More January TLC ♥ ♥ ♥

Dark January requires lots of TLC!!  So, first I have a song for your heart (click here and come right back to listen while you read), then a little something for your soul, and then something for your tummy! 

I can’t give you hyacinths today, but I can give you violets! 

A bright and pretty picture like this definitely feeds my soul!

Today would have been my grandma’s 103rd birthday!  People who have my calendars often ask why I paint a balloon on January 8th — that’s my grandma’s balloon, it was her secret birthday message since my first calendar.  She’s gone but she’ll never be forgotten.  Normally I’d be sending her flowers today, but instead, I’m sending them to you!  I have to be satisfied knowing she’s my guardian angel.  And if she’s my guardian angel, she just naturally, by extension, has to be yours too.  It was her idea I give you “hyacinths” this morning.  She was one of my very first “girlfriends.” 

Nothing on earth can make up for the loss of one who has loved you.  Selma Lagerlöf

Here’s the sweetest “hyacinth” that’s been feeding my soul ever since he came into my life a couple of months ago!  I cannot say enough good things about this little bundle of joy!  What a doll!!!!!  Here he is helping us put away Christmas decorations.  He has to go in to be neutered on Tuesday 🙁  No, I don’t want to do it.  If he was a girl, I would let him have babies, but he is going to be a strong beautiful young man cat that will be dangerous to the kitty population of the world if I don’t do this.  So in he goes.  Waaaa.   My baby. 

I’m hoping my mind will be kept off what’s happening to Jack, because starting early Tuesday morning and ending late Wednesday evening, the first Willard of 2012 goes out!   (I hope you’re signed up, if not, you can do it right here. It’s free!)  Willard has so many fun things for you!  I’m excited, I love surprises!!  (I don’t love to be surprised mind you, I hope I have seen my last surprise birthday party ever!!!!  So frightening!  I just like to give surprises!)  This toast “to us” is the barest of hints!  But there’s a new giveaway coming too!  OK, that’s all or it won’t be a surprise!

So many great stories and tips in the last post!!!  Thank you so much, you really helped jump-start a better eating/exercise program for me.  All that consciousness raising! I’m so inspired!  Thank you! 

So here, in honor of that, I’m sharing with you my grandma’s birthday cake.  Despite how it looks, there’s plenty here for all of us, and just so you know, it’s an orange cake, with a crushed-pineapple filling and orange frosting!  And guess what, it’s virtual!  Fat free; no calories at all!  And it comes with all the love that’s baked into any birthday cake, and candles for you to make a wish on  . . . Happy Birthday Grandma! And to anyone else who might be celebrating this lovely day!

 Can we count this as “something for the tummy?”  Maybe not . . . So, here’s something you can make happen yourself:

But first, a few more hyacinths!

 And this is the last one for today . . . as promised, it’s my favorite recipe for low-fat, high-energy chicken soup that will warm you, heart and soul. Now that you have your rich chicken stock all ready (you do don’t you? 🙂 If you have no idea what I’m talking about, scroll down to the next post for that recipe), here’s how to make the soup.

C H I C K E N   S O U P 

After removing all the fat that has risen to the top of the deep, dark, and delicious chicken stock you made with your very own two hands, you self-sufficient person you, reheat it and taste for strength . . . remember it has no salt in it yet, no herbs, so it will taste plain (we’re about to fix that!).  If it’s not strong enough, boil it down a bit to get it the way you like it.  If it’s too strong, you can add a little water. I cook most of the ingredients separately to keep them from overcooking, and to give the vegetables some TLC of their own.

Now You Need:

  • 4 or 5 containers of mushrooms (about 2 1/2 lbs), sliced a little thick; if you are lucky and find tiny button mushrooms, they can stay whole . . . I use all kinds, baby portobellos, shitake, and also regular white ones; dried ones too if you like; reconstitute them by soaking them in a little cool broth for a half hour before slicing and adding them to soup. They have a nice texture.
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 3 or 4 large brown onions, peeled and chopped into about 1″ pieces
  • 3 lg. cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
  • 1/2 small can tomato puree (adds wonderful flavor and great color)
  • the fresh cooked chicken you set aside when you were making the stock, in bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 c. fresh chopped parsley
  • Tofu “shiritaki” noodles (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat up your pot of stock and check for strength; add thyme; partially cover the pot and allow to simmer. Don’t wash the mushrooms, just wipe off any dirt with a paper towel (you really don’t want them to get wet).  Slice, discard stems, and put them all into a heavy dry skillet (I use a big black iron pan) over high heat.  They will begin to exude their juices, which is what you want them to do.  Add the chopped celery.  Stir often, and let juices cook down until they’re gone; remove the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.  In same skillet, put about 2 Tbsp. olive oil.  Over high heat, add chopped onions; cook and stir until brown and caramelized. When they’re done, stir in the garlic, let everything cook about a minute more, then add it all to the stock.  Also add the reserved mushrooms.  Using a whisk (because it has a tendency to want to clump) stir in the tomato puree.  Bring it all to a simmer.  Add the bite-sized chicken and chopped parsley.  Taste and then add salt and pepper — I usually start with a half teaspoonful of salt and move up from there — I like lots of pepper.  The soup is delicious with just a bit of grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese over the top.  It’s wonderful just like this, plain and simple, but I often throw in lots of tofu noodles and sometimes garnish it with slivered fresh spinach leaves — as you can see, this soup is highly adaptable, feel free to add anything from potatoes or rice to broccoli and carrots, the richer in vitamins, the better.

Cool the soup down before you refrigerate it — then put it in the fridge uncovered until it’s cold; or you can freeze it.  When you go to serve it, just transfer however much you need to a saucepan with a measuring cup and heat it up.  That way you won’t have to reheat the entire thing every time, overcooking the chicken in the process.  And that’s all!  Enjoy!

And that’s also it for today!  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to try not to sing this song all day long.  “Oh, this is the kingdom of heaven . . . “    I, for one, have been singing it for a week.  Thought I would spread the wealth. XOXO Have a wonderful day!

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360 Responses to More January TLC ♥ ♥ ♥

  1. Marilyn says:

    I love how you combined 4 of my favorite things – family, pets, flowers and cooking – into todays post! How wonderful that we can relate to all 4. 🙂

    I do believe you have a loving guardian angel in heaven, Susan. Everytime I look at your calendar (which I do several times a day here in my office) I will be reminded what the yellow balloon represents! Such a sweet tribute to a loving lady.

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Marilyn!!

    • Julie Robinson says:

      I am in love with Willard. I hope his surgery went well and that he grows to be a handsome, strong “guy cat”!!! Thanks for your inspiring art and word wisdom!!! Keep warm!!

  2. I have my chicken ready to go into the pot, will have to try your soup as well! Thank you Susan, Jack is a hoot! Is he 6 months already? He will be fine, no matter what your Dad says!

  3. Linda Wattier says:

    Made a big kettle of vegetable soup today and was thinking about you as I was putting the vegetables in it. My mom used to make the best chicken and vegetable soup . We would always have chicken noodle soup on Sundays after church. I make my vegetable beef soup using beef soup bones. After the broth is made I add cabbage, carrots, potatoes, corn, peas, tomatoes, barley, and salt to taste. Then I just let it simmer for a couple of hours. It is always better the second day. Love the flowers! Can’t wait for the next Willard! Middle 50’s today in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Awesome!

    • sbranch says:

      Our weather has been amazing too . . . I don’t know why, sometimes I wish it would snow, but it sure makes life easier! Your soup sounds wonderful, love beef barley! Thanks Linda!

  4. Karen D says:

    After reading your last couple of posts today, I went to the grocery store to buy everything I needed to make the chicken stock. It’s true – I have been feeling quite “fluffy” myself after the holiday cookie blitz. What did I see? Primrose on sale – 3 for $5! The flowers look remarkable like african violets, even if the leaves are thinner and less fuzzy. Of course I bought some! They are now on my shelf-scape. ;0) I am such a groupie!
    OK, well I know you have probably planned out all your time in NYC, but I have to tell you that one of the most fun things I have done there was to go on a food tour in Greenwich Village. I found it through Our tour was led by a man who works as an actor. He was wonderfully entertaining and knowledgeable. You begin at Murray’s Cheese shop and then move from one shop/restaurant to the next, noshing a little at each and hearing all about the history of the area as you go. You walk quite a bit so I don’t think it will totally mess up the diet thing and it is very fun and informative. I am definitely going to try their other tours the next time I make the trip. Speaking of the diet thing – I tried that drink a quart of water 2x a day today – it is harder than you think! But I was much more successful with the Tofu noodles!
    Happy Anniversary to you and Joe! Have a marvelous time!

    • sbranch says:

      I wrote down, thank you — sounds very interesting. Glad you bought those flowers, they cheer things up — and what a great price! Good luck with the soup!

    • Debbie P says:

      Hi, Karen~
      The water thing IS kinda hard at first but stick with it…you don’t have to drink it all at once…you have an hour to drink a quart. It does work in giving your weight loss a boost…Good luck!

      • sbranch says:

        I’m keeping a full glass of water on the kitchen counter, so that every time I leave the kitchen, I see it on the way back to my studio, and take a few big gulps. It’s working great!

  5. Karen P says:

    Good luck with Jack tomorrow!

  6. I’m finding it hard to write today, remembering your lovely grandma with flowers, as I do my Nanna on her birthday anniversary; and we shared a love of African Violets that you have shared with us. I can hardly believe that Jack is a half year old already! We seem to have a new puddy tat in our neighbourhood of late . . a small and very cute, beautiful, fluffy ginger and white striped one with the biggest, longest, fluffiest tail I have ever seen on a cat! I’ve only ever seen sleek ginger cats before too, so this one is really special . . I think if I let her she’d make herself quite at home in front of my fire!

  7. Debbie P says:

    Good morning, Susan~
    Just thinking of you and saying a little prayer that all goes smoothly this morning for Jack.

  8. Barb says:

    Best of luck to Jack today. I know how you feel. I worry like crazy when my dogs need anything done to them – even just grooming! Jack is such a cutie and I know he’s your baby. You are doing the right thing to help prevent more little kitties from ending up in shelters or worse. Glad you have Willard to keep you busy today and I am looking forward to its arrival!

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, I sent him off, unfed and unwatered, as requested by the vet, with his little red ball. Can’t wait til he’s home!

  9. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    Ohhh! Happy Birthday to your grandma! Never a year goes by that I don’t wish my Nana and Grandpa Happy Birthday (113yr and 122yr!) I named my son after Grandpa and my granddaughter is named after Nana. Grandparents are such an important ingredient in life! xoxox
    PS… Jack will be fine. (But it still hurts the Mommy more!)

  10. Diana says:

    Oh, am a little late coming to this post.. but it would have been my grandma’s birthday today too… (the 8th)… she was also my first best friend and taught me many things, especially how to crochet and cook and SHOP! and the most important thing was that I was loved and special… God bless grandmas everywhere. I only hope that someday I can be as good of a grandma as she was… By now Jack is probably not mad at you anymore and hopefully scooting around the house just fine!… Have a beautiful day!

    • sbranch says:

      God Bless Grandmas every where. Jack doesn’t come home for another hour, he’s not scooting yet, as far as I know, but will be soon! Thanks Diana!

  11. Dana Burton says:

    Hey Susan,
    I just wanted to share a really simple recipe that Mom, the sisters and I make for a yummy sweet fix. They are loaded with Vitamin A, low fat and low calorie!:) I believe this was a Weight Watchers recipe and if you are familiar with the point system (which I am not) they are I believe 1 or 2 points each.

    Pumpkin Muffins
    (1) 15 oz Can pure pumpkin
    1 Box Spice Cake Mix
    Mix together well, it will be really thick so I add just a little water. Scoop 1/3 cup into a Muffin Tin lined with wrappers (or not), smooth tops by wetting the back of a teaspoon and rubbing over top of muffins (you don’t have to do this but, if not, they look a little wild on top when they come out, lol!) and bake @ 350 for 25 to 28 Minutes. Yeilds 12 Muffins. I have literally eaten half a pan before and felt no guilt!!:) Also, I have added Dark Chocolate Chips to the mix as well and they were awesome! Hey, Dark Chocolate is good for us! Love and Hugs!

  12. Ann Y. says:

    Oh, Susan – missed this post as we were celebrating our anniversary in NYC….which was wonderful and if you have never been to the Library Hotel you should “check it out” – pardon the library humor. The book on my bedstand was The Secret Garden…..need I say more. Anyway – Happy Birthday to your grandmother. I am glad to know what the balloon on your calendar means…and I SO understand your sentiment. I put the birthdays of my loved ones who have passed on the calendar…..a reminder that they lived and loved me and are not forgotten. And as for the virtual cake and party….thank you for the invitation. I think our loved ones are all together, having a big party, saving us a seat….and my sister is one who always had to have the icing rose on the cake…she is saving me a big slice with a rose, too ! Thanks for all the great posts and all the wonderful memories you stir up in us all……

  13. Dana Burton says:

    Hey Susan,
    Did you get my message about the healthy muffins! I thought I posted but my computer is acting like it is overloaded? I don’t see the post. Anyhow, if you’d like the recipe, I will post again.;)
    Talk soon,

    • sbranch says:

      I got that, yes! With the Brownie mix, right? Yes, thank you, and I commented on it — your comment should be in there somewhere.

  14. Judy says:

    Love, love, love your Willards (my grandMOTHER–also my guardian angel–was named Willard) and NOW I LOVE your blog!! Stayed in Edgartown in August a number of years ago and adored it. Your wintertime photos make me yearn to go back. You’ve inspired me and already have me thinking about a girfriends’ Valentine’s party. WOO HOO!

  15. Diane says:

    This post touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes…the soup, the cake, the grandma. So I called on Grandma to help now with my mother. My grandmother died at 99 years ago and my mother is now 90. The grandma who lives in my soul helped out. I put on the soup and listened to the advice and I carry on just like she did. Great post.

  16. carol ballantyne says:

    Have to go to Edgartown. Was there once. Loved it. Could just feel the scenery, great photos. The moon is so mystic and the older I get I stare at it more, especially when my yard is lit up so white and shimmery.
    Best love to little kitty, Jack. I know he’ll be fine as my little guy, Oliver was. We thought it was Olivia, but the vet said it’s an Oliver. He’s my feral solid black cat we saved from a very short life as his siblings and mother had. He’s distant and aloof, but is always nearby. Not, the cuddly cat like all my others were, but he loves us and we love him. He is very entertaining.
    I too, will make that pot of chicken stock.
    Looking forward to Willard and happy thoughts of your dear Grandmother.

  17. Susan says:

    Loved your pictures of the full moon in Massachusetts! My husband and I spotted it Sunday night in Florida while walking home from visiting friends!

  18. Tracey says:

    Please How Is Jack?

  19. Connie B says:

    Loved the soup recipe. Nothing like a hot bowl of home made soup on a cold winter’s day–although it has been more like early Spring here in Minnesota with 52 degrees today. I know winter will hit sometime soon as we have to get snow somtime. Our reputation will be ruined. Thanks for the Everly Bros song on your new Willard.Their songs were some of my favorites way back when. The moon pictures are lovely–reminds me of a visit to your island a few years ago. Your Valentine’s Day party ideas remind me of a tradition my Grandmother Elsa had when she had a tea party for my mother and her friends every Valentine’s Day. I have some of my 91 yr old mother’s valentines from the 1920’s.

  20. Becky says:

    What a following you have! So happy to be among all your friends. Your pictures have me longing to visit your charming town. I was so happy to receive Willard today. Just what I needed. I love your comment that your grandmother was one of your first girlfriends. As a grandmother of two precious toddlers, I am inspired to become one of their first ” girlfriends”!

  21. Patti says:

    Happy New Year to you Susan and thank you for all the wonderful things you create.
    They are beautiful and full of love….

  22. Debbie D. says:

    I loved your philosophy on Valentine’s Day. Your suggestions will make this year’s Valentine’s Day the best one yet!

    Thank you so much for giving us the chance to win not 1 but 2 of your books! What a great idea!!

  23. Kay Groce says:

    Your moon photographs were amazing. My favorite was the one as the ferry was approaching the bright “ribbon” that was wrapping the sea. “The best things in life are free….” Made me reflect on things….I know you are right. I appreciate that you share your life with me…especially your walks…I love to go on walks and I can’t anymore, so I accompany you! Thank you for letting me tag along 🙂

  24. Barb says:

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you for sharing the beautiful violet flowers with us. This post touched me deeply. I lost my Mom back in 2004 and every year she always gave me Violets
    right around this time. My Mom was a wonderful cook and so creative and I miss her so much.

    The year my Mom had passed was so hard for me, yet when the Fall time came around one of my best friends gave me a basket full of goodies for my birthday and in it was your Autumn Cookbook. I read it cover to cover and loved it. I then started reading your (website at the time) now your blog. I want you to know that your site had given me so much comfort way back then and still to this day.
    Its so wonderful everything you share with us. I have a lot of keepsakes given to me by both my parents that I treasure and its so nice to see how you treasure everything you have.

    I am sorry for the loss of your Grandmother…..yet she truly is your guardian angel and knowing how she loved you and you her……what a great way to celebrate her memory of life always.

    Thank you Susan. As my Mom use to say: Have a Rainbow Day with a Smile on the side!


  25. Joyce Hubbell says:

    Susan, each time I read a Willard, blog, etc. I feel I am talking with a sister (which I do not have). It is wonderful to hear about Jack ( I have a “Little Bit”), see your photos, recipes and all the great “stuff” you share. Thanks for loving others and giving us what you do. You are a great “pen pal” and I tell my husband, Susan loves trains. He states “Susan who?” Then I have to explain again ~ ~ You would think he would remember by now !!!!! Keep up the good work and blessings to you and yours.

  26. Barbara says:

    I just was reading the newest Willard and listening to the Everly Brothers and oh my, how nostalgic…..that’s what I love about you! I don’t know about your other followers but I’m now in shopping mode. If this is the right place to enter for your Valentine drawing, please include me for the “LOVE” keepsake book ….

  27. Sue Connolly says:

    Hi Susan,
    Happy anniversary to you and Joe. Love all your blogs and Willard. My Granny’s birthday is in March and if she was still alive she would be 115. My Mom is also gone (21yrs.) but I do something special on her birthday is such a good feeling to know they are still with us even if we can’t see them.
    One thing I don’t have is a green thumb, so my beautiful African Violets are not too well. Maybe because they are all over 10 years old. Last winter they were in over-full flower like I had never seen before. Guess that was their good bye. Will have to buy more because they are so sweet to look at.
    How is the little guy doing? I have to laugh about my male cat who was fixed. One day I saw him with one of the girl cats….I was shocked!!! He looked at me and I sware he laughed. I asked the Vet and he said that he didn’t operate on his brain. Well what can I say, at least it was “safe”. Not little kitties were born with suits on like my cat.
    Diet hints for you. Veggie soup/stew with every veggie you can put in there. I start with cabbage, peppers and V-8 juice and keep adding spices and every veggie I have in the house. Yummy. I have a kettle on right now. Will also make chicken soup for lunch with friends tomorrow.
    Now when the sweet tooth starts up try some gum. I like the new Extra dessert delights. Apple pie one is great!!!!!
    Girlfriend Hugs

  28. Barbara says:

    Your Grandmother sounds like a lovely woman. I too, was born on January 8th and I was always teased about the fact that it is also Elvis Presley’s birthday. I shall now boldly state that it is also Susan Branch’s Grandmothers birthday…..

  29. Pat S says:

    What a lovely blog – I will be following it! I love your Jack, he is a handsome boy (I’m partial to tuxedo cats!). Your “love” book looks wonderful, I would treasure it if I won…

  30. Rene' says:

    Hi Susan, Thanks for the beautiful pictures. Make me wish I was there. We are spoiled with great weather also. But not for long, here comes the snow. My birthday is on Saturday. Weather always shows itself. Have a great day.

  31. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Missed you all – I’m back. ♥ to all the Grandmas, here & now, & the ones forever in our hearts! Hope Jack is flying hither & yon now! Looking forward to next week to make Sweet Sue’s Soups, love the great pics & instructions. Thank you so much! I introduced my 21 yr old granddaughter, college sr, to you Sue, & she immediately was entranced (as we all are) & looking forward to reading your wonderful blogs! Her comment was “oh, so sweet, & pretty”, & she wanted to see a picture of you – done, she knew you’d look like your writings! Happy weekend to all! Have to run, more blogs & Willard to read! xo

  32. Nancy Luparell says:

    I am so excited about your book give-away!!! If I were to win, or whoever, what a fun thing for Valentine’s Day!!! Reading your blog, looking at your books, cooking your recipes, or using your adorable stickers….always make me feel all warm and inside!!! The love comes out and puts me in a great mood!!! Thanks for all you do!!!!

  33. Joy says:

    I JUST made this soup for Sunday lunch…made the broth earlier in the week. Mine didnt turn out as deep colored as yours, but overall the flavors were really really nice. I thought cooking and adding the veggies individually really made the flavoring fabulous instead of my usual ‘combined mush’ flavor. This recipe is one I WILL make again. Thank you!!

  34. Nicki Anderson says:

    I LOVED today’s post. Dishes are my *weakness* and I don’t think I have ever met one I haven’t liked. Looking at yours today – warmed my heart and made me wish I had 32 hutches one beside the other. Thanks for another wonderful post !!!

  35. marylou says:

    I love all the dishes. I love how they are all mixed matched.

  36. Kathy Mizrahi says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your last blog on the moon. Your pictures and description of the moon in this blog are breath-taking. I’m in love again, with the Moon! Thank you.

  37. Lisa Gabel says:

    Socked in with tons of snow at — are you ready? — Washington State!! Just made my cup of tea at your suggestion (Lady Grey)
    put on the music and read your wonderful blog. Next maybe I’ll take the dogs out and shovel, shovel, shovel……. although making a snowman sounds like tons more fun!

  38. veronica says:

    Many thank yous for the ‘Tour d’ Kitchen’. Dish land is wonderful! Smiles all over the place. Veronica

  39. Bernice Patterson says:

    Dear Susan, In reading your post in regards to your beautiful china designs I agree it was the economy that stopped them from . I have been following the trends and have watched the DIY programs brainwash people( especially young people) into the whole minimilist thing in order to sell the new and throw out the old. This trend has had a terrible backlash in that it has caused so many people to through out pretty in order to be “with it”. I agree that in the 80’s and 90’s we all went a little overboard but after so many years of the modern ( but now considered pretty) 50’s or the rustic 60’s and 70’s we were all lace and flower deprived. Like the Victorians who due to a different deprevation decided ” if one is pretty then 10 must be even prettier’ as a decorating drive, we went overboard. The problem was we collected our good ole stuff from antique stores , garage sales or Gramma’s attic and this did not stimulate the economy and make the big guys rich. So DIY’s were born and cause people to go from cheap decorating and treasuring heirlooms and wedding gifts to needing to get new UP DATES like toilets, flooring and stainless steel everything. I don’t know if you have the same problem in your country but here in Canada we are in the brocess of empting China (the country I mean) into our over-crouded dumps.
    Don’t lose heart (as if I need to remind you of this) you who spends so much time encouraging people to appreciate the good things in life, the things that matter. I forsee the day when Wedgewood will beg for your wonderful designs.Meanwhile keep up the good work girl.

  40. Bernice Patterson says:

    Susan.. I got so wrapped up in my thoughts on the economy that I neglected to say how wonderful you are and what a great contribution your blog is to my life .
    I have been telling everyone I know about you, especially those who have almost lost their vision of life being pretty and loving beautiful things. I know you will inspire them as you inspire me.
    Thanks a million.

  41. Kay Groce says:

    HELP!! I’ve searched everywhere…. I have even called the publisher and Cape Cod bookstores, [I’m from Arkansas], and enlisted a friend to help me on Amazon where they are selling for $277. I cannot find a 2012 Susan Branch Wall Calendar (the big one not the mini). I know you are probably wondering why I waited so long????!! Well, my son always gives me a Susan Branch wall calendar…this year he gave me a Susan Branch calendar but not the Wall calendar. Does anyone know how to get one? Incidentally, Susan Branch Customer Service is answered by delightful ladies who really try to help.

  42. Kathy Scott says:

    What a wonderful blog photo album of Martha’s Vineyard, my very favorite place to vacation. Maybe someday we will take a trip there in the winter, something I have always wanted to do. Love the fun you bring through your blogs, books, and Willard emails. Thanks I am a big fan!

  43. Sarah says:

    Hi Susan! Thanks so much for the showing us your chicken soup, your fetching kitty, the glorious moon and your shelves filled with all those fabulous dishes. You really have a way of inspiring us all to see beauty in the ordinary..surely it’s the secret to a happy life. And by the way, I really want to get in on your drawings; is sending this note the way to do that?? Thanks…

  44. Li says:

    Happy New Year Susan! I can’t believe I’m writing you. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent and love for life! My teenage daughter and I loved making your potato boats from your autumn book and we are hoping to win your heart book as we anticipate Valentines Day! Tea parties and picnics are a huge part of our lives. People like you help inspire us! Thank you!

  45. Julianne says:

    Your lovely drawings, quotes and recipes have been delighting me since I bought Baby Love for my first daughter’s baby book. You inspire me to write my most beautiful penmanship when I send cards- blessings to you as your work blesses us all xx

  46. lucy pahl says:

    Love my Willard newsletter- so pretty and gives me such a lift that day I read it–love everything about your site—lucy

  47. Trish Israel says:

    i am so happy that you had that little house, with all the reasons to live…I was
    beginning to run out of reasons to keep living…I am going to make one of those houses and see if I can fill it with anything.

    I’d also like to be in the running for the valentine book givaway.

  48. Joy Pence says:

    Dear Susan: I feel so peaceful right now after taking a trip with you to Martha’s Vineyard. Thank you so much for the beautiful photos of the moon. I too love the moon, I can get lost just looking at it. Your kitty pictures are so sweet. I have 4 kitties that I love. You certainly have a gift of words and art. thank you so much for sharing.–Joy

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