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Sunday, November 6, 2016

NOVEMBER NOTES

Hello dear friends!  The autumn leaves pass by my window.  Have you ever heard Nat King Cole sing this in French?  Lovely! 
I'm not going to write about how unusual this Autumn has been, let's just say this has been the first year when we hung laundry  outside in November.   In spite of the warm weather the leaves are falling so Ran and Jamie raked and mulched them and put them on the garden beds.  That's an easy way to add compost to your garden.  By Springtime they are all decomposed and ready to be tilled under. 

I'm sorry but this post is going to be a rather hodgepodge of thoughts.  We are busy here preparing for the holidays, as most of our guest visit at the end of November and the beginning of December, so we have to prepare now.  By mid-December our guest have come and gone and we are ready to settle down for our "long winter's nap". 

One thing I did this week is make a batch of Lebkuchen, a German Christmas cookie that is a tradition in our home. They must be made now to be enjoyed in December because in order to develop their flavor they are placed in a tin with apple slices for at least four weeks.  I won't include the recipe unless someone writes and tells me they want it.  It is not a thrifty undertaking, with expensive and unusual ingredients, such as citron, almonds, white pepper and cardamon. But they are part of our heritage, as Ran's grandparent's immigrated from Berlin and my family came somewhat earlier to America, but still maintained a lot of the German customs.  My mother was the first generation to speak English as her first language.
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FORAGING

This week we foraged for pinecones.  We use them for crafts and for fire starters. And I just like to place them around the house for holiday decorating.  Did you ever see the bags of them for sale in craft and gift shops?  Who  buys them when pinecones are everywhere free for the picking?  We made some little pinecone gnomes from a few to put on Christmas packages. 
Just glue a wooden bead to the top of one and make some hats and scarves from felt.  Glue a piece of brown felt to a piece of cardboard and cut out some skis for the base.  Glue the cone onto the skis and draw eyes on with a marker.

CRAFTS

Another easy-peasy craft for gifting is these little coffee cake soaps we made:
You simply grate one pound of soap (we used our own homemade but you can use a good quality unscented store bought soap)  with twelve ounces of coffee, grinds and all, over a very low heat until the soap is completely melted.  Pour into  mini bundt pans (the flexible ones) and allow to harden.  Remove from the molds and let them  cure for at least one week before gifting.  Wrap them in  little treat bags as you would for baked goods and make sure to label them as "soap" so no one will take a bite of them!  We added some cinnamon and oil of cloves to ours for extra scent. I think these along with some handknit washcloths makes a cute hostess or teacher's gift.

To go along with the other kitchenalia we have been making, Ran made these pig cutting boards using a vintage one I bought at a garage sale for a pattern.  He used tiger maple.
 And here's a picture of the pipe he carved last week, Toni!

I'm still knitting!  Somedays I feel like Madam Defarge, knitting, knitting, knitting.  This week I knitted this super-easy toddler's jester hat, which is a free pattern,  The mittens pattern is located here
and is free on this blog.
Did you know cookie jars make good models for children's hats?  The yarn I used is FairIsle by Yarn Bee, a yarn that can be found at Hobby Lobby.  As you can see, it's a self-patterning yarn, which takes some of the boredom out of straight stockinette stitch.

CANNING

Isn't it funny?  I just used up the last of our canned ham and said to Ran we needed to be on the lookout for a sale on it, when our bulk food advertised ham for ninety-nine cents a pound.  At that price we canned up eight jars plus had enough for a nice meal (made a great glaze from ginger ale, peach preserves, mustard and a pinch of cloves) .  I also canned up our sauerkraut.
OTHER THRIFTY THINGS WE DID THIS WEEK

Started upholstering this Eastlake settee that we bought for $45 at a garage sale this summer:

A nearby village was having their holiday open house this weekend and one of the stores participating was the Ben Franklin.  They were 20% off on any purchase, so we bought things needed to upholster this settee and  craft items for other projects. 

I took advantage of another store's sale to buy a few decorative items for the holidays at 25% off.

I used a coupon of $5 off and various other coupons at the Family Dollar to buy a lot of household items that were on sale  like toilet paper, dish soap, laundry detergent, etc.

While we were out, we stopped at a thrift store and Ran found a beautiful Pendelton wool shirt for $3 and I found an antique ironstone cup for 35 cents.  At another thrift store I found a pewter platter for $1.99.

We replaced our dead mums in our urns with branches from our corkscrew willow.
I think they'll look pretty in the winter with snow and ice on them.

I harvest some green onions that had self-sowed themselves in the garden.  Tomorrow I'll make some potato soup and use them for a topping.  Yum!

I started knitting a pair of ragg wool socks for a present.  One down another to go!  Knitting plain stockings is a bore!

Ran found some beautiful tigered maple when splitting the firewood, which he set aside for woodworking.

Well, that's it for another week at the old Zempel boarding house!  This week we Americans go to the polls to elect a new leader.  Please pray that God's will shall be done.  I hope that you all have the loveliest week!

Hugs
Jane







56 comments:

  1. What a great post! I love reading about what you two are up to. Wonderful projects and good things to eat.

    Happy Fall ~ FlowerLady

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  2. Hi Jane! I saw you posted so I ran and got a cup of coffee (decaffeinated as it is late in the day) to sit down and "visit" you! Beautiful pictures! You are such a "do-er". The hat and mittens are so cute...they look soft too. Ran does a great job woodworking! (etc). Such cute crafts. I always feel my guardian angel scouts out deals for me when I am thinking of something...like your canning of the ham. your cookies are really special...and the coffee cake soap...great idea. Simple too. Hugs, Andrea

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    1. Well Andrea,I'll grab a cup and join you! Ha! (I did just finish a cookie) It was a fun week, but boy is my house a mess! I'll be glad to be through with the settee so I can get the bins of upholstery equipment out of the dining room.

      I like the idea of a guardian angel scouting out deals for me! Sometimes it does seem like that. So, how are things with you?

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I am fine...(thanks for asking!) Tomorrow is a normal day, Tuesday a stressful day (election day...eeek....) also the movers come. I just hope they bring a large truck....all these hidden fears of mine..ha.... I have decided that I didn't worry when I was young like I do now! Hugs, Andrea

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    3. Hoping that everything goes smoothly on your move. I'm sure it will. Now the election - I'm not so sure! Ha! I'm just the opposite, the older I get the less I worry.

      J

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  3. You two are always so busy. I love reading about all your projects and your frugal lifestyle! The settee will be lovely, I'm sure.

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    1. Thanks Isabella! Should have pictures of it next week. One good thing about the Eastlake style is that it's pretty simple. Just like wrapping a big box! Hope you are enjoying your evening!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  4. Hi Jane! Happy November! We are enjoying the unseasonable weather here because it saves our firewood... but, I am ready for cooler weather to come so we are one day closer to spring! LOL

    Your pumpkin coffee cake was a huge hit this weekend! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    I am still knitting on a vest... It is a top down and is going so nicely... if I could just have time to knit more...

    The cutting board is adorable! Ran is such a fine woodworker!

    Have a marvelous week!
    as ever.. m

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    1. Hi Matty! Gosh I hate this daylight savings time, here it is 6pm and it's as dark as midnight!

      Glad you liked the coffeecake. If it's one of my recipe you know it has to be easy because I hate to cook! Ha!

      I just figured out why I don't knit in the Summer - canning! Canning took up an entire day last week. I need to knit the other sock and then I'll probably make another pair of the Nordic slippers. Nothing like waiting until the last minute to get my gifts done!

      Hope you are having a great weekend and will have an even better week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  5. Hi Jane!
    Love this post, and you got so much done! I've never made lebkuchen even though most of my cookbooks have recipes for them. We're such cookie pigs we have to have instant gratification, I'm afraid. ;) But I think it's especially nifty that you're carrying on ancestral traditions. (Ours just bickered all the time.;)

    Those coffee cakes are adorable, and I love the kiddie hat and mittens. I must try that fair isle yarn when I can knit, again. I overdid with my knitting so I have a flareup of tendinitis to deal with, and I don't feel like sewing so I've been in a lackadaisical state all week. I did make three batches of soap though so all is not lost. We do so many of the same things it's amazing, especially fun though, as I went for decades without a single soul to talk to about knitting and crocheting. Love fellow knitters blogs. :)

    Thank you so much for including the photo of the pipe your husband made. It's a beauty, for sure, and those pig cutting boards look like they'd be fun to use in the kitchen.

    Next time I bake ham I'm going to try using the same ingredients you used for a glaze. I usually throw out those glazes that come with a ham (high fructose corn syrup, barf), but ginger ale and peach preserves sound delicious. Thanks so much for sharing!
    Have a great week!
    Toni

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    1. Hi Toni! I hope your tendinitis mends quickly! Being lackadaisical is good sometimes. As soon as the holidays are over, I intend to be too!

      Aren't blogs fun? You meet so many people that have things in thngs common with. You'll like that yarn, I bought some in a blue colorway too. Don't know what I'll do with that yet, but couldn't resist.

      The glaze came about because I was lazy. There was a small jar of peach preserves on the counter that a neighbor gave me and I didn't want to deal with sticky honey (although that would have been good) and because I'm a cheapskate I didn't want to waste the flat ginger ale. Being cheap and lazy is great for creativity! Ha!

      Hope you have a wonderful week also!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  6. I'm going to satisfy your curiosity. You asked who buys the pine cones at the crafts store. Well, there are pockets around the country that have no pine trees. I have lived in two of them: California's central valley and southern Missouri. You could visit the national park in CA in summer time. But in southern MO we had mostly junipers. My parents had a large evergreen in our front yard that yielded cedar roses. These were cones that looked just like a rose fully in bloom! And they smelled lovely when you burned them in the fireplace (only damaged ones, whole ones were for wreaths).
    We had a lovely date, Friday. Lots of deals! We even picked up some pumpkins for 25 cents each. Yes, we planted pumpkins but they did not bear.
    Enjoyed a special coffee after our shopping in our new "date place." So nice to spend some alone time with my favorite person! Thanks for sharing about your big shopping dates with Ran.
    Now that the evenings are longer, we are reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series. My favorite is Farmer Boy, so we started with that. So inspiring to read about their life. We tried to live as much off the land as they. My kids puff up their chests when they hear similarities. That is my challenge to Jane and her readers. Read these books and add some creativity to your housekeeping.
    Must try to make those soaps.
    Blessings,
    Leslie

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    1. That's amazing Leslie! There are so many pine trees around here that it's hard to imagine that they don't grow everywhere. I've been to the states you mentioned but I guess I never noticed. However, selling pinecones in Michigan stores is like selling ice to Eskimos! Ha!

      I haven't read Laura Ingalls Wilder in ages. Perhaps I have a slight dislike for them because when I was in grade school a teacher read us the entire series out loud in a very monotone voice day after day for an entire year. It was pure agony. However, I truly would have loved to have been a pioneer. If I was younger, I would definitely be living off the grid!

      HUgs
      Jane

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    2. Any book read aloud in monotone is pure torture!
      We have lived mostly "off the grid." It is hard work! We lived without a well, so when our water catchment tank was low we had to lug in 5 gallon water jugs. We flushed our toilet with a bucket and our shower was a bucket with a short hose. Our second bath was a cute little out-house that my husband built. We lived this way for 16 years. I still am glad for line drying our laundry and using cloth diapers. So nice to finally take a real shower and not to have to heat my water on the stove-top. We had a wood stove for heat. Fans and windows for cooling. We all agree that we'd rather sweat a little than have AC as it is so drying to the nasal passages. But my kids are ready to live over-seas if they're called.
      Blessings,
      Leslie

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    3. That's so fascinating Leslie! I think living off-the-grid is a young person's game. I couldn't see doing it in my eighties. Would definitely need a well and a hand pump. With your big family, you must have spent all your time heating water! I bet your children are very well prepared for anything with that wonderful experience!

      J

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  7. Jane, You were so busy! I love your soaps! I would love to try them! I have been crafting too- the garden keeps us busy in the summer who has time for crocheting and knitting! You inspire me to get with it! Have a wonderful day (night)

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    1. They are super easy, Vickie. Anyone can make them. Winter's the perfect time for crafting. If we have a winter this year! Did you get over your cold?

      Hugs
      Jane

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  8. It sounds like you had lots of frugal accomplishments this week. I'll have to ask my man about the Lebkuchen, as he spent several years in Germany in the military. I hope to have corkscrew willow here again. One I had died several years ago, probably due to chicken abuse, & cuttings I tried to root this summer didn't take. They are pretty in bouquets and as you're using them.

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    1. I've discovered a lot of the old German customs and traditions that we German-Americans do, actual Germans don't do, Laurie! I've even had to teach my German friends how to make sauerkraut.

      I planted this willow, specifically so I'd have those twisty branches for decorating. Henry Lauder's Walking STick would probably work also. Hope you have a wonderful week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  9. Your red bench looks inviting in all seasons (well you haven't showed winter yet). The corkscrew branches look beautiful in the urns. I took your cookie gift and made a batch of iced pumpkin cookies for a pumpkin loving brothers birthday.
    Thank you for another blog post to visit. Your posts are like a blanket fresh from the dryer to me.
    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs, Jen

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    1. Well in the winter it's in the shed Jen! I guess I do take lots of pictures of that area of my yard. It's the only area of the yard that doesn't show part of the neighbors.

      Pumpkin cookies sound like a perfect gift to me! (Hint to someone reading this blog that lives in this house) Bet your brother loved them.

      That's the nicest compliment I've received in a long time! Thank you! Hope your dad is doing well.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  10. Hi Jane,
    We are having the mildest fall too. I never imagined we'd be getting so much garden produce this late and we aren't even close the needing the heater.
    Your knitting is wonderful. My mom crocheted 6 scrap yarn caps for our 6 grands last Christmas and the children and their parents all enjoyed them.
    Your canned meat is so thrifty, if I lived close to you, I'd come help and learn from you. It just seems daunting.
    Good for you doing a coupon shop at Family Dollar.

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    1. Ha! My couponing must seem like a mere pittance compared to your CVS savings Rhonda. But we ended up saving $11. I'll take it!

      That's so nice that your mother does crochets for the grands. Homemade things are such treasures.

      If you lived closer to me, I'd be happy to teach you. It is really the easiest thing to can. A lot easier than jams, pickles and tomatoes. Hope you have a fun week!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  11. So much loveliness! I adore the coquettish look the fox seems to be sporting under that gorgeous hat. Ran's pig cutting board and pipe are wonders as well. Were you both inclined to handicrafts as teens?

    I would love to use leaves as compost--can you tell me how you mulch them before you spread them out? Do you run them through something like a woodchipper? Or do you mow them up with a lawnmower with a bag attachment, and chop them up that way?

    I am typing this while keeping an eye on my final batch of Hermit cookies. I tried them for the first time, and although they are very simple, old-fashioned molasses-and-raisin cookies, the correct texture is hard to duplicate! They are supposed to be soft and chewy, and my efforts are a bit too crunchy before one gets to the chewiness. At least with cookies, the mistakes are still delicious...

    Sue

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    1. Hi Sue! I always knitted but Ran learned woodworking when we were newlyweds and couldn't afford the things we wanted so he had to make them. He's just one of those people that does well at whatever he turns his hand to.

      We run the leaves over in the lawn mower with the bagger attachment. Then just spread them out on the plots. We scatter the wood ashes over the plots too. As I said, it's the lazy man's way of composting.

      I have a recipe for Hampshire Hermits that makes a nice soft cookie. They taste a lot like my favorite Spanish Bar cake. I'm not sure mine are chewy but they are good. To get that chewy yet soft texture you have to have just the perfect balance of butter, shortening and sugars. Butter makes crunchy cookies, shortening makes soft ones. Timing is crucial too. Have you tried taking them out of the oven while they are just slightly underbaked? Crunchy cookies make good dunkers! Happy baking!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. Hi Jane,

      Thank you for the baking hints/tips!

      The recipes I've looked through in my research for the perfect Hermit all seem to use a 1 cup sugar to 1/2 cup butter and/or shortening ratio.

      I think my success with the hermits cookie lies mostly with the baking time. My three batches taught me that a shorter baking time with a longer resting time on the pan yielded better results. I make them in the log/rolled format, rather than the round/drop method, as that is the only way I've ever had them. It's my goal to find or stitch together my own "perfect" recipe.

      If you have the time to post it, I would appreciate your recipe for Hampshire Hermits! I will be very interested to see if it calls for eggs and cold coffee.

      I did look up the A&P recipe for Spanish Bar Cake you mentioned, and the flavor profile is so similar to hermit cookies. I think I'll bake it for my husband, as he is crazy about raisins in everything. Not to mention the frosting sounds divine.

      Thank you so much for your kind response!
      Sue

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    3. Hi Sue! You're probably right that the key to the chewiness is in the baking time. Here's the recipe for Hampshire Hermits:

      1 3/4 C. flour
      1 tsp cinnamon
      1/2 tsp. allspice
      1/2 tsp. nutmeg
      1/2 tsp. baking soda
      1/2 C. butter
      1 C. brown sugar
      1 egg
      1 tsp. vanilla
      1/4 C. milk
      1/2 C. dates
      1/2 C. golden raisins
      1/2 C. chopped walnuts

      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      Combine flour, spices and soda; set aside
      Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture alternately with the milk until well-combined.
      Fold in nuts, dates and raisins.
      Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
      Bake 10 minutes

      I frost mine with maple icing but then, I'm not a purist!

      Happy baking!
      Jane

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    4. Thank you, Jane! This one is so different from the one I have I am definitely going to try it!
      Sue

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    5. You're welcome, Sue! Did you know that in the olden days, every little New England village had their own version of the hermit? Oh the silly little factoids that are cluttering up my brain! Hope you enjoy them!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  12. Debbie in the U.P.November 6, 2016 at 7:50 PM

    Hi, Jane!
    Wow, you and Ran sure keep busy! I need some of your energy. I made jam bars and pumpkin cupcakes last week. They were well received at work.
    This week, i'm visiting family and window shopping. I love the bookstores the most. It's hard to walk out without spending a fortune. Have a fabulous week!

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    1. Hi Debbie! Window shopping sounds like fun. I plan to do that in a few weeks in Bay City. Just waiting for the temps. to drop so it feels more holiday-ish. Bookstores are hard to resist. I'm glad I don't live too close to a Barnes and Nobles. Enjoy your visiting and window shopping!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  13. Those little gnomes are very appealing, Jane.

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    1. Thanks Sherri! They were fun to make.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  14. I sometimes wonder if you ever sit still! I have to assume that with so much knitting accomplished you make take time out in a comfortable chair, but with hands still busy.
    I've sometimes wished that upholstery was one of my skills--I could make a cushion for a piece like your settee, but tackling a wing chair or sofa boggles my mind--I've little patience with learning curves, always wanting a great result on the first attempt!
    I think keeping the tradition of the special Christmas cookies is worth the extra expense for the ingredients. I recall that for many years of tight budgets when our children were young, my sister-in-law and I began buying the extras for holiday baking in October, a few with each grocery shopping trip.
    I"m grateful now for the several discount shopping outlets we have nearby.

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    1. Well if it looks like I get a lot done it's because of the many things I don't do that gives me so much extra time in the day. I hate to cook so I make a big pot of something and we eat it for three days (this week it was lasagna). I only bake once a week. There's three adult living here in this small house so it only takes about 1 hour out of the day to clean and get everything ship shape in Bristol fashion. I also don't spend time watching TV or talking on the phone. ANd I don't spend time going to the doctor like so many of my friends my age do.

      I'm sure with your sewing skills you would be great at upholstering. It's just a matter of being observant of how the fabric when on the first time when taking it off. Reverse engineering.

      I used to squirrel away ingredients for Christmas baking too. Thank goodness for the shopping outlets, it makes life so much easier. But it was sort of fun back then to plan and conspire trying to make it all fit into the budget. Hope you have a wonderful week!

      HUgs
      Jane

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  15. Dear Jane,
    I admire your industriousness! I so look forward to "waking up retired" so I can maybe turn my attention to all the ideas I have (although I am more likely to sit down with a book, truth be told.) Last week was a doozy for me with Halloween, a flat tire in my car, my roadside assistance that Verizon cancelled on me without telling me (and they wanted $89 to re-instate it), the brakes in my mom's car going on me, etc. etc. As I said - it was a doozy of a week. So here's to quieter times.
    When I was growing up, we had a Ben Franklin store in a nearby town. This was long ago, before there were Michael's or Hobby Lobby's. It went out of business and I thought they were all gone. Brings back memories of shopping there when I was learning to quilt in high school.
    I've been keeping a budget these past few months, tracking all my spending. It's been really helpful in seeing where everything goes. I'm using the free "Pear Budget" that I found online.
    Last week was such a whirlwind of stress, I'm trying to think of the frugal things I did. I cooked from scratch, got the house all sealed up for the winter, had my flat tire plugged so I didn't have to buy a new one, blanched and froze a big bunch of kale that was on sale at the supermarket, made gingerbread to sell at our Friends of the Library bake sale at the polls tomorrow... I think that's it!
    Hope you have a lovely week. God help America!
    Dana

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    1. My heart goes out to you Dana. I had a spate of flat tires a few years back, three in one month! I never felt safe about driving alone since. And I used to have no compunction about packing up the kids and driving across several states.

      They still have Ben Franklins in the little villages that are too small to support the Michaels and Hobby Lobbys. I like them because they are smaller and I can find the things I need quickly and get out.

      Used to be an avid reader, but after a couple of years of reading some really bad books, (the cover art always looks so appealing) my reading is just very dry politics, history or economics. Or I reread my old favorites. Personally I don't want to read about someone dying of cancer at a young age, randy young women or Amish "love" stories that everyone recommends. And all the back to nature books are just stupid. Everyone that writes them seems to think they invented canning, gardening and raising chickens. Or the people are just stupid and obviously over their heads.

      Well hope that this week will be less stressful, maybe only a half-doozy. Ha! Good luck raising money at your bake sale!

      Hugs
      Jane

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    2. I hear you about books! I mainly stick to classics or children's literature because contemporary books for adults all seem to glorify brutality, contain soft porn, or are just about miserable drama among people being horrible to one another. (If I wanted to see that, I could just look around my neighborhood.) But I do love a little twist of the fantastic, or stories of plucky pioneers or regency manners. They are my little escape hatch from the modern world.
      Cheers,
      d

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    3. Well, if you ever find a good read, Dana, please let me know!

      J

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  16. My the holidays are coming fast. I always make Lebkuchen as well and need to get busy with the same. To me they are one of the memories of my Midwestern mother in law because they (and another German holiday cookie I can't even spell right) were an important piece of her holiday baking tradition. Both of my husband's parents were also the first generation in their families to be born here. I always found it interesting that they were extremely hardworking frugal people through every part of the year but for the short time of the Christmas season the seams burst and they spent a budget they saved for gifts, food and entertaining and took the time to enjoy everything they could and all the people in their world. They really did it up right and then it was back to business as usual January 2. My memories of my own childhood holidays are good but I am always a little envious of what my husband experienced.

    I liked and appreciate your instructions for the "coffee soap" and plan to borrow that idea since I live in the "birthplace of Starbucks" area of the country where anything coffee related is popular.

    As always your efforts are amazing. I hope your week is wonderful! -Sharon

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    1. That's nice to know, Sharon. I always thought I was the only one that baked Lebkuchen. Ha! The Germans really love their Christmas celebrations. I remember the old German farmers butchering a pig and making sausage that they shared with everyone this time of year. It was the best sausage ever. I guess it was the only time of the year they didn't have their noses to the grindstone, so who's to fault them for taking a nip of schnaps? Gramps always said it was a German tradition to toast to the new year with a glass of it. We always wondered if perhaps he just liked it and it was a good excuse to partake.

      The soap is super easy to make and quick too. The coffee in it is good for removing odors too. Happy baking!

      HUgs
      Jane

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  17. Hello, I was wondering if you bake your pine cones before crafting with them? I keep reading about how they may have spider eggs and other assorted bugs and i would really like to craft with my kids without the worry.

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    1. Hi Amanda! I don't, but you certainly could. Or you could soak them in a salt water solution (a tablespoon of salt in bowl of water) then just set them out to air dry.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  18. Your Christmas cookies look wonderful! I have started baking cookies and freezing them for the holiday season. Oatmeal raisin cookies just went in the freezer. Hard to believe that in two weeks it will be Thanksgiving Day. Love your knitted hat and gloves. They are such pretty colors and that cookie jar makes a great way to display the hat to photograph. The corkscrew willow looks great in your urns. I have an old milk can on my porch that I fill with sticks and branches. Love the sort of natural/primitive look. If you lived near me, I could give you buckets of pine cones. Almost every week, I have a garbage can filled with twigs and branches from the pine trees and pine cones. Your craft project with the pine cones turned out very nice.

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    1. Thanks Shirley! Sounds like we have the same taste in decorating. I wish I had room in my freezer for Christmas cookies. I usually have a marathon baking day just before we send/ give them out and keep them in tins on our unheated enclosed porch. Then we always discover that we gave all the cookies away and have to bake more just before Christmas! Ha! Oatmeal raisin are my favorite!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  19. My goodness you have been busy! I am in love with those little pinecone people, the cutting board, pipe, that hat and mitten set and can't wait to see the chair when you are finished with it. :)

    I need to get to canning all our fruit that is sitting in the freezer but this has not been the week to do so. Between my health issues and my uncle's death, I have been wiped out. Praying that all changes here soon.

    Be blessed!

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    1. Thanks Debbie! I hope the end of this week is going better for you. Canning can wait!

      Hugs
      Jane

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  20. So love this post! After all the nastiness this week, your post is balm to my soul. Thank you!
    Love your red bench and your garden gate! So pretty!
    Those pine cone gnomes are adorable. Going to forage for some pine cones this week for the kids to make them. And the coffee soaps do look good enough to eat. I need to see if I can find mini bundt pans.
    What a cute little toddler hat and mittens. You are so talented. The cutting board and pipe look great too.
    Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.

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    1. Thanks Kathy! Those little gnomes are fun family craft. It's fun to see how different the expressions are just by where you place the dots for eyes.

      As to all the nastiness (you'd think this was a military coupe rather than a presidential election) of the week, I would say just give the president-elect a chance. Rarely have I ever voted for the winning team (and I've been voting since the mid-70s) so I understand disappointment when your candidate is not elected. However; that is the beauty of our system, there is a checks and balance system, so no one person is given too much power. What I do is write to my representatives, sign petitions and when I'm disappointed in how they vote on key issues, I vote and campaign against them the next election. Rarely does an incumbent get my vote! Ha! And I pray! I pray that God's will is done. We see through the glass darkly, so sometimes it is difficult to fathom what is God's will, so acceptance is also part of my walk in faith. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

      HUgs
      Jane

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    2. Thanks Jane!
      I have been praying the prayer that never fails, Thy will be done! And it has given me peace.
      May He bless you and your ministry with this lovely blog.
      Hugs
      Kathy

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  21. Yes, our November has been weird!
    We have lots of hunters up this way. Last month the local DNR were asking deer hunters to be on the lookout for sleeping bears this year so they (DNR) could locate and tag them..but they might not be sleeping because of the extended warm days!
    Is that cookie jar a 'Pioneer Woman'..I have the hound dog cookie jar!
    Have a wonderful week, Jane.
    God bless~Lisa

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    1. HI Lisa! I'm glad I don't have the job of tagging bears! Yikes! Yes, the cookie jar is from WalMart. I love foxes, so I just had to buy one. We even had a gray one that hung out in the back yard last year. Having family for Thanksgiving? Hope your son-in-law is doing better.

      Hugs
      Jane

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  22. Oh, my gosh! A pig cutting board. My mother had one of these ... I will have to ask her what happened to it. I wonder if she still has it. What lovely memories of kitchen times your photo brought back. Meg:)

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    1. Well, Meg, if you can't find it, I'd be glad to send you one for the cost of shipping. When Ran gets makes something he always makes many duplicates. Ha! Now he's making pipes!

      Hugs
      Jane

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