Silly Day Friday, for some unknown reason . . .

Feeling very silly today!  Must be because it’s Friday and we are planning some fun this weekend.  Plus, I came downstairs this morning and noticed

. . . that Joe has been decorating.

Despite the silliness, I have rather a serious subject to discuss with you.

 OK, here goes: I have a very difficult request to make of you. It’s something I thought I would never say in my life, EVER.  It’s actually against everything I stand for. 🙂  I’ve been so torn as to whether or not to even bring it up; I’ve racked my brain to think of a good way to do it.  I’ve written it six ways from Sunday and I’ve come to the conclusion, there is no good way to say this without sounding like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth, the opposite of gratitude, which is the way I truly feel: Grateful.  But I have to do it, so taking a deep breath (as I said a paragraph ago but chickened out), here goes.

 Please, darling wonderful creative people, don’t send me any more presents.  I said it.  That wasn’t so bad. It feels like a terrible thing to say for more reasons than one — you send me darling things!  What am I thinking? But it’s gotten to be too much to handle.  Joe is in line every day at the post office waiting for the man to give him the packages, he’s beginning to give me the evil eye about it.  He’s a doll, but he has his limits, which are now overwhelmed with boxes.  

Also, I open them and then, thinking I am going to find time to send a nice thank-you note, I keep the present intact with the card and the return address, so now there are stacks of them, on the kitchen and dining room tables that no one’s allowed to touch.  I think you see the problem.  Plus, the guilt level for a person who was raised to send thank you notes when she gets a gift, especially a beautifully wrapped handmade gift, is growing.  A person should feel lucky to have problems like “too many presents!” I’ve been so blessed by your thoughtfulness; I’m sure I’ll regret this someday, so I’d like to reserve the right to say, “OK you can start sending me presents again!”
You should know that the greatest gift you can give me is when you comment, share, and are a part of this blog.  That’s what I love best.  You inspire me!  You give me gifts every day when you do that! Plus, by freeing up my P.O. Box, you give me the gift of time, which is the greatest gift of all (as the Gladys Taber quote above says).     XOXO  
I just wouldn’t want you to think I’m not appreciative of the thought that goes into the wonderful things you send.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 
And you know what’s really not fair?  I get to give YOU gifts! SO not fair.  But, that just has to be the way the cookie crumbles; there is only one of me, no possible inundation can occur.
And especially today, because, YES, it’s time, once more, to announce the lucky winner of our random drawing for the vintage Christmas book!
Are you ready? 
 Or, would you like to think about it more?  Time out for a short prayer?  OH, you’re ready?  OK, here goes . . . the Random Number Generator is up to his elbow in the hat with the names in it, digging, digging; round and round he goes. (Have I told you RNG looks very much like Harvey in that old Jimmy Stewart movie?  He does!)
  Why is he going so slow?
 COME ON Random Number Generator, choose one!!!  (He’s a big tease.)
He’s got one!  He’s pulling it out.  It’s coming, it’s coming, here it is, surfacing, now give it to me RNG, please.  No, no, let’s not play, give it, give it, no, give it to me right now!  You are so bad.  Thank you.  Let’s see, what does this say?  Where are my glasses.  Just a minute.   JOE HAVE YOU SEEN MY GLASSES???  Oops, NEVER MIND, I FOUND THEM (RNG had them).  It’s coming into focus . . . ah yes, the winner is. . .
 L  I  N  D  A    M  U  N  R  O ! ! !
So happy for you Linda!   Please leave me a message so I know how to send you the book!
And these girls are what our weekend will be all about . . . This is Eliza and Maggie, coming from New Hampshire today!  Aren’t they darling?  So off I go, to finish getting everything ready for them.
Have a wonderful day!!!
This entry was posted in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

343 Responses to Silly Day Friday, for some unknown reason . . .

  1. Nancy says:

    Have loads of fun with those precious girlies! You give us all a gift everyday with your wonderful blog….such a nice few minutes to sit and enjoy. Thank You!

  2. Sandy Richmond says:

    Thanks for all of the recent posts – your gift to all of us! I am still smiling when I think of Jack with that red pompon in his mouth… Loved the snow globe window in MV! And loved your courage to be honest today.. Have fun this weekend!

  3. Ruth from Pennsylvania says:

    Whew! I didn’t realize there were so many “leoN” re-arrangers out there. And here I thought our family was soooo unique!!!

  4. Bev says:

    Wow, look what happens when I don’t check in since the a.m. I thought you might be going to say your blog was overwhelming you. I so understand. We all love you so. You inspire and share, making our day special. I just sent your cookie recipes to a friend. Her mother was born in England and has spent morst of her life here. She didn’t know you had a blog. She was estatic! A special thank you from her. Gladys Taber say it well. She is my favoite author, have all of her books. Her friend Smiley Burnett’s Buttermilk Pancake recipe has been a tradition for over 40 years when we have company. The recipe was in one of her books. So take a deep breath, Joe, too. We do understandand. You said it well!

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Bev! Merry Christmas!

    • ClaresGabby says:

      Smiley’s pancakes are the best. Also got the recipe from one of Gladys Taber’s books. I especially like that you mix them up the night before. Haven’t made them for a while….thanks for the reminder!

  5. Now I feel bad that I never sent you a gift ;-(
    I have given your books as gifts to my friends though. They love them.
    I love the Vineyard at Christmas. Almost better than in the summer.
    Enjoy your weekend.


  6. Jackie says:

    Ditto to all the comments today and bravo for being brave and honest…always the best policy. More importantly, how wonderful to be able to have a weekend with those two precious princesses….a princess tea perhaps? Or decorating of gingerbread men? So many ideas, so little time, so much fun! Happy Holidays Susan to you and to Joe. Thank you for sharing your colorful and artistic life to all of us via your blog. What a gift, girlfriend!!

  7. Karen from New Hampshire says:

    You did give me a scare 🙂 My heart was sinking and I was thinking no more blogging- no more Jack or Joe- no more recipe sharing! Your blog is such a gift! I felt so much better as I continued reading and my breathing returned to normal-lol! Oh my- the post office must have been busy busy and now with the holiday packages-yikes? You bring so much joy into all of our lives Susan and no wonder you don’t have time for all those Thank you notes- your so busy reading and commenting on all of our comments and that is pretty amazing 🙂 Enjoy your weekend with the girls!

    • sbranch says:

      Thanks so much Karen, that would be my one wish for Christmas and always, about six more hours in every day, for all the FUN I love to have!!! 🙂

  8. Holly says:

    Hello! You know, I’ve thought about sending you a small quilt ( I’m a quiltmaker) to say thank you for the wonderful inspiration I find here. I’m sure every other creative person that visits feels the same way. But, one can only get so much mail. My husband and I had quite a laugh, imagining the boxes that keep coming. Almost like a scene from “I Love Lucy”.
    I’m jealous! All my nieces are grown up, and only one of our four children has produced grandchildren–and they are boys. Wonderful boys, but they don’t want to play dolls, or make cookies. 🙂 Enjoy them while you can.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, wonderful boys, but they don’t usually love pink fairy dresses and crowns as much as the girls!

  9. Janet says:

    Like some of the other girls here, I was afraid the blog was getting to be too much for you too. It’s never just a paragraph – it’s clear you really put a lot of time, thought & organization into these wonderful newsy reports. Although I’m sure we’d all be glad to get even a single paragraph or two whenever we could. So WHAT A RELIEF to find out about the gifts! Don’t feel bad at all, honey girl… after all you give us, you are certainly IN NO WAY required to sacrifice home, time & relationships too!

    I also wanted to “comment on the comments…” What a TERRIFIC bunch of [mostly] girls here! GOT TO SAY… love them every bit as much as you and the recipes, ideas, photos, little movies, news etc etc etc. Have a busy and fun weekend Susan – with your nieces – and everyone else as well!

  10. CindyK says:

    Well whew!! Now I don’t feel so bad about NOT getting you the Peter Rabbit cup and plate I saw in a shop a few weeks ago!! 🙂 Good for you girlfriend! Sometimes ya gotta be up front and honest about things.
    Those little girls are sooooo cute! What a fun week-end it sounds like it will be! And congratulations to Linda for winning the sweet vintage Christmas book! Now ta-ta as I go send out some Winter Tosses to my art group!

  11. Linda says:

    The older I get the more selfish I get with my time..time..time–it flies by faster and faster with each year. I have thought of sending you some of my treasures that I know you would love for your Peter Rabbit room but now am glad I hesitated. I think if someone wants to make something for you they should donate it to a homeless shelter or hospital where it might surprise you who is going without. When my Mom had to spend some time in a nursing home,the woman in the next bed was all curled up on top of her bed–no robe at all. I gave her one of Mom’s that was like new and she just beamed. She was not very old and had local family so not sure why she was so poor but you never know. That was a great post and I think that was a wise decision you made. Merry Christmas!

    • sbranch says:

      I thought about asking everyone to do that, but I know first off, they probably already do that, and secondly, that they were making these things specially for me. Your story of the robe was wonderful, a little gesture that made such a big difference.

  12. Barbra says:

    Oh you are simply dee-licious with your words Susan being ever so tender and full of appreciation for your parcels and a need for putting the brakes on!♥ Your request fell like gentle snow and you need not fret that anyone wouldn’t understand Susan — hope the little gifts of replies here from everyone let you breathe a big sigh of relief………oh and your Joe and also the local post office too! :o)

    God Bless ~ enjoy the weekend with your two, wee cutiepie munchkins!

  13. karen saunders says:

    You know, this reminds me….when Rosie O’Donnel had her show I sent her a watercolor for her son’s room. I wasn’t sure she liked it but my daughter was watching her show one day and they were in her place and she said she saw it on the wall. (They did send me a form letter and a hat from the show…. so I guess she must have liked it.) You on the other hand, would sit down and thank every last person till your hand fell off!! (because you are just so dang sweet.) But save your hand for your art and new book. ps I didn’t send the picture because I wanted to hear from her, I sent it because she was so crazy about her son and I thought it would make her happy.

  14. Jackie McMahan says:

    Have a wonderful weekend with your nieces! I know you will have lots of fun with them, and I am looking forward to the post all about it. 🙂 Had to love at Joe’s decorating touch! LOL! My husband Charles likes to rearrange my little 1940’s NOEL angels so that they spell different words and then waits to see if I will notice. 🙂

  15. flo says:

    I ‘m a french girl and I love your way of life, I love your way of thinking !
    I love cats too !
    Your blog is so sweety and adorable ! you are an artist !
    Have a wonderful Christmas and give a lot of kisses to your sweety cats !

    Flo from France

  16. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Here comes a sigh*** from Colorado! Just like the girlfriends, I thought you were going to cut back ( oh please, never, ever cut out!) the blog. I’ve often seen items that remind me of you and think “I bet this would look good in Susan’s house” but that’s as far as it went because, I unlike all the givers, never took the extra step of finding an address… who knew in this case procrastination was a virtue?! 😉 We could just hear the turmoil you felt in your heart … and not ever would anyone think you were ungrateful… just overwhelmed. And now that Joe won’t be at the Post Office so much, perhaps you could use that time together with a cuppa tea! Hugs and kisses and happy memories with those adorable princesses! xoxo PS!! If you ever need anything else from us girls, just say the word! We’re here for you too!

  17. Joan says:

    Those girls are so darn cute! I’m jealous of the fun you’ll be having with them this weekend! 🙂 I completely enjoy your blog, your cookbooks, your stories. Thank you!

  18. Michelle says:

    I too was holding my breath that you were go to stop blogging … PHEW! Maybe everyone who’s just DYING to send you something could give it to someone who really needs the lift (whether friend or stranger), or auction it for charity. They could email you a picture or note – or not. You inspire us to make the world more beautiful already. I heart you Susan Branch! xoxo

    • sbranch says:

      So sweet Michelle, thank you for being here!

      • I think that is a terrific idea! I’m new to your blog, Susan, and have spend hours this evening and now into the wee hours of the morning enjoying it so immensely! Yes, if we are inspired to send you something but honor your request not to, then let us go out of our way to gift someone else who will really appreciate the lift. I am so LOVING you blog posts. Thank you for such a wonderful gift to all of us.

        • sbranch says:

          What a perfect idea! I do love my letters from everyone, I have received lovely gifts from many wonderful people over the years — I never thought I would ask for “no gifts” as it is against everything I stand for! But I’m not sure what is more disconcerting; having 5 or 6 boxes on the dining room table I need to get to, or, and this is worse, not having time to send thank you notes! Even if no one wants a thank you note, you know how that guilt would be if you were taught to send thank you notes since you could first hold a pencil! I love that you love it here, that’s my gift from everyone, that we are connected like this! xoxo So nice to meet you Carolyn!

  19. Kelly J. says:

    Susan, I praise your honesty! Apparently Carly Simon isn’t the only Rock Star up on Martha’s Vineyard anymore! 😉 Hahaha! Enjoy your day!

  20. Cindy Tuning says:

    I have to tell you and Girlfriends that “The Bishops Wife” is on again Friday the 16th at 8:00 est(if you have Time-Warner).My DVR is set! I still love ” It’s A Wonderful Life” the best but this is a close 2nd.I never get tired of it.

  21. Sara says:

    I could see where this could be a problem 🙂 If the world was only filled with these types of problems… what a world it would be! 14 days, 15 hours, 4minutes and 7 seconds till Christmas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Carol Lichwala (gramz) says:

    Good Morning Susan,

    What a wonderful time you are going to have with those adorable little girls. I am so jealous…LOL! I don’t have any little kids in my family. They are all grown up.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Congratulations to Linda, she is one lucky girl.

  23. Glenda says:


    I am glad you said something about the gifts. Since I read your blog about your collecting tea towels, I have three that I thought I would like to send you…..sorta of a thank you for those years of sending me those little surprises in your Willards. When you started giving “prizes” away, I hesitated to comment on the blog, because I didn’t want the prize but rather just so much enjoy YOU and what you have to share…..I had found the tea towels at an auction and they were from the 50s, still in a box and were I presumed always a wedding gift. One was a bride, one a groom, and one a small sailboat, all appliqued on linen. The delemia for me was I also had a girlfriend that I thought might like them too. So you have made the decision easier for me! 🙂 Thank you. You are also so darling and so considerate worrying about hurting our feelings! Nice lady you are Susan Branch! Thanks for sharing yourself and all the many nice things you do for the rest of us. Also, Joe must be a pretty nice man to have handled all those trips to the post office all these years :)….Have a great visit with those darling little “girlfriends” of yours. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      We are Glenda, and thank you for taking the time to write . . . Your girlfriend will adore the dishtowels and the sweet thought behind them!

  24. Mary Weir says:

    I checked back in and was also getting prepared for you to say you weren’t going to be able to manage your blog anymore…whew! I think you were so gracious in communicating that as much as we all love you and wish we could share our lives with you that there are just too many of us and only one of you! I can’t tell you what a gift you’ve given to me to communicate with me directly after I’ve told you how much your work has changed my life and how much it means to me. It’s been like getting a personal message from the president or the Pope for me! Thank you for sharing your decorated Christmas tree. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Hope you and Joe can stay cozy and have fewer trips to the post office:)

  25. Raewyn says:

    Dear, sweet Ms. Susan!!! Your post made me catch my breath in horror and then sigh and smile with relief….I, like everyone else, thought NO more blog! How lovely that your impending problem concerns your girlfriends’ love for you! 🙂 Even if it is a problem, what a nice one! Of course you’re not faulted! Please don’t feel bad, Ms. Susan – we love you and we’re so grateful for your blog and books. You definitely deserve rest and relaxation. I too had thought about sending you a little gift the other day, but now I’m glad I didn’t.

    Sending you lots of Christmas love and prayers instead! 🙂

    P.S. I’m a pretty young reader (18), but I love your work. You feel like a wonderful aunt or grandma!

  26. Marsha McGinnis says:

    You put a smile on my face and that’s the best gift I can think of. Thank you for that and bless your heart.

  27. Jack says:

    Don’tcha just love “Carmel” – one of my best favorites! dad

  28. Colleen says:

    I love Jo”e”y’s sense of humor! Hahaha! Have a splendid weekend with your precious baby girls! How lucky they are to have you in their lives!

  29. Dana Burton says:

    I’ll say it again, you are so Humble! When things become more of a burden in our lives than a blessing, it’s good to know when to let them go….it’s great to have boundaries so we can stay focused and have clarity in our thoughts. I know that a big part of keeping all the fog out of my head is keeping my surroundings tidy. I would think this would be hard to achieve with packages laying around everywhere trying to push the things that give you PEACE, out the door.:) It’s hard to say No, even to good things, like presents. You did this with Humility and Heart….so glad you feel comfortable enough to be REAL with all of us. Have a great weekend SB! I’m off to make some memories with my sweet girls….Christmas Music and Wrapping! Love ya, DB

    • sbranch says:

      Shocking to discover that anything so wonderful could turn into a burden!!! Doesn’t make sense, but there you are. Thanks so much Dana!!

  30. Linda M. says:

    Thank you so much!!! I sent you an email last night in response to your email — and hope you received it, (keeping my fingers crossed…)

    • sbranch says:

      I sure did Linda, thank you! I’ll write you back tomorrow, your little book is on it’s way on Monday!! Congratulations!!! xoxo!

  31. Theresa says:

    Hi Susan

    Your blog is so sincere today. I have a small collection of thimbles (dusting….lol) and I thought of your charming gifts online and your books and your artwork and I sighed deeply thinking “How can I ever repay this lovely lady who has been such a wonderful inspiration to me during the raising of my four children?” …finding the right recipes to make and making their childhood as close to happy and peaceful and safe as possible…and leaning not on my own understanding but on Our Lord’s Faithfulness to guide us throughout the 4year divorce. We were so broken , yet we remained intact because we chose to surround ourselves with people (family) (friends) who loved us and cared for us…and most of all…Susan…most of all…just running into any craft item you designed (Michaels)..or one of your books in the bookstore…and choosing to stay focused on ” my healthy childhood ” and desiring to create a safer, happier,healthier childhood for my 2boys/2girls…was all the more reason to continue moving forward!!
    And now….10years later…we are all doing GREAT!!!Thank you Susan for always elevating childhood in your books and in all that you create. All of life is precious and the babe in the creche continues to teach us much in season and out of season. Merry Christmas Susan……from the thimble of my heart.

    • sbranch says:

      What a beautiful beautiful thing to say!!!! Thank you so much Theresa. I hope while you are giving out credit, you also give yourself a huge pat on the shoulder, big hug, and a smoothing of the hair, because look what you did!

    • Karen P says:

      Blessings to you and your family this Christmas, Theresa! What a touching story….

    • Tammy in Colorado says:

      God bless you Theresa! What a wonderful perspective and how awesome that Susan’s creations helped in such beautiful ways! The LORD is faithful!

  32. Kerry S. says:

    Happy weekend Susan, Joe & family! Like many others, I was afraid that you were announcing that the blog was discontinued. . .whew! Your tact and love are remarkable!
    I echo the suggestions that we find people in our lives who would enjoy the cards or gifts we might have sent to you! I had a duplicate of your Christmas book that I sent along to a dear friend who has just discovered you! She’s a teacher that I met many years ago when I volunteered in her classroom. She was so thrilled!
    The best gifts really are tied with heartstrings! You’re the best!
    Have a wonderful weekend with the girls – they are so lucky to have you in their lives!

  33. Gumbo Lily says:

    That JOeY! I loved his decoration!
    Well, I’ve not sent you any gift so I don’t feel badly about your announcement at all! I think it’s a lot that you read all of these many, many, many comments each day! Thank you for your indescribable gift of sharing your love and talent.


  34. Julie Cavrich says:

    Have a great weekend with the girls. Loved the “Joey” sign! Don’t be afraid to tell us anything. We are girlfriends! We love everything you do for us. No need to reply to me. You have already done so. Spend your time with the family. Yuletide Blessings! Kisses to the Kitties.

  35. Holly Lynn Cook says:

    You know I have not ever written on your blog, but I thought “Holly! You need to be up to date with all this!” First and foremost…Thank You!!! For the amazing person you are Susan and your family! I just broke my ankle and well it is going to be for a long haul to recovery, being a person who is always on the go… so trying to make this short as possiable your post today made my day! I showed my husband the Joey/Joy window and he laughed knowing that is what he would of done as well. Have a Wonderful HollyDays ahead!

    Holly Lynn Cook

  36. Sharon says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you for your honesty, your graciousness and your gentle heart. I have admired and respected you for years but with your comments in this blog, that admiration and respect has just increased.

    I also wanted to thank for reminding us to enjoy this Christmas Season. I have a difficult time with Christmas day because of family stresses and tension. This year, for some reason, I was focusing on the day instead of the Season. I was finding it really hard to get into the Christmas spirit. Through your words, pictures and the comments of the girlfriends, this is changing. Thank you.

    On a much lighter note, I was in a store yesterday and saw some red felt balls. Guess who I thought of right away — Jack!!!. No, I did not buy them and No, they are not in the mail.

    Have wonderful weekend with those beautiful girls. It will be fun.

  37. Lisa R says:

    Hi Susan…..even when asking one Not to do something, you put so much love in it. Very sweetly said. I’m actually getting ready to do the same thing with my girlfriends. A great suggestion came my way earlier this year, about not gifting each other on every birthday, but just the milestone ones. There are only 5 of us that get together for birthdays, but still, we all have SO much! An acquaintance shared with me how her and her girlfriends just go out to lunch, or a movie on annual birthdays, but if it’s a milestone, 50, 55, 60, etc., then they do a gift and a more elaborate adventure; like a trip to the city, or spa day, etc. Many sweet memories would be made too! I thought this was a great idea, and plan to share with my friends next week when we get together for a Christmas lunch. I have one friend who is very adamant about gift giving, sooo, hoping this goes over well. You’ve given me the encouragement to ask with LOTS of LOVE. Have a wonderful day Susan!

  38. Nellie says:

    I made a serious omission yesterday.:-( I forgot to give Linda congratulations for winning the drawing! So – congratulations are in order!


  39. dawn says:

    It’s so funny because, as I was putting together packages for Rachel and Morwenna, I was thinking of you and trying to come up with something you would love. And I thought to myself, “She has everything!” Well, now I know what the gal who has everything would like most…time. 🙂 Thanks for letting us all know! 🙂

    Lots of love,


  40. Wendy says:

    Okay, I won’t send what I was wanting to send you. Had no idea you received SO many gifts! And now, out of the kindness and thoughtfulness of my heart, I shall announce to all your precious fans that I AM GOING TO SAVE THE DAY! That’s right – everyone can simply forward all those gifts to ME! Heehee! Seriously, that must have been a difficult request to make and I understand completely. It’s nice to know that our blog comments are gifts to you. Makes me happy to know that! And your comments on my comments and tweets are special gifts to me – big bright spots in my day!
    Thanks, Susan. Hope you’re enjoying those two adorable little girls and having a lovely weekend! Xoxo

  41. Sandra says:

    I’m not sure but I think it’s against the law for children to be SO dang cute!
    Merry Christmas from Sandra at Thistle Cove Farm

  42. Jan says:

    Congratulations Linda! Enjoy!
    What cute little adorable neices you have! Hope you have a great time making cookies. Fun, fun, fun! By the way, sometimes we just have to say what needs to be said – I’m sure people understand. You’re so sweet. Oh, I bought my daughter one of your books for Christmas. She’s going to love it. Have a great weekend.

  43. Lee Ann G. says:

    Dear Susan,
    Not only were you given the talent of being a gifted artist and writer of wonderful books, but you were also given the gift of saying what needs said in the sweetest way! That takes talent and you have it. I’m glad you can be real here on your blog with us. That makes coming here even more special. ♥
    Those little girls are so adorable and I know you and Joe must have so much fun with them.

    ♥Lee Ann

  44. Dang! Susan, I will just have to keep this wonderful thing that I got, made, did, etc… especially for you for myself. Dang.
    Here’s a consolation gift for you. A recipe. My version of the Hotel Del Coronado’s Hot Apple Pie drink. I order this adult beverage in the lobby bar at Christmas time when I’m there looking at the lobby Christmas Tree, a glorious thing to behold, let me tell you. Have you seen it? I do not get to the Del every year as I always plan to, but I do get there once every few years (not enough though!) In the meantimes I make my own version of this drink at home. You can too and Joe does not need to go to the Post Office. I can hear both of your thank you’s all the way out here in San Diego County…
    For this drink I buy fresh cider in Julian, Ca which is our local apple country or I juice my own apples when I have them. That said; Bottled cider from the 7/11 store is fine…

    Hot Apple Pie Drink
    Makes one drink. Double or triple this at will…

    3/4 cup fresh or bottled apple cider
    1 fresh or dried bay leaf
    1- 3″ cinnamon stick
    1- 3″ piece of vanilla pod (sliced down the lengthwise middle to release the fragrant goodness)
    3 allspice berries
    1 whole clove
    1 large piece of lemon zest
    1 heaped tablespoon dark brown sugar
    1 ounce Tuaca (vanilla liqueur)
    1 ounce Apple Brandy (I use my own homegrown homemade apple brandy but any apple brandy works just fine)
    1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (Again, I use my own homemade vanilla extract which I make using 7 whole vanilla beans in 750 ml bottle of organic vodka but you can use store bought vanilla extract and no one will know the difference)

    ~Heat the cider to boiling with all the spices, lemon peel & brown sugar.
    ~Meanwhile, put the Tuaca and Apple Brandy in a heatproof drinking glass (I use Irish Coffee glasses but have been known to use a mason jar…)
    ~Once the cider is boiling hot and fragrant add the vanilla extract and then remove from the heat. Strain into the glass with the booze and drink (by the fire or round the Christmas tree or both!)
    (PS the Hotel Del Coronado’s Lobby Bar serves their Hot Apple Pie Drink with a dollop of whipped cream on top. When I have whipped cream lurking around here, which is not all the time, I will gild the Hot Apple Pie Drink lily with it but it is not necessary)
    (PPSS I rinse,then dry the bay leaf, the cinnamon stick & vanilla pod on a paper towel after I strain the cider into my cup and reuse them a couple of more times combined with fresh lemon zest and new allspice and cloves to make this Hot Apple Pie Drink)
    Thank you for all the presents you give me. I love them.
    Merry Christmas

    • sbranch says:

      That looks delicious! Thank you so much! Tis the season! 🙂

      • ArlineLA says:

        Whoopee! That is truly gift I will use every year! My daughter lives in Point Loma and I love the Del. Love your suggestions too. I’ll bet lots of us have gifts like this special recipe and sharing is what it is all about! Thanks again.

        And Susan, as you are surely reading again and again, we cherish what is coming out of this blog. Your time here and thoughtful, fun posts has put a zip in my holiday planning that hasn’t been there before. Thank you.

  45. Nancy B says:

    I loved JOeY’s decorating! Too cute. Your blog cheers me every time. Thanks for all you do. Merry Christmas!

  46. Marie says:

    Oh Susan, such a dilema. Just goes to show how very loved you are. I know you’ve always been an inspiration for me. You gift us continuously with your lovely posts, your Willards, your books . . . all of which I enjoy tremendously. I can’t tell you the number of times I come back here just to look at the pictures of the lovely place you live and to read your words. You are living my dream, and I expect a lot of other women’s dreams! As an aspiring artist who seems to be getting nowhere you give me hope. Love and hugs and Happy Christmas wishes from the UK. Oh, enjoy the girlies. They look like fun! xxoo
    PS Congrats to your very lucky winner!

    • sbranch says:

      I understand the “getting nowhere” feeling, but it’s kind of cumulative, you just have to find joy in the moment and keep going! Thanks for saying Hello Marie!

  47. Dale Worness says:

    OH NO!!! Does this mean I can’t U.P.S. myself to your house? And just when I finally found a box I could fit into! 🙁
    P.S. I don’t eat much! You’d never even know I was there! Could you please just make this one exception? Pretty please with Candy Cones on it?

  48. mary lou prendergast says:

    Oh my gosh….I, too, thought you were going to say that you didn’t have time for the BLOG anymore. I would miss it so much. Your holiday entries have been exceptional. I completely understand how the present thing could get way out of control. Sending you and Joe my Christmas wishes for health and happiness…Mary Lou

  49. dee says:

    I almost had tears in my eyes when I thought you were shutting down your blog! Thank you so much for this gift you selflessly give all of us. Because of you sharing your adventures, my husband and I will be celebrating our 30th anniversary with a cross country train trip. We are so excited! Merry Christmas!

  50. Christy says:

    love yoooooouuuu! Dear Susan, you are the sweetest – what an absolute doll. I KNOW I’ve never heard of ANYONE asking for no gifts with more delicacy and grace. ~ No worries, as a member of your girlfriends, we understand xo.

    Have a delicious, giggly weekend with those gorgeous girls!


  51. Ramona says:

    Almost bought you a cute tea towel the other day! 🙂 Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t. Hee Hee We send you gifts because we want to give back just a little for all the things you do to make our lives special. Your books, blog, calendars, etc. warm our hearts each day. That’s not just a corny remark – it’s true. I read your blog and feel uplifted. Thanks for sharing your time and talent with us, Susan!
    XOXO Ramona

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I know the wonderful goodness behind the gifts, that’s why it was so hard to say what I did!!! Knowing you are here means so much! Thank you!

  52. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Waiting for the paper, looking at the moon through the lace curtains, & reading Christmas Joy with great joy, love it, thank you for sharing your creativity, love, & time with us! xo

  53. Jolene says:

    Congratulations Linda on being chosen the winner of that adorable book, lucky girl 🙂 Merry Christmas!!

  54. I am so happy you wrote what you did. Believe me, I get it, and you said it so eloquently and sweetly. I love gifts too, but I’ve reached a certain point in my life (now in my 50s) where I just don’t need anything else. When I last gave a dinner party, I asked everyone to bring a new pair of mitts or gloves or a hat and a non-perishable food item in lieu of a hostess gift, all of which I donated to a local shelter. It was a win/win for everyone! And your blog is one gift for me I am most grateful to receive. Pam

  55. GardenGirl says:

    Hi Sue,

    Very sweetly stated. We all appreciate your gifts to us and love you for it – I can imagine how overwhelmed you must have been by so many trying to reciprocate. I too, enjoy your blog so much. Your photos and inspiring recipes and decor are such a necessary part of my routine. So much positive energy! I’d love to know – is Martha’s Gingerbread House book available from your charming kitchen store on Main Street (which I have visited in the past) or elsewhere? I have two little cutie pies I’ll be baking with before Christmas and would love some of her expertise in this area. Thanks, Kathy

  56. Tammy in Colorado says:

    Hi Susan! What a relief to hear that your blog will continue! I have often wondered how you have the time to do all that you do and still read every comment on your blog and even answer most! The problem is that through your blog thousands of us now feel like we are your best friends! Which I think is a wonderful thing!

    Now here’s an idea for your dilemma with the gifts already received — Thank everyone in a blog posting and call it good. Enjoy the holidays, Joe, Girl and Jack and spend your time doing what you love. Take all the boxes out to the barn and deal with them after the holidays! But don’t try to do it all at once. Years ago, I heard this wonderful perspective on tackling an overwhelming task. “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is — one bite at a time! So maybe that means that you deal with one or two boxes a day. And if you absolutely cannot talk yourself out of writing a personal thank you, then you just do one or two a day. How does that sound?

    Now sit back and enjoy that cup of tea you are having at 3:00 AM while most of the world is still sleeping and then spend the day doing what you love!

    And always remember that we love you and we appreciate how you share your life with all of us and the sweet gifts that you give us everyday! Thank you!

  57. Gert says:

    Good morning Susan… Well, I hope you had a ‘fun’ weekend with the girls! I’m sure homemade cookies were in order….smile… Oh…congrats to Linda for winning that awesome book! You are so thoughtful!! We are just so blessed to know you…actually we are all winners in a sense!

    Oh! Love that Joe…what fun he must be to have He reminds of something my Tom would do…ha

    I’m so glad you told us about the gifts…I feared you were going to stop blogging & I would have been so sad

  58. Andi M says:

    I just started reading A Year in Provence and then on your recent blog I noticed that you said you met Peter Mayle. May I ask how that happened? I am enjoying the book and want to read more of his writing. I didn’t realize till I looked him up on the internet that he wrote the story behind the movie A Good Year, which I like too. I like his subtle humor. He is a very good writer. Following your blog is great fun but these little connections make it even more fun for me.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m friends with the woman who owns the bookstore here on the island. When Peter came to sign his books at her store, she called and asked if I’d like to have him to dinner. I felt so lucky! He was a doll. I adore A Year in Provence, so funny! Go very slow, savor it, you are not going to want it to end! Thanks for writing Andi!

  59. Congrats Linda; enjoy your lovely book. Susan, words have such power and you are such a “gift” to all of us for all your caring and sharing that you do 365 days a year. I can’t speak for all the “girlfriends” when I tell you this….but I don’t think they will mind…The Lord has blessed you because you are Special and have a loving Heart; and in return all of us get to enjoy a little piece of your life through this blog. You could never do anything that would upset any of us; except to stop this communication highway of Joy!!!! Thank You so much.

  60. Jack says:

    Just a little thought…….make some notes in watching Jack’s antics and acrobats for reference
    in writing a children’s book about in the future, about “Jack the SUPER CAT” ….. Dad

  61. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Good Afternoon Elf~Sue…It’s Monday 1:09 pm & I Just Turned on My computer & Flew to Your Blog…First…Oh My Stars Your Nieces are Beyond Adorable! so Before I read anything else I Know That You… Aunt Sue & Uncle Joe had to have the Most Magical Christmas Weekend…♫♥♪…I can Not wait to Show Taylor The Girls Photo! omggggggggggg 🙂 Ok Second… Your Joe…Decorating…JoeY is Absolutely Joyful! Yay!…& Third…You are Very Blessed That WE All L♥Ve You! & How Magical it is to Be getting all those Christmas Gifts & Christmas Cards….& Your Blog is Truly the Perfect way to Tell us Thank~You…Remember Sweetest Elf~Sue You Share Yourself with Us & You Give Us This Blog…& You Play in Twitterville With Us…& on The F.O.S.B. Page….in FacebookLand….& WE Know That You Love Us The Way We Love You! Hey Remember… Louisa May Alcott said…”Christmas won’t be Christmas without any Presents” 🙂 Page 40 in Your Christmas Joy Book! Yay! & We All Know The Meaning of Christmas & The Holidays…Sharing Giving Receiving…Presents to Pretty Girls…etc…etc..etc… Ahhhhh Just Breathe in All The Magic of Christmas & Count Our Blessings & Eat Drink & Be Merry & Bright!…..sending lots of Christmas Pixie~Dust …to Everybody! Yay! pass The Egg~Nog….Please! xoxo~Elf~Angie(Tink!) Poof! ♫♥♪

  62. Andi M says:

    Thanks for the Peter Mayle meeting info. After reading some of his book, I think it would be very intimidating to cook for him. You could serve him a nice meal and say it was fox, made just like the instructions in his book.

  63. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Knock Knock…Hey Sweet Sue did Ya Ever See My Post Above???? lol….just checking In….Good Night Sweet Dreams “White Christmas” is On Tonight at 8:00 Pm om AMC…I always Think of You & Joe On The Train…..”SNOW” ♫♥♪ xoxo Poof!

  64. sondra fox says:

    You are truly a GEM Susan! How sweet you are to share your family with all of us. I followed your directions & brought a cup of tea to my computer this morning, as I read about your childhood family. YOU, & your blog, are a true & living spirit of Christmas for me. I too, had a wonderful doll that I cherished. My doll was given to me on my ninth Christmas. She was my first attempt at mothering. My cat, Smokey, was also “my child,” & would put up with being dressed in doll clothes & paraded around in my doll carriage. Can you imagine? What a patient cat.

  65. Jackie Sampson says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful Christmas story posted for your friends on your blog. I look forward every day to what you write on your website. It seems amazing to me that you would take the time to give us so much of yourself to all of us who love your work. I have every book, lots of cards, stickers, scrapbooks and on and on. The special script that identifies you just jumps up to let me know it is something else you have given us. I feel like I know you and live vicariously through your life in the east and the west, even as you train through the country. By the way, the Terri Lee doll you got for Christmas those many years ago originated in my home state of Nebraska – in Lincoln and there is quite a story regarding how that doll came to be. I am a doll collector and had a Terri Lee doll myself (since have sold many of my dolls). If you don’t know the whole story, you should look it up.
    Thanks again for all you give us.

Comments are closed.