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Sunday, October 16, 2016

CENTS AND SENSIBILITIES

Hello dear friends!  Can you believe that we have already reached the mid point of October?  Tempus Fugit!  The Harvest Moon was so hauntingly beautiful last night, with it's streaks of clouds.  It looked just like a vintage Halloween postcard and it was so close to the Earth that I felt I could walk across the fields and reach out and touch it.  It gave me a cozy feeling just to see it.

Which leads me to what I want to say today, that fine living has nothing to do with your bank balance, life is what you make it.  The other day I noticed a twig of a money plant that had blown into my yard, now I'm sure many would just view it as just another thing that needed to be raked up, but to me it made a beautiful centerpiece for the dining room table.
I think the silver of the pods complimented the pewter of the jug wonderfully.  To me it is lovelier than a bouquet of those dyed carnations that you find in the stores.  And you certainly can't argue with the price!  Many have accused me of having too many silly romantic notions, but I'd rather live life with my head in the clouds than feeling angry and deprived all the time.   You may be having a very frugal meal of waste not, want not soup but  it can be a wonderful dining experience if you serve it by candlelight and in pretty thrifted bowls and maybe some nice music playing in the background.   Instead of paper napkins or worse yet, paper towels, pretty napkins can be made from cast off cotton clothing.  Plus think of all the money you'll save with reusable napkins. As  matter of fact, when the thrift stores have their semi-annual clearance sales when everything is 95% off (around 17 cents an item) I look for pretty patterned shirts just to have for little projects such as this and to make patchwork pieces with.  Woolen pieces can be made into pretty rugs and mats and let's not forget warm woolen quilts.  I have no patience for people that are always whining about how unpleasant life is just because they are poor.  All the better excuse to use your creativity.  How dull life would be if you had everything handed to you on a silver platter!

And whilst I'm on the subject, it seems a lot of people these days just have no sense of self-respect or dignity. Almost daily I spot someone out in public in their pajamas.  When did that happen? It may seem shallow, but I'm sure they'd feel better about themselves and the world, if they would take the time to comb their hair and put on clothes, preferably clean and pressed.  Did you ever notice that most of those people are grumpy?

"The way we dress affects the way we think, the way we feel, the way we act, and the way others react to us."
~Judith Rasband~

   I'm pretty sure that you can buy clothes just as cheaply as pajamas, especially at the thrift stores. . If I had my druthers and could only buy one set of clothes, I'd buy clothes and sleep in them not vice versus. Wouldn't you?  At one point of my life we could only afford very few things and I think I only had about three changes of clothes, but I still managed to get dressed every day in something that was clean and pressed.  It's really not that hard, unless you are homeless.  And I've met some homeless people that are better dressed than some of the people wandering around in their pajamas.

Thoughtful Gifts

The holidays will soon be upon us and so will the mad gift giving spree.  I have a sister who always spends a king's ransom on presents then complains about how in debt she went for the remainder of the year.  If she spends $100 on one person than she has to spend the equal amount on everyone else, lest they think she is showing favoritism.  Even if the person is a baby and doesn't  have a clue of the cost of things.  I've watched her buying just plain junk so that the gift will tally up to the same amount as the others.  It's just plain madness! All the emphasis is on the cash value rather than what a gift should be; a thoughtful gesture given because you wanted to make someone happy.  This week my oldest had a birthday (can't believe my baby is 37!) and while I could have given him a shirt or tie,  instead I gave him something that only I could.  A tin of his favorite childhood cookies with a message that he didn't have to share with anyone unless he wanted to. He got a kick out it, and told his wife "my mom says I don't have to share" (she was very supportive and told him she'd eat the pumpkin donuts instead :))  This may seem like a very miserly gift to some, but I assure you that he is quite affluent and anything that he may have wanted that could be purchased, he would have bought for himself anyway, so why squander money just to say I "bought" something?

I did go the extra mile and used mini Reese's Pieces and those mini peanut butter cups to make the cookies festive, lest you think I'm a complete cheapskate!  Here's the recipe, just in case:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 C. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 C. butter
1 C. peanut butter
1C. sugar
1 C. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. chocolate chips

Cream together butter and peanut butter.  Beat in sugars.  Add eggs, beat well.
Stir in flour, baking soda and salt until well blended.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes until they are done.
Hint:  I always slightly underbake my cookies for a softer cookie.

CANNING

The butcher had turkey breasts on sale this week for $1.19/ lb. so I canned up nine pounds. I can mine by cutting the raw meat into cubes, then taking the carcass and make a broth by adding the carcass, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper to the pot.  I cold pack the raw meat in the broth.  When cold packing meat always start with the water in the canner  just being hot but not boiling or the jars may crack.   Process at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. I find the broth makes for a much more flavorful  canned good.

THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK

Canned 9 pounds of turkey.

Cooked one 4 pound turkey and ate the leftovers the next day, made a pot pie for another day (2 days worth of meals), made a quart of broth from the carcass for soup for several days and culled the meat from the carcass to be frozen for turkey burritos.  Less than $5 for 6 days of meals.

Harvested pears from our trees.

Baked cookies for a birthday gift.

Used a found branch for a money plant for a floral arrangement.

Darned a hole in some black tights.

Bought a Pendleton blanket at a church rummage sale for $1!  I also found 8 skeins of mohair for $3 and a pretty kilim rug type vest made for the Smithsonian Institute for $1.50.

Melted some of the candles that I bought this past Summer at garage sales into pretty teacups that I purchased for as little as a dime at garage sales to make some pretty tuck-in gifts for the holidays. You can purchase pre-made wicks at craft stores.

We stopped at the bulk food store on the way down to see my son and purchased a 2 pound bag of deli ends and pieces.  There were some salami type pieces that I cut into cubes to have with cheese and crackers.  Plus lots of  lunchmeat. $1.49/lb.

Also bought baking powder in bulk.  A lot cheaper than those little cans of it, and aluminum free.

So far we haven't had to use the furnace.  We did have a fire in the morning twice to warm the house.

So that's it for tis week at the old Zempel boarding house.  Always remember that life is what you make it.  Have fun and live well!

Hugs
Jane












44 comments:

  1. thanks Jane, always look forward to your posts each week. 😀

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    1. Thanks Janet! And I always appreciate when someone takes the time to leave a comment. Did you make any sauerkraut this Fall?

      Hugs

      Jane

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    2. yes, i've been making regularly in small batches and experimenting with other fermented foods too.

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    3. That wonderful! We made some sauerkraut a few weeks ago. I know some people thinks it's pungent, but I just love the smell of it. I need to think of other things to ferment. We made some cider vinegar by accident last year. It was supposed to be apple brandy!

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  2. Sounds like a terrific week, Jane! I have pumpkin in the canner (Aldi -- $2.99 per pumpkin and it was huge!) along with butternut squash. I have green peppers waiting to be made into jelly and then, sigh, sweet potatoes! You find the most wonderful bargains!

    I agree with you about attitude and contentment! We are as happy as we decide, aren't we? Who said that? I can't remember!

    Have a grand week!

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    1. I just don't see how you manage to get it all done and work Matty! I suppose you are almost finished with the rib warmer too. I still haven't been able to snag Ran long enough to print it for me. He sure is hard to pin down!

      Well whoever said it was very wise. Hope you get a break from the canning soon!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  3. Hi Jane, before my husband and I go to do errands, we both make sure we look our best, Then when we are usually at Walmsrt, my husband will joke and say " see, we didn't need to dress up, they are shopping in their pajamas". And I always roll my eyes at him 😄
    I like your gift to your son. My stepson's birthday is soon, he doesn't like gifts and he earns twice what we do so for years, I have been making him a large batch of "salad crackers" (oyster crackers seasoned with dry ranch, garlic and onion powders and dill). He is happy with it and I enjoy making them because I am sure he will like them.

    Have a good week and enjoy your fall.

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    1. I have a good mind to show up at WalMart in an old-fashioned flannel nightie complete with a dustcap, Rhonda. That's dressed up isn't it? Ha!

      Nothing says love like a homemade present! I'd rather get something like your crackers than something somebody just bought for the sake of giving me something. Personally, I don't like to have people spend money on me. Whenever I suggest something really inexpensive no one takes me seriously, though.

      Hope you have a wonderful week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  4. Interesting post, as always, Jane. I had begun to think I was alone in despising the sight of young adults wandering about the grocery store in their night clothes. How fresh they must feel, not to mention the eyesore. We've lost our minds, I'm thinking.

    Love the birthday gift for your son, and how nice that he was so pleased.

    I made chicken stock from several carcasses l had in the freezer then made Italian sausage soup with it. Oh my, it was wonderful and more satisfying than any steak that can be bought..
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Toni

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    1. It's not just young people around here, Toni. We just about died laughing the other day when this big burly guy in a truck with a gun rack got out of truck at the gas station and had on a pair of pjs with cute little polar bears on them. Would have thought he was more of a cammo type of guy.

      Yum! Italian sausage soup sounds delicious. I love Italian sausage. I'm sure it was better than steak. It's still been warm here and it's hard to get into soups and stew making yet. I just can't wait for a brisk cold day!

      Hope your week is wonderful also!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. Great deal on your blanket. I love to buy bulk baking powder too. I save the small can and refill it to make it easier to use. We are wimps Jane those two mornings it went down to 32 here we kicked on the heat to take the chill out. I just have to develop a thicker skin soon! You have been busy!

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    1. It's my Norwegian blood, Vickie. I love it when it's cold out, just seem to sleep better. It's been a hard year to adapt to the fluctuating temperatures. It's hard to dress for it too. Maybe that's why so many people wear pajamas all day long!
      Hugs
      Jane

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  6. I really like your point about people using their creativity to combat their poverty. I think the effort we make to take care of ourselves, wisely using whatever little we have, helps open the doors to greater prosperity.

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    1. You said that much better than I could, Sherri! The reason I love writing this blog is because people such as you share their points of views and wisdom. It's a nice little community. Thank you for commenting!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  7. Love your post and your ending statement...life is what you make it. Have fun and live well. Wise words to live by...thank you!
    Also I am hanging my head in shame, we used paper towels last night when my son's girlfriend came over for supper. I need to be on the lookout for some cloth napkins. I do have a top sheet that I think would work, just need to figure out a good size and hem.
    Funny about the pajama pants in public. I live close to two colleges, but it isn't always the students that are wearing them in public.
    Yum on the cookies, two of my favorite things, chocolate and peanut butter so I will be making those.
    Hope you have a wonderful week. Love how you find beauty everywhere.

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    1. Oh dear Kathy, my intention wasn't to shame anyone into using cloth napkins. I just wanted to illustrate that anyone can live well and frugally.

      It's not only the young people around here that wear pajamas too. You should see the post office in winter. I don't think anyone gets out of their pajamas after January. And most the people here are retired.

      Hope you are doing well!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Ha I just thought it was funny that we used paper towels last night, and I read your post today. :D
      I am doing well! I haven't heard from all of my tests, but the ones that I have heard are good! Praise God! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

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    3. Yes indeed, Praise God! Wonderful news!

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  8. Dear Jane,
    I had to smile reading about the cookies you baked for your son. For at least the last 5 years I bake my chocolate chip cookies for my brother for his birthday. He is nearer to 50 than I am but he looks forward to this gift each year as he doesn't have anyone to bake for him. Last year, I also decided to extend the tradition to my two nephews. Once they surpassed 16 (my cut-off age for gift giving to the nieces and nephews as I have so many) I decided for to bake them each several dozen chocolate chip cookies for their birthdays. Let me tell you, it put a smile on those teenage boys faces to be able to eat as much of "their" cookies as they liked!
    Well, thanks for inspiring me again. I hope you have a lovely week!
    Cheers,
    Dana

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    1. Morning Dana! I bet your nephews appreciate those cookies. It's so hard to keep up with the trends of young people. By the time you buy a present and give it, their taste change. And since a lot of people don't know how to bake these days, anything homebaked is really appreciated. Bet it's getting pretty over in NH, still quite green here.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  9. Haha. Check the feet of the people in pajamas. I notice here they are wearing slippers along with them. (Are they crazy???)

    Speaking of life being how you make it I think of a guy in line at Costco in front of me this weekend. Saturday afternoon here in the PNW we were supposed to receive a storm of a lifetime, the remnants of a typhoon out in the pacific that thankfully didn't happen. (Hurricanes are Atlantic, typhoons are the same in the Pacific.) My husband needed to pick up his new eyeglasses at Costco so we ended up when they opened among all those people waiting until the last minute who were collecting cart loads of batteries, tarps, bottled water and any other remaining disaster supplies. While my husband got his glasses I stood in the checkout line to buy a rotisserie chicken and noticed among the stressed out last minute shoppers the couple in front of me was much different. The guy had a cart full of beer and wine and his wife a cart load of party food. He said as long as his family and close cul de sac neighbors couldn't go anywhere they might as well have a party. I thought you know, that's living! Have a great week! -Sharon

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    1. That guy in Costco knows how to live. Why not have a party? He's my kind of guy!

      Oh yes, they wear slippers too. Even in the winter. I wonder what would happen if they had car troubles and had to walk in the snow in their pajamas and slippers. Another strange thing is no one wears a winter coats around here, even though the temperatures can dip into the negatives. They all just wear thermal hoodies. As they say, "no one has as much sense as God gave geese"! Well, maybe this year we won't need them, it's in the 70s again today. Glad that storm passed you by!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  10. From Andrea....Hi Jane! I like those cookies! (My oldest is 37 also!!)
    I think the best gifts are food and that gives the most joy. I know I always appreciate food gifts and know it takes extra effort for someone to make them for me. Most of my best memories are candy and cookies from my mom and grandmas...on top of the hugs and kisses of course!

    I wonder the same about how people dress. I sit in the back of church for daily mass and (I know I should be more prayerful....) and contemplate t-shirts and old sweat pants that many people wear! I remember how poor my parents were....my dad was a semi-skilled laborer and had one suit...and that suit was worn every Sunday to church!
    My poor mom only had a handful of outfits in her closet but always a skirt or dress was worn for church. I think (and I know I too am tempted to dress down) it takes extra effort to dress up and the want to feel cozy just amounts to laziness usually. BTW, your money plant in the pitcher looks very nice and classy! Now that my husband is retired and we are living on savings (until we turn 62 at least partially) we have a good excuse for not buying gifts. I prefer to be like my grandparents and give money gifts to my kids for the least amount of waste and letting them use it for what they feel is best. Hugs,Andrea

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    1. Hello Andrea! How are you?

      We have so much in common. Isn't it fun. The little community I grew up in was very blue color. Most of the men sailed and during the winter they didn't bring in an income, so people were poor. But they always managed to were a suit and the women dresses for church. I remember pressing my father's suit and going over it with a lint brush on Saturday nights. We always polished our shoes then too. Who polishes their shoes now days? ALso set my hair in rag curls. I think it comes down to self-respect and dignity. I guess it's just an old-fashioned concept these days. Such a shame, people were so attractive back then. Remember that churches had racks at the back for hats? Men always looked so elegant and distinguished with their fedoras and overcoats.

      I'm finding that for the grandchildren money is the best bet for gifts. Their interest change so frequently. We make Christmas hampers for the grown-ups with homemade wine, cookies, bread,crackers and fudge. And sausage from our favorite butcher and cheese. Beats something that they don't need and will just sit in a drawer.

      Hope everything is going well. Are you all packed yet?

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Hi! Your gift boxes are so nice! I am packing right now...I pack a little every day. It is a monumental job but I also give away stuff and that slashes my packing for the day! My computer just died and I am on a new one. The weather here is 80 and very nice for now. Of course with boxes all around my house life is not normal. I look forward to the move and getting out my sewing machine and planning Christmas cookies (after enjoying Thanksgiving of course!) Hugs,Andrea

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    3. I can only imagine what a job it must be. When we moved into this house, we still owned our other home for about a year so we just moved a little bit by little bit. And the house before that Ran's company paid for moving so it was all done professionally.

      I advise you just to take one room at a time and label every box. That was the problem with the professionals, they just labeled everything by the room and you were forced to unpack everything right away just to find a spatula.

      Time goes by so quickly, Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before we know it!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    4. hi again! That would be nice...to be able to move over a year. Luckily I got rid of a lot of stuff last summer (2015) to the Purple Heart foundation. Our first year of marriage, we moved up from Texas (and down to TX first). We had hardly any stuff. The company paid for a mover and like yours, they packed also. They came up to our new home here in DE with a big 18 wheeler and we had to laugh because we had so few belongings! We obviously are packing our own stuff now. You pay according to distance and weight. Our move, which is 240 miles away will cost $4,000. Andrea

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    5. Ha! When we moved into our first house all our belongings fit into one side of our tiny 8 X 10 dining room. It would be nice to be so unencumbered again. Where does all this stuff come from? I clean my attic out every Spring and by Fall it's just as full as it ever was!

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  11. Great deal on the blanket, yarn and vest.
    Now that we are in the northern mid-west, I'm scouting out new sources for bulk foods. Between the dented can store 8 miles away and the Amish store, I'm faring well. Kind of an adventure, really.
    When our eldest son comes home from college at Thanksgiving, I will have home-canned applesauce and fresh bread waiting for him.
    Thanks for the inspiration on the tin of cookies. We give fudge and "chicken feed" snack mix, but cookies would be nice too.
    Your pajama disgust made me laugh.
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. Hi Leslie! It's always fun to find new sources of inexpensive food. I love Big LOts because you never know what you'll find. It is an adventure. Guess it doesn't take much to amuse me. Ha!

      I didn't realize you had college-aged children.

      We give fudge too. A batch makes so much and it's so rich. A little goes a long way. I can't wait to start holiday baking. First I have to find a source for inexpensive butter. Been waiting a long time for the price to go down. Maybe it just isn't?

      I guess pajamas are better than some things I've seen people wearing. This Summer a lot of young girls were wearing those lace shorts with nothing under them! Ewwww!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Lace shorts? Glad I didn't see that!
      We have 8 children. They range in age from 18 to 3. Our second born is 15 and has no plans to further her education after high school. She is not academic. But how nice to have the freedom to choose. She is so gifted in the kitchen and with wild edibles. I love mushroom hunting with her, we bring back half the forest for salads.
      We have trouble finding good prices on butter, too. It was cheaper in Missouri, perhaps due to all the dairies.
      Blessings,
      Leslie

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    3. Wish I hadn't Leslie. Eight children between the ages of 18 and 3? You are a busy woman! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to read and comment on my blog! I truly do appreciate it.

      Well, you know college is over-rated. My second youngest son has a career in something that he didn't even major in at college. No. college isn't for everyone, that;s for sure. I dropped out after my second year, in spite of being on the Dean's list. I wish I had used that money to buy myself a piece of land instead.
      I'm hoping that butter prices drop for the holidays otherwise I'll just use margarine or bake a lot less. Have a beautiful Sunday!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. Debbie in the U.P.October 17, 2016 at 7:18 PM

    Hi, Jane!
    I tried to comment once but i must've hit some wrong buttons. We'll see how this goes..
    I'm not a fan of the pajama's, either. I'm also wondering when it became okay to wear tights like pants. What is wrong with people?
    Your candle idea reminded me that i wanted to try the same thing except with different height glasses; simple yet elegant. And thrifty! I've been needing something to stoke my creative side. (All work and no play and all that!)
    Have a fabulous week!

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    1. Glad you tried again, Debbie!

      Well at least people aren't shy with their leggings and pajamas. Most not suffer from a bad body image.

      Candles are a quick craft. I made some with vintage jello molds. Country cute, but I couldn't find them to take a picture. I have a habit of sticking things in places when an unexpected visitor comes by, and they are lost forever. You'd think they'd show up eventually, but they rarely do!

      Hope you get a chance to play!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  13. The harvest moon has been just beautiful. Now that there is less daylight, it is dark when I walk each morning (6:00 a.m.) When the moon is viewed with a few tree branches in front of it, it's definitely a vintage Halloween look. After a miserably hot summer, fall finally arrived a few weeks ago in Virginia. It has been just wonderful though we have several days this week with temperatures in the 80s. The nights cool down significantly and there is no humidity so I guess this is Indian Summer. I started back to using cloth napkins several years ago. It was surprising how many were neatly stacked in a drawer of the china cabinet. I am enjoying using them each day. Congratulations to you on the blanket score! What luck. I have yet to see one for sale at any price at a yard/rummage sale. Loved the comments on wearing PJs out in public. Thought that was just something I see regularly where I live. Honestly, I would not even sleep in some of the outfits I see people wearing in public. Enjoy your posts and the things you share. While I will never can and do some of the things you do, it's interesting to see what other people do. Also, your craft ideas always interest and inspire me. Take care.

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    1. Hello Shirley! It's really strange but we've had some temperatures close to 80 this week, too. Who would think it would be just as warm here as in Virginia? It's been really humid here. I think moss is beginning to grow on me!

      I'm glad you are here, even if we don't have the same interests!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  14. I like the sprig of lunaria in the pewter jug! When we lived in Vermont I often gathered dried meadow flowers this time of year to make a centerpiece. Too often my cats rearrange.
    I smiled at your comment re a wardrobe of Talbots and J Jill--I look for Talbots and Christopher and Banks--and of course any other 'name brands' that are well made. If a garment doesn't work out well, back it goes to the charity shop as a donation.
    It is still warm here for mid-October--forecast to change by the end of the week.

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    1. Hi Sharon! Lunaria! That's it. I was trying to think of the name of the plant. Leave it to you to know!

      Still warm here too. As a matter of fact I have a fan going as I write this. Wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so humid. The air feels so clingy and heavy. I'm glad I don't live somewhere where this is the norm. Hope you get you Fall soon!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  15. I always enjoy reading your blog. Isn't that silly to walk around in a store in your pajamas? Yesterday I saw someone using their house sleepers at Walmart. Lunaria is beautiful however I have never seen it around here in ND. Great tips Jane!

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    1. That must be pretty chilly footwear for ND, Angela! I don't know where that lunaria came from, it just blew into my yard. I tried hunting down the source so I could get some more, but no luck. It grows wild here in the forest. I need to get out and take a hike in the woods soon and gather some foliage from holiday wreaths. I wonder if the rose hips are ready?
      Hope you are having a lovely week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  16. LOVED this post! Just was what I needed to hear and so entertaining to boot! Thanks for blogging!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Sue! It didn't really turn out how I wanted it too; I did sort of ramble. Ha! As if I never do that! Hope you are having a wonderful week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  17. Dear Jane,
    Let's hear it for NOT wearing pajamas to the store! It does make you wonder who started that fad in the first place, doesn't it? Oh, for the days when women and men wanted to look their best whenever they went out in public, complete with hat and matching handbag (for the ladies!).

    I hope that you catch up on all your chores before cold weather moves in. Oh yes, and wonderful gift-giving ideas, yet again!

    Love,

    Marqueta

    p.s. I read your previous post as well, and loved your selfie. I hope I look as good as you when my baby is 37! :)

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    1. Hi Marqueta! You're about the only one I see wearing a hat these days, and you look so lovely in them. I've tried wearing hats a few times but get so many comments about it, when I do, it makes me self-conscious. It's not easy to march to your own drummer!
      All caught up on the chores and actually have some time to put my feet up. Trust me, your day will come too! Thank you for the sweet compliment! Hope you are having a wonderful Fall!
      Hugs
      Jane

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