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Sunday, October 23, 2016

SOUP KITCHEN

Hello dear friends!  Hope this post finds you all content and cozy!   It's starting to get pretty out there.
Just some pictures of our little corner of the world.  The Fall foliage hasn't reached its peak yet. How can anyone not love Autumn?

SOUP PANTRY

Soups and stews are synonymous with cooler weather.    There's nothing as cozy as a nice bowl of soup.  As many of you that read this blog and particularly the comments may have surmised, I hate to cook.  That is why I love soup; make one big pot and you're good for three days.  Plus it's thrifty and depending upon what you make it with, low in calories and healthy.  As my pastor  told me years ago when we were going through a rough financial patch, "you can always add more water to the soup".  What else can you make that can feed a dozen people on less than a pound of meat and fill them up? 

Some of the thriftiest cuts of meat can be used to flavor your soup; soup bones, ham hocks, bacon ends and pieces,  chicken legs and thighs (29 cents a pound this week) and of course, leftovers.  When Ran and I were first married, we had a grocery budget of $17.50 a week.  One of our thriftiest meals was a simple soup made with the smoky sausage links that you find near the hot dogs at the grocery store.  One small package  was used  for two  batches of soup and we always kept out two to have with eggs.  I think they cost under one dollar back then.  You really don't need a lot of meat to flavor your soup.  A little goes a long way.  Many times I make the soup completely  meatless and just use those smoked peppers and salts to give them a nice smoky flavor.  As a matter of fact, I just made a meatless  soup this week with vegetables from our root cellar and pantry.   One of my "secret" ingredients to make flavorful vegetable soup is Margaret Holmes seasoned lima beans which makes a quick soup.  Just saute up some onions, celery and garlic, add some potatoes,corn and carrots and maybe  a can of tomatoes and a can of these beans and of course water.  That's it.  I don't even add any more salt and pepper. 

I always have celery, onions, garlic and potatoes in my pantry.  They are staples for practically everything I make.  And they are the usually the cheapest things in the produce aisle.  Here's a list of items for a good soup pantry:

Onions
potatoes
celery
garlic
cans of tomatoes (fire-roasted are especially nice)
those jars of instant bouillon  (preferably low sodium) in various flavors. Tomato bouillon gives a richness to both chicken and beef soups. They just add flavor to a flat tasting soup.
Cans of broth
Dry beans
Lentils
Barley
Smoked salt and pepper
Noodles
Rice

HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH

Bone broth has become quite trendy.  Of course, homemade broth is always better than store bought and it certainly is easy enough to do.  To make bone broth you simply roast meat bones in the oven for several hours.  Once the bones have roasted and gotten good and brown and caramelized, scrape the bones into a large pot.  Add some hot water to the roasting pan and  deglaze it.  Put this water into the pot with the bones, along with a carrot, onion and a stalk of celery. And more water, of course. Also add a tablespoon of vinegar as this leaches the calcium out of the bones.  Add any herbs or seasonings you may like. Bring to a boil then simmer until a nice rich broth develops.  Strain and cull any meat from the bones and add to the broth. 

DON'T  BUY IT, MAKE IT

Noodles really make a filling soup. Homemade ones cost a fraction of  the cheapest ones you can find in the stores and they are easy to make.  Here's how:

In a bowl  beat together:

1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. milk

Stir into egg mixture:

1 C. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

to form a dough.  Roll out on a lightly floured surface to desired thickness.

Cut into strips and hang on a dowel suspended between to cans or jars  until they are dry or use fresh.
It really isn't rocket science!

GARDENING

We planted garlic this week.

Garlic is one of those self-propitiating  crops. Once you have planted it, you simply save a few bulbs for the following year, separate them into cloves and plant them in the fall.  We always lay down a liberal amount of wood ashes in our rows before planting.  Garlic  and onions love wood ashes.

We also harvested our bird house gourds and tied them to the beams in our basement to dry. 
Once the begin to dry you have to monitor them for mold.  Every once in a while, washing them down with a solution of bleach and water.  The must have a very dry place to cure and can't be exposed to frost.  Last year we put a basket of them out for sale at our garage sale and the all sold.  Only later did I realize that I hadn't saved any for myself! 

NEEDLE CRAFTS

I finished a pair of  Apothecary Cuffs , a free pattern that can be found here using some yarn from my stash.  I knitted them on smaller needles than the pattern called for  because I thought the were too big to be practical.
It's a quick weekend knit and has an interesting way to attach the cabled border to the cuff.  Enough of a challenge to make them interesting.  The yarn has an interesting story behind it.  Here's an excerpt from Pinetree Garden Seeds that explains it:

We continue to offer Peace Fleece worsted weight wool yarn in a variety of colors. Peace Fleece, located in Maine, is not your typical yarn company. In 1985, a local sheep farmer had a mission to foster peace between the Soviet Union and the American people.  The family began spinning yarn with a combination of the two countries’ wool to cultivate cultural understanding, fair trade, and provide a truly beautiful and unique yarn.  The owner continues to search for farmers who are willing to set aside historic enmities in exchange for new opportunities. 

Kind of neat, huh?  I have a lot of Russian readers, as a matter of fact, on any given day, I'll have more Russian readers than Americans.  I just want you all to know that in spite of what  our leaders our saying, I have no dispute with you wonderful people and I am sure you feel likewise.  Seems that our leaders are leading us down a path and we are at a lost for what to do.  Now more than ever, I hope everyone is praying for peace.   Amen!

THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK

Planted garlic from our own bulbs.

Made a kimono from a too-large thrifted skirt I had. (have to wait until I can get to the big city to find the trim for it)

Made a big pot of soup and ate from it for three days. Cost was under a dollar for the entire pot.

Harvested the birdhouse gourds.

Began knitting some Christmas gifts.

Ran made some cutting boards for gifts from some left over maple he had from the countertop project.

Watched The Good Fairy on YouTube for free. One of my favorite movies.  I love Margaret Sullavan.

Listened to some old time radio programs on YouTube.

Heated  the house with wood.  No furnace usage yet!

Made homemade noodles  and dried them for the soup pantry.

So that's it for another week at the old Zempel boarding house!  I hope you all have a beautiful week. I leave you with peace.  And hugs!

Hugs
Jane
















39 comments:

  1. Happy Fall, Jane! It was 27-degrees here this morning, so our wood stove is crackling along pretty good... Warmed up this afternoon -- only needed long sleeves... I had two jars of pumpkin that didn't seal, so I made pumpkin spice lattes for myself this week (no more Starbucks!), pumpkin bread (two big loaves!) and a big pot of pumpkin sausage soup as I had defrosted the freezer to prepare for our pork next week and had to pounds of sausage to use. The rest of the sausage became sausage balls.... Yum... Cooked up two quarts of chicken stock from a lovely sale hen along with a big chicken pie and still enough left for chicken salad for lunch! Isn't it fun to find ways to make things stretch?

    I love your gauntlet! They are lovely and will go a long way to keep you toasty this winter. How did you make your kimono? Finished my rib warmer and getting started on a new project... maybe another vest? I agree with you, they keep one quite warm!

    Hope you have a wonderful week! Stay warm and keep the faith!

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    1. Gosh you have the pep, Matty! I just don't see how you manage to get so much done and work!

      I used a kimono that I had for the pattern. When I get the trimmings I'll post about it. The skirt was one of those huge pleated ones so there was a lot of fabric.

      I decided I didn't like the rib warmer's yarn so I scrapped it. I'm knitting a hat for Ran for Christmas at the moment. If I ever find a few moments to work on it, I hope to show it next week. Glad you are having fun economizing. I always found it fun. It's like figuring out a puzzle. Bet you're glad you got that firewood!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  2. (From Andrea) Hi Jane! Lovely pictures. Our leaves are beginning to turn colors yet it is hard for me to see out my windows with all my boxes here packed. I love the kitty. Thank you so much...I didn't know you roast the bones first....I'm sure that gives a more robust flavor! I learn so much from you! I agree with what you said about the Soviet Union. My mom always taught us that God could've placed us anywhere on this earth to live. Praying for peace here too. Your cuffs are beautiful. And lastly, I love homemade noodles! They are a treat! As an update to our move...our present house is going along fine towards closing and the new house has a little problem (water leakage) that we pray is resolved....I am almost beginning to feel homeless but then I remember we have a lot of kids we can stay with if need be! Hugs,Andrea

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    1. OH no, Andrea! I hope it can be resolved quickly. Well, if worst comes to worst, you can always put your stuff in storage.

      You're mother was a very wise woman. All this war talk doesn't even make any sense. Can't keep track of who is on one side or the other. It's just crazy. Well, Eisenhower warned us about the military industrial complex when he left office. I guess some things never change.
      Of course, you don't need to roast the bones first. it just adds another layer of flavor.

      Homemade noodles boiled in chicken stock, drained then sauteed in butter with a sprinkle of chicken seasoning, served with crushed Ritz crackers over the top is one of Jamie's all time favorite foods. Can't even fathom the calories in it! That's why I only serve it once a year!

      Well, hoping the move goes smoothly and it's not getting too stressful for you!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Hi! The noodle recipe sounds good. I think my family would like anything served with crushed Ritz crackers on top. I am anxious to have this move over. I love a boring life with no change! I was just thinking of how when I was young, I was more adventuresome! Hugs,Andrea

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    3. Buttered Ritz crackers is a popular topping among the German communities I've lived in. Everything tastes better with a Ritz!

      I'm with you. Just getting out of bed is enough adventure for me. I too, love the boring life. Trouble is, it isn't the most interesting thing to blog about!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    4. But your blog is exactly what I enjoy....a nice homey visit with Jane! Hugs,Andrea

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    5. Thanks Andrea! If homey is what you want, you've come to the right place!

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  3. Ah, the best parts of Sunday...church and Hope and Thrift. Love your knitting; think I'll go root through my stash. And I'm going to give those noodles a whirl too. Thank you for sharing.
    Mindy

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    1. Ah! You're a sweetheart for writing that, Mindy. Sending you an extra big hug in way of a thank you!

      You'll love that pattern but as I wrote, I knitted my on size 7 needles as opposed to the size 10 because they were huge. That made them a little snug at the top so I made a looped buttonhole. Sometimes you just have to improvise!

      Hope you are a having a beautiful Sunday evening!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  4. Debbie in the U.P.October 23, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    Lovely post, as usual!
    Our leaves are a bit past peak. They weren't too bright, though. I think the rain we had all Summer quieted down the pizzazz we all like to see.
    My last day for the Summer job just ended; pots of soup will be on the menu as soon as clean-up is done. Love soup!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie! This Fall wasn't as pretty as it usually is here, either. Too much rain.

      Hope you enjoy your leisure time. Happy soup making!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. Your sweater looks gorgeous and your noodles delicious! This Fall is turning out to be beautiful isn't it? I probably should get out today and plant my garlic. I don't use as much as I thought I would though so I'll just plant a little. Have a great day!

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    1. It sure is Vickie! I was worried that it would be sort of a loss cause this year, but it's been worth the wait. We grow a lot of garlic because we dry it and grind it into garlic powder. It sure is more potent then the stuff you buy in the store! You have a great day too!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I dried some this year in the dehydrator. How did you dry yours? The smell in the house was pretty strong. I love the garlic powder though.

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  6. Hi Jane,
    Autumn in New England is coming into its second half (my favorite), characterized by lots of russets, apricots and smoky blues. I am already dreaming of the quiet Advent season (my other favorite) when the world seems to possess the stillness and anticipation of waiting for Christ.
    Despite working 3 jobs, the money is going out as fast as it is coming in. That's what happens when you've had to put purchases off for so long, I guess. None of the expenditures are unexpected and I expect things to be all squared away by year's end. My girls have outgrown their bunk beds and their bedding is almost ten years old so I'm looking around for new mattresses and comforters, picking up deals as I see them. I also have to get a winter coat this year and as I am a bit zaftig, I have to shop where my size is stocked. But I expect to have the coat for many years.
    I did get a new mattress and box spring from a friend whose mother couldn't use it (only 4 months old!) and a new bed frame for one of my girls.
    Yesterday I found two organic butternut squashes marked down to less than a dollar total because of one soft spot on one of them. So roasted butternut squash soup is one the menu! I also finished knitting a shawl and was so sick of the yarn by the time it was done, I donated it to my parish's prayer shawl ministry. Now I'm back to knitting up washcloths. I seem to go through them so quickly. The other thrifty thing I did was make my own laundry detergent. I'm still not sure about it though. I've noticed I'm more itchy so it may not be the best for my skin but am going to try extra rinses and see if that makes a difference (I don't have to pay for town water.)
    Well, I am "talking" your ear off! It's another Monday, and I need to get to work! Have a great week.
    Cheers,
    Dana

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    1. I enjoy our "visits" Dana. We bought a memory foam mattress from Big Lots this year. It ended up being more comfortable than the expensive one we bought last year. And get this- we ordered it online and they shipped it to us for only $5! Do they have very many estate sales near you? Sometimes you can get really great deals on things like bed frames and linens. Since most sales are to settle estates they usually are from older folks' homes and they aren't hard on those things. I've purchased new comforters and sheet sets still in their packages for pennies on the dollars from them. Worth looking into.

      Ha! I know the feeling about the yarn! Unfortunately by the time I finish knitting a shawl I'm usually tired of looking at the color.

      I never cared for homemade laundry detergent. It seems to make our clothes dingy. I usually just buy the cheapest detergent I can find. Just bought a big jug of over 100 loads for $4 today from K-Mart.

      Well, hope you aren't working so hard that you don't have time to enjoy the beauty of the season!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  7. Our leaves are not as clorful this year because of the drought but even on an off year they are still so very pretty. Of course we southerners do not get the foliage with which you are blessed! Is that a rust patch on your wheel barrow? It looks like a kitten. OK you have made me finally try making noodles- you make it look easy! I am curious what you wear the cuffs for- I have never seen them. Thank you for your lovely post and happy fall!

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    1. Hi Angela! Yes, that's Binks, he's always into everything. He was playing with the strings on the gourds.

      Noodles are easy! And homemade are very filling. When you make soup with them, you won't go hungry!

      I wear the cuffs under my coat to keep the wind from blowing up my sleeves. I'm sort of between the average and tall size so sometimes my sleeves are a tad too short, so the cuffs help. When it's really cold, I wear them in the house so my hands stay warm while leaving my fingers free to knit and type.

      Hope you are enjoying your Fall!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  8. After summer making a return last week with temperatures in the high 80s, the weather turned back to more seasonable temperatures over the weekend. Today is just spectacular with temperature in the low 70s. The most frugal thing I did this past week (besides shop/spend money) was to rake and bag pine needles. My yard is pine trees and azaleas - no grass. I do have to do quite a bit of hand weeding but no cutting grass. There are enough perennials to offset all the brown from the pine needles on the ground. Every fall, I rake and bag enough pine needles for my daughter to use for her mulched areas. This involves me actually raking the pine needles from the street in front of my house and several of my neighbors. Yeah, I'm the crazy cat lady who rakes the street and takes photos outside of my quilting projects. So far, I have 30 bags of pine needles and will probably get another dozen or so. Love the kitten in the wheel barrow! Looked out at the birdbath earlier and it was full of birds. They were actually bathing in it and about six (cardinals and bluebirds) hung around for a while. Great entertainment for my cats. Looking forward to seeing your completed kimono and maybe some kitten photos?

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    1. Ha! I can believe it Shirley! My husband collects the neighbor's leaves and mulches them for the garden.

      Those crazy kittens! They follow us everywhere. We have to bribe them with cookies to keep them in the yard so we can take a walk. Just a few minutes ago we gave them some cookies and took off. Got about a block away and Binks came tearing around the corner and started following us. We was like, "Man! I really had to scarf down that cookie fast to catch up with you guys!" I'm thinking I need a little cat carrier to take them with me. Oh well! It was too windy and cold anyway. I'll see what I can do about more kitten photos.

      Do you have a blog? I'd love to see your quilts.

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I don't have a blog but I have been posting some of my quilt photos on Instagram. I am crazycatzgal on Instagram. I pulled my last two muffins made from your muffin recipe (oatmeal apple spice). Will bake muffins this week as they freeze beautifully. Regardless of who wins the presidential election, I think we all need to be saying a prayer that our country will survive the next four years.

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    3. I've never really looked into Instagram, not sure how it works. I'm not the most techno-savvy person. Worth investigating.

      I find anything made with oatmeal freezes well. I even think they improve with freezing.

      Yes, I agree. I think we are in for a bumpy four years no matter what.

      Jane

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  9. Hi Jane! It is most definitely soup weather again, at least in my part of the country and yours. I always appreciate soup most to use up leftovers or use things in my freezer that need to be used and it always good. One of the very best soups I make originally came from a time long ago when I had leftover spaghetti sauce with meat after a family gathering I just dumped into a pot with a partially used bag of frozen mixed vegetables, beef broth, water and eventually noodles. I know this is a common combination of ingredients but to me (much younger at the time) it was a revelation that started my soup experimenting based on what I had.

    I have started working on some Christmas projects too. With some hard to please people in my family with expensive expectations it is never easy when you don't want to or can't compete with the money they spend. My newest project this year purchased with coupons over time I have collected together some very inexpensive jewelry findings, a few $1 strings of crystals and beads/pearl intact or broken jewelry from estate sales purchased for pennies plus some pictures and tutorials from places like You Tube and I've started to come up with some very pretty jewelry that would rival what could be purchased. I was surprised that with some small pliers borrowed from my husband it isn't hard to do at all. My husband the hobby woodworker is also busy in his shop starting to make some really amazing birdhouses. The problem with all of this is(haha)the best are hard to part with. Have a great week! -Sharon

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    1. Ha Ha! That's so true Sharon. Lots of times I knit something and then think so much work went into it, it's hard to give it away. Especially when others that don't knit do not realize all the hours of work that went into it.

      Your jewelry sounds wonderful. I've made myself several pairs of earrings from broken necklaces. It's a fun hobby. Aren't we the little Santa's elves?

      Those experimental soups are always the best. Tomorrow I'm going to do a little experimenting with some left over stroganoff. Cold here today and windy. Definately soup weather.

      Stay cozy!
      Hugs
      Jane

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  10. Hi there Jane! Enjoyed this post! And such pretty fall pictures! Ive been reading about the health benefits of beef broth. I might give it a try. I do love to make soups and stews and we raised our family on them-- especially beef stew and chili-- it would feed us for many days. Chili especially-- chili in a bowl with crackers and cheese--chili on spaghetti(cincinnati style)--chili on rice--- chili on cornbread--- the list goes on....lol

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    1. Chili is one of my favorites, Debbi. I plan on making some pumpkin chili this week. as a matter of fact. And when the chili gets down there you can always make a taco salad or chili dogs! "Will you have some chili with that bowl of crackers and cheese?", my husband always teases me. It certainly is one way to stretch a pot of it!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  11. Hi Jane,
    I totally agree with you about our leaders taking us down a road that we do not want to go down. I too have Russian friends and I love them dearly. I never want to see any harm come to them and I know they feel the same way about me.
    Funny that you should mention soup. :) I made a huge pot of potato cheese soup on Friday and it has served us for 4 meals with another few to go. Tomorrow I will be using a game bone from the ham I cooked this weekend to make split pea soup in my crockpot. I love the flavor that the ham bone and the bits of ham give to that soup. It is one of our favorites. I will also freeze some for later. :)

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    1. Hi Debbie! I just can't make sense of all this war talk. Who in their right mind would want war with Russia? I'm hoping it is just talk. After all, I've heard this type of rhetoric since I was a little girl and Russia was the USSR. But prayers can't hurt!

      I think life is thriftier in the cold months. No one can argue with the cost efficiency of a good pot of soup. Plus there's not the urge to go places and spend money like there is in the warmer months. Now I'm hungry for Potato Cheese soup! Two of my favorite foods! Hope you are well-rested!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. The apothecary cuffs are lovely. I really should learn to knit one of these days. I too am praying for peace, & believe that's what most of us want. You inspire me to try making noodles!

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    1. Hi Laurie! Anyone can learn to knit. I taught myself when I was 10 from one of those how-to books. And anyone can make noodles. They are very easy! So I'd encourage you to give both a try.

      If enough of us really diligently pray, perhaps we can be the tipping point and good will prevail over evil. Hope you are having a wonderful Fall!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  13. Dear Jane,

    Wow, you have a lot of birdhouse gourds! At first I thought you had stenciled a black cat onto your wheelbarrow, till I looked at the picture larger. :) Soup is definitely on at our house! The children had a pumpkin-carving activity at church and had leftovers, so we were allowed to take them home. We'll have lots of roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin flesh to play for quite a while!

    Till next time,

    Marqueta

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    1. Binks does look rather strange in that photo, Marqueta. It's because he's so inky black, thus his name, a combination of black and ink.

      Free pumpkin is a good thing! I'm roasting some at this very moment and will make pumpkin chili and pumpkin molasses cornbread for dinner tonight.

      We planted the gourds pretty late in the season but because we had such odd weather we got quite a crop. Now to dry them. Hope you and yours are doing well this fine week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  14. Yes, it is really gorgeous out there, though we are now well past the peak up here..Feeling warm and cozy here in our little north cabin nest!
    Those woolens look so warm. I have a couple favorite sweaters.
    Warm oatmeal for breakfast and homemade soup are my go to on days like these.
    God bless~Lisa

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    1. Hello Lisa! Good to hear from you! Did you get a chance to take your camper out this Summer?

      Hugs
      Jane

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  15. Your hand warmers look wonderful! Love the sprinkling of color in the gray.
    Wow! Those homemade noodles bring back memories. I use to make those when my older 3 were little. They still remember all my broomsticks propped up around my tiny kitchen. I still cook a lot from scratch, but with homeschooling a large fam, I don't have the time for noodles.
    I'm planning to fix homemade clam chowder, and bread is already rising for tonight's dinner/supper. I got a good deal on some canned clams awhile back.
    Well, off to work on some Christmas gifts. Have a good week!
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. I can imagine noodle would fall by the wayside, Leslie!

      What sort of Christmas gifts are you making? I knitted a hat and a pair of slippers this week. Two down only a gazillion more to go! Happy crafting!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  16. Hello from Maine! Found you through Rhonda at Down to Earth - excited to explore your previous posts. Thanks for sharing your world with all of us!

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    1. Welcome Kirsten! I hope you will enjoy your visit. I love Maine! I've only been there a few times but it's a beautiful state.

      Hugs
      Jane

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