Friday, March 30, 2012

Serenity at Home

Feeding the Doves





I have been resting a lot lately. When weariness comes, we have to re-evaluate what housework is most important. . . Or what errands are essential. It's very important to recover when one is ill or worn out.

The other day, I watched Ever After with one of my girls. I love the clothes in those days. I even like some of the peasant clothes! Sometimes I wish we could have custom made clothes, rather than depending on the local store for the latest fashion. I am rarely happy with the clothing choices in the stores.

Today, I have to keep resting. I am going to find something pleasant to watch on television and just try to recover from whatever has this grip on me. I am hoping I will feel better by the beginning of next week.

I miss cleaning and cooking and wearing my apron. I miss listening to gospel music while I work. I miss the view from my parlour window while I read. I feel like I've entered into some kind of confinement and must be temporarily bedridden.

But there is serenity in resting. I am dressed up in a full-length Edwardian dress I made many years ago. It is black with delicate gold flowers. It has an empire waist and small, gathered sleeves. (I bought the fabric on clearance for one dollar and can't believe I managed to make this dress out of it!) . . . It is comfortable and peaceful to wear certain kinds of clothing.

Yesterday, as I did a few minor tasks around the house, I took many breaks. Then went back to bed. I thought of Beth in Little Women. I thought of how her heart had been weakened from Scarlet Fever. But she was happy at home.  She loved the peacefulness and slowness of a happy, quiet life at home. And today, I will forget about any worries or troubles and just enjoy the serenity of illness.

Blessings
Mrs. White

Being Cheerful- Homemaking with Frank Sinatra.

Looking Nice even on the Bad Days - When Mama is an Invalid.

I need to have one of these - A Jane Austen Day - When Mother is Worn Out.




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Review - Independence Day by Michael DiMarco

Book - Independence Day: Graduating into a New World of Freedom, Temptation, and Opportunity

Author - Michael DiMarco

Publisher - Revell

Hardcover, 142 Pages.





If you have a teenager graduating from High School, you might want to consider this gift book from Michael DiMarco. He offers advice, Bible verses, and personal stories for the new graduate.

Sections include: Freedom (what young people are seeking), temptation (what we all have to face) and opportunity (the great things that lay ahead.)  He candidly shares how he couldn't wait to move out of his parents house because he wanted the freedom to make his own choices, and not have to follow the house rules. This, of course, is common among many young people.

He has "independent study sections" where readers can think, and answer questions.  The book would appeal most to young men, and their fathers (who might want to chuckle a little at Michael remembering his younger years). It may also appeal to curious mothers who wonder what many young graduates might be thinking.



*Disclosure - I received this product for review purposes.*


To find out more about my commercial breaks, please see my disclosure page.





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Thursday, March 29, 2012

When Mother is Late for Her Shift

A Maid Watering Flowers





One morning last week, I overslept. I was "out" so long I missed my shift. This is the normal time that I start my housework. Of course, we had surprise visitors throughout the day. I tried to tidy the mess, but I had gotten so behind that it was difficult to be proud of my home.

I realize things get messy because we live here, and we need to cook and bake and do laundry. But if I stay on top of it all, it normally stays fairly neat. This was not the case last week. It would have been far better if I had only fallen asleep on the job.

How many of us have forced ourselves out of bed in the morning with a promise that we will get a nap later? Or how much we can't wait until night when we can sleep again? (smiles) Sometimes this is because of the cold weather. I can't imagine ever feeling that way on a warm summer day, or a pleasant spring morning.  It must certainly have to do with the cold.  But the brave mother, who starts the fire, (or has her husband do it, as in my incomp├ętent case), will have a lovely, cozy start to her day.

It is the struggle against duty that must be overcome.  We must remember that we can have breaks, and rests and times of leisure. These should be sacred to the soul, to keep our spirits up, and keep us going joyfully and peacefully.

This is why I love to keep my parlour clean and pretty. It is a pleasant place to sit and rest. It is also a beautiful place to greet visitors.  Even if we only have one room decent and nice, most of the time, we can have a sense of accomplishment. We can gain strength in that room, to make the rest of the place look lovely.

Well, I am late again today, but not as late as last week. I will have to get some work done this morning, before the family rises. It is still quiet here. Mr. White has just started the fire in the parlour. I will make tea so I can calmly survey the damage this messy house has endured overnight (I have teenagers and was ill yesterday).  But I will set it all to "rights" this morning. That will boost my spirits and also bring happiness to the family.

Blessings
Mrs. White

The Leisure Hours - How a Housewife Passes the Time.

Are You Dreading This? - Beware of Random Kitchen Inspections.

A Mother's Influence - Who Will Weep For You Now?






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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When We Can't Endure a Little Hardship

The Poor





Living in an old house makes me think about all the struggles the early Americans went through.  I visited Plimouth Plantation, in Massachusetts, many times. The tiny little houses the Pilgrims lived in were cold, plain and uncomfortable.  The people worked tremendously hard just to survive. This is hardship.

In our 1800's house, there are drafts, broken faucets, and plumbing problems. We are always repairing something or trying to make things last.  We are also constantly seeking ways to economize. During a recent warm spell, we didn't use our wood pellet stove. Some mornings I was cold, but I just had to wait a few hours for the temperature to rise, and the house would have been heated by the warmth of the sun. It is in our nature to seek ease, comfort and self-indulgence.  We have an anti-hardship nature. This is why we waste money, and act spoiled.  It came from generations of Americans who forgot what it was like for the Pilgrims and the Pioneers.  We are living on the ease and "wealth" created by our ancestors.  Instead of continuing their traditions, we are sitting back and living like the rich.

In the old days, struggle built character.  And a little suffering made us grateful.

Now things seem to be handed to us. We lost our ability to endure the rough times. We lost our creativity and ingenuity.

This morning I was thinking about how easy things are for me.  I have plenty of free time, and set my own plans for each day. I have good things to eat. I have a lovely home (as long as I work hard to keep it neat).  Even though I have so many things to be thankful for, I still grumble and complain when I have to suffer. We modern day Americans come from tough Pioneer stock. But we have weakened and softened over the years.  One of the greatest accomplishments would be for us to endure the hard times and learn to sacrifice for the good of our characters.

No one wants to suffer, of course. But if we can just strengthen ourselves enough to patiently get through the hard times, we will do well. It's kind of like picking our battles and not making too much out of the daily trials.

This would make the good times that much sweeter.

Blessings
Mrs. White

* P.S. If you have some time, visit the Plimouth Plantation website. It is amazing! *


Are you making your children do YOUR chores? - A Cheerful and Willing Housekeeper.

We all need one of these - A Church in the Home.

Encouragement - How a Godly Mother may Guide an Imperfect Family.







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Spoiling Breakfast

The Brioche





I have to admit this. . . I would rather eat cookies and chips than a real breakfast. I will even make a nourishing breakfast for my children, but take none for myself.

The problem is that I have little self - control when it comes to snacking. If I even eat one brownie, I am too full for a real meal. It's called "spoiling your dinner," even if it was only breakfast.

I have no problem creating a lovely ambiance for the evening meal. I have no trouble with the time involved in setting the table, lighting candles, and making a delicious, yet humble, dinner.

But in the morning, I have trouble taking all that time to enjoy a nice breakfast.   On the days I actually sit down at the table with tea, toast and a little fruit, I feel like I have accomplished a lot! 

Most mornings, I do a tremendous amount of housework before the family even wakes up.  I like to get most of my work out of the way. Breakfast, for me, would be like taking a break.  Do you remember the stories of farmers who would do morning chores before they even got to eat?  It is also convenient to get moving, and work hard before enjoying a nice meal. 

There were times we had grits, cantaloupe, eggs and biscuits for a pleasant, southern style breakfast. Other days we would have fresh baked muffins and fruit. Plain cereal is healthy and quick, but not very exciting.  Pancakes are too filling and make me tired. (smiles)  I have never liked eating eggs, but love making omelets for my children.  A nice formal breakfast, after an early morning of chores, is a lovely way to start the day.

Perhaps dressing up for breakfast, using fine china, linen napkins, and a delicate tea pot would help make breakfast time a more formal, inviting affair.  Even if I drink hot chocolate and have grits and toast, after doing some heavy housework, I would be more inclined to ignore the brownies so I can actually enjoy the breakfast hour.

blessings
Mrs. White

Massachusetts Memories - Manners Learned at the Finishing School.

For When We Get Weary - Brave Mothers Who Walk Into Walls.

If you are Overwhelmed - It's time for A Pink Day!






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Thursday, March 22, 2012

No One Respects Homemaking Anymore

Mother and Daughter with Vacuum, Retro





The telephone rang. . . I spent 10 minutes in idle conversation.   Finally, I  politely interrupted to say, "I have to leave on an errand in about 10 minutes, but have to finish up my housework first. I'll have to call you back later." But my phone guest wouldn't let me off the phone. (smiles) Has that ever happened to you?

I had spent the morning dusting, polishing, vacuuming, doing dishes, taking care of the laundry, and fixing meals. The rooms were almost sparkling. I had just one more section to vacuum and a couple more dishes to do, and I would have been finished. I would have been able to go out on the errand and enjoy an afternoon of rest when I got home. Through all my work, I had chatted with my husband and children, helped them with their needs, set up the schoolwork for my youngest student, and had some helpers working with me.

When phone guests take up more than a few minutes, it can derail our efforts in housekeeping. I asked my guest, "If you were at your job when I called, and you had to get back to work, would you let me keep you on the phone? Or would you tell me you HAD to go." The guest and I laughed. I then said, "No one takes homemaking seriously."

The fact is, if you are a housewife, you are in charge of the care and keeping of the home. It is your responsibility to make sure the rooms are not dirty and that they are periodically cleaned throughout the day.   Just as employees at a company must do their assigned jobs.  This is serious business.

I have heard the joke about stay-at-home moms. It goes something like this....

A career mom stops by to visit. She notices the house is in shambles, and everything is chaotic. Her snarky comment is, "Oh. . . I thought that since you were home all day, your house would be clean."

Have you heard that one?   How often is it true?

People must understand that we often spend  a few hours each day cleaning the house.   We can't allow general (non-emergency) interruptions to distract us so much that we become procrastinators. We have to politely limit our activities enough so we can get our jobs accomplished each day - Just like a professional.

  It is also important to rest, but we must be diligent in our work.  My children are amused when I tell them I am on a break from my housekeeping

Our breaks are like sitting on the front porch with a little lemonade, enjoying the afternoon sun. We are ready for visitors, or idle conversation as a form of refreshment and fellowship. But this is after our work is finished, or during our rest periods.

We, of course, are always available in an emergency and will drop whatever we are doing when needed. But in our normal daily life, we need to be about the business of housework.



Blessings
Mrs. White

Let this not be you  - Only  Rich People Have Clean Houses.

Ideas for the overwhelmed Mother of Many - 10 Children and Housekeeping.

A Behind - the - Scenes Look at what I do to create a recipe for Erin at $5 dinners - A Very Special  Dinner.








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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Mother is a New Gardener

Woman Kneeling in Garden, Wearing Gloves, Working in Flower Bed




There is so much to learn when it comes to tending a home. There is also indoor and outdoor work. This includes the pleasant times of hanging laundry on the line to dry in the warm spring sun.   Or Sweeping front porches and walkways. These are the delicate aspects of outside work.

The hard part, for me, is learning to garden. . .  I have repeatedly described how to clean and keep a house; how to care for children; ideas for baking and cooking.  But I have no wisdom when it comes to gardening. So if you can imagine a new housewife, overwhelmed when looking at a messy house and not knowing what to do? Then imagine me outside, standing there, bewildered, wondering what to do with Garden Tools. (gentle smiles)

A few months ago, I bought a few little pots and some seeds. I also have a small set of gardening tools and some gloves.  I even bought a large indoor piece of furniture that is some kind of "greenhouse." It will be used for starter seeds. (Whatever that means.)

I do have hope, however. Years ago, when we lived in Massachusetts, We had rose bushes. I pruned them, and took excellent care of them.  I don't have any idea how I managed that, but they looked so pretty! They also came back, year-after-year.  Perhaps I should start with rose bushes, here at our Vermont Estate?

I would also love to make a few spring, gardening dresses. But I don't have the ambition or energy.  Maybe I am getting old and need to buy a sewing machine. (I have been hand-sewing, almost exclusively for decades.)

The last few days, here, have been unseasonably warm and pleasant. My gardening plans for today include sitting in a chair with a book, while my boys do some raking and begin preparing the land. Does that make me a passive gardener?

Blessings
Mrs. White


Yearning for - The Romance of Home.

Lovely things to do - Domestic Occupations.

Remembering - Building a Strong Work Ethic in our Children.






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Review - Loving the Little Years


Book - Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches


Author - Rachel Jankovic

Publisher - Canonpress

Pages - 102




Author, Rachel Jankovic is a wife and mother of five small children, including 2 year old twins. At the time of publication, her children were all under the age of five!  This book is designed to encourage and help the overwhelmed mother.

It contains 20 short chapters, which are similar to blog posts. Each one is like a devotional or lesson she has learned on different aspects of motherhood. She shares about handling things like difficult behavior in children, and in herself.  She says, "As you deal with your children deal with yourself always and first." (page 14)

She makes it clear that Motherhood is hard work, but shares some ideas that have helped her get through the day.

 Rachel explains that she doesn't claim to know it all. She is just sharing what she is doing right now, while the children are small. I would recommend this book to struggling Mothers who are in despair and are in need of some encouraging humor.

*Disclosure - I received this product for review purposes.*


To find out more about my commercial breaks, please see my disclosure page.





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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cleaning Despite a Crisis

On a Cottage Porch, the Return of the Swallows to their Nests




A crisis started here one night last week. It is still going on, but things are calmer at the moment. It has brought good, but the painful aspect of it has brought some tears. These are the kind of things that happen in all homes. The circumstances may be different, but behind the curtain of every home, there is real life - pain and sorrow, mixed with happiness and laughter.  It is amazing how one minute all can be rainbows and cheer, and the next some tragic thing is announced, or some trial darkens the doorstep.  We thank the Lord for that comforting Biblical phrase (from a sermon that my dear Uncle preached), "and it came to pass."  Trials don't stay. They pass along.

In the midst of all this, I have enjoyed the beginnings of Spring here in Vermont.  I have been deep cleaning and found an accumulation of dust from dark, cold winter days. There seems to be a settling of dirt in my house, which is quite shocking. However, I am having the most delightful time dusting. I am not even listening to old time gospel music, or classical, as I normally do.  Instead, the windows are open. I hear the rushing of the river behind our property.  I can hear a gentle wind, and the delicate chirping from distant birds. This is the symphony behind my cleaning.  It is soothing and calming.

I have no idea what will happen today. I hope there is a lot of laughter and happiness. But if difficult moments come, and bad news enters, I will still do my housework.   I will clean and cook and try to cheer everyone up. I will remain calm. I will not panic. I will have trust and faith in God, that He is in control and He is there to guide and comfort us for all time.


Blessings
Mrs. White

They don't do this for the money -  Precious Gospel Music -  An Encouraging Visit.

Very sweet, from the Writings of Elizabeth Prentiss - Something To Ponder.

My Mother-in-Law's Example - Classic Old Fashioned Housewife.







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Monday, March 19, 2012

Why The High Cost of Food?

A Young Man Helping Put Groceries in a Woman's Cart





We have become a nation who eats recreationally. It is part of our "entertainment" expense. We have snacks and processed food and junk, because we like the taste of it. We are kidding ourselves if we think snacks are good nutrition.

In my childhood home, grandmother* would have a fit if we kids were offered ice cream before dinner.  That wasn't allowed. Grandma made simple homemade meals, with little meat, all week long.  Sunday dinner included meat as the main dish. This was common in those days.

When Grandma passed on, my mother continued with the common tradition of making sure we ate nutritionally.  We had a home- cooked dinner every night at the same time.  There were no snacks to  hold us over until the meal was ready.  We greatly appreciated the food when it was served because we had time to become genuinely hungry.

The only time we had snacks was on Friday nights. We children all looked forward to the homemade popcorn and a little soda. We would watch a program with Mother and Dad on that night and enjoy a special time together.  If there was soda in the house, on the weekends, we were allowed only one glass. After that we had to drink water.

Mother always had orange juice and milk in the house. We drank the milk with meals and the juice in the morning. These were not all-day-long beverages to enjoy. They provided a certain amount of nourishment that we needed. But overdoing the nutrients was a waste, because the body could not use it.

We had plenty of tea and water available throughout the day. If we children wanted soda (other than on Friday night) we bought our own, from the local corner store, with money we had earned ourselves.

If we wanted extra snacks, candy, or junky convenience foods, we bought it on our own. I still remember my pink, homemade bookcase that My Father made me. It was in my bedroom and that is where I kept pop tarts and the occasional treats I would buy from the store myself.  This kind of junk was never in our kitchen cabinets. Mother knew it did not satisfy hunger. She knew it did not provide basic nutrition, so she didn't buy it.

I remember babysitting, as a young teenager, and finding cabinets full of hostess snacks, chips and cupcakes! I couldn't believe it! It was exciting! (smiles) One family, in particular, was a mother and father who had a baby. I was the babysitter. When the parents left, I checked the kitchen for snacks and couldn't believe how much junk food they had! It was only two adults and not even any children, and they were eating all those treats themselves!  This was obviously for entertainment. It was for enjoyment. I knew it did not provide any nutrition.

In other countries, throughout the world, people eat basic foods like whole grains, potatoes and locally grown produce. If we gave them a box of highly processed American snacks, what do you think that would do? How do you think they would feel?

In the old days, Mother would serve oatmeal, or porridge in the  morning. She would serve homemade cornbread, biscuits or bread. She would cook with homegrown potatoes, carrots and onions. Her seasonings came from the garden.  I don't think her fruit trees produced bbq potato chips or candy bars.

We have become a nation who expects junk on a daily basis as if it were a necessity.  This kind of eating makes us unhealthy, broke and unsatisfied.   It reminds me of birthdays. When we give our children presents all year long, buying them some of the things they want, rather than waiting for their birthday, they become selfish, and think people "owe" them things. They don't learn to wait. They don't learn to delay gratification. They don't learn to work for things. Every single one of us will appreciate things more if we have to wait for them.. . To earn them. .  Like ice cream (smiles). . . I remember watching my father make homemade ice cream outside. He had a large bucket and had to crank the handle for a long time. He worked to make the ice cream that we got to enjoy. We appreciated it very much! But I don't think I appreciate buying a carton of ice cream from the supermarket.

Now I must say, if you looked into my shopping cart today, you would find junk. . . (sigh). . We are all going to struggle with this because it is such a normal, expected part of our diet! But this is something we all have to fight. This is something we will all struggle with.  Because if we keep giving-in to buying and eating the garbage, we will be broke and diseased.

Blessings
Mrs. White

* Grandmother - Our family lived in the same house with  my grandparents, just like my parents now live here in my home with my family.

Mother's Prayers - Who Will Weep For You Now?

Playpens are essential! - Keeping House with Small Children.

Please keep passing it on -  Homemaking Links the Generations.




For Home-keeping Inspiration, order my book - For The Love of Christian Homemaking







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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Morning Duties

An Old-Time Milking-Maid with Two Small Children




It is raining and cool at our Vermont Estate. The stove is out and the air is crisp. Soon Mr. White will start the fire and another day will begin. I have a kitchen to clean, a floor to mop, laundry to wash, and food to cook. I will also bake brownies this morning.

I shall have tea while I read my Bible and do my Prentiss Study.  I will enjoy the silence while everyone still sleeps. It is a quiet time of preparation for the morning duties.

Perhaps I will go out and do a little visiting this afternoon. I will bring some brownies with me, to share.

I also want to buy a new set of Knitting needles. On a cool, foggy day like this, I like to think about a Jane Austen Estate in England. It makes me want to sit by the window and do some hand-work, while contemplating lovely thoughts.

If I had little babies around, they would delight me with their antics and wear me out with their precious energy. But I would love it!  Since my children are mostly grown, I long for the sound of little feet and giggling! This large old house echoes its emptiness and almost orders children to reside here.  Someday soon I will have grandchildren to fill these halls and floors.

But for today, I will clean and cook and bake, like always. I will remember when my children were young while I wash dishes.  I will smile as I think of the silly things they did and said while I wash the floors. And I will pray a silent prayer of thanksgiving for the memory and the present of a mother's life at home.

blessings
Mrs. White

Loving housework, despite injury - I Fell While Hanging Curtains.

Mother of Older Children - A Visit - Family Life at Home.

Remembering how it was - A Mother's Touch.






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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Time to Make the Rooms Shine

Tuscan Bedroom





I spent hours sitting by the window this morning. My only student sat nearby. We had blankets and pillows and piles of books.  It was a studious time of enjoying literature.  After awhile, we had beverages and toast. Then it was time to get to work.

I put on my apron and assessed the condition of the kitchen.  I piled dishes in the sink to soak in hot, sudsy water. Then I decided to clean the parlour instead.  (gentle smiles)

I lit a mint-chocolate-chip scented candle. It sat next to my forlorn, wilting flower plant. (A gardener, sadly, I am not.)   Then I got the pledge and a dust rag. I polished the end-table. . the lamp. . the large table, the hutch and the wood pellet stove. Then I dusted the window sills.

I dragged in the large vacuum cleaner. It is a charming pastel green. I vacuumed the carpet and then started on the kitchen floor.  It reminded me of the old days. In my childhood home, we had a large, round throw rug that needed to be brought outside to be cleaned. This covered most of our living room floor. It went over the linoleum. Most of the house was plain linoleum. We had to sweep all the rooms. I don't even remember using a vacuum cleaner.

In my mid-teenage years, when I worked as a maid, I was intrigued by vacuum cleaners which had a "floor" setting, along with a "carpet" setting. We used to vacuum all the wood floors and all the linoleum. It made things very quick and easy.

Today, as I worked and remembered, I started to vacuum the baseboards. This too was quick and easy.  Smaller boards, and those in corners, were done by hand, with the use of a rag.

I then swept the hearth, washed my dustpan, and tucked in all the chairs. The room looked lovely. I went to the back door to get a better look. All was charming and shining and pleasant.

Then I remembered something. . . my kitchen was still a mess.  I had plenty more work to do.

Blessings
Mrs. White

For Those Difficult Times - Despairing over the Household Allowance.

Stand Brave Mother! - The Kitchen Martyr.

Sad Comfort For Mothers of Older Children -  Childhood Home as the Nursery.








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The Woodcarver DVD - Giveaway

Movie - The Woodcarver (Restoring Their Faith in God and in Life).

From - Faith and Family Films.

Rating - PG

Running Time - 90 Minutes.

A young rebellious teenager vandalizes the outside of a church in his community. He is acting out because of pain from his family.  He is required to make restitution by repairing the damage he caused.

One would think this teen is the main character and that the plot revolves around him, but the woodcarver is the real star, with a powerful message.  The teen begins to work with him, which infuriates his backslidden father.  The boys' parents are in the midst of a divorce and home -life has fallen apart. We also vividly see the destruction which can come from focusing heavily on seeking money at the expense of family.

This movie shows tremendous grace to the sinner. It shows the power of patience and the beauty of a life-long marriage. The example and advice from the woodcarver speaks volumes. 



The Giveaway:

How would you like a chance to win your very own DVD of "The Woodcarver"?  I have one available for a giveaway. All you have to do is leave me a comment.


For additional Entries:


1. Post about this on Facebook.

2. Post about this on Twitter.

3. Follow me on Twitter.

4. Write a post, linking to this giveaway, on your own Blog. (This is worth 3 entries. Please leave 3 separate comments.)

*Please leave a separate comment for each entry.*


One random winner we be selected on Thursday, March 15, 2012. (U.S.  Entries only.) If I am unable to reach the winner within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be selected. Your entry is only valid if you include a way for me to contact you. 

This contest has ended. The winner is Kristy!

*Disclosure - I received this movie for review purposes.*


To find out more about my commercial breaks, please see my disclosure page.





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Monday, March 12, 2012

How Can I Quit My Job and Stay Home?

Woman Doing Household Finances





I frequently hear from readers who want to stop working and stay home with their families.  They wonder how it works? They say it is financially impossible, and want help. (This is for two-income couples.)

Obviously each situation is going to be different. Some mothers might be able to make a few adjustments and quit right away. Others are caught in so many financial obligations that it might take them months (or longer) to get everything in order before going home for good.

I want to recommend a couple of books, make a few suggestions and then ask the readers to share their own testimonies or ideas.

1. Essential Books

The Complete Tightwad Gazette. This is a manual for home economy, which is priceless. There are also sections to help the working mom who wants to stay home.  I wish a copy of this book was given to every new bride!

Aunt Jane's Hero. This beautiful story was written in the 1800's. It depicts the life of a humble family who live on very limited means.  You will be inspired, encouraged and motivated to have such a life.

2. Suggestions

- Write down every single penny you spend for a month. Then analyze this to see what you can cut out if you are no longer working.

- Make a budget based on your husband's income only.  See what you need to do to live on those means.

- Make a list of all the things you are willing to do to save money. Will you cook foods from scratch? Will you carefully watch over the utilities to keep the bills down? Will you stay home more to save gas money?

- If you are no longer working, you should be able to lower your insurance rate because your car won't be used for "commuting."  (Find other little ways to cut expenses. Each one will add up to a large annual savings.)

3. From the Readers

Readers, have you worked outside the home and found a way to quit?  Will you share some of your experiences with us in the comments section? We'd love to hear from you!   (You are also welcome to write a blog post and link back here.) 

I realize this is a very serious subject for those who truly do not want to work outside the home. I know many  mothers would love to be home full time with their husband and children. I hope the advice from readers will help!

If you are one of the mothers who wants to quit your job to stay home, please share some of the difficulties. Perhaps the readers can answer some of your specific questions in the comments.

Blessings
Mrs. White


What Happens when a Poor Family Gets into debt? - The Richest Man in Walnut Grove.

Such wonderful Wisdom - I Remember Mama - lessons from a Norwegian Family in 1910.

Is this true? - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.






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This post is part of The Christian Home Magazine in the Financial category. To see more articles in different aspects of Home life, please visit the latest issue, hosted at Day by Day in our World.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Beware of Random Kitchen Inspections

"After Dinner Dishes," January 8, 1949


I scrubbed and cleaned out my fridge and freezer last night.  As I worked, I remembered kitchens of yesteryear. . .

We used to have a variety of colors for refrigerators. There was cream, yellow, green or white.  I've also seen country red and blue in pictures.  I remember our fridges were mostly a cheery yellow. (I have never liked the sterile, cold look of stainless steel that is presented as a modern necessity.)

Refrigerators needed to be cleaned once each week. This would be a deep cleaning, which included throwing out unused leftovers and discarding old produce.  We would also get a big bucket, cloth and towel. We would use hot water and a cleaning product and start scrubbing every inch of the fridge shelves, walls, drawers and door.  Then we would dry and polish it all.

Some refrigerators had to be defrosted. In this case, it was turned off, emptied out, and given time for all the built - up ice to melt into a special pan. Then we would get in there and clean the whole thing out.  This was also done on a weekly basis.

A clean fridge was just part of a clean kitchen. It was normal work we all expected to do.

Years ago, I remember a mother who was setting up her home as a daycare. She was told that she could enroll in a food program, which would provide checks to reimburse her for the meals she provided to the children. But she was worried because the worker would come into her home, randomly, and inspect her refrigerator and oven.  Why would that bother her? Was it because she was not keeping things clean?

Can you imagine if someone randomly came by and inspected our kitchens?

Sometimes I think about this. Before I sit down to rest in the evenings, I go in my kitchen and tidy things up. When I notice my fridge is not orderly, I like to do a quick clean up and make things look neat.  This is one of the many things that keep a housewife occupied and productive. This also helps keep a sanitary home.

After we make lunch or dinner, I notice a piled up mess.  This becomes the challenge. The best thing to do is get in there promptly and get the work finished.   There are going to be messes. And that is okay. That is part of life.  But we cannot neglect the cleaning part. . . Top chefs have been trained to make delicious food, and run a sanitary, clean environment.  They also have random checks by the health department. They are graded, on a point scale, based on cleanliness. They are always proud to get 100% scores or an "A."

If you were given 30 minutes notice, would you get an "A" for a clean kitchen?

But here is the sad part.... what about those who don't care if they get an "F"? Why don't we have more people take pride in a clean kitchen, like the Top Chefs and the Mothers of yesteryear?

Blessings
Mrs. White

Christian Homes - Let them be like - The Mission House.

I'd Rather see through these - Mother's Rose - Colored Glasses.

Reality - What Kind of Queen are You?






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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents

Magazine Illustration of Husband Kissing Wife in Kitchen


When I do the grocery shopping, I always buy a few special items for Mr. White. Perhaps it is the ingredients for beef stew.  Or, maybe it is a brownie mix. I like to find his favorite things and make them for him at home. He greatly appreciates my efforts.

Of course, I must remember the basics, like coffee and sugar and bread. If we run out of those items, I am slacking on my job.  (gentle smiles)  But for me to buy those special items, the ones that take extra effort from me, and are bought economically. . . are what make Mr. White happy.

As for me, I am not the type of girl who likes jewelry, a new car, or expensive clothes.  Mr. White knows this.  When he wants to surprise me, or make me happy, he will buy my favorite frozen pizza (Freschetta), or some Ginger ale. . . Perhaps he will buy me a large bag of m and m's, or some mint-chocolate-chip ice cream.   And with these little presents, I am delighted.

At different times, each of us will be in the store, looking through the aisles, thinking about what the other would like.

My favorite thing, is to hear him coming home, rattling his pockets, and saying, "I bought you some m and m's!"

And he loves when I come home, put down the grocery bags, and tell him, "I bought you a special kind of burger!"

No fancy restaurant dinner. . .no wrapped presents . . . no trip to foreign lands. . . no night out on the town. . . no.... none of these things can compare to when Mr. White and I buy groceries for presents.

Blessings
Mrs. White

For Those Difficult Days - Make the Mess Look Pretty.

Our Home - Tonight's View from the Kitchen.

What Do you Do all Day? - How a Housewife Passes the Time.





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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Mother Who Will Not Accept Reality

In the Yorkshire Dales


Our children walk in a dangerous world. They get into all kinds of mischief, often soberly and intentionally.  Some think, "Well, this is who they are." Or, "It is their choice in life."  That is the common reality.

But the mother who has holy ideals for her offspring, the mother who seeks and strives to see them walking a well-lit heavenly path, will not accept any of the bad.

This kind of mother does not pray dry prayers.  She does not pray by rote or through cold, generalizations. Her prayers are heartfelt and comfortingly urgent. They are specific and precious. Yet they come not from her own mind. . .

A Mother in a lukewarm state, cannot utter solemn prayers. She is incapable because she is full of "self" in her normal state of human nature. But the mother who takes one little step towards a holy life, such as spending a morning in bible reading, poring over the hymn book, or raptly listening to a godly sermon, has the most humble, heartbreaking prayers coming from her soul.

These kinds of prayers touch the Master.

Can you just image what would happen if we truly understood verses like this:

"For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright." (Psalm 11:7)

Imagine the feeble efforts of the mother saints, with humble hearts seeking God. Imagine Heaven's light of glory, and joy, shining on them and bringing them the beauty and awe just like Moses when he came off from the Mount after spending time with God.  He needed a veil because the glory of the Lord, which he had been sitting by and warming his soul, had been so strong that it brought fear and trembling to onlookers.

Imagine if we never settled for the reality we see before us. Imagine if we refused to accept sin and wrong paths in our children. Imagine if we went to our Heavenly Father, warmed ourselves in his holy presence and constantly begged him for regeneration and sanctification in our own lives and in those of our children.

Oh, what a Godly Generation this would bring!

Blessings
Mrs. White

When Mother is Gone - Who Will Weep for You Now?

Please, please try to find a way to be one of these - The Old Time Housewife.

Enduring - The Smiling Mask of Mother's Pain.





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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A Treasure for my Home Library

A Still Life with Yellow Roses


A large package arrived today. It contained The Complete Works of John Wesley, in 7 volumes. This includes his sermons, correspondence, and journal. I have wanted this set for many years but kept putting it off. It was always too much money. Each year, I would look to see if it was still for sale. But this month, when I checked, I found the set had gone out of print. I was not pleased. Used copies were selling for $80 and up. 

I contacted the publisher and found they had a set in new condition for the original price. I checked with Mr. White and he agreed for me to place the order. I was delighted. It was one of those requests where I sweetly said, "It will be my mother's day present, and birthday present for many years." (gentle smiles) Of course, we don't normally spend so frivolously. But it is an excellent investment I will use for a long time. I intend to pass the set down, as part of our estate, to our children and grandchildren.

Early this evening, I sat in an antique chair, near the lamp in my parlour. I looked through a few of the volumes and read several passages.  I was amazed and delighted with my new literary treasure which contains thousands of pages. The text was written in the 1700's and is complete and unabridged. It contains much instruction, wisdom, and inspiration for holiness.

I am grateful that after times of struggling financially, and dealing with the ups and downs of thrift and the feeling of want, that we actually had the funds for these books.

I am sure we will have more difficult days ahead. But for today, I am happy with this wonderful investment of books for our estate.

Blessings
Mrs. White

Let this not be true - Only Rich People Have Clean Houses.

For those difficult times - Despairing over the Household Allowance.

Remembering - The Blessing of Being a Half-Southern Mama.






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Monday, March 5, 2012

When Mother is Out of Shape

Door-To-Door Bakery Salesman Talking to Suburdan California Housewife


I have been overly weary for a long time. It would take me hours to do my morning housework and then I'd need an afternoon nap. This has been happening for two reasons - lack of exercise and choosing to eat unhealthy foods. The last time I was on track was during my December fitness challenge. I am also the co-creator of Fit Mommy which started a couple of years ago, and is still going on with another hostess (Annie Kate).

Even though I know how important proper eating and working-out is to all of us, I have only managed to exercise three times in the last couple of months. It has become a serious problem. This makes Mother out of shape. She cannot tend to her regular duties. She becomes chronically ill.  She is on the fast track to a grave.

My tea bag the other morning said these wise words, "Middle age is when it takes longer to rest than it does to get tired." But this all has to do with lack of activity!

The Lord chastens us in many ways to keep us on the straight path.  Sometimes we have daily struggles, constant thorns, or occasional trials. This is all for our own good. Exercise and eating right, to me, is like a thorn when I don't do it, but a joy when I do. It is just like obeying the commandments. When you do them, you are happy. When you don't, you suffer but you don't want to change.  

I think our problem, in this society, has to do with the idea of self-gratification, ease, looking for pleasure, personal happiness and having everything now. We are taught to strive to live for ourselves. This can seriously affect us in many ways, especially when it comes to a lack of fitness and proper nutrition; because most of us don't want any part of that kind of discipline.

Our ancestor Mothers worked extremely hard in their daily tasks in the home and on the farm. They earned their bread.  Generally speaking, they were far more fit than mothers of today.   They were also spiritually fit.   They had family prayers and Bible reading because it was a duty. They would never neglect it because they didn't feel like it.

This is my problem. . . Because of my lack of seeking good health, I have slacked in many other things, including reading  my Bible.  These daily duties are good for me, like the chastening and disciplining of the saints.   But, my nature of seeking ease and turning to all kinds of recreations make it so that there is no time for what is right. 

Whether I feel like it or not, I must do what is holy and good so that I stay on the right path in all areas of life.

Practically speaking, I am more motivated to do these things when I have good music. This morning I listened to Roy Acuff sing "Life's Railway To Heaven." I dearly wish I knew how to use an MP3 player so I could download sermons and old time gospel music to listen to while I do my workouts and go about the cleaning of my house.

If only, at this very moment, I was not out of shape in so many different ways. . . but today, I will make every effort to get back on the right path, in bible reading, in prayer as well as with fitness.

Blessings
Mrs. White




Taking Good Care of our Husbands - Cooking for Mister.

I have to find the energy for this! - 20 Minutes a Day - Spring Cleaning Begins Today.

How to Manage - When There isn't Much.







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