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News from the Nest, January 31

Hello from snowy and cold Philadelphia!

Terry and I are really beginning to question why we continue to travel to Philadelphia in January. It does make you wonder!

Did I ever tell you about the time I traveled through Austria with a wooden bowl on my back?

In a nutshell, we took the kids on a trek through the Lake District of Austria several years ago. It was an organized tour in that we would hike 10-ish miles a day from one town to another, while our suitcases would be picked up and magically appear in our rooms when we arrived at the next town.

While it wasn’t the Alps, per se, we definitely went up and down mountains and hills. Our treks took us through charming small towns, as well as meadows and fields. Suffice it to say, it was wonderful!

It was while walking through one of these charming small towns at the beginning of our hike one morning when I stopped into a little Austrian woodworking shop filled with delightful handicrafts. I spied a 14-inch wooden bowl that I knew would be the perfect keepsake and memory from this trip.

I immediately visualized this beautiful Austrian wooden bowl sitting on my kitchen table filled with apples. In my vivid visualization, I saw my family grab an apple on a daily basis from this lovely handcrafted bowl. They would immediately feel their souls warm with the memories of our hike. It was one of those things that would bond us even closer together.

A farm and farm house.
The directions told us to walk to the post then through the farmyard.

While my visualization was taking hold, Terry was trying to convince me that I really didn’t want to carry this bowl for ten miles through the mountains. My backpack was already filled with my lunch for the day, my rain parka, bottles of water, etc… He could see that logic wasn’t working, so he said, ‘I’m not going to carry this for you! It’s all on you.”

My visualization won. I handed the charming Austrian woodworker the requisite euros for his handiwork and set off on that day’s trek with my ‘find’. I looked a bit like a turtle with this bowl on my back, but whatever inconvenience I experienced paled when I recalled that bowl sitting on my table.

When we got to our hotel that evening, I couldn’t wait to get my bowl out of my pack and admire it. To this day, I remember sitting on one of the beds and rubbing my hands over it, to feel just how smooth the wood was. It was then that I saw the little stamp on the bottom, ‘Made in India.’

I was right though, my family is bonded together over that story! I will never live it down.

Mini strawberry curd tarts with fresh strawberries on top.
A bowl of  tomato soup with a basil leaf.
  • I have made this delicious, creamy, very low fat, gluten-free Tomato Soup using the tomato sauce subs and copycat Nomato Sauce (made with beets, carrots and pumpkin puree) in the place of the tomato sauce in the soup. My husband, a self-proclaimed beet hater, thought the Cream of Nomato Soup was actually Cream of Tomato Soup!
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating; if you have problems sleeping I highly recommend the podcast Boring Books For Bedtime. I am not affiliated with the podcast in any way, I am just a huge believer and beneficiary of her boring stories read in a calm and soothing voice.

I love when readers share how they put their spin on my recipes, in this case, the Three-Ingredient Dog Treats.

My dog loves these, especially the cronch! Sometimes I add a little cinnamon or turmeric for her joints. I’ve eaten them myself- they taste like my mom’s oat muffins!

I am a lazy fur mum, and I use my thermomix to grind the oats at speed 7 for 20 seconds, add the peanut butter and cooked apple, and mix for about a minute on speed 4. It doesn’t come together well in the bowl itself, but I turn it out on a flat surface, and squish it together into a ball before flattening.

Once rolled out, I use a pizza cutter to make rectangles, and a pie slice server to scoop them up into the parchment prepared tray. They don’t need a lot of space, so I can cram a lot onto two trays!

I’ve been making dog treats for years, and this is definitely my go-to. Thank you!

  • Kate just asked me to knit another one of these Half-Linen Stitch Blankets to give as a wedding gift. The faux fur trim is the icing on the cake of this blanket.
A close up of a blanket on a chair.

Well, my friends, Terry and I are off to brave the elements in the frigid tundra of Philadelphia. (says the girl who refuses to buy or wear snow gear! I live in southeastern North Carolina, for heaven’s sake!)

Wishing you a day of wonders!


Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. haha I loved that story. and I’m so with you–I’d do the same thing! Reminds me of this gorgeous, overpriced tablecloth I felt I HAD to buy my first trip to Italy. It was so perfectly authentically Italian.
    Got it home to see it was made in France.
    Fittingly, then the first time I used it, I had this long candle thing on it that held like 10 red glass cups for votive candles. About 10 minutes before dinnertime one of the glasses exploded, shattering everywhere and splattering candle wax all over my beautiful overpriced tablecloth.
    I called around to this holistic dry cleaners that had recently opened in town to see if they could clean wax out of this fabric and they said of course they could!
    So I take my wax-stained overpriced tablecloth there.
    When I pick it up a few weeks later, get it home, I check the stains to find there are HOLES where the wax stains were! They literally put holes all over my overpriced Italian tablecloth that wasn’t Italian! I still use it and still grumble then laugh about it. (ps really Terry thinks that yucky beet soup is cream of tomato?)

    1. That is such a you story! Well, and I guess a me story too!

      And straight up truth, I had him taste a spoonful and asked him what it was and he said ‘cream of tomato’ soup. His face blanced when I told him waht it was, after the fact!


  2. I am very curious about how you went about booking your trekking trip in Austria. My husband’s ancestors are from Austria and is on our wishlist to visit. Your trip sounds amazing! Thanks so much for all the wonderful ideas you share.

    1. Hi Pam,

      This is the tour we did. https://www.breakaway-adventures.com/product/walking-in-austrias-lake-district/

      Some of the towns on the tour have changed over the past six years, but I have no doubt it is still wonderful. It’s the second trip I had done with them, the first being one I did with a girlfriend hiking through Alsace-Lorraine in France. I have nothing but good things to say about Breakaway Tours. It’s not cheap, but worth every penny.

      I’m glad to share more info if you need it.


  3. Oh Lynn, I am sure so many have done the same thing. We went to Yellowstone and into a little shop. I kept looking at this fleece shirt, so cute, little brown bear, Yellowstone embroidered across the front. I thought probably made in Wyoming, good. Bought it, got back to our RV and looked at it and of course the little tag inside said… yep “ made in China” . Was so disappointed I have never worn it.

    1. Hi Juanita,

      That sure does make me feel better! But I’m glad to have given my family something to laugh about years later! And I’m sorry about your t-shirt, sounds like it needs to leave your closet and find a new home!

      Have a great day, my friend.


  4. Years ago my co-worker and his wife went to Paris where she found an antique settee, so quaint, so French – she had to have it. When it finally arrived (at great expense) they flipped the crate over to finish boxing it and lo and behold! It was made in the furniture factory just down the road from our office complex!!!

    1. Oh my heavens! That wins the cake! What a great story and one they will share laughs about for ever.

      Have a fantastic day, my friend.

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