about any combo of plates, flatware & glasses if you put your mind to it. I’d never go out and buy these Lenox plates again, although I like them [and use them obviously]. I feel like a more casual, eclectic look is who we are now– and having a few less bowls contributes to it.

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        1. Kate, that is funny and so believable. While out shopping I sometimes forget that I no longer have a certain pair of shoes– and find myself thinking about how lovely something on the rack would look with the shoes I no longer have. 😳

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  9. No more dessert for you LOL! The older I get, the more clumsy – what’s up with that? I’ve broken, dropped two of my favorite coffee mugs in the past week! (I have a mug thing) Enjoyed reading your post – good to know I’m not alone 🙂

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    1. Sue, you are most definitely not alone in your ability to break things! At one time breaking these items would’ve upset me, but now as an older clumsier person, I can just shrug it off. Plus… they’re only dishes, when you get down to it. 🤷‍♀️

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  10. That sounds a lot like me at work. I have pretty expert knowledge on what items we sell that are breakable, and which ones could survive a tornado intact. And also why the majority of my dinnerware at home is of the hard plastic kind. It may not look pretty, but it klutzproof…

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    1. evilsquirrel13, I can imagine that you know exactly what breaks and what doesn’t at work. You’d have to. Funny that you’d mention plastic dinnerware because we have a few outdoor plates that could find themselves inside if my breakage streak continues.

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      1. I bought my set of plastic plates and bowls when I moved in here nine years ago… and they’re still very serviceable. Unfortunately, the quality of the plasticware I’ve seen us sell the past few years seems a bit more shoddy…

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        1. Interesting. Our plastic outdoor plates are a hodge-podge of patterns and styles, purchased by me when I see them on sale. I don’t know how sturdy they’d be for every day use.

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    1. Janet, I looked on their website and discovered the price for replacement bowls, SO your Walmart idea sounds more sensible to me. I like having an eclectic mix of things– glass bowls would fit right in. Thanks for the idea.

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  11. I think we’ve broken one china plate in 54 years, despite moving to England and back, as well as twice in the US. For some reason, my grandson and I looked on line and nearly fainted at the price of replacement pieces. There is no way I’d replace any of it at those prices. I like your idea of glass bowls from Walmart.

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    1. Anne, you are amazing. Only one plate?! I stand in awe of you and promise to never come anywhere near your dishes, considering my propensity to break things. I like the glass bowls idea, too. They’d work just fine for us, not being the fanciest of folks anymore.

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      1. We have broken other things, the last one being the top of my grandmother’s sugar bowl. I’m sorry it happened, but there is nothing we can do about it. I realize now that the things I cherish are not important to our grandsons, who will ultimately inherit our possessions. They will want to keep things they used with us in our home. That helps put things in perspective for me.

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        1. I agree with you. Once you realize the next generations don’t treasure what you do, then using what you treasure is easier. And accidents happen to stuff, so why beat yourself up over it. Maybe your grandmother’s sugar bowl will make a nice flower vase now!

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  12. Oh no! I feel your pain, Ally. Unfortunately, I have broken other people’s china pieces. I broke some of my mom’s plates and bowls. Now I use the plastic microwave safe plates you can get at Target on sale for like 59 cents.

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    1. L. Marie, I certainly didn’t intend to break three bowls in one week, but I did. We continue using the breakable stuff, but those plastic ones are nice, too. As long as the food is good and the table setting is passable, I’m happy.

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  13. First I have to say that at this point you have 52 comments on this post! Some of them are yours, true, but geeze, 52? I’ve never had more than 10 comments I think. It almost makes me not want to post one because what could I possibly say at this point that would mean anything; however, I want to be a cool kid so…Funny thing, just the other day I noticed some broken glass in the empty dishwasher and couldn’t figure out where it came from. Our daughter played detective and found that it was from a wine glass that had been put back into the cupboard! I guess there was enough of the rim left on the glass so it didn’t tip when it was put away and therefore wasn’t noticed but we haven’t used the wine glasses in months so it was really odd that the glass in the washing machine wasn’t noticed either. I never got china either time I was married. Both weddings were rather low key and I never even registered anywhere. We were invited to a wedding and the registry for that is unbelievable. Maybe we can afford a glass 😦

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    1. Janet, I’m as amazed as you are about how this topic has nurtured conversation. Apparently broken dishes + clumsiness are a winner topic, so I suggest that you go break something, write about it, and reap a harvest of comments!

      I wonder how your dishwasher handled that piece of glass all these months? We had one earring get dropped into our dishwasher and the darned machine stopped working. You have an impressive machine there.

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  14. When I first married, my mother-in-law gave us her good china. Not my taste, but oh well. We used it on the big holidays. Then we moved into much smaller quarters with no room to store excess belongings. I still don’’t remember what we did with the china, but I gotta say I haven’t missed it one iota. If my everyday stuff (which tends to change every few years) isn’t good enough, it’s another oh well

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    1. Carol, I’m not exactly depressed about breaking these bowls. I know that the pattern is discontinued so I suppose in a way I should be sad… but I’m more irritated with myself than unhappy. I like stuff, but there is always more stuff out there to replace the stuff that is here. And as Zen-Den pointed out, we could sell what we have left of these fancy dishes and buy something more in line with our style now.

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    1. You’re the first to suggest this. I’m not against the idea, actually. But I’m also kind of over Poppies on Blue, so am torn about what to do. Right now doing nothing seems good. 😀

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    2. I was thinking the same thing as I read this. Just buy it. We are at least three silverware sets short of a “proper” amount (i.e not having to run the dishwasher too much, having company over, etc.). But my wife is reluctant to buy the sets b/c of cost. I just want to get it over with already! – Marty

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      1. Marty, I’m on the fence about replacing these bowls. If I still thought that Poppies on Blue was gorgeous, I’d do it. But the pattern looks twee to me now, so I don’t want to buy more of it. I understand your wife’s hesitancy to buy more silverware. What to do, what to do… Fortunately I feel no rush to do anything about this so I won’t.

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    1. Elen, I wonder if it’s a message from the Universe also: Eat Less Pudding! I probably won’t replace the dessert bowls, unless I can get a deal on them. The finger is healing, thanks for asking.

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  15. I inherited a whole set of fussy (Spode “Fairy Dell”… you can probably imagine the pattern) dishes from my grandmother when I was much younger (single, still living at home)… never used them. They sat in my parent’s closet for many years, still in the box that they were shipped to me in. Then, after my parents died, we needed to clear out the house for sale. I had no interest in them and neither did my brothers so I figured I’d try to sell them on eBay. Unfortunately/fortunately, my parents almost empty house was broken into and they stole the dishes and a few other “useless” items. Best thing that ever happened. I could have probably made some money… but what a hassle. My dishes are simple and white, and a few are chipped. Oh well.

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    1. Janis, I feel your pain. Spode is one of those companies that makes me cringe when I think about it. Much too fusty for me. While burglary is not, as a rule, a good thing, there might have been a little bit of good in having those dishes disappear from your life! I like simple white plates now, too. But we have these Poppies on Blue [that I just had to have when we were first married] and unless I break them all, they’re here to stay for the moment.

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    1. Donna, thank you. The finger is healing so I suppose I’ll live! I agree, Z-D might be onto something– sell these old things [before I break them all], buy some new things that are more us now. 🤔

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  16. That IS a pity. Are you okay? Can you still have dessert? I have Fiesta, and one of the perks is that if one breaks, you just buy any ol color, but they are kinda pricey, not that I mind, cause once a year I splurge and yay me. Otherwise, the only thing I replace is teaspoons. I’m convinced people throw them away. Seriously.

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    1. joey, I’m fine, only a little bit in pain. Who needs perfect fingerprints anyway? I like Fiesta. It’s so cheerful and like you said all the colors go together so you can easily overcome any breakage.

      We lose most of our spoons down the disposal, by accident of course. Once those blades get going on a teaspoon it’s a ragged mess, so out it goes. This scenario does not make me happy & there’ve been words said about paying attention to stuff in sink before starting the disposal. Words.

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  17. This is one of those posts where the comments are as amusing as the story itself. Wait … all your posts seem to be like that!!

    Have you ever noticed that these types of things always seem to happen in spurts? Everything is going well and then suddenly you are breaking 3 bowls in a week. While I mourn the loss of each dish that breaks, it won’t stop me from using my ‘good stuff’ otherwise what’s the point of having it? In fact my dining room table is set right now for Thanksgiving dinner (this weekend in Canada).

    btw – I just noticed your Privacy Statement in the sidebar. OMG – it’s only 6:40am and already I’ve had my first real belly laugh of the day!! 🤣🤣🤣 You are SOOOO funny!

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    1. Joanne, I’ve enjoyed the stories in the comments, too. I had no idea that owning up to breaking dishes would generate this many comments!

      I’m like you. We use our good stuff [even though I’m not longer in love with it] because we have it and if some of it breaks [or fades in the dishwasher] so be it. Happy Thanksgiving, btw!

      Yes, my Privacy Policy is on the advice of in-house counsel who said that it didn’t have to be formally worded to be legal. I think I nailed the essence of what needed to be said in as few words as possible. 😁 Thanks for noticing.

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  18. So now you’re good to go with sending out untraceable anonymous written reviews, critiques and notes with smoothed finger tips. HAHA (thought I’d better add the correct attitude these days)
    I have only one coffee cup left that matches my ancient – first thing I bought when I had a job and a little money… Dansk Brown Mist china. After looking at a couple of replacement site, I decided there were lots of other coffee mugs and cups out there that were OK.
    I recently handed over my white bone china from England that had hand painted gold embellishments done by my Grandmother – that white wedding china painted by the bride was a thing back in close to Victorian age. It was lovely – huge set we protected for years (brother got half of it – his wife hated it and it sat in a box in basement for years…sold now I think). Luckily my daughter loved it and she does give large dinner parties.
    I also inherited a good bit of Fiesta everyday – mom loved lots of colors and if you broke one, it could easily be replaced. I do have a small daily use set of modern Fiesta – with safe glazes…some of the old ones aren’t. (Brother hated the mixed colors on the table – thought it made us look poor…he’s something of a snob sadly)
    At this point, plates aren’t that important – they aren’t who I am. Anyone who wants matched elegance, probably isn’t having dinner with us HAHA
    OH, if you buy new, be very careful purchasing any dinnerware made outside the US – glass or pottery – speaking as one who studies ceramics and the chemistry involved, there’s a high risk of lead and other nasty stuff that is still allowed in other places – and retailers do not always know what is in the item – or that countries’ quality control and truth about processes.
    (Sorry about the long chat – probably too much coffee – and the fun dialogues of the comment)

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    1. philmouse, I didn’t know about the Victorian tradition of the bride painting her plates. It’s a charming idea and I can see why you were inclined to want to pass yours along to someone who would appreciate them.

      I’ve never had any Fiesta but it is pretty. I know someone, too, in real life who doesn’t like to see mis-matched tableware for the same reason that your brother does. I find an eclectic look to be inviting and comfortable, but many people don’t.

      I was vaguely aware of the lead problem in ceramics, but am uncertain how to determine if what I buy [should I buy something new] has any in it. At this point keeping the Poppies on Blue is sounding like the easiest thing to do. And as you know my favorite cardinal sin is sloth.

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  19. First of all, I’ve missed you. Have you been away THAT long, or am I really THAT far behind on my blog reading? Secondly, your “personal best” line was brilliant. Third, the whole story, though sad, was quite entertaining. Several of our wedding, though normal use, dinner plates are severely cracked. It’s just a matter of time, yet I too have the dilemma of not wanting to pay for replacements.

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    1. Betsy, I was away for about 6 weeks, so it’s been a while. Nice to be back and see you here. I hate the idea of spending money to replace bowls for sets of dishes that I’m not convinced I like anymore. But I’m too frugal/lazy to go out and buy a whole new set of something. If this isn’t a first world problem, I don’t know what is. 🙄

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  20. Goodness! I wouldn’t pay $19.99 for a replacement bowl either, no matter how bad I felt about breaking the original bowls. I’m surprised I haven’t broken anything recently (*knock on wood*) since I tend to drop things a lot when washing dishes. I also spend a lot of time at work dropping things (accidentally, of course) but usually just pens and paper.

    I hope this is not life’s way of telling you to eat less dessert (or maybe just don’t serve it to so many other people, and keep more for yourself…?)

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    1. Pistachios, I like how you think. Both about not springing for a spendy bowl x 3 and about keeping more dessert for me. I’m sure the life isn’t tell me to eat less dessert, now is it? 😉

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  21. I’m sorry for your burnt fingers and broken bowls. I would probably pay $20 for a replacement of a discontinued pattern, but I’ve been on the hunt for a few replacement pieces of my great great great grandma’s china (I have *almost* a full set, but a few pieces have broken and there is only one teacup). Her pattern is impossible to find so whenever I do, I try to work them in the budget.

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    1. katie, I dunno what I’m going to do about these bowls. If I adored the pattern still, I’d go for it. You have some of your great great great grandma’s china pattern? That’s way cool in my book. I’d think the search for it must be rather fun– the thrill of the hunt and all that.

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  22. Congratulations! If this were a competition I’m a potential joint winner with my ex. Together we managed to smash half a dinner set in one dramatic moment, and we were delighted. It was a useful starter set, no doubt, from Woolworths, with pink roses on thick crockery, given by an aunt at our wedding, and we despised it. Here’s how, in case you wish to take your decluttering further. Place dishrack on bench with one leg right on the edge. Load it with crockery. Bump it. Hey presto! I have never had a dinner set since.

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    1. Rachel, thank you so much for my laugh of the day. I can understand how what you did happened and how it could lead to a sense of relief. I have no one but myself to blame for the Lenox pattern we have going on here. I did like it when we got it, but now… well, you say all I need is a dishrack and a bench? Hmmm… 🤔

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  23. I’m so accident prone that I opted for Corelle plates for our everyday use. They’re supposed to be unbreakable, and I’ve only broken once in 14 years. I feel so accomplished!

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    1. Erika, you’re a smart woman to know yourself well enough to know that you need to buy unbreakable plates, or else. I admire how you’ve only lost one plate in all that time. I, of course, was taken with these Lenox plates, so there you go. My head was turned by pretty.

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      1. The only bad thing about Corelle, is if they do break, it’s a mess. The one I broke shattered, and a shard bounced up and cut my leg so badly that I thought I would need stitches. So there’s that, yikes!

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        1. No kidding? I didn’t know that about Corelle. At least what I broke just cracked into pieces, easy to see, with maybe one large shard. Glad that you’re ok, though.

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  24. I didn’t realize you were back from your blogging break! This is the first notification I received in my in-box, but it appears you’ve been back for a bit. Sorry to be out of the loop!

    I am too cheap as well to be replacing individual bowls/plates in a set. My MIL had suggested we purchase two (or even three) full sets so that we could replace broken items as needed. At the time, I couldn’t be bothered, as that seemed overly practical. Now, I don’t know, I’m feeling tired of my everyday dishware, so maybe I’ll just break them all and start with a fresh set!

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    1. Kate, thanks for keeping up with me. I don’t know why, but I’m finding that WP has become arbitrary since I’ve returned, which might explain why you’ve only just now got the email.

      Your MIL is a practical woman to be sure. No one ever suggested that to me which is ok because I don’t really love the dishes we have now. We’ve used them for a long time, so replacing the bowls seems, I dunno, silly? On the other hand, I don’t have my eye on any new pattern so maybe getting replacements makes sense.

      I’m conflicted about this, can you tell?

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