Tonight is a new moon (which is actually an invisible moon). If you live in South America, today you’ll get a solar eclipse. The next big thing, December 21 is Winter Solstice, a sacred time of magic and light and the bridge to a new beginning which I think we could all really use right now!💫 On that day we’ll be furthest from the sun, but the next strike of the second hand? The days start getting longer!☀️ . . . So much to celebrate! And now, me. No. First, MUSICA. THEN me.

I do not think, on earth, you can ask much more than this. Note cat.💞



And among my wonderful old movies and among my darling kitty cat . . .

We had our first last week! Just a cotton-candy dusting . . . to make it pretty . . . but of course I ran around with the camera! First snow is always the most magical!

We haven’t put away our fire pit yet, still thinking we might spend New Year’s Eve hovering over that fire and, one by one, burning every page of my 2020 calendar, because I am SO GLAD TO SEE THIS YEAR GO. I’ll say prayers to go up in the smoke. With that lovely light at the end of a rather long tunnel, we’re all getting closer to HUGGING again!⛅️

The weather has actually been quite warm considering where we live, and beautiful out on our walk, so this was like a little frosted Christmas gift!

Bit by bit, it’s getting very Christmasy around here!

We decided to put all our trees outside this year . . . this one is in the garden and I can see it from the kitchen window… but so can everyone who drives by the house!

These are out front, a little one in the window, a big one in the yard, and a nice little extra of reflection in the window . . .

We don’t have room in the kitchen for a tree, but we spend so much time there, so Joe put one on the kitchen porch where we can see it from inside.

I took that last photo with the table lamp ON…And this one with the lamp OFF. Camera reacts to that lamp! We also wrapped a small living tree in twinkle lights and took to our hospital to thank our heroes … trying to do our part in this crazy time we’re living through!

But it’s not like we have NO trees in the house. . .’Course we do!

We do! My bird tree. Our kitchen table wouldn’t know it was Christmas without it!

Joe’s been busy! Our wreaths smell wonderful!

It’s funny how we’re decorating. We don’t feel rushed. Every day one of us adds a little something. We’re truly enjoying it, and not doing everything we usually do, but pulling out loved things, and celebrating. Cooking a lot and loving it. We’re home alone this Christmas . . . we seem to be using the extra time to count our blessings.

The candles are lit!🕯

Mother Seraphima surprised me with this glowing tea light . . .💫 (and if you’re new here and haven’t read about Mother Seraphima and her house of creativity, you might like this post of Christmas Past.)♥️

This is a must-have for us, a Christmas tradition: Joe’s stocking for his family’s pets. I mentioned this the other night at our webinar … I wrote about Joe’s childhood prayer in A Fine Romance ~ the last seven names (below) are family pets! You can see, on the stocking, how as time passed, some of the names are crossed out 😞, and new ones added👍.

Wasn’t our Crowdcast event with An Unlikely Story Bookstore WONDERFUL? I LOVED reading your comments and answering questions, but was sorry I couldn’t see you! Although there were over a 1000 of us on that call, might have been hard to see everyone! It was my last one this year ~ Book talks in the time of Pandemic! I’m on the phone in this pic because for about five minutes I thought I couldn’t get on 😜 which led to minor meltdown!

But Kym saved the day … and there we were! If we get really bored this winter and need another visit, Kellee learned how to do it! We can put it on the calendar and all come together for tea!Oh yes, we can talk! I also want to thank whichever one of you it was that suggested I CLEAN the camera lens on my laptop!!! I could never figure out WHY I was so blurry … I kept asking everyone! No one knew! But then, during the talk, some of our girlfriends said, get a swab and some alcohol and clean that little spot next to the red dot on your computer! And voila! I came into focus for the first time! What would I do without you???

Did everyone get their puzzles? I hope so! We just heard they WILL be doing a second printing … probably won’t get them until February, but at least they are working on it! So, look what else came in! The first chapter of Enchanted! Another little bit of Christmas cheer🎄. Although it hasn’t much to do with Christmas, but everything to do with our very first trip to England aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2. It’s 28 pages, lots of photos, and all handwritten, and tied with a golden ribbon, it’s still festive! A stand-alone story with a beginning and an end . . . it’s the first chapter of the new book! And yes, I’m still working on the rest of it! And one more bit of news, I was just asked to renew the “shopping agreement” for the movie (or series) option for Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams! Fingers still crossed (almost cramped in that position at this point), still not holding breath, but wouldn’t it be fun!?! And one more thing, THANK YOU so very much for all the lovely reviews for Home for Christmas . . .  here, on Amazon, on Facebook, everywhere! . . . You don’t know how much it means to me!Speaking of Roald Dahl . . . supposedly he met Beatrix Potter when he was a little boy, and now there’s a Christmas movie about it just released in England. Not here yet, but I’m sure we must be next! Interestingly because I met Roald Dahl’s daughter, Tessa. So that only means two degrees of separation between me and Beatrix, my closest fly-by yet!💞

I took all my Christmas-tree-decorating time and instead wrote Christmas cards and sent Enchanted and Puzzles to my friends and family . . .♥️

And this year, instead of greens and candles and trees on the fireplace mantle, it’s packed with Christmas cards! Almost like having everyone here!

Now it’s time to rev up the old girl . . .

I made my Cranberry Marmalade again after Thanksgiving! Have you tried it yet? Well, make more cranberry sauce at Christmas . . . then try this delicious thing! Lovely New Year’s Gift for the ones you love!

My girlfriend Lynne sent me this photo yesterday of her grandson getting ready to make Christmas cookies! Did it make my day? It definitely did!♥️ I particularly LOVE his T-shirt! The Future is right there in front of us making Christmas cookies!

I’ve been baking too! Making things to give away this season . . . I’ll try anything with Cranberries in it . . .

So when our Girlfriend Mary Holland sent me this recipe I knew I had to try it! (I’ll type it out at the very bottom of this post!)

Isn’t it pretty? Doesn’t it just scream Christmas?! You could almost hang it on the tree!🎄

So I gathered all my goodies and did some measuring . . .

Into a medium-sized bowl went 2 cups of flour . . .

add 1 cup granulated sugar . . .

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder,

1/2 tsp. soda,

and 1/2 tsp. salt . . .

Whisk it all together well…

Stop and find out what Jack is up to. ⬆ But of course. . .  Time out for some shooting and retrieving of the stretchy unit! His eyes say to me, “You have all the power.” And then he whispers, “I know if I look at you like this you will stop and play with me.” And he is right!

Then it’s time for wet ingredients ~ The original recipe called for 2 Tbsp. melted crisco … but you can use melted butter, or coconut oil ~ I used avocado oil ~ it’s all considered “shortening.”

One beaten egg . . .

grated zest of one orange . . .

and 3/4 c. fresh-squeezed orange juice . . .

Mix it all up! (A spoon is better than a whisk in this case as I learned the hard, thick way!)

I thought nuts would be good in this bread so I added 1/2 cup coarsely-chopped walnuts . . .

And because I LOVE cranberries, I didn’t cut them in half as the recipe called for … I put them in whole (and probably saved a half hour of tiny cutting!).

Stirred it all up and poured it into my buttered bread pan…

Ready to go! Into a 350º oven for 55-60 minutes … 

And voila! 

It’s done if the knife comes out clean!

Cool completely before cutting into it.

And there she is … perfectly delicious and gorgeous too! You can make them in the little pans and give them as gifts! If I would have had some on hand (which I will next time) I would have sprinkled this bread with sanding sugar before I put it in the oven. I have to say, for some reason, this Orange Cranberry Tea Bread tastes better the second day, and every day!💞

This recipe reminded me a little of my Orange Marmalade Cake, which is more of a tea cake than a tea bread … a wonderful recipe that’s NOT in any of my books. Also perfect for this time of year, and I would have NO problem adding a cup of raw cranberries and some walnuts to it!

M A R M A L A D E    C A K E

  • 1 ½ sticks butter (¾c.), room temp.
  • ¾c. granulated sugar
  • zest of one lime
  • zest of ½ orange
  • 3 lg. eggs, room temp.
  • ⅓ c. rough-cut orange marmalade (and another ⅓ c. below, for Glaze)
  • 2 TB. fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 ½ c. all-purpose flour, fluff with fork before measuring
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer (hand or otherwise), about 5 min, until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl periodically.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in  ⅓ c. marmalade and the orange juice.  In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Fold them gently into the batter until just combined. Put batter into loaf pan and bake 50 min. until golden brown ~ knife into center of cake should come out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 min. Put a wire rack on a cookie sheet. Turn cake out of pan and place it on rack right-side- up. While cooling, prepare Glaze:

In small saucepan, heat together until melted: ⅓c. marmalade, 1 Tb. butter, ¼c. powdered sugar. Stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake, allowing Glaze to drizzle down sides. Cool completely before serving.💛

Soooo Sleepy these short dark days . . .😴💤

Found this on the Internet:

Very handy little list . . .

Enjoy this season of love.♥️ Take time for yourself. You can do everyone else NEXT year … it should be a doozie!🎉  Merry Christmas, darling friends, Happy Hanukkah, Joyeux Noel, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzaa! And happy just hanging around the house!🎁  


  • 2 c. flour, unsifted (just lighten it by stirring before measuring.
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. shortening: melted Crisco or butter, coconut or avocado oil
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 3/4 c. fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 c. raw cranberries
  • Sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a 9x5x3 bread pan. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together first five ingredients.  Stir in shortening, zest, o.j., and beaten egg. Fold in walnuts and cranberries. Pour into pan. Sprinkle on sanding sugar if you like. Bake 55-60 min. until knife comes out clean. Cool completely before slicing. ♥️

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  1. Cathy C. says:

    I hadn’t heard your voice before 🙂 The cranberry bread looks beautiful. I HAVE to try it. The tree outside the kitchen window is a great idea! Thank you for the Christmas cheer.

  2. Lorri says:

    Merry Christmas sweet friend!
    We’ve been fortunate to be able to cocoon during this terrible covid storm. I’m deeply grateful for family and friends and a community I love. Praying love, healing and provision over our sorely tried world. Such a joy to Go. Be. Love!

  3. Pam Erselius says:

    Also on the 21st of Dec: the Christmas star is appearing for the first time since 1625!
    Look in the sky!

  4. Patti Barrett says:

    Hello Susan,
    It seems I am always late to the party, so I am sure you won’t be reading such a late reply to your post! I wanted to let you know I agree, to a point, about throwing out the 2020 calendar based on the events of the past 9 months! But it is hard because your English Countryside calendar is so charming and I know the love and work you put into making it. I am keeping some of the photo pages, especially my favorite, July with the Border Collies. The “Oh the Power” photo is amazing (can you tell I love dogs?). Looking forward to your new travel book. Stay safe and warm this holiday season. Merry Christmas from Southern California, Regards, Patti B.

  5. Beverlee Moreno-Ring says:

    Well this blog post certainly lifted my holiday spirits! Merry Christmas to you and Joe and to Jack too. (Loved the handsome pic of him in his mustachioed glory) Sure been a crazy year.. Thank you for being a bright spot in this world during some of our darkest times. So much to look forward to sometime in 2021. Until then, another zoom chat sounds wonderful!!! Taking your twitter suggestion and spreading the love Susan. ❤️

  6. Jane Balshaw says:

    Susan, my mother-in-law gave me that exact same cranberry orange bread recipe! It came from her friend Alice in Madison, Wisconsin in 1961. Isn’t it fabulous? I use butter for those 2T. and it toasts up so nicely!

    Thank you for your always cheery, old-fashioned/heart warming, medicine-for-our-souls posts.
    ox Jane of Canterbury, NH

    • sbranch says:

      I’ll try butter next time… you’re saying melted butter, right? Love hearing from you Jane!

      • Jane Balshaw says:

        The butter melts when it hits the boiling water. 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          Ha ha, I know this is probably silly, but WHAT boiling water?

          • Jane Balshaw says:

            Ok now I am laughing at myself. Guess my recipe is not EXACTLY like yours; sorry bout that. On your original photocopied recipe it says “juice of an orange plus water to make 3/4 cup”. My recipe says “juice of an orange” plus “2T fat plus boiling water to make 3/4 cup”. Looks my recipe has a bit more liquid. Happy new Year! Just checked today and saw your question. 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            ♥️♥️♥️ Thank you for the explanation!😂

  7. Bonnie Moate says:

    Thank you for “lifting me up!” Merry Christmas!

  8. Regina Carretta says:

    Susan….well I dove into the first chapter of “Enchanted” that I got in the mail Friday….I am left of course, wanting much more…..I love that you traveled with your nieces…that you and Joe were responsible for opening their eyes to possibilities….I have a 10 year old niece who lives on the other side of the US….I try to keep the connections strong….some times are stronger than others….in the summer we did art together once a week, for months on Zoom….now we haven’t chatted in a while….she is busy with online school……I would love to figure out a special trip with her…..I live in Seattle and she lives in Miami…..you gave me lots of food for thought…….but I am curious……did the joy of “possibilities” stay with your nieces now that they are adults? So Susan, giver of gifts of life, happy Sunday…..love, stillness, quiet, lights, colors and friends….
    Regina SEattle

    • sbranch says:

      It’s hard to really know. They are still young … Holly just turned 30 and Heidi is a year or so younger . . . really smart. Who knows what they would have been like if we’d never gone? But we’re close, which probably wouldn’t have happened without that trip ~ we all live so far apart . . . and they are still close too! They just get busier as they get older! You should put something on your calendar! xoxo

  9. Susan Webb says:

    Merry Christmas Susan and Joe ! Hope you’ll have a merry white happy Christ mas. Thanks for all the cheerful thoughts.

  10. Willemien says:

    Dear Susan,
    Looks Yummie! the bread and cake. I’m gonna try to make at least one of them. Kids are playing with our new puppy Jackie it’s a Boerenfox (little dog) she’s very qute! We’re preparing for a very cosy christmas just with our family: me my husband and the kids. We’re happy to be healthy and hope to stay in good health, wishing you and Joe also al the best and a very warm cosy Christmas! Lots of love from the Netherlands xoxoxo Willemien💕

  11. jeanie says:

    It all looks merry and bright! And the trees outside are lovely. Sending all good wishes for a wonderful Christmas. (I know you will be eating very well!) Much joy!

  12. Brenda Chambers says:

    First thing, Merry Christmas to you and Joe. Next year will be better we all can hope. Thank you so much for the newsletter. Stay safe and healthy.

  13. Heather T. Roberts says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan! Thank you once again for bring that extra bit of joy into our lives with your lovely words, illustrations, recipes and friendship.

  14. Lynn says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and Joe! Thinking of the Winter Solstice (tonight) made me think of Ireland and Newgrange, where the Winter Solstice sun lights up the back of the passage tomb on this day. It is a magical place, that I got to experience twice! Love your incremental decorating! Sometimes that is the best way to do it! It is more spontaneous and fun.

  15. Patricia Cash says:

    I do so love my Christmas book and my Enchanted!
    The cranberry marmalade looks delicious. Is there a recipe?
    Reading all of your posts is such a special time for me, especially the Musica………
    Merry Christmas to you and Joe.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, in the post you’ll s the recipe for the cranberry sauce, and then you just mix it half and half with good store-bought thick-cut orange marmalade. YUM!

  16. Donna says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan!
    Thanks for having me along while you baked the cranberry bread. I can just feel the warmth of the oven, the smell of the bread, and the love of little Jack! Perfect day!
    Happy 2021!

  17. Donnie says:

    Merry Christmas, Susan. May you have the same peace and joy you bring to us.

  18. starr miller says:

    Merry Christmas Susan – to you and Joe and Jack!
    Your home is beautiful.
    I love your quick bread recipes. So delicious.
    Enjoy the season. ❤️

  19. Cindy Ristau says:

    Susan I have been searching everywhere for your Full Moon Bookmark for 2021!
    Each year I have been printing and making bookmarks for my coworkers, friends and family thanks to your kindness and creativity…but I have not found your link for these wonderful Bookmarks. I am HOPING that you are still doing them. 🙂 Friends are asking if they will get one this year. We are all hoping 2021 will be a good year. Love your work! Cindy

  20. pat addison (cave junction, OR) says:

    Hello Susan, Girlfriends. have a bit of sad news… we lost all of our chickens due a jerky neighbor’s dog. the dog broke through the fence on their side and somehow tore down the wire fence we had installed to protect the chickens. it all happened yesterday afternoon around 2:45 p.m. this is the second time that jerky neighbor let his dog tear up our fence and get into the chicken yard, this time we lost them all, the last time we lost 13 hens, 1 rooster and 2 ducks. the ducks are okay, but one of the male ducks has an injured foot. they managed to stay out of harm’s way. my husband Ed was home and grabbed his gun and went out after the dog and shot it, then the dog’s owner confronted Ed and threatened him. we were well within our rights to shoot the dog, we have the right to protect our livestock. well this time i want an apology and some compensation for the loss of the chickens, it is going to cost me a large sum of money to replace the birds, and the loss of income as i sold the eggs to my customers… in a sense the chickens were earning their keep as the egg money paid for their feed( grain, cracked corn and scratch) and for the alfalfa for them to munch on ( they need the greens to keep healthy)!! i now have to hurry and get my order in for the February hatching, which means the pullets will arrive either in late February or early March. oh well gives us time to finally level that floor in the hen house, and pour concrete in there. then we can cover the floor with straw and sweep it all out to clean it out. beats trying to clean a dirt floor and keep it level. plus we can put on a new ceiling, and fix the roof so no more leaks. but it really makes sad and sick to lose them all like that. well off to check on the ducks, and clean out the hen house a bit, remove all the feathers and clean out the mess. wish us luck, hopefully by late August or September we will be back in business. hugs….. 🙁

  21. Sonja says:

    Dear Susan,
    I love your blog, your writing, and all your work! Thank you so much for all of it. I’m a single mom and visiting your page just gives me joy and hope, every single time. Wishing you and yours a beautiful and blessed Christmas!
    Love, Sonja

  22. Linda says:

    Susan, on my 3rd look and read of your blog, (of many I’m sure) I am just in love with your outside trees! Just scrumptious‼️Since my parents were married on dec 21 it is such a special day for our family. That there was something else going on in the world always amazed us and this year was no different. Thanks for sharing.

    Linda d

  23. Vicki South of Arroyo says:

    Susan, I just wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed using your Santa Christmas cup these past days; I am so glad you reissued them because I’d missed buying one on the first time around. It’s so cheery to make my hot drink and then have a merry cup!

    This is late in the comments but I hope you’re having a cozy Christmas Eve day on the island with Joe and Jack.

  24. Jennie Lou says:

    Hello, Susan and Joe and the four-leggeds! Just one more sleep ’til Christmas Day. May your day be peaceful and filled with all the best this year can manage. Thank you for helping keep our smiles up this year, it has been good to have someone ‘out there’ when the quarantine presses a little too close for too long.
    2021 will have its own challenges, and we will laugh and cry and howl at the moon together. It’s nice to have a plan, isn’t it?

  25. Deborah James says:

    Dear Friend,
    An unexpected guest made an appearance this Christmas. After over 10 months of safety, hand washing and mask wearing, and going absolutely no place…Covid came and sprinkled germs all over our family:( Introduced to us by a careless co-worker, we can’t wait for him to leave and take his trail of aches and pains and sneezles with him! He will NOT be invited back EVER! Doing nothing and being “positive” used to rank very high on the list of things to do over these cozy holidays. Not this year. But heaven always finds a way to send a bit of Christmas joy to us even when we can’t imagine how. For us, the mail came twice. “Home for Christmas” had been “in transit” for close to 2 weeks but finally made it safely to my front door just days ago. Only hours later, “Enchanted” found it’s way into our mail box. And once again our home is filled with the feelings of gratitude, love, wonder and the true meaning of the season. Simple acts of kindness, time together to dream and having faith and hope in a bright tomorrow are the pure gifts from God always. May this Christmas day fill your heart and your home with all of the beauty you have given so freely all year round! Merry Christmas to all! Deborah

    • sbranch says:

      Oh my Deborah . . . stay safe! Sending all my very best for the new year! Love your beautiful words!💞

  26. Debbie Boerger says:

    Dear Susan, giver of so very much comfort and joy,
    Wishing you, Joe and Jack a Beautiful, Peaceful Day. And thank you for the cranberry orange bread recipe, will make that next week. I may smear it with orange marmalade. I love anything that is sweet/tart.
    We had a wonderful hour of Zoom with many of the family. One of the grand kids has a cat with very similar face as your Jack.
    Last night Tom gave me his present…..It was a big cardboard box, taped shut, with a head-shaped hole and some crumpled wrapping paper inside. On the outside Tom wrote…Debbie’s Scream Box!!! (See Pearls Before Swine cartoon in this week’s funny papers.) I laughed until I did what Ladies of a Certain Age do!! Then I made buttermilk Southern cornbread, ham and squash and a bit of broccoli rabe. Homemade egg nog later.
    Tom is snoozing on our comfy sofa until it’s time to cook our lovely steaks. Warmer here than in Florida.
    Hope you have no damage from this storm…which is making our outside lit tree just dance up a storm….pun intended.
    Stay well and safe Dear People,
    Debbie in Maine….Yea!!

  27. Madeleine Heal says:

    For Christmas I surprised my adult daughter with your puzzle! She couldn’t believe how beautiful it is. We are excited to spend family time putting it together….thank you Susan for your amazing art work now in a puzzle. My daughter announced to all that she will start by putting together the cats. I’ll start by finding the corners. 😄 I’m glad you are printing more so other families can enjoy.

  28. Wendy Rowland says:

    Christmas Blessings and wishing all a Wonderful New Year!

  29. Hello Susan,

    I’m a long time fan of your work. We share a love of Beatrix Potter. I devoured every word of your trip to England and the photos you shared.

    Thank you for sharing your recipes. I would love to share this link with you to a link to my cookbook, which is free one more day (December 28th) on Amazon Kindle. Blessings to you and everyone who reads this. I hope whoever picks up a copy of my teatime cookbook finds some keeper recipes. amazon.com/Scottish-English-Texan-Teatime-Recipes-Heritage-ebook/dp/B00B76Y7SW

    Hugs from Texas!
    Tambra Nicole Kendall

  30. Susan says:

    Happy Happy New Year. I loved this! So many good and yummy things included! With this quarantine, this year I am alone with my cat Dinah, the phone and computer on Christmas Eve and Day! My family is a distance so this year impossible to be together with this virus situation. The grandgirls, it is hardest on, that we are not together…but I keep telling them, just wait until next year, it will more grand than ever!!!! I hope that you had a good Christmas and like me, looking towards a bright and shining new year….January 20th cannot come soon enough…
    I do have a question for you though….Do you or have you been watching “Outlander” on starz? I got hooked and I have loved it..There are so many people from all over the world who have been watching also….I was only thinking that you may be traveling to Scotland on your next trip and want to see some of the places from this series….We are all waiting for season 6 and they should be starting to film in January!
    So CHEERS! to 2021! I raise my glass to you and Joe and the new year! Happy New Year!

    • sbranch says:

      I read it … didn’t care for the violence of the TV show, there was some sort of whipping in about the 3rd show of season one, did me in … but LOVED the books.😂

  31. Annapolis says:

    Thank you and Joe too for all the joy you bring to us all throughout the year. This year especially the reminders of making a house a home and a real refuge from the world were a blessing.
    Will you have more of the puzzles in stock soon? I waited too long – should have pre-ordered but our budget was just too tight. Hoping more will be in soon. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  32. Kelly Clevenger says:

    Thank you for this uplifting post! I must know…where is your incredible bread pan from? I am in love with it and if I had my own, it may just inspire me to bake bread daily just to use the pan!

  33. Debbie Boerger says:

    Aaack! First cold, very windy walk. Silk underwear, cord pants, Wigwam socks, a jersey and a sweater over the silks, with my long coat. 2 hats, gloves and face scarf. Still unpleasantly cold. But I’ll get the hang of it. A friend in Utah sent a wrap for my neck and face, but my nose ran into it. Would it be too crude to just stick some tissue in there? I’ll add layers until I can tolerate the cold and wind. My head was warm and my feet were warm, and that’s a start.
    Home For Christmas was waiting for me when we got back home. Will read it in front of the fire tonight. I know it was a labor of Love for your family. Thank you for sharing all that Love with us,
    Mucho Grande Love to you, Dear Susan,
    Debbie in Beautiful Maine

  34. Viffy in MI says:

    A nice new arrival of post-holiday snow today in Michigan! (Most of the country seems to be getting a version of this too.)
    Today seems like a nice day to stay home and warm and maybe bake some of that lovely bread from your recipe.

    I just wanted to say THANKS for the ‘Quarantine Questions’ that you’ve posted… it’s a good reminder for all of us 50+ ladies!

  35. Joanne says:

    Dear S. Branch: Just to wish you a Happy New Year! I loved your latest blog. I have the ingredients all set to make cranberry marmalade on New Years eve day while I socially distance from the world. I received your 2021 wall calendar for Christmas. I really like it! I usually do not read a month until I turn a page, but couldn’t resist going thru the entire year. Beautifully done. And I’m glad you don’t use “shiny pages” that won’t show up penciled notations. I plan to stay up until the last tick-tock on the year 2020 to be sure it is indeed OVER!

  36. Robin says:

    Thank you Susan for the Cran-Orange bread recipe! I will try the melted butter as Jane suggested. Tmrw for New Year’s Day – there will be ham – this will be the perfect addition! Wishing you and Joe a very Happy Healthy New Year!
    Blessings abound for all!

  37. Joan Lesmeister says:

    Thank you so much, I loved this! So charming, pretty & loved baking with you! Wishing for you, Joe & Jack & all, a healthy, wonderful 2021! Hard to believe, but here it is New Year’s Eve…I’ll have to go listen to Zoey’s song! Prayers and many blessings to come….Love, Joan

  38. Lucia Donahower says:

    Hi Susan
    Loved this post! Is the first chapter of Enchanted for sale? Will there be more chapters?
    Thank you for the recipe for the Cranberry Orange Marmalade.
    The recipe for theCranberry Bread is the same I was given by my mother-in-law 40 years ago. She served it for breakfast, sliced, buttered, and toasted in the oven. She gave it to me the first Christmas my husband and I visited his family in Webster Groves, Missouri as newlyweds. I make this bread every Christmas.
    Thank you so much for bringing so many memories with this post.
    I will check your store to see if I can still purchase the first chapter of Enchanted.
    All the best,

  39. Love the “Make Me A Kid Again Just for Tonight” I Do The Same Routine Every Night, Turn Off The Lights, & Watch Hallmark, Love Your Story 🙏🎄

  40. Lori Ragalis says:

    Always love your blogs….I was wondering if you had gotten a snowflake card I sent a couple of weeks ago….hoping the address was correct….

    • sbranch says:

      Oh Lori, I’m sure we did . . . this year, I think because of the virus, we got so many cards, which was wonderful, but I truthfully don’t remember who all we heard from! Thank you for thinking of me . . . it means a lot. And trust that if we got it, I for sure opened it, and I know I LOVED it! Happy New Year!! xoxoxoxo

  41. Dianne Carrol says:

    I made your orange cranberry muffins for Christmas with less sugar and they were still delicious. Received your Enchanted book and enjoyed it very much. Can’t wait to get the whole book. You both get the First Place Award for best Auntie and Uncle. What wonderful memories you have given these sweet cousins. I liked when everyone clapped when you all entered the formal ship dining room wearing your gowns. That was really special. My mother’s older sister and her husband were similar champions because although they had no children of their own, they provided a haven for all the many nieces and nephews whenever and wherever they were needed throughout the years. Beautiful family!

  42. Dianne Carrol says:

    I don’t know why it says I have said this duplicate. I do not think I did.

  43. Anyta says:

    Hi Susan

    I discovered your book “A Fine Romance” quite by accident as I was looking for books on the English countryside. Best thing to happen to me in 2020! I purchased a copy and devoured it in 2 days! And then immediately purchased “The Fairy Tale Girl” and “Martha’s Vineyard: Isle of Dreams.” I couldn’t put them down! Your books are beautiful and have been a source of inspiration for me in my daily life. I have now started following your blog and can’t wait to explore it. I baked your “Coffee Cake” and it was so delicious! My 3 year old and my husband both absolutely loved it! I am 42 now and I wish I had discovered your books and your blog earlier in life. I am always looking to buy more of your merchandise but I am based in Asia and it is so very expensive to ship things here. Anyway, I will be waiting for your next book eagerly. Here’s wishing you and Joe a very happy and healthy 2021!

    • sbranch says:

      42 is the PERFECT age, as you will someday know . . . 💞 I’m so happy to meet you! Thank you for the sweet words! Here’s to a beautiful and safe 2021!💖

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