Getting Ready . . .

Remember this page from Girlfriends Forever?  Well, here I am again, trying on clothes with a pencil in my mouth!  Getting ready to board the Ocean Liner (this sends ((((a chill)))) through me, those words!)  Pretty soon I’ll give you a glimpse of color combos . . . when I get everything together!  Here’s the plan:

This method is no fail for me (if I take the time to do it!).  And it’s worth it:  I don’t pack too much; I don’t pack things that don’t go with anything; and I don’t forget the shoes that match the pants!  There’s a dress code on the ship; you have to dress for dinner!

My life is all about “getting ready to go” now; sending away for art supplies, going to the drug store for a new nail file and some nail polish, getting our favorite salted almonds to pack (Blue Diamond BOLD salt and vinegar, yum!), writing lists (five now), and making sure the Studio has what it needs to go on without me for a couple of months.  Thank goodness for Judy and Kellee at the Studio, they make everything possible! ♥ ♥ ♥

This morning I signed and dated new Artist’s Proofs of this painting to send to the Studio (this giclee is made from the original painting that’s hanging over the dresser in the photo above, the one in the Girlfriends book).

I also tied myself in tiny knots to sign the little round wheels for my wooden pull toys . . . this is harder than it looks!  Wood and pen don’t really mix, it’s a bumpy road!

I approved this new little gift card so we have a birdy to go into summer . . .

And now, outside I go on this clear, bright, cool, spring day, to dig holes in the garden, so that when we get home from the trip, my garden will look something like this — I love glads on a picket fence . . . they look so fresh and cottagy — and hard to believe it, July will be here before we know it!!

That’s it, seed planting time for me, hope you’re all having a wonderful day! Just had to give you the blow-by-blow! 

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198 Responses to Getting Ready . . .

  1. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    Love putting together packing lists! You must be beside yourself with excitement for the trip!
    Has Jack been helping? Imagine that Girl Kitty knows something is happening – when will Jack realize I wonder?? Thought about how Jack would handle the bunny when I viewed the video!
    Have a beautiful spring day – inside & outside!

    • sbranch says:

      Jack would love that bunny, not sure if it would be mutual! He’s been helping SO much by hugging me often, which I truly appreciate (his hugs are more like rubbing against me, but I know what he’s trying to say!). Girl chased a ball yesterday for the first time in ages!

      • Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

        Oh! that is the best news about Miss Girl Kitty. Before you know it they will be sleeping side by side. It will still take more time, but it is just round the corner, in kitty time….
        No matter how many list I make or go over things I am taking on a tirp, I still find I have forgot something. As you know there are shops abord if you are so inclined to shop there or just wait till you get to England. I always just make due and it works out. That is a cute photo of you getting ready. Half the “fun” is getting ready. Wishing you a “fun filled” day!

  2. patti says:

    so happy for you that you are going on such a wonderful trip. i will look forward to any posts that you make. i love to travel and always take a journal for sketching and writing. what are your “must haves” for art supplies when traveling? i find it hard to choose when there is limited space.
    thanks for the help,

    • sbranch says:

      I take less paint colors and mix more, but that’s about it, I pretty much bring everything else. Don’t really need that much with watercolors, another wonderful thing about them!

  3. Elizabeth Quigley says:

    Hi Susan,
    Enjoy your trip. Has April’s Willard went out yet. I seem to have missed it.
    Elizabeth Q

  4. Sue says:

    Love reading your “blow by blow”, and looking forward to hearing all about the trip………have fun, eat a lot and take oodles of pics!

  5. Patricia Wehner says:

    So exited to be “going along” on the trip!! Can’t wait to see all the fun things along the way, smell the flowers, and feel the cool sea breeze 🙂

  6. CarolK says:

    Hi Susan, making lists is a good part of planning travel. I made up a form in MS Word and printed out a bunch of copies for my travel file. Each time a trip is coming up I just grab a sheet and fill in the blanks and stick it in my travel binder (i.e. clothes, accessories, foot wear and don’t forget like glasses, prescriptions and meds). Hubby also made up his own check list for all the things to do around the house the day before departure (i.e. unplug a lot of appliances, reset the thermostat, turn off water to clothes washer, etc.). Maybe you could design a little binder like your recipe binder with forms and those sweet pictures you add to each page. LOL just thought I’d put another bee in your bonnet. Got to run, got PT, still working on my new knee and getting all the kinks out. Hugs and have a wonderful day planting……..

  7. Linda Pintarell says:

    I’m making a packing list for a trip to Africa this summer. We have VERY limited space; like basically one carry on. YIKES! Should be interesting! Group of gals going; should be fun! Thanks for hints. Any other packing hints out there?

    • Patricia says:

      oh how exciting!! Enjoy your trip- Africa is on my “bucket list”.

    • Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

      Hello Linda…thank you for sharing your exciting news about Africa! In 2003, we celebrated our 25th in Europe for a month and vowed to travel light. Though it may sound boring, I packed clothes that were mostly khaki, white with some chambray blue thrown in. My sister laughed and said I would look the same in all my photos! It didn’t matter one bit…what was most exciting was our surroundings…not my outfit! 😀 My hubby and I felt so young, carefree, adventurous, and light-hearted with our one rolling backpack each. I found this packing tip on Rick Steves website. Here’s to your African Adventure! 😀

    • Esther says:

      How wonderful to hear that you will be going to Africa with your girlfriends. In reviewing my packing list from an African Safari, may I suggest items that I used each day:
      – 5”x7.5” Journal – I wrote each evening and also while viewing the animals. Larger pages can rustle in the breeze, causing a distraction)
      – Hiking boots (ankle high) and several pair of socks (thin and thick) – wear for at least a month prior to your trip so that you are comfortable walking in them and don’t get blisters
      – Merrell’s Encore Breeze clogs – these are feather light and you can pack your socks inside
      – Lewis & Clark insect repellent wipes
      – 1 set of thermals or Cuddle Duds (especially if spending an overnight at Ngorongoro Crater). For early morning game drives, it is helpful to dress in layers if it is damp outside
      – Soft sided duffel bag with wheels
      – Large Baggallini (with pocket compartments) for carrying camera, small binoculars, small flashlight, journal, sunscreen, bug wipes, glasses, large brimmed sun hat and sun gloves
      Reminder: no need to pack blue jeans – they are too bulky and you should not bring anything that is blue as it attracts the tsetse fly. Also, leave all white and brightly colored garments at home.

      I have used Anne McAlpin’s interlaying packing method for several years (one bundle for pants, shorts and skirts and one bundle for shirts, tops/tees and scarves), always with wrinkle-free results. I have edited the one page packing checklist (from and customized it for each of our travels. When we return from a trip, I write notes at the bottom and file the updated list in a travel folder. provides laminated food and medical allergy cards, in many languages. Happy Packing!

  8. Susan Simon says:

    Oh, have fun Susan… getting ready to go on such a magical trip is great. Can’t wait to see what you have pulled together. Do you have to take formal dresses? The trip we just got back from had two formal nights on the ship… we really enjoyed getting all dressed up and seeing our friends and others looking so elegant and marvelous.

    When we pack, we do so in another room so that our dogs don’t know what we’re up to… our little Yorkie gets worried. As to the cat, she always knows what’s going on… and voices her opinion… usually manages to sit on at least one stack of clothes and leave some of herself behind. How do Jack and Girl Kitty feel about your traveling when they see the suitcases being brought out?

    We too love those Blue Diamond Bold almonds… we especially like the Wasabi and Soy Sauce ones. I don’t think I have had the ones you mention… will have to try some.

    Thinking of you as you get ready for your journey… enjoy it to the fullest!

    • Ann says:

      Hi Susan – our collies do not like to see us pack either! If they even see a suitcase they start sulking around, until they see us get out THEIR suitcase. Amazing how smart they are.

  9. Diane Byrum says:

    Hi Susan, yes lists! lists! lists! Will you be taking an old fashioned steamer trunk? Those are so cool, so vintage and they make nice decoration when not in use. Also, since you won’t be returning until late July will you be going to California and doing your gardening there? Just wondering. Do you feel like Alice? So much to dooooooooooooo. And, naturally, I trust you have a wonderful cat caretaker. Hope I’m not heaping on you . . . this is what girlfriends do, help each other think 🙂 xoxo

  10. Dear Susan,
    I am so happy and excited for you. So many lovely things to look forward to. I so enjoy making lists for a trip! It adds to the excitement and anticipation. You are going to look wonderful in all your colors. Are you going to buy any new clothes for all the dress up? We would love to go shopping with you.
    Whenever I put an opened suitcase on the guest room bed and putting things in to pack, our cat, Little Man, starts getting nervous and sleeps inside the suitcase. So cute – but his way of saying he does not want us to leave him.
    Please have tea at the London Ritz for me!
    Hugs and Kisses XXX OOO

  11. Nancy M. says:

    How fun it is reading your posts and feeling the excitement of your upcoming trip!

  12. Pam T. says:

    Such a good idea to keep an “outfit list”…but I need one for every day life not just travel! HA! I read somewhere (and should do this truly) about using all our “newfangled” technology to help with this. Put on the outfit, snap a photo of yourself in your mirror with your iPhone, etc. and keep a folder in the phone of your outfits. Too many times I’ve put together an outfit I love and then a week later, can’t remember what tank I had under which cardigan with what pants. UGH! A list in my closet would be so helpful! Very smart! 🙂

  13. Jeanette says:

    Susan, I believe you’re doing a great job ticking off all those proverbial “get ready” boxes for your trip. I completely understand all the pre-planning and it always feels like such a relief when you get on-board, ’cause then the voyage begins, period! Looks like fun times ahead…
    xoox, Jeanette

  14. Rae Ann says:

    Susan~You are truly amazing…I don’t know how you do all you do…or maybe I do know~you get up REALLY early and have a LIST of what you are doing each and every day;-)…right???…and in the process you are getting us girlfriends organized by giving us great ideas on what we can do…THANKS!!!…xoxo…

  15. Marilyn says:

    Oh yes, love the lists! I find myself fretting over the lists as much as the actual packing. But, it’s all part of the experience, isn’t it?

    I’m so looking forward to your trip to England and especially the new, fresh experiences that will be transformed into art. Jus think…when you come back your garden will be fully in bloom. Now t hat’s what I call a really special “Welcome Back”!

    I flipped my Susan Branch calendar page this weekend, and fell in love with the April page. It’s beautiful, Susan!!

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  16. Jennifer says:

    Oh how exciting this all sounds! I hope you have a safe journey over the waves and to the little island I live on. I am secretly hoping that I might catch a glimpse of you somewhere as I go about my day. Maybe, I shall walk by a little tea shop and there you shall sit inside, munching on scones and drinking pot after pot of tea. I can’t wait to see all the places you will travel and what hidden gems you will uncover! Jennifer x

  17. Becky says:

    I like that you are planting your glads so they will greet you upon your return. Getting ready for the trip is part of the fun. I am getting ready for a get together with my three sisters at the beach for a week. Can hardly wait.

  18. Laura says:

    I thought I was the only one who made an outfit list! I did it the first time before I went on a girlfriend trip to Portland, OR…I figured a cross-country trip warranted some outfit planning.

    My mom laughed at me when she came into my room and saw four outfits, complete, laying side-by-side on the bed. But I never had to think about what I was going to wear…it was glorious.

  19. Paulie says:

    Hi Susan…….oh my oh my, never did I realize just how much you have to do before leaving…..I think right now – we have the better end of the deal, lol…….no packing, just as much excitement, well nearly, and no stress……..actually you must have enough for all of us. This entire trip all sounds so marvelous. Wished I was a little bird so I could sit and watch your glads grow while you are gone. What a delightful heavenly garden to be envied by all. As for lists, oh my gosh, I function on those also. Cannot do much without them, especially these days later in life……Well, I wish you much joy and good luck with that packing. Looking forward so much to this journey as well as all of us who would love to go. Have a great week and fantastic Easter. Blessings to you and Joe

  20. Rosanne, Keizer, Oregon says:

    I am looking forward to lots of photos of you gussied up for dinner on the oceanliner! How fun and exciting!

  21. Lisa G. says:

    Oh, there’s your lovely garden! Your flowers on the outside of it are never accidentally mowed down? So pretty.

    Very exciting to hear of your preparations!

  22. Jacqui G says:

    This makes me so excited – reading about packing for an ocean liner…cause my sister is getting married on a cruise ship in two weeks and we’re going on the honeymoon with them~ I’m finding your lists VERY helpful with my packing for the event. FUN. I even threw them a nautical shower- to go with the ship theme (take a look on my blog).
    So much fun to be a part of your adventure:) xoxo Jacqui

  23. NANCY JO says:

    Hi Susan,
    Those are good ideas for packing. I used to put the entire outfit in a zip lock bag.
    I can see where signing wooden wheels could wear on a person. How many are you going to sign? I would help you but my name is Nancy, probably wouldn’t work.
    Lucky you planting flowers, it will be awhile here in the North yet. It is a lot greener now, better then brown.
    Nancy Jo

  24. “All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.” <3 My new favorite quote.

    I love planning, accruing, and finally packing for a trip. It is one of the best things-the anticipation stage. I hope you enjoy it thoroughly! 😀

  25. Karen P. -Wisconsin says:

    You are so organized!! I admire that. When we go on a trip, I’d be lost without my hubby! He’ s the planner in our family. It’s all coming together for you! I feel so excited as if I’m going along, too. Thanks for including us all in your big plans!!!! This is such fun!! Is the clothing list what you’re bringing this time or from your last trip??? Love the linen jumper idea…would love to see that.

  26. Barb says:

    Hello Susan,

    Glad to see you are getting all organized way in advance. This is the best way before any big trip. Oh how I wish I could get out and plant outside but yet where we are its still to cool. About the only thing you can plant here would be (pansies) cause they are hardy. I started many of my flower seeds indoors and they are growing so fast, have to get bigger containers before they can finally be transplanted outdoors.

    My husband and I watched Chronicle last night which is a half hour show out of Boston and it was about different Islands through New England and one of the Isalnds they show cased was (Cuttyhunk) in Marthas Vineyard……we never heard of this one before……have you ever been there?

    Well have to get back to work here…….enjoy your day of planting in the garden.
    Barb, Ludlow MA

  27. Ann says:

    I am a list maker too. I plan each vacation day’s outfit from hair to shoes. I am as excited as you are for your big trip! I’m making a short trip to visit family next week and I’m afraid the lilacs may bloom while I’m away. We had such a warm March everything is starting to bloom here in Maryland. Happy packing!

  28. Donna Ray says:

    Hi Ho, Hi Ho it’s off to England we go! I love making lists, espcially on your notepads, Susan, with the cute little sticky tabs to highlight certain things. I’m trying on clothes too (for a trip to see both granddaughters….yipee!) but it’s a bit depressing. Remember how serious we were back in Jan. about shaping up for the trip to NYC?…..well, I’m blaming it all on those carrot cupcakes, which I used to meet my 5 fruits and vegetables servings quota for a week or two!! Thanks for the fun! As always, DonnaRay

  29. Sandy Richmond says:

    My mother had lists going all of the time, not just when travelling. She was so organized, and always finished everything on her lists.. (wish I could say I was a chip off the old block!) It is so much fun to plan for trips. I am so excited for yours.
    One of my cats would hang his head the minute I brought out the suitcase… it was sad and cute at the same time.
    Keep sharing the prep for the journey.. this is fun!

  30. Fran Sigdestad says:

    I have never traveled over seas, so I am excited to see how one packs for such a trip. My daughter and husband were stationed in England and lived off base. She sent back wonderful pictures and videos from there. They brought two kitties back to the states with them. I always thought their meow was very British sounding. : >) Having kitty withdrawels, maybe you will find a couple to love on while you are in England. Or maybe there will be a “ship kitty” on board. Do they allow them on a cruise ship?

    • sbranch says:

      If they did, I would have them! England is very animal friendly, we ought to find lots of kitties (and doggies!) to pet!

  31. Judy from Oregon says:

    I always make a list when I am packing for a trip it’s the only way to make sure I have everything I need.

  32. pat addison says:

    good morning susan, good morning everyone, how is everyone today?? its seed starting time for us, too cold and wet to plant but i can start the seeds in egg cartons filled with potting soil and get them started so when it comes time for planting, i already have a healthy plant to put into the ground. i like to start my squash, pumpkins and tomatoes that way. hopefully we will get some good weather and can plant but until then we just start them. have fun planting. have a great day today everyone. hugs…… 🙂

  33. Joy Pence says:

    Always makes my day when there is a new blog. One of the best things about a trip is the planning. So you are planting glads today? hmmmm, I wonder, is this earlier than usual? or do you normally plant them now since you might get warmer sooner than we do in Ohio. I have planted our peas, lettuce, cabbage, and a rosemary plant, but didn’t think about glads…..I hope they are up and ready to greet you when you return home.

  34. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Hey Sweet Sue…Oh How I Adore All Your Art~Work!…ahhhhhhhhhhhh…Lists are Very Important….Keeps Us Organized….so Cool how You Prepare to Pack for Your Trip!….& Hooray for Judy & Kellee!….You are so Lucky to Still Have “Cool” Weather….we are in the 80’s By Day & High 60’s at Night…alas soon…it will Be Time to Close all The Windows & Turn on The Air~Conditioning…but not quite Yet…this is Florida!….lol….I’m Headed Out to Catch a Little Sunshine….& You My Dear have Fun Planting in Your Garden…Breathe in all The Springtime Magic & Kitty Kisses & Hugzzzto You & Joe & Girl~Kitty & Jack! Meow! xoxo Poof! ♫♥☼

  35. Jan says:

    I’m sure packing for a trip like this does take planning and time, but I always feel like the preparation just adds to the excitment and anticipation. Just wonderful you get to take such a trip! Enjoyed your bunny video. Your bird card reminded me of my grandaughter (who will be two in June) , went to see her this weekend and bought her a bird feeder, pole, and bird seed. She loves to look out the window and watch the birds. Happy planting and packing!

  36. Sarah says:

    LOVE the ocean liner sound effects. 🙂

  37. Deb from Dixie says:

    So exciting getting ready for England……..after all that time at sea…..we all will be waiting for you to write….”I see it………..Land Ho !”
    But for now it’s prep time!
    I am a list Queen too…..I make lists that tell me to refer to other lists for more detail……and I color code them too….yikes! TMI.
    Have fun planting the gladiolus……because you will be “glad” you did when you get home…….oh my…….spring fever is in the air…..LOL ♥

  38. Kristina Moore says:

    Reading about you signing all those wheels for the pull toys made me remember to tell you that when your note arrived with my wonderful “prizes,” my daughter (Katie) asked “Is that her REAL handwriting? It’s so pretty!” 🙂

    Have fun getting ready…

    Georgetown, TX

  39. Karen L. says:

    So Glad you are so organized. Packing for such a long time away from home must be organized and it looks like you have the paln.
    I wanted to thank you for the webcam links to the Eagles and the Hummingbird nests. The Eagle babies are just a hoot. And if the oldest one makes it to fly instead of fall out of the nest he will be lucky. Although they are not much at housekeeping… all those left overs. They are certainly a loving couple of birds.
    Hope the Hummingbird babies are as much fun to watch. Happy packing.

  40. Cyndi in NC says:

    I love your painting, anything that has to do with the beach/ocean. I’ve been in that pose many times. *L* But your garden fills me with joy. I love everything about it. It’s a perfect picture in my mind. But go outside and look in my front flower bed and when I see the skep I have to smile. I think I’m getting as excited as you are about the trip…ok I’m sure you’re more excited but it’s catching! *L* Happy day all!

  41. Dawn says:

    I am so excited for you both. This trip is so unexpected, spontaneous, and romantic! You two are living the good life. You are a a fabulous inspiration for us all!
    Lots of love to you!

  42. laurie says:

    It still make s me smile to think I can come here and read you writing about things you have done from the very books I have read and read and read, your garden, your recipes, the pictures from your books, its just a real joy.I have never been a googled eyed fan of any one or anything, (much to shy and reserved for that, I am a Canadian after all and we are known for our shyness ) but my husband laughs at me when I read your blog posts a loud, to follow your journey will be exciting to say the least!

  43. Debbie Anderson says:

    Your trip sounds wonderful! Can’t wait to read about it and see pictures. We are going to Italy in the fall and I’m starting to make lists. But I love your idea about putting all the outfits together and then write it down! Thanks.

  44. Colleen says:

    Looks like so much fun!! Can’t wait to go along!

  45. Theresa says:

    Your “I believe in Accessories” girl looks just like my 3yr old and echoes her personality to a T. Does that have a print? 😉

    I am jealously watching your England preparations. My husband and I want to go next year for our 10th wedding anniversary if we can!

  46. Martha Ellen says:

    Lists, lists, lists–what would do without them? I know your 5 lists will turn into more soon. With that glorious trip you’re about to take, planning is sooo important. My hubby and I travel quite a bit and we have lists on word documents, to remind us of all the essentials. Comes in handy!
    Your gladiolus will be so pretty in your garden. I don’t have them in my garden any longer as my gardens are more shady now–part sun in some spots. I just love your picket fence garden–so English!
    I bought a whole chicken this morning and plan to make Joe’s brick chicken tomorrow for dinner. It looks delicious!
    Enjoy your day and all your plans for England! ♥

  47. Fran Sigdestad says:

    PS: I was going to say I was happy to hear that girl kitty started to play. Maybe she will play more with Jack while you are gone. She might even find him wonderful too. Sometimes they like to do things when they think no one is watching.

  48. carmel says:

    One of my friends went on an Alaskan cruise last year and said she got a manicure and the nail polish lasted 2 weeks – perfectly. Maybe you can get one on board toward the end of the cruise and it’ll be one less thing to do for a bit. Yes, lists are essential. I took those little Tide travel packets and they worked great in the hotel sinks. And don’t forget the travel tip that has served me well – after you rinse out something and have rolled it in a towel, stomp on it to really squeeze out the excess moisture. I always squeezed an item in a towel, but the stomping suggestion came from the travel section in the Washington Post. Anticipating a trip is exciting, but I usually don’t feel the real excitement until I’m on the aircraft because everything is done and now I can finally let go and enjoy. I may be the only one like that, tho. Joy to you and Joe as you prepare. Happy Spring week to all the girlfriends.

  49. wendy says:

    Very thorough listing as well as practical. I suppose I did something similar when I traveled more, now my daughter is the expert list maker! Cute. So glad we will be tucked away in a bag to go along with you and Joe. The beach print with the kitty in the basket is SO cute. Girl Kitty and Jack will be wary of your moves and preparations at this point, knowing full well that you are off on a trip, but they will probably have their own kind of fun while you are away but let you know they are miffed briefly when you arrive home! Might you bring some charming china /teapots home to share? Enjoy the preparation!

  50. JCurrie says:

    This is a lovely Spring post and the excitment of the trip is mounting – I could feel it in your writing with every sentence. Lists are wonderful things – someone once told me “a short pencil is better than a long memory” – and I have never forgotten just wish I could remember who told me. Oh well – tomorrow….

    Your garden is going to be amazing if your picture is any indication of your plan. Be careful to not overplan the trip for fear of missing the joy of the journey. Warmest Spring wishes and a delightful day to you and yours.

  51. Debra V. says:

    Have a great trip Susan,
    I will go with you on the blog. Can hardly wait, it’s as though I am going, but I don’t have to do any of the packing. I think it is very wise of you to think of planting flowers so when you get home they will greet you with their beauty. Such a wonderful plan. I may try it myself next time I go on a trip. Right now cleaning the kitchen, picking up & tidying things before I go helps, I love to come home to a clean house. Have a great trip! Hugs!

  52. Wendy Louise says:

    Lists are one of my hobbies, I love to be organized you can get soooo much more done in a day ! I get my chores done first and then it’s play time. Lists of : work to do, ideas, books to read, movies to see, things to plant in the garden, letters to write, emails, I just love lists. I love crossing things off my lists, that is a great satisfying feeling. Having a room to leave your packing things in is a great help, I use the spare bedroom, then it’s out of the way and I can get the other stuff done without getting confused. Thanks for the blow by blow and the Gladiolus ideas, my fence isn’t here yet I’m getting very excited, soon very soon. Oh I will email the girls but I recieved a very special package I ordered from your store and they packed it so nicely and lovingly, they are terrific. The Bee Skep and the garden stakes will be in the new garden soon! Thank-you from the bottom of my heart ! OOXX

    • Debra V. says:

      I just read your comment. I love that others like lists too. I actually love them so much that I started a book. It’s titled “A Book of Lists” and I started it to make references faster and to store details etc and that way I don’t lose those little pieces of paper I was always finding here and there and accidentally tossing away. It contains the phone numbers I use most, important dates to remember, simple recipe substitutions, things to keep in a first aid kit, and what to do each month for maintenance on my house. Also some fun things like you mentioned. I should start a Susan Branch list – she always suggests the most interesting books and movies etc. Keep up your enjoyment of Lists, I know that I will. Debra in Sunny Southern Calif.

  53. Chrissy Thrower says:

    Sue Sue! I’m not even going on your trip and I’m getting so excited for you and Joe! Everyone feels your zeal to be quite sufficiently prepared. We can’t survive without a list to cross off! How dressy do you need to be for dinner on the voyage?
    What is the count down date now?

  54. Pam says:

    It’s so exciting, great idea the packing list. I’m always full of good intentions but never seem to actually be organised, end up throwing stuff in a suitcase and then not know what I’ve got. Absolutely useless! Your garden will look very pretty I’m sure when your glads are in flower.

  55. Dale Worness says:

    Have fun making your lists and packing! It’s the unpacking when you get back home that’s not so much fun. But it is neat discovering all the little things you bought on your trip hidden in strange places in your luggage, and then finding a home for them! I’m sure Jack and Girl Kitty will get lots of English goodies, as well as your family and friends. You’ll probably need an extra suitcase just for them!
    An English friend of mine once told me they eat something called “Bubble and Squeak”. Doesn’t that sound interesting?
    Think I’ll be dreaming of ocean liner whistles tonight! Bon Voyage!

  56. Lisa V. from Flower Mound, TX says:

    Love the beach print! It looks similiar to one in your postcard collection (that I was lucky enough to find on Amazon.) Any thoughts on a new postcard collection? I love sending postcards instead of greeting cards. I’m a list-maker too. Love seeing all your trip preparations. So much to do!

  57. Joanie B from San Diego says:

    Ok loved the ship’s horn sound effect. It is a VERY magical sound. Lists? Hurrah for them !! They save the brain from overloading and keep me on track, as I get distracted easily. Isn’t it funny what satisfies? Like crossing something off a list! Sometimes I do a job that isn’t on my list ( I told you I get distracted) then I write it on the list and cross it off at the same time. 😀

    Off to wash fresh picked lettuce and beets and make another list! Thanks for another bright spot in my day!

  58. Susan says:

    We are sitting in our Durango with our Airstream trailer attached behind us. We pulled off the highway due to the tornadoes going through Dallas. Now it’s our turn. The sky is like
    night and rain is coming down very hard. Hail is projected
    possible tornadoes.Prayers, please.

    Susan in Waco, Texas

    Your blog is the way I’m keeping calm!

  59. Are you familiar with pumice nail files? They beat the “old fashioned regular” kind by a country mile!
    Love your list making; don’t forget to put your itinerary inside all your bags…so someone can find you should your bags go walkabout -smile-.

    • sbranch says:

      My nails are like rocks, I wear out the metal ones, don’t even bother with the cardboard ones. Is the pumice stronger than the metal?

      • Janet says:

        I think so – yes. I switched from emery boards and metal files when I found these. Much harder than pumice to me – if you rubbed real pumice with your finger you’d get pumice dust floating off in the air. Just imagine a “stone nail file” and you’ll have a better idea. Mine are light pink, about 4 inches longer and square [4-sided] – not flat. Two sides are a little bit rougher for filing down length, the other 2 sides give a very nice smooth finish. I love’em and have had them for over 10 years.

  60. Patricia says:

    I’ve had such a horrendous week (is it ONLY Tuesday?) and this blog post was just what I needed. It’s fun to see you so excited and to hear all about your plans for *our* big trip. Thanks for a well needed boost today. xx
    ps- I have a chicken sat in my fridge waiting for me to get the nerve to butterfly it so I can make Joe’s brick chicken….the brick’s all ready- it’s my terror of cutting through the chicken that’s holding me back!

    • sbranch says:

      I have to say, it is a little daunting to start, but it’s over with quick and worth it in the end. I just said a little thank you to that chicken. Poor thing.

  61. Patricia says:

    Oh, I forgot I was going to make a suggestion. Maybe you already do this but it is something my husband does whenever we go to the UK. He brings a US power strip with him so he only needs one plug adapter- everything plugs into the strip. xx

  62. Pat Mofjeld says:

    When we go to Door County I make a list but just a list of what I’m taking in general. I think the idea of a list of actual outfits with accessories is a very good idea. Then when you get there, you can just check your list and not have to think! But if you are careful, you can “mix and match” and give yourself some leeway if you want a change, too…Anyway, I am learning a lot from your trip already!!! 🙂 (I have told Norm I should keep the “general list” from year-to-year as it sure would be helpful as we take our own bedding since the dogs sleep on the bed, flashlights, etc.) Which reminds me of something I read in today’s paper–someone’s friend and coworker was taking an ocean cruise and she told her to take a flashlight along or, better yet, one of those headset lights as if there was trouble on the ship and the power goes, she would have a light! She also added to her friend that she was a “worrier” and that is why she thought of things like that. Well, I’m passing both pieces of info. along to you: I’m a worrier, too, and as a result I am telling you to take along a headset flashlight (whatever they are called, name escapes me at the moment) JUST IN CASE…okay??? One for you and one for Joe–they don’t take up much room–get them on your list! Thanks for letting me be your friend and suggest that. (and to my BFF, Sandy-in-Boston: Quit rolling your eyes and laughing!!!) 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      I think I’m sitting next to Sandy, but I do like it that you care. Quit scaring me. I can see us, like a couple of miners.

      • Pat Mofjeld says:

        Guess I only thought of it since I read the story in today’s paper. Of course, there was that couple from here in Minnesota that didn’t make it off that cruise ship that capsized because of the stupid captain running it too close to land so he could wave or some other lame-brain reason…and the 100th anniversary of the Titanic…want any more reasons I am a worrier??? LOL! 🙂 Seriously, you will have a wonderful time and I’m sure your ship will be safe but I’d rather look like a miner than be trying to find my way in the dark, now, wouldn’t you? 🙂 And they don’t take that much room to pack–L.L. Bean carries them… 🙂 You will be completely safe because all of your girlfriends will be praying for a safe fun trip for you and Joe–including me! (praying, that is…) 🙂

      • Rae Ann says:

        I put those little lights on a head band type thing in my grandchildren’s Christmas stockings…they love them…they can look at books in the dark!!!…LLBean and/or Restoration Hardware have/had them…

        • sbranch says:

          I think most of us read in bed with a flashlight when we were little!

          • Pat Mofjeld says:

            You are right–under the covers so we couldn’t be found-out!!! Wasn’t that fun!? Norm got me a book light at Barnes and Noble so I can read in bed at night without having the lamp on and it gives me the same fun feeling of reading in the dark!!! (some of us never grow up…) 🙂

  63. Susan you are so funny! Love the pic of you trying on, listing, with pencil in mouth hilarious list! We all need GREEN LIZARD SANDALS! You know pink is NOT one of your colors don’t you? Miss fall, I wish you’d show your color card for us fall ladies, I don’t have mine any more. So exciting, I bet your tummy is doing flip flops!
    chirp chirp!

    • sbranch says:

      They weren’t really lizard, but they looked like it! 🙂 My tummy is doing flip flops if I let myself think too much!

      • christie ray says:

        Oh my goodness…I was picturing sandals with green lizards on them, and thought…what a cute pair those must be! All this time…good grief…

  64. I think you are really making progress on your list making and packing….good luck. I have one suggestion when packing your “toiletries” always put them in a ziploc baggie so nothing leaks out…also if there is any possibility your luggage can get wet put everything in plastic bags…I just saw that on Rachel Ray today? I think it was for luggage on the tarmac so you probably won’t have that problem and take along your Lysol just to sanitize your rooms. My Mother always planted glads every year in all colors…we always had to dig them up in the Fall so they wouldn’t freeze (a lot of work) is that still necessary or have they winterized them?? Doubt it; but, if we had mild Winters like this past year they could probably stay in the ground. Blessings to everyone in the Dallas area….what a year!!! IN is still cleaning up from the tornadoes we had a month ago and the kids have recently gone back to school in temporary buildings….take time out to breathe and enjoy your kitties!!!

  65. Debbie in Ca. says:

    Hi Susan, just wondering what you are going to do about your vegable garden this year! Will you have tomatoes waiting for you when you return?
    So happy to be going along with you to England, but I must admit that somewhere deep down I feel like the kitty’s do… a little sad. How silly of me! I am very happy for you and Joe, God bless you both! and can’t wait to hear all about the trip.
    Debbie, in Ca

    • sbranch says:

      Lowely, my girlfriend from two doors over, is going to plant it!!! Yay! For herself and for us when we come home!

      • Debbie in Ca. says:

        Yay..Thank the Lord for Girlfriends! I truely was worried you would not have your tomatoes when you returned. Susan last year you posted a way to use tomatoes by putting them in a big jar and letting them sit outside…can I find that in any of your cookbooks? I am not asking for it as I would not ask anything of you as you prepare for this trip. I am especially excited about planting my tomatoes this year as I ordered them from “Laurels Tomatoes” fantastic website, everything you need to know about them… I have no affiliation with her whatsoever. She promises that they WILL taste just like the ones I grew up with in the 50’s back in Ohio.
        Debbie in Ca.

        • sbranch says:

          Yes, that delicious recipe is in my Summer Book … so good, homegrown summer tomatoes are like nothing else, I can’t wait!

  66. Debbie Rockholm says:

    Hi Susan,
    I think Making lists before a trip is such a wonderful idea and helps with the anticipation of going on a trip. Although it sounds like you pack better than me. I always end up packing way too much. I must get better at it. Anyway, So cool to read how many of us make lists. Love it. So excited about your trip. Can’t wait to see england. Thank you for taking us along and sharing all the getting ready part. enjoy and have fun planting your glads. Later.

    Debbie from Valencia, CA

    • Debbie ferguson says:

      Hi Debbie, I lived in Saugus for 25 years, now live in the Valley 🙁 We should get in touch!

  67. mari1017 says:

    Wow!!! I remember this from the Girlfriends book. I am still thinking that I’ll have to try that! 🙂 When I went to New Zealand, I got up, packed and drove from Boston to JFK in NY to catch the plane 🙂 I LOVE your planning – my cousin is just like you ♥ She always has the right outfit. ♥
    Spring is well sprung here in Virginia – we’re in full bloom! Love this time of year 🙂 Thanks for the cheerful post!

  68. Elaine Thornton says:

    Susan – I have always found on cruises dressing “from the waist up” in the evenings is all I need to worry about – sitting for our cocktails, sitting at dinner, sitting during the shows – what most people see is “from the waist up!” So – different necklaces, scarves, pins, hair accessories etc. are what I bring to mix it up! Along with my trusty black pants other neutrals this works for me. And …. you will always find my flashlight on my nightstand too – ; )

  69. I like to lay all my outfits out on the bed before packing them so I can see everything and how they’ll work together. Sometimes, if I’m only going to be gone a few days, I will pick a colour theme and choose only what works with those colours. That way the accessories will go with everything.

    • sbranch says:

      I like the color theme idea. Since I had my colors done, I’ve discovered that although the colors are all different, they all go together. The orange/red goes with the dark purple, etc. That makes it easier too!

  70. Lee says:

    Calgon, take me with you! I’m gonna kill somebody before I manage to get this son of mine graduated from high school. Never dreamed we’d be struggling with this the last 6 weeks before the end. Smart kid hell bent on self destruction….ahhhhhhhhh! I need to escape before I murder somebody. I won’t take up much room, I promise.

  71. robin says:

    hi susan, i know you’re thinking and writing all about travel and england and being away but in that totally random way my mind works, i have been thinking about your beautiful little shop and how i wanted to buy EVERYTHING i saw. my favorite thing wasn’t for sale, it was a beautiful water color you had painted. i can’t even remember the specifics, just the general feeling. maybe it was a sort of dimensional painting of a teacup that opened up to a beautiful valley. maybe it wasn’t that exactly, i only remember how much i loved it. maybe a good project for you when you get home would be a glicee print of that painting. i know you’ll have a wonderful trip, and when you get back, who knows?…….

    • sbranch says:

      I just had it in my hand Robin, it’s a picture of teapot that has a country house painted on it (a house we stayed in last time we were in England), and the story of the first time I had tea, written around it. I am very tempted (still thinking about it), to make it my next giveaway — I keep telling myself I could paint another one! But, then, still thinking about it! 🙂

      • robin murtha says:

        hi susan- a giveaway is nice but then only one person can enjoy it and i so want it to be me. happy easter!

  72. Lee says:

    Ok, so I know I can’t go….maybe a pomegranate martini before bed would be nice. I’m thinking yes….besides I just found a black widow IN MY HOUSE beside my kitchen sink. They are bad here in N. Georgia this year. Scary!

    • sbranch says:

      Terrible! Black widows were every where in CA too, but I never saw one in the house. I think they like dark places, like the corners of the garage. That was probably just a freak thing, never happen again!!!! Yes, have the martini! 🙂

  73. Nancy B says:

    That is such a sweet picture of your picket fence with the hat and the little basket on it and the beautiful flowers! I think your wooden pull toys are adorable. So cute! And thanks for the packing hints. I can see if it works for me this week-end.
    Your trip will be here before you know it. Can’t wait. 🙂

  74. Ann Beirne says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thank you for your travel list idea. We travel to CA, among other places, a few times a year, to see our son and daughter in law. I always seem to pack too much, but never “have anthing to wear”, if you know what I mean! I try to bring the right assessories too, but usually seem to be missing what I need when I need it. I never thought of putting on the clothes to see how they look before packing them. The only drawback to that is being organized enough to pack earlier than the night before! I am definitely going to try your list idea. I know I will have less anxiety if I plan ahead!
    I look forward to reading your posts and seeing pictures from your dream trip! Bon Voyage!!

    Westminster MD

    • sbranch says:

      I also do this, every time I have a cute outfit, I just jot it down, that way I have a little list when I’m in a hurry.

  75. jeanne hedin says:

    You will be one organized gal by the time you leave on your trip! It’s interesting to read all the travel tips from the girlfriends as we all anticipate the “date of departure”. 🙂
    Jeanne Hedin

  76. How exciting to be getting ready for such a BIG trip! I’m looking forward to your posts from across the pond!
    I love glads too–plan to plant some this Spring.
    Susan, I stopped in to order the adorable brown bird tea cup and I can’t find it!!! Please tell me it is still available–I just love it!

    • sbranch says:

      I know it’s SO DARLING. And the minute something is that darling, it gets harder to get. The company that made them ran out. They are getting more, and we have already placed our order; they are saying June delivery!

  77. Jane says:

    So…if we plant gladiolus now, they will blooms this summer? I have to try this! Yours are gorgeous!

    Love your list…don’t forget the feather boa hat!

    Jane From Chicago

    • sbranch says:

      Oh yes, put them in the ground in the spring, they bloom in the summer. The bulbs don’t usually love winter, you’re supposed to dig them up and keep them where it doesn’t freeze. I never do, because that’s just one thing too many. Often they just come back anyway (in the west and south, they always come back), but I just start over, plant more every year to make sure.

  78. Charlene H. from So. Calif. (S.F.Valley) says:

    Susan…your FUN is infectious! 😀 I love reading about your day. Thank you to ALL the Girlfriends for sharing their lives/days. My, my, my…from evading tornadoes parked alongside the road (glad you’re safe!), more kitty stories, gardening tips, to just plain joy in everyday tasks, I find such heartfelt appreciation of life in these postings/comments. ♥ THANK YOU!!! ♥

  79. Kirsten Anne Wichert of So. Calif. says:

    You are so smart in your trip planning. Last time I travelled from Ca. to Boston and on to Maine. My daughter called me in the am. and asked if I could be ready to leave that night. I went a little crazy. First, I had to go find (buy) a winter coat as it was Feb. That’s quite a feat in sunny so. Cal. It was stormy with snow in Maine. I think I practically packed my whole closet for only 1 week. I may have used 3-4 outfits. We were not on a pleasure trip but it was to say good bye to my mom who was dying of lung cancer. I was so glad we went. But did I learn a lesson for packing. Take only about 1/4 of what you think you’ll need!!! I always think I need everything. That “be prepared” motto went too far for me!

  80. Gert~Iowa says:

    Oh Susan you are so together! I’ve always admired people like you! I seemed to take way too many things and yet never have what I need…lol You can tell I don’t fly…to afford that you must pack compactly!

    And better yet…when you get home you will have glads blooming in your garden to greet you! Yeah! They were always my mothers favorites too!


  81. Sara Holiday, FL says:

    The excitement of it all !!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  82. Dinahsoar says:

    Your method of packing is similar to mine…only I hate trying on all those clothes. And if the weather is not ‘sure’–like it often is in Spring and Fall–I take too many clothes trying to have hot and cold weather apparel. So for me packing is anathema! But once I’m out the door and ‘on my way’ all is forgotten as the excitement of beginning an adventure sets in. I love finding out how others get packed and ready to go. It reminds me that it truly is a chore for everyone, and that I am not alone in my ‘suffering’ LOL….from the hills of TN

  83. Joan Lesmeister says:

    …friend of mine who travels lots, uses t-shirts & scarves, to look fancy-schmansy or casual & of course artsy jewelry & always the little black… pants! I’ll have to suggest a fish t-shirt for her next trip! Good thing about this time of year, is that you won’t have to pack your woolies & more room in the suitcase! Getting ready for this trip is FUN, with you & all your GFs! Thanks!!!!

  84. Kimberly says:

    You are lovely!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you! beautiful post! <3

  85. Nellie says:

    List-making is the first thing I begin, even for just a week away! Absolutely critical!
    It will be wonderful to return home with glads in bloom! They were one of the things that were part of my dad’s garden – vegetables made up the rest.
    Have a great Wednesday! xoxo

  86. Donna Hamilton, Arkansas says:

    I love your idea of making a packing list and trying on all the clothes before you pack them. Makes perfect sense. I plan my outfits for work each week in somewhat the same way. I plan each day’s outfit and place everything together on one hanger and lay out all the accessories for each day the evening before.
    Makes my life run a little smoother and I don’t have to think about what-to-wear every morning. I have found that for travel, I like to purchase outfits that can mix-and-match. I usually purchase the Wearever collection from J.Jill (I am not assoicated with J.Jill, just love this collection of clothes.) This collection packs in a minimal amount of space, and comes out of the suitcase looking perfect every time. And it comes is some really great colors so everyone can find their colors in the collection. — On another note, I am so happy to see you planting Gladiolas from the P. Allen Smith Collection. He is a fabulous gardener and designer and he just so happens to live in Little Rock, not too far from me. His house in LR is a feast for the eyes, no matter what the season. Happy packing and planting. -Donna

  87. Cracking up here now . . you are giving us a blow by blow and I’m in wild, wet, (very) windy wonderful west Wales as it lives up to my description . . in the gripping teeth of a nor’easterly gale that hit storm force on occassions . . the rain is horizontal, and half my garden is awaiting me to go bring it back from next door’s garden where it came to rest sometime during the night . . each time I look at your white picket fence I think, “Where could I put one up on my pocket handkerchief size lawn?” then we have nights like last night and I answer . . “No Way Jose!” . . when one corner has bright pink ground cover where every delicate camellia bloom lies, ripped from the plant . . my garden looks very, very sorry this morning . . still, on the plus side, makes for a grand day to bring out my Susan Branch books and sit by my fire and read . . love the new art work! ♥

  88. Sandra Gillanders says:

    Have a safe and wonderful trip dear Sue. Good tips for a trip and save some room in a suitcase for those cute little “finds” along the way.

  89. christie ray says:

    Oh, gotta get some glads…I’ll add those to my list…
    Roses are blooming, midnight may sage is all purple-y, lettuces are sprouting, iris ready to bloom any day now…it is spring all over! We took our late afternoon walk on sunday, and passed a house with three Japanese Wild Cherry trees in full bloom! Took my breath!!!
    I am coveting your picket fence:) …I know it’s on our list, but goodness, the list keeps getting longer, pushing the fence down lower on the list..oh, if only more hours and energy in a day…
    Your method of getting ready is eye-opening. I’m usually an 11th hour kinda gal, but this makes more sense…not so much anxiety (which winds up keeping me from wanting to travel) Thank you for taking us along through all these steps.
    And a bit of good news…my little books are in the hands of woman in New Hampshire who is getting them in print ready format, then they’ll go to publishers for print. Should have them by end of month…with fingers and toes crossed. Would Joe mind picking up a little package from the post office when you return from your travels? Just a thank you for your inspiration as a writer/illustrator. You have no idea how much I’ve learned from your work.
    As Always…
    A grateful Christie

  90. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan, Loved the sound of the horn on the “Ocean Liner” as soon as I heard it! It’s so great you are getting so much on your “to do” list done now. You and Joe will have a wonderful time. Our daughter and family are visiting now so I don’t have much time to write but wanted to tell you that I’m reading a book you recommended, The Enchanged April and really enjoying it. Would also love to see the movie! Better run along now. Gail XX00

  91. Terri from Swansboro, NC says:

    Oh the excitement! I am so excited for you. Been out working in the yard today fixing spigots, mending the gatehouse to my gas tanks for my stove and mending old, old, really need to be replaced fences but I need to get my roof fixed first, so mending fences… I had to stop and take a break. Whew!! Thanks for all the yummies in the blog today, it so blessed me on my break! Sunny smiles from the south eastern coast of North Carolina…

  92. Ann Y. (Adamstown, PA) says:

    Enjoy the packing…lists are the best thing ! And how nice that you don’t have to worry about that 1 plastic bag of liquids since you are sailing, not flying….or do they do that when you sail, too. I am guessing not. “Dressing for dinner” sound so romantic, so 1930’s, so dancing on the deck in the moonlight….
    I am busy getting ready for dear friends to visit tomorrow and stay overnight …going for lunch to a little ice cream /hot dog place near here that is wonderful, then making a nice dinner….so here I am making your carrot cupcakes….Can’t wait to put them on my grandmother’s antique cut glass cake pedistal and say Happy Easter ! To you , too !!!

  93. Mama Bear says:

    I’m just the same with the lists and when I know my itinerary, I plan each outfit for each event….saves forgetting something important…what would we do without lists.
    Mama Bear

  94. Betty says:

    I think half the pleasure is in the planning. It’s very exciting! Thanks for including us all in your preparations. I’m looking forward to this trip too 🙂

  95. Susan says:

    I just “blew” the ocean liner horn. My DH was watching TV in the next room & just about jumped off the couch. “What the heck was THAT?”

  96. Margot says:

    Thanks for all the good travel prep ideas. I have to do some traveling this year. I used to make lists for traveling when I was a young woman, and I guess I need them more now!!! Menopausal moments…
    I just love your picket fence garden. It gave me an idea for my droopy Glads.
    I really miss my screen saver of the girl watching the sailboat. Do you think that you could make a print of that?? I missed out on the pillow that I was going to order, but I think I would like to frame the print. You see two years ago that sailboat came in for me. I used to dress like that girl in the 60s.
    PS Thanks for that chicken recipe. I have that herb in my garden!

  97. Jack says:

    Lists are us — when ya do lists for a week’s camping trip and you are feeding and caring for a family of ten people, then you know how important lists are — the Mrs. was a professional lister — all the clothes, the food, the meals, when to check the gas for the Colman’s camp stove, you name it, Sue’s mom had a list for it — all cross referenced — she could answer any question at any time … So now we come to Sue getting ready …… She can’t help herself it’s in her DNA !

    • sbranch says:

      Both of my parents are the most organized people I know! Our camping trips are a story and a half!! 🙂

      • Margot says:

        I always wished my parents would take us camping. Some families at our church did “Family Camp”. I made up for it with my sons when they were in HS in New Hampshire. Great fun!

  98. Dorothy Ann says:

    * Heloooooooooo Susan! *

    I have been reading and enjoying all of your recent, wonderful Blogs and girlfriends’comments to “Dream”, “Countdown” and “Happy April” since I last posted.

    So…Susan, with a pencil in your mouth, trying on outfits for your amazing adventure trip and making a list…what can I say but…how adorable are you?
    Just look at you! I know our girlfriends would agree. You are adorable!

    It’s fun isn’t it?…anticipation…oh my. It suits you. I can actually read between the lines of your “Getting Ready” blog and feel your anticipation and excitement. Only you would include an Ocean Liner’s whistle for us to listen to!
    Love it!

    May I quote a few lines from another one of my favorite authors…Dr. Seuss, as you are “Getting Ready”:
    “Congratulations. You’re off to Great Places. You’re off and away!
    Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
    This will soon be your day…so…get on your way!

    Have another wonderful “getting-ready-day”, Susan.
    * Dorothy Ann on Cougar Mountain, Washington *

  99. Linda Trokey says:

    I’m printing off your list idea so I can plan my trip overseas, even if it’s just from my favorite chair. I tend to overpack and end up not wearing half of what I bring “just in case.” I love gladiolus and your garden will bloom beautifully just for your homecoming, I’m sure. So happy for you and Joe because it’s not just the trip of a lifetime but the celebration of two lives who were meant to share this trip and all other days.

    So looking forward to “going” with you!

    Happy travels!

    Linda T

  100. Hello Girls!!! Have any of you tried the 3-2-1 Cake?? I received the recipe from an online buddy and finally tried it yesterday and it will suffice when you just want a “piece” of cake!! Here is the recipe: 1 box of Angel Food Cake, 1 box of any flavor you like (I tried chocolate)…you must have the Angel Food Cake because it has the egg whites. Mix the two cake mixes together (I put mine in a ziploc bag) and you don’t have to refrigerate. When you are ready for a piece of cake mix 3 Tbl. mix into a mug or small bowl, add 2 Tbl. water and stir, cook 1 min. in microwave. 3-2-1…’s like having a cupcake and you can ice or put coolwhip/fruit whatever you like!!!! Just wanted to share we are having cool temps. and rain even for Easter!!!!

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