Monday, April 30, 2012

Money Can't Fix Everything

"After Dinner at the Farm," March 27, 1948

It has been very cold in this house the last few days. We have been supplementing our heat with a small portable electric heater. I move it from room to room to take the chill off. Our wood pellet stove is broken again. This puts me into survival mode. But Money can't fix my problem. For the next few days, while we wait for repairs, we have to find ways to keep warm and productive in this frigid house.

This morning, I read a little from We Had Everything But Money. This kind of literature cheers me up and inspires me when hardship comes. One section of the book was written by an author who grew up here in Vermont. She talked about the food stamp program. In those days (the 1930's), going to the town for assistance was something to be avoided unless there was no alternative. The town would write down all the food money that was given to an individual and then publish it in the annual report for all to see. But here is the most interesting part - every single penny that was given, was really a loan and had to be repaid!

She also said the staple diet for most people in those days was - "bread, milk, pea soup, johnnycake and oatmeal."   In another section of the book, they talked about eating hot biscuits for lunch.  There was certainly very basic eating going on compared to today.

Our health can also affect our ability to survive. About a week ago, I had a minor household accident. While I was cleaning one evening, I slammed into a corner of a piece of furniture. This left a miserable bruise and made it difficult for me to walk for several days. Mother is now incapable of doing very much. The house is going to suffer. Can money fix that?   Can money make the pain go away or make me well? Of course not. This is a temporary hardship, like the broken stove, and we must have patience to survive this with grace and dignity.

When we are cold, perhaps we will bake something, or light a candle (for some kind of substitute for the idea of warmth). We will layer our clothing and sip on hot tea or hot chocolate. This is part of surviving. Living here in New England for my entire  life, I am used to the frigid temperatures. It doesn't mean I always like it, but it is something I have learned to endure.  Struggling with cold winters makes us stronger and more creative.

Physical ailments are also the thorn of my life.  But these things can't get us down.  We have to realize that bad things have always happened. They are happening now, and they will always happen. We can't dwell on them. We can't gripe about them. We have to find a way to be happy despite the hardship.  This has nothing whatsoever to do with money. It has to do with the will of the mind!

Mrs. White

Such Fun to Watch - Home Economics Television - 1949.

Have You Ever Been Late for your Housework?  - What Time Does Your Shift Start?

Financial Trials - Mothers with Christmas Courage.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

The Comfort of a Dressing Room

Actress Margaret O'Brien in Her Studio Dressing Room
Actress Margaret O'Brien in her Studio Dressing Room

Years ago, before we bought our 1800's house, I toured all the rooms. There are 14 on 3 floors. I was delighted with every new room we came across.

Off beyond the largest bedroom, was a dressing room. It looked like a sewing room, with an old singer on a table, and a rod (up above) for hanging clothes. There was also a pretty window overlooking the landscape.

It is now my dressing room. Beside the window is my grandmother's rocking chair. There are bookcases on an entire side wall for my personal library. I have a sturdy antique desk, which holds my collection of the writings of John Wesley. I also have notes, papers and research in a file box for later use. A large filing cabinet holds decades of my writings, household memorabilia, and other necessary files. This cabinet even holds a copy of Great - Grandfather's ordination certificate when he became a minister.

This room holds my sewing supplies in a drawer. There is yarn, knitting supplies and patterns in a large old bureau.

On a wall is a Bulletin Board presenting photographs, newspaper clippings of our home and our children (during their famous moments), and special notes, or cards that make me smile when I see them.

This is the room where I hide cases of ginger-ale so the children don't drink it all in one day. It is where I can sit quietly, listening to a sermon on the radio, while I rock in grandmother's chair by the window.

I spent many hours in this room, in 2007, as I recorded my voice onto tapes from a small vintage collection of puritan books for *  Grandfather set up a large radio and cassette player, along with a microphone for me. (I read from old books onto tapes and mailed them to the company so they could use them on their site.)  I still remember looking out the window when I took breaks.

This is the room where I can decide what I will wear for church, a trip to the store, or to just keep home for the day.

This special room is like my own studio dressing room, where I can take a break, and prepare for each day, or retreat to in the evening hours.

Studios provide actresses with their own dressing rooms. This is where they can relax and take a break before working hard at their craft. Even young actors received dressings rooms. Shirley Temple had one and was kept protected from fans and the hectic atmosphere of working on a set.  This is where she rested, and where she studied.

To have something like a Dressing Room in our own home is a luxury.  Some of us can have one in the Parlour, a bedroom, or a small den. Others may have an extra room they can convert into a special sanctuary where Mother can have her lovely things, or supplies.

In the old days, many Fathers had dens. This was a mixture of a home office and a library. Children were respectful of this room and in awe of their Fathers.  

Mothers have always had a corner of the house for their special things. A comfortable dressing room is a lovely blessing for which I am grateful.

Mrs. White

* I did this work for them, in exchange for free books. To hear an example, go to - The Art of Divine Contentment by Thomas Watson (part 6) *

Is your fridge clean? - Beware of Random Kitchen Inspections.

Remembering - The Early Years of Homeschooling.   

A Lovely Way to Get things done - Chore Letters for My Children.  

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Home Chores are as Fun as Shopping

Comic Cartoon - Woman in Poor Health Gets Better When She has Money to Shop

Our Mall is so big, I don't think I've made it to every single store. I have my favorites (or the basics, as I call them), like J. C. Penney and Payless Shoes. But I certainly don't need to visit every store.

No one (except a teenager with nothing to do) has time to linger in a mall. We often rush around, get what we need, then perhaps do a little browsing. It is more fun during the holidays. This is when the decorations and excitement are the strongest. We feel happy and good when we shop at those times, as long as we are careful with our money.

Shopping is sometimes like doing housework. We can rush around cleaning rooms, then get tired and want to leave. (grins) Or we can't seem to make it to all the rooms. So we hit the basics only - like the kitchen and laundry.

Personally, I like the idea of heading into the daily housework like it is a big shopping day. I have a plan and I work for a good 2 hours, with short breaks. I go as fast as I can and make great progress. When the kitchen is clean and the parlour is vacuumed, I move on to making beds and putting away whatever has piled up on chairs and desks.

Of course it is more fun to clean the house when company is coming, or some holiday event is being hosted here at home. At that point, we not only clean, we decorate and bake special treats. There is excitement in the air and this helps bring motivation.

What do you wear when you go to the mall? Some like to dress casually. Others dress up. This can be carried over into the daily housework. I prefer dressing up for housework (and shopping). (I am not the casual type).  If I put my hair up, wear an apron, and a pretty necklace, I am more professional in my homekeeping.   If I dress up to go shopping, I tend to be more precise and careful in my spending. I also enjoy the experience more.

The only problem I have today is wondering when the mall opens. Don't you hate that? You are all ready to shop, but the stores are closed? Well, in this case, everyone is asleep and I want to clean like crazy. I will just have to wait. . .

Mrs. White

The Basics of Home Life - Domestic Occupations.

In Grandmother's Day - Rising While It is Yet Night.

What Happens When - Mother is the Maid.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Thinking about Mother's Day

Happy Mothers Day, Mother and Child

With Mother's Day coming up, I have to start making plans. I want to make the day a little extra special for my family. We will go to church and then come home to a nice dinner. My grown children will not make it home, but I will hear from them by telephone. Things are so different when the children are older.

I will look through my keepsakes and see all the old mother's day notes from when they were little. I will remember Mother's Day past and be thankful for Mother's Day present.

It used to be that one could hear whispering and giggling in the other room while young ones tried to make breakfast and surprise me. They were so excited to give me handmade cards and gifts! They would also rally around Dad when he gave me some special present.

Years later, I learned the harsh reality of Mother's Day. It was a time to visit cemeteries when my dear Mother-in-law passed away. We visited her grave and then the grave of my grandmother. Many other visitors were there, somber and quiet, reflective and sad. They placed flowers at the resting places of their beloved Mothers.

Today, Mother's Day means more than ever. It is not a day to expect gifts, but a day to be thankful. It is a day to enjoy children and grandchildren and to find delight in their laughter and happiness. It is no longer all about "me." But about them.

   It is a day to make everyone else happy and be the gracious hostess Mother has always been known for - - the nurturer, the one who wants to see joy in her family. It is also a day to reflect on our jobs as Mothers, and to strive to be better.  We must learn that, even though it is precious to receive gifts and cards, it is far better to bring delight to their hearts.

So this year, I will be finding ways to surprise my children, making precious memories in their lives so they will always remember the living guardian angel their Mother tried to be.

Mrs. White

A Precious Song that Makes me Cry - My Mother's Faith by Cynthia Clawson.

To Encourage the Weary One - A Mother's Legacy.

We Need More of These - Brave Mothers Who Walk into Walls.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

When Mother is Halt

Five O'Clock

There is a sense of peace and incomprehensible joy which comes from a Mother who is fully dependent on the Lord. Many of these kinds of mothers have been through tremendous suffering. Sometimes all we can see is a mask of their pain, but they smile knowingly.

 Other mothers are obviously suffering with physical ailments. Perhaps they have a disease or need a wheelchair to get around. Some have failing eyesight, or use a cane to walk.

When they take these trials patiently, and trust God with all their might, they are blessed beyond measure.

Personally, I have struggled with chronic illness for most of my life. I have often needed crutches or a cane to get around. Some have prayed for my healing at the most difficult moments. I have found relief and have been grateful. Others have suggested that I can have complete healing through prayer.   But I say this .  .  . Why would I want to be healed of something that draws me to the Lord? Why would I want to have a "thorn" removed that keeps me on the right path? This physical trial in my life comes and goes. When it is gone, I live a normal, productive life and I enjoy it. But when the trial comes back, I love it just as much as perfect health. I love it because it quiets and calms me. It makes me think of eternal things, and gives me a yearning to live for others instead of myself.

There are also happy moments of suffering. This time of year is the most difficult for me. The sun is brighter in New England and this brings on symptoms of difficulty walking, among other things. I also bump into things and fall, but my children and I have the most fun from these trials. We laugh about them. We smile and make jokes and we love it! The other night, when one of my teens saw me using my cane (a rare occurrence) while I made dinner, He smiled, but I could see worry in his eyes. The next day, My daughter was helping me make lunch. She had me sit on a kitchen stool while she took my cane.  She did all kinds of tricks to make me laugh.

I understand it is hard for people to see a "young looking" mother with a cane, but this is my lot in life and I am grateful. Why would I writhe under this affliction? This is the cup the Lord has given me to drink and I will gladly yield.

Mrs. White

A Very Precious FREE Old Fashioned Bible Study just for you!

For the Good Days - Housewife on Duty.

Grateful to be Here - As Sorrowful yet Always Rejoicing at Home

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Thrifty Kitchen

Cookie Baking Day

Must the cookie jar always be full?  Do Mothers have to keep a steady supply of cake, brownies and other treats in the kitchen?  Must she provide her family with gourmet dinners each night, or special meals that taste delightful?

Or is it okay to have a thrifty kitchen? This kind of kitchen produces things like oatmeal in the morning, or whole grain apple muffins. Lunches might be sandwiches or leftovers.  Supper might be the main meal of the day, served around 5 or 6 in the evening.  This could be pasta, meatloaf, or one of our frugal favorites, southern cornbread, home fried potatoes and baked beans.

It is not required that Mother buy soda, candy or chips. It is completely unnecessary for her to serve dessert every single day.  It is also extremely expensive.

Simple, homemade foods from the kitchen help keep household expenses low.

It has been said that we must not be fashionably dressed above our means. It is also true that we must not grocery shop and cook beyond what we can afford.

One of the biggest leaks in the family budget is an abundance of food.

Here are some ideas for keeping costs down:


1. Have meals at specific times, whenever possible. This way everyone knows what to expect.  It also helps Mother plan her day. (For example - Breakfast at 8 a.m.  Lunch at noon. Dinner at 5 p.m.)

2. Have basic foods in the pantry - like potatoes, vegetables, fruit, flour, sugar, cornmeal, and meat. This way you can quickly come up with something to make, without worrying about rushing off to the store.

3.  I know many people write up weekly menus and meal plans, but it is not always necessary if you have basic ingredients available.  You should also have some basic family recipes handy that are easy, quick and frugal.

4. Make special foods, like cookies, once a week. This is something the family will look forward to and appreciate. It could be a Friday night treat. Or, plan on making a cake or nice dessert for Sunday afternoons.   The less often treats are offered, the less likely money will be wasted.

5. Offer children basic beverages like juice, tea, water or milk.  If the older ones want soda, or some name brand drink, have them use their own money. (Mother is not obligated to provide the children with commercially prepared, designer beverages.)  This goes the same for candy bars and other processed snacks.

6. Serve whole grains and fresh foods. This is nutritious and helps keep everyone feeling full.

7. In restaurants, patrons are served ice water before their meal. This helps fill them up. Try this at home! Why? Because in this current day, people tend to eat much larger portions than they really need. If they have some water first, they will eat a more appropriate amount of food.

8. Some nutritious snacks include: crackers with peanut butter; celery with cream cheese; sliced apples; carrot sticks; or wheat crackers with cheese.  (Not donuts, danishes, or cupcakes.)

I realize it takes a tremendous amount of work to have a thrifty kitchen. It is much easier to buy convenience foods. However, there is more at stake than just saving time or money. We need to save our health.

Mrs. White

What To Do - When There Isn't Much.

Idle Moments - How a Housewife Passes the Time.

The Essential Childhood Question - Is Mother at Home?

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Mother's Dinner Bell

Vintage Dinner Bell on our Front Porch

Late yesterday afternoon, I rang the dinner bell for the first time of the season.  I never ring the bell in the frigid winter months because the children are rarely outside. But now that the snow has melted and the warm sun has appeared, it is time to get back to my supper time tradition.

Years ago, when we bought this 1800's house, there was an auction conducted on the grounds by the previous owner. They had lived here so long and had accumulated many things. My husband and I bid on several items - including an old wooden wagon that sits on the front lawn. I also got this bell. I just had to have it.

Once we got settled in our new home, Grandpa (who, along with Nana, lives with us in an in-law apartment of the house) installed it on my front porch. I have had so much fun with it ever since.

When the children were little, I did training sessions. (smiles) They would be out playing in the back yard. I would grin and tell them to come running whenever they heard the bell.  They thought it was such fun.  Eventually, when I rang the bell, it meant that I needed them for something or that supper was ready.  It sure saved me a lot of walking through the property to tell them what I needed!

Yet there is also a charming sense of nostalgia when Mother rings a dinner bell. It reminds me of my own childhood. My Great Aunt Rita lived across the street from us. She would ring the bell for her grandchildren to come running, just as she did for her own children when they were little. Our neighborhood had a beautiful private beach at the end of our street. This is where we children often played. There was a small playground, beach house, plenty of sand, and places to explore. Auntie Rita's house was up a hill, directly across from the beach. She would ring that dinner bell to call her children home.

Sometimes I would be out in my yard, and I would hear the ringing of the bell. I loved it. It comforted me.  It made me so proud of Aunt Rita. I wanted to be like that, and have a home like that - where Mother called her children home, each night, for supper.

Today, my children are mostly grown. Two of my children have moved into their own homes. I only have three older teenagers left here at home. They have outgrown many of my mother customs - like bedtime stories. So yesterday, when I rang the dinner bell for the first time of the season, none of my teens came running. I smiled. . . 

I headed out to the back  property and had to remind them. "Didn't anyone hear me ring the bell?"

 They grinned at me. "Yeah, we heard you." Said one of the mischievous ones.

[Mother] - "When I ring the bell, you're supposed to come running. It means I need you or that supper is ready. . . But just now was only a bell-drill.

My older son perked up, "Oh, did you make supper?"  I told him I was just about to. "Well," he said in his gallant way, "When supper is ready, ring it again and we will come running."  I was delighted!

I love that the children humor my old ways. I love that even though they are "too old" for some of the Mother things I do, they still play along, in their own humorous way. And no matter what, I will still ring the dinner bell. Because someday, I will have grandchildren here, like at Auntie Rita's house.   I will ring the bell for them . . .  as a memorial of suppertime tradition.  Those little ones, the next generation of children, will come running. . . and they will love it!

Mrs. White

When the Children Get Older - Sitting Alone at the Kitchen Table.

A Precious Blessing - Suppertime in a Rural Home.

How The Blue Laws Affected Us - The Old Sunday Dinner.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just for Company

The Time of Roses, c.1901

Many of the old homes had china cabinets with dishes for special occasions.  This helped make having company a lovely, exciting event!  Mothers would have a nice clean room, freshly polished, for visiting. She would also welcome her guests into the kitchen for tea, coffee or some dessert.

When we are out on the road and weary from our travels, it is comforting to stop by to visit and have familiar things offered - like tea and cookies, near a warm fire. This strengthens us for the rest of our journey.

Ma and Pa Ingalls, in the 1800's, * would buy white sugar when there was a little extra money. This was the good sugar and was saved just for company.

In some modern homes of today, there is a prevalent attitude of "me."  The decor and the lifestyle reflect a selfishness, and a laid back casualness, that knows nothing of hospitality.  Guests are told to wash their own cup and drink whatever is in the fridge.  No tea or treats are handy, because that is not "our way," say the residents. "People must accept us the way we are," is their mantra.  This sad state leaves weary souls wandering and seeking the refreshment of home.

When we set up our kitchens and living rooms in a way that expects to have company, there is a sense of joy and pride in doing good. We share our happy homes, even for a few hours, with dear friends and family. This helps cheer them on their way.

But most of all, when we have special things just for company, we tend to keep our homes cleaner. We tend to take care of our own appearance. We are ready for that knock on the door and are excited because we get to enjoy the special tea and cake that has been reserved for just such an occasion.

Yet, what of the children who beg to use the fine china, or have the special cakes now? Do we say we will use our company things for our own immediate family? Or will we smile with joy and say, "We will plan a special afternoon and invite company so we can use these things!"  In this way, won't we teach them delayed gratification and how lovely it is to share our good things with others?  Won't we teach them how special it is to scrub and polish the house, and work hard to prepare nice things, and get dressed up? Won't we teach them there is a difference, in life, from the daily routine, and special occasions?  And that it isn't always just about us?

This is all something of an ongoing good deed. . . To share a few lovely things in life, in our homes, with those we care about. This brings out good manners in all involved. This brings a charm and a dignity to our characters.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we all had an annual Guest Book in the front hall, where visitors could sign, write the date, and leave a little note? Even if it was just our next door neighbor? What a lovely recording of the family history this treasure would be!

Mrs. White

* Little House on the Prairie page 224

1940's - Encouraging you to be an Old Fashioned Housewife.

You are Essential - Mother Makes the Home.

Why Rules and Order are So Important - Keeping House with Small Children.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Housewife on Duty

Beach Treasures

A typical day for a housewife includes chores and "prettying" up the house.  It is more fun when there is spring weather and birds are chirping. It makes one feel warm and cheerful.

In the morning, I clean the kitchen, then have tea. I do homeschool with my youngest, make treats, and do the little touches that create a home.

If I see an unmade bed, I make it. Whenever I walk into a room, I tidy it. It only takes a few minutes and brightens everyone's day.

In my childhood home, we always had clean dishes. If my mother saw a cup on the table, or in the living room, she would wash it right away. Things were kept up, by cleaning as things happened. It would have taken much longer to clean a piled up mess, than to clean here-and-there throughout the day. 

My teenage daughter has not been feeling well. I made her a special lunch in the late afternoon. She sat on a stool and visited with me while I worked. I did a few dishes while I cooked. By the time we left the room, everything was back in order.

All this is having a housewife on duty. . . . Someone in charge of the management of the home. . . The Keeper. . .  I am there if someone needs tea, or wants to know where the clean towels are. It is a delightful job that I am proud of.  I am also greatly needed. What home doesn't need a housewife on duty? It is a blessing!

A very special reward came to me yesterday. My husband said he noticed the house had been extra clean lately and he appreciated it very much. He gave me some cash and said I could do whatever I wanted with it. I was shocked. But this made me realize something . . . -  he trusted me. He trusted me with his home and he trusted me with his money.  We live very carefully and frugally. For him to give me some extra money he had worked so hard to save, meant he knew I wouldn't waste it or be careless. 

I had earned his respect and trust by my hard work and careful economies.   But this is something I have to constantly strive for. We are all tempted to waste money or shop impulsively or be lazy. We must be on guard. This is also part of being a Keeper of the Home. We must watch out for waste and sloth

There is a sense of pride when you are the Housewife on Duty.  Each day we will improve in our skills. Each day is fresh and new. But for my husband to really trust me as his wife and the mother of his children and the keeper of his house? . . . This is one of the greatest of all accomplishments.

Mrs. White

*Wondering what I did with the money? I bought extra groceries and a few little things for the house - like a new shade to replace a broken one.*

So Important - When Mother is Productive.

Writing - Chore Letters for My Children.

A Testimony - Living on Faith Marriage.

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

When Television Was Special

Console TV, Retro

A Television set used to be a beloved piece of furniture. It was neatly dusted and polished. Some Mothers kept a white crocheted doily on the top, with a nice plant or some flowers. This was a lovely addition to the living room.

In the old days, families would gather around the radio to hear a nice evening program, after the chores were finished. There were a few programs that the children enjoyed, and others that the whole family wanted to hear. . . . In later years, this also happened with a TV set.

My Father worked hard at his job, and around the house. He had a large garage with a wood stove and a workshop. He was in charge of our garden and all maintenance for the cars and house. He also kept things tidy indoors, always cleaning up after himself. We children respected him and his need for rest. So when he wanted to watch a program, we children would sit on the floor, or couch, nearby and watch it with him. We saw many old westerns on Saturday afternoons. 

 On a weekly basis, we watched Lawrence Welk. We were always so excited when that program came on. We all enjoyed it so much!

We would have popcorn, or chips and just be together on those happy nights, watching television with Mother and Dad. 

In those days, there was no such thing as a VCR or DVD player. We had never even heard of such a thing. If we missed a special movie . . .well. . .that was that.   We could only hope it would come on again next year.

Most of our time was spent outside, or working, or at school. Television was special because most of the programs were wholesome and family centered. We would laugh and smile and be encouraged by genuine comedy in a time when vulgarity was unheard of. 

I remember snowy winter nights, sitting by a roaring fireplace and watching Charlie Brown.  This was a rare treat!  We children would have already spent time in the kitchen, sitting together at the table, eating supper that Mother made. Then we would have our share of the chores, doing dishes, sweeping, and cleaning the table. When that work was finished, we could sit and enjoy a nice entertaining program and just relax and be happy.

Today, there are so many choices on television - almost too many.  Sometimes I worry that television is such a magnet that we could watch all our time away. But the programs of this era can never compare to the sweet wholesome shows of yesteryear.

Mrs. White

It Takes Courage - Mothers Who Will Not Accept Reality.

Remembering my Mother-in-Law - Classic Old Fashioned Housewife.

The Path to Holiness - Encouraged by A. W. Tozer.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Mother's Stage

Log Cabin Porch

Daily life as a Mother is like a theatrical production. Mother is in the spotlight. She is the star of the show. Her stage is her home. She gets into character and portrays herself as the epitome of Motherhood.

She must focus on that performance. She must study the lines (duties and actions). She must focus on it and block most everything else out. She must be dedicated and give it her very best. How do I know this? Because William Holden and Bing Crosby were talking about it in Country Girl. (smiles)  Bing portrayed a fabulous performer who had a difficult personal life. He gave everything he had when on stage, but stumbled and suffered between shows.

William Holden yelled at him and advised him. He also said something like this:

"Everyone has trouble at home. Those who say they don't are lying. The ones who pretend they don't are the ones who have the most trouble."

Does this sound like real life to  you?

No successful actor can get on stage and do a half-hearted job.  He must give it all he has. He must do his very best.   His duties come first. He cannot let personal problems or trials get in the way of his work.  He can't give up.

To be a Mother Actress, means we do our work, no matter what. We are performing on stage every single day.  Can we have breaks? Certainly. Can we delegate from the couch when we are sick? Of course! But we must write those into our lines. Because in every moment of our lives, we have little ears listening and little eyes watching.  We have understudies focusing on our every move, so they learn to imitate us in later life.

Does this mean Mother can't be mad, sad or grumpy? She most certainly can. She just has to incorporate them brilliantly into her lines. Her performances must be something to remember. She must do them in a way that is human, but in a way that is admirable. This takes practice.  She will also learn from her failures.

When the spotlight shines on Mother, let her be as sweet as Doris Day and as dedicated as Grace Kelly and as dramatic as Bette Davis. May she analyze her performance and make it better at every show (each new day)!  Home, as Mother's Stage, will be the greatest accomplishment of her life.

Mrs. White

For those very bad days - Despairing over the Household Allowance.

Be Warned  - The Danger of Being an Unproductive Housewife.

Here is Peace - Fighting the Hectic Life.

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Gourmet Brownies - Giveaway

Missing from Photo: Cheesecake Brownie. (We ate that one first!)

Gourmet Gift Baskets carries a line of baked goods, including these delicious brownies!  Would you like a chance to win your own sampler package? It contains:

1- Belgian Chocolate Chunk

1- White Chocolate Macadamia Blonde

1- Butterscotch Blonde

1- Cheesecake

1- Peanut Butter

1- Fudge Walnut

These are large and rich in flavor.  I cut up the cheesecake brownie into 6 pieces and shared with my family.  It was like taste testing treats for a wedding reception!

The Brownie sampler would make a fun gift to send to loved ones. It would also provide a great treat for your own family.

The Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one brownie sampler package (1 of each of the above brownies). All you have to do is choose to "like" Gourmet Gift Baskets on Facebook.  Then come back here and leave me a comment.

For additional Entries:

1. Post about this on Facebook.

2. Choose to "like" The Legacy of Home on Facebook.

3. Post about this on Twitter.

4. 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.)

6. Follow Gourmet Gift Baskets on Twitter.

*Please leave a separate comment for each entry.*

One random winner we be selected on Thursday, April 19, 2012. (Open to the lower 48 U.S. states 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 is closed. The winner is  - Mrs Sarah Coller.

*Disclosure - I received this product from Gourmet Gift Baskets for review purposes.*

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

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Mother's Cleaning Recovery

Georgia's Porch Swing

There are mood swings that affect the attitude; and then there are mood swings that affect a housewife's ability to clean.

Most of the time I want to clean, with an artist's creative heart. Other times, I clean for part of the day and am content.  But sometimes, there is a mood of "recovery" that comes over me. This is when life has been overly busy or there have been too many events in a short amount of time and I get mood weary of housework.  This is a special time, because I am weary, but not sick.  I am good humored.  I tend to make a lot of jokes with my family about my apparent lack of work.

One of my teens was doing a list of chores today. I then reminded him to make dinner. (smiles) He said, good naturedly, "I'm doing all your work now!"    I told him, in my sweetest voice,  "We all have to work around here." I then paused and said quietly. . . "Except me."   He laughed. He knows I am in "recovery mode."

Earlier, we were in the car on an errand. We talked about how important hard work is and how we must all earn money for the things we want.  I said those words again. . . "Except me."  The children know I have a contract.  But we make jokes about it. They know I work hard in the home.  They also know I am in "recovery mode," which means I get all dressed up to do "nothing."

When I am recovering from cleaning or too much activity, I am peaceful and quiet and smiling a lot. I read and watch television. I do a little housework - just enough - and delegate the rest.

This is the sweetest time for me.  I pace myself and enjoy home and life. But I know the most exciting part will come very soon - in a day or two - when all my energy has returned, and I am able to clean and work hard again. This, of course, is my favorite thing of all - taking pride in a lovely, well-kept home. I can't wait!

Mrs. White

Looking forward to this - Dear Kitchen.

Finances - Why The High Cost of Food?

I'm Too Tired to Be one of These - Bossy Wives.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Outside World

Afternoon Tea

Sometimes, it is nice just to focus on the quiet life at home. But even more, it is good when there is no computer or television or even a radio. It is peaceful and silent. This is where we can get a little break from the outside world. We can be refreshed and just focus on reading, baking or puttering around the house.

I've had sort of a whirlwind of activities the last several days.  Late one night some of my teens went to Youth Group at church, then we had guests over for The Passover meal. We were laughing and up late into the night.  I managed to clean everything, and was so content to look around the neat rooms after such a busy time!  I was also very proud of us all for doing such important things, despite all the extra work it creates!

On another day some of us drove into the city on a long journey. It was an all-day adventure. Most of the trip was uncomfortable and tiring, but there were so many rewards and wonderful things despite the negatives. (Just like life, I suppose.)   We came home very late, but delighted to be home again, with good memories!

Next, it was church and that was just lovely! We sang some precious hymns and heard a good sermon.

Now I am trying to settle back  into a quiet routine of being home and making a home.   I have been listening to the hum of our wood pellet stove, pruning my indoor flower plants, and watching the rain through the window.  Soon, I will start knitting and listen to sermons on CD and focus on eternal things. I will enjoy the retreat of home and, just for a time, ignore the outside world.

Mrs. White

Have you Seen this? - Home Economics Television - 1949

The Little, Happy things in life - Marriage - When Groceries are the Presents.

What My Sweet Teenage Son Did - Presents to Cheer me Up.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mrs or Miss and Other Titles of Respect

Afternoon Tea

In ballet class, the students are required to call their teacher "Miss" and then her first name. This shows classical respect. This was also common manners when I was a child. A Friend who visited was called "Miss Annie."

If it was a very close family friend, one who was beloved, she was given the title of "Aunt." I had a few "Aunts" who seemed like they were part of our family. I would not have ever dreamed of calling them by their first names without using the title "Aunt."  (My own children have a dearly loved "Uncle" who is my husband's closest friend.)

We had visitors from the south in summer. The small children would call me "Ma'am" even though I was their cousin. It was because I was their elder.  Have you ever heard a sweet child with a southern accent call an eleven year old, "Ma'am"? It is precious!  The children would never say a simple "no" or "yes" without a "Ma'am" or "Sir" when speaking to the older generation. It was common courtesy. (The adults responded the same way, as an example, by saying "Ma'am" and "Sir" as well.)

In those days, the world was family - centered and adult  - centered. Children were cherished, but were taught to give up a seat for an older person. When company came, they would gladly give up their bedroom for the guest. The children would sleep on "pallets," or blankets, on the living room floor. They were happy with this arrangement and knew no other way.  Children looked forward to the privildge of being grown and looked forward to growing up and getting to be an honored adult.

Children were also taught to "go play" during adult conversation. Parents and visitors would talk quietly about the news of the day, or some trial in the family, so as not to upset the innocence of children. This was part of respect and manners in the home. Children did not live in the adult world. They were honored and protected as children.

One of the greatest blessings in life was to earn the title of "Mrs."  Girls were called "Miss" until they married.  I remember being called "Miss Sharon" growing up and I loved it.  There was some dignity and elegance to the title of "Miss," just like in ballet class. If I was helping in Sunday School, the little students called  me "Miss," or "Ma'am." 

 But when I became "Mrs. White" I was honored and delighted.  Suddenly I had protection, in a sense. I had a covering and a very special reason to act accordingly. I had a husband who expected me to be a lady, and an honor to his name.   Women used to proudly address themselves as "Mrs." . . . When out in the stores, they would say hello to each other by showing respect to the family and husband by saying, "Hello Mrs. Smith! How are you today?"  It brought out the grace and dignity in all. (Of course, in close, personal visits, first names were used.)

When titles are used, it brings out gallantry in gentlemen and refinement in other women. In the old days, no one scoffed at titles like they do today. This is part of the reason we have an extremely casual self-centered society. No one wants to give place to respect and honor.

In the old days, Ladies dressed like ladies. They were in skirts and dresses, not sweatshirts and sweatpants. Women and Children dressed up to go to the store, the church or out visiting. We presented ourselves in our best because this brought out the best in others.   Ladies also gave their best to their families, at home, by dressing nicely.  They did not wear ratty, casual clothes. They would wear a comfortable, but pretty, house dress with an apron over it. This meant they cared about how they looked and wanted to please their families by looking sweet and pleasant. They were also ready to greet unexpected guests. This does not mean they were in their Sunday Best, but they looked nice and were not embarrassed when someone came by. This carried into their homes.

When we use Titles and Have Respect and know the place and the value of Manners, we not only look nice, but our homes look nice. We also treat others in a more civil, kind way. We respect the family, the institution of marriage and the love of home.

One of my greatest wishes is that they would do away with the term "Ms." because it brings confusion. Originally, we know that Miss means unmarried and Mrs. means married. Why then the term of "Ms."?   I would also love if unisex clothing went out of fashion.  I would love if our town and our state and our county realized the potential for traditional royalty and started to act accordingly. Truly this would trickle down to our children and succeeding generations and bring more pride and love for values and manners.

Recently I saw a picture of a modern family. It was a Husband and Wife with all their children. They were dressed up and smiling.  Even though they looked lovely, I could sense a casualness to them. I contrasted this with an early 1900's historic photograph (in black and white) of my grandfather when he was a small boy. His siblings and parents were also in the picture. The dignity and pride came through in their stature and poise. Their clothing was amazing, even though they were far from rich. This was the traditional family of which I speak. This is where titles and manners and customs of the old days brings out the richness of our heritage.

If only more ladies were proud of being called "Aunt" or "Miss" and thought it endearing. If only neighbors and friends were commonly called, with a sweet smile, "Mrs."  If only children were taught to give up their seat for their elders and learned to honor them with titles.  While the adults, likewise, protected their innocence and taught them by example.  Maybe we could recapture the joy of family and understand that royalty and dignity is possible, once again, in this great nation.

Mrs. White

* One of the original sources for good manners is from classic  Emily Post's Etiquette book.

The Way of the Old Days - Building our Homes with Little Money.

A Precious Sermon - The Godly Home, Marriage and Family.

What do you Think? - Do We Really Care About our Homes?

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Review - Gabby's Stick - to - It - Day by Sheila Walsh

Book - Gabby's Stick-to-It Day: A Story About Never Giving Up

Author - Sheila Walsh

Publisher - Tommy Nelson

This hardcover book is beautifully illustrated. It is about a little Girl who can't seem to finish anything. She starts to help her father paint a fence, or wash the family dog, but gives up when it gets too difficult. The story revolves around a "guardian angel" who helps guide the girl to do right. It is funny and amusing and will certainly entertain little girls.  I appreciate the Biblical base for this story and the lesson. 

The angels in the story look like sweet, small children. They also act very precious and child-like. Which is nice, but just be clear that it does not represent a realistic view of Angels in the Bible. 

*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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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Home Economics Television - 1949

Cornell's Home Economics Student Lois Schumacher prepares food, Classmates Help with Decorations

- Family Life in 1949 -

*If you received this post via email, please go directly to the blog to see the video.*

I love this educational video! It's fascinating to see how suburban housewives ran their homes.

There is a drastic difference between suburban life and farm life (both in past and current eras).

Before suburban life, most families grew most of their own food. They were industrious and hardworking at home. All children, as soon as they were old enough to walk, began doing chores. They knew no other way. They helped with the animals, the gardens, the farming and the housework. Children also had opportunities to earn money through some of their home industry. (Perhaps by selling animals they raised themselves, or things they made, etc.)

Current Suburban life is strikingly similar to this 1949 video. Mothers who are at home, tend to have a larger burden on their shoulders, when it comes to housework.  Many busy teenagers are not home to help, or don't have enough responsibility required from them at home.  When each member of the family is not doing their part to help, it makes Mom a weary housekeeper!

I don't know about you, but I am going to make a new Homemaking plan with plenty of extra chores for my children!

Mrs. White

Make it A Place They Want to Come To.

Homemaking and Motherhood - No Matter What it Cost Me.

Never Forget This - Mother Makes the Home.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

As Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing at Home

"Hanging Clothes Out to Dry," April 7, 1945

Home is steadfast and secure. It can be anywhere your family is, in any city, in any country. And with that "home" comes trouble. There is heavy labor, and financial woes. There are aches of the heart and of the body. . . These are the sorrows that never seem to go away. But the joy of the family is home.

Many of us are busy with spring cleaning. It is overwhelming because it is extra work, in addition to our daily routine. There are clothes to sort and discard. There are closets to empty and clean. There are window sills to vacuum and wash. And perhaps a few rooms need a fresh coat of paint.  It can be a heavy burden if we don't plan for it, or have enough cheerful helpers to make it a fun adventure.

Yet some of our normal routines are also exhausting and difficult. Hanging laundry on the clothesline, or on the backs of kitchen chairs (on cold, rainy days) can wear us out.  We spend hours in housekeeping, cooking and hospitality.  Hopefully we love our work, but sometimes there are tears along with smiles. This is the reality of life.

There are no ordinary days. Even when they all seem like a blur of the same.

Dreams for better days, and visions of happy events will always be in our hearts. This keeps us joyful.

We find peace and comfort in the monotony of our chores.  We liven them up with the personalities and efforts of our creativity, and of our willingness to bring happiness to those around us.

Every time we wash dishes, or sweep the porch, we take one baby step closer to our heavenly reward. This brings us the greatest sense of accomplishment and a soaring joy that few can understand.

We Mothers need to be here - for the good times and the bad.  We need to be the foundation of the family;  the one that holds it all together, creating a warm, cheerful light in spite of a dark society.

Mrs. White

"As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things." - II Corinthians 6:10

Have you Found it? - There is Beauty in the Home.

What Would I See - If I Visit You at The Dinner Hour?

From My Childhood - Memories of Ironing and Other Chores.

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