Little Things or Pequeñas Cosas

Lots of little things for you today, starting with happy  MUSICA and a shot of



March 4, yesterday, was Pancake Day and we celebrated!


makin' cancakes

When we were kids they were “Cancakes” and mostly they came out of a Bisquick Box.  Which is not the end of the world.  Look how good we turned out.


mmmm blueberries

But for these I used my recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes (P. 148 of Heart of the Home), which I hope you’ve tried because they are SO good.  I added blueberries for extra health, realizing at the last moment there was way too much health here, diluted it by serving them in a puddle of hot maple syrup.  Winter is almost over, have you had your pancake allotment yet this year?  Next year Pancake Day will be on the calendar for reminder!


glasses on a string

And now this:  Home sweet home in the Heart of the Home just got a little sweeter:  Joe and I have an ongoing discussion (almost lifelong, years of it) about whether it’s better to have your eye glasses on a string around your neck or not.  I don’t like it because I get them caught in the car door or in the steering wheel and I’m afraid I will strangle myself.  He disagrees and wears his glasses around his neck all the time and lectures me on how great it is when I mention that I have misplaced my glasses (again).  I stick to my guns, he sticks to his, the twain does not meet.


JoeSo you can just imagine my face when he walked into my studio a couple of days ago like this!  I almost fell out of my chair laughing!  I’m still not over it. You can probably hear me from here. I will laugh at this for the rest of my life.  I told him he was stealing my act!  I’m the one that does this kind of thing, he’s the neat one.  But it’s true, I prefer to do it in really nice restaurants.

JoeThat teabag was there for a long time before he saw it.  Just swinging back and forth while he’s typing on his computer.  La de dah, la de dah, all things are normal, life is good.  I would have loved to see his expression when he looked down, the flickering of facial intelligence as the truth was revealed, the moment when the laughter began.  We decided he must have lifted his cup to take a sip and the string and tab from the bag caught in the glasses hanging around his neck.  When he put the cup back down, the bag popped out of the cup and he didn’t notice. There it hung, caught, dripping wet and swinging.  At least that’s how we think it happened.  We know he couldn’t have been wearing his glasses because if he was, the tea bag would have been hanging down his nose.  We’re pretty sure he would have noticed it.

fun is good

He said it was OK for me to show you.  You can’t make these things up.  We can never deny the opportunity to share hysterical laughter.  From now on every time he advises me to put my glasses on a string, I can show him this.  My case is made, thank you Joey Hall. 

Pursuit of Happiness

towel on a chair

I’ve been meaning to share a tip with you that I put into action this winter.  It’s really made a difference for us and I think would help anyone who doesn’t have humidity piped in through their furnace ducts or a wood stove with a steaming kettle on top (like us, we don’t have either).  It’s not important for all you warm-weather Girlfriends, but for us in the frozen tundra, it’s a huge help.  Our heat is so drying we’re easily dehydrated, our firehair is fly-away, we shock ourselves on our cat’s noses which terrorizes them and makes us feel bad and chase them all over the house trying to apologize.  Sometimes our cuticles even crack from the dryness and that hurts!  You have to wear vaseline on your fingers to bed.  It’s terrible on your skin too.   Makes you old before your time.   Bubble baths are good because they steam up the house, but the water also adds to the problem, hot water is drying, and worst of all, so is tea drinking, which is ridiculous.   Fires in the fireplace are another thing train travelthat dries everything out. Besides drinking more fresh water (which tastes so good at this time of year coming out of the faucet so cold), here is something I first started doing when riding across country on the train.   Our train room-with-a-view is always dry, no matter what time of year.  In the winter the heat is on all night and we wake up feeling like shriveled raisins. So I tried hanging wet towels in the room with us and guess what?   It made all the difference!  Normal breathing returned.  Our eyes no longer burned.  We always do it when we travel now.  This year I thought I’d try it at home and I’m happy to report it worked here too.


in the wood room

That first photo was a towel hanging on a kitchen chair, and this beach towel draped over a chair is behind the door in our “wood room” where we watch TV.  Under that pile of jackets there is a vent that positively pours hot air into the room . . . but now margot momit has to go through the dampness of the towel to get to the rest of the room.  I think with all the freezing temperatures we’ve had, without that towel draped there all winter, our jackets would have cracked and turned to dust by now (not to mention us. Last year was so bad, I was really inspired to try it this year).  Our skin has been fine, no colds or allergy problems this year either.  I use the sprayer at the kitchen sink to dampen them; just hold up the towel, point it and spray.  We have another wet towel hanging over the handles of my exercise bike in the room where we sleep.  It’s a bit of a pain in the neck, but not as much for me as humidifiers which require constant cleaning. I just pop the towels in the washer once a week, and then let them dry as usual, on the chairs.  OK?  That’s my hint for today.  OH!  I have one more winter tip.  Along the same lines . . . have you tried this?


My mom gave it to me when I was in California last fall, Curél Ultra Healing skin lotion.  She thought I would love it and she’s right, it’s like miracle cream.  My skin feels so much better and smoother.  You can get it at the drug store.  So there you go, hope my tips help make life a bit more livable.  Spring is coming!


Beautiful Girl Kitty

Girl is now unafraid to put her little pink nose in the air for a fingertip sniff.  She knows I won’t make sparks!  Just this moment, as I was typing, she crawled up on my shoulder for huggie wuggies.  time out . . . 

Love it when she does that.


Jack appreciates my towel tips too. He no longer gets electrocuted when I attack him for kisses.


Sleepy pie poo.  Remember this quilt?  I thought I’d show you what I did with it . . .

2015 blotter

It’s a preview of the new Blotter I designed for 2015, coming in July.  I used the quilt to make the border!  Have never done that before, but I like it!  Now you can all have a little piece of that quilt!  Just so you blotter aficionados know, this one is quite a bit bigger than the ones I used to do . . . it’s 17″ x 22″, a traditional office size.  I think it would make a very nice placemat!  More Abba?  Oui!

Ratings for A FINE ROMANCE

Next “Little thing” :  The Academy Awards was great this year, the clothes, the make-up, the hair, the jewelry, the music, as usual, were the most fun and actually the entire reason I watch.  Yesterday I received what I consider to be an even better award.  It came via Twitter Girlfriend Lynn Dunk @Lynn_Dunk ~ she wanted to show me what was taped in her 21-year-old daughter’s planner.  That’s it above; her name is Grace and she’s rating books she reads.  A FINE ROMANCE is there along with Emma and Sherlock Holmes!  Is this not an Sheri and Mattie made this!Academy Award, Girlfriends?  I definitely think so.  Endearing.   That is why I love this book more every day because I get endearingness to go with it.

♥ ♥ ♥

If you have a moment pop over to our FOSB Facebook Page and look at the Lamb Cake Sheri and Mattie made with our lamb cake mold (more just came in btw, in case you missed them) ~  they did such a cute job!  You can read how they did it.  Everyone seems to be having good luck making their lamb cakes, heads are all staying on!  We would love to see your lamb cake photos on FOSB. 

And, oh yes, I started the new book.  I’ve been at it for two days, I have so far to go and no idea how long it will take to sweep this giant floor into one concise little pile, but in case you want to know, I chose this one:


I knew you’d want a hint 🙂 . . .  And by the way, here are two great movies you’d love that feature Abba music in them . . . Mama Mia is one, I loved it ~  and  the other is Muriel’s Wedding, which is really fun too although much less well known.  One last thing to remember . . . for you and for me too . . .

just remember this

 Keep dreaming, Girlfriends.  Have a wonderful day!  XOXO

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520 Responses to Little Things or Pequeñas Cosas

  1. Ginger says:

    BTW-I make my own hand cream using Tasha Tudor’s recipe which she was taught by Rosemary Gladstar. Because of allergies, I leave out the aloe vera. It is so easy. Melt 3/4 c apricot oil (this can be herb infused or not), 1/4 c cocoa butter, and 1 oz bees wax over a double boiler. Some people put in vitamin e oil at this time as a preservative. Pour into blender jar. Blend on low once in awhile as it cools and thickens; do not let it harden. Depending on the time of year, it can take 20 minutes or all day. Next, turn blender on low and pour a slow stream of 1 c distilled water (or rose hydrosol) just like making mayonaise. When it gets thick, stir in 10-30 drops essential oil. I like rose or lavender. I put this in little 2 oz. glass jars I got from Mountain Rose herbs and store it in the fridge (except for the one in use.) Every time I do this, I pretend I’m Sarah Pryne, making pink lady’s soap.

  2. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Do tell Joe thanks for letting us see this tea bag episode. The first photo was, ok what is this all about? Then seeing Joe standing there with his tea bag dangling was just a great laugh for the day. I too wear my glasses around my neck. I have a hand made multi colored beads on my lanyard, with stations of silver beads. No problems so far.
    Now my most embarrassing moment was when my hubby pointed out to me I had toilet paper coming my waist band of my slacks all the way down to my ankle’s. yep ! there it was. Was my face red or what! Of course we were in a restaurant, it never fails.

  3. Colleen Baptista says:

    Oh so funny, I laughed out loud at the “the Tea bag incident” thank you for sharing . I doubt he can make his case about wearing your glasses on a string any more,

  4. Sarah says:

    That lamb cake is ADORABLE. At first I thought those were baby marshmallows, but then went over to your Facebook page and saw that she piped all of that icing on there. Really beautiful. I wouldn’t be able to eat it, it’s so cute. 🙂

    • sbranch says:

      That’s why she showed the picture of the crumbs, so people would feel brave enough to eat it! I couldn’t do it either… so cute!

  5. Charlene says:

    Oh how funny! Thanks to Joe for letting you share his picture. I think what made it even funnier is it hit so close to home. I have spent lots of time looking for my glasses before realizing they are on top of my head where I put them. And doesn’t Girl Kitty look gorgeous…love that picture. I think I figured out which book you are starting with. Yay!

  6. Diane from Poulsbo, WA says:

    I laughed my head off when I read and saw the pics of Joe’s tea-bag incident! What a hoot! It is absolutely priceless! Joe is such a good sport for allowing the girlfriends to see this….but he is a part of us, so it is appropriate! I could just picture him at his desk…typing away…the teabag swinging! Haha. Love it! The pancakes looked so delicious I could almost smell them, and the lamb cake is too beautiful and too perfect! It makes me long for Easter. I appreciate the tips about the wet towels because we have the same dehydrating and sparks flying issues from time to time. My husband and I were saying recently that we both feel so DRY and extra thirsty because of the air inside thehouse. I also have wondered about Curel. I have been using something different and it works for a brief amount of time and smells heavenly, but I need something like a miracle……so I will be trying Curel soon! I had to also laugh at your descriptions of poor GK and Jack when you touch them and the air is dry! Soooo funny. I am SOOOOO excited about your new book….sign me up! I also love the quilt put onto the calender….beautiful! This was such a fun, Spring-like blog today. Thank you and xoxoxoxo

  7. Pat Santner says:

    Oh, my hands are a mess! I went right out and bought the Curel lotion. I used it in the car on the way home! And then again when I got home. They feel better already. 🙂

  8. Vickie in Olympia says:

    I’m sure you have seen these glasses that might be a compromise between a string and no string or at least a string and a tea bag.

  9. Vicki Panzarino says:

    Great fun today….love the “Joe and the teabag” incident….I think sweet “Mr. Punish” lurks around at times and lets things like this happen to remind us of our humanity…AND make us laugh! The Lamb cake that the girls made is just wonderful…so talented will definitely try to make a similar one. All your “girlfriends” just ooze with talent and creativity! Most of all…so excited about the onset of a new book….I can feel those creative juices pulsing through your veins! Isn’t that the best kind of “alive” feeling…when you discover a new mission and let your brain run wild with creativity!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      It’s like permanent dream state. My first question every time someone talks to me is, “What?”

  10. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    I was laughing so hard at the picture of Joe and the way you described it, I gave myself stomach cramps. My husband came down to see what I was laughing at. (It is something my Allan would do too.) He looked at the picture and simply said “his rapper name should be T Bag”. And then the laughing started all over again.

  11. Esther P says:

    Decided to break away from my studio for a minute, although how great to be surrounded by bunnies, ribbon, glitter and pastel card stock on this nippy day….and I was rewarded by a Susan post! You’ve gotta love a man who will ‘share’ his mishaps and let you laugh with him. A lot of guys would’ve changed the shirt and kept quiet….and missed out on yet another moment that makes a relationship sweet and lasting. We are both lucky to have super duper guys! Yikes, it made me kinda teary to write that….I think I need a cup of tea. 🙂

  12. Irene Talaasen says:

    Hi Susan,
    I laughed and laughed and so appreciate Joe for be willing to be on the Blog like that. That could easily happen to me except I don’t wear my glasses on a chain, but I am always looking for them.
    Love the quilt on the blotter and the tips for that lotion.
    Always a treat when you have a new Blog!!
    Thank you!
    Irene in Colorado

  13. Kathleen from Philly says:

    Hi Susan,
    SO funny to see that photo of Joe! Best laugh all year so far! I agree that the winters are drying us out and my simple solution is to place a very large mug of water on the sill next to our bed. Needs to be refilled daily because the two kitties have discovered it & they think it is so considerate of me to have that extra drink so handy when they stretch out on the radiator. Cats aside, our skin does feel better. When we travel, I always fill the little hotel ice bucket with water at night for the same reason, just to keep the air moist. Simple but does the trick.
    Another “classic Susan” in the works! Can’t wait! You must add Philly or vicinity to your next book tour! Pretty please? xoxo

  14. Kathy George says:

    Hysterical. I said George, you have to read this one. He said wait a minute I need to get my glasses!! When he saw it he started laughing immediately and said it is one of the funniest things he has seen. He said Joe is clearly a good sport.

  15. Cyndi in NC says:

    I needed a good laugh and this did it for me. I am usually the clutz and misery loves company! But since no one was hurt, except for pride maybe, there’s nothing wrong with a good laugh. Especially if we can laugh at ourselves. The towel idea is super. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a humidity thingy on a furnace until my Dad broke his hip in ’07 I think it was. My husband Jim was sent to the basement to make an adjustment. Bam! Something to add to the knowledge base. *L* Heat pumps just don’t have them. I have to say that I discovered Muriel’s Wedding years ago and love it too. Poor thing. But she showed them all. *S* There is another one and I can’t remember the name but it has Shirley in it I think. It was another one that is kind of off beat but I really liked it. Loved the Lamb cake Sheri, great job!

  16. Anna Marie says:

    I love husbands with a lovely sense of humor and the humility to share with the Girlfriends. I could not stop laughing the picture with a thousand words! I might try the damp towel. I finally gave up on lotion and went straight to almond body oil. It’s available at our co-op and is pretty inexpensive. Less expensive than the darn lotion that washes away the minute I’ve put it on. I have been so itchy this winter, then out of desperation grabbed a bottle of body oil and AAAAAH relief. Another great post Susan, can’t wait to break open a new book of yours!

  17. Pat Johnson from Paso Robles, CA says:

    Baby Sophie & I read the blog today. Of course she loved Girl & Jack and I absolutely about died of laughter over JOE & his “take your tea bag” everywhere invention!!! Must admit that I changed the music to “Dancing Queen” because I am one! And the pancakes made me soooo hungry that I am going to make some. Sun is shining here but THE GREEN IS BACK!!! So thankful that it rained so much. Happy to hear you started the book and now I can hardly wait for that!! Thanks for the suggestion on lotion to hydrate the skin. I was using Aveena but will try this. Today I am listening to a little girl whinning her way around the house – I think she is not feeling well – will keep an eye on her. Must go to the Grandson’s farm as he got some new chickens and something else but forgot what. I am still recuperating from the wedding stuff. The other Great Grandma told me the house seems to be quieter and comfortable since the kids got married – I had to laugh. We’ll see how long this lasts. Enjoy your writing, my dear. Love you tons……..Pat

  18. What a blessing it would be to wear my glasses on a string…but then I’d need my glasses to find my glasses. Mine have to stay perched on my nose, only take them off for showers/baths and sleeping. Joe has a great sense of humor! Looking forward to the new book, thanks for the head’s up and I wish you well, Susan, in the writing of it.

  19. Dear Susan,

    That’s the one I hoped you would choose 🙂 Happy writing!


  20. Bernie says:

    Love “Tea Bag Joe”! I have a few fancy beaded eye glass “strings” that are a real pain in the neck, so like others have mentioned, I flip them on top of my head like a headband. Any time I am looking for glasses, I pat my head first. It is not at all unusual to have two or three pair of glasses parked on top of my head, while another one is on my nose. My husband just shakes his head. I buy dollar store readers by the handful, and keep them in a glass container on my desk….if they are not on my head.

  21. Wendy Louise says:

    Oh Joe , you are simply adorable and fantastic, you made my day and I still have not stopped laughing and smiling since noon time today ! When Susan reads my other post, she can tell you my shoe story, I think we all have one, isn’t it grand when we can laugh at ourselves and feel the love from it. I am all tickled inside thinking of the two of you in your wonderful place having so much fun ! oxox

  22. Kathie says:

    ABBA is one of my favorite groups. Yes. Thanks for all the tips and practicality today. I needed that. We hope the cold weather is over but I’m going to try the towel thing when the wood stove has to be fired up again. We had 4 inches of snow on Sunday. Now, there’s not a bit of it left. The creek is high but won’t do any damage here, we hope. We’re planting seeds for the spring garden and getting the last of the yard planned out. Hopefully we can be on top of things by the time the season actually turns. In the desert, we can go from winter to summer with only two weeks of spring temps, sometimes. Don’t blink, or you can miss it. Take care, little friend. Oh, and Joe is definitely a kindred-spirit-good-sport, yes he is!

  23. Mary Ann says:

    Oh the dryness has just been fierce this winter even in SoCa where we are dying for moisture. I will try the trick with the towel, such a simple fix. The picture of Joe, such a good sport, it’s wonderful. There is nothing quite as endearing as someone who can laugh at themselves and then to let us all share the joke is the icing on the cake.

  24. ChrisTea says:

    I love “Joe and the Teabag; A Short Comedy Skit”. LOL. It’s something I’m certain I’ll do one of these days as I do wear glasses on a chain. As always, your two kitties are SO DARN CUTE!! They also seem extremely content. I hope everyone is concentrating on bringing Spring to everyone still buried in snow. I can’t wait!! The 40’s will seem like mid-summer here in Chicago.

  25. Deb W says:

    I think I must be the only person around who has never heard of Pancake Day! I saw several references to it on Facebook yesterday, and now this…..and I’m over 60! Is it something to do with the last day before Lent?

    Absolutely made my day when I saw the photo of Joe and the tea bag! It nearly made me spit my tea across the room!!!

    • sbranch says:

      I think IHOP started it! These days everything gets a day of its own. But who thinks Pancake Day is a bad idea?

      • judy young says:

        Didn’t it used to be called Shrove Tuesday, or am I mixing that up with a day near Easter?!! Having grown up in England we always had Pancake Day and pancakes in England (at least the ones my mum made) are more like crepes. They would be larger and flatter and we would sprinkle sugar and lemon juice over them and roll them up and then slice them to eat. Oh my, sooo good!! Looking forward to hearing about the writing process with the new book Susan.

        • judy young says:

          I forgot to say that my husband makes the best sourdough pancakes. He makes the starter earlier in the week and on Sunday we make sourdough pancakes. They taste like no other, and actually remind me more of the taste of English pancakes!

  26. Barbara (WA) says:

    I am loving another post from you, Sue! Here I am stuck at home, going stir crazy, with a viral eye infection ala Bob Costas. I had to miss the baby gender reveal party my son & DIL had, can you believe it?! SO thankful for Skype so I could at least see some of the fun. And, It’s A Boy – coming in July, yahoo!!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Congratulations Barbara! What a world we live in, Skype and you are there! Lucky. Now you can start planning your baby boy quilt! Feel better soon xoxo

  27. Mary says:

    Thank you for the FUNNY picture and story of the tea bag!!!!! What a great laugh!!! 🙂 Also thank you for the wet towel idea for humidity…I’m going to do that right now!

  28. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Oh, Susan the blotter calendar is beautiful!! So glad it’s coming back…. What a belly laugh Joe gave us today! So weird he didn’t feel the weight of the tea bag. I’m with you, no strings or ropes or beads for me. I hang them on the front of my shirt most of the time. But just the other day, I could not find them. My husband and I spent quite a bit of time trying to locate them, and they were no where to be found. And then, I went to put my apron on to cook dinner, and there they were~ hanging on the front of my apron, just like they are on my shirts! He got a good laugh out of that one….. Oh my goodness, those lamb cakes are adorable. See what you started. I’m thinking time to buy a lamb cake pan!

  29. Pamela C Betz says:

    Dear Susan, How can I purchase a copy of the art in todays blog? My oldest Granddaughter is 14 and I would love to give her a framed copy. It would be perfect for her.
    Also, how do you keep from damaging your wood chairs with the damp towels hanging? Our finger tips are suffering too!
    Best Wishes, Pamela

    • sbranch says:

      That was a good suggestion Pamela … I asked Kellee to make the girl reaching for the star into a print ~ they should be in very soon and then up in our shopping site; watch THIS SPACE . . . it’s in the shopping section of the blog under Books, Calendars and More.

      Those particular chairs have a waterproof finish on them. But if yours don’t, you can hang your towels over corners of doors; I have a hand towel hooked into a closed drawer that has a vent on the floor just below it. The thicker the towel, the longer it stays damp.

      • Margot in Virginia Beach says:

        Thanks for that print. As I have said before it is one of my favorites! Good idea to give it to a young relative too.

  30. susan says:

    Great blog today, Susan….I must admit I loved “Joe… the tea bag master”. No matter what…..he seem to be such a happy camper.

  31. Kate says:

    Laughter is good for the soul. Tell Joe he made many souls happy today. Thank you for the wet towel tip. My skin simply crawls in the dry weather and anything to give me some relief is a blessing.

    • sbranch says:

      Hope it helps. And I’ve tried every lotion and cream in the history of the world (that’s what it feels like anyway) and this is the first time something made a difference. Try it and see if it works for you. fingers crossed!

      • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

        Duluth Trading Co. in Wisconsin (they are online but also have a great catalog for women and a separate one for men) have a product in both called “No Crack Cream”. I LOVE their lavender-scented one. It really has helped. The fragrance is light and the cream rubs in and is not greasy. I’ve used that the last couple of winters and avoided those nasty cracks on my fingers…

        • Lynn McMahon says:

          ~ hi~ I heard that the cream that breast feeding moms use aka
          ” nipple cream” contains lanolin in it~ It is supposed to work great on feet and hands too~

          • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

            Well, “Bag Balm”, used on cow’s udders, is good for hands, too. Incidentally, can I tell a story on my husband? Years ago when we were living in Northern MN and both of our hands were looking bad in the wintertime, we were looking for some Bag Balm. We went into the local drug store and Norm walked up to the pharmacist and when asked if he could help him, Norm answered, “We’re looking for Bag Balm.” The pharmacist looked puzzled and said, “What?” So Norm repeated it. Then Norm, trying to be helpful, said, “Yes, Bag Balm–that stuff they use on cow’s udders.” The pharmacist looked puzzled and Norm repeated it. Only both times he was saying it, he was pronouncing it “You-ders” instead of “A-ders”. The pharmacist looked at me and both of us convulsed with laughter! My city-bred husband had never had the occasion to use the word “udder” or pronounce it. It makes me laugh just to think of it now. I was, in between laughter, saying, “Norm, it is “A-ders”, NOT “U-ders”. He was so embarrassed and still gets red-faced if I bring it up… 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            Well, really, it’s uh-ders. Isn’t it? Maybe we should ask the cow!

          • Pat Mofjeld of St. Paul, MN says:

            You are right–“Uh-ders”. Didn’t think of it. I was trying to say “short a sound”… Hmmm, if you asked the cows, they probably would say they didn’t want to talk about it in public! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            I’m sure you’re right!

          • Lynn McMahon says:

            I bought some and tried it~ it works!

  32. OMG..I have been laughing so hard not only with joe but at all the other gals crazy things that happened to them, that I had to add my two cents worth. Several years ago when my mom was still alive, I took her grocery shopping. We both got a lot so she had the box boy help her with her stuff. As we walked out I reached up on my head for my sunglasses, where I always kept them because in SO CAL the sun was bright, anyway they weren’t there. I stopped and pawed in my purse..not there either. I said to my mom, who was looking at me by then wondering what I was doing, “I can’t find my sun glasses”, patting the top of my head, and that I needed to go look in the store. She said looking at me “you would lose your head if it weren’t attached”. The box boy chimes in..”do you own more then one pair?” I said, ” No only the one set.” He said in a strange quiet voice, “are you wearing them?” OMG I was…even my Mom didn’t notice I was wearing them on my eyes. I was soooo embarrassed. I am sure he told that story for years. LOL
    I loved the post. Look forward to hints about the book along the way. Thanks for the laughs.

  33. Jackie P says:

    Couldn’t figure out what was happening to Joe in picture #1. Picture #2, belly-laughed so hard my dogs ran to the door to see if someone was coming! TOO FUNNY. So what is the verdict? Still hanging his glasses around his neck? (Still laughing!)

    Also, I’ve tried the Curel — great stuff. The cream version in a jar is wonderful to slather on with gloves at bedtime. Also, Eucerin Smoothing Repair. Ahhh. Relief from dry, cracking skin.

    Question: when you drape wet towels on the furniture, doesn’t it leave a watermark? I like the idea (our house is dry for all the same reasons you mention). Maybe wet towels on the radiators will work as well . . .

    New book . . . can’t wait!!!

    • sbranch says:

      Any where you want to put them. I actually have one long hand towel tucked into a kitchen drawer. I have one hung over the corner of a door. I have one on a mantle upstairs with the edge held down by a doorstop. Our chairs have a waterproof finish on them, but if yours don’t, there are tons of places you can put them. Best nearest the place where heat comes out.

  34. Sue G says:

    Loved, loved, loved that story and pictures about your dear Joe! Thanks too for the tip about the towels, and since the heat will be running for quite a bit more here in WI I plan to give it a try. Thanks for such a fun post!

  35. Cindy Tuning says:

    What a hoot! I saw that string and was wondering..if he holds his glasses on a string..why would it be below the glasses. How funny! He must have really been focused on what he was typing to not notice getting wet. We have iron radiators heating my house which I think are just the best, but very drying. I do laundry pretty much every day and put clothes that I don’t want to put in the dryer, draped over the radiators. It’s amazing how fast they dry and in turn put more moisture into the rooms. I also put a little bowl of water under each radiator but Rosie and Lucy think that these are their drinking bowls. I have never seen them drink from their water bowl next to their food but any other container is fair game. After catching Rosie gulping from my bedside glass of water one night I started putting a teacup and saucer on my stand so now she is quite happy to only drink from that. Silly cats. The Curel is my go-to lotion in the winter and does work wonders. The rest of the year it’s the sweet smelling girlie lotion but in the winter, it’s serious business!

  36. Sylvia in Seattle says:

    Very fun blog today. Girl Kitty will be my new laptop background. LOVE HER. Remembering cottage cheese pancakes too. Used to make them years ago thinking they were healthier 🙂 I’ve been craving pancakes for some time now. Do I dare?? LOVE the pile you chose to work on next. Hope I live long enough to see the finished project. I’ll pass on the pancakes maybe. I know many will feel a connection to your big adventure and Happy Anniversary of it. I just got a funny picture in my mind of Joe crossing the threshold of your little cottage with the teabag hanging — kind of a past premonition if you will. I know it’s odd, but that’s how my mind works.

  37. Next, you’ll need to do a helpful hints post about how Joe got that tea stain out of his shirt!

  38. Janice says:

    My Mom loves to tell the story of how my Dad would come home from the mill for lunch every day. Sometimes he would let me play “beautician” and put curlers in his hair. One day I guess I didn’t quite get them all out, and he showed up back at the mill after lunch with a lone curler still in his hair. Poor Dad.

  39. Heather L. says:

    Oh we did have to have pancakes yesterday — no one here seems to get this idea when I explain it to them…..we had ours with frozen berries (defrosted) and plenty of maple syrup-sweetened whipped cream! Yum!! And bacon, and eggs. The only thing that was missing was a pot of tea, but as I was feeding 7 children and 2 adults and we had a mad-dash deadline I couldn’t let myself dwell on the missing tea. 🙂 I would have liked Darjeeling.

  40. mary mccumber says:

    Wow! You had me at the photo of those YUMO~LICIOUS blueberry pancakes! Thanks for another blog that leaves me giggling for such a good long time, forgetting for a while that lovely winter needs to move on, & spring is not quite here yet! Joe, my glasses are always dangling on a string too!

  41. JoAnn from SoCal says:

    I was SO in need of a good laugh today and thank you and your dear Joe for providing it! Hugs a plenty…

  42. Frances Fowler says:

    I just loved this post and can well imagine one mirthful peal after another upon seeing your sweet hub. Personally, my reading glasses are either on or on top of my head, to the point that even if they aren’t there, I feel that they are. Curel is about the only lotion out there that has alpha hydroxy lotion for the chicken shin legs, which I despise. Love ABBA! Seeing that video (thanks!) reminded me that a only a few days ago I read how their 70s costumes were so cheesy, even by the horrid fashion standards of the decade, because they could only use them as a tax write-off if they weren’t worn anywhere else. Don’t know if that’s true, but I wouldn’t wish to be caught in the white space cape garment that looked as if it came from a costume pattern. Your pancakes look so yummy! Is there anything better than blueberry pancakes with lots of maple syrup? And what talented ladies Sheri and Mattie must be — they made a lamb cake so adorable, I couldn’t bear to eat it 🙂

  43. Barbara Freitas says:

    Always love, love, love reading your blog.
    Today’s laugh was the best ever…….gives a whole new meaning to “a cup of Joe” ! xo

  44. Pat V says:

    How I remember those heating vents in my old house! Six pairs of boots upside down, six pairs if mittens, six pairs of wet socks and various hats and scarves all seeking drying room. Out in the hallway reserved for the king were rubber gloves inside out and odiferous fishing boots upside down. The scents were mixed and pungent but oh, how I miss them.

    The house was well humidified and everything was nice and warm for the next time.

  45. Michelle says:

    I love the towel idea, because I LOATHE humidifiers and refuse to deal with them! Maybe this will help save our skin? It better, because my boys will not allow me to slather lotion all over them forever! xoxo

  46. Jo Ann says:

    You are so right about the Curel! And adding humidity by letting a wet towel dry out is genius. Thanks!

  47. barbara lassiter says:

    Best story ever…Joe and the tea bag caper! He’s such a good sport to let us in on this hilarious moment! Looking forward to your new book! I just bought another copy of A Fine Romance today for another friends birthday. She, like you, has an amazing collection of Beatrix Potter figurines and will love your book!

  48. Oh I can’t wait to read about your house 🙂 I love the diary books SO much!

    That is so funny about Joe and his glasses 🙂 I guess it is better to have a tea-bag on them rather than sitting on them (as I have done mine) or losing them on the bedspread (I do this daily- I am terribly short-sighted 😉 ).

    Great tip about the towels- thanks!

    We had delicious apple pancakes with apple syrup yesterday- they were very good!

  49. Diana Everett says:

    THank you for the chuckle…what fun! My husband and I are always having silly things like that happen to us, brightening our days! I have a comment on the wet towel idea: after a period of time, wouldn’t this cause your wooden chairs to turn whitish and get ruined? Water and wood usually are not a good mix. Just wondering! I do love the idea and agree with getting moisture in to the air for sure.

    • sbranch says:

      Our chairs are old but they have a waterproof finish on them, so says Joe. If yours don’t, then hang them over doors, on hooks, it really doesn’t matter what you put them on.

  50. Evelyn says:

    Funny post. Thanks for the wet towel tip. I’m going to try that. I’ve been crackling with static electricity all winter.
    Another really nice extra hydrating body lotion is Quench by Olay. Also from the drugstore. Your skin will thank you. It feels like it’s been given a big drink of water

  51. sondra fox says:

    Hi Susan & GF’s, I’ve been suffering with a disease called “no computer virus.” I haven’t been able to use my computer for two weeks. All was a big blank. Finally, after many calls to the company who services my computer, they were able to fix it. Think of all that I’ve missed on your blog. I wouldn’t have liked missing Joe with the tea bag on his glasses. The look on his face sort of reminded me of Stan Laurel (Laurel & Hardy) when he’d do something & didn’t know what to do about it. The funny look on his face was a delight to see. My mother always told me to marry a man with a sense of humor, as well as one who treated the women in his family with respect. Joe certainly has a sense of humor. You two are perfect together.
    You certainly captured a tender moment between your two kitties. Adorable. Girl is finally getting used to Jack, eh?
    Your wonderful hints on baking the lamb cake make it an easy cake to bake. I love the way the lamb cake turned out in your blog. Great idea for the curly hair on the lamb. I loved the flowers all around the cake. So pretty. I’m going to write all the ideas down & make one. I found the lamb baking pans in the Lehman catalog, which is a catalog from the Lehman (family owned) store in Kidron, OH.
    We’re all recovering from three days of heavy rain. Our backyard was like a gigantic pool, with water coming up to the foundation, almost coming into our master bedroom. I’m afraid to complain though, as we’re in an extreme drought. I loved watching the rain, until I saw how the water was approaching entrance into my house.
    Oh, I meant to tell you what I do about my reading glasses. I put a pair in every room of the house, everywhere I read. That’s what works for me. I’m happy to be back. How I missed all of you while I couldn’t use my computer. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

    • sondra fox says:

      Oh, Oh, I just went to your shopping page Susan, I didn’t know you sold the lamb baking pan. Must have missed that somewhere. I told all who sold the pan. Sooooo sorry. I apologize. (Sandy from Chihuahua Flats)

      • sbranch says:

        Oh don’t worry. We carry things in case people can’t find them, it’s OK where they get them.

    • sbranch says:

      Welcome back Sandy!!! Nice to hear from you!

  52. Annette McD says:

    Susan, get some coconut oil at the market, spoon some out , melt it and rub the warm oil into your cuticles, put on some cotton gloves and let it soak in overnight. It works great!

    • sbranch says:

      I tried coconut oil, in fact I have jar next to the heat vent in the bathroom so it more or less stays melted all the time. But it didn’t help! Probably everyone is different and their skin needs different things. That’s my guess. I’m pretty sure nothing works for everyone. But I have a girlfriend who swears by coconut oil and even puts it in her hair.

      • Annette McD says:

        It could be the difference in our climates also, I live in western Washington where we got about 1 inch of snow that stayed for about 24 hours this winter. The temps are pretty mild and we get plenty of rain. You are in New England, need I say more?

  53. CarolK says:

    After I saw that first picture and before I saw the second one, I thought “that looks like a tea bag tag!” By the second picture I was laughing so hard the tears were flowing. That’s one way of drying out your tea bag. Joe is such a good sport to allow us all to have a good laugh. We’re laughing with you Joe, not at you because we all do silly things now and then. I have another tip for those with hot air heating. I put a plastic bowl 3/4 filled with water by each air vent (mine are near the floor on the wall). When the hot air blows out, it blows over the water picking up moisture to put into the air. Replenish as the water evaporates. Makes the air feel so much nicer and the wood furniture appreciates it too. Our two furry kids also appreciate it. They think those bowls are just for them. Much better than those fancy ceramic water bowls marked kitty that sit on their pretty placemat in the kitchen, I tell you…..
    Frosticicle hugs from NJ

  54. Beth says:

    Thanks for the laugh! One time, when I was talking to my mom on the phone, I could tell she was rushing around breathlessly and I asked her what she was doing. “I’m looking for my cell phone” she said. She was trying to get out the door to an appointment and didn’t want to be without it. “Didn’t I call you on your cell phone?” I asked her. At that moment she burst into laughter as she realized that indeed, she was talking to me on her cell phone as she was frantically tearing the house apart looking for it! Aren’t we humans a funny lot?!? Keep sending us smiles. And thank Joe for being such a good sport!

  55. Jan from Northern CA says:

    Oh Susan, Thank You!! I can’t wait for the new blotter calender!! AND it’s going to be bigger!! Yea!!
    Also, the photo of Joe was priceless! He’s a sport for being our fun for the day. Back when we were younger….we didn’t have this to worry about as we didn’t need glasses to see….. but time does fly by! I finally made the change from “cheaters” to prescription glasses the day I had not 1 pair of cheaters on, but 3! 1 pair on my head, 1 pair around my neck on a cute chain and then was looking for “my glasses” and after finding them, put them on and realized I had on three pairs…… I knew that day it was time to go see the Eye DR. I wear progressives now…..I surrendered.
    As far as funny things, I had my gray hair covered (a little vanity a bit longer thank you….) at my friends house a few months back…..and we decided to do my eyebrows too…….She took a photo of me with that “cute” plastic bonnet on my head & my eyebrows so dark that I looked like Groucho Marks……I found a marking pen and posed……made the mistake of texting it to my daughter in CO. She regularly brings it out to make fun of me. We have to laugh at ourselves……it keeps us Human!
    Jan from Northern CA

  56. Gert~Iowa says:

    Dear Susan..your cancakes look “oh so good”! Especially with those healthy blueberries in them…lol Poor Joe…what a funny story! I’ve tried having my glasses hanging too, but they just never worked for me! I love that sweet little lamb cake. Love your suggestion about the wet towels! We have a humidifier on our furnace but it still is dry…I shock everyone and get shocked by everything! This has been such a weird winter!! Good luck on your new book!!

  57. Florence says:

    It’s been very cold here in Lancaster,N.Y. spring better hurry before I dry up and blow away. My moisture cure is hanging my flat sheets over the bathroom shower rod,electric heat is a real killer on the skin. Thanks for your ideas. Pancakes made me crazy had to have some!!!!!

  58. Jamie says:

    I totally agree about dry hands and skin..A dear friend just introduced me to Aquaphor, a “healing ointment” and it is a miracle..a little greasy at first but goes away. My poor cuticles were a horror and after 24 hours I look as if I had a manicure.. Found in the lotions isle..I so can relate to the eyeglass issue and hate wearing bifocals so I too have about 10 times a day an eyeglasses hunt. I think of it like Easter egg hunting ….except no chocolate reward at the end….haha

  59. Lorna says:

    Dear Susan & Joe, Thank You for that much needed ROTFL for today!!! The Ole’ Glasses & Tea Bag was just PRICELESS!!! Thanks for sharing that with everyone!!! Totally made my day!

  60. Jane S. in PA says:

    Happy to have all of these great tips (from you and the girlfriends), not to mention the tea bag laugh! Am glad to see next year’s beautiful blotter calendar, because I’m missing it this year. And for some reason I’m having a serious craving for pancakes! lol

  61. Rhonda D. says:

    Wishes do come true…I know what book you are writing. Lucky us. Sending inspiration, creativity, and good writing vibes your way, I’ll be cheering you on. This will be a special one, very exciting.

    Thanks for the tip about the wet towel. Good idea. It’s been so dry this winter. How dry? Well, I’ve been getting shocks off the dish water. I’ve never seen that before. While going through my treatments, my hands were in rough shape. I used antiseptic Bag Balm on the cracks. I bought it at the farmer’s co-op. They use it on the cows. I’ve heard that Shania Twain uses it on her face. It did the trick. I have to be careful with scents. Does the Curel have much of a scent?

    One thing I do have to say…that’s two lucky cats. They just ooze contentment. Happy writing Susan! xo

  62. Linda S. says:

    That towel trick is brilliant–can’t wait to get them hung up tonight! Thanks!

  63. Jennifer says:

    Absolutely laughed out loud looking at Joe and tea bag!
    And….trying the wet towel tip…tonight. My skin is soooo dry from all this cold air and heated air!

  64. Janet Hundley - Grafton, WI says:

    Susan and Joe…Furbabies, too,
    What a wonderful post from blueberry pancakes to Oscars to adorable serving pieces, fancy lamb cakes, cures for the ails of Winter, anticipation of new books and desk blotters. I just had to share with my fb family, because we are all so sick of Winter and needed a chuckle. Thanks, Joe for helping us all laugh with you.
    My best was sniffing all the lilies before picking just the right bouquet @ my local market some years ago. I shopped the entire store, checked out, did my banking (face to face, of course), stopped @ the dry cleaners and the drug store. When I finally got home and looked in a mirror it was obvious my nose was completely covered in lily stain then and most likely during all my stops and as I walked the street. Thank goodness for no cell phone cameras back in the day. I still chuckle to myself thinking of how proud I was trolling the street with my purchase of flowers.

  65. Laura Jenkins says:

    Hilarious pic of Joe..oh, dear..print it and frame it! What is it about readers? I have a pair in almost every room, in my car…but the hubs is always borrowing mine and stretching them out. I thought I could cure him by buying the most outlandish printed frames/styles possible, to discourage him from wearing mine and to prod him to remember his..did it work? No…picture my hubs in a posh French restaurant with my bright purple cat-eye readers..he has no shame…old dog=no new tricks..xo

    • KarenP (Wisconsin) says:

      I want to wear readers so badly because there are so many cute ones but i can’t because I’m nearsighted in one and farsighted in the other! Boo-hoo…

  66. Kari says:

    Do you know how it feels when you go to the mailbox and find a special letter written with the perfect handwriting and a stamp in the corner with a bouquet of flowers and you can’t wait to open it and read the words just meant for you? That is how your blog feels every time you post! Thank you! ~Kari

    • sbranch says:

      You can’t hear my little squeaking sounds of liking your words, but I am making them. Thank you! xoxo

    • Judy from Maine says:

      That is a perfect description of Susan’s blog, I totally agree. I also think that particular Cure’l is the best. I have a bottle in every room.

      • Marie (Long Beach, California) says:

        Kari, you have just given the most beautiful description for Susan’s blog. I feel exactly the same way. It’s like a gift you know you’re going to absolutely love. And you get to enjoy it over and over again, whenever you want. 🙂

      • judy young says:

        I agree that is describing Susan’s blog to a T. I am going to try the Curel, but I have been using Nivea’s extended moisture which keeps skin moist and soft for 48 hours.

    • Dawn (in Illinois) says:

      Kari, that is SO true!! Our mailboxes and our hearts are overflowing with joy!! ♡♡

  67. I started wearing eye glasses when I was six years old. I do not remember what it is like to see something clearly without a frame around it. If I lose my glasses it is a serious thing as I cannot see very well at all without them, but then again, oddly enough when I am in bed at night I cannot read with them on. Strange things, these eyes of ours!

    Oh Joe does make me laugh. Husbands. What would we do without them! I will be chuckling to myself about this all day.

    My dad recently went to the local coffee shop in his long johns. I know! How does that happen??? He had gotten up early to watch the Canada/Sweden Olympic Hockey game. He’d gotten washed and half dressed, but didn’t want to wrinkle his pants, and so he had sat in his shirt, long johns and socks . . . and watched the game. When it was finished, he decided to go to the coffee shop for some tea and toast. He put his coat on, grabbed his car keys and off he went. He said he thought it was extra cold that day, but it didn’t dawn on him until after he’d had his breakfast and went to pay for it and his wallet wasn’t in his trousers that he realized he was wearing his long johns, and had completely forgotten to put on his trousers. I don’t know what they thought in the coffee shop. WE are still laughing about that one and I don’t know if he has had the courage to return to the coffee shop yet.

    You just have to smile at these things in life don’t you. Have a great day! Thanks for the smile! xxoo

    • Debbie P. ~ Weedsport, NY says:

      I am so enjoying everyone’s funny stories! This one, Marie, just had me lol! What a funny memory for you and your husband!
      A favorite book of my family daycare is Froggy Goes to School. Froggy will be heading to kindergarten soon and he has a dream that he oversleeps on the first day and hurries off to school without his pants! He could laugh because, after all, it was just a bad dream. Too bad for your Dad…a real nightmare 🙂

  68. Anita says:

    I have a suggestion concerning the eyeglasses dilemma. I bought on line at QVC, I think it was, or possibly HSN, a set of three eyeglass holders. They are small decorative magnets that fasten onto your shirt. The magnets are super strong so they stay on. The front of the holder has a “loop” that you put one of the eyeglass ear pieces into, the folded eyeglasses stay in the loop attached to the holder, and the magnet keeps the holder on your shirt. No more strings around your neck or glasses on the top of your head! The problem is that they all look decidedly feminine – I haven’t seen a masculine one yet. But they really are a handy gadget. Have a great day! Anita

  69. Sreekala says:

    Yay! Looking forward to your new book! Please pass on two feeble bangs on the back to Joe for making me laugh so hard. Oh, if only you could have been there to point it out to him and see the realization dawning! Unfortunately I can’t help you with finding your glasses because I need to have mine on my nose all the time, therefore can’t lose them. My Mom keeps them in their box near her favorite reading chair so she always has them where she needs them – I guess it’s okay if you’re an organized person. But my Dad keeps losing his pair ALL the time. He actually DID the proverbial hunting for the glasses keeping them on his nose and it’s one of our favorite family reminiscences – him having us hunting all over the house and finally my Mom coming in from the kitchen, me coming down from upstairs, my sis coming from the porch – all converging on him in the living room and incredulously staring at the glasses he’s wearing while he was turning the living room upside down in his search! If he ever talks about one of us needing to be more organized, the specs hunt story will surely come out!

    • sbranch says:

      Ha ha ha Sreekala, it’s a universal problem. I’m like you, wear mine all the time now, just peek over the top for the long distances.

  70. Willy says:

    hej Susan, what a wonderful story about Joe and the teabag. I will drink my cup of tea with a laugh. It’s lunchtime in Holland, and I would like to eat some pancakes (pannenkoeken). I love your quilt. I think you will love ‘Supergoof’, Ingrid makes wonderful quilts.
    Have a nice day

  71. Catie Cook says:

    Oh my! That is hysterical! Because I am forever misplacing my spectacles, I possess a beaded “chain” for them. However, it makes me uncomfortable so when I use it, invariably I end up removing it from my neck (along with my eyeglasses) and placing it somewhere. The good news is that it’s easier to find one’s eyeglasses when they’re attached to a colorful beaded chain than when they are going solo. Thank you for the wet-towel tip. That’s a great idea! This has been a very cold winter here in the Northwoods and I’ve been trying everything I can think of to put moisture into the air in the house! So thank you! And I LOVE the blotter! Additionally, I’m hoping that your new book is about a particular breakfast food…? If not, then I’m sure it’s something fabulous!

  72. Barbara from Wolverine Lake MI says:

    Future Book – I MUST make a few comments towards this direction. PLEASE pick the Tea Party book first, PLEASE 🙂 I would so be thrilled to see it in publication. Oh Susan it would be heavenly! 🙂 next, the tea bag fashion statement. How utterly hysterical 🙂 And laughter is the absolute thing that ties a couple together. Laughing is better for you than exercise, did you know that? Something will set off my husband and I and we laugh and giggle for-EVER and the kids (well not kids, they’re in their almost 30’s) get a bit irritated with us. But Susan and Joe, it’s so healthy for a relationship to have FUN together. I loved that you shared it with us. I can just see you guys now 🙂 That was one for The Ages.
    next….I heard that store where you had your book-signing, Shulers Books in Grand Rapids MI is closing! So, when you have your next book published we shall find another book store on MY side of the state and I’ve already been scouting out places 🙂 Just saying… Oh, and the blotter page is a beauty!

    • sbranch says:

      Oh, I’m so sorry about Shulers! Another old Independent goes down. I’m sure this winter did not help. Who wants to go to the bookstore in below freezing temps on ice covered roads when Amazon will deliver. It’s sad though.

  73. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Susan, do you know what Sheri and Maddie used for the “wool” on their sweet lambkin? It looks like miniature marshmallows or it could be piped-on icing? I just received my copy of “Kitchen Gardens” from Chapters yesterday but will save it for my birthday on the 17th. Was so hoping I could find a cake pan close by but the bake shop that carried them was sold out. That teabag certainly came with strings attached, lol.

    • sbranch says:

      If you look on FOSB Sheri goes into detail on the decorating of her lamb cake, but it’s just frosting piped in circles from a baggie! So easy!

  74. Chris H says:

    If I’ve picked up on your hint correctly you’re doing the book about your first house…….yay!!!! my favourite option 🙂 looking forward to the progress reports.

  75. Judy from Maine says:

    Morning Susan,
    I have a quick question re, wet towels. Don’t the towels damage the wood on the chairs they are draped on? I love this tip, but don’t want to damage a chair.
    The Joe story and picture is hubby wears his glasses the same way, I’ve given up the battle of “just wear your glasses for goodness sake”, but it too raged for years.

    • sbranch says:

      I made a big mistake by not writing this in the original post … the chairs those towels are on have a waterproof finish on them. Otherwise I wouldn’t have done it … I also hang them on my exercise bike handles and on the tops of doors upstairs in the bedrooms … it really doesn’t have to be on a chair.

      • Judy from Maine says:

        Thanks Susan, if I had read a little bit further I would have seen your reply to this same question a million times. I guess we are all thinking alike…which is good that’s why we all love you so.
        Knowing we all love Downton Abby…and this post is a little “tea” inspired…have you seen the limited edition Downton Abby tea from the Republic of Tea? Yummy, English Rose and Grantham breakfast blend. Both are yummy and have plus for Joe…tea bags without strings. No more mishaps

        • sbranch says:

          I got it for Christmas! I’ll see if I can foist some of it off on him — maybe he won’t notice?

  76. judy from connecticut says:

    Good Morning,
    I think those yummy blueberry pancakes are a hint for the next book. Although, we will all be happy no matter which one you chose to write next !!! I also think someday you should do a book of “kitty photos”- it would go quickly and you have SO many good ones ! It would be to have everyone see how wonderful cats are to have in your life and get more people to adopt !! A way to save more shelter kitties !

    Has anyone made a lamb cake with dark chocolate frosting for the face, so it would look like that variety of lamb? I think it would be adorable.

    Thank you Joe for such a good laugh to start the day !!

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, we always need a black sheep in the crowd just to keep things interesting!

    • Diana says:

      One year we did a lamb cake with chocolate icing… was the cake honoring the “black sheep ” of the family. Those that don’t “do” coconut. It was very cute!

  77. kedra says:

    Love the very last picture and quote on todays page. Could we have it for a desktop wallpaper?

    • sbranch says:

      I think Kellee is making it into a print to put in our web store . . . at least that’s the last thing I heard.

  78. judi says:

    Oh, Joe, you are so cute! We ALL have to laugh at ourselves:) At first glance I thought it was Sue with her glasses caught and she was going to say, “told you so”.

    That is the prettiest picture of Girl Kitty:) Your towel idea is great and I would think those drying racks would work super too (adding a little lavender scent to your spray bottle in the bedroom = heaven:)

    I was so excited to see that I do have your Vineyard Kitchen book for the pancake recipe. Wow, only 1/4 c of flour? I have some frozen blueberries so will have to try it. Loved the saying at the bottom of that page too, “The wind was blowing, but not too hard, and everyone was so happy and gay for it was only twenty degrees below zero and the sun shone.” Laura Ingalls Wilder Sounds like my beloved MN this year! Attitude is everything:) ttfng judi

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, only 1/4 cup of flour, and I’m thinking that might even be something that could be substituted to make them gluten free — I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure it’s possible.

      • judi says:

        Happy you verified that – you know me, Betty Bandaid, need all the help in the kit I can get now-a-days:)

  79. Amylisa says:

    I have to try your wet towel idea for sure. The upstairs in our old house is not heated, but we still get the static electricity zaps from the air being so cold and dry.
    Love the ABBA music! And I can’t wait to get one of your blotter calendars!

  80. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Adorable lamb cake and HILARIOUS Joe Hall!!! I find that Gold Bond lotions are the best cure for dry skin. And if you have dry feet, Gold Bond Feet (little blue squeeze bottle) will fix you right up. So, if you can’t find your Curel, Gold Bond is a great option too. The idea of wet towels is a great one because the winter heat is so drying, especially up north. I like the simplicity because you can easily find a towel to dampen for your bedroom. And the next book? Very exciting!! I cannot wait to see what you have planned.

  81. Amylisa says:

    Oh, by the way I just got a copy of Heart Of The Home and I love it. I think the first recipe I’m going to try is your French onion soup. I don’t know why I thought this book would be on the small size. It’s fun that it’s nice and big. 🙂

  82. Linda T. in Maine. says:

    OMG..This same thing about eye glasses goes on in my house also.LOL. My thought on the matter is I don’t want to look old before my time.When I was a kid,”way back when”, Only Grandma,s and Grandpa,s wear thoses fun looking strings around their necks and I refuse to wear the strings before my time. I don,t want to get old to quick. I am not standing in that line yet. This my answer everytime LOL. This is on going all the time.That’s because I loose them also. SO, I went to the store and bought lots of reader glasses and now I can find them everywhere. Problem solved. So I say, but I still can’t find them when I need them. I only need them for reading and more often than not. The eye Dr. says we can make them so you can have clear glass up top and readers below. I say No Thanks. Case closed. I think it is so oh FUNNY what happen to Joe”Sorry Joe” but this is to cute for words. I think cause Joe is wearing all his winter layers he didn’t notice it right away and then he felt the wetness after a fashion. LOL. Up here in Maine and the north we have to wear layers or we will freeze. Got to admit that’s a funny way to have tea in the morning. I will allways remember this one. I showed my Hubby this and he got the biggest laugh ever. You to sure know how to make our day.THANK YOU! I rest my case. Now for the calendar..Love it. Panckes were yummmy. I use your reciepe all the time cause I pick my our blueberry and freeze them for the winter ever year here in Maine. I have enough till next pickin time. Same with Blackrashberrys and Apples in the fall . Freeze is full for the winter to enjoy. Love doing it every year. Have a fantastic day.

  83. Susan Branch is the new “Heloise” , or “Mary Ellen”, remember those “helpful hints” ladies? Love the towels tip, Susan! We don’t use our heater very much in Phoenix, just here and there for a few months to take the chill off in the early morning, then the sun comes out and warms all up again. But it is so dry here, all the time, I am always trying new skin creams, so will try that lotion. I also like Mane n’ Tail hand and nail therapy cream, but it sometimes is hard to find, I imagine in a small place, like yours! Hope spring comes soon, Susan!

  84. Pamela Jo says:

    Your pancakes look yummy! Here in PA Dutch Country, we eat Fastnachts on Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday). They are potato doughnuts, which are fried, then eaten plain, glazed, or with powdered sugar. I make my own and prefer the powdered sugar variety. I am always a mess when I eat them…powdered sugar on my nose, around my mouth, and from my chin down the front of my sweater! Much like Joe and his tea bag! LOL! Anyway, in the old days when people cooked on wood stoves, etc., the tradition was that if you were the last one to eat a fastnacht on Shrove Tuesday, you had to take out the ashes on Ash Wednesday.

    Love your idea about using towels to add moisture to the air. My house is so dry this winter. I’m going to do that as soon as I’m finished typing this!

    So much fun in this post, Susan!

    Pamela Jo

    p.s. Here’s my recipe for PA Dutch Fastnachts:

    Traditional PA Dutch Fastnachts:

    2½ cups hot mashed potatoes
    1 cup milk
    3 beaten eggs
    2 Tablespoons melted butter
    2 cups sugar
    2 Tablespoons baking powder
    5 cups flour

    Mix everything together except flour. Mix flour in slowly.
    Divide the dough in half. Roll ½ inch thick. Cut with a donut cutter or use a knife to cut into square shaped pieces. Deep fry in hot fat or oil until done. Serve plain, glazed or with powdered sugar.

    • sbranch says:

      Mmmmmm, those look delicious Pammy Jo. Do they get at crisp like buttermilk cake donuts, or are they airy like a glazed donut? Or? Maybe they should go in my Pancake Book?

      • Pamela Jo says:


        The fastnachts have a heavy consistency, I think because of the potatoes. Not too crispy and not too airy. Very unique compared to regular doughnuts. Not really like a pancake, but many people serve them plain and then put pancake syrup on them, so they might be considered pancake-like. You could put them in your pancake book if you like!

        I like that you called me Pammy Jo! My close friends always call me that! I think it is endearing!

        Have a great day!

        Pammy Jo : )

        • sbranch says:

          When I was little I had a best friend named Pamela and we called her Pammy … I didn’t think, it just came out! She was endearing too.

    • Margot in Virginia Beach says:


  85. Michele says:

    Susan, tell Joe, “Thanks!” SOOO funny! Thanks for posting the sweet picts of the kitties, too! They warm my heart all the way over here :0)

  86. Deborah Winter says:

    Hi Susan!

    Although I believe you are inventive and thrifty with the towels over the chairs for humidity do yourself a favor and get a humidifier on your furnace. I just did because I live in PA and we have had record snow, below zero temps, etc. and it has made a world of difference as far as my skin, breathing and health. It only cost $369 which is a real bargain in my eyes as the benefits are great. Watch you don’t take the finish off of your chairs with the wet towels (I speak from experience).

    • sbranch says:

      We did get an estimate this year and it was over $2000 — everything is more expensive on this island. Then it got to be so late we figured we’ll wait until next year. Unless we continue on road to thriftiness.

      • Deborah Winter says:

        Well, that is unbelievable considering what I paid. Get more than one estimate if you can because they vary quite a bit. It is worth doing for sure. I used to get sick a lot and my skin would be so dry and uncomfortable not to mention the static electricity.

        Enjoy the weekend!

        • sbranch says:

          You’re so right, it’s important. I guess I never noticed it so much before, but last year was an eye-opener.

  87. Wendy says:

    1. the pancakes look delish — will be making some this w/e..2. teabag incident: hilarious, laughed out loud. Love Joe for being a good sport. Have had problems with glasses on a string — caught on a lower cabinet door handle and broke when I stood up, beads everywhere….now wearing progressives….meh. 3. Looooove the quilt. 4. Double-looooove for the sweet kitters. 5. Careful with wet towels on wood (stained towels, damaged wood finish). 6. Love Curel, but fave is A&D ointment (put it on my hands and feet at night with gloves & socks), and pot it up for use as lip balm, chapped nostrils, etc. Let’s see, what else? Hmmmmm, hope you are having a lovely sunny day today…I’ll be going out to convert some vitamin D.

    • sbranch says:

      Me too, cabinet door handle, broke glasses. Crushed on chest when going in for a kiss. Awkward hugs with friends. Caught in steering wheel. Just can’t do it. It’s me. Many people do just fine. I’m happy just keeping them on my face!

  88. Susan in SC says:

    Loved the funny tea bag episode, but I’m still reeling from the news that drinking hot tea can dry out our skin. Yikes!

    • sbranch says:

      I know! That’s alright, just put it back with lots of veggies and glasses of water and wet towels! 🙂

  89. Dear Susan, I find the picture of your manuscript (and the many pictures in a previous post of all your ongoing book projects) totally thrilling! I’m so glad you are pursuing your autobiography and especially how you came to be an artist and author. I hope the writing and artwork just flows for you, and is a joy to work on. I’d love to read another diary-format book from you! Best wishes from Maine…

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you so much Sarah. It is thrilling, but it’s daunting too, trying to put the pieces together in a sensible fashion. Here I go ~ just reading comments this morning and then it’s back to the book. Your best wishes mean a lot!

  90. Lisa R (northern Az) says:

    Just another tip for cracked skin. My thumbs are the worst, and they hurt the most when cracked! Just before going to bed, I put a good dab of triple antibiotic ointment cream right on the crack, like Neosporin (but the store brand works as well) cover with a band aid, and leave overnight. The next morning all the pain is gone, and if I lotion real good all day, it’s usually healed up.

  91. Rosanne Murphy (Oregon) says:

    Joe’s tea bag is too funny!! Once one of my girlfriends was browsing in a department store, with a closed umbrella on her arm. When she was back outside walking in the rain, she felt something tickling her neck. Turns out she had been walking down the street with a great big bra dangling from her umbrella! This was especially funny, because she is such an upstanding, rule-following kind of person. She was mortified, and then had to return to the store and try to explain herself! LOL

  92. Christine in Covina says:

    Excited about a new blog!

    I to am known for such things as tea bag necklaces! I always seem to wear something on my front. Joe, you are a great sport!

    Love the wet towel idea, we do stay dry here in Cali!

    Thanks again!

  93. Michele says:

    help, Girlfriends!~ I’ve just scanned over 330 posts here, looking to see if someone recommended an excellent moisturizer for LIPS. I am so chapped 🙁 (Although I am laughing… Marie that story about your Dad going to the coffee shop in his long johns was hilarious! Thank you!)

    • sbranch says:

      My lips were peeling and chapped before I started humidifying with the towels, but they’re fine now. I just use the old style chapstick when I need something.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      My lips too get really chapped. This is what works for me: Lavendar Lip Balm from Andre Organic Lavendar ( and Burts Bees-they have a great selection yet my favorites are: Beeswax Lip Balm, Honey Lip Balm and Lip Balm with eucalyptus and menthol ( If you lips are cracked and hurting then Blistex works the best to not only soften your lips yet heal them. Hope these ideas work as well for you as they have for me!
      Sweet Sue

    • Cathy says:

      They are recommending a lip balm from Clarion from France. All the stars use it and was found their purses at the Oscars. I am sure you can it fine stores.

  94. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Silly Joe! thank you for letting Susan share with us!

  95. Audrey by the sea. says:

    A new book, “be still my heart, we must present ourselves to the world and look upon it as an adventure.” This phrase is so you Susan.
    Such a happy post, so many colors, humor and interesting things about your life on MV. As soon as I saw your pile of papers, I knew.

    “Oh, and Joe.”… “mind your frocks or the fairy beasts will come down from Canada through an open window to get you!”

    So happy that you are doing a new book. oxo

  96. Amy says:

    One way I increase the moisture in our bedroom (we have a humidifier downstairs) is to bring the crockpot up and fill it with water and let it run all night on low – trying your towel idea, too!

  97. Jeanette says:

    The pancakes look delish!!! I love pancakes any day and they are my Dad’s favorite. I love to make them for him and watch him delight in eating them. I’ll have to share a delightful message on my spoon holder, which was a gift from a dear friend who know how much my Dad loves pancakes. I’ll get back on that one…

    Thanks for the great, belly laugh. Tell Joe he’s not alone – because if I left my tea bag in I’m sure it would find a way to leap out of my cup and land someplace precarious and I wouldn’t even know it until some time when it would be embarrassing. I’m a mess! Usually for me it’s the rouge invisible hand that jumps up and bumps my filled-to-the-rim and slosh over the side it goes – on the floor, carpet, end table – you name it! :):):)
    Hope your weekend is just as delightful as you are!
    Hugs and love,

  98. suzie says:

    Yes I live in Las Vegas and its dry here all year around it is a desert afterall. CUREL lotion is all I have found to keep my skin from being dry and itchy…. Love the teabag/glasses story… great laughing item…giggle…giggle…giggle.

  99. Barbara Weresow says:

    There are so many comments,I can’t read them all right now. Wanted to share what we do to combat dry air….Put pretty bowls full of water near the heat vents. We have to refill every few days, so it must be working. Your kitties will like the additional water bowls,too!

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve tried that but usually, as you might expect from seeing this post, we step in them or kick them over. Our vents are all on the floor. When Joe steps in one, I get the look. 🙂

  100. Too funny with the tea bag…I heard your beautiful laugh…all the way in Iowa!! (SMILES) I ADORE the lamb cake pictures…thanks for inspiring me!

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